Archive Apr 2008: The Watts Blog

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How to Tilt

Well I had an interesting weekend from a poker perspective to say the least. There were some really big special tournaments this weekend so I played a fair bit. On Saturday there was the sickest tournament ever, the Pacific $1000 buy-in $3 Million guaranteed. It got 2200ish runners meaning around $800K was donated to the prize pool by the site. The payout structure was really top heavy to try to attract players: 1st = $1 million, 2nd = $400K, and then more gradual from there. Also, basically everyone on Pacific is terribad so it's really awesome. Sadly it wasn't my time as I held on for a while on the short stack before losing AA to JJ around 5 hours in but still short of the money. I also busted everything else I played including the PokerRoom/Mansion grand which is also awesome, and I was even down slightly at my 10/20 and 25/50 cash games after a decent number of hands. Yup, it was time to tilt, and as people who have been reading this blog for a while will know, that usually means shortstacking high stakes pot-limit omaha.

Following the standard "move up to get even" theory of tilted shot-taking I sat at 200/400 PLO with my usual minimum $8K buy-in. Finally luck was on my side for once that day and I quickly doubled up. Success! Out of the hole and showing a small profit for the day, time to quit and go out for the night right? You must not be very good at tilted shot-taking. You see now I'm freerolling on my next $8K buy-in! And look how easy it was to randomly win that coinflip and make a bunch of money, surely I can just do that again no problem. So I bought into the other table and, sure enough, within a few hands I had doubled my buy-in again. Easy game, I thought, but now I couldn't sit back in for 30 minutes anyways so I quit and went to dinner. As it turned out not much was going on that night so I stayed home. When I got back I noticed 3 200/400 PLO tables going. Well, gotta play the rush right? In quick succession I won big pots on all 3 tables and quit for good this time. In total I played 34 hands of Omaha and made $53.5K. Here are the big pots I won, minimal comments on strategy because I probably still suck at omaha.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2533002

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2533004

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2533007

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2533011

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2533014 - MSampoerna is a billionaire that owns Mansion among other companies, and he had just taken a very bad beat on the previous hand so I figured he was just trying to tilt the rest off in this hand. As it turned out I looked it up and I had 35.8% equity all-in 3 ways preflop, and I outskilled them on the river card.

Sunday went similarly, I took some rough beats in the 3 tournaments I got deep in and busted everything, then played a bunch of PLO to try to get even. This time I swung up and down all over the place but luckily I came out ahead ~$10K in the end to put the day in the black. The PLO games seem really good right now, I imagine a good player with a sufficient bankroll could make a lot of money as there seemed to always be one or two players that were pretty weak. I guess I'll keep taking shots at them buying in for the minimum when they look good and see how things go. Anyways I'm back to Toronto tomorrow. Peace,

Mike

Back Home!

Update!: Checkout my poker commentating debut. TwoRags has posted a couple clips from the live $1000 sit and go we played in LA back in January. Check out the links at the top of the TwoRags main page.

Well I'm back home in St. John's for the next week. Saturday was my 24th birthday so between that and the fact I'd been on the road for 3 weeks already in Europe I decided to skip the WPT Championship 25K event. I'm actually not planning to play any more live events until the end of May when I'm making the move to Vegas for a month and a half again for the World Series of Poker. Last year I was extremely burnt out from poker by the end of the series so this year I'm going to try to do a few things different to avoid that including taking the next month off from live poker.

I haven't played much poker in the last week or so. I busted out of the 2K euro event in Monte Carlo pretty quickly and then spent most of the rest of the trip drinking in the player's lounge. PokerStars really did an amazing job with this. The player's lounge had free drinks: water, coke, redbull, and beer. It had a wii and a PS3 set up on big LCD screens, as well as a foosball table and a couple laptops set up in the battleship format to play heads-up against each other or often some of the Team PokerStars pros. Considering the prices for drinks throughout the rest of Monaco (20E+ at the hot local night club) hanging around there was a pretty popular option amongst the players when there wasn't much else on the go, and it's really pretty incredible of them to treat their players so well.

