Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two More Events Underway

Right now WCOOP event #12 $215 HORSE is underway. We started with 1639 entrants, first place of $72,116 and 176th place of $262. 3 hours in I'm struggling but still alive.

WCOOP event #13 $530 pot limit hold'em is also underway. That tournament started with 1,090 players 1st place of $117,175 and 153rd place of $872. I caught an early double up and have 5,300 chips while the average is just over 4,000.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What the Hell is HORSE Anyway?

Here is what I wrote last year about HORSE for those of you who don't know what it is:

Most of you are thinking "What in God's name is HORSE and what does it have to do with poker?" The way HORSE works is, the tournament is played using 5 different forms of poker: (H)old'em, (O)maha hi-lo, (R)azz, 7-card (S)tud, and 7-card stud hi-lo (E)ight or better (sometimes called just stud hi-lo or stud-8). You start off with hold'em and after 30 minutes you switch to Omaha. The next round is razz, followed by stud and then stud-8. All of the games are played limit (as opposed to no limit or pot limit). Assuming you all know about hold 'em, razz, and 7-card stud from previous posts (you can read about Razz at, I'll give you a brief run down of how you play Omaha and stud-8.

Omaha is actually short for Omaha hold 'em (as opposed to Texas hold'em). In Omaha, the betting and the way the cards come out is just like Texas hold'em except each player is dealt 4 cards. At the end of the hand, players must use EXACTLY TWO cards from their hand and EXACTLY THREE cards from the board to make their best 5 card hand. Sometimes this game is played where the best hand wins the whole pot, but it's usually played where the best hand and the worst hand split the pot (hence the hi-lo). You can use different cards to make your best high hand and your best low hand and aces are both the highest and lowest card. The only rule for making a low is you must use 5 unpaired cards 8 and below. Since you need to use three cards from the board, if there aren't three cards 8 and lower on the board it's impossible to make a low hand. In this case the high hand wins the whole pot. For example let's say you're dealt A K 2 5 with the A and K of hearts and the board is 3 6 8 K Q with 3 hearts. You're best high hand is the flush using the AK and your best low hand is 8632A using the A2. In this case you should win the whole pot, since you have the "nut high" and the "nut low." But if someone else had an A and a 2 among their 4 cards then you'd get the high half of the pot and split the low half with the other player who also had 8632A as their low hand. Confused yet?

Stud-8 is also a game where the highest hand and the lowest hand split the pot. It works just like 7-card stud and razz in terms of how the cards come out and the way the betting takes place. Also as you may have guessed by the name, in order to win the low half of the pot you have to have 5 unpaired cards 8 and below. In both Omaha and Stud-8 straights and flushes don't count against you in terms of making a low hand. For example A 2 3 4 5 is the best possible low hand, but it's also a straight which will often times will be the best high hand as well.

The bottom line is I'll be playing 5 different games, in one tournament with the limits going up every half hour and the game changing every half hour. I'm hoping since I'm familiar with all of the games I'll be able to beat anyone who's only comfortable with 2 or 3.

While this may seem like a funky gimmick (and it sort of is), there was a $50,000 HORSE event at this years (2006) WSOP. It only drew 142 players, but probably 98 of the top 100 tournament players in the world played and other than the main event it was maybe the most prestigious title to win.

So that's a little about HORSE!

A Horse Satellite

I've made today a pretty half assed day and barely played at all. But I did decide to sit down and play 10 SNG's (mostly because I was bored) While I was doing that I decided to play in a turbo (5 minute limits) $77 satellite to tomorrow's $215 HORSE event. The thing I liked about this satellite is 1/3 of entrants won seats. Of course you have to risk a little more up front, but patience goes a long way when 1/3 of the field makes it to the money.

While I was certainly paying attention to what I was doing, I wasn't really looking at the tournament lobby. About 35 minutes in (when the blinds increased for the 7th time) I looked at the lobby and saw that I was in first place and we'd lost 40% of the field! From there I just cruised and was never in doubt of winning the seat. Add another $142 to the WCOOP coffers!

