Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Few Brief Tournament Results

Things have not been going well in tournament land. I had two close calls in the fulltilt series the first of which took place in the $216 pot limit hold'em event. The tournament paid 216 spots and with about 375 players left (of the 1468 that started) I got dealt KQ. With blinds of 250/500 I opened for 1,500 and the player in the small blind called. We took the flop heads up and I was happy to see K T 5 on the board. My opponent checked and I bet 3,000. To my surprised my opponent moved all in and left me with a tough decision. I'd started the hand with about 12,000 chips which was just about average, but if I folded now I'd be left with around 7,500. I felt like I was probably behind, but I decided to call anyway since there was so much in the pot already. When the cards got turned over I saw that my opponent had KJ! AH HA! All I need is to dodge a jack and I'll have more than twice average getting close to the money! And then...Jack on the turn. Shit! I was out.

The next tournament I played was the $109 with rebuys. I managed to get in for only $209 and again found myself in good shape as we approached the money. We'd started with 1,600 players and again they were paying 216 spots. With about 350 players left I was faced with another tough decision. The blinds were 300/600, I had 15,000 chips which was about average, and I got dealt AQ in the small blind. A player in front of me moved all in for a little over 12,000 and I stopped to think.

This was clearly an excessive raise and under normal circumstances my first thought would be that the raiser had AK. But this guy was TOTALLY nuts. I'd been involved in half a dozen hands with him and he was making very strange plays. The wackiest thing he did was with blinds of 250/500 a player raised to 1,100, the next player to act moved all in for 3,800, and then the nut job moved all in for 10,000 with J 2! You can't bluff the guy who's all in and since he's already reraising the chances of J 2 being the best hand are absolutely zero. This may be the worst play I've ever seen this late in a $200+ tournament. It turned out the player who made it 3,800 had AK and the nut job rivered a 2 to win the pot.

So faced with an all in raise from this guy I figured he could have just about anything. In retrospect I should not have risked 80% of my chips on this one hand when I could have avoided it. Just making the money was worth $460 and I had enough chips that I didn't need to be taking massive risks. Anyway I called, he had AK and I lost almost all of my chips. Two hands later I got my remaining chips in with 33 vs AJ and lost that one as well. What a disappointment.

While I was very close in both of those tournaments, my seat barely got warm before I was out in the $1,060 tournament at Lucky Chances. We started with 4,000 chips each and about a half an hour in I lost about 1,000 when I made a semi bluff with a flush draw against a short stacked player and missed. A few hands later with blinds of 50/75 I raised to 250 with KQ and got one caller. The flop came all small cards and after he checked I bet out 500. He thought for a moment and then called. The turn was another blank but this time my opponent bet out 1,000 and I was forced to fold. I was down to less than half my starting stack.

About 10 minutes later with blinds still at 50/75 a player in the field opened for 250 and got two callers. I was in the big blind and thinking to myself that if I found anything at all I'd move all in for my remaining 1,800 or so. It might be counterintuitive to think that with three people already in it would be a good time to make a move. One of them HAS to have a good and right? Wrong! In fact the only player I was really worried about was the initial raiser. If the other two players had something they really liked they'd have reraised, but by just calling they were telling me that they had good, but not great hands. Certainly it was very likely the neither had a hand worth calling an extra 1,550. Furthermore the initial raiser knows that not only does he have to worry about my hand, but one of the other players might decide to call as well if he continues.

So when I looked down at 44, I confidently moved all in. If someone had a big pair I was pretty much screwed, but I thought I might get called by unpaired overcards which would make me about 50/50 to win or win the pot without a fight. I got rid of the first two players to act after me but the third called with AQ. The flop came down K K T which was not a good flop since I'd now need to dodge an A, Q, J, or T on the turn. The turn was a 6 which meaning I had to dodge a 6 as well. Sadly the river as an A and I was out.

When you add up all the results I still have $2,284 of my $4,000 starting bankroll. I have three more tournaments that I'm going to play to conclude the series and all of them go down next Sunday. The first is a $163 no limit hold'em "Knockout." I've never played a tournament like this before and I'm really looking forward to it. The tournament plays just like an normal tournament except that for every player you eliminate you win cash on the spot. I think it will be something like $20 for every player you knock out meaning of the $163 I buy in for $13 goes to the house, $130 goes to the general prize pool and $20 goes to the player who knocks me out. It should be fun.

