Monday, July 26, 2010

PokerRoad and a tale of 2 sites

If you've been following my twitter, I got a gig cohosting a PokerRoad podcast called Cash Plays w/ Jeremiah Smith. I met Jeremiah this past summer at the WSOP and we hit it off. He used to be a pastor and now plays poker and works in the media part of the poker industry. He is also a friend of FTP (they have pros and friends). We have a few similarities in that we're both Christians, been married for a few years, and focus on poker. He's also a genuinely a good guy and I like to associate myself w/ those type of people. Anyway the podcasts focuses on cash game play and I'm the so called "expert" on it. 1st podcast went up today..

I'm excited to be on it and thankful to Jeremiah for asking me to cohost. I think the 1st one went well and looking forward to future ones. I'm not sure but I don't think there are podcasts that focus strictly on cash games, notably online cash games so we're hoping to bring something new to poker players that want to get better at cash games.

Also I've been grinding my normal cash games online lately. On one side we have Pokerstars...

On the other side we have FTP...

All hands are at 2/4 and obv. a complete opposite in results. Now before I start ranting that FTP is rigged and Stars is not, I should point out that I've ran better on FTP than Stars historically. Also I'm still about $3k below ev for the month (all sites combined). At least I'm showing a good non sd line after bombing it early on. After 48k hands I'm up $325...welcome to the world of the rakeback pro!

I will be swapping the # of hands played on each site starting next year. I'm planning on moving most of my play over to Pokerstars next year in pursuit of supernova elite. Also they have more games over there so there will be more game selection.

Also I played strictly nl headsup last night (w/ some 8game mix on stars) and made a few hundred. After observing my hu results for the year, I'm happy w/ where I am esp. when I started playing hu for the 1st time this year. Here are my hu results for the year...

Now I can see why hu specialists have such high win rates. I think it comes from the fact that they get the fish all to themselves. I will point out that all my hu play has come from sitting on a hu table and refusing action to no one (so zero bumhunting) and when 6max and full ring tables break down to hu, and vice versa when I sit down to start a table. Also my sample size is still not a whole lot but I think I can say that I'm ok at hu. Sure I'm above ev but even at ev my winrate is pretty good. Also 5/10 has been tougher but that's because I'm playing vs guys like Dr Giggy and Irockhoes when the games are starting or breaking down. I'm gonna try to play more hu when I get the chance as I look forward to playing higher stakes eventually. I think it plays to one of my strengths in figuring out my opponents and making better counter adjustments than them. Also it really is one of the purest forms of poker as you need to hand read very well and are basically playing one big leveling game.

Also checking on my HEM, I'm about $30k below ev since April. I think in terms of buyins, I'm around 40 buyins below ev. It sucks but as a poker player I understand that's variance, but sometimes variance can go to f^%$ing hell!

Also I paid for coaching recently. It's group coaching w/ a well known Leggo pro. Basically I'm trying to hone my grasp of the fundamental/theory aspects of poker and heard he was pretty good. Again I like to say that poker takes a lifetime to master and I'm realistic enough to know that I gotta keep getting better.

As for my personal life, I have my personal asst. taking care of little things and organizing stuff for me so I have more time to just focus on poker (getting better and playing). We also celebrated my wife's birthday the other day and she looks as good as the day I met her (yeah I threw that part in to be on her good graces, but I'm also being truthful).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to the grind

I've been grinding a ton since I busted out of the WSOP main event. It's my plan to grind my way to a fortune this year since I'm busting myself out of million dollar pay days like the main event. I'm just about over the hand I misplayed at the main event that cost me my tournament life. We all make mistakes and poker is a game of decisions so mistakes will be made. It's just best to learn from it and move on. There is only one regret I have in life and it has nothing to do w/ poker. I chickened out on asking a girl out in high school when all the signs were there that she would say yes. Even so, my life turned out ok w/ my beautiful wife and kid now.