WCOOP Event#9 Recap

WCOOP Event#9 $215 with rebuys was an interesting tournament. We started with 3,000 chips with the option to immediately buy 3,000 more for $200 (and the option to do the same anytime we fell below 3,000 chips). Being able to effectively reenter the tournament if you run out of chips makes some players play wildly aggressive during the rebuy period (the first hour only). If you play enough hands, eventually you'll run into a streak where you win a few in a row and you'll end up with more chips than you would have otherwise. Having a big stack later in the tournament means not only can you survive several hands where you have some bad luck, but it also allows you to put pressure on other players with fewer chips. The biggest problem with the wild strategy is sometimes you do 10-15 rebuys (or more) and don't end up with more chips than the people who did one or two.

My plan was to go the other way. Keep my investment low and play more conservatively. My chances of making the money or going deep would be reduced, but so would the amount of money I had at risk.

I pretty much folded every hand for the 1st half an hour and then I picked up QQ in the big blind. The blinds were 10/20 (very small compared to the number of chips in play) A player in early position raised to 100, another player called and I reraised to 300. Both other players called and the flop came down J 5 3. I bet 800 expecting to take the pot, but to my surprise BOTH players called. The turn was a 6 and I moved all in for my remaining 1,800 or so chips. Again BOTH players called. Yikes! The river was an 8 which was a great card. I was all in but the other players still had chips. They both checked which was a good sign for me and when the cards got turned over one of them had T3 (really!) and the other had KJ. I was up to about 8,800 chips and off to a great start.

I cruised at about this level until the end of the rebuy period where I elected to pay $200 to do the add on and get another 5,000 chips. At this point I had 14,465 chips. The tournament prize pool of over 1.3 millions dollars had come from 2,188 entries, 2,852 rebuys and 1574 add ons. I did the math to determine my equity and calculated that my chip stack was now worth $939.60. This was pretty good since i won my initial buy in via satellite and was only in for $248.

I saw that first place was $259,533, but I was more interested in the fact that 270th (the edge of the money) paid $1,323! Usually just making it to the money is only good enough to get your initial investment back, but in this case it would be more than 5 times what I'd put into the event and almost $1,100 in profit.

After the rebuys were done the blinds were still only 25/50. With almost 15,000 chips and 30 minute limits I knew I had a long, long, long time before I was going to be facing any blind pressure. I took this opportunity to play a lot of hands if I could get in for the minimum. Losing 50 chips was nothing and if I could really connect with a flop I might be able to win a few thousand.

Of course the downside of the strategy is sometimes you hit the flop hard and still have the second best hand. This happened to me a few times and I found myself with about 10,000 chips at the end of the second hour. I recall that I moved from 10,000 to 20,000 in a pretty short time by winning two pots where I netted about 5,000 each, but I've forgotten the details.

With blinds of 100/200 I picked up QQ in the big blind again hoping to get some action. One player in middle position raised to 600 and I reraised to 1,600. The flop came down 7 3 2 which looked like a great flop. I bet 2,400 into the 3,300 chip pot and my opponent (who had about 20,000 chips also) just called. Mentally I called for another deuce and that's just what came on the turn. I was almost positive that I had the best hand and I figured if I was up against a smaller pair or a hand like AK or AQ. I guessed that my opponent might fold if I bet big again and if I had him beat that's not what I wanted.

On the other hand if I checked I might induce a bluff from AK or AQ or convince him that a mid sized pair was the best hand. If was behind I was going to lose all of my chips anyway so I checked. My opponent bet about 5,000 and I moved all in. He thought for a few seconds which made me even more confident that I was in good shape. Eventually he called and showed 88. The river was a K and I was up to 40,000 chips.

I stayed around 40,000 for a long, long time. In fact that's where I was two and a half hours later when the blinds had gone all the way up to 400/800 with an 80 chip ante. I hadn't been getting much in the way of cards, but my table was crazy tight and I'd been able to make up for getting no cards and a few minor mistakes by stealing the blinds once every 4 or 5 hands for hours.

Then I had a major misstep. I was on the button with 87 and raised to 2,400. The players in the blinds had folded at least 5 or 6 times straight to my raises so my cards were certainly not the reason I was raising. The player in the big blind made it 4,000 which I thought might mean AA or KK, but since I only had to put in another 1,600 to see the flop it was an easy call.

The flop came down Q 5 2 and my opponent checked. This convinced me even more that he had a huge hand and was trying to get me to bet it for him (since you'd never normally reraise and then check). I checked also and the turn came an A which put three clubs on the board. He checked again. I didn't really know what was going on, but I had to bet something here. I couldn't think of anything that he could have that somehow didn't connect, but two checks from your opponent means automatic bet in my school of thinking.

