Archive Jun 2007: Poker Talk

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I have two pair. Can you beat it?

I apologize for running a bit behind on my tournament blogging, but I did write up a long post two nights ago only to have it vanish in the internet time-space continuum. My internet connection for Vegas was horrible and I needed to use my Treo 700wx as a modem. However, I haven’t figured out a way to get it to block calls, so whenever a call comes in, the connection is dropped. Oh… well. It only took me about an hour to write the post!

I’ll try again to get up to date, but rather than blogging about specific tournaments and results I thought I would give you a flavor of some of the players and type of plays I have seen at the WSOP.

I HAVE TWO PAIR, CAN YOU BEAT IT?

This happened on the 3rd hand of the 1500 NL event on Saturday. A MP player raises to 175 at the 25/50 level. The BB calls. The flop comes Q78. The MP player bets 500 and is called. The turn is an A and the MP player bets 1200. I sense that he is spooked by the A and is reluctant to bet, but does anyway. The BB calls. The river pairs the Q and both players check. The MP player asks the BB ‘what do you have?’ The BB responds ‘two pair, can you beat it?’ and the MP player mucks his cards only to see the BB turn over a pair of eights. ‘What,’ he says. You said you have two pair.’ ‘I did,’ responded the BB. It took a minute but the MP player finally understood. He claims he mucked KK and I believed him. This was for 2/3rds of his stack!


Kid Silence, Legend of the Mute

I played at a table for 4 hours with a young guy, about 20 or so. The guy kept both of his feet resting on his chair so he basically was leaning against his knees. This wasn’t the odd part. What was strange was that this guy never said a word. It’s not that he was quiet, rather he would not talk. Now I really don’t think there was anything wrong with him, because if there was I’m sure he would have explained to us using writing or some other means that he couldn’t speak. No… this was part of his shtick. I’m not sure what he was trying to gain by this, other than to piss everyone at the table off. Not only wouldn’t he talk, but he took 30 seconds to a minute to make most decisions and for the tough decisions he would manically shuffle his chips in silence. Someone finally called the clock on him (I was ready to do it myself) and he did speed up a bit, but still no words came out of his mouth. Pretty strange.

Drinking and Poker do not Mix

I was playing at a table with two loud gregarious sorts. They were both doing well and having a grand old time. After one big pot won by one of the guys, he asked his new buddy if he would join him for a shot of scotch and the other guy said yes. They asked the floorman to get them the drink and the guy was pretty offended and let him know that he was not a waiter. The guy then took out his wallet and asked if he would get them a drink for $100. The floorman smiled and said ‘absolutely.’ After several shots, one was down to the felt. They were raising blind, making crazy calls and plays, etc. The other guy actually did pretty well though, but I have to conclude that in most circumstance drinking and poker do not mix!


Do not call and turn over your cards until everyone has acted

I will save this story for my full tournament report, but will related here how I went all-in after a MP player had raised during a WSOP tournament only to have the initial raiser (Mr. shot of scotch #2) declare ‘I call’ and turn up his hand. However the BB had not yet acted and he had the MP player and me covered. There was lots of commotion (we happened to be pretty far into the tournament and about 3 minutes were left until the night was over and we would return for the next day – it was almost 3am!). The ruling was that the BB -- Mr shot of scotch #2 -- could call and the AK guy must call and could not raise. Of course the flop did not contain an A or K, the BB pushed and the MP player was forced to fold. More about this hand and my fate in the hand in a subsequent blog.


Marcel, you are a brake!

$1500 NL tournament. A woman at my table is playing extremely fast and loose. Within 30 minutes Mrs. Fast and Loose has tripled up. One of her victims happened to be Mlagoo from 2plus2 who won the pokerstars million the next day and took home $315k! He reraised her PF bet all-in with KQ and she called with 55. She was making lots of somewhat loose calls for significant chips. She was also raising PF from any position with virtually any hand.

Anyway, after about 30 mins Marcel Luske sits down at the table and comments on her chips and how she got them.

click to enlarge the image

A few people told Marcel that he would soon see. Well he didn’t see for some time because she completely slowed down. She must have been scared of him or more likely in awe of him. Once it became apparent to me that she had changed her style I said to Marcel ‘Did you know that you are a brake?’ I explained to him what I meant and everyone laughed. I didn’t mean to criticize her play, although I didn’t think much of it. Actually, I wanted her to speed back up again so I could pick her off. I was seated two to her left and wanted her to play fast and loose again which she did.

