It all started when Scot from TwoRags IM'd me to ask if I was going to the LA Poker Classic. I explained to him, as I wrote 2 days ago in my last entry, that I most likely was not. He said that was too bad as TwoRags has some connections in the area with the Commerce etc (I'm pretty sure he lives in LA)... and he had some special events planned. This was somehwat enticing but I still wasn't too interested. Nonetheless I checked the schedule of events again on the CardPlayer website and it turned out it was much better than I remembered. I thought it was basically all $1000 buy-ins with one $2500 and one $1500 mixed in or something. It turns out there are three $2500 events though (one is limit holdem but that's ok), a couple $1500s, and then several smaller ones. Not so bad I thought....
Kyle (grafyx) had asked me if I was going since he needed a roommate. I'd of course said no at the time but I messaged him back and he was still looking for one and had already done the work looking into hotel rooms. So I then decided to go ahead and have a look at flights just in case. It turns out Air Canada has a seat sale on and I could book a round trip flight for just $400. Well now... It seemed like everything was just falling into place but I still wasn't sure. I had to check how this fit my schedule. Ideally I would show up for the $2500 event on Monday the 11th, the first of the big events, and then stay until the end. I have Raptors tickets for the 8th and had made plans a while ago with a friend for that night. Perfect timing there. I also have tickets for the game on the 20th, but Scot said he might be able to hookup a Lakers game for us there, so that's at least an even tradeoff. Damn, I guess someone out there really wants me in LA. And finally, I'm up around $40K so far this month online, so even if I 0-for another series losing 20-30K down there wouldn't be the end of the world. LA, here I come.
Anyways to add some poker to this here are some cash hands. I realize I haven't posted any cash game stuff in a while and that's one thing I want to do more of. I'm going to concentrate on some hands from my best session of the month. I'm playing two 25/50 NL full ring tables with this fish VARBED. When there's a big fish playing way too many hands it basically becomes a big fight among the other players to try to get his money. I'm going to be raising almost anything playable to try to isolate him when he limps in, or sometimes limping behind speculative hands hoping to flop big on him. That's the dynamic that is important in these hands.
- The session actually got off to a poor start with this cooler. I think the lead on the flop is the best way to get max value from AK or AQ.
- He liked to minraise with all sorts of garbage so I put in a reraise here to isolate him in position with the best hand. Postflop I have to figure I have the nuts against a player like this, especially given his weak little lead, so no slowing down to control pot size here, I want to get stacks in.
- This biggest pot I won was actually not from VARBED but resulted because of the dynamic he created. As I'd been isolating him a lot with weakish hands trying to keep him to myself, the other players obviously pick up on what I'm doing and want to stop me so that they can play more pots with him too, so the obvious idea is to just reraise me. I'd had to fold to these reraises a couple times but this time I have a hand I can make a stand with. I make a smallish reraise to $2250 to make it look like I have room to fold if he moves in on me, and give him the chance to make a bad bluff. Fortunately that's exactly what happened and I won a big pot.
- I got really lucky here. He telegraphs his hand as a big one preflop and gives everyone the odds to try hit a flop on him and crack it. Luckily I'm able to do just that. I guess either leading or checkrasing here are both good options on the flop, I went for the lead again.
Hey everyone, I'm back safely in Toronto just chilling. Really it was a super lazy week. Anyways my plan for the next couple months is to really get back to griding online and putting in some hands. I've had a lot of fun lately travelling around, and while I play a lot of poker on those trips, if I really want to make some money I'm much more profitable online. Even though the games are tougher on average, being able to play 4-8 tables at once just lets me play so many more hands that live can't really compete. Also, being able to table select across multiple sites allows me to find the best games to help offset the generally tougher opponents. Also, it's important for me to play a lot more cash game hands since my hourly rate is much higher in those than in almost any tournament assuming I can find good games.
This week I put in a decent number of hours playing both tournaments and cash games, and was lucky to run pretty well so I turned a nice profit. I've been playing 10/20 and 25/50 on mostly some of the smaller sites, and the games have been pretty good. I've also been playing the usual evening and weekend tournaments, and after a ton of close calls and a lot of frustration I finally broke through for a nice score in a major Sunday tournament, the new "Sunday Brawl" on Full Tilt. It's a $240 buy-in where $200 goes to the prize pool like usual and $40 goes towards your bounty, meaning whoever busts you gets your $40. Of course whenever you bust anyone you get their $40 bounty, so it's a nice little twist added to the usual tournament format. It certainly adds a little incentive to go out of your way to try to bust people, though the strategic adjustments required are nothing major as the bounties are not too big compared to the prize pool. This week's tournament had almost 1600 runners.
