Thursday, April 5, 2007


I played the $5,000 buy-in World Series Circuit Event yesterday in southern Indiana. In short, I was rarely over the starting $10k stack. I only played a few hands of note :

A tightish player opened for 175 at the 25/50 level and I defended my BB with J8o. The flop was QT9 two spades and I check raised his 400 continuation bet to 1100. He quickly called. The turn was a terrible J and it went check/check. The river was a small spade and I made a smallish bet and he folded. I really thought that if the turn blanks here I win a really big pot.

A while later, I have around 7200 chips - an early position player makes it 300 at the 50/100 level. I call with red fives and the button and blinds call. The flop is 863 two spades and its checked to me. With only one other person yet to act, and the preflop raiser showing weakness I decided to bet 1100. The button looked like he thought about raising but just called. I was pretty much done with the hand when the 2s came on the turn, but it went check/check. The river was another spade and I decided to bluff 1800 at the pot. I could easily have bet the flop with two big spades and checked the turn to slow play it - and I would bet about half pot if I wanted to get a call from a smaller flush on the river. My opponent thought for a bit and finally called with 54 with the 4 of spades. I was a little surprised he looked me up in this spot - in truth I wasn't sure if I had the 5s - it would have been funny if I bet with the 5s there and got called by a worse hand. I have slight regrets about betting this flop as I probably don't win the pot here often enough... but when you have 1500 in the pot and its checked to you its tough not to pull the trigger.

Now I was down to 4400 - I had 4475 at the beginning of the 100/200/25 level. It was really brutal after that, I folded every hand until I was down to 2450. Scott Fischman opened for 600 and I pushed in behind him with AKo. Finding AKo in that spot felt like the stone cold nuts and I was happy the pot was opened before me. But when Scott insta-calls and shows AA I'm sent to the rail. So frustrating to stay so patient, wait for a big hand, then get totally coolered anyway.

I'll be off to the Bellagio last next week or early the following week for some prelim events before the $25,000 buy in World Poker Tour Championship (that I'll be playing for the first time).

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Blog Is Back

So I've decided to write on my blog again. I guess I got bored with it for awhile there but a lot has happened so I thought I would recap the last few months.

After Australia it was off to Borgata, where I planned to play the 5k and 10k events. I played the 5k event, went broke pretty early - the big hand I played was against Kathy Liebert where I had KQ vs her TT on a KQT flop. After that I ended up getting sick so I skipped the 10k and went home to rest.

Not long after was the 5k WSOP Circuit Event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This was another really early bustout, in the first level in fact. I ended up getting semi-coolered on the 772 board with 76 against 22, we got it all in on the turn and I missed my 7 outs on the river. This was really a lowpoint, it had been a very long time since a meaninful cash, (nothing over $16k since New Orleans - May '06) and nothing seemed to be going right.

A week or two later I headed to San Diego for the World Series Circuit Event there. I ended up winning the event for $280,000 - my second World Series Circuit title (and my 2nd championship ring). I was the chip leader at the end of the first day and I don't think I relinquished the lead for more than a little bit the rest of the way. The key pot to my tournament came at the 400/800 level. I went to open for my usual 2400 raise but grabbed the wrong color chip and made it 4400. It was pretty obvious to the others at the table that I made this mistake. It folded to a guy a couple to my left who was new to the table who made it 13000 to go. I had QQ and approximately 40k chips to start the hand. After some thought I moved it in, my opponent called, and I flopped quads and beat his AK. From there the last level was crazy, I won a couple of huge pots in weird spots and got coolered in one with KK vs AA, and then sloppily lost a few others. But, as I said, I had 130k chips after the first day and lead the tournament.

Day 2 was about the most fun I've ever had playing poker (well, until Day 3 I guess). I had a huge stack and didn't lose a significant pot all day. I bullied my table mercilously at the bubble, accumulating probably 120,000 chips over the one and a half levels that was the bubble. When we got into the money at 18 players I lost a few small pots but ended up coolering someone with AA vs AQ to get up over 400k in chips. When we got down to 9 players I was still the chip leader with 444k. The final table had many good players, David Matthew, Gavin Smith and Shane Schleger came in as short to middle sized stacks and Gavin Griffin (just today the EPT champion), Eric Cajelais and Danny Wong came in with big stacks.

