Sunday, February 26, 2006

Online Sunday: Playing from Ventura

I'm back to online tourneys after 2 weeks of playing zero of them, nada, for some weird reason, I don't play much online when I'm traveling and playing WPT tourneys. I'm planning to play 5 or 6 tourneys today. Hopefully I'll have better luck than 2 weeks ago. I'm playing from my hotel room in Ventura, CA

1:30 (PST) I started playing the Stars $530 and the Party $378; this is my first tourney with Party's new structure. Looks like we have enough chips to play.

2:00 (PST) Paradise $200 starts. Party, down 40 4800 from the original 5000 chips; Stars up to 3200 from the original 2500. Here I think I should have won more in a pot with AA; but I played them like I was in the WPT. That's the problem with the mix.

2:10 (PST) Stars, back to 2600, lost an AI with 42c in a 542 flop vs AA, he limped before the flop. Party, up to 9600, we went AI in a J82 flop; I had QQ, he had KK and I sucked out with a Q in the river.

2:45 (PST) Out from Stars, I went AI with Ts8s in a Js9d2s flop, versus KK. I was a favorite, but none of my odds came. Down to 6k in Party after being up to 15k, I lost AIs with QQ-AA and 33-44. The 33 one was probably a mistake.

Out from Paradise and Party, I made the money in Party, 214th out of 2724.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is the business we've chosen: The long ride to play one hand

The second day of the invitational started today at 6:30 PM (PST); since we're staying at a Anaheim hotel near Disneyland, usually this means a 20-25 minutes drive, but this is LA, so I was expecting a 90 minutes drive, since yesterday it took that long to arrive to Commerce Casino, it took "only" one hour this time, and I was ready to play.
Blinds were 600-1200 with 200 ante, so 3600 each pot and round; with 9800 my M was really low, still I don't get desperate in these situations, since I know good players are just waiting to take advantage of the low stacks desperate moves. I folded my first 3 hands, T2, J2 and 93; now I had to put the 1200 big blind; UTG raised to 2700, kind of weird raise, folded to me and I was very happy to find AK, of course I went AI for 9000 total, he had to call 6300, I was pretty sure he was going to call, but I liked my chances, he thought for a while and then called. Of course you need to think when you're calling with A3c; the "race" was on and I was just happy to double up so fast or so I thought, because the happiness ended with a 3 in the flop and I was out for the nth time in my first AI of the tourney. He said the usual "sorry", I said the usual "nice hand" (like we both mean it) and I drove back to the hotel after my glorious 2nd day showing, in the way back I could not help but to think in the words of Hyman Roth in the Godfather Part II, one of the best movies ever; after Michael Corleone asked him, who gave the order to kill him:

"There was this kid I grew up with - he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me - you know. We did our first work together - worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition - we ran molasses into Canada - made a fortune - you father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him - and trusted him. Later on he had an idea - to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI's on the way to the West Coast. That kid's name was Moe Green - and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man - a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque - or a signpost - or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order - when I heard it, I wasn't angry; I knew Moe - I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead - I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen - I didn't ask who gave the order - because it had nothing to do with business! "

So, you don't cry, you don't ask why you keep getting bad beats in WPT events. You don't ask who gave the order.

This is the business we've chosen.

Made the 2nd day

I'm still alive in the invitational WPT, 98 players left out of the original 315. Of course I am 86th with my usual short stack. I have 9800 out of the initial 10k. Today I will be the short stack at my table, the table looks ok, with pros Gavin Smith, Clonie Gowen and Tony Cousineau, but looks like there are at least 3 actors in the table, Matt Corboy from "West Wing" and "The Shield" and Kathy Griffin from "Days of our lives". Anyways, I need to make a move and double pretty soon.
Yesterday I had John Juanda, John Pham, David Chiu and Farzad Bonyadi at my 1st table. And then Miami John, Gavin Smith, John Esposito, Marco Trianello, Orlando Maldonado and Adrian Young the drummer from No Doubt at my second.