My best guess was he had KK, checked the flop as a slowplay and was now worried that I had an A (a very likely card for me to have since I came in raising). I bet about 5,000 into the 9,000+ chip pot. My opponent only had 10,000 left and he was such a weak player that I thought he might fold a hand like KK or JJ.

But he called. The river was a J and he checked again. I didn't really have any good options. My only hope now was that he had the K of clubs and would fold in order to save his remaining 5,000 chips. With 87 I couldn't beat anything and there was almost 20,000 in the pot. If I thought he'd fold more than 1 time in 5 it made sense to put him all in. I bet and he called with AJ. It was a weird hand and I was left thinking I should have folded before the flop and avoided the whole mess.

A few hands later when the blinds had gone up to 500/1000 with a 100 chip ante. I made another mistake. The player to my right who had about 15,000 and was also a weak player raised to 3000 in the cutoff. I was on the button with AT and I reraised to 8,000 hoping he would fold. Instead he moved all in. ACK! I knew I was in bad shape, but I had to put in another 7,000 to win the 24,000 that was already in the pot. My opponent showed QQ putting me at about 30% to win. The flop came T 4 4, the turn was a blank, but the river was another 10! Happily this was a mistake that worked out in my favor and I was back up to 40,000 (which was just about an average sized stack).

Then things got slow again and unfortunately a few of my opponents started playing back at me. I don't know if they started picking up hands, just got aggressive, or realized I wasn't going to commit a big chunk of my chips to one hand, but when I would raise more times than not I was getting reraised. My chip stack started to slip, the blinds kept getting bigger and I could feel my chances fading.

With blinds at 750/1500, over an hour after my hand with the QQ, I'd fallen to about 20,000 chips. and was in something like 290th out of 330 or so remaining players. I was getting fed up with folding hand after hand. I figured I needed to win one more pot to have enough to make it to the money so when I found myself in the big blind with 9T of clubs, I decided it might be a good time to take a chance.

Someone raised to a weird amount like 3,650 and I called. The flop came down T 6 4 all spades. I had no idea if my hand was good or not, and even if it was half the deck would be cards I didn't want to see on the turn. I was about 95% sure that if I checked my opponent would bet and I decided to just cross my fingers and hope I had the best hand. I checked, my opponent bet about the size of the pot and I moved all in for my few remaining chips (I actually had him just covered). I knew he'd be forced to call with anything, but I was shocked and pleased to see him turn over J8 with no spades! I won the pot and was close to 40,000 again.

It was time to put on the stall. My plan was to just fold just about every hand until I made the money, but with 275 players left I was faced with a tough decision. I was down to 26,000 chips after being eaten up by the blinds for a few rounds and with blinds of 1000/2000 and a 200 chip ante I picked up QQ. I was planning on moving all in when a player in front of me raised to 6,000. In a lesser tournament I would have moved all in for sure which means I probably should have here too. But my opponent had over 100,000 chips and he'd only have to risk 20,000 to win 37,000. I didn't want to risk my whole tournament which I'd been playing for 8 hours on this one hand. If I'd had KK or AA I would have gone for it for sure and I would have felt fine about folding JJ or AK. In the end after about 60 seconds of thought, I folded. I'm still not sure what I should have done.

The good news is, those last 5 players dropped and I made the money! In fact as soon as we made it I picked up AK and someone raised in front of me. I moved all in and they called me with A9. I flopped a K and was up to 48,000. The average stack was in the 80,000 range and I was in pretty good shape.

The blinds went up again and that's when I met my demise. With blinds of 1250/2500 the player to my right made it 6,000 to go in late position. I had AJ suited and about 50,000 in chips. Looking to win the 12,000+ chips in the pot and increase my stack by almost a quarter without a fight, I moved all in. Unfortunately my opponent instantly called me with AA and I was out in 209th place.

The good news is I moved up one more pay level and got paid $1,455 which was a profit of $1,207! This was a very pleasing result since I got in so cheap and I initially hadn't even had this event on my schedule. It also means I have a lot more leeway in what I want to do for the rest of the WCOOP. I dropped another $78 playing two satellites while writing this post (I'm still in one, but it doesn't look good), but right now my starting WCOOP bankroll of $2,000 has gone up to $2,640.80

Today was the $320 heads up matches which was my best result in the 2005 WCOOP when I finished 32 out of 1048, but I haven't felt good about my heads up play lately and I slept in too long to play any satellites. There was also $215 Razz (7 card stud for low) and I kind of wanted to play, but it's not really my game, so I figured if I could get in cheap I'd play.

