Friday, June 30, 2006

Limit Hold Em Event #4 Report

For those looking for the Limit Hold Em tournament report still ongoing it is right underneath the Sports entry.

Break Out The Brooms, Telfair, World Cup

A lot going on in the sports world right now, but its tough for me to follow out here in Vegas with so much poker going on. Here are some quick thoughts.

- I am on the fence about this Sebastian Telfair trade to the Celtics. I was really pumped when I first heard about it, and I still am kind of in favor of it, but hearing all those ESPN guys rave over Foye and thinking back to how dominant Foye was in the NCAA tourney its really a tough call.

- The Red Sox look amazing. We just swept the Mets and have made the National League look silly. I propose the American League playoffs this year should crown the World Series Champion and the National League champs can play the Triple A winners in some sort of mediocrity baseball challenge.

- I need to go to bed right now and possibly wake up to watch Germany-Argentina tomorrow and then go back to bed to play Day 2 of this limit event at 2 PM Las Vegas time. This could very easily be the match of the World Cup, definitely 2 of the 3 best teams in the whole world.

Limit Hold Em WSOP Event #4 Day 1 (I'm Still Standing, Yea, Yea, Yea)

After consulting a few people I decided to go against my original plan and enter the 1500 Limit Hold Em event today. Limit Hold Em has always been my bread and butter game and the majority of the money I have made playing poker has come from grinding out live and online Limit Hold Em cash games. All that aside I lately have become bored/frustrated/sick of Limit Hold em and have pretty much made a full transition to No-Limit full time.

My plan for the World Series was to concentrate on big bet poker and take the limit hold em days as days of rest or days to play cash games. However, I woke up this morning feeling good and itching to play another WSOP event after tasting a small amount of success the day before. The biggest obstacle in my way was that the 1500 limit hold em was going to get over 1000 entrants making it a 3 day event. This meant that if I made day 2 I would have to miss the 2500 6-Max NL tourney, an event I have been looking forward to for months. When I expressed this concern to my cousin Danny he referred to this as being a "high-class problem", and suggested I ignore this variable when making my decision. That in mind, I ate some breakfast and headed down to the Rio in plenty of time to play Event #4.

My starting table featured Kevin Song , a very good old school professional poker player who has had particular success in limit hold em tournaments including a bracelet in one a few years back. I started off pretty hot, in spite of Kevin being directly on my left and had 2500 before I knew it. Unfortunately I got involved in a few bad spots and eventually found myself back to my 1500 starting chips at the first break. Soon after the break I hit a rush, and then this hand occured.

2 players limped in EP to me and I made it 200 to go with 2 red Jacks. Kevin called right next to me and when the smoke cleared it was 6 to the flop for 2 bets. The flop came 8c3c2c, and when it was checked to me I bet my very vulnerable overpair. Kevin raised me and cleared the field. My plan was to call the hand down at this point unless I improved or it became extremely obvious my hand was no good. I check and called a turned 2 and then the river came my Gin card...The Jack of Clubs. This put a 4 flush on the board, but made me top full house. I decided to go for a bet 3-bet and Kevin raised and then crying called my 3-bet with what he said was a flopped set of 3's. This hand put me at 6000 and I was the table chip leader and well over twice the tourney average.

For the next few hours I went up and down, and ended with about 8000 chips when I was moved to a new table right before dinner break. I had a very enjoyable dinner break where I changed up my normal routine of going to sit down at a restaraunt for a meal. Instead I went to the snack bar and got a chicken sandwich and a fruit plate and headed over to the cash game area to fire up a $4-$8 limit hold em game. I have been talking with a few people including my friend Shane about expert dinner break routines, and I was really intrigued by this one which allowed me to stay in the gambling/poker mindset while also being able to unwind a little bit and play without pressure. I dropped about 35 dollars in the game but had fun and was ready to go when play resumed.