Marcel, you are a brake! -- Part II, the slowroll

An hour or so went by and Mrs. Fast and Loose and I have a few tangles and I come out on top each time. On the last hand I actually had the goods and pushed over the top of her flop bet. She folded and I won quite a nice pot. I’ll go into it during a future trip report, but I will report here that Mrs. Fast and Loose took me out on the very next hand. There was one limper at the 150/300 level and she raised to 1000. I looked down at QQ and re-raised to 2500. She pushed and I tanked for a bit, but decided against this player I had to call. She had made moves like this before with a wide range of hands. Plus I knew that she felt that I was capable of making a play at her so her range was even wider than normal. Anyway, when I called and turned over my cards she feigned disgust. After pausing for a few seconds she smiled and turned over AA. I didn’t improve and was out. I ignored the slowroll, shook her hand and left.

Marcel, you are a brake! -- Part III, the come on

The next night I saw Mrs. Fast and Loose again. I walked up to her during a break in another event and asked her how far she made it the day before. She didn’t last too much longer (big surprise!), but complemented me on my play. I mentioned to her that she didn’t think much of me the day before and that she slowrolled me, but she claimed not to remember. She asked what I did and where I was from and when I told her she got all excited and put her hands around my back and arm and suggested that we get together. I quickly moved away, smiled and told her some other time.

The next night I was walking down the hall with a friend after dinner and we crossed paths again. She told me how great I looked and asked for my number. I just kept on walking.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I’ll try to do some more tournament write-ups.

Good night!

Hey, WSOP Bracelet Winner. Get out of my seat!

Event #37 - $2000 Pot Limit Hold'em

I get to my seat, which is #6 and find Jeff Lisandro seated there. He apologized and moved to seat 5. Jeff won the bracelet the night before in the 7 card stud event and lots of guys came by to congratulate him. He's a great guy and a fun person to talk too. In fact, he was probably a bit too much fun to talk with because we really hit it off and I probably wasn't focused as much on my poker as I should have been. Jeff told me stories about his years managing poker rooms in Russia, grinding it out in rooms all over the world playing different games and some crazy stories about some poker screenplays he had written and how his stories have been stolen from him and made into films (some very well know films!). At first I was a bit skeptical but after a few minutes of hearing the details I had no doubt what he said was absolutely true. If you run into Jeff and have a few minutes of his time, ask him about this. Interesting stuff.

The bracelet could not have gone to a nicer and more deserving guy. Unfortunatley for Jeff, his luck did not go well at this table. Twice his TPTK was beaten by a better hand. The first time he had AJ on a J high board, but had to fold when it was clear on the turn that his opponent had the flush. That hand hurt him and he was pretty much pot-committed when his AQ hit on a Q high board, but his opponent had KK. I wish we could have played together more, but I'm sure we'll cross paths in the future.

What about me? Well, not a lot to report. Early on I raised with AK, hit a A4x high flop. Raised an early position raiser (I had raised PF and was called by the bb). He reraised me all-in and I called. He showed A4, but the board paired on the river and I doubled up. Nothing much happened for me after that. No good cards, most of my moves backfired, etc. Out in about 3 hours. Oh, well… that’s poker!

That night I played two $525 Satellites and had a lot more luck. In the first one everything worked to perfection. I hit some good hands at the right times, but mostly I accumulated chips by picking on the weaker players at the tables. Even at the $525 level there are usually 4-6 players who cannot possibly win. They are either much too weak-tight or too loose-aggressive. They do not know how to adjust to the structure and even if some of these weaker players get lucky early on, their tight style and inability to value their hands when the blinds go up allow the more aggressive players to run over them towards the end.

In the first satellite when we got down to 3 players I had $9k and the other two players had $7k and $4k respectively. We agreed to a $2k/$2k/$1k chop. It might seem a bit weak to chip when I had a nice chip lead, but I find that once the blinds get to the 400/800 level it turns into coinflip after coinflip situations. If the other players are understand this and are not tight players (no need to chop with someone who will fold anything but a premium hand), it's just better to level out the variance and chop. Nothing wrong with a $1500 profit

On the second satellite, I got off to a great start and doubled up pretty quickly, but a guy called my $175 raise (I had AA) at the $25/25 level with 65o from MP and hit a 65x flop. I doubled him up and was back to even – I was a bit worried on the turn that I was beaten, but at that point I had the nut flush draw and felt there was a reasonable chance I was ahead. Nothing much happened after that and I managed to survive a few coinflips and suckout situations (I was on both ends of the suckouts) and was at about 4k in chips with 3 left. The big stack offered me $1k and I happily took it.

