Trip report: The Watts Blog

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Trip Report: Box Seats at the Lakers

First of all, huuuuuuuuge thanks to Scot and Kyle at TwoRags and Dave and everyone else at the Commerce Casino for making this happen. It was a great time, and very much appreciated. One of my favorite parts of traveling for poker is going to different sporting events around the world. So the deal was that the Commerce had arranged for a limo to pick us up and drive us to and from the game, and we had VIP tickets for the Commerce's box. Myself, Thayer, Vivek, and Ray ended up going.

The limo was set to pick us up at 7 at the casino. We had a little trouble finding the driver but we still managed to get to the Staples Center in time for tipoff. As we're walking around the side of the stadium to the VIP entrance we get a little taste of Hollywood. Some perfect 10 blonde girl is walking up to the gate and paparazzi are going crazy snapping photos of her. Unfortunately I never got a good enough look to see who she was, but it was definitely one of those things you just don't really see anywhere else. So we get up to the booth and find Scot, and meet Dave from the Commerce (thanks again guys). The booth is pretty cool, and there's lots of free food and drink so I'm quite happy with it. The first half of the game is probably the biggest annihilation I have ever seen in professional basketball. LA was pressing hard on defense and Atlanta couldn't hold on to the ball for 10 seconds at a time. It took a string of miracle threes before the end of the half for Atlanta to not finish down 40. When coach was teaching them to beat the press during timeout, they must have been as distracted by this as I was:

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Anyways around half time Norm McDonald came up to the booth and he was a lot of fun to hang out with, definitely a funny guy in person. Here's a shot of everyone in the booth:

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And another shot of the Laker girls just because. Unfortunately, we were a bit too high up and I didn't quite have enough zoom on my camera to get a real good shot. This time they're wearing the traditional Laker gold.

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So all-in-all it was a great night. VIP treatment, basketball, free beer, Laker girls, and celebrities. What more could you ask for? Back on the grind with the $1500 LAPC event tomorrow.

Mike

$1k rebuy tournament report

I promised a tourney report and today had some interesting hands so it should make a decent one.

Rebuy period: I usually clown around a bit in live rebuy tournaments in the rebuy period. I kept my 4 $1K chips to rebuy with on the table, and then try to make a few "crazy" image plays. Most people in these tournaments aren't planning to really rebuy at all, maybe if they bust or something, so you can get away with a lot knowing you can always rebuy if something backfires. One of my favourites is to shove from the binds when a bunch of players limp with any two cards since they basically never have a hand to call. Then you show your rags and start setting up an image. So I did that a few times today which was ok. The best hand was when I limped 44 UTG and announced I was setting the trap. Mark Goodman raised my limp and he was the only guy who seemed to not be averse to gambling a little. The BB called his raise and he has nothing approximately always. I now sprung the trap and moved in, Goodman called with KTo and I won the race. From there people didn't fold when I bet, but I never had a hand so I lost the chips I had won. Double add-on and on to the real poker, I'm in for the "minimum", $4K.

Hand 1: I had won a small flip with 99 vs AJ but then lost some back as my bets still weren't getting much respect and I wasn't making pairs. with around 6600 I raise UTG with T9dd to 300 at 50/100. Probably a somewhat questionable raise but whatever. A late position player calls and the BB who is pretty bad calls. Flop TT5, I bet 650 and the BB calls. Turn 5, I bet 1250 hoping to induce a bluff shove and the BB calls. River 7, he checks again, I bet 2750, he moves me in for 1700 more, I obviously call and he has 66 for some reason.

Hand 2: I went on a bit of a rush from here but I can't really remember all the hands. I know i busted Mark Goodman when he called my position raise and checkraised all-in with a flush draw on the flop. He was short though so I had an easy call with top pair which held. I'm now up to about 22K.

Hand 3: I have a semi-active image but have mostly shown down good hands lately and I've never reraised anyone. It folds to a young Aussie guy in MP who raised to 600 at 100/200 a25. He's been pretty active and seems to know what he's doing, and he also has a pretty decent sized stack. I decide to make it 1850 in the CO with Q9o, but he calls. Not sure what he has here, could be trapping with a big hand, could have small pair or suited connector hoping to flop big and bust me, or maybe some random big cards he doesn't want to fold if he's worse than I think he is. Flop A87, he checks and I have to bet this flop as it he shouldn't usually like the ace. I bet 2750, he hums and haws about how unlucky it he is that an ace flopped and calls. The turn is an A, I obviously don't put any more money in. It checks down, and a key point in Australia is that the last aggressor always has to show their hand first. So I roll my Q9o so I can see his hand, and he the AA for quads. Anyways now my image obviously sucks, which is important for this hand.