The next tournament is the $535 FTOPS main event which has a 2 million dollar guaranteed prize pool. Finally I've decided to throw in the $215 Pokerstars Sunday Million. I may also play the $215 Pokerstars Sunday Warm up and/or the $215 Pokerstars Sunday Second Chance. If I do so I'll be including those tournaments as part the series, meaning my backers for all of the fulltilt and Lucky Chances tournaments will have a piece of that action as well. If you're a backer and you have any objections (I can't imagine why you would) just let me know before Sunday and I'll count you out. There's also a 10% chance that I might play one of the other remaining tournaments on fulltilt, but right now it doesn't seem likely. By the way I'm wes1279 on fulltilt not ACESEDAI so if you want to watch from your computer you can find my by searching for that username. The action starts at 11 am pacific and I'll recap all of it on Monday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tournament Recaps

Sorry again for the major laziness on my part in updating the blog. I know those of you that have financial interest in my results are probably very interested in knowing what's been happening.

I'll start with what's been going on at Lucky chances. On Wednesday I played the $550 NL tournament. I arrived at the casino feeling good about my chances since I'd done so well the previous day. My first interesting had came about 45 minutes into the tournament with the blinds were 50/75. I was in the big blind with K6 when three players called in the field as did the small blind.

The flop came down K 9 2 and I thought there was a good chance I had the best had, but against so many opponents it was hard to be sure. I considered betting but decided to check. An aggressive player bet about half the pot and I was the only player to call. The turn was another 9, I checked again and my opponent bet about half the pot again. I knew she was a little loose so she could have a wide range of hands and I also knew she was a thinking player that could lay down a fairly strong hand if she thought she was behind. I decided to move all in since that would be exactly what I would do if I had a 9. I also knew that if she had a king it wasn't AK, KQ, or KJ since she would have raised those hands preflop meaning if a A, K, Q, J or 9 came on the river I get half the pot if she also had a K. I figured it was more likely she had a pair between 33 and 88. She thought for about 5 seconds and then called me with 96. At first I thought to myself "why the hell did you do that," but upon further reflection I think it was an OK play if not a good one.

On Friday I went back to Lucky Chances to play the $550 shootout. In the first hour and a half I won one pot and it was because I stole the blinds preflop. In fact I didn't even play a hand to the flop during that entire time because my cards were so bad. Then I picked up AK suited and was first to act. I raised, the big blind moved all in and I called. I was happy to get some action with by far the best hand I'd seen all day, but I was unhappy to see my opponent turn over AA! I was only about 7% to win and I didn't catch a miracle.

While it sucked to go out early twice in a row, that's actually not the worst possible result. Going out just short of the money is much more time consuming and painful than going broke in the initial stages. Because of my misfortune I managed to dodge the rush hour traffic and enjoy the rest of my day, so it wasn't all bad.

On Wednesday after I went broke I came home and played in the $216, 6 handed NL event on Fulltilt. I was lucky to start at a table with a bunch of weak players. It seemed like every time I reraised them they folded. Not surprisingly I started to do a lot more reraising even with marginal hands. I've forgotten any interesting hands along the way, but I know when I made they money (yay!) I had about an average sized chip stack.

A short while later I had slightly less than average with about 20,000 chips. The blinds were 800/1,600 and I open raised to 4,800 with AJ suited. The player in the blind blind moved all in for something like 30,000 and I decided to take a chance. I could have folded, but in order to go really deep I needed much more than I had. Hoping to see a pair below jack I called. My opponent showed a pair of tens which meant I was just shy of 50% to win. Sadly the tens held up and I was out. I finished in about 250th out of more than 3,600 which paid $375.

I'm out of blogging time, but I'll have more recaps soon. Tomorrow (Sunday) I have the $1,000 event at Lucky Chances. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Massive Blog slacking!

Sorry about my lack of tournament updates! I'll have a recap of the three tournaments that I've played since my last post as well as the one I'll be playing tonight, sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A New Series of Tournaments

Today I started a new series of medium sized multitable poker tournaments. Actually it's more like two series. The first set is a group of 4 tournaments at Lucky Chances Casino in Colma CA the first of which ($330 NL Hold 'em) I played today (Tuesday). There is also a $550 NL hold 'em (Wednesday), a $550 NL hold 'em shoot out (Friday) and a $1,060 NL hold 'em (Sunday).

