Monday, December 04, 2006

Playing AA in the 1st level

I got to play just one hand in the big Poker Stars Sunday tournament. I have been thinking about this hand and maybe I just need to make a monster reraise with a big pair in this level preflop, since they seem to play just about anything to flop big (my opponent had Ah9s in this hand). I don't really know, let me know your thoughts on the best way to play AA with deep stacks in the first level of the tourney.

Poker Stars
No Limit Holdem Tournament
Blinds: t40/t80
9 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: t10480
Hero: t9880
MP1: t7140
MP2: t7460
MP3: t10640
CO: t6640
Button: t18160
SB: t9000
BB: t10600

Pre-flop: (9 players) Hero is UTG+1 with
UTG folds, Hero calls t80 (pot was t120), 2 folds, MP3 raises to t240, 4 folds, Hero raises to t960, MP3 calls t720 (pot was t1320).

Flop: (t2040, 2 players)
Hero bets t960, MP3 calls t960 (pot was t3000).

Turn: (t3960, 2 players)
Hero is all-in t7960, MP3 calls t7960 (pot was t11920).

River: (t19880, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t19880)

Final pot: t19880
MP3 showed 9s Ah
Hero showed As Ac

Friday, December 01, 2006

November results

I played just 8 tournaments in November and played a grand total of 0 hours in cash games. All the tournaments I played were Stars tournaments, this is the list:

11/21/06 PS NLH $200+15 3088 out of 6733
11/26/06 PS NLH $200+15 194 out of 1050
11/28/06 PS NLH Rebuys $100+9 (Spent $309) 165 out of 197
11/28/06 PS NLH $100+9 49 out of 377
11/28/06 PS NLH $150+12 372 out of 956
11/30/06 PS NLH $300+20 558 out of 758
11/30/06 PS NLH $100+9 60 out of 270
11/30/06 PS NLH Rebuys $100+9 (Spent $309) 5 out of 167, FT, won $3,984.50

ITM: 1/8 FT: 1/8 Total Spent: $1748 (Rake: $98) Total won: $3,984.50 Profit: $2,236.50

I luckboxed my way to the FT in the last tournament I played in the month, besides that the rest of them were the usual amount of frustration. One good thing is I finished in the black and I'm ready to work in December, my goal is to play at least 100 tourneys. Let's see if I do it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stack size and calling an all in when reraised

Lurking in the 2+2 forum archives I found this post I made more than a year ago. Hope you like it and provide some comments about it:

Stack size and calling an all in when reraised (essay). 05/31/05 01:38 AM

This is a usual question in this forum. What is the size of your stack such that you're in desperate mode, or basically commited to call all in when somebody reraise you.

Lets suppose the size of your stack is S = 12x, x = big blind; and you decide to open raise in MP to 4x, and somebody reraise you to 12x, should you call?

The analysis is pretty simple. You need to call 8x for a 18x (12x + 4x and lets suppose there are 2x in the pot to begin with, this varies from 0.5x to 2.5x). So you have odds of 8 to 18 or 1 to 2.25. So basically your hand needs to be 100/(1+2.25) = 30% or better against your opponent range. These are pretty good odds, even with a hand like KJo you're 34% against a range of AA-55, AK-AT, KQ. Even with a AA-88, AK-AQ range, you're 32%, so you need to call.

Now, lets suppose S = 24x, same scenario and you're reraised all in or close to it in practice, like somebody reraised to 20x, you know you're going all in anyway. Now you need to call 20x for a 30x pot, giving you odds of 1:1.5 , now your hand needs to be 100/2.5 = 40% or better; against AA-88,AK-AQ you can not call with KJo, what about AJs? Nope, just 35%. Even AQo is 36.5%, you need better than AQs (39.8%) in this spot vs such range.

Now, lets do the analysis in general for this situation, your stack = S, if you raise to 4x and need to call all in, you need to call S-4 to win a S+6 pot. Then your odds are 1 to (S+6)/(S-4) doing some elementary math, this is 1 + 10/(S-4). With this fraction is easy to see that if you want 1:2 odds, then S=14. Then basically, anytime you're behind the 14x mark, you need to choose a hand to go all in that is just better than 33%.

We can even generalize this result. Instead of raising to 4x, lets suppose you raise to Mx and reraised all in. Now you need to call S - M for a S + M + 2 pot; then your odds are 1 to

(S+M+2)/(S-M) = (S-M+2M+2)/(S-M) = 1 + (2M+2)/(S-M)

Now if you want to get 1:2 odds then (2M+2)/(S-M) = 1

this is 2M+2 = S-M this is M = (S-2)/3 !!! ... (sirio's raising factor )

Then you can manipulate the odds you're getting with your raise (how nice is that!!), if S = 14 then M = 4 is optimal to get 1:2 ; and if your stack = 17x, then M = 5 is the optimal raise to get 1:2 odds.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A humility lesson from the Mathematical Olympiad I can use for poker

As you could see by my lack of posting I have not played any poker at all in the last 3 weeks. All my energy has been used in training students for the National Mathematical Olympiad in Mexico and then going to the contest in the city of Zacatecas.
I started teaching at the high school level in 1987 (I was a pretty young high school teacher at 17), I started teaching at the college level since 1992 and I have been involved as a professor in the Olympiad contests since 1991, I've been pretty successful in those since some of my students have won State, National and International contests since then. The Golden age was the period between 1995 and 1997, when the State (Chihuahua) I was responsible for the academic training won the National Contest 3 years in a row, something unheard of at the time. The win in 96 was just monumental, think of the basketball USA dream team in the 92 Olympics in Barcelona, my students were the Mathematics dream team in the country and I was the coach at 26, I felt great and I knew I was making a difference.
Then I discovered poker in 1997, and started to play in my local casino at El Paso, first the 1-3 Holdem and Stud games, 3 months later the 4-8 level and before the year ended I was already playing the biggest game in town, the 15-30 holdem game. I really loved the game and I was good at it, and soon I started to make some money, but of course some other areas in my life suffered because of the insane amount of time I was dedicating to poker. One of these areas was the Olympiad, after winning 3 years in a row, we came in 8th in 1998. I was really disappointed and tried to work harder for the 1999 contest, we made a little come back and placed 3rd that year (out of 32 states). In the 2000's we got 4th,4th,4th,3rd,4th, and 4th in 2005. We still were one of the elite states in the country; but the time I was using to work in the Olympiad was less and less each year, specially after 2003, when I started to play poker in the Internet.
So, 2006 was here, I'm still in charge of the Chihuahua State team, but I didn't work hard enough. I tried to make an heroic effort in the last month, but it was obvious it was not going to be good enough. The Olympiad contest is just too complex to expect a good result without working all year. We went to Zacatecas last week and we came in 18th place out of 32. It was a shameful result. The worst result Chihuahua had since 1991 was 9th; 18th was a nightmare. I felt terrible, I felt I was a total loser and I needed to do something, I'm trying to learn something from this experience. Interestingly enough, there are some similarities between my bad 2006 results in the Olympiad and those in poker. There is the "luck factor"; in the Olympiad, we lost our 3 best students, for different circumstances they couldn't go to the contest, 50% of the team, since 6 students participate from each state, so they have to be replaced with other 3, good, but obviously not as good as them. The luck factor in poker is obvious to all of you who have read (bore ?!) this blog in 2006. But the most important factor is the lack of preparation, the complacency factor. To think, you're so good at poker or Math Olympiad problems, that you'll just keep on winning no matter how lazy you are. I remember in 1994, after coming in 7th in the national contest, I really wanted to win; despite my young age, I developed a plan with the help of some friends to reshape all the things we used to do in the state; we developed a new model to work, and we work hard, really hard, we were really motivated, we had that hunger, we wanted to win it all. The results of all that hard work, came fast, we won 1995,1996 and 1997; our model was even imitated by a lot of states in the country; we were the team to beat in the national contest. But time passed and many states began to work hard, in the meantime we became complacent, we stopped working hard, hell, we stopped working, we didn't improve, we didn't change, and the results are there, many states passed us, they are just better than us now, some of them much better that it hurts. Same with poker, after my monster 2004,2005, I stopped working, I became complacent; too many young kids (and some not that young) with the hunger to win started to work hard and became much better players than me. The Olympiad and poker are some of my loves in my life so far, but I lost that passion, the drive to make you still a better player or coach every day; the complacency state is a terrible one. I need to wake up, I know today what it's my true level in Poker and Math, and I'm not satisfied, 18th place (or barely ahead in poker) is for losers and I'm not a loser, but I'm behaving like one and I need to change.
For the Math Olympiad, I already have great plans to reshape things once again, to innovate, I predict 1st place again in 3 years, and top 3 by 2007.
For Poker, it's a little more difficult to predict results, since in the Math Olympiad you can minimize the luck factor to around zero if you work hard enough, no such thing in poker; but of course you can work hard and play as perfect as you can every hand and they will come.

If you build it, they will come .....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Olimpiada de Matematicas, Sports Betting, Fantasy

These days I haven't played much (as if I had played much at all anytime during the year, what a lazy bum I am); because I have been so involved with the Mathematics Olympiad Contest in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. Despite living in the US, I'm still the Chairman in that event and last week (Oct 13 - Oct 15) the State Contest was held in Chihuahua City (4 hours from El Paso). As usual it was a grueling event for us organizers, we slept like 2 hours in a 50 hours span, first, designing the exam and later grading them. After we decided the winners of the event, we came back to El Paso and I have spent a good time of this week working in the Official Page of the Chihuahua Mathematical Olympiad; it is in Spanish and contains links to beautiful Mathematical Olympiad Problems (most of the links are in English).
The Mathematical Olympiad is like my ex-wife, my love before I married poker, poker is still my love these days, but since we've been having some problems and I still get along really well with Olympiad, well, I decided to spend some time with Olympiad; Poker doesn't mind, I know.

I'll try to play some tourneys this week, I need to help my "old team" in this poker contest; I haven't played as much as I promised Sheets (the organizer and one of the best players in the net), and I feel kind of bad because of that; I'll try my best this last week to score some points for the team.

I have been also making an incursion in sports betting; as today basically I'm just betting arbitrages (sure things); you don't win much, but it's nice to win something while at the same time you're learning the business. I kind of like the research you need to do in Sports, since I've always liked to stare and study all kind of information. But lets see if Sports Betting is profitable enough to keep doing it, at the moment for sure beats having the money at the bank.