Day 3 was just an incredible day of poker. I held many huge hands - I eliminated Gavin Smith with 77 vs his AQ, won a few big pots off of David and Gavin Griffin with sets - and never really lost a big pot. I made a big move against Danny Wong with 66 on a 432 flop that could have been trouble had I lost - but he folded to my all in raise on the flop. Eventually, David and I got heads up, me with a small advantage in chips.

David is an interesting guy and sort of a tough guy to figure out sometimes. He is capable of making some great plays but I think also capable of making large mistakes. I had to change my game to play against him - normally I am an aggressive player who will take advantage of spots where I can bluff and semi-bluff, especially heads up. With David, I had to wait him out because he likes to make big calls and isn't easily bluffed. Eventually, I flopped a huge hand vs him when the board came down AKT two spades and I had AK. I bet the flop, he min raised, I three bet, and he moved in and I eventually called. He had A4 and when a blank came on the turn he was drawing dead and I won the tournament.

The feeling of winning another tournament was pretty amazing. I hadn't had a big finish in a long time and doubts of my ability and/or the validity of my first win began to creep in. I played well, ran really well, it just all came together for me again and I feel very fortunate that it id.

Next up was the LAPC WPT event. I have never felt comfortable playing at Commerce for some reason - and this year I signed up fairly late and drew an outside table. I guess I have no real complaints about the atmosphere in the outside tents - but the day just did not go well for me. I had Daniel Alaei two to my left and Jordan Morgan across the table and lost about 7k of my 20k stack in the first level and a half never playing a big pot. On my bustout hand I re-raised Jordan with QQ and him and another guy called. I bet the jack high two diamond flop and got check raised all in by the second caller - I eventually called and lost to KQ of diamonds when the flush came on the river.

A week or two later I was back out in Vegas for the Wynn $10k. This tournament also did not go well, I was down to about 11k of the starting 20k stack when I got it in with 555 vs TTT on a KT5 flop vs Sam Grizzle. I missed my one outer and was sent packing. A few days later I went to San Jose for the Bay 101 WPT. I had an amazing first day, getting my 20k stack up to about 155k by the end of the day. A couple of key pots :

A bad player open limps on the button, I complete SB with QhTh, Kent Washington then raises from the BB, both of us call. Flop is J high all hearts checks around. Turn is a blank, I bet, Kent raises, button folds, I jam, Kent insta calls with black aces drawing dead. I then double up someone with AA when he flops a set against me. Then I smooth call an EP raise with QQ, the flop comes Q high and I all but double against an overpair. At dinner, I have about 75k when this hand comes up... I open with 96o on the button, Clonie Gowan defends the SB, the BB also calls. The flop is K78 two hearts and Clonie bets out 3500, I make it 10k because we are deep (build pot) and I would like a free card on the turn if I miss. The offsuit T rolls off on the turn giving me the second nuts and Clonie bets 15k. I move in and she finally calls with KQ, drawing dead, and I win a monster pot to take the clear chip lead at 145k.

Later on I lose a huge pot to David Williams with J9o vs KJo on a QTxxx board, with David somehow calling a 20k river bet. I began to semi-tilt off a bunch of chips when I got pretty fortunate in a hand vs Shane Schleger to bust him - and finished the day at 150k as I mentioned before.

The second day was a pretty miserable day of poker for me. I got it up to 180k at one point but lost a big pot to Erik Seidel, then got caught on a re-steal vs an unbluffable player to get down to about 70k. I then doubled up Lee Markholdt on a J high flop with J8 vs AJ. I was quickly down to 17k with the blinds at 1k-2k. I buckled down and eventually finished in the money cashing for $15,000, winning three times with the hand before busting out with KJ vs AJ.