Post dinner break I went on a nice little rush to get to 15,000 in chips when this hand developed agaisnt Adam Katz's favorite poker player Phil Gordon.

Folded to Phil in middle position and he opened with a raise, I was the lone caller, defending my blinds with 55. The flop came Q65 rainbow and I went for the check-raise, Gordon obliged by betting and then rapidly 3-bet when I raised. At this point I had 3 choices. I could 4 bet and keep the heat on the rest of the hand, I could just call and attempt to check-raise the turn, or I could call the 3 bet planning on leading any turn. I chose the 3rd option. The reason for this was I thought that Phil would not be able to fold a Queen if I took this line but he might smell out a huge hand from me if faced with a 4-bet on the flop and could get off a Queen much easier. There is probably more about this hand to discuss, but for now I am going to move on to the turn action and maybe revisit the flop later.

The turn was an A, and it also made 2 clubs on the board. I went with the plan and led into Gordon, and he called but was noticably disgusted. When a good (great) player gives off such an obvious tell usually he is up to someththing and in the heat of the battle I didnt really pick up on it. (I will explain later what he was up to)

The river was an offsuit 4 and now one of the hands I feared got there (87). I still decided to lead and paid off Phil's river raise and was shown the 8c7c. This hand would have put me up to 20K but instead I was knocked to around 10...a tough break, and a key hand.

Back to what Phil was up to by his turn body language. Now that we know his hand was 8c7c, we know he turned a monster draw. By giving off weakness on the turn he encourages me to bet the river no matter what I have pretty much. Also, when someone reluctanly calls a bet, usually that hand isnt a solid draw, because limit hold em pots are almost always big enough to chase garden variety draws. Phil gets the best of all worlds if he can sell a weak made hand to me...If I am bluffing I will fire one more bullet if I think he is weak, if I have a decent holding I will be more inclined to make a thin value bet, and if I have a monster I wont attempt a check-raise because if he is weak he wont bet. This means that the 65 percent of the time he misses on the river he just folds his 8 high and moves on, he wasnt gonna win the hand anyway so no harm done, but the 35 percent of the time he does hit he is in good shape to get 2 bets. Anyways, I am getting tired so that is enough about that hand, but it was an interesting one for sure.

Soon after I got down to 10K I vaulted back to 14 and for the next few hours I was between 9 and 14, hitting a bad run of cards but winning some small pots to stay alive.

Then this key hand crippled me. I opened Under The Gun with AKo and was 3-bet by a guy who I had seen play extremely tight for 2 hours. I was pretty nervous about the 3-bet and put my opponent on a very narrow range of hands. The flop came AT9 and I was happy but planned to play the hand cautiously. The turn bet was 600 and I just called, figuring I didnt want to scare JJ-KK away but also didnt want to lose any more than 1 bet per street vs a hand that beat me. Although I hit a good flop I did not feel comfortable. The Turn was a small card and again I check and called. I wanted to have a playable stack if I lost this hand, and I think this is the type of hand that is supposed to be played differently in a cash game than in a tournament, especially if u are a short stack. The river was an offsuit Q and I considered betting, but luckily check and my opponent gave me a break by checking behind with ATs for a flopped 2 pair. My pre-flop read was wrong but luckily my cautious play left me with 4200 in chips to keep fighting. I was annoyed with my luck, but happy that I stayed disciplined and aware of the situation I was in.

My stack dwindled down to 3500 with 104 people left of the 1068 starters, I was in bad shape and in danger of bubbling and not making the top 99 places which were being paid. Phil Gordon raised UTG and I had 99 and a decision to go with it or not on the button, after talking to Phil a little I got the feeling that he didnt mind an all in by me at all which made me think he had 99 or better, AK or maybe AQ. My read could have been wrong for sure, but he was playing ultra-tight and it seemed like he had a hand he was happy about. I folded, but then 2 hands later I decided to gamble.

