Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WPT Wrap Up (HH's/Observations/Thoughts/Girls)

Before I detail my final day which was day 3, I'll provide a link to a summary of my 1st 2 days of the $10k Bellagio WPT event that I wrote in my Cardrunners blog. I usually crosspost between my CR blog and here but elected to just leave my day 1 and 2 exploits on CR because they had an interest in how I did.


The above pic was taken right before the tournament started and had Mike Sexton, Jack Mclelland (tournament director) and the "Royal Flush girls" in it. Why did I show the pic besides it being eye candy? Well the girls were walking around all the time in the tournament room which made it hard to focus on poker sometimes, esp. the 3rd girl from the left in the black.

So I busted in 56th and cashed for $13,725. I have to admit I was highly disappointed even though I got deep and cashed. Bellagio has a weird payout structure where they pay 100 if a big buyin tournament gets over 400 entrants. This one had 440 or so and 100 got paid. I've heard some of the "name" tournament players complaining about it, probably because they're confident they can win more mtts or finish higher than most so theoretically it's costing them money. On the flip side it gives back money to more people so they can stay in action and keep games going instead of a few people getting most of the money. Also having a big buy in tournament that pays out 25%-30% (vs the standard 10%) probably will attract more entrants so that'll increase the overall prize pool while making the tournament a little softer.

I tend to think paying out a slightly higher % is better overall. I even think I'm one of the favorites to win any buy in tournament so having a flatter payout probably hurts me a little more. Even so I think having money distributed to more people is better for the overall landscape of poker.

As for this actual tournament, if you didn't read my previous post about my 1st 2 days you might not know I made it to day 3 w/ a pretty decent stack. We started the day w/ 140 left and as mentioned before 100 get in the money. W/ the blinds at 1k-2k and a 160k stack I had plenty of play and did not need to gamble or take flips for my stack, especially when I felt like I was one of the better players left in the tournament.

On my starting table were Dan Shak (who I had played w/ all day, seemed like a very nice guy, but played a very tight straightforward style), John Hennigan, Todd Terry, a guy on his left that was seriously the most dead ringer for Tony Romo in America (I really wanted to take a picture of him but felt it'd be rude to ask), a few unknowns inc. a young kid that had a ton of chips.

Anyway I tried an early light 3bet to try to pick up a few chips and set a tone if I got called and had to show my hand but got 4bet and had to fold (he showed me Aces..nice timing on my part). Then I realized the kid w/ all the chips started raising almost every hand, and he should have because nobody was playing back at him. I was essentially card dead, and for me that means not even seeing an Ax, Kx suited, broadways, sc's, 98o type hands so I didn't really try to combat him.

Finally he opr to 5k utg, I flat w/ a mid pp, Hennigan 3bets to 17500, kid 4bets to 54kish, I fold, Hennigan calls, flop T73r, kid shoves, Hennigan w/ 80k behind snap calls w/ 55 (great read), kid rolls over A9o, turn T riv 7, gg Hennigan. Yes I would've tripled up because my pp was slightly higher and wouldn't have been counterfeited but I didn't want to risk 100bbs and my mtt life to find out if my mid pp was good there. I was planning on calling 3 streets if the board rolled out pretty safely w/ no ace or king if Hennigan didn't squeeze. So now I know this kid had no fear, partially due to the fact that he can't go broke since he had everybody covered.

Then when we're a few spots from the money he opr from the co and I flat w/ KT from the sb which is very likely ahead of his range. I didn't need to 3bet because Shak in the bb was never squeezing and this kid was capable of 4betting light and I'd have to fold if I 3bet and he 4bet. Flop comes down T93r and I call him down every street when it comes 2, 2, turn and riv and he shows T3o...doh!

So now I'm down to 230k or so and we get into the money a little bit later and play this hand that I agonized over at the time... kid opr in the co (surprise) to 7200 w/ blinds at 1500/3k, I have QQ in the sb and 3bet to 22,500 (kid was calling everything preflop so I sized my 3bet a little bigger), Shak in the bb 4bets to 55k, kid snapfolds and I face a very difficult decision. I started the hand w/ 230k and Shak the same. Now I played w/ him 2 days straight and I'm 99% certain (I want to say 100% but it may seem unrealistic if I say I know for sure he's got 1 of only 4 hands) he's got QQ+ and AK only here. I'm sure he folds JJ or worse here and he's never 3 or 4 betting light, like ever. So finally I tank fold and he's been talkative and friendly w/ me the 2 days we've been playing and tells me he had AK (because I asked politely afterwards) which I believe. That was a best case scenario and even then I felt like I didn't need to flip for my tournament life because again, I'm confident and well, baller :)

Nothing transpires for a couple of levels and I maintain my 230k stack then I play this interesting hand. I'm in the bb and post the 5k bb, older guy in hijack opens to 20k which probably indicates 99-KK and possibly AK (some of these live guys, esp the older guys have no idea how to balance their range as you can tell by his preflop betsizing) and I decide to call w/ 22. I could've folded but I called because I had huge implied odds knowing that his range is weighted towards bigger pairs and he was the type to stack off w/ it. Plus I could bluff him if the board ran out scary.