As for things outside of poker, my Mercedes is in the shop again and I'm shopping for a new car to replace it. The warranty expired and it's very expensive to fix those damn cars. The choices are a Lexus LS460, Cadillac Escalade, BMW 760, Audi 6, and no car. I figure I'm gonna be working out of home for the unforeseen future so don't really have use for 2 cars. Eventually I'll need that 2nd car but I may put it on hold for now.

Also I decided to hire a personal assistant. Actually I just hired her and she'll be starting next week so we'll see how that goes. The reason I'm doing so is because I just want to focus on poker from this point on. I don't like taking care of bills, running errands, fixing things around the house, etc...basically everyday stuff. Also I'm so disorganized that I need someone to organize things for me. It takes time and I could use my time just playing poker and making more money. Also the person I hired is the roommate of Daniel Negreanu's personal assistant so I am going to assume she will be pretty good since she's seen her roommate handle another poker player's duties.

It's also been nice meeting people for a change. Having spent most of my hrs the past few years in front of a computer have limited my opportunities to meet people and make friends. I'm a pretty approachable and social person but have been limited by online poker. I've been meeting new people in poker and outside of poker and everyone seems nice. I've also met poker players that are Christians so I'm excited about that and developing relationships w/ them. I think it shows how much poker has come along when years ago you might've dealt w/ more unscrupulous and shady people (thanks Chris Moneymaker and online poker!). Also, speaking of people, just want to tell my buddy Todd who's been a Vegas friend of mine for a few years now, good luck on your new direction in life at the University of Arkansas (and hope you decide to stay in our fantasy football league).

As for poker, it's going. I started back up at nl400 for a couple of reasons. 1st I need to get acclimated to the games again because I forgot what it was like to grind online cash games. 2nd I cashed out a ton recently and being the bankroll nit I am decided to rebuild back up from $2-$4. There's definitely something to be said about getting into a daily routine of playing online. As you can see it started out rough as I forgot how to play early on, as evidenced by my terrible non sd line early on. Also I've been misclicking, timing out on tables, and just other nuances that take some getting used to. Things settled to normal then I started running bad. Looks like I'm about $4k below ev which is about 10 buy ins. Half of that is courtesy of a certain reg..won't mention his name but it starts w/ New and ends w/ Man. How many times is he gonna beat my overpr w/ his underpr aipf???!!!

As mentioned I've been having problems clicking buttons on my number pad when I'm betsizing at $2-$4. My pad is set up w/ hotkeys for $3-$6 and $5-$10 so I've misclicked a few times lately. Luckily it hasn't cost me yet and actually made me money this hand...

No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

Hero (UTG) ($701.80)
MP ($397.50)
CO ($562)
Button ($400)
SB ($221.10)
BB ($542.10)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with A, J
Hero bets $122, 4 folds, BB raises $538.10 (All-In), Hero calls $420.10

Flop: ($1086.20) Q, 4, 5 (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: ($1086.20) 9 (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($1086.20) 5 (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $1086.20

BB had Q, K (two pair, Queens and fives).
Hero had A, J (flush, Queen high).
Outcome: Hero won $1083.20

Obv. I meant to open to $12 and I think it's a standard call when bb shoves.

Finally I wanna give a shout out to Dave Baker (not Bakes) who had an awesome WSOP inc. a very deep run in the main event (17th) and cashing for about $700k total during the series. Wtg man and feel free to ship me the $600 you owe me from our fantasy league last year. Hope you decide to join our league again unless you think you're too baller now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WSOP over

I busted last night from the WSOP main event. This is usually the worst time of the year for a professional poker player. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. It's a combination of busting out and the hand that crippled me. I started the day as a short stack w/ about 500 away from the money. I'm happy w/ the way I played to get as far as I did and ended up cashing for $24k. The only problem is that I'm still 2nd guessing myself on the final hand (well it was 2nd to final hand). It's what most would consider crazy on my part although I don't feel that bad about how I played it. I'll explain...