I managed to finish 5th for $19K, plus I believe 8 bounties ($320) to top it off. The final table was both lucky and unlucky for me. I picked up more premium hands than I ever have in such a short period at a final table, but unfortunately they did not hold up in some key pots. I lost a big coinflip with TT vs AKs, and then on the very next hand I slowplayed KK by just calling a raise. A shortstack moved in behind me with AK, the raiser folded and I called, but an ace flopped for the 2nd hand in a row. Fortunately as I'd been picking up so many hands I still had some chips left and managed to double up and hang around for a while, but eventually I lost another all-in preflop as a decent favourite (KQs vs JTo) on the shortstack to bust 5th. Still, it was nice to make a major final table and book a nice win for the weekend. The 1600ish players was the biggest field I've ever gotten through to the final table since my $10 freezeout days. Like I mentioned I had close calls in several other tournaments, in particular the late $100 rebuy where I finished 16th for $2K.
So the plan for coming weeks is to keep putting in a lot of hands and get myself nicely into the black on the year. There's a small chance I may decide to go to the LA Poker Classic for the main event and the legendarily soft cash games at the Commerce towards the end of February, but most likely I won't be playing any more live events until EPT Monte Carlo (the one in Europe not the one that was on fire in Vegas) in April, and possibly the EPT in Italy just before Monte Carlo. I'm out, take it easy,
So I bubbled both of these. I played pretty well though, there were some sweet hands. In the first round of the HU I played Doug Lee. As far as I know he's basically a terrible spewbox, but I didn't play very well against him and didn't make many hands. Fortunately I luckboxed some coinflips to scrape by after losing the first game in the best of 3. In the next round I played Anna Wroblewski. I thought she was spewy aggro too but she was actually kind of solid but on the passive side. Anyways in this match I stopped being a pussy like I was against Lee and started trusting my hand reading to make some good river calls.
Hand 1: She limps and I check T3o in the BB. Flop J73 chk/chk. Turn Kc starting a possible flush draw. I check/call her bet. River K, I check, she bets and I figure enough draws and stuff missed that I should call and beat her 45.
Hand 2: She limps I check 96o. Flop 644, both check. Turn 5, I bet 3/4 pot she calls. River 2, I check and she bets some normal amount. I don't think she'd call the turn with just a 3, but probably would with a 7 which she'd be likely to bluff with here, so I call and win again.
I ran pretty good against Anna and made some hands at key times to win the match 2-0. In the third round I played timex though and he kicked my ass. I got behind in both, then won key races to get the lead, then lost really key races to lose. Fortunately we had traded a lot of % so I still got some money out of this tournament.
Today was the $2K 6-max which had a really great structure. I was doing really well for a while, and played some pretty interesting hands, unfortunately I busted 29th when 24 paid in the end though.
Hand 1: There's an aggressive player on my left who's 3-bet light already preflop against other players but not me. I can tell from the way he's played other hands though that he really knows what he's doing, he's not just some crazy spewtard. At 75/150 I open A6s UTG 5-handed to 450 with about 12K. I've been semi-active and as Im putting the chips for my raise in the pot I'm thinking this guy is going to 3-bet me soon, possibly this hand in fact. He quickly makes it 1350 and it folds back to me. It's a lot easier to trust your read and make a biggish move in a situation like this when you can predict his move, so I make it a goofy 3350 representing a monster but leaving room to fold to a push and he folds.
Hand 2: I've since 4-bet the same guy again, this time with AK, and had him fold again, and also been raising a ton of pots since I keep picking up pretty good hands and opening. It folds to me in the SB, I now have 15K and the BB covers, and I raise to 450 with A4ss. BB calls and we see a flop of 663 2 spades. I bet 600 and he makes it 1600. I don't really believe him because he's some middle aged guy and they would almost always slowplay trips here to trap the young overaggressive kid, but we're deep enough that I don't really want to pop him back since if he does happen to have a big hand I would pot-commit myself in a bad spot. Also my ace-hi can easily be the best hand if he's bluffing so I don't necessarily need to bluff him back. The turn is an offsuit 8, I check and call 2500, still hoping to make my hand but also thinking my ace may well be the best hand. The river is another 6, I check and he bets 3500. At this point he's representing basically nothing. It's so unlikely he has quads (he was already unlikely to have a 6 because he didn't slowplay, and now with 3 of them on the board and his small bets it's almost certain he doesn't), and he wouldn't play a 3 or 8 this way, he'd check at least one of the turn and river probably. So A-hi basically looks like the nuts to me here, pretty sure he has to be bluffing, so I call and he taps the table and says nice call. Then turns over his ATo. Damn.