The UTG player raised, he was short stack and I knew he had a big hand 88-AA, AK and maybe AQ...he might have folded AQ im not sure. I was actually planning on folding my AKo when it got to me, but then there was a cold caller. Througout the tournament Cold-Call meant pair between 22-TT about 90 percent of the time, so thats what I put the caller on. Vs 2 pocket pairs smaller than me I all of the sudden would be faced with a nice triple up situation and I decided to go with my hand. To make a long story short, all the money got in pre-flop more or less between me and the other short stack and the bigger stack cold-caller...UTG had QQ, Cold-Caller had KK and I was in a world of hurt. Flop came rags and I was already devising my expert 6-Max NL strategy for tomorrows event, sure I was done in this one. Turn nothing and then....BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM Ace of diamonds on the river and I have 11K again!!!!!!

From then on I hit a nice rush and also played some hands well post flop making some good value bets, inducing a few bluffs/calls and by the time I was moved to a new table I had 25K and was well in the money. I built it up to 27K and then lost a few thousand back when I picked up KK but ran into an ace high flop, I was raised on the flop and got off the hand, my opponent showed me AQs and I was feeling good with about 22K right on average with 69 runners left going in to tomorrow.

Cliff Notes : I have 22K in the 1500 Limit Event, I am already in the money and first place is 330K. All the payout structures and real time updates should be available on and Blinds start at something ridiculous like 1000-1500 tomorrow so a lot of luck will still be involved, but I do feel pretty confident that maybe I can get something done here.

Thanks for reading...Go Red Sox

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pot Limit WSOP Event #3

I had more fun today than the first one, Pot Limit is really a great game, but still nothing monetary to show for it. We started with 1500 and my high point was 6000 My first table featured JDags, he played fine but made a somewhat bad call against a guy for 1000 chips and then got unlucky to lose 3 straight coinflips including the final one vs me to bust.

I got moved to a new table and soon started to chip up from 2500 to 6000. Won a few pots in position and then some guy decided I didnt have it and took a stand with ATo vs my TT. Soon after this hand happened...

Blinds 75/150, my stack 6000 and the blinds have somewhere between 2 and 3K.. Folded to me on the button and I limp with J9o (semi-debatable play but I thought I had good control over the blinds, but didnt want to raise pre-flop because I had recently been active.) Blinds check and the flop comes J97 2 toned. Checked to me I bet 325 and the SB calls. Pot is now 1100, turn is an offsuit 4 and when my opponent led at the pot for 1100 (the full size of the pot) I was loving life and put him in for 400 more chips. It seemed very very unlikely that my opponent would take this awkward line with 77 or T8, and these were the only hands that could make any sense from the complete action thus far that would have me beat. On the other hand I could think of many many hands, most including some sort of Jack that would take this line that I would have had drawing very slim. When he called and flipped up T8o my dreams of having an early monster stack were dashed.

Nothing much went right after that, lost a coinflip or 2, missed a flop or 4 and before I know it I was out with 300 or so people left from the original 1100.

Other Highlights : Playing with both Minh Ly and Chau Giang, these guys are the nuts to play with. Always talking and making happy go lucky broken english jokes at every oppurtunity. Genuinely good guys as far as I can tell, hope to play with them again.

Limit Hold Em 1500 tomorrow, unclear if I am gonna play cause I really want to play the NL 2500 6 max on friday.

Oh yea and Go Red Sox, they are absolutely on fire

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Summer Camp

Growing up the best months of my life were often the summer when I went away to overnight camp. I looked forward to the 2 months of camp all school year. Arriving at camp was one of the single most exciting days of the year. Seeing old friends, checking out the girls and seeing how they had developed over the past years etc.

After my Freshman year of college I went to camp for my final year as counselor and head of tennis and I knew that I was getting too old for summer camp and I had to move on. It was a sad feeling that I would never experience the anticipation of a 2 month summer excursion in to fantasy land.