My Fantasy Football teams are doing pretty well, I'm in 4 leagues, last week I went 4-0 and this week I'm 3-0 with still a pending result. I'm such a pro Fantasy Player, if only you could win some real money playing Fantasy .....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another one, now Full Tilt $163

The streak continues, but again I couldn't maintain a big chip lead I had with around 13 players left, I tried to control the table and instead the table controlled me; and went from 1/13 to 6/9 when the Final Table started. Yesterday was a pretty good day, I played 4 tourneys and I almost made 2 final tables since I finished 12/1001 in the Paradise $30 Rebuys, here I was also the chip leader all the way from 50 to 30 players left, but the huge blinds took care of that. I played also the $150 in Stars and the $200 Friday Special in Party and I almost made the money in both of them; I lost again with AA in Party versus KT preflop. In Stars I made a mistake with KQ and then I went all in with 44 and I think I should have waited a little longer, so I consider it a mistake too. I have played some interesting hands in all these tourneys, I'll post them later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another Final table (Party Super Thursday), but meh

3 days in a row with top 10 performances, hope the streak continues. This Party FT was pretty disappointing, because I was one of the chip leaders with 11 left, but lost most of my stack when I played A5d in the big blind and the flop came AA5.
But it's nice to be winning flips again and the occasional suckout does not hurt. I did lose AA-TT in the Stars $150 and AT-A7 in Paradise yesterday though; but the bad luck ratio I think it's coming back to normal; and by normal I mean normal bad luck; I can stand normal bad luck as in my play does not deteriorate. And with some good luck, oh man, the sky is the limit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WCOOP Report up to Event#4

WCOOP #1 Limit Razz $200+15 1297 entrants

1209 out of 1297

To be honest, I don't know if I played well this tourney, by my results I guess not. I did practice the day before playing some satellites to have a feeling for the game, actually I think the game it's pretty easy to master, but I guess I'll have to wait to prove it.

WCOOP #2 No Limit Holdem $500+30 4495 Entrants

4252 out of 4495

Pretty good tourney with a $2,247,500 prize pool, with $365,218 for first place.
Well, I get to play just one important hand:
Blinds: t10/t20
9 players

Stack sizes:
Hero (CO): t2460
BT: t2380

Pre-flop: (9 players) Hero is CO with Ac8c
5 folds, Hero raises to t60, Button raises to t150, 2 folds, Hero calls t90 (pot was t240).

Flop: :6d :8d :8s (t330, 2 players)
Hero checks, Button bets t225, Hero raises to t760, Button raises all-in t2230, Hero calls t1470 (pot was t3320).

Villian shows KsKd

Turn: Kh (t4790, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t4790)

River: 7d (t4790, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t4790)


Peflop: My raise preflop was ok, I'm in LP with a nice hand and I'll be happy to play with the blinds if they want to. Button makes a little raise, usually this means a pretty strong hand unless you know the player since some good players use to do this with whatever shit they want to play in the button. I decided to call, I think my decision will be an easy one unless I catch an A, but still, I think I won't lose much when I'm behind and I can stack my opponent if he indeed has a big pair.
Flop: The flop was perfect, here you can lead but I prefer to check raise, I think I win more this way when they have nothing and make a continuation bet; and also it would be easier to stack them if they do have a big pair like it was the case. He cooperated and put all his chips in the pot with the overpair.
Turn: 2006's special.

I was pretty shortstacked after this hand, and went out a little after when I happily put all my remaining chips with JJ only to find somebody in the blinds with AA.

WCOOP#3 Pot Limit Omaha $300+20 with rebuys

I missed this one since I thought it would be at the same time as the previous 2 tourneys, but they changed the hour for the weekdays tournaments. Anyways, Omaha is so confusing with that many cards in your hand.

WCOOP#4 No Limit Match Play $200+15 2048 entrants

68 out of 2048

This was a heads up tourney, money was at 256, so you have to win your first 3 matches to cash. I'm no expert in HU play, but I usually have done well the few times I have played HU tourneys. I won my first 4 matches against pretty good players, usually they were more aggressive than me and I think I adjusted pretty well versus their aggression. My 5th opponent was also good, but I think, at least 3 of the previous 4 were better than him, he was less aggressive than me and i think my mistake was that I failed to adjust properly to this fact.

I think the most important hand in that last match up was this one:

Blinds: t400/t800
2 players

Stack sizes:
SB: t23520
Hero: t24480

Pre-flop: (2 players) Hero is BB with AhQd
SB calls t400 (pot was t1200), Hero raises to t2400, SB calls t1600 (pot was t3200).

Flop: :2s :6h :9d (t4800, 2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t2400, Hero raises to t5600, SB calls t3200 (pot was t12800).

Turn: :7s (t16000, 2 players)
Hero bets t6400, SB calls t6400 (pot was t22400).

River: :2c (t28800, 2 players)
Hero checks, SB checks.

Final pot: t28800
Hero showed Ah Qd
Villian showed Jd 9c

I think I did my best to represent an overpair, I think the check-raise in the flop and the strong bet in the turn were pretty good, I couldn't fire another barrel in the river, since in my mind he was calling. In retrospect I think I shouldn't make any sophisticated plays versus this kind of opponent since he was pretty straightforward and more willing to call, so I should have changed my strategy with him; being just a little more aggressive than him and value-bet strongly my good hands, but I didn't change gears with him.

I was pretty upset with myself after the tourney, I just won $816, but I felt I didn't play my best in my last match, I played pretty good poker the first 4 matches against stronger players but I didn't against this player, he was good but not as good as some of the previous ones. Besides, I was pretty distracted doing some other things at the time, I was in a conference call, my little kid was crying and I didn't sleep the night before. So, my judgement wasn't the best. Luckily I can correct some of these things for future tourneys, and it's good to be playing poker again.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Back to poker !!

I'll play most of the events of the WCOOP, the World Championship of Online Poker in PokerStars. There will be 18 tournaments between today and October 1st and hopefully I can play some 12 of them. LOL, this is almost the total number of online tourneys I have played in the last 2 months. Lets see if things change or if I go busto, haha, wish me luck. In this pretty moment I'm playing a satellite to the first event, a $215 Razz tournament; Razz is fun, garbage cards are the nuts !!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Want $1000 ?

I have not played almost at all, I have not written, basically I have not done anything, anxiety attacks and depression got the best of me these days; I'll probably make a post about this in the future.
I just want to tell you right now about this bet. There is a sportsbook that is offering a sick promotion on the Pittsburgh-Miami game next Thursday, you need to bet $1,100 US dollars to Pittsburgh, if Pittsburgh wins, you win $1000 dollars, and the beauty is that if Miami wins then the sportsbook refunds you your $1,100 and you lose $0. Incredible !!. Too good to be true, yes, but it is, I have done some research and it looks like a legit bet and promotion and it does make sense for the sportsbook from a marketing point of view. So, if you have $1,100 in your Neteller account or have $1,100 you can use, this is it, even if you don't bet sports (I don't); this promotion is just too good to miss. If you want to do it, please follow this link to the promotion, you can read the details in the home page. Basically you need to open an account, fund your account with $1,100 and make the bet in the sportsbook (don't confuse with the sports exchange, the bet has to be made in the sportsbook). You also need to bet exactly $1,100 to Pittsburgh with the line such that you will win $1000 and you can't hedge (making a bet to Miami). The value of this promotion is easily $500; I made it when the line was PIT -5, but since "Big Ben" (the PIT QB) had surgery yesterday, he won't play next Thursday, so the line today is EVEN, a great line for the people doing the bet today and of course pretty bad news for all of us who already made the bet at -5. Hopefully you have the money to make it. It's one of those rare pretty good promotions that happen from time to time.
Now, back to my hole.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Eres de la region El Paso-Juarez ?

Me encantaria que pusieras un mensaje en este post si vives en la region de El Paso-Juarez o relativamente cercas (+ - 4 horas) de esta region. Me gustaria hacer una reunion de jugadores de poker de esta region, para platicar nuestras experiencias, quizas la podriamos llevar a cabo en UTEP, o dependiendo cuantos seamos, en algun restaurante de la localidad. Escribe si eres de por aca, y deja tu email para hacer una lista y ver de que manera nos podemos juntar.
So, if you're a poker player from this region, lets hear from you and lets plan a meeting !!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

WSOP ME Payout structure

This is the payout structure for this year Main Event:

1 $12,000,000
2 $6,102,499
3 $4,123,310
4 $3,628,513
5 $3,216,182
6 $2,803,851
7 $2,391,520
8 $1,979,189
9 $1,566,858
12,11,10 $1,154,527
13-15 $907,128
16-18 $659,730
19-27 $494,797
28-36 $329,865
37-45 $247,399
46-54 $164,932
55-63 $123,699
64-72 $90,713
73-81 $65,973
82-126 $51,129
127-189 $47,006
190-252 $42,882
253-315 $38,759
316-378 $34,636
379-441 $30,512
442-504 $26,389
505-567 $22,266
568-621 $20,617
622-666 $19,050
667-720 $17,730
721-774 $16,493
775-819 $15,504
820-873 $14,597

I would like to know who decides the structure and what are the guidelines to make such decision? I just don't understand the need to give 12 million to 1st place. 10 million would be a very nice round number and enough for marketing purposes, hell, even last year's 7.5 million was an insane amount of money. I find ridiculous to win only about $50k if you finish 82-126, you just beat like 99% of the field and you win only 5x your buy in? Let's compare to the 2005 payout structure:

1 $7,500,000
2 $4,250,000
3 $2,500,000
4 $2,000,000
5 $1,750,000
6 $1,500,000
7 $1,300,000
8 $1,150,000
9 $1,000,000
10 $600,000
11 $600,000
12 $600,000
13 $400,000
14 $400,000
15 $400,000
16 $350,000
17 $350,000
18 $350,000
19-27 $304,680
28-36 $274,090
37-45 $235,390
46-54 $173,880
55-63 $145,875
64-72 $124,835
73-81 $107,950
82-90 $91,950
91-100 $77,710
101-110 $65,360
111-140 $54,965
141-170 $46,245
171-200 $39,075
201-230 $33,197
231-260 $28,375
261-300 $24,365
301-350 $21,070
351-400 $18,335
401-450 $16,055
451-500 $14,135
501-560 $12,500

It just does not seem right, if you finish 37th in 2006 you win around the same as if you finish 37th in 2005; but the difference between the number of players was more than 3000 !!! 8773 compared to 5619.

Even more ridiculous is if you finish between 82-90, in 2005 you win $92k but in 2006 you win only $52k, WTF??

I have always been a big proponent of flat payouts, usually this means to take money from the top places, but if there is a tournament where you can do this without affecting the "heavyness" of the top prizes, it's this one. I just don't understand why in the world you want to give 1st place 12 million and take out of the poker economy a lot of money. The wealth should be spread, it's not that I'm a poker communist (if even the term makes sense); it's just better for the poker economy. They should cap the 1st place to 10 million, that's enough money; I think even for the guys at Bellagio that play the big game, 4-8k, they should be happy with that number the one time one of them is going to win in the next 50 years. Why did they decide this structure for 2006? Any of your guesses is better than mine.