Finally, I promised pictures from the trip so here are a few. I only have pics from Pisa on my camera at the moment, I'll see if anyone else has some from Florence or Monte Carlo that I can steal.

click to enlarge the image

The Cathedral.

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The leaning tower obviously.

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Me at the top of the tower with the cathedral below.

Mike

Busto (Updated with Details)

OK let's do a quick recap of Day 2. I quickly chipped up to about 27K winning small pots and picking up the blinds, unfortunately most of the hands I picked up the blinds with were monsters that I definitely would have preferred to get action with. Then this hand happens to set me back where I started.

Hand 1: 300/600 a75 Folds to this Russian guy on my right in a PokerStars Supernova Elite shirt who shoves 7Kish. I reshove AQ and lose to 44. Back to 17K. From there I manage to chip back up to around 22K when this absurd hand happens.

Hand 2: This LAGgy French guy raises to 1500 in MP, and he basically does this a lot with likely all sorts of stupid hands, but raises bigger with legitimiate hands. He seemed but bad but I didn't realize what a complete nutcase he was until after this hand. I decide to just reraise and pick up the pot. I find A3o and make it 5K. He insta-calls. OK I still definitely think he has a weak hand. Flop T94r, I bet 7K, he instacalls. I only have 10K left so I give up on the 6 turn and fold to his bet. He turns over his hand and I expect it to be QJ and put me on lifetilt but he actually has the nizzles, 87o. From this point on he just keeps playing crazier and crazier.

Hand 3: 400/800 a100 PokerStars shirt raises to 2100, I shove 11K w/ 66 in the SB he calls with ATo and I hold to double.

Hand 4: Just after this it folds to me in the CO and I raise to 2200 with 99. The BB is not back from break yet and Luca Pagano on my left starts counting chips and I'm praying he reraises me. He obliges and makes it 8200, I ship for 22K and he folds getting over 2:1 yay.

Hand 5: Maniac limps and all fold to me in the BB with 34K now. I make it 3300 with KTo for value and he obv instacalls. Flop T84 two spades, I bet 4600 he makes it 10K I call. I'm not worried about spades because he'd make a huge raise with a flush draw. I really think he's on a complete bluff or has like 54s or 33 because I've seen him miniraise as a pure bluff before. I'm just letting him hang himself. Turn 8, not the best card but whatever. I check, he bets 13K I shove for 7K more he calls. T6s for him I've got him dead to a chop, river A no 70K stack for me.

Hand 6: 500/1000 a100. I get moved to a new table and chip up to 48K winning a few small pots and mixing in a resteal. I open to 2700 with JTo in the HJ, guy on my left calls and old Italian guy in the SB calls. Flop 942r, old guy leads out 3900. Looks like the standard trying to figure out where he's at bet so I inform him that he is losing by making it 12K. Guy on my left folds but he instacalls. Turn 6 he checks and I consider shoving since I only have about a pot size bet left and I still don't think he has much but I'm not cool enough to pull the trigger on something like that so I give up. River 7 chk/chk he tables J9s I muck. I remembered a hand afterwards where I saw him completely station a guy and realized I shouldn't have even bothered bluffing the flop. Discussing afterwards while drinking someone made the interesting generalization that in the US or UK against the nitty grinders there they always love to "play good" by "finding out where they're at" and folding to a raise on the flop so my bluff is good against them, but against an Italian, Frenchman, or Spaniard I'm basically lighting money on fire because they just don't play that sophisticated yet.

Hand 7: 600/1200 a100 So for once I definitely do not have my typical "SirNit" table image which is pretty awesome as it gets me lots of action here. Old guy limps in EP, SB completes, I find AA in the BB with my 30K stack and make it 4800. Limper folds and I'm thinking 'damn that was unexpected, now the SB obv has nothing and folds and I don't get paid off with AA again.' "How much do you have?" Speaking of unexpcted... I push out my chips where he can see them. He pushes in a stack of brown 5k chips and I do one of my typical instacall and turn by hand over immediately. He dejectedly tables 55 and the door card is obv a 5. 952 two clubs though so I have some backdoor draws, and I even turn a flush draw but brick the river.