The second set is similar to the WCOOP but is on another website, namely fulltiltpoker.com. I plan on playing 6-8 of the 16 tournaments in that series in the $215-$1060 range. Some of these events are on the same day as the in person events, but happen much later in the day. So if I go broke early in person I can come home and play, but hopefully I won't be able to. :) I've given myself a $4,000 bankroll for both sets combined and I've sold off a little bit of my action to a few select backers.

So what happened in the $330 event from today? Well we started with 204 players, 3,000 chips, blinds at 25/50 and 20 minute levels. I have to say that this was not a great structure. In person 20 minute levels means 10-12 hands per level which meant this was in effect a turbo tournament.

I folded just about every hand for the first hour or so and then managed to pick up a few small pots without ever having to show a hand. I quickly grouped my opponents into two categories: players who I knew weren't any good and players who didn't seem very good but had yet to make it perfectly clear that they sucked. From the start I liked my chances.

After two hours of play the blinds went up to 200/400 with a 50 chip ante and I found myself with about 7,500 chips in the small blind. The player on the button raised to 1,600 and I thought to myself "If I look down at anything here I'm moving all in." It just felt like a bullshit raise to me so when I looked at my first card and it was a king I moved all in without looking at my other card. The big blind folded and after about 5 seconds of thought so did the raiser. It turned out my other card was a 7, but I didn't look until I was already stacking the chips.

On the very next hand the same player raised, but this time he moved all in for about 8,000. I looked down at AQ and quickly called. When the cards got turned over my opponent showed A9. I flopped a Q so I didn't even have to sweat it and took down a nice pot. With about 70 players remaining, I was in great shape with about 20,000 chips while the average stack was around 9,000.

I fluctuated a little, but found myself with that same 20,000 chip stack a few hours later when the blinds had ballooned to 1,000/2,000 with a 300 chip ante. In the big blind with KJ I faced a tough decision when the player one off the button moved all in for about 9,000. I wasn't thrilled with my hand or the prospect of risking a big chunk of my stack, but after counting down the pot and seeing that I was getting better than 2 to 1 on my money I decided to call. When I showed my cards, my opponent proudly turned over AJ. Yuck! I called out "Put queen, ten, nine out there." I didn't get my wish, but the flop I got was just as good- A Q T! I'd flopped a straight! After winning that pot my stack was over 30,000 chips and we were down to about 30 players.

As we got close to the money I made a play that took balls of steel. With about 25 players left (18 spots paid) and blinds still at 1,000/2,000 I was in the big blind again. The player on the button (who was talking up a storm at all times) raised to 5,000, went silent, and stared at the table. This was as good as a neon sign that said "I Do Not Have a Good Hand!" I told myself that if I looked at anything good at all I was moving all in even though my opponent was one of only two players at my table who had more chips than me. When I checked my cards I saw that I'd been dealt 9 3! ACK! That's about as bad as it gets, but after about 10 seconds I moved all in anyway. My opponent quickly folded, I took down a fair sized pot, and felt a wave of satisfaction come over me. In the past in situations like this I would think to myself "If I was a better player I'd probably move all in here," while I folded. But lately I've been playing with a fearless attitude and my results have been great.

When the player in 19th place went down I was in the money and guaranteed a payout of $600 gross. I'd run my stack up to about 50,000 chips while the average stack was around 35,000 at that point. We quickly lost 3 more players and my payday was guaranteed to be at least $800. With the blinds were 2,000/4000 with a 500 chip ante I ran into a major speed bump. I raised to 12,000 with KJ, the player in the big blind moved all in for a total of 24,000, and I was forced to call even though I was pretty sure I was behind. Unfortunately, my opponent had AA and I didn't manage to catch a miracle.

My stack slipped even further as I slowly got blinded off. The blinds went up to 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000 chip ante and I found myself with 19,000 chips and two more hands before I would be forced to take the big blind. I was looking for just about anything to move all in with, but instead of finding anything, I got dealt 8 5 and then 2 4. Yuck! In the big blind with a third of my chips already in the pot I called a raise with A 7. Sadly my opponent had A9 and I was eliminated. :(

I played a great tournament and did surprisingly well considering the crappy cards I got dealt. I got AK twice and AQ once, but I never got a pair above 88. I finished in 11th place which paid $1,040. I would have like to make the final table, but this was still a pretty good way to start my November tournaments. Tomorrow I have the $550 NL at Luck Chances which starts at 10:15 am. At 6 pm there is a $216 (that's not a typo, they charge and extra dollar in juice at fulltilt) 6-handed NL hold'em online which I should be able to make barring a money finish in person. I'll let you know what happened.

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...