Travel: nath

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Is April the cruelest month?

So my vacation from poker is about to come to an end. I'm currently in Seattle, where I've been hanging out with my cousin the last few days. (I went to visit some other people, see some shows, and clear my head a little, and when I remembered she was here, I got in touch with her.) It's been great-- she and I haven't gotten to spend much time in close proximity over the years, but we've always been close, and as we've gotten older we've stayed surprisingly similar. Being around family who are like you, where you can relax and be yourself and be loved and accepted, is exactly the sort of thing I needed to get centered before tournament time.

Speaking of tournament time: I'll be spending the next few days in Houston, seeing friends, and more importantly looking for a new place to live. I haven't had one in a while now-- which isn't as bad as it sounds; I spend more time around my friends and other people this way, but even so, it's imposing and/or expensive-- and I'm gonna try to land something with a friend that we can call home for the next year or so. That's also when I'll be making my final preparations for Las Vegas.

I decided to go straight to Bellagio and play the entire Five Star Classic (including the WPT Championship). Even though the 10k event at Foxwoods will be excellent, the back-and-forth travel would, I feel, eventually prove exhausting. And I'm personally disappointed that I'll miss Quinn and Noah and Brown Spring Weekend, but I've seen most of the acts already (M.I.A. once, Girl Talk twice, and Vampire Weekend on Wednesday), and this is the situation where I really need to keep business and pleasure separate. It's too hard to just switch the mindset back and forth-- establishing a good routine, staying focus and clear and level during the tournaments, is the priority here.

So I'm going to try to play all 12 preliminary events and the main. I say "try" because I still don't have a long-term backer; I've been raising the money in parts. I've got a couple of people onboard already, and I've posted in the 2+2 Marketplace. I have a few more people I could and should ask; I just hate asking for money in any context, even one like this where it's totally standard. I always feel like I'm begging or hitting them up for money, even though I'm really offering them a situation where I stand to make them even more. But I need to just nut up and do that; business is business, and the series is fast approaching.

Lucked into a room at Bellagio thanks to JPOSU (Jason Potter, who just finished 4th at WPT Reno today). So I have a room and I've scheduled time to rest my head and get back to thinking about poker before I get there. If I can raise the rest of the money and find a routine to establish to stay healthy (eating right, regular real exercise, and sunlight are musts), we'll really have something here.

Otherwise, T.S. will have been right once again.

Greetings from the World Series of Poker

(I had a strategy blog entry I wanted to write, but I'm putting it off because I had to talk about Vegas.)

So I got to Las Vegas two nights ago. Last year I stayed in a hotel for the duration of the series. I did not want to make the same mistake again, so I rented a house out in Henderson with about five other poker players (I say "about" because it'll be six of us for a couple more weeks, then some houses get shuffled and it drops to five.) I also hired a friend of mine to act as a personal assistant for me and my house, keeping my financial affairs in order and cooking and cleaning and doing anything else that needs doing. We're quite the motley crew but it's working out great.

I played two smaller events yesterday-- the afternoon 1k at the Bellagio and (after I busted with little fanfare in the second level) the 1k 2nd chance at the WSOP. The tournament is relatively shallow and structured quickly, but I feel like EI adjust to those structures well, and with only 76 runners, I had a reasonable chance to pick up $26k or so to put me in to the black. Unfortunately, I busted on an extremely standard hand when I moved in UTG for 5k at 200/400/50 with JJ. The big blind immediately called and I knew I was in trouble; he tabled QQ and it held.


I was only playing these smaller tournaments because I didn't want to enter the WSOP event that day, because I was saving myself for one of my must-play events: Today's $1500 6-max NLHE. As you probably know by now if you're read this, last year I turned $52 into two "Bracelet race" wins on Full Tilt, picking up $3000 in WSOP tournament chips. I used $2500 to buy into a 6-max NLHE event last year-- my first ever-- and finished in second for ~$238,000. For that, and a number of other reasons that have to do with my playing style (and with it being easier to read five people than eight or nine), shorthanded play has always been my bread and butter. So it was time to try to catch lightning in a bottle again.

I got off to a pretty good start. I was flopping big-- calling with 52s from the BB after a button raise and SB call and flopping A22. In hindsight I wish I'd led, because I think I get a lot of money in vs. a good ace anyway, but at the time I decided to check-raise. The button bet 225 and the SB made it 500; now I'm in a spot where I think I can't help but give away my hand. I made it 1200; the button quickly folds and the small blind chatters for a few seconds before folding. I wonder if I can just call there and get more later (they're live players; they're not immediately putting me on a deuce). Whatever; I won a pot that added about 30% to my stack, so I'm happy.

Other big pot I played was where I let a guy who was playing pretty LAG-- and probably bluffing too much-- bluff off 2k or so into me. I raised JTcc to 150 at 25/50 from the CO and he called from the SB. The flop was TT8 and I bet 175 (because he's calling or making a move a ton on me), and he called. Turn was a K and I bet 375 and he check-raised to 850. I thought and called because he's on air a ton and even if he has a made hand, he's rarely calling a jam with a worse one (kicker plays). He bet 1200 on the river and I called (I doubt there is much value in raising here); he mucked when I showed the ten.

I'm really annoyed at my bustout hand because I read the guy for having strength and moved in anyway (with bottom pair and a straight draw-- 64 on a Q754 board), because I basically decided "the pot's big and there's a chance I'm wrong and he folds." Wait, what? I'm putting in a lot of money into a big pot HOPING MY READ IS WRONG? I hope that sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me. I won't do that again.

Tomorrow I'm playing the 1k deep stack at the Venetian-- assuming I get there on time to beat the enormous waiting list that was there yesterday. Should be good.

(Oh, and the guy had 86. Obviously. And bet the Q54 flop. Because he's a bad LAG. figures.)

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