Monday, August 23, 2010

Live Tournament Cash ($25k woohoo!)

So I played the Detox main event ($550 buyin) over the weekend at the Hard Rock here in Vegas and finished 3rd for $25,400. Not a bad pay day but disappointed in not winning it all esp. the cool trophy that comes w/ it. Here's a pic of it (w/ some deadmoney next to that's my buddy Joe that won the 1st event and $31k..Matt Savage next to him).

I started the day 13th in chips out of 18 and really didn't pick up any hands at all all day and nursed a short stack until we were 4 handed. It helped that the levels were increased from 40 mins to 60 mins at the final table. Matt Savage usually runs player friendly tournaments and this was no exception. He is arguably the best tournament director out there today, and he's very friendly w/ players. He's also a mod on 2+2 and contributes there a lot so if that's not cool, idk what is (the fact that he's a well know tournament director for major events yet has the time to be a 2+2 mod, and he doesn't just post in the mtt threads...his posts are all over 2+2). He also has a charity golf tournament named after him (which he hosts) so he's into philanthropy as well (shameless request..Matt if you ever read this I'd love to be invited to it sometime!).

Anyway at the final table I never picked up a hand before a timely double up w AK vs J7 aipf. That only got me to 12 bbs or so. If there was one complaint I had about the tournament it was that there wasn't much play when were we 4-7 handed. I think there was a decent amount of play hu but alas I didn't make it, which compounded my disappointment because I felt (knew) I was the best player at the final table and probably been a favorite hu even if I was outchipped (unless I was really short).

When we got down to 6 handed, others proposed a deal and even though I only had 10 bbs at the time (along w/ 2 others at 10bbs, the cl's w/ about 25-30bbs) I nixed the deal (deal consisted of me receiving $16k when 1st was $60k w/o the deal) for a couple of reasons...I was the best player (stating my opinion w/o trying to sound arrogant) and a couple of the guys really wanted the deal so I knew there was a lot of fold equity against them. I was able to bust the next best player w/ QQ vs ATs and was up to 400k w/ blinds at 15k-30k and they proposed another deal. This time I was offered $25k and after deliberating on it for a few mins (others wanted the deal) I decided to take it for 1 reason only...because there still wasn't much play w/ the stacks at 200k, 300k, 400k (me), 1mil, 1.2 mil with blinds 20k-40k (see not much play). I knew it was somewhat of a crapshoot and I could bust out 5th easily and receive $10k (vs the $25k I was to get w/ the deal + 10k left to play for for 1st..actually $7k for 1st, $3k for 2nd) so I took it but wasn't excited about it like the others were.

There was an older asian guy that kept telling me I should take the deal because I'm getting $25k and that that's a lot...he hounded me for a few mins. about it while I deliberated it. I had to tell him everybody has different interests in regards to the $ and the tournament. He wouldn't let up though and asked me for my name because he said I must've been someone important in the poker world not to take the deal (especially since I was the only guy that was hesitant on it). I gave it to him and he said he would look me up online. Well sir if you are reading this, you found me and congrats on your 4th place finish.

Anyway after I unenthusiastically accepted the deal I lost every hand. I opr w 99 fr the sb and bb called, flop J86r, I cbet bb raised little over 2x, I tanked for awhile and folded and he showed me QJ. Then the asian guy opr to 120k on the button w/ 400k behind and I look down at KJo in the sb w/ 700k and based on his physical tells I was nearly 100% certain he didn't want to face a reraise (I guess I'll help him out if he's reading this but he got really silent when he held big hands preflop and talked a lot when he held weaker hands..was such an obvious tell...he was talking a lot here after opr) so I elected to shove and he tanked and started talking about how happy he was to have locked up $18k (like very very happy, remember he was hounding me to take the deal) and I was thinking uh oh, I didn't think about the fact that he's very happy securing $18k so I prob. have way less fold equity. Anyway after a couple of minutes about how happy he was w/ $18k (he was pretty nitty before the deal) he said, I'm gambling ..I call!! and rolls over 44 and it holds and cripples me. It was a shame because I would've been 3handed w/ equal stacks w/ the 2 older gentlemen (1 played ok, somewhat abc but ok, other loose and somewhat below avg).