Tomorrow is both the $215 HORSE and the $530 Pot limit hold'em. My best result in the 2006 WCOOP was in the HORSE event and both of my WSOP cashes are in pot limit hold'em so I have high hopes. Sunday is the $1,050 no limit hold 'em which I'm about 80% sure that I'll be playing. If I make the money in either tournament on Saturday I'll play on Sunday for sure or if I can have some satellite success that will also make it a certainty. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You'll have to wait

I played a long, long tournament today and I'm too tired to write all the details, but it was an interesting event. I don't want to ruin the drama so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happened. I promise to have a post up by 5 pm at the latest, and will try to do it in the late morning or early afternoon.

On Dinner Break

I'm on dinner break in the WCOOP $215 with rebuys. I have 40,738 chips and the average stack is 39,501. I'm in 220th place and like my chance of making the money. Wish me luck! If you want to watch you can go to, download the software and search for ACESEDAI by clicking on the "requests" section at the top and selecting "find a player".

WCOOP Event #9 Underway

We started event #9 ( $215 with rebuys) with 2,188 players. The prizes won't be displayed until the end of the rebuy period. The good news is I managed to win my initial buy in via satellite. I played two $8 with rebuys turbo satellites and managed to win a seat in one of them. So essentially I got into today's event for $48 instead of $215.

I also played three $60, 45 player tournaments and finished in 2nd in one ( I should have won this one - I had my opponent all in and was a 6.5 to 1 favorite with one card to come and I lost) and 3rd in another which made me about $750. I'm having a good day so far!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Almost WCOOP Satellite

I pretty much took the day off today, but while sitting around on the couch I couldn't help but play a tournament or two. My only WCOOP related action was an $80 satellite to Sunday's $1,050 NL tournament.

We started with 66 players with the top 4 winning a seat. This wasn't a turbo tournament and with 15 minute limits it took a few hours for things to come to a head. With 14 players left the average stack was just over 7,000 and I had 6,500 chips. The blinds were 300/600 with a 50 chip ante when I picked up AQ of diamonds in early position. I raised to 1,800 and one player called behind me. The flop came down QJ9 with two clubs.

I had mixed feelings about this flop. On one hand I had top pair with top kicker. On the other with a bunch of big cards bunched close together I could be against a better hand or a big draw. I bet 2,400 figuring I might get action from a hand like AJ, AK, KQ or any hand with a T or two clubs. If I was up against a hand that had me beat, there was nothing I could do.

Unfortunately my opponent who had about 6,000 chips at the start of the hand moved all in and even though I didn't really like my hand any more I was committed to the hand since I'd already put so many chips in the pot. Sadly my opponent flipped over AA and took down the pot when no help came for me.

While only the top 4 spots paid $1,050, 5th-11th paid $80 and 12th paid $58. I was down to about 500 chips (less than one big blind) and no one else was under 4,000 so I figured the chance of losing 2 more opponents before I went broke was close to zero. But, then I picked up AA and my stack jumped to 1,700. A hand or two later I moved all in with KJ and got called by 66. I made a straight and was up over 4,000. Three people went broke, I stole the blinds a few times pushing my stack to over 6,000, and I thought I might stage a miraculous comeback.

Then I went broke. I moved all in with AT and ran into AK. Oh well. At least I got back the $80 that I invested.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Sub Par Effort

I ended up finishing 710th in today's $215 limit hold'em WCOOP event. I felt like I played great and got plenty of good cards for the first two and half hours or so. I had my starting stack of 3,000 up to about 7,500 at one point and was liking my chances of making it to the money. Then my run of good cards dried up, I overplayed a few hands and I found myself with fewer chips than I started to tournament with. Eventually as the limits increased and I got very short short stacked, I was forced to make a move with KQ and wound up against AQ. No miracles materialized and my WCOOP day was over.