We are almost done for the night w/ the tournament director saying we are playing 3 more hands. I have 235k, avg. is slightly under 400k, blinds 3k-6k. I opr w/ A9s to 14k ep, co calls quickly, dealer informs him the guy in front of him hasn't acted, so he takes his call back, now the guy in front calls, the co calls quickly again so I'm assuming the co has a medium strength hand consisting of 22-TT and 98s to KQs typish hands. Flop comes 3h5c6h and normally I c/f here vs 2 but I cbet 24k because I felt like I could take it down a lot in this spot for a couple of reasons. 1st my hand looks very strong to cbet into 2 on this wet flop and 2nd we are just about done for the night and I think both guys wanted to make it to day 5 so there is more fold equity than usual.

Anyway the 1st caller folds, the co who started w/ 1k less than me raises to 60k and again I can fold here but I went into the tank and thought of his range and I deduced that he almost always has 22-TT here and was raising to protect esp. since we were almost done for the day. I also thought if I jammed over his raise for another 160k he would fold all pps except for 33, 55, 66. He was pretty nitty when it came to his tournament life because he had folded QQ preflop earlier after 4betting and facing a shove for his life. That also led me to believe that he raise folded good hands from time to time which is not a good way to play nl poker so he was capable of raise/folding pps on this flop. Anyway I 3bet jammed, he called w/ 55 and it was gg for me.

Again I'm nearly certain that he folds all pps except the sets here and there are few combination of sets (9 total) vs other combination of pps (over 20 combos) in his range. Also I had a ton of fold equity as I barely had him covered for another 160k which is somewhat of a playable stack at 3k-6k. Anyway we counted down our stacks and I had 1k left which was an ante. That was agonizing in itself to have to toss in the ante and be all in. Anyway I busted next hand and felt like crap because I was questioning myself if my 3bet shove was good.

I didn't state the obvious that my line looks like an overpair or possibly some big combo draw and again I thought he would fold all pps except sets to my shove. I just went w/ my read and it turned out wrong and it happens to all poker players. It sucks to have it happen in the biggest stage of all and when I had played for 4 days. Sure I could've just c/f'ed the flop or just folded to his flop raise. Sure my play could be perceived as spewy and I could've waited for a better spot.

If he didn't have a set, I win the pot and get up over 300k which puts me in good shape going into day 5. Anyway I told the hand to a few guys that play well and most seemed to think it was ok as long as I went w/ my read although most said they would not make that play. They're the more conservative type of players though. I know that there are some very successful mtt players that make plays that look very spewy but have a reason for doing so (I recall Faraz Jaka 5bet jamming w/ 93o preflop vs a tight player's utg raises very deep in the $25k WPT event and winning vs aces..also I heard Jason Mercier made a few "spewy" plays in the WSOP main event and those 2 have been crushing the live tournament scene the last 2 years). Now I'm not saying I'm as good as them, maybe I am, maybe I'm not in live tournaments but in order to be successful you can't be afraid to go broke, even on the biggest stage, esp. in a 7500 entrants live tournament.

So now I'm sad because I busted and one side of me says I should've just folded and lived on while another side says don't 2nd guess it I went w/ my read and had good logical reasons to make the play and it just didn't work. I will try to figure out whether it's more ev for me to just play a little more straightforward, or to add these big bluffs from time to time in tournaments. I don't have my live tournament game down pat since I'm not strictly a tournament player. I do feel like I'm very good at them but again, it's always good to keep working on your game and I will continue to do so on my tournament game.

Anyway the WSOP is over for me this year and I'll just sum it up as mediocre. I played 17 events and cashed in 5, inc. the main event. I showed a profit of a few thousand dollars which is actually pretty good considering almost everyone loses money at the WSOP. If you don't have a big score or a whole bunch of cashes, you are probably gonna lose money. There are a ton of big names that are down at this year's WSOP, esp. when you see all the new faces that got deep or won a bracelet. The buyins add up. Some of the well known players are stuck over $150k from the buyins alone (if you wanna find out who won/lost what, check sharkscope..they list every player at the WSOP this year and how much they are up/down).