Monday, August 07, 2006

WSOP Main Event

Well, it's still too painful to post about my main event, I just can tell you now, that I didn't have any luck but I didn't play my best either. I made at least 2 mistakes and you just can't made any, well, some people can (Aaron Kanter, Tiffany Willamson in last years WSOP ME), but people with "average" luck like me shouldn't (average, yeah right).

Right now, the main even is in its n-th day, hah, don't even know how many days, but the players left will be playing in their 6th day. Out of the 8773 players that started, there are 45 players left. Who are we rooting for? Well, I have 2 friends left in the field. The amazing Eric "Rizen" Lynch and the colorful Costa Rican Humberto Brenes. Humberto has a short stack with 565,000 good for 41 out of the 45, but Humberto is a pretty good short stack player. Eric has a 1,900,000 good for 19 out of 45, and it doesn't matter if Eric has a short, medium or big stack; he's like the "Neo" of Poker, the chosen one, whatever it needs to happen, it will happen. He has supernatural powers, whatever he wants to admit it or not. Both are extremely nice guys, I have had the fortune to talk poker with Humberto in several occasions through the years, in my traveling to several tournaments across the country; since we share our beautiful Spanish language. He was the first I talked about my hands after being busted from the main event on Sunday July 30, and he nicely gave me his advise about how he would have played the hands, all this while signing like 100 autographs and getting his picture taken with plenty of fans. Eric is not that well-known by the general public (so far), but he will be, the same Sunday I had the chance to hang out with Eric for like 3 hours talking about poker, life, family and some other things; I really enjoyed the time I spent with Eric. In all the time I spent in Vegas last month, I just took like 5 pictures with my camera, and the only two I took with an individual were with precisely Humberto and Eric; and here they are in the final 45 of this monster field. It would be real sweet if they can make the final table.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Today is the day baby !!!! I'll be playing at table 206 seat 2. I feel really well and I'm ready. BELIEVE !!!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dia 1C, el torneo mas grande en la historia del poker

Esta noche de Miercoles fui con Diana al Rio (Hotel and Casino) a pagar mi entrada para el torneo de $10,000; en la tarde habiamos ido a sacar el dinero en una sucursal de Bank of America aqui en Las Vegas y ya en la noche fui a inscribirme. Este sera el torneo mas grande en la historia del poker, se esperan alrededor de 8000 personas, distribuidas en 4 dias de 2000 participantes cada dia, si entran 8000 el prize pool ("la polla") sera de alrededor de 80 millones de dolares, todo aquel que llegue a la mesa final se convertira en un nuevo millonario. El sueno para todo jugador de poker es jugar en este evento, llegar a hacer historia y porque no, resolver tus problemas economicos de por vida. Al llegar a pagar a la caja, me dejaron escoger que dia queria empezar a jugar, Viernes (1A), Sabado (1B), Domingo (1C) o Lunes (1D); despues de un analisis, decidi que el Domingo seria el mejor dia, este es el dia 1C; el Domingo ya tendre la experiencia de ver la accion los primeros 2 dias; ademas, si llego a pasar al 2o dia, jugaria hasta el Miercoles, el Martes jugaran los sobrevivientes de los dias 1A y 1B y el Miercoles los sobrevivientes de los dias 1C y 1D; asi que tambien tendria la oportunidad de observar la accion del Martes, ademas de que tendria un dia de descanso extra para el Miercoles con respecto a los que jugaran el Lunes; asi que el Domingo me parecio una buena opcion.
Este Jueves, Viernes y Sabado no tengo nada que hacer aqui en Las Vegas mas que estudiar y eso es lo que hare, prepararme para jugar lo mejor que pueda; el jueves en la noche habra algunas fiestas y quizas asista a algunas de ellas, pero tratare de estar completamente recluido en mi cuarto de hotel la mayor parte del dia para prepararme. En algunos lugares de apuestas me tienen a 2000 a 1 a ganar, y 200 a 1 a llegar a la mesa final; creo que esas odds son correctas, y a decir verdad, a pesar de ser numeros tan grandes, no suenan tan mal. Jajaja, 200 a 1 a ser millonario suena "nice". Bueno, espero estar escribiendo updates, aunque mi conexion de Internet de Verizon no esta tan buena, por alguna razon en Las Vegas funciona medio lenta. Yo creo que con toda mi mala suerte de este año, pues de perdido debo de llegar a la mesa final del campeonato de la WSOP para estar a mano de bad beats y sufrimientos, jejejejeje, esperemos que los Dioses del Poker se acuerden de mi, yo espero hacer mi parte y jugar mi mejor poker ...... pero sobre todo, disfrutar el evento ....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore !!

Well, another day, another bad beat, online, live poker, WSOP, it makes no difference. I'm just cursed and looks like there's not much I can do about it. I played just one round today (second day of the WSOP NLH $2K), the blinds were 800-1600 with 200 ante, since we were playing 10 handed, that means 4400 every round. Since I had around 30k, a comfortable stack but still kind of short to make moves, I needed more chips to attempt more steals, the opportunity came real fast; I was in the SB with about a 29k stack, old lady in MP raised to 5k, she had about the same stack as me and she had just lost about 10k in a pot versus the table chip leader, folded to me and I was very pleased to see KK, even I was like 1 for 3 with KK in this world series. Now, what's the move, I can just call, I can raise a little, I can make a good sized raise or I can go all in. The pot had already like 9400, already big, I didn't consider just calling an option because of the size of the pot already and I don't want the BB playing with the right odds with something like AT-AJ, so I decided to raise, now what's best; my first thought was to go all in for the 29k, this is overbet the pot, so she calls with 77-TT thinking I have AK, or she called with AJ-AQ thinking I have 88-TT. But then I thought a better option would be to raise and then bet the flop, since I think there was a good chance she folded in the flop, now, how much to raise, if I raised to something like 12k, then she had to call just 7k for a 21k pot, those are damn good odds, so I decided to raise more, but to leave her with something, I decided to raise to 17k, she needed to call 12k into the 26k pot and she would have about 12k left, of course I was not folding, it doesn't matter the flop, I raised to 17k, leaving me with about 12k, and after a while she decided to go all in with AT ???, of course I called, I had already 17k in the pot with 12k left, I was calling with anything in that spot. What was she thinking? Anyway I was glad to see her make that terrible mistake; I think she just lost it, you have to be able to think straight for so many hours in these tourneys and I guess she just couldn't take it anymore and she just went ahead and put her whole 30k with a very marginal hand and a terrible spot since with the action most probably her hand was going to be completely dominated with a big pair or with AK, I was really happy to be able to have a 65k stack that soon so I would be able to apply pressure to the table and make some of my plays, but again, this would not happen, I lost again with KK and the terrible play was rewarded once again. She had now a big stack (about twice the average) and I was left with a black 100 chip, the whole table was rooting for me in the next hand, I was all in for half the ante, but I lost it. Same scene, same pain, everybody at the table feeling bad for me, shaking my hand, telling me I was a great player and shit happens. I was out and went to receive $3731 for my efforts. I'm 1 for 4 with KK in this world series, it's about the same online, nothing changes, this year has been terrible, I'm just tired. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that it has been filled with badbeats; I would like to write more meaningful entries, I have always interesting hands to share, but usually my poker spirit is just broken and I just don't have the desire to write. Most good players know you just need to take your beats like a man, and I just used to do that, it was easier when you had an average luck. These days, I think I have a wall over my shoulders. I'll try to finish this world series as planned, but after that I'll need to rethink if this is what I really want to do for the rest of my life. Thankfully I have been blessed and I have always excelled at everything I do, so it would not be a problem to focus my energy in some other avenue. But let's see. I know today I'm just mad, but the thing is, I have started to entertain the idea of quitting poker and that was before today, the events today just reinforce it. Don't get me wrong, I love poker, but probably I just don't have the emotional and mental state necessary to be a poker player and I don't mean to be a successful poker player, I know I am and I will be successful (as in winning money) if I keep playing, even with all the beats, but I mean the mental state to be happy while being a professional poker player; that is what it's really important, you need to be happy with what you do for a living, it does not matter if you're successful if you're not happy. Life is way too short to spend time being unhappy. Money is good but it's not that important in the grand scheme of things. The important thing it's to live everyday with passion, to love, to be really alive and these days, sometimes I feel like a zombie. Next time I win a tourney, I'll try to write about this topic again, probably my mental state will be different then, but that's the thing, your happiness should not depend of random events, and until I really learn that, I will suffer. Hopefully I learn, but if I don't, I'll move on, no big deal. Life is just awesome.

At last I made a 2nd day in a WSOP event this year

I'm still alive in the $2000 NLH Event, WSOP #31. There are 144 left out of the more than 2000 players that started. We are already in the money, I have a 31,700 stack, good for 50th out of the 144, about average. Tomorrow we'll be playing at 2 PM (PST), I'll be at table 135 seat 5. Today I had no bad beats, almost no good cards all day, no AA, no QQ, I had KK once and won for the first time in the WSOP, I was 0 for 2 before today with KK. I had my first suckout in this WSOP when I was all in (kind of short-stacked) with 88 versus Fabrice Soulier KK and I survived. I won a big coin flip with AK vs 99; but mostly I played a pretty solid game. I aim to continue playing my best tomorrow (today) and hopefully the poker Gods cooperate.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Wow, what a final table, this is your line up for the final table of the biggest ($$$$) event at this year's WSOP, the $50k H.O.R.S.E. tournament:

1 David 'Chip' Reese 1,756,000
2 Doyle Brunson 1,227,000
3 Andy Bloch 934,000
4 Phil Ivey 885,000
5 Jim Bechtel 841,000
6 David Singer 745,000
7 Dewey Tomko 438,000
8 T.J. Cloutier 351,000
9 Patrik Antonius 13,000

Just amazing, how I wish I were in Vegas to watch it live; but I'm back to Vegas until Monday. Yesterday they played 19 hours straight to get to the Final Table, damn, Doyle Brunson, the legend is 73 years old !!!!!. Just wow, he's the man; he'll be playing today for a record 11th bracelet, but he'll have to face Ivey, arguably the best poker player in the world; Reese, arguably the best all-around player in the last 30 years; Betchel World Champion 1993; Tomko and Cloutier, both two times second in the World Championship, Tomko in 1982 and 2001; Cloutier 1985 and 2000. I expect great poker to be played at the final table; this one will be televised by ESPN.
H.O.R.S.E. stands for Holdem, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud high-low. It's a rotation game and it's the most expensive tournament in the WSOP with a $50,000 entry fee; since so many variants of poker are played, it's expected that you have to be a well round poker player to even play it, not to mention you have to be rich (or have rich backers); these guys pay $50k to play one tournament; I don't want to imagine how many people in the world, does not make that much in one year. Poker is just sick in so many ways.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Online poker, back to the painful wait

I'm back to El Paso, and decided to play some online tournament poker. Playing in the WSOP made me to have the desire again. I just played 4 online tournaments last Thursday and 3 tournaments today.