Hand 4: A young German player Daniel Zink makes it 550 in EP. I still have around 16K and he covers me, and I find T9dd in the SB. I figure with my new bad table image I should get some action if I flop big and call. The flop comes 875 two diamonds, and I lead 1150, intending to reraise all-in if he raises my bet. He just calls though and the tuen is the 8d completing my flush b ut pairing the board. I bet 2675 and he calls. The river is a 5. I really think he has a big pair that he's playing pot control with, and given my new bad image I just might get a river bet paid off. It seems very unlikely he has a fullhouse given he didn't raise the flop, and a bigger flush is only a little worrisome. I make a fairly big bet of 6425, and he thinks for a bit and moves me in for 4250 more. I think I thought for 3 minutes or so, though most of my energy was probably dedicated to being angry and hating my life more than figuring out what to do. I really didn't see how it made sense for him to have a big hand here unless he slowplayed a monster on the flop, which on such a draw heavy board should be less likely. Anyways eventually I just talked some sense into myself and realized that he probably played his hand poorly on some street, but it's impossible for him to be bluffing and this is an easy fold. So I folded angrily.

Hand 5: Steveol7 raises to 800 at 150/300 a 25 on my right. I move in with 66, the button shoves over the top and I outflip his AK to get back to 10Kish. OK maybe I have a chance again.

Hand 6: From here not much happened. I blinded down a bit, I tried to raise the blinds twice butgot reraised both times despite they were the only two times I put chips in the pot during the 200/400 level. I got into pushbot mode to stay afloat. Eventually I got moved tables with 7500 at 300/600 a75. A player who Bond had told me is rkruok from online shoved his very short stack on my BB. I found AQ and instacalled but lost to his T6o. I then beat JJ with KT0 the next hand though to get right back where I was. My bustout hand was when I shoved 66 in EP with around 7K at 300/600 a75. The BB called with 88 and that was that.

Tomorrow is a $1500 bounty tournament that has a kind of weird structure I need to check out. In other news, the Full Tilt plane from LAX got in today with all the Full Tilt pros and people who won seats to the main event on their site, as well as some others who hitched a ride, so pretty much everyone is here now. I crashed the Full Tilt party for a bit tonight with Leo and a couple others which was alright. I also had kangaroo for dinner tonight, and it was actually pretty good. Still haven't headbutted or boxed any kangaroos yet though. They're avoiding me imo.

Mike

Aussie Update

Hey, we're 4 events into the Aussie Millions now and I'm still having a blast. I haven't had too much success myself so far, but friends have already put up some good finishes. timex got 2nd in the opening $1K NL event after chopping for $90K. For some reason he thought it was a good idea to trade 10% with me for the entire series so that has me in good shape thus far. Also, Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke won Event 3, the mixed stud tournament, for $17K. gobbo finished 2nd in the main event here last year for $1 million AUD, so he was definitely very pleased to come back and win an event this year. I had my first cash in the $1K limit holdem event today. I was min-betting along pretty well, but then I got caught making a move on the bubble which cut into my stack. After that I went card dead, and finally made a stand with ATo in my BB. Unfortunately I ran into the CO raiser's 93s, and that was that. I finished 15th for $1230. So once the $1100 buy-in is accounted for and the $123 I owe timex for our 10% swap, I finished ahead $7 on the day. Then I drank a $9 Crown Lager from the mini-bar in our hotel room. Sigh.

Outside of poker Melbourne has been a lot of fun. I've been hanging out with all the other online players that are already here a lot. We usually just end up going for dinner, having some drinks, and then end up back at Tony's place for Wii, chinese poker, more drinks, etc.... Tomorrow is the $1K rebuy, which should be a great tournament. It's the biggest effective buy-in preliminary event that I plan to play. Playing rebuy tournaments live is always a lot of fun because you get to do crazy stuff and laugh at the silly live nits who don't even rebuy off the start. Also, I'm 2/2 lifetime in cashing $1K rebuys, so I have a record to maintain. I haven't really given any tournament reports yet, but I'll get around to doing more of those at some point. The last thing anyone wants is to listen to me try to give limit holdem strategy, considering I was a losing 5/10 player on Party before I switched to mostly tournaments. It doesn't really matter though, because everywhere you go people are just awful at limit holdem. Keep in mind that limit holdem was the main game played in most casinos before the poker boom, so you'd think at least some of the old time players might be decent. Again, you would be wrong. Almost everyone has so many glaring fundamental leaks that it's ridiculous. Anyways, going to get some rest and hopefully put in a good showing in the rebuy tomorrow. Peace,

Mike

G'day from Melbourne

So I've arrived in Melbourne for the Aussie Millions. Today was the first event, a $1K NL event with 537 players. I just busted out after losing a flip, but I'll talk about that in a bit. The trip down here took much longer than any other I've been on. I believe it was around 22 hours in the air and close to 30 hours total. Despite not feeling well for most of the trip I managed to sleep a bit and arrive in relatively good shape. However, in the future I won't be booking any 14 hour flights with United, they just don't offer very much in terms of TV/movies and I can't sleep 14 hours straight on a plane. My bags arrived with no problems, however I was still missing a lot of stuff because Air Canada had lost my bag on my flight from St. John's to Toronto earlier in the week, and failed to deliver it before I left for Australia. So while I did have all my shorts and sandals that don't play so well in the several feet of snow in Newfoundland, I was rather low on some essentials such as socks and underwear. This meant the first order of business once getting checked into the hotel and cleaned up a bit would have to be Australian shopping spree.

