Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Life Begins !

I had a day off yesterday because, as the title suggests, it was my birthday. We had an excellent meal in Corsa (in the Wynn), great company, thanks very much to everyone for coming. Now today, of course, I'm having a day off as well through not quite being in tip-top shape for 14 hours of poker :-). I might play the limit HE / Stud 8 tournaments on Stars in a bit as practice for tomorrow's SHOE, and maybe a single table or two tonight.

Time is catching up on me and it looks like I can't do too much more damage. Hooray ! Probably just the $1000 SHOE tomorrow, $1500 Limit Shootout on Tuesday and then the Main Event. If by some freak of chance I don't make like day 7 of the ME, I'll decamp to the strip and play Venetian/Caesars etc., or maybe just do some touristy Vegas stuff instead, it is allowed. I heard that the Bellagio evening tournaments play through till 7am the next day, with a 5am bubble, so they don't sound so appetising !

I'll probably post some kind of WSOP recap when I'm done, maybe even before the ME as that's really a special case. I haven't had too many problems at the table myself but I've just heard so many stories, in person and online, about people having an attitude this year. And I'm talking about everybody. Players, dealers, floor, press, railbirds, there's an awful lot of aggression in the air and not enough of it is being properly channelled through betting and raising. I do think there are a lot of people here who aren't enjoying themselves, for whatever reason, and that's a shame.

PS I nearly forgot, Jon Shoreman is chip leader in the 2-7 Triple Draw, gogogo Jon !

Friday, June 29, 2007

$1000 Stud Hi-Lo (Dinner Break)

Still there with 1850 chips (started 2000). At the first break I was about to, in the words of an Email I received yesterday, kill myself and eat my dog. In that order. All the eggs were scooping everything. On the restart though, I found (88)833 against (??)75A with my opponent raising at every opportunity. Once he hit another low card on 6th and raised me again, I thought that it was so obvious what I had, he must either have a low or some crazy trip Aces plus low draw, so 6th and 7th both went bet-raise-call but he turned over a lower full house. It transpired that he was raising the shit out of two pair + a low draw.

All this relentless aggression finally caught up with him, and another egg, as it does in Stud 8, there are definitely times in this game where you have to turn down the heat. Unfortunately I lost the last hand with Queens against Chris the Armenian Express's rolled up 6s to drop back to 1850, but we're still there. Still waiting for that rush. Also on the table is Randall Skaggs, who you probably haven't heard of, but he can play Stud 8 alright, in fact it's a pleasure watching someone who actually plays one of the "other" games at an expert level.

Update : Busto obv. Crippled in a multi-way pot with the best low draw on 4th, paired up on 5th and then drew QJ. Marvellous. Made my stand with (8A)8 and Randall turned his (54)6, or something like that, into two pair. Oh well. At least I busted to the best player at the table for once. I will probably find enough excuses not to play till Sunday ($1000 SHOE). Now, where's that dog ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

$2000 Limit (Busto)

10 handed + loose players + no cards = busto. I'll spare you the details. I won three pots early on to get up to 6400 but I think I pretty much didn't win a pot after that.

Which was a bit frustrating because there were only 450 runners and the field was really soft. At least 80% of the players were seen to break one of the golden rules of limit hold-em tournaments : never open-limp, never cold-call. In the house today, Melissa Hayden was next to me to start with and she was quite good conversation, although she did admonish one guy for making a joke about "the seniors opening their colostomy bags". LOL admonishments. She was replaced by Howard Lederer, who didn't remember me from Bar Beat, which was a little galling seeing as we were actually on the same show. Pretty soon that table broke and I was moved onto one with JJ Liu, who never said a word, not that I was particularly chirpy by that point. And also seen wandering around was Ellix Powers, wearing a T-shirt that said "He Was So Mad He Called Me With Jack High". Dude, you had your moment, let it go :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Limiting My Losses

Running count is now $17,000 in the hole on this trip. It's amazing to think that only 3 years ago I was in Vegas playing $70 tournaments in Harrah's and chopping them for like $700. I have no problem with what's been happening in the tournaments so far, I give myself a B for playing reasonably well with the odd mistake, but only the bustout with AJ in the first NL event was a really bad one. The single tables are just incredibly annoying though. I have now played 20 for 1 win and 1 chop. Those are the only two I've been heads up in, and they were both smaller buyins - I'm flat out 0 for 10 in the $500s. This can happen I suppose, it's a small sample, but I'm now just sitting down and expecting to lose which is no good at all. When I told a friend that I had dropped down to $225 just to try to get a result, he offered to take half my action in $500s, but it's not a bankroll problem, it's just - I don't know, it's just annoying to be almost $5K down in those and chasing it doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I'd probably be better off playing cash or practicing my SHOE games online in my room.