Thursday I didn't even last one hour in my 4 tournaments.
Thu- Stars $150 , lost KK-QQ
Thu- Party $150 , lost AA-99
Thu- Party WSOP $215, lost JJ versus 88 and QQ (Or course I was 3rd, since the 88 was the one who covered me)
Thu Paradise $30 Rebuys, lost 22-A8 and I didn't even rebuy since I was tilting because of the other 3 tourneys.

So, Thursday was awful and again I found myself with a very hard time to play afterwards, and I just didn't play on Friday and Saturday.

Sunday, again I gave it a try, after watching the final match of the World Cup (Italy - France); I decided to play 3 tournaments, the Stars 1 Million, which is now a $200 + 1 rebuy + 1 add on, so basically you spend $615; I played also my first $650 Satellite to the WSOP in Stars and the Party 1 Million ($215), so I spent $1480

Stars WSOP $650, I raised in the button with AK, BB reraised and I went all in with no hesitation at all, he thought and called me with K2 ??; of course that was it with a 2 in the flop.

Stars 1 Million, I raised with AK, somebody reraised and I called all in, he had A9h and that was it of course, with a 993 flop. I was 588 out of 2708.

Party 1 Million, with 62 players left, I raised with 88 in EP to 100k with 15-30k blinds, MP went AI for 460k, I had 330k left and called, he had KQ ??? and I lost the race. I was 62 out of 4841 and won $1600.

So, I won $120 dollars this Sunday, next Sunday I better go work to Walmart, I think it's about the same rate.

So, I have played just these 7 tournaments online in like a month and a half; with the same results as all year (I swear I'm not making up all these hands). To be fair, I do win a big pot in the Party 1M as a 41% favorite "only"; when my KTc in the BB cracked AQ in the button. But there are just too many mines. It's almost impossible to avoid them all, the play by the guys who beat me with the K2 and the KQ are indicative about how is online poker nowadays, the level of random (donkish?) aggression is sky-high and obviously with this, the variance associated to tournaments (not to mention the big fields). I know at the end things will even out. It's just a painful wait.

Friday, July 07, 2006

MLG owns WSOP #5

Mike Goodman aka "MLG", made the final table in the WSOP #5 event, $2,500 NLH short-handed, you can find his report here. He had an interesting final table with Dutch Boyd and Joseph Hachem the WSOP 2005 Champion; he played well, but lost most of his chips in a pot versus the chip leader and eventual winner Dutch Boyd with KK vs Dutch's K9 in a 992 flop. He got 4th place for a cool $115,607. The guy is amazing, I have had the opportunity to talk poker with him several times, and I just love his poker brain. Here is a picture taken at a break during the final table; from left to right: Jared "durron" Martin; David "sirio" Cossio; Jameson "bugstud" Painter; Carl "colson" Olson and our heroe Mike "MLG" Goodman.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

2 interesting hands from WSOP Event #6

Hand #1:

25-50 blinds, I have a 1800 stack, folded to me in LP with AJ, I raise to 150, CO calls the 150, both blinds fold.

Flop is KQ8 rainbow, I bet 250 and CO calls. Because of the size of my stack, at this point, most of the time I'm done with the hand.

Turn is an A, the pot is about 875 and I have 1400 left, I decided to check, he then bet 400, he had more than 3000. Pretty bad spot for me, the main problem is the size of my stack, there are not too many hands I'm beating at this point, I just don't see him betting something like KJ,KT with this turn, and a call in the flop with JJ-99 or 77-22 is not that likely; probably the only hand I'm ahead is something like AT, since because of his stack, he could call the flop with the gutshot; on the other hand, a hand like JTs make a lot of sense, preflop. flop and now in the turn with the 400 bet; 88 makes sense also, even KQ, but I prefer to raise the flop with KQ. After thinking for a while I decided my hand was no good to spend another 400 and folded. I think it was a good fold.

Hand #2:

50-100 blinds, 10 handed, EP limps, MP calls, I have As8s in LP and call the 100, button calls, SB calls, BB checks.
Pot is 600 and I have about 1700 left.

Flop is 9s2s2c; SB and BB checked, EP limper with just 1300 left open-bets 500. MP folds, 3 people still to act besides the EP, yikes, it's pretty hard to imagine him folding with just 800 left, so my fold equity is almost zero if I push, now I have the odds versus an overpair, but I don't like the fact the board is paired, specially with 3 people still to act. Again, I just couldn't call, I folded, the button pushed, and EP called. Button had A9 and EP had KsTs; so, looked like a good fold at the time; but at this time I'm not so sure and I think maybe the best play was to just push the flop.
The main problem was EP bet, if nobody bets I'm pushing the flop, if he bets 300 or less I'm pushing since I have fold equity, this is, there is a good chance of him folding with 1000 left, but he decided to bet 500, so he's basically playing the hand, I have to say that I have seen people folding for their last 800 or less in spots like this, but I'm always assuming some degree of mental sanity in my opponents (I know, I know, this is a mistake in general); if the board was something like 7s3s3d, I'm playing no matter what; if the board was something like 8d3s2s, I really, really want to go all in. But it was 9s2s2c, not bad, but not ideal, still I think the best play was probably to push the flop after the 500 bet, you need to accumulate chips in tournaments like this where the stacks are not deep, and it's just pretty hard to keep waiting for a better spot. In fact a level later I had to go all in with 55 in LP for my last 1700 or so, and I was called in the BB by Scott Fishman who had AT, I lost the race and that was it.

I think these are two pretty interesting hands; I'll appreciate any comments you have about them. What do you think of the play and the analysis behind it?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

WSOP Event #6 and Rizen owns Event#3

I'll be today at table 45 seat 3. I'm feeling well after being sick some days, and I hope to play my best.
Yesterday (Friday) I had the opportunity to watch the final table of Event #3 ($1500 PLH) where the amazing Rizen was playing, after playing great his stack, he had a little bad luck at the end and finished 3rd for a cool $104,000. He's just amazing, his results this year are second to none, I also had the chance to have dinner with him, his wife and baby and Schaefer; this was with 3 people left in the tourney and him with the chip lead. Eric was so calm, it's just impressive. I remember last year, at the same stage, this is, at the dinner break, we were 4 left in the WSOP#11 (Pot Limit Holdem, also); but I was not near as calm and composed as Eric, not even close. He was totally concentrated. I'll speak more about him later. I just enjoyed a lot the dinner with such great company, Rizen and his wife are a pretty cool couple and Schaefer, well, Schaefer is just too cool, he enjoys life too much !!.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Event #2 WSOP

My WSOP experience didn't start too well, we arrived at Vegas at 2AM, and I couldn't sleep until about 5AM, I had a cough attack all night and could barely sleep; still I managed to go to the 11AM (a little late, 11:20); with my fellow 2+2ers, about 15 of them were there. The tournament started on time, but I didn't feel well, this viral infection didn't allow me to concentrate at all, so I tried to play just basic poker. We started at 25-25 level with a 1500 starting chips stack. The place was a zoo, we were playing 11 at each table and there were like 500 alternates waiting for their chance to play; I don't know how wise is that, since 1500 chips is just too few, and some of them would start beyond the second level, but hey, this is the WSOP, everybody wants to be part of it. I could barely see my cards and think straight, in fact I lose like 20 minutes of the 1st level going to the bathroom. Despite being dog sick, I couldn't help to notice that I drew a very good table, with this hand. Seat 11 (seat 11, how sick is that !!) raised to 100 in EP, seat 3 called in MP, seat 5 reraised to 300 (remember, 1500 stack) in LP, both players called. Flop came Ac8c3c, EP checked, MP checked and LP went all in, EP folded and MP called. The hands, As9h for LP, KcTc for MP; I knew I was in the right place, if only I feel a little better. Still, I was praying to have a quick double up or to be out fast and go to rest to my hotel room, I was playing basic poker, just waiting, and luckily for me the table have some players who would pay you off with as much as top pair no kicker. Well, my prayers were listened, I just played 2 hands and I was out. The first one, same donk in seat 3 (the one who called a raise and a reraise with KcTc for like 20% of his stack), called in MP, I was in LP with KK, so I raised to 125, blinds still 25-25, BB called and MP called, flop was 652 with 2 hearts, checked to me and I decided to bet 200, BB folded and MP called, I'm pretty sure he was calling me all the way with one pair, but of course he may have a flush draw or a straight draw, an Ac in the turn. He checked to me, and I thought checking there was best, 5 in the river, a card that didn't change things much, he bet just 200 into the 800 pot and I called, he showed Ad6d for 2 pairs. Nothing much I could do in that hand. I was left with about 800, now in the second level with blinds 25-50, I was in the button with AK and 725 left, EP raised to 250; 5x was his usual raise. folded to me and I didn't have any other option but to push, he called with AA and that was it. I got up so one of the alternates could take my seat. To be honest I was relieved to be out fast, if destiny hadn't a FT for me in that event, the best 2nd option given my conditions, was to be out fast. Still, I think it didn't matter I was sick at all, since I can't see myself playing both hands any different at all.
I'm already registered for Wednesday event, but lets see if I can sleep better tonight. Hopefully I'll be better by the morning.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Driving to Vegas

At this very moment, I'm in the I-10 (AZ Exit 318), driving toward Vegas !!!. Incredible I can be connected to the internet here with my verizon card. I have not played any poker at all in June, but I'm confident the WSOP will wake up my poker self. I'll be playing tomorrow Tuesday, Event #2 $1500 No Limit Holdem, in case you're in Vegas, I'll be at 11AM at the Starbucks inside the Rio Hotel and Casino, the one next to the restaurant Sao Paolo, just in case you want to say hi. Let's see how this experiment of not playing poker at all before the WSOP works. The WSOP is always super-exciting, to be honest, I'm excited to play; I have been really sick the last days, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be ok. See you over there !!!. I'll make some updates about the events here in the blog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Still not playing, just fell out of love

Remember that relationship when you once thought she was the one and couldn't imagine yourself without her, but time passed and suddenly you just fell out of love and move on ?. That's exactly how I feel these days about poker, I'm still not playing, I think I have played like a grand total of 6 tournaments or so this month. I just don't have the motivation, the desire, the drive, these days, I just don't love poker. In the 2+2 forums (a poker forum) I prefer to post about politics or about soccer, no poker related posts at all. As today I could care less about poker, my days are watching World Cup soccer games, go to swim, talk with friends, talk with my wife, play with the kids, worry about the kids, surf the Internet, but no poker. Let's see if things change soon, since in about a week, I'll be playing in my first WSOP event. I'm already registered to play in 3 WSOP events the first week of the WSOP through Poker Stars, I really hope once in Vegas, feeling the vibe of the WSOP, love will come back. If there's something that can make me fall again in love with poker it's the WSOP. Let's hope it works its magic on me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Somebody explain these numbers to me

I have played almost no tournament in the last 10 days, today I decided to break my "vacation" and play the usual 3, 9PM EST, the Stars $150+12, the Paradise $30 and the Party Super Monday.
In the Stars I was out early after a blinds war, I decided to limp in the SB with K6c, BB raised and I went all in, he thought for a while and make a good call with AT, I lost the 39%, no biggie, I think the play was ok. In the Paradise I made it deep as usual and in yet another blind war, I had QQ in the BB and lost to the SB A8, that was ok too, we both play the hand well and shit happens, and shit happens a lot to me. In the Party Super Monday, I think I was playing real good, the money was at 120 players, between 400 and the money I had no cards at all, but still managed to have a good stack, once in the money, I lost a fucking 90% against the big stack in my table and was out 109th; and won a whopping $157.05 for a -$5 profit.