I'll just add a couple of comments about my experiences at the WSOP this year. Harrah's did a good job of spacing the tournaments and running them. The amenities were plenty and well placed. I hope they don't relocate the WSOP as rumored. Placing it on the strip would suck because traffic is terrible there and everything is more congested. There were a whole lot of unknown guys getting deep and winning bracelets. This was definitely not the year of the well known pros. It doesn't surprise me because as a whole the game is getting tougher and more and more people are learning to play well so there will be new faces winning. Obviously Phil Ivey is the best because he just seems to win a bracelet every year no matter what, with this year no exception (he won a HORSE event).

There were a lot more attractive women than usual it seemed. My friend speculated it was so because of all the European guys bringing their gf's or wives. There were a lot of Euros this year...seemed like 2+ at every table I played on.

Seems like anyone that played in multiple events did not have all of themselves (except for the rich and famous guys like Ivey, Negreanu, etc.). Everyone seemed to have pieces of others in every event. I'm no exception as I only had 50% of myself. There are a few reasons for this. 1st having less of yourself and swapping %s and buying %s of others reduces the variance, and we know tournaments have a ton of variance in them because it could take just 1 hand to end all your good play in one. 2nd good players can sell at a markup or premium meaning you charge extra on top of the buyin because you rate to be +ev and you're spending your valuable time theoretically making money for your investors. I saw markups ranging from 1.0 (no markup) to 1.5 meaning if you charged 1.2, you sold 10% of a $1k event at $120. A lot of guys wanted to take less % of themselves so they can sell at a markup and collect the markup fees. There are actually marketplaces in online poker forums where you buy and sell %s for tournaments. 3rd some poker players just don't have the money but rate to be +ev, or so they convince their backers/investors so they only have a certain % of themselves.

Now this was the 1st time I ever sold any of my action. In previous years I just bought in on my own and maybe swapped out 10% or so w/ buddies. This was also the most events I've played (17). I think I played 13 events 2 years ago and only 4 last year. I sold 50% of my action at 1.2 which I did so w/o doing my homework. If I had done my homework, I should've and could've sold at 1.35. This is mainly based on my results and experiences in the past. So next year if I do sell some of my action again I'll be selling at 1.35+. I won't list the reasons why (next year I'll do so if I sell) but I'll just say I've won money at the WSOP 4 out of the last 6 years and have profited over $100k even though my biggest score was $70k (I do feel I'll win big one year and also win a bracelet along the way). I also have cashed in the 2 biggest WSOP main events, having cashed for $65k back in '06 when there were over 8k entrants and this year for $24k when there were over 7500 entrants.

Anyway I'm gonna try to get over my bust out hangover then resume my quest for, as Dr. Evil would say, "$1 million hahahaha".

*Edit* After talking w/ friends, I feel that just folding A9 was best because my assumptions may not be true all the time (guy wanting to make day 5, etc.) and it's in the best interest to use my knowledge and skills later on in more favorable spots...oh well, I'll admit when I screwed up, sucks it happened at the main event, but I'll learn and try to get better...Fml (for today, but gonna look forward to rest of the year)

Friday, July 9, 2010

June Results (belated)

June was an unproductive month. It was because I spent so much time playing the live events at the WSOP. Once I got into the routine of playing live tournaments for most of the day, I just didn't feel like grinding poker when I got home hence my limited hrs spent grinding online.

I played 13 WSOP events in June and cashed in 4 of'em (I've played in 16 events total not including the main event which I resume tomorrow). Considering I played the 2nd day of 4 of the events, that's 17 days of live tournament poker for the month. It may not seem like a lot, or maybe it is, but it definitely feels like a grind, especially when you're getting dealt 30 hands/hr after being accustomed to 1k+ hands/hr playing online. Overall I lost $1730 in the WSOP events for the month after factoring my buyins, cashes ($17k in cashes), and the pieces I sold off at a markup. Obviously I would've liked to have shown a profit but tournaments are not a source for steady income. There's still the main event and if I min cash in it I will show a profit for the WSOP, which is really hard to do.

