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A Good Week for Watts

Thursday: Golf at Paiote Golf Club 30 mins down the I-95. Very nice course and I shot my best round of the summer.

Friday: Main Event Day 1A. Went pretty meh but whatever.

Saturday: Jay-Z concert at the Palms. It was just awesome. Afterwards we went to XS at Encore which is just a ridiculous nightclub and had a great time. Only bad thing about the day was I got way too drunk.

Sunday: Write-off due to Saturday night. Saved $5-10K I would have lost playing online tourneys.

Monday: Golfed Wolf Creek in Mesquite. 90 minute drive north on I-15. Golfing in the desert is really an amazing thing. Once you leave Vegas there is just nothing but desert with mountains in the background. It actually is a pretty amazing view even though it's all completely desolate. Occasionally there is an exit with a name like "Sun Valley" or "Heat Canyon" which is basically just a gas station and convenience, as running out of gas in the middle of the desert in 110 degree heat is simply not a good idea. In the case of Paiote on Thursday as you approach the course there is a sign signaling the beginning of the Indian reservation it's on and then you can see some green in the distance. It's kind of like an oasis except instead of being overjoyed at the site of water you're cursing the man-made pond you're going to dump a couple balls in on the 12th. As you approach you see that green obviously has to be a fairway, and in fact there is not one, not two, but three gorgeous golf courses laid out there in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

Wolf Creek was a bit different as it's actually located in a "proper" town, Mesquite, NV. Here is a conversation we had with the bartender after our round that should give you an idea of what a legitimate town in the middle of the desert is like:

Us: Is there anywhere decent to get a bite to eat around here?
Her: Well, are you staying in town? Where are you staying?
Us: No, we're staying back in Vegas.
Her: Go back. Really. Just go back.

Once you arrive in Mesquite you drive up this huge hill to get to the golf course which is a sign of what's in store for you. Wolf Creek is widely considered one of the top 50 public courses in the US. It is also one of the top 3 hardest or something like that. Teeing off at 12:30 in 110 degree heat doesn't make your life easier, nor does the wind. Fortunately, growing up in Newfoundland I have some experience playing in 2-3 club wind, but even that and the fact that the wind was at our back for more holes than not didn't save me from shooting a rather ugly number. That being said, the course really was amazing. Elevated tee boxes on most holes make for some spectacular views (and occasionally spectacular drives!). As much as I was exhausted by the heat and getting my ass kicked by the course I still really enjoyed the round. Anyways this is not Watts' Golf Blog so moving along....

Tuesday: Busto main event. Oh well. Went to a sweet Italian restaurant. It was all mafia-style with like the little slot in the door that opens up when you knock on it and they ask how many, then you hear a buzz and another door opens into the dining room. It's called Capo's on Tropicana/Jones. Great food and cool atmosphere, there are little flash lights on your menu so you can read them since it's so dark in the dining room.

Wednesday: Bellagio Cup $3K event. 180 runners so first is $185K. I run sick hot all day just making hands and always getting paid off. The field is actually way softer than even the $1500 events at the Rio. There are maybe 20 good players in the entire field and the fish at Bellagio are just on another level of bad. I nearly finish the day as chip leader except for losing QQ vs ATs near the end of the day. That was basically the only relevant pot I lost all day though so I'm still above average with 15 or so left.

Thursday: First fun hand I play: Russian guy shoves in the SB I call 44 in the BB. He has A8ss. Flop A54ss. Turn 3h. River 2c. Chop it up.

Hand 2: 3k/6k a1k I think we're at final table at this point. Same Russian guy as before opens in EP to 16k. I have 180K next to act and flat call AQs. Short stack next to me crams 40K, Russian insta-reships when it gets back to him. I just don't think he's good enough to realize how insanely strong my range is there and decide my hand should be doing ok against their ranges and call. Russian has 99, shorty has AJdd. I flop a queen but AJdd rivers a flush. I still win the big side pot though.