I have had so many cashes like this, it's real insane. Look at my position in the Internet player of the year race. The IPOTY I think it's the most objective system to rank Internet tournament players, they take in account just the results of all the biggest tournaments in the net, the system is really elegant, easy to understand, accurate, and most important, it does not depend of anybodies opinion and it's not a popularity contest, just the numbers speak there, you don't need to promote yourself, you just need to play and have results. As today, I'm 23rd there. 23rd !!!!!! of all the fing Internet tournament world (even I'm pretty sure I play a lot less than most of the guys of the list), wow, usually this achievement would be notable in any field you work, but as a poker player, the incredible part it's that I'm a losing player for the year, as today I'm in the red, losing more than 10k in the year (just internet tournaments). How the hell is that possible?. The answer of course; I'm not closing, if you take a look at all my cashes, I have almost no Final Tables and I don't have any top 3 in these tourneys. One of the things it made 2005 and 2004 pretty good years for me, was my ability to close. Once I made the $, I had a pretty good % of making the FT, and once I made the final table, I had a pretty high % of top 3 finishes. What happened? Did I lose my edge? Do I suddenly suck to close? Did my game change? Probably so, but every time I study my tournaments from last year, I don't see any big differences in my play, and if there are some, I think it's for the best, this is, I think I have improved in some areas. But I don't know, probably I need to look deeper and find something in my play that has changed and made me a very poor closer these days. Probably there's something, but I think most have to do with this:

#Game No : 4504095229
***** Hand History for Game 4504095229 *****
NL Texas Hold'em Trny:24772994 Level:11 Blinds-Antes(1000/2000-75) - Tuesday, June 13, 00:53:42 ET 2006
Table Super Monday(727209) Table #10 (Real Money)
Seat 7 is the button
Total number of players : 9
Seat 7: superbetter ( $31265 )
Seat 9: sirio11 ( $64545 )
Seat 10: Slaan_PS ( $142765 )
Seat 8: rob42359 ( $28562 )
Seat 6: rplrpl ( $93672 )
Seat 5: BPWJR ( $75213 )
Seat 2: hambotwo ( $16011 )
Seat 4: Kizzzer ( $67545 )
Seat 1: Cat_637E ( $81751 )
Trny:24772994 Level:11
Cat_637E posts ante [75].
hambotwo posts ante [75].
Kizzzer posts ante [75].
BPWJR posts ante [75].
rplrpl posts ante [75].
superbetter posts ante [75].
rob42359 posts ante [75].
sirio11 posts ante [75].
Slaan_PS posts ante [75].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to sirio11 [ Jd Qd ]
Slaan_PS raises [6000].
Cat_637E folds.
hambotwo folds.
Kizzzer folds.
BPWJR calls [6000].
rplrpl folds.
superbetter folds.
rob42359 folds.
sirio11 calls [4000].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 3c, 9s, Jc ]
sirio11 checks.
Slaan_PS bets [13000].
BPWJR folds.
sirio11 is all-In [58470]
horrilibis has joined the table.
Player horrilibis has been moved from table 12 to this table
Slaan_PS calls [45470].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 8h ]
** Dealing River ** [ 7s ]
Slaan_PS shows [ Tc, Ts ] a straight, seven to jack.
sirio11 shows [ Jd, Qd ] a pair of jacks.
Slaan_PS wins 136615 chips from the main pot with a straight, seven to jack.
Player sirio11 finished in 109 place and received $157.05

I'm pretty sure I'm in the far left side of the variance, of course I have made my share of mistakes, but no greater than the ones I made in 2004,2005. I even think I'm a better player, but what do I know.

The truth is, a "top 25 player in the IPOTY race" is a losing player in 2006. Variance is just insane in tournaments. I share my numbers with you, so you have an idea how difficult could be to depend just on tournaments, even if you are a "good" Internet tournament player. This is really tough, and if you're not prepared, you will be broke, crazy or both. I'm not broke, I was prepared for this, but some days I'm in the verge of insanity, really.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Estos dias no he jugado nada de poker, necesito cambiar de aires y mentalidad, la verdad no he estado disfrutando mucho jugar y pues si no estas dispuesto a jugar lo mejor posible, es mejor no hacerlo. En estas dias he empezado a ir a nadar a la alberca todos los dias, espero seguirlo haciendo todos los dias, al menos hasta que viaje a Vegas para la serie mundial. Mi forma fisica no es muy buena y creo que mejorar tu condicion fisica aparte de mejorar tu salud, definitivamente te ayuda a jugar mejor. Los dias en la serie mundial son tremendamente desgastantes y necesitas estar al 100% fisica y mentalmente. Nadar es muy relajante y lo estoy disfrutando mucho, el no jugar tambien me ha puesto de mejor modo y espero que todo esto me ayude a llegar en buena forma para la WSOP, yo creo me reintegrare a jugar en Internet los torneos del proximo domingo, despues de una "semana" de vacaciones.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Reasons I don't play tons of tourneys

The tilt factor is definitely one of the main reasons I don't play tons of tourneys. Since I can not manage tilt well, I prefer not to play if I'm not in a good mood.

Hard to continue playing (at least for me) when your days start like this:

PokerStars $100+$9 (Rebuys)
Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2006/05/31 - 14:31:06 (ET)
Table '25455500 6' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: xhalvisx (1050 in chips)
Seat 2: Simon Sun (2840 in chips)
Seat 3: mickey2 (2590 in chips)
Seat 4: #1PEN (2930 in chips)
Seat 5: sirio11 (2870 in chips)
Seat 6: mohamar (1600 in chips)
Seat 7: actnjksn1 (1590 in chips)
Seat 8: monster555 (3330 in chips)
Seat 9: Pet Monster (3700 in chips)
mickey2: posts small blind 15
#1PEN: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to sirio11 [Th Tc]
sirio11: raises 60 to 90
Pet Monster: calls 90
mickey2: calls 75
*** FLOP *** [4h 6d 6c]
mickey2: checks
sirio11: bets 180
Pet Monster: calls 180
mickey2: folds
*** TURN *** [4h 6d 6c] [7s]
sirio11: checks
Pet Monster: bets 350
sirio11: raises 2250 to 2600 and is all-in
Pet Monster: calls 2250
*** RIVER *** [4h 6d 6c 7s] [9c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
sirio11: shows [Th Tc] (two pair, Tens and Sixes)
Pet Monster: shows [9h 9d] (a full house, Nines full of Sixes)
Pet Monster collected 5860 from pot

I love the way I played the hand, but still lost the 96% favorite. Even we were in the 1st hour, I decided not to rebuy because of the tilt factor, and usually after starting the day like this, I find pretty hard to play more. I know it's silly to get mad and I know I don't follow my own advise about just concentrating in the things you can control. But oh well, to my defense I'll cite Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
US poet (1819 - 1892)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hasta cuando

I need to win the Main Event in the WSOP this year just to break even in luck for the year. Really. This endless bad luck streak is really amazing. I don't know what to think anymore. I'm a mathematician, but this streak is really making me to lose my faith in science. Maybe things are just evening out; I have been so lucky in life and maybe I deserve some bad luck in this silly game. As soon as May comes to an end. I'll post some amazing numbers for 2006, so some of you have an idea about what I'm taking about. Variance in tournament poker is really something else.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Day One (Part IV) Bellagio Championship

I'll comment here some hands played by Scotty Nguyen.