So overall the day actually went pretty well except for when I got in pots that would have given me an average or better stack, in those I just got crushed. I'll probably play the 2K event tomorrow though I guess.

Mike

16.7K on to Day 2

It was a pretty frustrating day. I more than doubled my stack at my first table to 32K but then got moved to a new table that was pretty tough and didn't make any more hands. I bled down to 16.7K without losing any real substantial pot which was even less fun than it sounds. However blinds are still only 200/400 a50 when we return tomorrow so I have lots of time to pick up some hands. Hopefully I get a better table draw, there are so many bad players I definitely got extremely unlucky with table draws today. I don't feel like recounting all my hands, here's one that describes the 2nd half of my day:

150/300 a25 I raise AQs to 900 in EMP, one of the decent aggro players across the table calls. Flop JT5r, I bet 1600 he calls. Turn 7 chk/chk. River A. omg I finally made the top pair!!!! So I'm trying to figure out how to get value out of the hand, only to realize that not only can I not value bet, I have to check and fold to a bet because his entire range basically just got there way harder than I got there and the stuff that didn't is almost never bluffing. So I check, he bets 5200 and I sigh and fold because he has the nuts.

Mike

EPT Monte Carlo Day 1B

So I play tomorrow (Sunday). Looks like there's going to be around 800 players so probably over 2 million euros for first. I'm not ready to tell you all about Monte Carlo yet because I didn't leave my room today. Last night was the PokerStars cocktail party which was a lot of fun. It seems like everyone is here, this tournament is just big. Anyways I ended up having a bit too much fun trying to take advantage of free drinks as opposed to $10+ drinks like anywhere else here. So today I just lied around and did nothing all afternoon. In the evening I played the Saturday afternoon EST tournaments to get my mind back on poker for tomorrow but had little luck. I also mixed in some cash games though and ran really well at those. I was up $22K at one point ($20K on one 25/50 table) but I lost a few big pots at the end to finish up only $13K. I haven't posted any cash hands in a while so here are some of the big pots from today:

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425185 - I decided to slowplay preflop. It should still be fairly obvious I need a biggish hand to call here so I was pretty surprised to get paid off by such a weak hand.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425213 - His little minireraise was scary and I almost decided to play the hand more passively by just calling it. He was an unknown player to me who bought in fairly short and had run it up and on this site that usually means a fish. He didn't seem to be that bad though and passive players can definitely have AA or KK here a lot. I decided that it was likely enough he was just doing something stupid and would give me lots of money so I opted to just try to get it in preflop.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425200 - A very skillful hand on my part. Notice how I can win from either side of these races, with the AK or the pair, the sign of a real expert.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425254 - Here I mixed in a 3-bet bluff. It's hard to get action from worse hands on the flop having overrepresented my hand preflop so I check behind for pot control. This gives him the chance to bluff with worse hands and also lets me see some more cards to try to improve my hand if I happen to be beat. If he's slowplaying a big pair which is not all that unlikely and I make 2 pair or better I may win a huge pot instead of getting checkraised off my hand if I bet. I backdoor my flush and win a nice pot.

So I'm rolling along unable to lose a pot until these two hands at the very end of the session:

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425308 - I'm never sure how to play the turn here. I usually just lead out but then if he raises me it's really ugly. I probably have to fold but it's not a fold I'm entirely comfortable making since it feels so weak. I decided to just check/call down and give him the chance to run a big multi-street bluff trying to represent a hand like AK. In particular once he bets big on the turn I'm very concerned he has a huge hand and I definitely am not going to raise him, but I certainly can't fold at any point.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?2425343 - Just one of those gross hands. I don't think I can play it any other way but the queen is such a bad turn card, as soon as it hit I just had that feeling that I was about to lose a lot of money.

Anyways time to get some rest before I play tomorrow. Play starts at 1pm here so 7am EST. CardPlayer is here doing live coverage (www.cardplayer.com) so if you're bored that's probably the best place to check and see if they happen to have any updates about me.

Mike
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