Not a great day, but not a bad day either. I broke even, played some good poker, had fun meeting Jeff. Nothing wrong at all.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I'm playing in the $1500 NL event. EdmondDantes is coming into town and will be staying with me. We'll be having breakfast with Shane Schleger (Shaniac) and will try to hook up with Andathar and Nath for dinner.

Good night!

NL 1500 - Event # 35

My first wsop event of 2007. Pretty excited and ready to open up my game. I get lucky and am at a table full of tight-passive players. Over the first few levels I pretty much have my way with the table. I'm not trying to look crazy and reckless, but there are tons of places to resteal against weak players to my right and I quickly build my stack from 3k to 8k by the second level. There were no major premium hands that held, just lots of hands like this:

I'm in the SB, a late position raiser makes a standard raise, the button calls, I can see that the late position raiser is not happy so I pop it and they both lay down their hands. On another hand UTG raises to 225 at 25/50 blinds, UTG+1 calls, it's folded to me in the BB and I push with 2600. The stack sizes were awkward to raise and I didn't want to call. They both folded and showed JJ (UTG), AK (UTG+1).

One hand I'm on the button and a MP raiser makes it 300. There is one more caller and I call with A9o. The BB comes in too. The flop comes 5TJ all hearts and I have the Ah. It's checked to the guy to my right who makes it 800. He has about 2.5k left and I have 6k. I push and he folds and turns over JT.

I was in the 6 seat and there was a very good young player in the 1 seat. He was also giving the table fits, but since we were on opposite sides of the table we rarely were in pots together. I tried to avoid him and I think he tried to avoid me. It was enjoyable to watch him give the guys to the right and left of him fits. He would constantly put them to the test with raises and reraises. The few times they fought back he seemed to have a hand. Here's a picture of my table. You can see the guy in seat 1 -- do you recognize him? Yes, those are my chips in front of the empty seat. Hey, guy. Stop counting!


click to enlarge the image

Towards the end of the 200-400 level a short-stack woman who was very passive limped for 400 and it's folded to me on the bottom and I made it 1200 with 75o. I was surprised when she pushed. It was only 1350 to me to call so I did and sheepishly turned over my hand. She had only KTs. A beautiful 7 came and I won. The table was now on to me but luckily it broke soon thereafter with me at 13k in chips.

The table I was moved to had several stacks at my level or higher. Dutch Boyd was across from me (I was seat 1, he was seat 6) and had about 22k and the guy in the 10 seat had about 25k. On one of my first hands the seat 10 player who is on the buttom raises to 1000 (still 200-400) and I feel he must have gotten his chips through aggression... and I don't want the table to think they can mess with my blind so I pump it to 2500. I probably priced him in and should have raised it more. He called and we see the flop. It came AQx and I check, but do it fairly quickly and confidently. He checked too and I really don't think he liked the A. I made it 2.5k on the turn when a 7 hit. I had 75 so now I at least had a pair and some outs if he did have something and called. He folded telling me he had 99.

A few hands later the same guy limped for 300 from MP and I raised to 1300 with A9. He agonized over it and called. The flop came TT2 and he checked. I bet 2k and he called. I decided to give up right there and he checked it down too showing 66! I blew that one, but oh, well.

A guy with a huge stack -- about 35k in chips came to the table. He took a good pot off of Dutch -- I'm pretty sure he just froze Dutch via his position and took it away when Dutch checked the river and he bet. Maybe he had a hand, but I don't think either of them did.

On one of my last hands at this table Mr. Big stack makes it 1200 and I'm on the button with A5o and call. The flop comes A rag and I check. He checks too. I was thinking of going for a check raise or just check fold, but I liked the free card and was happy to do it again on the turn. On the turn I was definitely going to check-call and see what happened on the river, but he did check. On the river I lead out for 2k thinking he could never put me on an A. He called and paid me off.

I also won a few hands with mid position raises with half decent hands like 88 and AT. Twice they were called and I CB and took the pot on the flop. The table broke with my stack at 19-20k.

The dinner break was fast approaching and not a lot was happening at my new table. There were no recognizable faces there and my stack was definitely one of the top 3. Both the guys to my left and right had bigger stacks, but neither seemed too strong or out of line.
Dinner was scheduled for 7:30, but there was to be a 15 minute break at 6:50 at the end of the 200/400 level. On the last hand before the break UTG makes it 1200, a LP player calls and I make it 5k from the button with AA. Adanthar feels that I should have raised about 4-4.5k to make it a bit more attractive for them to call. He also felt that would have been the perfect amount IF they both called since the pot would be about 16k and I could push any flop and that would be about a pot sized bet. Unfortunately, I didn't have the benefit of his advice until after the hand! Nevertheless, I made it 5k, thinking that it would look like a blind steal and perhaps I would get called by a hand like 88-JJ or even AJ or AQ. The UTG did have AQs, not sure about the other guy. So I come back from this short break with 24k.