I am looking forward to playing some more limit tournaments. It was very interesting yesterday to sit at the table with the same players, alternating between limit and no limit. I seemed to have a lot more control in the limit, whether it was against the better players or the eggs. It really did emphasise the point that a bad player can get lucky and double up so easily in NL, but when you're playing limit, all the missed bets and lost pots due to passive play on the small betting rounds have a cumulative effect which should really help the better players. Of course a straight $2000 Limit event ought to attract more limit specialists, then again 600 players ponied up for Pot-Limit Omaha 8 today and I doubt whether there are 600 players in the world who are any good at that game. The big bonus for me in a limit tournament is that one brain freeze is much less likely to knock me out, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Update : According to Pokerpages, there were a lot of faces in the PLO8, including Chau Giang, Johnny Chan, Marcel, Devilfish, Bill Chen and, best of all, David Benyamine, who would rather play a $1500 donkfest than watch his fiancee in her first WSOP final table. Now there's a gambler :-)

As for me, I just have to toughen up. I'm such a nit to sulk over losing $5K in single tables when I'm still comfortably six figures up in the last six months.

Monday, June 25, 2007

$1500 Mixed Hold-Em (Dinner Break and Busto)

This is cool. I'm up to exactly 5K on the break, from a 3K starting stack. I'd be surprised if I've made a profit in the No-Limit rounds, although that's partly because Annie Duke bokked me out of 1K with Queens when she came up behind me to smooch her boyfriend, who's on my immediate left. He's a really nice guy mind you. Anyway, half the table are just rocks and everyone is playing too tight/passive in the limit, which is a total pwnfest. So I hope I don't bust out in some stupid NL coinflip or cold deck. Tight is right in the NL anyway, as there are no antes. Also on the table was Rafe Furst from the Tiltboys, another nice guy and a good player, but he's out now and basically no one else has been a threat so far. There are still 4 levels to go tonight so stay tuned.

Update : Busto around 220th, predictably enough in the NL round. I made it 550 (playing 100-200) in the hijack with QJcc, the cutoff called. Flop Q84, bet call. Turn T giving me a gutshot, I check to give myself the option to check-raise if he makes a small bet but he basically commits me and I put the rest in. He has AQ. I think he played this well, his pre-flop call is good with the stack sizes and the flop call also good on such a safe flop. So props to him, and as for me betting the flop is clear and I'm not laying down on the turn when I pick up some extra outs. Call me a fish if you like but I don't think you win tournaments by making big laydowns for 1/3 of the average stack.

Here's a limit hand where I ruled supreme though. 300-600 limit, some egg limps in the hijack (doh, just never do that in a limit tournament), I raise in the cutoff with 77 and a total rock wakes up and 3-bets in the small blind (he tries to put 1200 in obv). Of course I call. The flop comes A53. He bets, I raise, he huffs and puffs and throws it away. Maybe this is standard at a certain level but I was pleased with it. I'm sure it was worth 600 on the flop to make him put down a pair, and in fact Mr Duke (who was sitting in between me and the villain here) told me later he said he had Queens. While the NL was a bit of a grind without antes, the limit part of this tournament was great, so I'm definitely going to change the schedule and play the $2000 Limit on Tuesday. If I wish I can follow that up with Stud Hi-Lo on Thursday, SHOE on Sunday and Limit Shootout on Tuesday week which would be an ideal break from NL before the main event. It wouldn't do any harm to ease off the single tables either. It's not as though I'm learning anything in them, and I didn't come out here to grind.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vanessa Parody

