Monday, August 21, 2006

Home Again

I got back from Vegas a little over a week ago. I guess I never even updated about the $10,000 buy in at the Bellagio. Here is what I remember...

I had a really tough starting table with Carlos Mortensen, Mark Gregorich, Don Mullis and Ali Eslami. Fortunately, they were all to my right but Carlos makes life difficult wherever you are on the table. After Mark Gregorich busted the Grinder sat down - but that was only a little before our table broke.

Some hands...
Carlos opens and I call with the 5s6s, the flop comes 78Q one spade, he check calls. The turn is Qs, he check folds to my bet. I limp behind Don Mullis with the KT no diamonds. Bad player to my left calls on the button, flop comes KQ9 all diamonds, checked around. Turn is a blank, Mullis bets, I call, button calls. River is a blank, Mullis checks, I check, now the button bets? Mullis insta-calls and I tank. I'm fairly confident the button has nothing and that Mullis is calling with a little less something than I have so I call and my hand is good. (That was a big pot at the time). I open in the cutoff with 95o last hand before a break, only the bad SB calls. Flop is 623, he check calls. The turn is a 4, he check calls again. The river is a 5 and he best like 1/3 of the pot. I call, he has KJo. This one I can't figure out. And it appeared on the river that he thought it was a valiant call on my part. Ali opens, I call with 7c4c, Asian player whom I've seen before but I don't know his name calls from the blinds. The flop is 253 one club. This is a bit of a weird one, this is a really good flop for my hand but its checked to me. I was concerned at the time about getting blown off my hand, but in retrospect I should have bet and three bet all in if raised. Anyway, I checked behind and the turn was the Jc. The blind bet out, Ali called, and I just called with my zillion outs. The 6c came on the river and they both check folded.

In the last level of the day (300/600/75) our table broke and I had about 28k up from the starting 20k stack. My first hand at the table I re-raised someone with AKs and he folded. The next hand I opened with A8 and won a small pot. Two hands later I pick up AK again and raise and have to give it up unimproved on the flop. Toward the end of the level, I'm up to about 31k when Men the master open limps in late position. The SB completes and I check with 55. The flop is K43 and its checked to Men and he bets 2k and I call, pretty confident that I have the best hand. The turn is a 5 and I check to Men again and he bets 3k. I make it 10k, and then Men makes it 10k more. I strongly suspect I'm beat but Men could also play 44 or 33 this way, so I decided to stick the rest of my stack in there. As soon as my chips were in the middle I said "at least he hasn't called yet", which means it was a bit of a slowroll when he (finally) flipped up the 76 and I went home after I missed my full house on the river.

After I got home I started playing a lot of NL cash games. Mostly 10/20 but some other games mixed in as well. Through the first 25,000 hands everything was going really well. I fired up some tournaments this past Monday and was really frustrated in them, playing for what felt like smaller stakes and being frustrated with the lack of cards and pace of play. I began to wonder if I would ever get back into tournaments...On Tuesday night, I again entered the normal 9pm tournaments but this time got in a groove in the $150+12 on Party and by 5am won it for $35,000. I was really proud of the way I played at the final table, I only made maybe one mistake and that hand was a bit of a cooler. I think it was my second biggest score online and it was definitely my best weeknight results-wise in my poker career.

On Wednesday I again crushed the cash games, to the tune of almost $15k. One of my best days ever. It feels so simple when you're running good like that, hitting hands and getting paid off. Of course, the next two days were then horrible, losing almost $22k. Obviously, this is a totally different feeling, like how the hell can I ever win at poker again? I got beat up on the 10/20 tables on Stars and decided to only play lower stakes there until I get better or used to it, or run better, or whatever the problem is.

Today I played in most of the major Sunday tournaments. I didn't fare well in the early ones but in the $200+15 second chance tournament on Stars I finished third for almost $17,000. I made a blunder at the end and one with a few tables left but otherwise played very well (and ran really really well). At one point right after the bubble burst I had 135k and second place had 70k... that is a pretty rare situation with 120 players left.

I also played in a 4,000 FPP Satellite to the EPT London tournament. I bring this up because I bubbled in a pretty unique fashion. The chip leader had 110k, I had 57k, the other two players had about 45k. Two players get the seats worth $8,500 and the other two get nothing. I was in the SB with Ks8s and the other two players folded. I completed, the BB min raised (which was not uncommon for him) and I called. The flop came down JsTh9s. I was double gutted with a flush draw, a pretty big hand in this spot. I checked and the BB bet around the pot, 6k. I thought this was a perfect time for a semi-bluff all in, because he is virtually guaranteed a seat without playing any major pots so he can only call with very few hands. So I raised all in and he called almost instantly with QJ. Personally, I think this is a very bad play on his part because he is risking losing his comfortable stack, and I could very well have him beat. Anyway, his hand held up, unfortunately for me and I was out in fourth and he was the huge chip leader. Any thoughts on this hand? My read on him was that he was a tight player, too, it was pretty surprising.

That's about it for now. I'll try to update more regularly. This weekend I'm off to LA to play in the $10k buy in WPT tourney at the Bike.

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