A few hands go by and we’re approaching the dinner break. I get AA again in MP and raise to 2000 (300-600 blinds with 75 ante). A woman with a 16k stack pushes and I call. She turns over TT and rivers a T! I’m down to 10k. Oh, well. Still not out of it.
I eat dinner with LakeofFire and discuss strategy. We decide that I still have time with a 11.5k stack and about 40 mins left in the 300/600 level. I don’t want do anything stupid but will look for good spots to push in LP or to resteal if the situation is right. I can’t wait too long though before my stack doesn’t look scary to anyone. The one difficulty I do have is that there are a bunch of shorter stacks throughout the table so I can’t just push or resteal with any two if they are left to act.

On one of the first hands I see when back from dinner I completely screw up my plan. I get A5 in the MP+1 and think about pushing but change my plans and limp. The blinds complete and we see a 993 flop. They check to me and I decide to try and take it with a 1500 bet. The BB pushes and I just gave away 2.1k and am now around 9k in chips… great.

When it gets to my button a LP guy raises to 2k. His stack is around 15k and he’s been very active. Perfect position to push with any two… right? I look down at K3 and decide to wait for a better opportunity. I think this was my second mistake. So now my third mistake. On the next hand I’m on the button and it’s folded to me. The guy to my left has 15k and the guy in the BB has 35k. I feel that the SB needs a hand and even with the big stack, the BB isn’t going to throw away 9k without a hand. I don’t want to wimp out so I don’t look at my hand. I push and the BB calls with A8. I turn over 85o and after a quick turn of the cards I’m sent to the rail. Made it down to about 400 out of 2600 (top 280 pay). Oh, well. I played well and felt good about my game. I just need to learn how to make my AA hold up better.

Since we’re talking about significant river beats, there was one hand earlier where I’m in the BB and the SB with about 5k pushes. I look down at AQ and call. He turns over A9 and starts to walk away as the cards don’t help him… but we had to call him back for his 10k in chips when the 9 fell on the river. Another hand I called a push from a small stack with 4k who had K9. I had 77. The flop was AAJ with two spades. The turn was a 3 so she’s looking for a K, a 9 or a spade. No, none of those come and she leaves, only to be called back when we realize that the river card, which was a J gave her the pot. It wasn’t obvious at first. Okay, I’ll admit, I also won a few suckout hands!

My next event is tomorrow’s pot limit hold’em event.

* It was about 10pm when I was knocked out and decided to play a few one table sats. The line was really long for some reason, but they had some seats for a $125. I normally play $525 and $325, but when I looked at the players being seated it just looked like pretty soft competition AND there was a 20-something amazingly beautiful girl in a nudepokerdorm.com tee shirt in the 10 seat and they were offering me the 8 seat so I took it. She works for a company that has a website ( you can see it here ) and they also do parties where the girls come and player poker with you and your friends. They take off one article of clothing every time they lose a hand. Sounds like fun.

The play was very passive. I think it was absolutely impossible for about 6 of these players to win. We chopped at 3 left so I decided to play a second. This time I had a huge chip lead with 2 left. The guy asked for $200, and I was happy to give it to him and take $1k for myself.

Venetian Deep Stack Tournament

My first WSOP event isn’t until tomorrow (thurs) so I decided to play in the Venetian Deep Stack $330 NL event today. I started off strong and was quickly the chip leader at my table and probably the tournament. I went from 6k in chips to 18k within the first few levels. I doubled up pretty quickly with this hand:

I get 77 UTG and limp with blinds at 25/50. Four people see the flop of 7QQ – bingo. I’m second to act and make it 200 hoping that nobody will believe it and really hoping that someone has a Q. I’m rewarded by the button (who just doubled up himself when his nut straight beat the second nut straight) who min-bets me to 500. It’s folded to me and I decide to mini-bet him back hoping he’ll think I’m still making a play – nobody plays back if they have it. So I make it 1k. He now pumps it to 2.5. Seems like a limit game…huh. Well, it’s very weird. I’m sure I have him. I decide that I should just push at this point since he seems to be telling me that he wants to put it all in. I do wait about 20-40 seconds and then push. He calls and shows QJ. A little weird, but what the heck. One other interesting hand of note:

I limp again UTG with 99. Hey, I do raise with small/medium pocket pairs in early position too. Just not these two times. It’s folded to the BB who makes it 400 (50/100 blinds). I assume I’m good and make it 1500 to take it right there. He goes all-in for 2500 more to me. I’m getting a bit better than 2-1. I have 9500 if I fold and still 7000 if I call. I’m assuming that he has AK or a strong pocket pair, most likely one that has me crushed. After much deliberation I make the call, not sure if it was exactly correct, but I figure it was close. He shows AK, I win the race.