Anyway after the asian guy busts w/ a very bad call (sb opl, he raises, sb shoves huge, he again goes into his usual outburst about $18k and how he didn't expect to make it this far and calls w AT and busts to AK). It was a bad call because the sb's range crushes AT based on my reads of the sb and the asian guy had plenty of chips to work w/ if he just folds (about 1mil w/ blinds at 20k-40k). Couple of hands later I was down to 285k and decided to shove K2o on the button and got called by KJ and that's all she wrote. The hu match was 2 guys in their 50s and the better player ended up winning it.

Anyway back to the asian guy he was irritating while amusing to play w/ because of his outbursts and his nonstop endless chatter when deliberating to call or fold. Think a lesser versian of Hevad Khan (during his deep main event run) but in an older asian guy's body. If you want proof, check out his post bust out interview, esp. the end when he finds out he's itm....

Yeah he was doing that dance and more every time he won a hand, especially when he doubled up. Now I thought he was out of line when he was hounding me to take the deal and his outbursts were a little annoying at times but for the most part I found it amusing and I must say my impression of him is that he's actually a nice guy that was excited to get as deep as he did so it's all good.

As for me they interviewed me as well....

As you can see, it was a more low key, more somber interview than the interview w/ the other asian guy. Also the interviewer's reaction when he finds out my online sn is kinda funny..."really, you're Nicolak, what was that again?" My thought while watching it...geez I need a new hair stylist!

Overall though I enjoyed the experience and enjoy playing live mtts from time to time ...although I felt like I wasted 2 months playing a lot of WSOP events over the summer, as evidenced by my June and July results. I should mention I brought my ipad w/ me and pretty much did stuff on it between hands while playing. After all I'm used to playing 1k hands/hr so seeing 30 hands/hr seems snail pace to me and needed to stimulate my brain somehow (by reading football stuff for this upcoming season on the ipad).

Also I will try not to take any time off after this score (for me a modest score but I know it's different w/ everybody). I get in the habit of taking a lot of time off after any tournament cash of significance. I pretty much took the year off when I won $250k on Partypoker back in Jan.'05, took the last 4 months off after winning $135k on FTP back in aug '07, and took the entire month off after winning the double deuce for $32k early in March of last year. If anything, it's the best time to grind as much poker as possible w/ an inflated bankroll and possibly take shots at higher stakes. I'm gonna fight the nit and complacency in me and keep grinding online this time. Oh and I guess I'm having a nice balanced month being up $30k in mtts and $30k in cash games!


  1. Hey John,

    Big Fan, but speaking as a guy with a receding hairline as well and agreeing with your wife, your current haircut only makes your forehead seem longer. I just went with the shaved military style hair cut and I think it seems to work best. for me anyway.
    Congrats on the cash, and keep up the good work.

  2. Tx... but did you talk to my wife? lol..I don't think I mentioned anything about her saying anything about my haircut or looks.

    Seriously I've pondered cutting it all off...just to see what it feels like.

  3. Hi John,
    Congratulations on your $25K win in the Detox main event!

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago I have to commend you on doing such a fantastic job playing poker online over the years, and of detailing your story so eloquently on your blog. I have to admit that you've become somewhat of an inspiration in the short time that I've had the pleasure of reading about you, your humble approach to life despite your success, and the way you play poker! So much so that I've been looking forward to reading your posts and in fact, it's the first thing that I do each morning after logging into my computer - has 'nicolak' posted anything on his blog?

    Anyways, I just wanted to say that I think you're doing an awesome job, and that I wish you continued success playing poker. Also, I'd love to hear more about how you improved your game over the years, what were those 'ureka' moments which have helped you step up your game to the level you're at now. Wth so much poker information and websites out there, I'd really appreciate any recommendations on poker books or videos to help improve my game.

    Best wishes,

    Tony B.

    PS. Having read through your posts once, I'm now taking the time to go back through them and take notes to learn from what you've shared - I hope to be a good online poker player like you one day and make this a full-time profession.

    PPS. I emailed you earlier - no reply and hence this post.

  4. Hey Tony,

    Thanks for the nice words man, I appreciate it! I had a busy day today, taping another podcast for PokerRoad, taking my kid to the movies, and finally grinding a session since that tournament. I emailed you back btw!

  5. No problem John!
    You're doing a great job and I look forward to listening to your next installment at PokerRoad.
    Many thanks for the reply.

  6. Congrats on the cash John! You should also come up with some kind of dance as well. Tilting people on the table is always +EV. Good luck on your future tournaments!