Over on 2+2, although Brandi still pops up every now and then to entertain everyone with news from her own special world, much of the attention has switched to Vanessa Rousso. After reports of an "altercation" at her table, a few people discussed how annoying they thought she was generally. Had Vanessa simply ignored it, or responded something like "LOL who cares what you knob-jockeys think", that would probably have been that, pretty much. Unfortunately (for her), she instead posted a very long, very defensive response which was almost immediately ripped to shreds as being both inaccurate as an account of what happened and laughable in terms of poker analysis (the phrase "I made an aggressive call" came in for some well-justified stick). Eventually the whole story came out, including how she couldn't deal with the situation at the table and had to encourage her boyfriend to offer the guy out instead. As usual, everyone comes out of it worse, although the guy who upset her at the table simply admitted that he shouldn't have said anything and came out of the aftermath OK. Here's the whole thread, it's not up to "Never Trust Anyone" but it's worth a read and, unusually, it becomes more interesting later as it diverges into a discussion on calling the clock and how to deal with criticism of your play at the table. Someone called "innerpeace" makes a couple of great posts towards the end.

In my experience of forums, a pack mentality can develop and once someone becomes a target then it can get a bit over the top. But I have found it to be very rare for someone to attract a lot of stick when they don't deserve at least some of it. I have been criticised on forums for being pompous and overly-judgemental, often anonymously and sometimes in quite vitriolic terms, but at the end of the day it was fair criticism to an extent and I managed to take it on board, although I do still have a tendency to take the pulpit every now and then ;-). In Vanessa's case, I haven't had the pleasure of sharing a table with her, but with so many reports of bad form (especially being a bad winner), there must be something wrong. What's quite interesting is how the issue of her being a woman comes into play.

I think it is definitely a factor, but in an indirect way. Behaviour like this is often found in players who have flown too high too soon. They either score a big result or attract a sponsorship deal before they have "paid their dues" by putting in the hours learning the game. At this point I could just refer you to "Fooled By Randomness", please do read this book, but in brief they simply don't understand how much of their success has been attributable to short-term luck. In my own experience, when I finished 2nd at the Vic for £10K I simply had no idea how lucky I had been because I hadn't really stuck any bad beats on anyone along the way. Instead, I won 5 or 6 hands where someone found a second-best hand and mine held up. I didn't realise at the time that this was in itself extremely lucky, as a 6-way parlay. So I gave half of it back before some of the truth sunk in and I went back to learning the game at the lower levels. It's probably lucky for me as a person that I didn't cop for much more at that point in my poker career.

If you do find yourself promoted too far too soon, this can cause problems. There was a guy who won about $400K out of nowhere in an early WPT event. Six months later, by his own admission, he was flinging cards at people and shouting "don't you know who I am ?". Now this is where the gender issue comes in. Rousso finished 7th in the WPT main event at just the right time, when sites were casting around for sponsored players and any moderately attractive woman was considered a very marketable property (Erica Schoenberg also attracted a sponsorship deal on the back of finishing 17th in that event). So, because she was a woman, she didn't even need a tremendously unlikely result to break through onto the circuit. 7th place for 10 times her buyin was more than sufficient.

What I'm saying is that many players who find themselves catapulted into a game that's too big for them, for whatever reason, will find it difficult to accept the bad times when they come, as they inevitably will, because they lack the experience and understanding to realise how much of what happens is completely beyond their control. This is when they start getting defensive, justifying their own play, criticising the play of others and reacting unprofessionally to bad beats and bustouts. And the point I am finally reaching is that this is, proportionally, far more likely to happen to a female player because, for reasons that are entirely understandable, a female player is far more likely to attract a sponsorship deal on the back of an isolated result or two.

I don't think there's any reason why women shouldn't be able to play the game as well as men. I do think there's a reason why they don't. I suspect that men are far more likely to obsess about the game enough to put in the huge amount of time that is needed (by everyone except the naturally gifted) to reach a high standard. I know it's a sample size of one, but a friend of mine could have been, and in fact already was, a really good player. However, she lost interest in the game after a couple of years and moved on. When TV and sponsors are so desperate to feature female players though, those who are out there are often promoted too far above their ability, and the result is that a false impression can be created. If you've ever watched a "women only" TV game you'll know what I mean. Now I think of it, this goes all the way back to Late Night Poker. A lot of the players on that show weren't great, but often they were so desperate for a woman to give some variety to the show, they ended up with someone who was completely out of her depth. I can think of two in particular who I know for a fact couldn't beat the £20 tournaments in Luton. Time Out once previewed the programme as "Six poker professionals and a supermarket cashier compete in the late night poker showdown".