The only mistake I think I made all day was at my 2nd table with 400-800 blinds and 100 ante, Gavin Smith went all in for 5700 in BT-2; now Marco Trianello in the SB goes all in also for 14000; I had like 13k and JJ in the BB. I wasn't worried about Gavin, but I have played with Marco before, and I know he's not doing that with a little pair. So I thought he could have QQ-99 or AK-AQ; a clock was called on me and I couldn't call on time. Gavin had A4 and Marco AQ; of course the A4 made a straight, I saw Gavin's magic in action; but that does not matter, still I think I should have called in this spot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Today, I'll be playing at the Invitational WPT tournament at the Commerce Casino. This tournament is played by some Hollywood celebrities along with poker players who already bought their entry fee for the 25k WPT Championship tournament and past WPT champions. There is a cocktail reception at 5PM and probably the tourney will start at 6 or 7PM. I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel kind of lost in this environment; but lets see if I have a chance to bust Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire or Shannon Elizabeth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Poker Ethical Issues

Last week I have been kind of busy discussing issues like Bigotry and Ethics in poker.

I'm about to leave to LA, but I'll give you a detailed update later on these 2 issues.

In the mid time you can read some of my posts regarding this subject in the 2+2 forums

Too many rebuys and bigotry at the table

The Grandma dilemma: debunking the myths

To all the multiaccounting cheaters

The first post is based on something that happened in one of my tables during a tournament.

The last 2 are related to a problem explained in this post

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Big Saturday

1PM (MST): Right now I'm playing 4 tourneys, I know, I know, I shouldn't be playing that many (and writing in the blog at the same time), but couldn't resist.
The tournaments that just started are:

$650 Satellite to Montecarlo in PokerStars. Here there are 7 packages worth 16k to play in the EPT Championship next March in Montecarlo.

$1000 PokerRoom, this is a sexy tournament with 10k chips to start with and 30 mins levels.

I'm still in the 2 $300 tournaments that started 2 hours ago.

The $300+20 in Party, 54 people left of the original 321

The $300+20 in Stars, 86 people left of the original 250

1:15PM Just win a big pot in Stars. MP raised to 600 (blinds 100-200), Roothlus called 600. I have a 8k stack and AQ in the button. MP has about 4k and Roothlus about 5k. I decided to find out if they are serious and raise to 3k. MP folds, and Roothlus go all in for a little more than 5k, I have to call of course. He has JJ, I flop an A and win a big pot.

1:45PM We're in the money in Party. 37 people left.

2:00PM Still in the Party and Stars $300. Party 23 left, Stars 56 left.


Out from Stars $300, made the money, 25th out of 250 good for $525

Out from Party, I made the final table, 7th out of 321, good for $3852

I'm still in the 1k and Montecarlo.

Damn, I'm so angry with myself; I played the FT so bad, of course I didn't have any cards at all. I just have 3 hands all the FT, AJ,77 and A8 and I didn't play them !!!!

Arghhhh, updates coming

5:30PM 24 left in Montecarlo satellite, we get our money back at 22 and there are 7 packages.

Still in the 1k also, less than average stack.

6:00 PM Out from Montecarlo, 17th just short of the 16k package. I think I played great poker in this tournament, it was a very disappointing ending; well at least I got my $650 back.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


La semana pasada vi aqui en la casa varias peliculas con Diana. Una de las que vimos y la que mas me impresiono fue Crash. Es una pelicula que entrelaza las vidas de personajes y sus circunstancias en la ciudad de Los Angeles; a primera instancia pudiera parecer una pelicula sobre racismo, pero yo siento que es mucho mas que eso, lo que mas me gusto es como muestra los personajes no como buenos o malos, como usualmente hacen la mayoria de las peliculas que inmediatamente definen quien es el heroe y quien es el villano; sino muestra a los personajes como caracteres complejos, que actuan de acuerdo a las cirsunstancias y se sorprenden incluso a si mismos con sus acciones; una de las frases que mas me gusto es cuando Matt Dillon le dice a Ryan Phillippe "You think you know who you are, but you have no idea". Todas las actuaciones en la pelicula son magnificas, si tuviera que escoger una en particular, escogeria la interpretada por Mat Dillon, como el policia racista y frustrado que al mismo tiempo es un tierno y preocupado hijo de su padre enfermo. Matt esta nominado al Oscar a mejor actor de reparto por esta pelicula; y la pelicula tiene nominaciones ademas a guion original, edicion, cancion, director (Paul Haggis) y por supuesto a mejor pelicula del 2005. Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con las opiniones de Roger Ebert sobre la pelicula, especialmente la parte donde menciona que Crash es de esas pocas peliculas que pueden hacer que su audiancia salga como una mejor persona despues de verla.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Planning, What do you want for 2006?