Well, my non-standard life has brought me back to a new summer camp of sorts named the World Series of Poker. Last year I was in Vegas for 6 weeks in the summer, living with a buddy in a nice condo and playing a bunch of the World Series of Poker events. It culminated in a nice showing in the WSOP Main Championship event.

I was sad to go home when it was all over but there was only 10 months to go till next summer when I could do it all over again. Well I am back in Vegas living in a house with 4 expert poker players in a 5 bedroom bunk with a pool table, pool, hot tub and big screen TV (and a few random insects for that authentic summer camp feel.)

Anticipation of fame and fortune is rampant throughout our house and I'm pretty sure atleast one of us is gonna crack it big. Either way there is no place that I would rather be than at summer camp and I plan to make the most of it one way or another.


NL 1500 Event #2

I played event #2 of the WSOP today. Not much to report. We started with 1500 chips and I never got over 2000. My biggest pair was 22. My bust hand went like this...folded to the worst player at our table on the button he made it 300 (blinds 50-100). I moved in for 1625 total with Ac8c. He called with KQo gg...

I'm not too sure my play was correct, but it cant be that bad and I dont feel like analyzing it right now.

Tomorrow is Pot Limit 1500 and then I have to decide if I am sticking around here or I am going back for the Mike and Trey shows this weekend.

Claudio Reyna - Soccer

Claudio Reyna made the single worst play I have witnessed in the past few years of professional or international soccer. Reyna not only tried to dribble past his man as the last defender, but then he faked an injury once his man stole the ball and scored a goal. He went as far to get carried off in a stretcher only to be back 2 minutes later. Reyna really didnt come to play all World Cup and this HUGE BLUNDER in the Ghana game is unfortunately how I will remember him, the mistake was inexcuseable at a U-12 Select Team Level, on a world stage it was honestly shocking to me.

On a related note, I really hate how all these guys flop all around the field whenever they fall down during this World Cup. Could u imagine Charles Barkely getting nudged by Karl Malone, not getting the call from the ref and instead of hustling back on D he just grabs for his hamstring and lays on the ground while Stockton brings it up the floor 5 on 4?? I don't see how what these soccer players continue to do is any different. My friend Matt said they do it cause the grass is all newly cut and soft and comfortable so they dont want to get up, he is probably on to something...

Dell Customer Service RANT

I have had the absolute worst past 3 weeks with Dell, I am spending a good amount of money on a computer system and a 30 inch Dell Monitor and for some reason they could care less if I am happy or even if I recieve my stuff. I hope noone here ever uses Dell again, I know I never will. I dont care how good there stuff is, it cant be worth it. My desktop has already been stolen once because they sent it to the wrong address.

At one point I called to double check on my order and they said yes Mr. Martin everything is being sent to 1118 Thomas Ave. in San Diego...well thats great but I havent lived there for 3 years, somehow they switched my order over to there. I got that cleared up but there have been 2 more address mistakes since then.

There are so many horror stories it is just amazing. Here is the latest one... after weeks of being hung up on by the system by mistake, talking to over 20 different Dell Reps (not an exaggeration), complaing to anyone who will listen....

I called up today and used this super duper extension that this guy Francis (he was the 5th guy who claimed to be upper level management and assured me he would follow my case until I was happy) left for me because I was trying to check on the new computer they are rushing out. Well, all the extension was good for was a good ole automatic hang up after 2 minutes of waiting.

Anyways, I called back and finally got a hold of a live person, she said my computer wont be here for another 10 days....I asked her to look through my file and see if they could either rush it to me or compensate me for the computer since they are wasting so much of my time, not to mention costing me money every hour I dont have my computer to play poker on. Well this girl said to me, "we are not in the business of giving computers away for free we are in the business of selling computers" Well after she spouted that to me I asked her name, audibly frazzeled she quickly thanked me for calling dell and HUNG UP ON ME. I could not make this up.

Cliff Notes Version : NEVER USE DELL


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