No one hand in particular stands out to me, but it seemed like in the third hour I got plenty of hands like AK, AQ or KQ and never managed to make a pair. One thing that's a little different about playing limit poker tournaments is good luck early doesn't do much of anything for your overall chances (of course in no limit it's better to be lucky later on as well, but it's MUCH easier to make significant headway in the early rounds). If I'd had the crappy cards and bad luck in the first hour and the run of big pocket pairs and other solid cards that I had in the first hour in the third or fourth hour, then not only would I still be playing but I'd be in great shape.

In other poker news, I had one good result today and another almost. I played a few $60, 45 player turbo tournaments today and managed to win one outright. When we were down to 7 players everyone was about even. Then I busted two people and found myself with an overwhelming chip lead. At one point playing 5 handed I had 45,000 chips while all four of my opponents combined had 22,500. It was easy to grind them down and my victory was almost never in doubt. 1st place paid $770, but that was just one of seven $60 tournaments that I played so it's really not that exciting. It was fun though.

The almost came in a $22 with rebuys tournament. We started with 423 players and when we were down to 19 I had about 70,000 chips with the average stack around 50,000. I was in the big blind with A9 and blinds of 2,000/4,000. The small blind had about 30,000 and moved all in. I figured he could have just about anything and this was a good spot to take a risk. I called and he showed me J8. I was good until the river when an 8 showed up.

On the very next hand I was in the small blind with my remaining 40,000 chips and AK suited. The same guy moved all in (which was a little excessive) with QT. I instantly called. A 10 came on the flop and I was out in 19th. If I'd been able to win the first pot I would have been in 4th chip position and the second one would have put me in 7th or 8th. Either way I'd be in great shape to make the final table where first place paid $4,500 and anything in the top 5 was worth at least $900. Instead I only profited $56 (one more spot would have paid another $50 - not huge money, but enough to be annoyed about).

A few other things about this tournament irritate me a little. First of all it's not like the hands I lost to were anything special. Probably 80% of players would have just folded BOTH of them before the flop which would have saved me. Secondly it sucks to play 300+ hands over the course of more than 4 hours and get snapped off in two hands where you're ahead back to back after all that time. I guess I've had worse things happen to me 1,000 times in my poker career so it's really not a big deal, but it's never fun.

The best news is it seems like I'm really hitting my stride. Finishing 19th out of 423 and 1 of 45 is pretty good even if I didn't have a huge day monetarily (I won a few hundred though). If feel like if I keep giving myself chances I'll make more final tables and have more big pay days.

My next WCOOP action is going to be $215 no limit hold 'em with rebuys on Thursday. Here's a brief description of how rebuy tournaments work in case some of you aren't familiar with them. As long as you have the number of chips you stared with or less, you can buy more chips for the same cost as the original tournament buy in, less the juice. So in this case we'll start with 3,000 chips. Anytime I have 3,000 chips or less I can buy another 3,000 for $200. At the end of the first hour all players regardless of their chip stack can do a special rebuy called an"add on" where they get 5,000 chips for $200.

The classic strategy in rebuy tournaments is to rebuy as soon as you sit down and buy more chips any time it's legal to do so. Furthermore it almost always makes sense to do the add-on. If that's your plan you're looking at at least $615 and usually more like $815 or $1015. I still have $1,515.60 of the $2,000 bankroll that I have earmarked for the WCOOP and I'd like to hang on to as much as I can, so I'm going to play a little more conservatively. I'm just going to do the initial buy in and the add on. I'll have slightly fewer chips than most of my opponents, but I should get in for $415. If I go broke once early I'll do one rebuy and end up in for $615, but in the unlikely event that I go broke twice early, I'm just going to surrender.

I really want to play the $1,050 NL event next Sunday because 1st place in that event is going to be $500,000+ , but unless I make the money in one of these early event's I won't be able to swing it. I'm going to play $215 HORSE and $530 pot limit hold'em on Saturday for sure and I'm hoping I can at least make the money in one of those or Thursday's event. If not I'll probably take whatever I've got left and try to get in the $1,050 via satellite.

WCOOP Event# 7 Start

WCOOP event #7 ($215 limit hold'em) started with 2,059 entrants 1st place of $80,795, 5th place of $18,407, 18th place of $2,347, 63rd place of $947 and 270th place of $411. The best thing about limit hold'em tournaments is you can't go broke on one hand early. In fact you'd really have to try to go broke during the first 2 hours. The downside is they feel like they take forever since not much happens at the beginning. I'll let you know how it all went down.

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...