I also spent 3 days playing live, 2 days of mix games and 1 day of nl and lost about a $100 there. Also I lost $5948 in online tournaments for the months. Took 3 shots in online WSOP satellites w/ buyins ranging from $320-$640 and bricked out. I did manage to play cash games for about 15 hrs and won $3252. Also made another $500 in rakeback + bonuses. I said it before but once the WSOP is over, I'm gonna hit the cash games hard. I am considering playing some more live tournaments though because I realized that I'm pretty +ev in them (even though I'm stuck at the WSOP but that's short term), but only after doing well in cash games. Anyway here are some snapshots for the month of June...

As for the main event, day 1 went well. I had a pretty soft table. Last year I had Marco Traniello, Scott Fischman, Matt Stout, David Benyamine, and a couple of other good internet kids on my table on day 1. The only guy I recognized on my table this time around was AJKHoosier1 who is a well known online tournament player. I was all in once when I held AA and had 4bet preflop to 8k and bet 7k/called all in for 7k more on a Q98 flop and beat AQ to double up. After that I chipped up pretty well and finished the day at 77,500 w/ the avg. being around 42k or so. I won't go into other hands now because I don't want to risk giving anything away while in the midst of the biggest tournament of the year.

Anyway I resume tomorrow w/ the blinds being at 200-400 + 50 so I have plenty of play. Sure beats the 20-30 bbs I usually have to work w/ in the smaller buy in events. Obviously I'm gonna feel like I have the edge at whatever table I'm at since most guys don't know how to play w/ more than 30bbs+ well. Also if there's ever a time to run good, this tournament would be it.

On a different note, I'm excited to see Lebron James form a "super" team in Miami. It sucks that he left Cleveland like he did but as a fan I'm looking forward to seeing how good this Miami team is.

I had a friend that played w/ Phil Ivey yesterday and she said he groaned and wasn't that happy when Lebron announced he was signing w/ Miami. He was offered Miami season tickets a while back but turned them down because he, along w/ most, did not think Miami was going to land 2, let alone 3 superstars in the offseason. Apparently he has family down there and being the baller he is, would've found time to attend games whenever he wanted. Now season tickets are sold out and even regular tickets are hard to get.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Eve of Main Event

I'm a few hrs away from playing the WSOP main event. It's basically THE tournament for poker players. This will be my 6th main event. I have cashed once before, back in '06 when I finished 73rd out of 8k entrants for $65k. Jamie Gold won it that year. It's supposed to signify the poker champion for the year but as we all know now, it doesn't necessarily mean the best player wins it (or else Phil Ivey would be winning it every year and I'd be finishing 2nd...just kidding). It is just a $10k buy in tournament w/ thousands of entrants. I won't list names of guys that have made it deep or even won it that are considered average at best, terrible at worst, but there are plenty of them. It definitely does bring a big sense of prestige w/ the title, not to mention all sorts of endorsement deals since it's promoted and televised heavily. As a poker player it is my ultimate goal in poker, and probably most poker players' ultimate goal.

Anyway this WSOP has been very mediocre for me. I have 4 cashes out of 16 events which is very respectable, but I'm a small loser still because none of my cashes have been big. My best finish was 76th (out of 950). I do feel like I've been running somewhat bad, having lost over half my flips, and not being on the good end of coolers enough. I would need a main event cash to show a profit, and anything above a min cash would be profit for this year's WSOP.

I will be wearing a Full Tilt patch at the main event, and have been wearing one during the WSOP. I did not win a seat through FTP, but was asked to wear it to represent FTP. Maybe I'm on their radar for a potential deal, which I would gladly accept since FTP has been my "home" for poker for several years now. Also they issued me a VIP card to their exclusive suite/lounge at the Rio. You either had to be one of their pros, win a seat through their site, or be connected somehow to have access. I'm not sure why I got it but I'm gonna assume they know of me and hopefully are considering adding me to their stable of pros. Obviously I think I have done enough in poker (especially when you see what most of their pros have done) to warrant a deal but ultimately it comes down to them. Also I do think I can bring a lot to their site as a pro (are you listening FTP?) but won't get into details here.