After Bay 101 it was on to Foxwoods where I played the 2k, 3k, 5k and 10k tournaments. It was a miserable time at Foxwoods also - I never made the fourth level in any of the tournaments. In the main event I went broke in a marginal spot with KQ vs 55 on a KQ5 board - where I probably should've gotten away from it.

Tomorrow I'm off for the Indiana Circuit Event - my first try and getting my third championship ring. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I'm back from the Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Australia. I got down there last Saturday not sure if I was playing on Sunday or Monday in the $10k(Australian) which is about $8300 USD. Thankfully, I drew the Monday starting day so I had Sunday to adjust to the time change and relax. In the afternoon Sunday I was playing some turbo SNG's and happened to chat with online tournament master Tmay420 and asked him what table he was at the following day in Australia. As luck would have it, he was at my starting table, along with another player in the same SNG, Jeff Madsen (who was seated to my direct left). Online player Ocrowe was also at the table. The rest of the players were pretty straightforward and tight.

The second hand of the tournament, I opened to 300 with AsKs (we started with 20,000 in chips) and was re-raised by a local to 900. I called, and the flop came down AK8. I checked, the local bet 2,000 and I called. The turn was a ten and I checked again and the player bet 5,000 and I called. Only two hands into the tournament its so hard to get a read here. I have a very strong hand, and I have no idea how this guy plays. I still think he could easily have the same hand as me here or even AQ. The river was a jack, and now just a queen made a straight. I checked, the player bet all in, and I folded. He later said that he had a set of aces, but he never showed. So after two hands I'm down to 12,000 but it didn't really bother me, with 90 minute levels, I felt like I had a great chance to come back.

I began to play a lot of hands because most of our table was quite tight. Madsen liked to call me and had position but I held my own against him. One big hand we played was when I raised with 99 and the flop came T87. I bet the flop and Madsen called after a little bit of thought. The turn was another 8 and I thought this was a pretty good card to bet since it would put a lot of pressure on him if he had a ten or a draw. He quickly called, and his call lead me to believe that he had a hand like tens full. When the 6 rolled off on the river, and I had roughly the size of the pot left in my stack, I really had no idea what I should do. I felt like I still might be beat so I ended up checking, which ended up being a huge mistake. Jeff checked behind with QQ and I missed the opportunity to bet about 4 or 5k there on the end and have him look me up. Our table broke and I had about my starting stack.

At my new table I recognized no one, and that was just fine with me. We were still at the 100/2o0/25 level and I opened a lot of pots at my new table with not much resistance. On one hand, the SB limped, and I made it 700 in the BB with JTo. He quickly called, and the flop was J63 two hearts. He bet out 2000 (?) into the pot and I decided to call. The turn was another heart and he bet out 3000 and I decided to call. The river was a 7 and he checked, and he showed 79 and my hand was good. That got me to about 28k -

During the next level an active cutoff made it 900 and the SB and I both called (I had Tc7c). The flop was all clubs and everyone checked. The turn was a blank and the SB bet 500, I made it 3000, the cutoff folded, and the SB made it 10300 total with about 9500 behind. I thought for a bit before moving him in for the rest of his stack, he shrugged and called with 8c9c (drawing dead) and suddenly I had 50k. The player that replaced him was an interesting story. He had quite a few chips, but wasn't playing many pots at all and he seemed pretty inexperienced. Finally, he opened for 1500 at the 200/400/50 level and I called utg+1 with 88. The flop was a wonderful K83 rainbow and he bet out 3000. I decided that there was no way this guy was going to fold KQ or better so I raised to 8000. He thought a while and folded.