My point is that it's not necessarily wrong for attractive women to become high-profile in poker, I understand how the world works. However, it does create a false impression. If you watch Vanessa Rousso play poker on TV you could be excused for thinking "Jeez, women are such donks, and pains in the ass as well". If you watched Vanessa Selbst, it would be a lot different. But the latter isn't on TV because she isn't considered as attractive as Rousso and so on, and more to the point because she seems to be a serious winning player who doesn't need sponsorship to play at this level. In addition, anyone who is promoted beyond their poker ability is also likely to be promoted beyond their emotional and mental strength, which is what leads to all the bad behaviour. Getting something without working for it sounds great to start with, but it leads to so many problems down the line, in many fields. Poker is so tough that these problems are exacerbated and the cracks are split open very quickly. Maybe it all amounts to being careful what you wish for, especially somewhere like the World Series.

$2000 Pot Limit (Bustoooooo)

LOL foldaments. This was a good tournament for me to play today, in pot limit it's more difficult to have a rush of blood and murder all your chips in one go so I played a lot better than yesterday when I think I was a bit off the pace. As in the short-handed, I had a good start, peaking at 6800 after winning 3 or 4 pots (from starting 4K). Then I went card dead and over the next three hours basically made Laurie Butters look like Neel Chudasarma (one for the Luton old-schoolers there). I was moved to a funereally slow table and after that broke, onto a new table where the entire game revolved around everyone trying to bust this one guy who was so bad.

He should have busted me with a monster draw on the turn against my set but he managed to check-call it and check the river when he hit, leaving me with 3K. I moved tables again and made the most of my freeroll by doubling up with KK in the small blind against the button's AJ. I just called his raise, the flop came AA2 check check, and the turn a King, when we smashed it all in obv. Then I won another pot with Aces against a rather hopeful KJ on a J high flop, nicked a couple, check-raised Kenna James off a K53 flop holding 44 and that brought me up to 15K.

Then a Scandi raised in the hi-jack (Martin Wendt was at the table and this guy was talking to him a lot like they obviously knew each other), I reraised 2K in the BB with Queens and he made it about 5K more. I'd already seen him make a big bluff, and show it, so I elected to shove. He called with AKs, flop AAJ, gg me once again.

I was disappointed for all of about 2 minutes. I played much better today like I said, gave myself every chance and busted in an unavoidable coin-flip coup. Winning that pot would have given me double the average chips with about 160 players left. But it wasn't to be, so next up it's the $1500 mixed limit/no limit on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

$1500 NL (Busto)

Busted out in level 4. I had doubled up on a coin flip AKs v TT and had 5K when the key hand came up. It was 2500 to go by the time the action was on me and I thought "The only hand I have to make a decision with here is Jacks". I looked down and there they were. I gambled, he had KK, gg me. Not to worry, better to burn out with 2500 runners. The standard wasn't that bad really, beatable but not totally lol donkaments. I'll be back for the $2000 PL tomorrow.

Props To Eli

It turns out all these prop bets were initiated by Eli Elezra. If I can summarize the conversation in forum speak, it would have gone something like this :

Faces - LOL donkaments, I bet we could win like 5 bracelets each we're so balla. But of course we won't because we're too busy playing 50 million - 100 million against each other.

Elezra - O RLY ? Bracelet prop bets for rollz, suckas

Faces - You're on. Structures are OK right Daniel ?

Negreanu - What, you think I would make a big deal about appointing myself onto the advisory committee and then take a completely slapdash approach to doing the actual work ? Come on.

(2 weeks later)

Faces : ZOMG you won't believe these donks we need to move up to $50K HORSE where they'll respect our raises. And who approved these fucking structures ? Hey Eli, buy out the bets, right ?

Elezra : STFU noobs, haha pwned.

And then to top it off, Elezra himself wins a bracelet in Stud Hi-Lo drunk off his ass. Results : Elezra 10000000 Faces 0, and Elezra goes up about 90 notches in my opinion. Well done that man.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

$2000 Stud (Busto)

Bumped out of this one about 1am last night. Frankly I thought I did well to last so long. I've never seen so many people pair their doorcards in general, and specifically against me. 6 times from memory, I passed my big pair four times, called a couple of times with bigger two pair than his open pair / 2 pair + straight draw on 6th and both times lost to trips or better. I'm not sure if I could have called one or two of the others, but if someone pairs their door by 5th and you only have one pair, I think it's usually best to just drop it for the loss of a few small bets.