Anyway the lounge is a cool place to relax during breaks and what not. They have food platters and drinks laid out all the time and couches to relax on. Plus it's kinda cool to rub elbows w/ Ferguson, Lederer, Matusow, and other FTP pros when in there since they're always hanging out there. My buddies are always asking to go in w/ me so they can ravage the food and drinks whenever they have a chance.

As for my past week, it was busy even though I haven't been playing much poker. Besides the last events I played last week, I found time to go to Howard and Suzy Lederers' charity event/mtt/bbq/fireworks show at the Golden Nugget Friday. I took my wife and kid since it was family friendly. It benefited the Boys and Girls Club of America which is a great organization to donate to. We did our share and spent $1k in buyins in the turbo tournament. We also ended up winning a silent auction for a stuffed pirate ship w/ dolls that cost $185 (proceeds went to the charity as well). The auction had the usual things like autographed sports and movie memorabilia (was considering buying an Elvis plaque w/ his signature but was pretty expensive..$3500 to start), paintings, but a couple of other unique things such as a night w/ the Lederers at their house where you can bring up to 8 people and have a home game w/ them while Howard gives pointers on poker (starting bid $1k, buy out at $10k) and a right to have Steve Zolotow write an article about you or a poker hand you played in Cardplayer magazine (starting bid $350). Anyway we had a nice dinner in the pool area after the tournament then got to watch a very cool fireworks show afterwards. I also got to chat w/ a few FTP luminaries such as Howard Lederer but missed out on a chance to talk w/ Ray Bitar who I think is the primary owner of FTP.

Yesterday was the 4th of July and a bunch of friends and families headed to our buddy Joe's house and spent the whole day there. Before that I met up w/ a couple of FTP pros (Mike Gracz and Jeremiah Smith) at my church who were attending as well and was surprised to learn that Gavin Smith was w/ them but left before I got a chance to exchange pleasantries. I bring that up because if you heard of Gavin, he's one of the last guys you'd think would go to church. He is known to be a drinker, and makes all kinds of weird prop bets and such. He isn't a bad guy per se, on contrary a very nice guy from what I know, but has been known to party hard and drink heavily (maybe he's changed recently, idk). Anyway I thought it was really cool to meet up w/ other poker players at my church, especially guys that are well known in the poker industry.

Anyway Joe ended up having a bbq at his house and it was mostly comprised of poker players and families. Some of the guys went out and bought some fireworks and we set them off on the streets at night and the kids had fun watching them. We played some chinese poker and I lost a little (friendly $5/point). Then a few guys and I decided to start up a $5-$10 baduci game. Joe's girlfriend Lisa ended up dealing the game which was nice because baduci is not an easy game to deal, especially when you're in a hand. She has plenty of dealing experience so the game went smoothly and quickly. Anyway we played 7 handed and among the 7 were 2 bracelet winners (1 recent winner in Chris Bell), a WPT main event winner (host Joe Tehan), 2 typical internet kids that win online, a couple of las vegas live pros, and me. I guess you can say the home game wasn't the softest home game around but it was fun because the money won/lost didn't really affect out bankrolls. Anyway I ended up big winner for the night w/ about $500 won. I also had the highest vpip in the game at around 90%. I was playing terribly predraw but played very well after the 1st draw and it helped to catch a lot of cards like I did. It was funny when I would point out why I wouldn't call so and so at the river because his went to showdown % in the game was 15% and other internet lingo about certain players in the game.

Anyway one thing I try to do before a big tournament is get plenty of rest so I'm gonna wrap this up. I will get back to more poker specific stuff again, especially when the WSOP ends. I will also look to get back to grinding online and resume my goal of a career year. Obviously if I final table the main event that goal will be accomplished but that is a lot more difficult to do than by grinding my usual routine.