If you are a pro or a semi-pro poker player, it's really important you think of your play in a professional manner; and this involves having some goals for the year, month and even next week, you need to plan in advance what you want to achieve. Lets say you are a winning poker player; ok, How much money are you making per year? How much money do you want to make this year? Well, that's kind of easy to answer and of course different answer for different people. Suppose you want to make $100k in 2006. Cool, now lets see how much you need to work in order to obtain that goal. Lets suppose you are having a one month vacation in the year, so that means you need to win about 9k per month; this is about $300 a day, but of course you're not working every day; lets say you work 20 days a month; so you need $450. Now, you need to ask yourself, Is this really possible? Lets suppose you play $100 dollar tourneys and you have a 50% ROI, well, that means you need to play 9 of them every day you work. Is this possible? Are you comfortable with that? Maybe you need to work more days, maybe 100k a year is not for you. And by the way, Do you know your ROI as today? If you don't even have a clue about your own statistics as today, well, it's damn hard to make a plan for the year; at least a plan that is close to reality.
Lets suppose you are just a recreational player, you have a good job, and you just want to win a little while enjoying playing poker. Lets suppose you will be happy to win 10k playing tournaments in 2006. Playing 20 days a month for 11 months, this means you need to win $45 a day; lets suppose you play $20 tournaments and your ROI is 75%; then basically, you need to play 3 tournaments a day to attain this goal for the year.
I can stress enough how important is to keep good records, so you know what kind of player you are and if you are improving or not. This game is fun for sure; but it's even more fun when you win some money.

For me, my goal for 2006 is to win about 150k. I'll try to win 50k playing cash games and 100k playing internet tournaments. I'm planning to have at least 2 complete months to vacation with my family; so, this means I need to win 10k playing tourneys and 5k playing cash games per month. I won $400 in January 2006, a little short for the 15k goal; but I think I can do it. Lets see, if I manage to win $125 per hour multitabling cash games, then I need to play 40 hours a month or 10 hours a week. I think I can do that. Now, for the 10k playing tourneys; I'll need to win 2.5k per week. Lets see, if I don't play Wednesdays and I just play 3 tourneys Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; the Party $150, the Stars $150 and the Paradise $30R (I invest about $150 also); that's $450*3 = $1350. Plus the Party $200 Friday and Saturday, that's $1750. Now on Sunday we have the $200 Stars, $200 Party, $200 Ultimate, $200 Paradise and we have the $2500 a week; so, now I just need to have a 100% ROI, which I'd have so far. If I play also the Saturday $300 Party, $300 Stars, the Sunday $100R (spend $300) and some other of the big ones, I don't even need the 100% ROI. So, looks like this goal is attainable for me. Of course all this planning it's just about my internet playing. The big WPT and WSOP tournaments are part of a different plan (I may even go broke !!; I'll probably spend about 100k in fees for these tourneys). The variance is huge in these ones and I manage them separately.

Whatever you want to win 1k, 5k, 10k, 20k, 50k, or 100k; it's a good idea to make a plan and to set goals. You need to know where you are and where you want to be and what do you need to do to be there. If you want to be a professional poker player, well you need to act professionally. Not only you need to love your job. You need to respect it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Enero termina en numeros negros !!

Ya en varias ocasiones he hablado de la gran varianza que existe al jugar torneos de poker, van a existir meses en que ganas, meses en que pierdes, los numeros importantes son los que aparecen al final del año. Desde que empece a jugar en 1997 nunca he tenido un año perdedor, hay meses que gano, meses que pierdo, pero al final del año los numeros son siempre negros, siempre hay una ganancia neta. Este comienzo del 2006 parecia que empezaria en numeros rojos, a pesar de varios buenos resultados que tuve, hasta el dia 30 de Enero, mi toatal del menos era algo asi como - 5200, yo ya estaba resignado, yo se como funciona esto, de hecho ya he tenido meses donde he perdido mucho mas que eso, como en Noviembre 2005 donde perdi como 14k; sin embargo este ultimo dia de mes, quede en 3er lugar en el torneo de $100 de Rebuys en Stars y gane algo asi como 5100 (4500 neto, pues gaste $600), despues de jugar varios torneos en el dia, pareceria que quedaria al final en -1000 en el mes, pero me decidi a jugar unas horas de cash games entre 15-30 y 30-60 limit holdem y gane como $1400; por lo que el mes cierra en numeros negros. Con una ganancia neta de $394. Como ya lo dije anteriormente, los numeros que importan son los de final de año, aun asi, siempre es agradable lograr pequeñas metas. En alguna entrada proxima, desglosare mis ganancias del mes de Enero.