Friday, June 10, 2011

1 for 7 (so far)

That's just how it goes sometimes. I don't think I'm off to a terrible start but it is disappointing to only have 1 cash through 7 events. Last year I started off 0-9 before I reeled off 5 cashes in my last 8 tournaments to show a profit. Let's talk about the good news, the cash. Well actually it ended in a tilting way...

It was the $1500 6max nl event. Before people say "yeah of course Nicolak is expected to cash in that, that's what he plays online all the time", I do think I have almost an equal chance in just about any form of poker except nl deuce and plo. It just turned out my only cash happened in this event. Day 1 was fun w/ a starting table of Frank Kassela and Cardrunner's Taylor Caby. Kassela isn't that good at nl (yeah I said it, and yes I know he ft'ed the $25k 6max nl event last year) but Taylor is obviously good.

Anyway I had a tough table throughout day 1 and day 2 and ended up busting in 43rd place (out of 2k entrants) for $7400 or so. I opr utg w/ AK and kid 3bets in mp and I jam and get called by ATo and the board runs off A24AT. I had the kid covered by 5k at 1500/3k blinds and ended up having 2 blinds after that hand and went bust next hand. Obviously it's disheartening to lose that way but that's variance for ya.

I will talk about an interesting hand I played on day 2. I have about 140k w/ blinds at 1k/2k/300. Some Pokerstars pro named Jose Nacho Barbero opr to 4500 on button, I elect to call w/ K8s in the bb (I considered 3betting but Jose was very aggressive and capable of 4betting light) and the flop comes...


It goes check check, turn...


I bet 6k or so, he calls, river...


I check ready to give up thinking I just got rivered but Nacho bets 14k and I begin thinking (even in obvious spots like this where a fold seems automatic)....we know he never has flushes because he would've cbet the flop (especially since he's so aggro) so his range is capped to Ax while we can credibly rep flushes. I decide to c/r to 54k (initally I was going to make it 64k but thought 54k would be big enough to get him to fold Ax hands) and he tank calls w/ 99!

Sure it's risky trying to get him off a straight but I assumed he would be good enough to know I would take this line w/ flushes (he is a Pokerstars Pro, but I guess that's not always saying much). I don't know if he's good enough to realize I would take this same line w/ Ax hands as well (because again, we know his range is capped to Ax so I can profitably c/r in this spot w/ Ax to try to get him off of a chop) Also I was playing pretty straightforward up to this point. I guess I might've assumed he was a good enough hand reader and could figure this out, or maybe he just thought to himself "zomg I have a straight how can I ever fold it?!" Whatever the reason, he made the call and it dropped me down below avg. I talked to a few guys and they all liked my line and are amazed at the call he made (some even calling it a -ev call, I agree). I do think I should've went w/ my initial raise of 64k because he was counting down his stack before calling and I think the extra 10k would've made him fold. Oh well.

I bust and I hang out at the Rio trying to relay my sob stories to anybody that will listen...after all, that's what we all do...jk. I have a guy I have 10% of in the 6max and I rail him for awhile. They're down to 24 or so and he gets in over 300k w/ QQ vs the kid that won it last year (and who Pokernews is calling the king of 6max cuz he got a 2nd in the $5k 6max and a 1st in the $1500 6max last year...pfftttt) who's holding 99 and he rivers a 9 to bust my horse (he barely had him covered) and have a sizeable chiplead at that point (he ends up getting 3rd for over $200k). Talk about a double whammy that night!

I also played in the $1k nl which attracted over 4k entrants. I busted that one in level 2 when I called every street w/ AsJs on a 9s8c6s, Qh, 8s, and called all in at the river w/ the nut flush only to see him turn over 86. Standard.

Yesterday I played in the $1500 nl shootout and I love shootouts because the better nl players are at a bigger advantage. The last 2 years I finished 2nd and 1st on my 1st tables. This time I got hu vs. Paul "Gees" Volpes, some internet mtt pro who's ranked really high. I started out w/ 4k vs his 41k but managed to get it to 12k vs 32k when my AQ > his T8o aipf. At blinds 200/400 I opr to 850 w/ 44 and he shoved and I elected to gamble and called only to lose to J9s. I do think a better line would've been to limp so I can reraise all in had he raised from the bb there. I think that's one area of the game I need to work on, is the shallow stacks opening/raising/reraising range, but that's probably just memorizing a chart.

Today I played the $1500 Pot Limit Hold'em event and this had the shortest turnout at 760 entrants. I guess people are intimidated by not being able to bet more than pot (forcing people to play more flops), or the fact that antes never come into play. Anyway I pretty much lost a flip when I raised and called off w/ KQ on a JT3r flop and couldn't beat AJ at level 5.

The most important thing to realize is how well I'm playing. I think I misplayed a couple of big hands (including the last hand I blogged about, the 54s hand where it should've been a fold or 3bet preflop) but overall I am happy w/ my play. I would give myself an A- up to this point. Sure people can win a tournament playing like a F player and people can go a long time w/o ever winning playing their A game but hey, that's the risk we take when we play tournaments, especially at the WSOP where the fields are bigger.

Tomorrow is the $1500 Horse and I'm relieved to be playing a mix games event after all the hold'em events. I actually enjoy mix games more than hold'em. Heck, I'm almost to the point where I'd like the WSOP to be over so I can go back to my normal (post Black Friday) cash game grind (so I can actually start making money!).


  1. Great Blog you have here, always a very good read. Your interview with the "Inner Circle" was also very interestung.

    GL at the series!

  2. you are welcome!

    Will add your blog also to my blog roll.