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 !!!!!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sunday results

I played 7 tournaments this Sunday. I was going to play only the first 4 of the list, but Diana told me I was not working enough, so I obligued and played 3 more. Women.

Paradise Masters Main event NLH $1000, I placed 600 out of 1065. Performance: B

Paradise NLH $200 Rebuys, 81 out of 422. Performance: A

Party NLH $200+15, 485 out of 2642. Performance: A

Stars NLH $200+15, 2544 out of 5110. Performance: C-

And after Diana told me what a lazy bum I was,

Party NLH $100+9, 44 out of 440, I won $242. Performance: A

UltimateBet NLH $200+15, 62 out of 560. Performance A+

Paradise NLH $30 Rebuys, 19 out of 1451, I won $678.57. Performance: A-

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Paradise Masters

Esta semana han sido los torneos del Masters en Paradise, culminan este domingo con un torneo de $1000. Solo he tenido la oportunidad de jugar en 4, 2 veces en el dinero y un "bubble"; mis lugares han sido:

Sabado 4-2-06 Masters #2 NLH $200 Rebuys
Quede 250 de 934 (Gaste $400)

Jueves 4-6-06 Masters #6 LH $300
Quede 53 de 447

Viernes 4-7-06 Masters #7 NLH $500
Quede 14 de 587 y gane $2563.24

Sabado 4-8-06 Masters #8 NLH $200 Rebuys
Quede 65 de 755 y gane $550.93 (Gaste $400)

Que puedo decir, mis resultados aqui reflejan lo que ha sido mi año, muy buenos lugares pero ni un score grande. Me he sentido muy bien con mi juego, especialmente el torneo que quede en 14, siento que hice jugadas excepcionales y tuve bastante disciplina, la estructura de estos torneos es muy buena, en el masters #7 jugue casi 8 horas y en el de ahora casi 7; ayer quede muy cansado, pero valio la pena, no tanto por el dinero, que solo me alcanza para cubrir mis torneos de la semana, sino por el estado mental con el que jugue; en ambos torneos sufri badbeats temprano, en el M#7 perdi AA-TT preflop temprano en el torneo, y en el de ahora M#8, perdi AQ-KQ tambien temprano; y a pesar de quedarme con pocas fichas no me desespere y sali adelante en ambos. Solo seguir tomando buenas decisiones y los scores llegaran. El inexorable flujo de sucesos en el universo te alcanza, tu solo necesitas estar ahi.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Developing paranormal powers