Oh well. It was quite fun again. Chris Ferguson was on the table, and in fact I took quite a few chips off him as he was the only opponent I could make big pairs hold up against. This sounds like a bit of a moan and I even let one slip last night the 6th time, which I'm not proud of, but I have to get used to losing more pots in limit games. You just can't lose more than 3 or 4 reasonable pots in a row in a $2000 NL without busting out. Like the 6-handed, the stud game rattles around and you play a lot more hands. I still have the SHOE and the Hi-Lo to play and I'm looking forward to those.

Walking to the Amazon room to play the event I said hello to Rolf Slotboom. When I asked him if he planned to play the Stud and the PLO rebuy (today) simultaneously if necessary, he laughed and said "I'm not here to make sensible financial decisions. If I wanted to make sensible financial decisions I'd be at home playing online". QFT as they say on the forums. I'm $10K down so far but what the hell. Onwards and sideways.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Don't Make Me Angry

I don't want to moan because I'm in a good mood and up for playing as much as possible for a week or two but I hate stuff like this. Today's no limit final will be 10 handed instead of the usual 9 because, according to Pokerpages :

"The obvious focus will be on Phil Hellmuth, who is in the hunt for his record 12th bracelet. ESPN made the unusual decision to stop play last night while there were still ten players, so they could guarantee another appearance of The Poker Brat on their broadcast. "

This decision has been made by someone who either doesn't understand how this changes the game or doesn't care. I don't know which is worse. You can't just wish the bubble away because you want a famous player in the final, that's blatant favouritism. Would they have stopped it if Hellmuth (who is the 2nd shortest stack) was chip leader and bullying the shit out of everybody ? If I was the chip leader here I would be spitting blood at this decision, if this is really what happened.

What I like about poker is that there usually isn't any of this crap to deal with. It doesn't matter who you are, the rules are the same, the buyin's the same, if you have the buyin you can sit down and play on an equal playing field with anyone. As long as ESPN aren't involved, it seems. I'm glad I didn't play that event, and as for Hellmuth, how much is it worth, bragging about how many bracelets you have, when the floor is bending over backwards to help you.

Update : Uncorroborated reports indicate that Hellmuth lost money in this tournament through over-insuring his hands with Ivey. If that's true, it would rule so much.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Six Appeal ($2500 Short-Handed)

I'm with Andy Bloch on this one. All tournaments should be like this (6-handed max). Or at least most of them, and you could have the occasional special 10-handed event for the nits. At a rough guess, you are dealt 50% more hands per hour, and you can play 50% more of those hands, so you play twice as many in total. I was very happy with the way I played but unfortunately it didn't work out.

We started 3-handed and I took about 2000 off this one guy in 15 minutes. I hit a fair few cards but I thought I pwned him pretty good. Finally a couple more players showed up. Then I busted some poor sod in a sick set-over-set coup, I flopped QQQ to his 555. At that point I had 12K. However I was soon coolered myself, AA v QQ on a Q high board, it all went in on the turn and I was back to 7K. I had reraised pre-flop making 1200 in the pot before the flop, so I really can't see how I can get away from this hand with only 4K more to bet. Then the pwned guy from before raised the button, I reraised with AK in the BB, he pushed, I called, he had KK. That was down to 4K, and then another 1500 went with AJ v a short stack's K6s. I worked it back up to 4500 at 100-200 before getting all in with AJ v TT in a blind-vs-blind coup and I missed, gg me.

And it wasn't just that I could play a lot of hands, there were two guys on the table (Tony Cousineau and "Hollywood Dave" if you know them) who were very funny, never crossing the line though, and it was one of the most fun tables I have ever played on. Every dealer was gutted when he was pushed onto a boring table :-). So all in all I feel surprisingly upbeat about doing $2500 in three hours. I gave it my best shot, it didn't work out, but it was fun. As I said, if only all tournaments were like this.