Hand 3: So I'm down to around 7K, then get down to 4K. Still 75/150, CO, button and SB all limp. I check Q3o in the BB. Flop QT3 2 clubs. I lead 450 and the CO calls. Turn K, I bet 1K and he calls. River T, counterfeiting my hand. I check with 2850 left and he quickly put me all-in. I'm pretty frustrated, but then start thinking about what could he possibly have. I dont think he'd bet a king this big. If he was ahead on the turn he would have raised. How can he have a ten? JT maybe makes sense. So does busted clubs though. Eventually I stick it in, and he taps the table (he didn't accidentally have a better hand this time). Nice.
Hand 4: I win a race with KQ vs A8 aipf to get some chips, then pick up KK and AA and bust players on consecutive hands to get to 55K at 200/400 a50, around a twice average stack. Then I donk a bunch off though at 300/600 a50. It folds to the HJ who is pretty new table. As far as I can tell he just plays every pot. I can't recall a time in the 3 or so orbits he's been here that it folded to him and he didn't raise. He makes it 1700, and I find 66 in the CO and decide to just reraise to 5100 and take my chances since it seems like he's so ridiculously out of line. Instead he moves all-in for 20K more and I'm getting too good a price to fold against a guy who as far as I know could just be a psycho. He has JJ though and I lose half my pretty stack. I really hate playing for so many chips prelop with 66 I would never normally do this, but as far as I could tell he was raising practically any 2 cards.
From there less interesting stuff happened. I got into shortstack ninja mode and did my thang. Eventually with 30 left, 24 getting paid, Joe Sebok limped UTG at 800/1600 a200, CO limped, and the button raised to 8500. He was very aggressive so I figured he could easily be raising pretty light. I found 99 in the SB and shoved my 29K stack, and he called with J9s. Door card J, fun way to spend a day. Tomorrow is my last day here in Australia. There's a $1k event. I'll see how many players it gets, decent chance I'll play I suppose but I may just pass on it and make the most of my last day here instead. I did get around to going to watch some Australian Open tennis a few days ago which was really fun. We didn't get to see any big names, but watched some pretty competitive matches and I got a nice sun burn. OK bed time for me I guess. Later,
Yet another early bustout for me in a major tournament. Considering how conservative I tend to play this is getting kind of ridiculous. My table draw wasn't especially good even though there was only one good player and he busted very early (Brandon Adams). I had terrible relative position though, the two maniacs were on my left and three nits on my right. After the maniacs was an aggressive young Norwegian player so I was basically forced to play pretty ABC poker. Anyways I won and lost some small pots for the first 2 levels. Got up to 22K but then started bleeding off some chips when the maniacs on my left reraised me a few times or I missed flops and either gave up or fired once and then gave up.
I was down to about 15K in level 3, 100/200 a25, when I found QQ in the hijack and made it 600. The Norwegian kid made it 2000 from the SB. I considered my options and decided to just shove to make my hand look like AK or a frustrated bluff since he'd reraised me a few times before. He called after a short think with JJ and I was looking good for a double up until a jack turned. Anyways, there are some more events here later in the week and I do really like this city so things could be worse. I think the Australian Open tennis has started too so I definitely want to go check that out at some point.
Yoooooooooooo. So I was playing some drunk kickball with the rest of the poker nerds today. Team Goggles kicked some ass imo. After that great victory all hands headed to the Belgian beer garden to continue the good times. I don't think I should have to explain why drinking Belgian beer surrounded by gorgoeus landscape and Australian women with all my homies was one of the best times ever, but in case it's not obvious I loved that place. Then we went for a great meal at the Meat and Wine Co. After that we went to a bar where a seemingly low key night took a turn for the potentially epic when Mark Vos showed up. Several shots later we were headed to the infamous Spearmint Rhino, but they wouldn't let us some of us in due to our kickball attire. Despite our best efforts to bribe the bouncers several of us could not get in. The bouncers were being dicks, so I finally just told them to **** themselves and walked back to Crown by myself. Pokerstars had already bought me into the main event so I stopped by the poker room just to register, planning to play day 1B because I'm kind of drunk right now. As it turns out I was signed up for Day 1A by default at the feature table. I'm not sure if that means TV coverage or not, but I know the table is next to the rail at least so friends here can sweat me. I could have changed my Day 1 but that seemed worth keeping I guess. So I'm going to bed now so I can be ready to ship it crucial tomorrow. I suspect Day 1A will be the softest day 1 so I don't mind playing tomorrow anyways. Table 31, seat 7. Holla back,