I ended up going card dead for 2 hours never getting a playable hand. That said, I definitely had opportunities to resteal and didn’t which was a huge mistake. The blinds/antes killed me and I ended up getting all of my money in with KJs against 88 and lost. I haven’t been playing much lately and definitely need to get a lot more aggressive if I’m going to go far in these things. I did get to about 100 left, but should have done much, much better.

I spoke to Adanthar and LakeofFire after the tournament (lakeoffire played with me and busted at just about the same time) and realize that I need to really adjust my game).

More later.

Welcome to the WSOP

I get into town this evening after a 6 hour drive. Fairly uneventful, but I did get a later start then I wanted and hit quite a bit of traffic while heading out of Los Angeles. After checking into my hotel I head over the. It’s now 9:30ish. It was pretty empty at this time and I quickly got my player card and looked around the Amazon room. It was a little different from previous years. The final table is still in the back but now off to the right. The sat area is now in the font near the registration booths. They were seating for the $325 so I took a seat. Unlike last year, you pay at the registration desk before taking a seat. It went very smoothly – at least it did at this time of night.

The $325 gets you 1500 chips with 15 min levels. I’m in mid position on the first hand and it’s folded to me. I look down at two red Aces. Welcome to the WSOP! I raise to 100 (25/25 level) and only the SB calls. The flop comes 458r and he checks so I make it 200. SB calls. The turn is a 9 – yuck. It’s checked to me again so I bet 400 this time and take it down. That could have been unpleasant.

I take down two more hands in this level and get my stack up to 2500 or so when the following hand comes up at the 25/50 level. Two limpers to me, I make it 150 from LP with AKo. The button calls as do the limpers. The flop comes AJ6r. Checked to me and I make it 400. The button calls. I don’t like this much and something about his quick call tells me he has AJ or a set. The turn was a blank. I have talked to him a bit and he’s a young online pro from Canada and has already won a bunch of seats to the main event online. However he’s having a bad series so far being 0-7 in events with no cashes. He hasn’t been playing many hands yet, and I have pegged him as very solid. Now I have two options, but both suck based on my read. If I bet I pretty much have to call any raise. He only has 1000 or so left – I have about 2000. I figure all of his money will go in either way, so if I check perhaps I can induce him to bet if he doesn’t have what I think he has. Sure I can check/fold but that doesn’t seem to be an option given that this is a single table sat and I will still have 1k in chips. I decide to check, he pushes, I call and he turns over AJ. I don’t improve.

I see a flop with 66 and fold and now an orbit or two later I get AQ in mid position. One limper to me. I decide to limp hoping for a check raise. Sure enough the SB bets 300, I push my 800, he calls with A8 and I’m back in it when my hand holds up.

Fast forward to the 300-600 level. At this point there were 5 people left and we all had about the same # of chips. I proposed that we chop evenly and each walk away with $300. I’m usually not a big fan of chopping, especially at this point, but the blinds were so high and we didn’t have many hands left until it went to 400/800. Everyone wanted to do it but one guy so we kept on playing.

There are now 4 left with the blinds at 400/800. In a blind vs. blind matchup I make a steal that goes bad so I’m now down to 2100 when I leave the blinds. I’m looking to take a stand before the blinds hit me again, because once I’m in the BB again I’ll pretty much be forced to call with any two cards, especially if it’s against only one player. The UTG player goes all in and I look down at KJs on the button. The guy was pretty straightforward, but had gone all-in with 77 and A8 several hands before. I put his range on any pair, any A and big cards. I felt it was likely that I was 50/50 and with the 1200 in the pot for blinds I’m getting about 3/2 on my money. I didn’t feel I could wait given that I’ll need to put all my money in over the next few hands and this could likely be as good as it gets. I call and the guy behind me calls too. I’m crushed when the first guy turns over QQ and the 2nd guy shows AK. Oh, well. I don’t really regret the call, but perhaps I could have waited and pushed any two cards on the next hand to survive and buy some time. That probably would have been a better play given that I would have been the one putting the other 3 guys to the test. Any thoughts on this?

I’ll be playing the deep stack tournament tomorrow at the Venetian. Stay tuned.
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