Sunday, September 19, 2010

WCOOP Update

I played two more WCOOP events last week. The first, Sunday's $215 No Limit Hold'em event, just wasn't in the cards for me. I did well for a few hours but then got it all in with K10 on a K 10 3 board. He showed pocket 3s and I didn't catch any miracles. No regrets, the pot was too big to fold with our stack sizes. That's just one of those situations where I'm always going to want to get it in with a hand that strong, and if I'm beat there's nothing I can do about it.

The second event was different story. On Monday I played the 4-Max No Limit Hold'em tournament. I've played shorthanded before, but 4-max is nuts. It was a really intense challenge for me and it was a lot of fun, but I busted from that one due to my own mistakes. The format required me to play a lot of hands and the result was that I had more chances to make mistakes. I had all the 'run good' I needed, coming back from the brink of elimination several times, but I didn't do a good job of holding on to chips. I wound up busting close to the money with kings.

I really want to take down a big score in this series. I've played four so far and made the money in one, but nothing like what I'm looking for. I think I have what it takes against these fields, I just need a few things to go right and to play a solid game. I won a seat for tomorrow's $215 NL Hold'em event. Let's see if I can make it this one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 WCOOP Recap

I just played my 2nd WCOOP event today. Great tournaments, the structures offer a lot room for play. So far I've made the money in my first event but busted from today's. I ran bad but am still happy with the way things went. I'll be back, with these fields I'm sure I can cash again.

In the first even I started off strong but had a rough 2nd and 3rd hour. Thanks to the structure I was able to hang on until my luck changed and work back up to a big stack. When we got to the bubble I was sure I would coast into the money but one hand changed all of that. I got it all-in with jacks vs kings. It was a bad play on my part, the signs were there but I though he was bluffing. I was still alive but my stack was crippled. With the money close I decided to hang on and see if I could make it. I did, barely, and then went on a hot streak to build back up to an average stack. I lasted for several more hours but was never able to build back up the momentum I needed. I finally went out in 285th.

In today's event things went pretty rough for me. I built a good stack early but wasn't able to hold onto it. Three main hands took me out of the event. I had two pair lose twice. The first lost when bottom pair caught runner runner quads, and the second lost when my opponent caught a higher two pair on the turn. The final hand to take me out was pocket sixes. I called a raise from the button and hit my set. My opponent led out and I raised. He called and I shoved the last of my chips when an 8 hit the turn. He called again to show me pocket eights.

All three hands dropped to three outs or less, and each time I was up against the same opponent. It can feel personal when it happens like that, but it's not. No matter who you're up against it's the same deal. You do your best to get your money in good and hope someone calls with a worse hand. Those are the situations you look for. After that it's out of your control. But you have to keep a cool head whatever happens. I tilted this time, tilted bad. And that's OK, after all, I busted and no more damage could be done. But under different circumstances I'd need to find a way to control that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Love Fish

Not the kind you find at the poker table (OK, those too), but the swimming variety.  Keeping a saltwater aquarium has been a hobby of my wife and mine for the past year now. This month has been a fun one for us because of our new tank. We set up a 135 gallon tank and got it cycled to stock fish these last few weeks.
Getting set up
The first inhabitants
After a lot of planning we decided on a lunar wrasse, niger trigger, and volitan lionfish to get us started. They are aggressive fish but they do a good job of holding their own together. They've proven to be an interesting group. The lion makes for an awesome centerpiece and the wrasse and trigger have great personalities. The wrasse patrols the tank constantly while the trigger keeps himself busy rearranging sand and rocks. I only wish he would stop knocking over the stacks I build. It's not a simple matter to reach in and stack them back up when you have fish with poisonous spines on it's back.
Probably the last time our wrasse sat still
The Trigger claiming his territory
Our lion stalking the damsels
On the poker front August has been a disappointing month. In the past I've ran good, I've ran bad, and I guess now I've ran in place. Every step I've had in the right direction has been matched by another bringing me back where I started. Consistency is my problem, and for now I'm toning things down a bit until I get my discipline under control.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WSOP Rincon

Poker has been on my brain non stop since the WSOP arrived in San Diego. With all of the action going on just an hour down the road it's hard not to think about it. 

I started off the series on Thursday with a great cash game session. I sat down at a 2/3 table loaded with big stacks and by the end of the night I was the biggest leaving with almost 6 times my buy in. I ran well, played aggressive, and got paid off. There's not much more you can ask for than that.
A few key hands
  1. I ran a semi-bluff on a player with an overcard and a flush draw. I put him on an overpair but believed he was good enough to fold when I shoved on a paired board. He almost did but instead gave me my first double me up when I hit one of my outs.
  2. I turned a straight in a multi-way pot. A player bet into the field, several players called, and I reraised the pot. The first player called all in with a weaker straight and I raked in a massive pot.
  3. A field of limpers called a straddle and then, to my amazement, also called a short stacks tilted shove. Reading them as weak I reraised with AQ suited to isolate and race for the dead money. I got an all in from a player I put on a hand like jacks and the rest folded. I'm not sure if the queen on the flop was good enough to beat him but the flush on the river sure was.
The next day I played in a $350 buy-in event. I began the tournament well building a big stack early but caught a rough beat. I called a raise in position holding a pocket pair and flopped a set. I was able to get 2 players all in for a massive pot that could have made the tournament for me, but it wasn't meant to be. The turn and river put a 4 card straight on the board leaving the pot to be split between my opponents. I was able to build my stack up after that but didn't hold on to it. I finished the day with a small losing session on the cash tables.