Flop comes A93r, I chk, he bets 20k, I call because I already feel like that's a great flop to bluff later in the hand if he does have a big pp which I felt like he did. Turn J, goes chk chk like I expected (if he bets I would give up on my bluff and just fold), river 5, I bet 60k into 85-90k pot and I really expected him to fold unless he showed up w/ AK. He tanks for awhile and calls w KK...DOH!!

Here are my observations on this hand. The call w/ 22 preflop is kinda thin most of the time but for reasons I explained I thought it was a good call here. His river call is a head scratcher because I'm not sure what he expects to beat w/ how the hand played out. I'm (along w/ almost anybody else) always going to show up w/ Ax or sets here (except for this time I guess) because there is really no draw on the flop and most people would turn T9 or 98 into a bluffcatcher. I assumed he had some clue on how to read hands and I didn't see any signs from him that he was a donkey, not to mention we were down to 60 or so in a 10k event so most bad players are weeded out by then (oversight, Doug Lee was one of the chipleaders when I busted so I guess a donkey will make it deep once in awhile). I'm not even sure why he tanked...was he thinking of what hands he could beat? because I couldn't really think of any, even though he did beat me this specific hand. The best logic I heard was from a friend that I talked to w/ about this hand and he said he probably called so he can tell his buddies how he raised w/ KK and got called by AT, AJ, whatever and lost and how he never wins w/ big pairs. Anyway I felt like this was a great spot to bluff but it backfired...sometimes it happens.

So now I'm down to 120k and get moved to a table w/ Vanesso Rousso, Keith Gipson (dating Lacey Jones fwiw...run better please), Johnny Chan, Antonio Esfiandari, and Thor Hansen. I still felt like I had some play w/ 20bbs or so and felt like I was in the same class or better w/ this group. I pick up A5o from the sb and opr to 14k, bb 3bets to 40k, and I jam for 120k total thinking I could be ahead of bb's range because he was the most active and aggressive player on the table from what I saw. He calls and wins w/ 44 and I'm out. In hindsight I think limp/shove is slightly better here but he may still call w/ 44 because he had 4x more chips than me.

Anyway I was disappointed that I busted because I felt like I was one of the better players in it but I came away thinking that these 10k buyin events w/ 200-400 players were not all that tough even though there were tons of "name" players in them (mostly just live tournament pros including a bunch of known online kids better known by their handles). I saw fundamental mistakes some of these guys were making even though most knew how to betsize properly. Also other than my 22 hand (and even then it seemed like an opportune time to bluff and increase my stack) my live reads were really good and I felt like I knew what to do in pretty much every spot, even if I needed some time to think about it, eg QQ vs Shak's 4bet range. This has a lot to do w/ becoming a better player every passing year and now I'm pretty confident I can do well in any tournament no matter the size or buyin. I guess if it was a 1 table SnG w/ Ivey, Durr, Antonius, Galfond, South, Jungleman I'd feel outclassed but those guys are usually busy crushing nosebleeds so I don't have to worry about that spot ever coming up.

Why is this relevant? It's because while I'll still be focusing on cash games mostly, I'm planning on playing more big buyin live events down the line starting next year. So don't be surprised if I bink one for 7 figures.

Also I had not played a 10k event in almost 3 years (outside of the WSOP main event but that's a different kind of 10k event w/ the huge player field) and didn't know what to expect of the overall competition. I saw that it was a little tougher than the last one I played but in those 3 years my game has shown more improvement than the rest of the field and that gives me a ton of confidence in future big buy in events. It just goes to show you w/ experience, hard work, and dedication one can excel in poker, whether that's cash games or tournaments, no matter the buyin or size. Even though I didn't win a million dollars ($900k to be exact for this tournament) I know I can beat this game of poker that can be frustrating for a lot of people, including some of you out there. All I can hope is that most, if not all of you guys get to a point where you can ooze the confidence I feel, and that requires a dedication in becoming the best you can be...something that I've always strived for. It doesn't necessarily have to be in poker, just about anything in life.

Shameless plug: Cardrunners is a great tool to improve your game (hey I need to score points w/ my employers).

***Any statement that seems arrogant on my part, which is probably the entire post and you have a problem w/ it, can kiss my ^$#!***

***Some statements have a bit of sarcasm in them inc. the one right above, rest is up to you guys to figure out which ;) ***

Oh, and this is Lacey Jones for those that didn't know....


  1. what did you mean by "dating Lacey Jones fwiw...run better please"

  2. Good stuff, great run. Does your wife know about your crush on Lacey and the flush girl in the dress? LOL

  3. It was sarcasm. I don't have crushes on the girls but I appreciate beauty and hotness when I see it.

  4. "So I busted in 56th..." I loled thinking that you "real" busting won't happen until your wife reads your blog and about the girl 3rd from the left. :-)

    Nice run.

  5. Tx DF... my wife knows I'm loyal to her...that's why I can say so and so is pretty hot because if I wasn't sure how she felt I wouldn't be saying it :)

  6. i went down there and checked out like the last 15 tables or so, didnt stay long though. are you going to do the charity event at the venetian saturday?

  7. Sorry missed the charity event. My kid was part of a choir singing the national anthem at the Las Vegas Wranglers' game so that was priority. Maybe the next one in town.

  8. oh right on priorities first. was a pretty decent charity it seems like