Hand 3: 4k/8k a1k I have 170k after losing 55 vs 77. Serbian donk limps UTG. I raise to 28K with AA he calls. Flop J86, he checks I bet 42K he crams I call and beat his KJs.

Hand 4: 4k/8k a1k I have 340K. Open AQo in the HJ to 21K. Other Russian guy on my left, Dmitry, reraises to 65k and he covers me. They announce last hand before break. Now I have all sorts of good reasons to cram here. I have AQ only 45 bets deep in late position. He's russian. He might think I'm stealing light last hand before break, though I didn't even notice the clock and I'm not sure he did either. He's been playing so solid as have I, I just don't think he's messing around with me here. Also worth considering that he is the only other competent player at the table so I decide it's not likely enough that he's light here for it to be worth gambling and fold. He shows me AKo. Ding ding ding!

Hand 4: 6k/12k a2k I have a bit over 300K. I open AKo to 32k, Dmitry calls, donk in SB calls, Serb shoves for like 220K in BB. He's such a nit that I definitely am not fist pumping as much as I normally would be here but I obv reshove. The donk in the SB calls off his last 100k or so with 22 (actually) and Serb has JJ. I flop a king and win the pot to get to 740K and take the chip lead.

After this we decide to chop. We do a chip count deal and given stack sizes that is really good for me. I lock up 115K which is more than 2nd place and we play it out for the 25K WPT Championship seat and a really nice Swiss watch.

Hand 5: I raise in the SB to 36K with 55, Dmitry calls in the BB. Flop 933, I bet 48K he calls. Turn T I check and call 75k. River 9 I check and he bets 100K. I really felt like I had the best hand on the flop and unless he floated the flop and paired his ten I don't see that much else he plays this way that beats me. That being said the way he'd been playing I couldn't see him taking this line as a bluff either since he probably doesn't necessarily expect me to fold A-hi to such a small bet. The fact that I have slightly better than A-hi isn't all that relevant and I think I should have folded but I paid off and he had KTo.

Hand 6: Now Dmitry has a big chip lead but they put the watch on the table and it's really cool so I decide I need to bear down and win this. I bust one guy with AKs vs AQ and then 3-handed I bust the other guy:

8k/16k a2k Italian donk ships 145k on the button. I flat call A3o in the SB and Dmitry tanks in the BB. Oh crap he has a better hand than me but I think hes afraid that I'm trapping since I only called. He eventually folds AJ face up and Italian has 89o. Flop JT8. Oh well. Turn 3, River 3. When stuff like that starts happening no matter how rational you are you start thinking "This is just meant to be". At this point I look up and see that rapper "Nelly" has stopped by the Fontana lounge and is having a look at my final table.

We are now heads up roughly even in chips. At first we are playing conservative. Both of us are raising most buttons and neither of us is defending out of position much. When we do it's always by calling never 3-betting. I win the first pot of interest by turning top pair and getting two streets of value. Finally I break the 3-bet-less streak by repopping A5o which gets a fold.

Again not much happens for a bit until I open AKo to 40K on the button. He 3-bets for the first time to 121K, and I make it 301K. He folds and my image is getting is more aggressive even though I had it. Right after that he opens button, I 3-bet ATs and he folds.

Then shortly after that he opens button again to 38K, I make it 118K with 55. This has been standard bet sizing. He has roughly 800K so I'm definitely calling if he moves in as I expect him to do so pretty wide since I've 3-bet/4-bet him so many times recently. Of course I'm not thrilled if he shoves since it will usually be a coin flip but it's worth 3-betting here to keep pushing him around as it will induce him into overreacting and making a mistake at some point. He shoves though and I call, he has A7o. Flop A33 is not so good, but maybe it really was "meant to be" as 5 turns. River 7 and I ship a Bellagio Cup event for the 2nd consecutive summer.

Afterwards we ate at Cut, a steakhouse at Palazzo that was really good and then head to the PokerStars party at the club Rain at the palms. Stars really throws the best parties and it did not disappoint. Nelly played at the end of the night which was pretty cool.