He then went on one of the biggest rushes I have ever seen. I'm going to try and remember and describe the hands because they are hilarious. Really tight passive SB open limps for 600. Maniac makes it 5500 in the BB, SB then goes all in for 18k with AQ. BB calls with 87 and wins. Tight player opens for 2000 in the cutoff, maniac makes it 8700 total, CO jams, mainac calls. JhTx for maniac TT for CO, flop is all hearts but maniac somehow misses. Active player opens for 1600 at 300/600, maniac makes it 3200, BB jams for 180000 total, maniac calls with KJs and beats AK. Maniac open limps, I limp behind, SB folds, BB checks. Flop is 543, BB bets out (BB is same guy that had the tens last hand), maniac instantly raises, I fold, BB goes all in for some huge amount, maniac insta calls with AA and beats the BB's 65o. Last level of the day 400/800. Maniac opens for 5800 UTG, new player cold calls with about 50k behind. Flop is ten high, maniac instantly goes all in, cold caller folds, maniac shows a set of tens (and wonders aloud whether he could have 'milked' him for more money). Player opens for 2500, new tight player makes it 10000 leaving himself 10000 or so, maniac is in the BB and declares all in. First player folds, tight player has AA, I folded T5, maniac has TT and wins vs AA. Maniac open limps on the button, I complete in the SB, BB makes it 5000 more, maniac instantly goes all in, both fold, maniac shows AA. Somehow the maniac gets it in with 66 vs KK, and after the 589 flop, we know its all over, maniac gets there on the river. At one point, he opened for 3800 UTG and I had KK UTG+1, I decided to go all in because he had never folded to a re-raise... so it was like 42,000 to him and he thought forever before folding QJs... man, what a bad beat that fold was for me. So then Gus Hansen comes to the table, whom I've never played with. But I know he likes to gamble, and has an award winning head. He played a fairly hilarious ten minute hand with the maniac, where Gus opened for 2200, got cold called, then the maniac made it 5300, Gus thought forever before making it 10k more, then the maniac thought forever before making it 20k more. Gus then thought forever X 2 before folding.

So I finished day 1 with 50k and awoke to find the ugly table draw that had Patrick Antonius (who's name in Finnish means I'm Better Than You at Everything) who only had 315k after day 1. I solicited some advice from some of my poker pro friends, one of which said don't play pots with him. So when he opened under the gun and got cold called in one spot obviously I had to call with KTs on the button. The flop came KT5 two hearts and it was checked to me and I bet 7k. Then, Patrick makes it 23k. The other guy folds so obviously I go all in and Patrick calls with Ah5h. Normally, I would feel good about my chances here, but as my buddy Carl looks on and starts laughing at the inevitable bad beat that is about to occur, the 6h rolls off on the river and I'm out. I felt a lot better though, after viewing this video where Patrick bemoans his bad luck from the day before. We all feel really sorry for you losing all those pots with the best hand, Patrick.

So after I busted out, Carl and I started having a few beers, then Brandon busted out to some asshat. So the three of us met up with some Australian dude from Newcastle that is a member of 2+2. We went out to some place called St. Kilda, which in Australian means "Beach of the flies".

A couple of days later, Carl, Brandon and I headed to the Australian Open tennis matches, where I won a $400 AUS betting on this guy to win a 5th set against the dimmunitive Belgian-who-we-thought-was-German-at-the-time. It was very exciting and I won. Obviously, I felt sorry so when we headed over to the next match I began accepting bets from Carl and Brandon over the Haas vs Serbian-Bum-Who-I-Thought-Was-Good. We had a lot of action on this match, and on the first point of the match the Serb went to return a Haas' serve and let go of his racquet. Normally, I would say this isn't a good sign, but I stuck with my horse. Little did I know this guy was the Phil Hellmuth of tennis, he tilted like some guy who took 10 consecutive 2 outers on the river and folded like a cheap suit.

After that is a bit of a blur, we went back to the hotel, had a bunch of cocktails and Carl and I tried to convince Gavin and Jeff to play 2/3 NL with us. They declined, citing the excuse that they were too cool for us. Carl quickly began to stretch the rules of the Crown Casino. During one of his usual episodes where the dealer dealt him out three times an orbit, he didn't think that being cutoff really meant that he couldn't drink anymore, so when he tried to get someone else to give him a drink, 6 big guys in dark suits escorted him out of the casino. All in all, I was happy to have the pest on my left out of the poker game, but my flight was taking off in a few hours so I had to get some rest.

Next up, Borgata in Atlantic City for the 5k and 10k buy-ins.