I'm in THAT stage, the stage of a bad run in poker when you develop psychic powers; it's precious, so funny and pathetic. You can predict with a remarkable accuracy which cards are coming. Sometimes it's really easy, as when you are all in with top pair/overpair versus flush draw, you know the flush is coming. Sometimes you have the top pair + the flush draw as in AcKc in a AdTc8c flop and you are all in versus a Qh9h; now the tricky part is to know which J will come, the Jh,Jd or Js. You know it's coming and you know it's coming in the turn, so you can see how you miss the river. These days every time I'm involved in a 80-95% "flip", I call my wife, and start singing a salsa song I wrote for the occasion "Ahi viene el bad beat, ahi viene el bad beat, agarrense todos, que ahi viene el bad beat".
I said, "Look honey, the donkey reraised me 2500 all in with his A7 in the BB and 20-40 blinds, because he thought I was stealing with my raise to 120 in the button; but I have AA, a 93% favorite", I say proudly, "what a favorite I'm about to lose" and, shazammm!!, 2 sevens in the flop; ohhh how we laugh, or the time this guy raised in LP with 3s3c, I called in the BB with KdQd, flop came JdTdTh, I bet, he raises, I reraise, he went all in and I called; "Look honey, I have 23 outs twice !!!"; "Is that good?" she asks, "Nah, I'm only a 71%", we look at the 6s in the turn, and I told to her, "I'm still a favorite with 25 outs", she says, "really?", "well, you know honey in a Mathematical sense, not that it matters though, lets see that 3d hit the river"; and of course after leaving the table with my nice hand comment, I still have to read the other guy "I knew it, I knew he had NOTHING".
I think I'm even in a superior stage about my ability prediction; I mean, any player in a bad run can predict which card is coming, but what about predicting what is going to happen the next four hands ehh!!!!, this happened to me this Thursday in the $300 Limit Holdem Masters event in Paradise, with 54 players left, they paid 50 spots, and 1st prize was a cool 40k, I had an average stack of about 23k with 600-1200 blinds. I was dealt AQc UTG, and after I raised I had THE feeling, the only way I bubbled this thing it's to play AND lose the next 4 hands in a row since it was limit; and that is precisely what happened, lost the AQc, lost with QT in the BB, lost with AKs in the SB and then lost with AK in the button and I was out 53rd, yeah, yeah, I know probably some of you think it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I think I played all 4 hands optimally; I didn't care about the bubble and I played the hands to the best of my ability.
These days I wonder if I'm losing my humanity; I mean, even a dog, no matters how much the dog loves you, he moves out if you keep beating him; but we as poker players are stoic creatures; day in and day out, patiently waiting for our share of bad beats; specially if you play tournaments, as a winning cash game player, most days you win, and even if you are a winning tournament player, most days you lose; sometimes even when you win money you feel terrible, last December I won $34k with a 4th place in a Bellagio event, and I felt really bad and depressed all that day, that was the reason, I didn't even write a blog entry about it; how sick is that?; the only time you don't feel kind of disappointed it's the time you win the tourney, but this will happen just once in a while, most of the time you lose. Yeah, yeah, I know, you are suppose to feel good if you played right, no matter what; I'm just not tough enough; as Barry Greenstein said in his excellent book Ace in the River; the number one trait of a winning player is to be psychologically tough; "The best don't give in, no matter how severe the psychological beating".
And as I use to say, "This is the business we have chosen".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Playing a hand vs a bully

In the Paradise Masters $200 Rebuys, I played an interesting hand versus a bully. Before this hand, I raised to 200 (blinds 25-50) in EP with TT, he reraised in MP to 600, folded to me and I called. Flop came K32, I had like a 6k stack, and decided to lead here for 950, he didn't cooperate and raised to 2700, so I gave him credit and folded. Probably he had a hand like AK, AA, or probably he was just a bully who likes to take control of the hand and made me fold. Well, with this information, later I opened in MP with AA and a 5k+ stack, blinds were 50-100 and I raised to 350 in MP, same bully with a 20k stack called in LP. Flop came Ks7c3d, excellent flop for my hand, so I checked since I knew he couldn't help to bet, he didn't disappoint and bet 600, I raised, of course, and I was almost certain he would reraise me there, bullies can't help it, I raised to 1500 and again he didn't disappoint and reraised to 2600 or so; now I went all in for 3k more, if he has a set, so be it, but he folded, since he couldn't reraise me out the hand anymore. Now he could have been a donkey bully or a smart bully; a donkey bully when with a stack, it's gonna be raising you any time he feels like it, no matter what, and he could have anything, and if he had anything at all he's calling you in the previous spot. A smart bully is gonna reraise you to take control of the hand, but in the previous spot, he's capable of folding hands like KQ, because of the strength I showed; I don't know if he was a donkey and had something like T8 in that hand, or if he was a smart player and he had KQ; but the beauty of the analysis it's that it doesn't matter, and the best play was to just call after his reraise. By going all in, I failed to gain some more chips there. Lets see, if he's the smart one and I just call, it's gonna be hard for him to fold the KQ in the turn or river, and most probably he's betting again in the turn if I check; if he's the donkey, he's betting for sure the turn, no matter what. So, on both cases I win more chips. Of course once in a while he'll have something like 54 and could catch a 6, or KJ and catch the J; but I think the risk was worth it. When with a hand, give the bully all the chances you can to let him bet into you; sometimes by checking, sometimes by betting "scared", and sometimes by check-raising small; it depends of the size of your stack the pressure you'll need to apply to get full value of your hand, let him make the last bet. More often than not, his chips will be flying in your direction.