Friday: Play Bellagio Cup $5K event. Make the money but short stacked heading into Day 2.

Saturday: Bust 12th shoving 15xBB with ATo over Eric Froelich's HJ open. He had KK and the back-to-back run was not "meant to be". I register for that day's $5K but bust early losing a big flip for most of my chips and then stationing off the rest with TT running into JJ in a pretty marginal way. I was going to go play some cash games in Bobby's Room but by the time it looked like I might get a seat in the 100/200 PLO game the game wasn't very good so I decided to just go bet a bunch if money on the UFC fights instead. I've made small bets on a bunch of fights before online and tend to do well, mostly just following the advice of people who are really good handicappers (as long as I agree with their picks, but if we like opposite sides I usually just stay away), but never made any big bets before. The lines at Bellagio were really good though and I won all 3 of my bets to make back the buy-in I lost in that day's tournament. Hooray! Also, the fights were really good so it was a fun night.

Sunday: Doing nothing, writing a blog at last.

Monday: Day 1A of Bellagio Cup 15K WPT main event. Going to begin the quest to defend my title from last summer.

Mike

A Blog Post!

Hey, I haven't written an update in a while though I figure my tweets should be doing a good enough job keeping you up to date. Obviously the series isn't quite going as well as I had hoped for the third straight year. I've played 17 events and cashed only 2, the $3K HORSE and $5K PLO. The PLO was my best shot by far but alas it wasn't meant to be. I'm planning to play basically everything from here on out except the $50K HORSE. BoostedJ has put up some results so I still have an outside chance of stealing the prop bet against Daniel if I can ship something or if Boosted crushes them in the HORSE. For those who don't know the bet is 20K to win 32K, myself and BoostedJ vs Daniel Negreanu and Eric Lindgren based on total WSOP player of the year points. So far, Daniel has 170, Eric 30, Boosted (Justin Smith) 92, and I have a whopping 15 to put the score at 200-107. A bracelet win is worth 100 though so there's a small glimmer of hope left for me.

OK so the rest of this blog will just be some interesting/important/hilarious hands I've played at the series lately. Enjoy!

$5K PLO Downfall: I had 300K with 27 left average 200K then these 3 hands happened:

3k/6k Open AKT9ss to 16K in HJ CO calls. He is a young Brazilian kid I've seen play aces super passive before and miss an easy river value bet with them. Flop T63hh I do not have hearts. I bet 28K he calls. Turn 2s check/check. River 6c I check he bets 32K I sigh and call since a million draws missed and I've seen hes not really capable of value betting thin. He has JJ and basically told me he thought he was bluffing or something. Great.

4k/8k I have 225K. Young guy open to 25K UTG with exactly 35K behind. Swede who plays a lot of hands quickly calls and I minraise to 42K with KK95ddd in the CO so that UTG's shove will reopen the betting. Except UTG flats with 18K behind as does swede. Flop A63hhh I do not have the Kh. They check to me and I bet 42K. UTG folds and Swede quickly calls. Turn blank check/check and I'm praying the board will pair since it's my only chance to maybe steal this pot. River 3! Swede leads out for most of my stack, I laugh at him for betting any hand there and fold.

Next hand I open KQJ9ds and get repopped by the brazilian with AAKT. Flop a Q stick the rest in and lose.

10K PLO: Fairly deep on day 2 I play this sick pot against Josh Arieh. 2k/4k a bad players limps in EP. Most of the times he has done this in the past he's been trapping with AA. I have 78K and limp button with 9764ss, SB folds Arieh checks in the BB. Flop 778r, Josh leads 9k, UTG makes it 21K. Already this is a pretty brutal spot. I feel like UTG is making a raise to see where he is at with AA a lot since he knows Josh can have a huge range here. And Josh can have all sorts of stuff so I cold call 21K. I feel like my cold call looks so strong it will freeze them up and I should be able to figure out where I stand, but there's an interesting argument for shoving hoping to fold out a better 7 as well. My hand has so much equity against something like AA7x anyways that getting called by that would not be so bad, but if I run into a boat I'm pretty dead. Josh quickly calls 12K more. Turn Q check/check and I check behind. River 4 and I am on a boat. Josh quickly bets 55K, UTG instantly folds and I tank as long as I have the entire series before folding. Unfortunately I busted not too long after this hand anyways getting it in pretty marginally on 854 with AK87 vs QQ96.