With blinds 200-400 and 50 ante, Scotty raised to 1400 in LP, I was seated exactly to his left in the CO, I had AQ and the first important decision was to call or raise, with deep stacks, I don't like to build big pots with AQ, still, most of the time I raise in this spot, but in this case I decided to call, one more reason why I decided to call was the old man in the BB, since I thought there was a good chance of him calling the raise with Ax and he have showed a willingness to call with one pair hands. He didn't disappoint me and he called also. The flop came As7c3s, which looked like a good flop for me, old man checked, Scotty decided to make a probe bet of 1500 into the almost 5k pot. I knew Scotty was going to make this bet with no hand or with a monster, so his bet gave me no information, but I knew also Scotty is a pretty logical player and not the kind of player that will make wild random big bets in future streets, also, there was a chance the reraise would make the old man fold, nah, if he had the A, he was calling. Still, I decided to just call again the 1500 and old man called also. Now the pot had about 9500. Turn was the 8d, old man checked and Scotty checked, now I knew I have Scotty beaten, no way he was checking here with a better hand than mine, so I decided to bet 5000, old man called, I was almost positive Scotty was folding, he thought for a while, played with his chips as if he was going to raise, but he decided to call !!!!, mmmmmm, what the hell is happening, old man could have by now a weak ace or a flush draw; but what about Scotty, I didn't think he had an ace, or any made hand, most probably he was drawing also, I didn't think he had the flush draw, what did Scotty have?. Probably he caught a draw in the turn with something like T9, maybe he had 65; with 2 callers, I felt like my hand was really vulnerable. The river was a terrible card, the Js, flush got there, straight got there, even AJ got there, old man checked, good, Scotty checked !!!, nice, I knew I had Scotty beaten, Should I value bet here? Nah, too dangerous, and old man was the kind of player who could check a flush or AJ there, so I checked. Old man showed A5, Scotty mucked and I raked a nice pot. I was surprised by Scotty, what did he have?. After the hand, he seemed mortified and later told me, he misplayed that hand, he told me he had KK and thought I may bet a flush draw in the turn, but still he should have folded after the old man called. He was mad at himself because of the way he played the KK.
The day didn't go well for Scotty and he was down to about 30k when the following hand happened; Italian young guy with about 70k fumbled to make a raise UTG, the blinds were 300-600 with 75 ante; this guy spoke almost no English at all, not even the numbers; so when he wanted to raise, he could not raise something like 1800 if there weren't 100 chips in his stack, because he couldn't say "1800", so he always raised to even amounts depending on the chips he had, I remember him raising to 5k in earlier rounds because of this same problem; happily here he had 2 1000 chips, so he raised to 2k, Scotty reraised to 5500, and Italian guy called. Flop came T63 rainbow, as soon as he saw the flop, his face literally lighten up, you could tell the flop hit him, and what did he do being first to act? Well, he went all in for about 65k !!!!. Scotty looked like he could not take it anymore and called almost instantly; Italian guy had 66 for a set and Scotty had AA. I don't know if I'd folded AA there, but at the very least, I'm not calling instantly, and you just have to see the guy, he looked so happy; as soon as he went all in, I knew he had a set, Scotty should have taken some time; and more importantly, he should have remembered a hand they both played earlier; in the 1st level Italian guy raised preflop to 600, Scotty called and I called, flop came 973, he checked, Scotty bet 1100, I folded and then he check raised to 5000 and Scotty called. 2 in the turn and he checked again, Scotty bet 6000 and Italian guy just called, 3 in the river, Italian guy checked again, Scotty bet 10000 and he called again and showed JJ, Scotty mucked. If you analyze the way he played the JJ there, it was unlikely he had an overpair in the T63 flop and went all in with it; and you add the analysis of the JJ hand to the big smile he had in his face and I really think the AA belonged to the muck; but Scotty looked impatient, he knew he was at a very good table, he was the best player and he hadn't been able to get some chips; so, he just decided to go. That day we just lost 2 players in the table, Scotty and Victor. In the last level I won a nice pot with 87c, I already posted that hand here. I finished the day with 68k, better than the average, I didn't want the day to end, since I really liked my table. But I felt confident with my game and eager to play day 2.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Slowly coming back

I'm yet to have a great result, but I have had some regular ones. This Sunday I made it deep in the Full Tilt $200K and in the Stars $1 Million; I won $380 in the Full Tilt and $1400 in the Stars. Later I almost made the final table in the Stars $100 Rebuys, got 11th for another $1146. Tuesday I made the Final Table in the $30 Rebuys at Paradise, got 6th out of 1225 and won $3914.68. Yesterday I made the final table in the Stars $150, got 4th out of 482, good for $5061. I have made some adjustments, but mostly I'm coming back to winning my 80/20, 80% of the time, to win 50% of the time my coin flips. I know things will get better.
I still have some trouble playing marginal hands in a final table. My last hand in the Stars $150 was A6, again the dreaded Ax. We were playing 4 handed, I was the short stack with about 92k, but with 4-8k blinds, I was not desperate, UTG folded and I was in the button with A6, what to do, any raise will commit a lot of my stack, and if they reraise, I'll be committed to call; if they just call the raise and stop and go me in the flop, what am I going to do?. Should I fold A6 in the button 4 handed?, no way, so I decided push was the best course of action, BB called with 77 and that was it. Really, I just don't know how to play this hand with the conditions described. If any of you find a better way to play it, please post your opinion, I'd appreciated it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bellagio blog entries still to come

These are the entries related to the Bellagio 25k tournament that I'm yet to write:

Day One (Part IV): Some Scotty Nguyen hands and his busto hand.

Day Two (Part I): Table with Huck Seed, Josh Arieh, Prahlad and Varkonyi.

Day Two (Part II): The wild ride with Jean Robert Bellande, Arnold Spee and Paul Darden.

Day Two (Part III): Table with Doyle Brunson and Vanesa Russo (with some incredible poker comments by somebody who later got 7th in that event).

Day Three is already posted.

Some general comments about the whole experience.

That's about 7 entries, so, at the rate I'm writting these days, most probably by Christmas 2006 my Bellagio Trip report will be done.

I made some Final Tables this month and have had a lot of cashes, but all of them really small, I'm barely ahead in the month. I really need a good score, winning is so 2005.

WSOP is coming !!!!!!, I really, really want to play in as many events as my bankroll allows. Lets see, I have like a month to build a WSOP bankroll. For sure I'll be playing the Main Event, hopefully I'll play more than 1 event.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Monkeys writing masterpieces

What are the odds if you put 100 monkeys to type on 100 computers, they ended up typing Hamlet or Dante's Divine Comedy in your lifetime?
I remember reading about this talking about the nature of probability.

Jeans, 1930
... It was, I think, Huxley, who said that six monkeys, set to strum unintelligently on typewriters for millions of millions of years, would be bound in time to write all the books in the British Museum. If we examined the last page which a particular monkey had typed, and found that it had chanced, in its blind strumming, to type a Shakespeare sonnet, we should rightly regard the occurrence as a remarkable accident, but if we looked through all the millions of pages the monkeys had turned off in untold millions of years, we might be sure of finding a Shakespeare sonnet somewhere amongst them, the product of the blind play of chance. In the same way, millions of millions of stars wandering blindly through space for millions of millions of years are bound to meet with every sort of accident, and so are bound to produce a certain limited number of planetary systems in time. Yet the number of these must be very small in comparison with the total number of stars in the sky.

Sir James Jeans.
The Mysterious Universe. New York: Macmillian Co., 1930, page 4

Sorry for the lack of updates guys, but I'm going crazy, I'm going f-ing nuts, all I see these days are monkeys writing masterpieces; they just don't stop. Hopefully they have internet connection in the mental institution I'm heading for. Haha, kidding, but you know what I mean.
Actually, you don't. Especially if you're a young poker player or if you don't have enough years playing poker. But don't worry, you'll be there, you'll see monkeys writing too. Hopefully you'll see your monkeys and laugh; I can't laugh, I want to kill the motherfuckers.

P.S. For my non-poker readers, I'm fine, really mom, I'm good, Diana and the kids are doing great. There are no monkeys being killed at home. You know we love animals.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day One (Part III) Bellagio Championship

The important hands I remember from the second level 100-200, were the following ones.
This hand involves my 2 marks for the day, Victor and old man. Old man raised to 1200 in MP, Victor called in the BB. Flop came KT7, and Victor fired a 5k bet !!. Old man didn't like it but still called and had like 35k behind. Turn was a 3, Victor checked !!?? and old man checked behind. River was a Q; Victor checked again; now old man decided to bet 5k, I was confused by this bet, I put old man in AK or AA. AJ and QQ didn't make too much sense since he called the big 5k bet in the flop; now Victor raised to 35k, what? I just couldn't believe Victor had AJ, but who knows, I though maybe he had KQ, but his turn check does not make too much sense; probably a busted QJ and he was trying to make the old man fold; a very, very bad idea since he had showed before that he had a strong willingness to call anytime he had a good pair, old man was really nervous and I can tell he was afraid to be out of the tourney, but of course he called, Victor didn't show and old man showed QQ for a set in the river. Old man called a 5k bet in a K high flop with QQ !!, and Victor made a 35k bluff in the river against a calling station!!. This hand reassured me I needed to take their chips. I would have the opportunity to play with the 2 of them in this same level. Unfortunately, I lost both hands, but I think I played them well and didn't lose much.
The first big pot I played with the old man was the following. With 100-200, I raised to 600 UTG with JJ, European guy called and he called. Flop came Th8h3d, I bet 1200, European guy folded and old man raised to 3000. I decided to call. Turn was Td, not a good card, I checked, he bet just 2000, which was weird, to me it meant he didn't have the T; it was a scary bet, problem with raising there was he was a calling station; so, maybe he had a flush draw, a str draw with something like J9s, maybe a pair of 99, but most probably KK-QQ, but I though he would have reraised with KK, so, I decided to call. The river was a Kd, I checked, he checked and showed QQ.
The first big pot I played with Victor, was the following one. He limped in LP, I was in the small blind with 43 and completed with 100-200 blinds, BB checked. Flop came 4d4c2d, I thought this one my chance to get some of Victor chips, I bet 400, BB folded and Victor just called. I was a little disappointed with that, since he kept making all kind of overbets. Turn was a 5h, now I had my trip 4s and the open ended straight draw, I bet 1000 and he called again. The river was the 9d; I didn't think Victor had the flush, so I decided to make a 3000 value bet, he quickly raised to 15000 and he had about another 17k left. Yikes, I knew Victor was the wild type; but I also knew he made hands sometimes, lol, Was this one a real hand?. I took a lot of time in this one, trying to get Victor's reaction. I asked him "Do you have a full house?". Nothing, but he seemed kind of confident. I asked him, how much he had left, like I was going to put him all in. He wasn't thrilled about that option, but he seemed like he was calling if I did that; so I thought he had the flush and folded, he showed me the Ad6d.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Proyecto Abel y Mesa final de Pot Limit Omaha

El fin de semana en el poker no fue bueno, varios torneos grandes, el de $1000 en PokerRoom, de $200 Rebuys en Paradise, el de $500 en Stars y el de $350 en Party. No hubo suerte en ninguno de ellos, pero el domingo ya lunes en la madrugada decidi jugar un torneo de $20 de Pot Limit Omaha, para acumular puntos para el concurso que tenemos en el foro de 2+2 y llegue a la mesa final, quedendo en 3er lugar. La verdad esta muy divertido cambiar de juego, en Omaha te dan 4 cartas, de las cuales necesariamente tienes que usar 2, las manos son iguales a las de holdem, pero pues con tantas cartas, parece que siempre tienes juego; el problema es que los demas tambien, es muy facil que alguien tenga los "nuts". Tambien jugue un torneo de $30 de NLH y quede en el dinero, la verdad es que claramente se ven las diferencias en el nivel de juego entre los torneos de > $100 y estos de $20, $30. Este mes estare jugando torneos de todo tipo, para acumular los mas puntos posibles en el TLB de PokerStars.