Timex's bags did not arrive in Melbourne unfortunately, so after a brief delay for that we got a cab to Crowne Plaza Hotel where we are staying for the duration of the trip. Unfortunately the Crown Casino was sold out when I got around to booking, but the Plaza is still a very nice hotel just across the street, and our room is quite acceptable, though I'm told the rooms over at the Crown are incredible. As luck would have it, I was able to get a hold of Tony aka Bond18, another online player/friend/TwoRags blogger who lives in Melbourne now, and he and his girlfriend Celina were already planning to do some shopping that afternoon. A quick cab ride later and I met up with them. We ran around Melbourne all afternoon/evening for various errands such as food, shopping, and Crown Lager. I bought a bunch of clothes, though I may actually need more before the end of the trip. Between the travel, heat, beer, and my stomach not feeling so well, I was exhausted by 8:00, when we met some other poker players for more asian food. The following story is completely irrelevant, but was so bizarre I feel have to share it.

I decide to just order a coke since I've got no appetite, and they give me a glass with some ice to pour it in. As I said I'm completely exhausted and basically just trying to make it through the meal so I can get a ride back to the hotel. So I pour the coke into the glass, and as I'm putting the can down I hear the sound of ice and coke spilling out all over the table and feel coke dripping down onto my shorts. As exhausted as I am it takes a moment for me to process what is happening, and I am particularly confused because I am fairly certain I did not knock over the glass, nor can I remember hearing the sound of it smashing against the table. Finally I react to stand up and move out of the way of the spill, and as I do I notice that the glass has split right in half directly down the middle. As far as I can tell this seems like something that should basically be physically impossible, but all I can really muster as a reaction is to stare with a blank look of bewilderment on my face and point at it. In the end everyone has a good laugh, at my reaction as much as what happened, and I got another Coke and glass which did not explode.

After dinner I got dropped back at the hotel. My final errand of the day went smoothly fortunately. Instead of wiring money down, I was able to arrange to trade online money for Australian cash here with an Australian pro named Gary Benson at a reasonable rate. He has a cashout service for Aussie players on Pokerstars, but during tournaments here he also trades cash for online $$ for foreign players coming into town. I must say it's sure is a lot more convenient than dealing with a bank. Just send the transfer online, meet him down in the poker room to pick up the cash, and you're already over there to register for the tournament the next day. No annoying paper work and waiting periods like with banks. Anyways so far I love Melbourne. The people seem friendly, the accent is pretty cool, the women are gorgeous, the weather is beautiful, and what I've seen of the city so far is great, though I think I've mostly been in the nicer parts. What an awesome place to come lose $30K.

Oh yeah tournament report. I got my money in as a 2:1 dog twice and won, then got in as a coinflip twice and lost. I also made one rather awful fold preflop which I'm kinda pissed with myself about, but whatever. So I guess I'm not going to get around to that tournament report after all. If that's all you were looking for and I tricked you into reading all this then good, at least someone got through all my ramblings.

Mike

WPT Niagara Day 1 Report

Not much really happened in the first few levels. At one point I restole preflop with 67 and the flop came 953 and he folded to my bet. Another time a fairly active guy opened in MP to 600 at 100/200, very loose guy called next to act, the button called, and I decided to reraise in the SB with anything reasonable. Found QJo and made it 2600, original raiser instacalls, others fold. Flop K9x I just check, and he checks. Turn J chk/chk. River pairs the bottom card and chk/chk I win. He looks disgusted and says "Nice raise" to which I politely say "Thank you". So I have around 28K at my peak just winning a few small pots and eventually get moved tables. My original table was pretty soft in the everyone is super nitty way except they then randomly decide to not fold. My new table is just crazy. Several players limp a huge % of hands and there are huge pots being played all over the place. I lose some small pots at this table and drop back to 20K when my I play my first big pot of the day.

Hand 1: 150/300 a50, I have just under 20K last hand before break. UTG limps, he's bad, UTG+1 limps, he's bad, and two other guys limp who are also not likely very skilled I can't remember who. I find AQ in the BB and raise 1500 more. UTG instacalls as does UTG+1. Flop T82, I bet 5500, UTG folds, UTG+1 instashoves, I instacall. He has J7, the turn is an offsuit 9 :-(. River , though, and I double to 40.5K.

Hand 2: Early in 200/400 a75 level, folds to me in the CO with 22 I make it 1200. Button calls, he's bad (obv) and we see a 933 flop. I decide to check even though I probably have the best hand to stop him from doing anything something goofy that I can't really call and hopefully induce a bluff at some point. He bets 2K and I call. Turn is a 2! I check and he bets 5K. I think for a bit and decide if he has a big hand he'll probably just bet the river anyways and there's a good chance he's bluffing and will fire again so I can't raise and push him out now so I call and river is a Q. I check and he bets 20K, I shove and he instamucks. I think I have around 75K after this hand.

I don't think I play anymore really big pots. I win a few small pots punishing the weak limpers with raises in position and usually just winning with a flop bet whether I hit or not. So I have today and tomorrow off and Day 2 is on Monday. Average stack is around 45K so I'm in excellent shape with 76.1K.

Mike

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