10K PLHE: Josh is at my starting table and I ask him what he had in that big pot. He told me he had KQQ7 so I made a good fold, though I could quite probably have won the pot by jamming the flop. Weird hand. Anyways here's my one bad beat story though it's kind of funny.

100/200 I have 33K. Nico Levi I believe it was, one of those french players anyways, opens to 500, I flat 99 in the CO, button calls, Sam Simon creator of The Simpsons calls in the BB. Flop K96hh, Nico bets 1050, I decide to slowplay which I don't normally do here obviously and call, Sam raises to 3500, Nico folds, I make it 11K, Sam sticks it in and I call. He has AK so I'm looking pretty ok. Turn 6 gives him 2 outs. Obviously you know what the river card is but the funny part was how it happened. I'm in the 8 seat and the dealer is right handed so when he deals the river I can't see it right away because his hand is in the way. There is a noticeable pause as he places it on the felt and he's staring at the card not moving his hand. It was like he had frozen up thinking "Oh my god, I have done something terrible". Sure enough, when he finally moved his hand the Ks was revealed and I lost most of my chips and busted on another cooler shortly after that.

The Series has still been a ton of fun overall though, definitely the most fun of my three summers here. I'm thinking I may have to just win the Bellagio Cup at the end again if I can't turn the Series around in these last 5 events or so.

Mike

$5K NL Report

Hey gang, I guess I'm due to write something here again and I played a couple hands that were kind of interesting today so I might as well write about them. I was up to a bit over 16K when this goofy hand happened:

50/100 Passive guy who has already doubled up with top set limps in EP, Roland de Wolfe who had just sat down makes it 700 in position and I flat call KK in the BB. I played with Roland for most of day 1 in the $10K mixed games so I'm pretty sure he thought I was very tight/solid. What I didn't realize is he was still in another tournament and just looking to gamble here. The limper calls and the flop is 532 with two diamonds. I lead 1400, limpers calls, Roland makes it 4900. I decide to call to see what the limper does first before committing to the pot. Limper instashoves, Roland quickly calls and I fold. Limper 55, Roland AKo, turn A so I don't feel like a complete donk for not 3-betting pre.

Next I get it in pre KK vs AA and win to get over 20K then I decide to do this. First some history: The players on my right is a donk. Important history:

Theo Tran opens to 250 he defends his BB. Flop 995r, he checks raises Theo, bet the blank turn, and chk/chk A river. He shows T5s Theo mucks. So instead of keeping the pot small with marginal hands he likes to checkraise and hope they go away and put himself in terrible spots in big pots if they don't.

75/150 UTG is a donk and limps with 2K behind. UTG+1 is the other guy I just talked about and he limps. I make it 750 with KQhh and both call. Flop T66r one heart. chk/chk I bet 1500, UTG folds. UTG+1 thinks for a bit. I'm not basically just staring at the felt like I always am and not paying attention to his body language that much, and I rarely assign much weight to my live reads anyways, but I'm fairly certain he basically looked like he was going to just fold, and then changed his mind and decided "nah fuck this kid he aint got it" and raised to 5k with 7k behind. I was pretty sure from a combination of the fact he wasn't loose enough pre that I would expect him to have a 6 here very often, his body language, and his line/bet-sizing that he did not have a big hand. On the one hand donks don't like folding pairs, but on the other hand donks also don't like risking their tournament lives so early without the goods. I moved him in and he called after about a minute with 77 and I bricked out. This is a play I basically never make but I really thought this was the perfect spot for it and I'm actually pretty happy with my decision to pull the trigger despite the results.