La parte mas importante del fin de semana fue el inicio del Proyecto Abel. El proyecto Abel esta dedicado a estudiantes de preparatoria; los mejores estudiantes en el area de Matematicas de las escuelas de Ciudad Juarez, un grupo de compañeros lo iniciamos en 1988 y desde entonces ha estado funcionando año tras año. Es un proyecto muy bonito basado en el amor a aprender, el objetivo es darles a los muchachos clases especiales y conocimientos avanzados en el area de Matematicas y Ciencia que regularmente no les dan en la escuela; tambien discutimos temas de indole social, problemas de la comunidad. Todas las platicas son completamente gratis para los muchachos y año tras año tenemos experiencias muy gratificantes. En este proyecto conoci a Diana, ella fue alumna del proyecto y mas tarde fue organizadora del mismo. Nuestro amor, tiene mucho que ver con el espiritu de Abel. Abel es una de las cosas que he hecho en la vida de la cual estoy muy orgulloso, es una de esas cosas que haces que hace que tu vida tenga sentido. Para nosotros en el mundo del poker, es dificil decir que nuestra vida es muy productiva socialmente hablando. Abel es una oportunidad de darle algo a la sociedad en la que vives, aunque Abel ha estado presente en mi vida desde mucho antes de empezara a jugar poker, para mi transformar el entorno de manera positiva con tus acciones es sumamente importante, Abel es una de mis pequeñas contribuciones para hacer este mundo un mejor lugar.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Day One (Part II) Bellagio Championship

Well, despite Thursday being another badbeat day, I'm here writing. First the badbeat report, since I know everybody loves to hear(read) about badbeats. I played 3 tournaments Thursday, in the Stars $150, I lost A2-QTh in a blinds war, all in before the flop, this was the only one that wasn't a bad beat since I'm just about a 53% favorite. In the Party Super with 99, I raised preflop, called in 2 spots, flop came 644, I bet, some guy went all in, I didn't like it, but come on, this is not the WPT, it's just the Party Super, so I called all in since he covered me, he had AK and I lost my 76% with a K in the river. Later in the Paradise $30 Rebuys, near the money, I raised with KK in MP, big stack in LP called me, I bet the 743 flop, he raised me and I called all in, he had K7 and of course I lost to his 2 outer. So far, every day this week (month?, year ???) has been a badbeat day, last Monday in the Party Super my AK was no match to Rizen's AQ, well, maybe this was not a bad beat, since I need to take in account the Rizen's effect, Has this guy lost a pot ever? He's a very nice guy and a hell of a player and I like to watch him play sometimes; but I'm lying, he does lose pots, I remember him losing one back in January. The best one on Monday was the one that I lost in a $109 tournament in Party with 8s8c versus QcJd in a 8d5d3c flop, ohh man, I love poker, you figure out that one. To be fair lets list the suckouts of the week, here is the list:

Big list hah, but I do have a suckout last Sunday when my A8 split a pot all in preflop versus AJ; of course only to lost a little later with KK versus J2 all in preflop. Okay, okay, enough with the badbeats, despite I know the joy you have by reading my badbeats, I need to write now about the less important stuff, the important hands I played on Day One of the Bellagio 25k.

The first semi-important hand I played, went like this. Old man in seat 10 raised UTG to 300 with blinds 50-100, Japanese guy in LP called, Scotty called in the button. I was in the SB and saw AcQh, mmmmmm, problem hand, first thing I thought. so I called and the BB called as well. 5 guys to see the flop, it came Qd6d3c, destiny trying to trap me, but not today !!, I checked, BB checked, old dude, fired a 1500 bet, this is a pot bet, and he looked like he was not happy with all that action preflop; now the Japanese guy in LP called, Scotty folded, back to me, I had top pair with top kicker and the pot had like 4500, so, I folded and the BB decided to call. Here I folded for 2 reasons, old dude looked like he had an overpair betting the pot into that many people and the call by LP could be a set of 6's, 3's or a flush draw, anyways I didn't like my pair and folded. Turn came Th, BB checked, UTG bet this time just 1000 and both guys called. River was a 3s, BB checked, UTG bet again 1000, here I learned he made weakish bets with his one pair hands that he wasn't sure were best; Japanese guy folded and now BB guy raised to 5000; UTG called and BB showed 9d3d, didn't make his flush, but made trips. I learned here also that old dude was willing to call river bets with one pair. He was Mark #1 to get chips.

Mark #2 to get chips was decided in the following hand, folded to young Pier in seat 3 and the button, he made a big raise for the round to 1200; now Victor in the SB reraised to 12k !!!!!, BB folded and Pier went to the tank, and with reason, what a big raise, with all the time he took, I put Pier in QQ-KK and Victor, who knows, I already knew him, and he was kind of crazy. Pier called the 12k bet, wow, I thought. Flop came QJ3 and Victor went all in, like 40k and Pier had about 35k, Pier went to the tank once again, now I was sure he had KK, after a while he decided to fold showing the KK, and Victor being such a nice guy he is, showed JJ for a flopped set; nothing like showing your opponents how well they are playing, hey buddy what a good fold you made, keep up the good play and take my chips later, lol. Victor was Mark #2.

One more interesting (but standard) folding decision I made in the first level was the following, Scotty raised to 350 in the CO, I had QQ in the button and decided to just call. Flop came AK3, Scotty fired a 500 or so bet in the flop and I folded, he showed me an A.

My first important pot of the day was the following, middle age guy in seat 2 raised to 400 UTG, blinds 50-100, I called in LP with 33. Lets call seat 2, stallman; he always took at least 30 seconds for every decision he made, this is for all the hands he played, my neighbors in seats 8 and 9 were really annoyed as well as Scotty during the day, Scotty even went to talk to one of the tournament directors later in the day, since between him and the Italian young guy in seat 1, we were hardly playing; to be honest I was not annoyed, in fact I found it funny how the action went every time passing by seats 1 and 2, I almost laughed every time, it was comic. Back to the hand, stallman and I saw a 972 flop with one heart, he took his time and checked to me, sometimes I bet here, but I checked behind. Turn was a beautiful 3h, now he bet 800, after taking his time of course, I thought he could have something like AK, but of course I wanted to get some value, so I decided to raise to 2000, now after taking some time he reraised to 7000, yikes, now to the analysis, what hands could he have that make sense with his actions, he could have an overpair, AA-KK, maybe he was playing aggressive a flush draw with the AhKh, and of course he could have the dreaded set of 9's. The play that made the most sense to me was to call and I did that. The river was a Qc and now he bet 7000 again, I saw no value in raising here and called, he showed AA and I took a nice pot. I was worried that maybe I didn't extract full value in this hand, but in the break, I talked about the hand with Alex and Humberto Brenes and they told me they would play the hand exactly the same. This is, no value in reraising the turn or river. With this hand I was up to about 63k and feeling good about my decisions so far.

TBC ....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day One (Part I) of the Bellagio Championship

Sorry for the delay guys, but usually in bad beat days I'm not in the mood to write, and these days, well, everyday is a bad beat day, let's define a bad beat day as one where you have terrible beats in more than 50% of the tournaments you played that day; maybe I'll start a new section with my bad beats and suckouts for the day. This Wednesday I didn't have a bad beat day, in fact, I didn't have any bad beats at all; probably because I didn't play any tournament. Anyway, as promised, this is my action on day one of the Bellagio 25k.

I was at Vegas on Monday night (April 17), only to find out that I was assigned flight 2 and would start on Wednesday (April 19) at noon. I was assigned table 2 seat 7, I was early like 15 minutes before 12PM, table 2 was situated in the Bellagio Poker Room, while most of the tables were situated in the Fontana Bar; I didn't recognize anybody, until Victor a player from El Paso took seat 4, I remembered him from my 15-30 holdem days in the late 90's at Speaking Rock Casino, I remembered him as a very wild player and a very nice guy who just love to have fun playing; it was just weird we were playing together in an event of this magnitude, he told me he just won his seat the day before in a satellite and asked me if I bought in, "Yes, I said", "I paid the 25k"; "really !!"; he looked very surprised and with reason; somebody has to be nuts to buy in for a 25k tournament. I just wonder how many people in the world does not make 25k a year, and here we were playing a 25k poker tournament, but that's material for another blog entry. On seat 1 there was a very young Italian player from Venice, he looked really thrilled to be there, on seat 2 there was a middle age man (but older than me), probably around 40. Seat 3 was another young guy, in his 20's, he looked confident and ready to work, later I found out he was from Panama and his name was Pier. Seat 4 was Victor, chatty and just waiting to have fun; seat 5 was an oriental man, probably in his 40's, I later found out after talking with Humberto Brenes that he was Japanese and a pretty solid player who had just won some kind of international poker tourney. Seat 8 was a guy around my age (36); seat 9 was an European player and seat 10 was an old man, but not too old, just the oldest in the table, probably in his 50's. Looked like no super-pro players at the table, until Scotty Nguyen (World Champion 1998) took seat 6, just to my right. I have played with Scotty before, I played with him many hours in a December Bellagio tournament and then in that same event, we both made the final table, I took 4th and he took 2nd, that time he was to my left; I think he was the single reason I didn't place higher that day, since I lost important pots to him and he simply outplayed me using his position that time. I remember playing perfect poker, I was dominating the table with 6 left, I was chip leader and Scotty's stack was going down, smaller and smaller. I knew he was my most skilled opponent in that final table, so, as soon as I got some pots from him and others and he was a short stack, I just went on raising a lot, so he had no chance to steal blinds with his short stack, since he was to my left, so he had to wait for good cards. I had like 600k, he was down to 21k with blinds 4-8k and 6 players left, don't remember the ante amount. I open-raised as usual with T7s and he went all in. The player in the BB called and we checked all the way; he had AK, nobody made a pair and he tripled up. About 2 rounds later, he went all in again with AQ, small blind called and I called in the BB; again we checked all the way and he tripled up again; I was so frustrated he won those two hands versus 2 players checking all the way, and I couldn't recover; I then proceeded to lose some pots to him, double some other guys and later I was out in my first all in (as usual) versus Orlando Maldonado, the eventual winner of that tourney. I was really depressed after that tourney, I remember I told Scotty, "next time I'll play better Scotty", and he just said while walking with his young wife and shaking my hand, "You do that, baby"; and I did exactly that on Wednesday April 19.
The day would be a very long one, that was the only table I played that day, by the end of the day the only 2 players eliminated from the table were Victor and Scotty. I played so many interesting hands, I'll write about them in my next entry.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My short Day 3 in the Bellagio Championship

I finished day 2 with a 29,800 stack, really short with 204 players remaining, I'll make a post about what happened in Day 2, but for Day 3 my plan was simple, I needed to double, blinds were 1.5-3k with 400 ante, that is about 8.1k per round. After they colored off, I started the day with 29,500; and being the lucky guy I am, they started with the button on seat 3, and I was in seat 5 in the BB. Somebody raised the 1st hand of the day, I had 96o and folded, 2nd hand of the day, again raised, I had 32o in the SB and folded. Now I was in the button with just 23,300. I had an specific plan for every position before my next blind came out, the plan for the button was; in the unlikely case it was folded to me, I was going to push with any 2. I thought that was unlikely since Paul Darden was in the CO and most probably he was going to raise if folded to him. If Darden raised then I was going to go all in with a very big range, any pair, any A, and most probably any broadway. If somebody else raised, depending of their position of course then my range to go all in was going to be something like AJ+,77+,KQs, since I had no FE any more. So, the best case happened, everybody folded to me and I had a better than average holding, K8; so it was an easy push. Besides the SB had only 30k and couldn't afford to call and the guy in the BB Rodeem Talebi, have played with me before in the FT of a Bellagio Event in December, and I knew he was not calling me with any 2 just because of the odds. So, everything looked right, except for the little fact that the SB woke up with AA, he went all in too and I didn't suck out. I was out in my 1st all in of the tourney as usual; in all the WPT I played this last season, I think I went 1 for 9 when being in an all in situation when somebody had me covered. Bad luck in my last hand, because all the following things have to happen in order for me to bust:
1) Nobody raises before me
2) Any of the blinds wake up with a good hand
3) I lose the "race"