On Monday I came back for another run at a tournament but had similar experience. I chipped up again but didn't hold on to them and was sent to the rail again. I think I actually went out too early making a move with AQ when I didn't need to. I raised and got a chain of callers followed by an all in from one of the blinds. I reraised to isolate only to find a big pair hiding in the pack. I missed my ace and that was it. I decided to hop back on the cash games and see if I couldn't stir up some action like I had the other night.  I didn't quite sextuple up but I was able to make back most of my tournament buy-in.

All of the action has left me twitching at my desk. I'm sure I'll be back in time to play some more before the event is over.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Can't win them all

I went back out to the LA Poker Classic for today's tournament today to see if I couldn't play out the rush.  Things didn't go so great though.

About an hour and a half into the tournament I had added a few hundred chips to my starting stack.  Then within 2 quick hands the short stack to my right had all of my chips and I was on my way out the door.  On the first hand I raised over limpers and he came in with suited garbage. He was short so I put him in on the flop and he called having hit a pair of 4s. My ace high failed to improve and close to half my chips went his way. The very next hand he limped again and I popped it up even bigger with AK suited. A third player shoved and he went all in over top.  Although he was too busy to sit at the table for most of the time in the tourney, either on the phone or walking around talking to friends, while he was there he had been loose and wild so I took it as an easy call. He flipped over pocket 2s and celebrated being the only pair. The flop brought a paired board with my flush draw giving me even more outs to my overs but he boated up on the turn and I was done.

It sucks going out that way, but I think it was really my fault. Late registration was still open and players were still coming in the door.  It was way too early to put everything on the line for a coin flip, even against a wild player.  It just wasn't necessary at all. I had odds with the size of the pot, but this wasn't a cash game. There isn't much equity gained busting people so early in a tournament. Oh well, you can't win them all, and it has still been a pretty nice week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

LA Poker Classic Event 34 Final Table Recap

Earlier this week I took down 3rd place in an event at the LA Poker Classic. If you haven't checked it out you can start with the Day 1 Recap.

It didn't take long for the action to pick up at the final table. Within the first few rounds the player to my right opened with a raise, I looked down at AK suited and pushed all in. He called with kings and I was in danger of getting knocked out for the first time of the tournament. But the first of several flips of went my way and I doubled up.  My kings would later get cracked by a set of nines,  my AK took out eights, AJ lost to AK, and my A7 upset AK.

As we got down to 5 and then 4 players I had several chances to build a monster stack slip away. There were a few hands that I just misplayed to keep knocking myself down after chipping up. By the time we were 3 way again I had built a stack again but failed to adjust to the fast paced action.  I lost a few key pots before shoving 2nd pair heads up and getting called by top pair. That was it and I went out in 3rd.

It's hard to describe the feeling after getting knocked out. I was a little disappointed that I didn't adjust as we got shorthanded, but I was also happy about how far I'd gotten. I had a great tournament and a lot of things went my way to get me there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LA Poker Classic Score Day 1 Recap

On a whim I decided to drive up to LA and play in event 34 of the LA Poker Classic. I had been following the results online wishing I had the chance to play when I finally decided to just go for it.  I checked the schedule to see if there was an event I was rolled for and then drove up to LA within an hour of making the decision.  It worked out for the best as I took down a nice prize.

The first day went about as well as it could have. I built a big stack early and never looked back. I played well and ran better, using my stack to put pressure on my opponents without ever having to put my tournament life on the line.

A few key hands:
Early on in the first round I had built to about 4500 chips. I called behind a chain of limpers with pocket 3's in late position. One of the blinds popped it up with a "go away" raise, which of course means "don't go away" to me so I called and we were heads up. I could see his distress when I called and I was even happier to be there. The flop came QQ4 and I knew he didn't like it. He bet out and I raised to take down a nice pot, giving me twice the average chips.

There was a player to my right, the type who talks too much, who began to drill the guy about his hand.
"I put you on pocket 6s, was I right? I think you had a medium pair…"
"Wow, did you say 66? You were right. Good read. How did you know that?"
It was probably the dumbest exchange I've ever heard but I picked up good info. Seat 7, although he seemed like an innocent straight forward player, was capable of lying to you with a smile on his face. That was useful when I picked off a river bluff in another hand.

Later on I had another big hand go my way. I called a raise on the button with 10 8 suited and flopped the nut straight. It was checked to me and I bet. The big blind check raised all in and the preflop raiser went into the tank before folding, later claiming to have QQ. “That was going to be my move,” he said. Lucky for him. I called of course to see the raiser had the nut flush draw. More than half of my chips were out there so I had to duck a diamond if I was going to be able to keep a big stack. I didn’t have to sweat for very long though, the 9 of diamonds came on the turn giving me a straight flush and my hand was invincible.

As we got down to the final few tables a really big hand worked out for me. The player to my left raised under the gun and was called by the cutoff and the small blind. I looked down at 64 suited and couldn’t resist the odds. When the flop came 964 with 2 hearts and I donkey lead into the pot hoping for action. I was hoping I’d be read for a draw and get raised. The preflop raiser twisted in agony before flatting. Almost.... There was still one more to act so I still had a chance. The cutoff raised all in and I had a second chance. The dealer stopped me though, before I could come over the top. The cutoff was too short and his shove wasn’t full raise. Damnit, if I had only bet a little less. An ace hit the turn and I put my chips in. The original raiser folded his queens, claiming to have put me on a big ace. No sir, bad read, but good fold either way. My 2 pair held up against the cutoff’s 10s and I raked a monster pot. With over 100,000 chips at that point I had a safe ride to the final table. Looking around I only saw a few players with a comparable stacks, one being Theo Tran.  It was an awesome feeling being in competition with a player on that level.

I don't want to risk losing anybody to Internet Attention Deficit Disorder so I'll continue with the final table in a later post.