I still had 6k but gobbo owned me in back to back hands. First he bluffed me off an overpair when I thought he was trapping a big hand but he said he just had AQ. Then the very next hand I had AK and he trapped with AA. Allen Cunningham squeezed and I got tarped. Monday is 2500 NL 6-max. I think I will skip Sundays tomorrow. I may play the Party million though. It starts super early but is such a good tourney it's hard to pass up. I'm definitely not grinding all day though. 0 for 7 so far, and down a bunch at online cash too. But the summer is just getting started.

Mike

Quick Vegas Update

I don't have much super exciting to write about but I've got nothing else to do while I'm sweating Isaac Haxton to victory in the $40K tourney and I feel like I ought to post some kind of update. OK, so first my run in the $40K tourney. Here are a few interestingish hands:

Hand 1: 200/400 a50. Gavin Smith limps, someone else limps, Raszi completes the SB and I check 23dd in the BB. Flop Q54dd, Raszi leads 1600, I call, Gavin calls, other guy folds. Turn Kh, check, I check, Gavin bets 4K, Raszi makes it 14K, I cold call, and Gavin folds. River 4d Raszi checks and I check and win.

I've rarely felt like as big of a pussy after playing a hand of poker as I did here but I'm not sure I made any really clear mistakes. Probably I should have raised the flop in retrospect actually to try to drive out any bigger flush draws and possibly just win the pot right there, but calling is hardly a big mistake and I was actually kind of hoping for a raise behind so I could then bomb in a big reraise myself. Nothing like gambling for 300xBB in level one of a $40K buy-in with a draw. The turn check seems fine once I play the flop more conservatively and I think I have to coldcall the bet and raise since Gavin is super unlikely to ever reraise in that spot and I'm getting direct odds to call, plus excellent implied odds if I make my straight. The only really bad thing that can happen is if Raszi is semi-bluffing himself or Gavin calls behind with a better draw but I think the price is still good enough even taking those cases into consideration. I actually think the river is a pretty clear check as it would be extremely difficult to get called by worse and he can definitely check worse to me (either looking to checkraise with a full house hoping I'll bet my flush or checking a better flush that he's afraid could be beat some of the time).

So that and a few other pots got me off to a great start but I went pretty card dead later in the day and bled off chips. I should have picked a few more spots to try pick up some chips with resteals and such but really it just wasn't my day. On day 2 I played 3 hands in quick succession and busted:

Hand 2: 2500/500 a500 After having paid the blinds I'm down to around 80K and find 55 in the CO. I move in and pick up the blinds and antes.

Hand 3: Very next hand I open KTdd in the HJ to 12500. Bobby Suer calls on my left. He final tabled the WPT event in Tunica and I had happened to have watched that episode so I had a decent idea how he played. I felt pretty confident that he had a better hand than me and he probably should have reraised me, but he wasn't trapping with a monster or anything. Moorman then moves in from the BB for 42.5K more. If I move in and get Bobby to fold I'll be getting 2:1 against the BB's hand which is a good price, and I'm pretty sure Bobby will fold so I do that and all goes as planned except Moorman has ATo and I don't get there.

Hand 4: I have like 40K or something left and shove AQs very next hand. Shawn Buchanan reships and James Mackey (mig.com) thinks for a while and shoves over the top too. Shawn has QQ and mig has 66. I flop the nut flush draw but miss everything.

After that I went and got the keys to our summer house which is pretty sweet. I like it better than the place we had last year. I'm living with Aussies this year, so far only StevoL, Jay (Seabeast), and Joel Dodds are here, but Tony (Bond) is arriving tomorrow and the others are scheduled to show up in a week or two I think. I'll try to post pictures at some point. Probably I should take some before we make too big a mess.