I did the right play and lost.
But of course the important thing is, why was I in such a short stack position? What happened in the 2nd day? It's pretty telling the biggest amount of chips I lost in a single pot in all the tourney was in my last pot, so much for pot control. Why I was not involved in big pots? Was it my fault? Was it luck? Did I have a terrible run of cards?
As today, I'm analyzing all these factors and I'll post all my interesting hands from day 1 and 2, so probably you guys help me to answer those questions. For now I think the key to not have chips in the 3rd day was in my 2nd table on the 2nd day. I think that table threw my game and my plans off; a table with Jean Robert Bellande, Paul Darden and Arnold Spee. I got lost in the wilderness of that table and decided to turtle off. I'll write about that table later.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Table for day 2

I'll be at table 9 seat 7 in the Bellagio Poker Room, too much for the hopes of an easy table, the following people are at my table:

Huck Seed (WSOP Champion 1996)
Robert Varykony (WSOP Champion 2002)
Josh Arieh (3rd place WSOP 2004)
Prahlad Friedman (One of the biggest online cash winners)

Huck and Josh have big stacks, so it won't be easy, but hey, you need to beat everybody if you want to win this thing.

End of Day 1-B

I finished the day with 68,250 chips, my high mark in the day was about 75k. I really like the way I played today. I had a good table with the only recognizable pro being Scotty Nguyen. Too many interesting hands and too many interesting decisions I took today; for all of them I made the right one, but one. I didn't have AA or KK all day, no flushes, no straights, but still I have lots of good hands to write about, right now I'm a little tired, but I promise to write about all my important hands in the tourney. Let me tell you for now about one of them.
With blinds 300-600 and 75 ante, I raised to 2k in EP with 87c, MP called and the guy in the SB called. Flop came Qc7s5c, a very nice flop for my hand. SB checked, I decided to bet 4k at the7k pot, MP folded and after thinking for a while SB called. This guy always used a lot of time to make his decisions, and some of the guys in the table were annoyed, specially Scotty. The turn was 2d, and he checked again, now I have to make a decision, my hand with one card to come it's not that good anymore, but I had the feeling that the guy could fold a Q; I bet 10k into the 15k pot, and the guy went to the tank once again, I had like 32k behind and he had about the same. Eventually somebody called the clock on him and before the time expired he decided to call; of couse I didn't like it. River was a Qs, a terrible card, but he checked !!!!!, mmmmmm, what does this guy have? I decided if he had the Q, it does not make any sense for me to bet, and if he had a draw, my 7's were good, so I checked behind, he showed ATc and I won a nice pot.
After the tourney I went to dinner with Carl (colson) and we talked about our important hands for the day, he's in pretty good shape for tomorrow with 106k. Right now I plan to check my fantasy baseball team, study a little and plan the strategy for tomorrow, hopefully I'll draw another good table. Wish me luck !!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bellagio Championship updates

I'll start playing tomorrow Wednesday flight 2; Table #2, seat 7; if you are in Vegas say hi; I need all the good karma I can get. I'm about to play the most expensive poker tournament in Earth; as today I have mixed feelings, but I can't wait to be seated in the poker table. Right now I'm going to eat to the fabulous Aladdin buffet, and then I'll go to the Bellagio to see some people play, take some notes for tomorrow. If I happen to witness some interesting hands, I'll write about it later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sunday, cool, Monday, cool, Final Table Tuesday, not cool.

Monday results:

Paradise NLH $30 Rebuys, 247 out of 1189, (I spent $180). Performance: A

PokerStars NLH $150+12, 475 out of 587. Performance: A

PartyPoker Super Monday $150+12, 39 out of 1018. Performance: A+

Tuesday results:

This day I decided to play 2 noon tournaments, the $30 Rebuys in Paradise and the $100+9 Rebuys in Stars.

Paradise NLH $30 Rebuys, 69 out of 486, (I spent $90). Performance: A

PokerStars $100+9 Rebuys, 6 out of 96, (I spent $309) and won $2249. Performance: A+

Some days are harder than others, this Tuesday I just lost it after the Final Table in the $100 Rebuys, Sunday I was cool, Monday I was cool, but Tuesday it was just too much for my fragile temper.

On Sunday I went deep in the Party 500k Guaranteed, near the bubble, blinds were 600-1200, EP made it 3k, I went AI in MP and JJ for 9511; I knew he was calling, because he was from 2+2 and know pot odds; he did the right play and called with 9h8h, and I was a 80% favorite;

The board came 7h4c2d5hQh and I was out.

No problem, I was cool.

Later same Sunday in the UB $215; near the bubble a short stack decided to go AI in the SB, I was in the BB with QTd; he was short but not that short to make the call based just in pot odds, still I went with my "read" and called, he had T9o, I was a 73% favorite;

Board came J3793

I was cool, no problem, I still had enough chips.

A little later, with the bubble at 60 and 62 players left, I raised with TT in EP, LP reraised, and that practically put me all in, and I called. He had QQ, I was a 18% favorite; but I'm not winning 80%'s much less 18%'s, and I was out in 62nd.

No problem, I was cool, in fact, I was happy, I played great poker in this tourney.

It was Sunday and I was cool.

I still made it deep in another tournament, the Paradise $30 Rebuys, here I think I made a mistake with 2 tables left. I had a 140k stack with 10k-20k and was one of the short stacks; I decided to go all in with A3c in EP, I think this is a bad play in the long run, I was called by the big stack in the button with AJd and that was it.

Monday I played my usual 7PM MST set of 3 tournaments, and I went deep in the Party Super Monday, a tournament that always has a sexy prize pool around 150k. With 4 tables left, the following 2 hands happened:

1) I was in LP with a 44k stack and AsTs, the blinds were 3-6k, so I decided to go all in, the donkey in LP+1 decided he couldn't wait anymore with his 28k stack and he went all in with Ah6d !!, a terrible play, but of course I was happy to be a 73% favorite, who am I kidding? of course I wasn't happy, the guy wasn't drawing dead,

Flop was 9s8s3c, a good flop for my hand and now I was only a 91% favorite and the guy needs a pink 6
Turn 5c, oh oh, I'm now "just" a 89% favorite
River was a 6h and I was down to 15k

2) The very next hand I was pleased to find QcQd and of course I went all in, hoping somebody in LP raised and protected my hand, somebody did with KdTd and I was a 68% to triple up, but the board came:

Ah8d4hAhKc and I was out 39th.

Just for fun, the odds for losing both hands: (.27)*(.32) = .0864 = 8.64%

It was Monday night (more like Tuesday 1AM) and I was cool, Diana was looking the Dell Monitor in shock, but I was cool, shit happens, we had a nice talk, and later I proceeded to check the bad beats for the day in my Fantasy Baseball league.

Tuesday morning I wake up in a good mood and decided to play 2 noon tournaments, the $30 Rebuys at Paradise and the $100 Rebuys at Stars, the Stars tournament is a small field tourney (about 100 entrants), but a really strong field, full of internet pros. I rarely play this tourney, despite the fact I have done well in the past, the main reasons are:

1) The field is very small, I am used to playing in tournaments with 400+ entrants

2) The dead money is very little, the competition is really tough

3) I have the feeling that there is some cheating going on in this tourney, most probably some of the pros are multiaccounting and that's really unfair for the rest of us in such a small field

Well, despite those reasons, I decided to play this Tuesday, I have not played in this tourney since February 8th, so more than 2 months, I played great poker, and made it to the final 2 tables. As usual when I'm in the last 2 or 3 tables, I open the other table to see my possible final table opponents play, I saw Ozzy87, who is an excellent tournament and cash games player, he had a big stack, then a short stack, then a big stack, then a short stack, he was really active when we were down to 12 and playing 6 handed in each table; I was doing exactly the same in my table and basically grew up my stack from 30k to 85k without any danger at all. Everybody was playing really tight since there was a guy sitting out for a long time then, who was being chipped away. That guy went out in 10th place and we finally made the final table. I had a good stack and Ozzy was shortstacked, he was playing now really solid, he changed gears as soon as we made the FT, a sign of a very good player, I made a great play and later busted a guy with AA and I was the chip leader with 6 people left, but 4 of us were really close in chips and Ozzy was the short stack; when the following 3 hands came up:

1) with 2-4k blinds, a guy in EP with a 63k stack, raised to 12k, I had 66 and a 119k and I decided to test him and raised to 32k; knowing that without a premium hand it was gonna be really hard for him to call and play after the flop; problem was, now the BB with 118k went all in !!!, showing great strength, guy in EP thought for a while and folded, and I have to fold of course, down to 86k.

2) Two hands later I'm in the BB, Ozzy went all in for 33k; the round before Ozzy did exactly the same in my BB, that time for 28k, and even I had a marginal good hand that time Ah2h and a good stack, I folded, because I didn't want to double Ozzy, and I didn't mind him having a short stack for a while, since he was doing that about once a round. This time I had AT a good enough hand to call him, I did it, he had K9 and I was a 65% favorite to eliminate the most dangerous opponent in the FT. The board came Qc8c4h9h3d and I lost the "flip".

3) Down to 53k, the very next hand Ozzy raises again to 12k UTG, I had QhQc in the SB, I had THE feeling, deja vu from Super Monday just the night before, I thought about going all in, but I decided to reraise to 36k, he went all in and I called of course, he had a nice hand AhKh, but I still was a 54% favorite; but of course these days, 54% is like, nothing

The board came Kc9h7s7d5s and I was out 6th, good for $2249.

The odds for Ozzy winning both hands : (.35)*(.46) = 16%

This was very disappointing and this Tuesday I was not cool, I just lost it.

I hate poker.

No, I don't.

Yes, I do.

Whatever, poker sucks.

By the way, my fantasy baseball pitchers on Tuesday, 5 of them pitched, with the following ERAs: 7.50, 9.64, 27.00, 40.50, 18.00.

Fantasy Baseball sucks.


Life is good !!!

Indeed, life is freaking awesome good !!!!!!!