Friday night I went out and got some degeneracy out of my system. I met up with Tom and Kyle (who I lived with last summer) to grab dinner and drinks and watch the Lakers game, then we went and put a beating on the nearest Texas Holdem Bonus table, and after that I ended up at the Rhino and got that out of my system too. Today I played online tourneys and some cash and got owned. Benyamine 6-outed me on the river for a 60K pot about 2 minutes after I woke up and I had no luck the rest of the day making any of that back. I had a couple deep runs in tournaments but I blew them. Here's one key hand I think I got wrong:

FTP 750K Gtd. 110/4000 players remain I have a slightly above average stack of ~120K or so iirc. Folds to the CO who opens to 8500ish and I flat call with AA in the BB. Obviously 3-betting here is fine but it's a good spot to flat call and trap and I think in this situation the call was the better play. Flop KJxdd, chk/chk. Turn 9, I bet ~13K and he makes it ~37K. I eventually shove but in retrospect I think I definitely should have folded. I really don't play my A-game on Sundays though and I shoved and lost to QT.

Anyways I'm already registered for the 1500 PLO on Monday and we're going golfing at 640am before that. I'm going to be exhausted all day but I think it will be worth it to get out there and play. I haven't played yet all summer so I"m going to really suck, but there's only one way to get back into it, and one of my bigger regrets the past couple summers is that I've hardly got out to play golf at all. If I last long in the PLO I'm going to be a mess but I guess that's what caffeine is for, even though I'm trying to minimize how much of that I drink this year.

That's all I've got for now, I should really try to get to sleep but I am lucky enough to have a small piece of Isaac's action so I'm going stay up and sweat him to the bracelet. Let's get the summer started off right for a change.

Mike

The Annual Pilgrimage

It's almost that time of year where professionals, amateurs, enthusiasts, and degenerates all converge on Las Vegas for the holy event that is the World Series of Poker. A month and a half of battling every day against 45 degree heat, hangovers, burn out, tables games, and of course your opponents, to try to win a bunch of loot and "a place in poker history", in the form a gaudy gold bracelet you'll never wear more than twice (unless you're John Phan). This year the "poker battle" begins early for me with the $40K 40th anniversary NL Holdem event this coming Thursday. After that I'll mostly be playing mixed games and golf as well as the bigger NLHE events in an attempt to keep my sanity throughout the entire the summer. As has been well-documented in the archives over at sirwatts.blogspot.com, the last two World Series must be considered failures for me as I have yet to final table a single event. Last year I did manage to keep my head on straight throughout the summer though and bink the Bellagio Cup at the end.

With my plan to play more of the different games this year a final table is a lot more likely as the average field size I will be playing against will be much smaller. I'm still far from a mixed games expert but I'm confident I'll have a big edge in almost every tournament I play. And most importantly it will be a lot more fun than playing Holdem day after day. I haven't done quite as much study and work on my game as I probably should have leading up to the series, but I put in a long session yesterday 4-tabling the 100/200 8-game mixed on Stars that went well. I definitely ran really good throughout but if I can even just hold my own in those games I should do very well against the weak fields at the Series. I also took a shot at a 400/800 8-game mix and luckboxed a solid win so my confidence is high.

In fact, I've basically run really hot in all my cash game play this week. I've played a bit in the 50/100 and 25/50 with antes PLO games on Full Tilt and put up good results. There has also been a shot or two at the 300/600 with ante game when a certain someone was tilting badly that went very well. As always whenever you go on a rush like that in PLO it has a lot more to do with the cards than anything about how you're playing, but I'm happy where my PLO game is at.

As for tournaments, I've put in a few mostly lighter sessions since I last wrote without any particular success. I had a couple small cashes in FTOPS events but nothing that covered my buy-ins. Hopefully my tournament run good is being saved up for the series this year, but more importantly I hope this is the most fun summer I have at the WSOP, win or lose. You'll be able to follow my progress throughout the summer on my Twitter feed located at http://twitter.com/SirWatts, and of course I will be blogging semi-regularly throughout.

Mike
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