The Ironing Is Delicious

Once again this update comes to you live via other pages on the internet. Apparently the final of the $5000 NL took all of 45 hands to play out. Stuart Fox was heads up having played one hand in the final. It would be a nice problem to have, being in the final and complaining about the structure, but it does seem to be a problem. The consensus at 2+2 is that final tables were taking on average half as long as they did last year, and the limit events are equally affected (if not more so). This seems to be a combination of keeping the levels at 60 minutes in the final (rather than extending to 90 as last year), skipping a level here or there on Day 2 (again compared to 2006) and that old favourite, players hollywooding in the final.

Now, here's where the ironing comes in. These structures were approved by the players advisory committee, Negreanu and so on. The same ones who "approved" the new cards, and were the first to moan about them when they actually played with them. To be fair the players involved did claim that those weren't the cards they approved. In this case, though, the structures were there in black and white, and the players gave them the OK. The 2+2er who made the prop bet with Negreanu (his $250K to DN's $50K that DN won't win a bracelet this year) had a good look at the structures when they came out and predicted exactly what was going to happen at the final tables, that they were going to be very fast. And this was one of the reasons he struck the bet. His understanding of the impact of structure was much better than Negreanu's, even though the latter was on the committee to approve them ! Of course Danny Boy could still come through on the bet, but we're half way through and he's been in one final. That final being ... the shootout, which is not affected by these structure issues !

I wonder how many other prop bets are floating around among the high-rollers. Phil Ivey was supposedly only going to play the 50K HORSE and the Main Event [1], but it transpires that he is on a huge prop bet with someone (maybe even Full Tilt as an incentive for him to play) to win a bracelet. They're even betting on each other, Brunson reportedly scooping $400K via Hellmuth's bracelet win. Whether this will affect the integrity of any events, we'll have to see.

As for me, I played the $1000 @ Venetian yesterday but no good, just one of those days where I couldn't get anything going. I'm in the $2500 Short-handed today which should be fun and, if that doesn't work out, the $2000 Stud tomorrow afternoon.

[1] By the way I'm already tiring of hearing that the 50K HORSE "is the main event". No it isn't. That's like in The Office where Brent and Finchy lose the quiz but when they bet on whether Finch can throw a shoe over the building Brent says "This is the quiz, this is it". The main event is the main event. The 50K HORSE is a big tournament for sure, but remember that it's not so much a measure of who has $50K to play a tournament as much as it is a measure of who can convince someone (whether corporate or individual) to stake them.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

LOL Something Or Other

Amusing hand from a rinky-dink satellite I played in this evening. Three-way on the turn, geezer bets 150, another guy calls, and the third guy moves in for 425. Wait a minute - he's left a 25 chip on his cards. So that's not all in yet. You can probably tell where this is going. The other two call. River pairs the board or something, what am I pokernews, check check ha ha ha I bet 25 all in, roll eyes towards ceiling fold, hold chip in one eye like a pirate for some reason and ... fold.

At this point I should call everyone donks and say my head exploded but they were nice enough guys and what do I know because I busted 3rd leaving the two of them heads up. Pretty funny though. If the other guy had shown a bluff he would have ruled supreme.

I'm going to play the Venetian tomorrow, probably, it was a bit annoying to go down there today to register and be told they weren't taking money till 6pm. At least I'd been to the Mall for some headphones (sweet) and a couple of books that seem very interesting so far. I bumped into the Boatman brothers just now and Ross is still in the $2000 with 3 tables left so good luck to him ; and I'm going to post some technical stuff on the Secrets blog either tonight or tomorrow morning if anyone's interested.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

$2000 NL, Busto

Went out around 175th, 153 paid. Was a bit annoying, not because of being close to the money, but because the lineup was pretty soft, only Julian Gardner was really a threat but the average stack was 35K playing 800-1600/200 so there wasn't much room for error. Hands after the break :

Can't remember the blinds exactly but I pushed with M6 two off the button with ATs, Julian called me in the BB with AJ and I flopped a ten to double up to around 16K.

400-800/100, I make it 2300 on the button with KK. Big blind calls. Flop comes KK8 and before I can even think about how to get paid he sticks me all in (with A8). Yes, really. Sweet !

Bustout hand, 800-1600/200, I make it 4500 out of 30K on the button with AJ. The small blind raises to 20K. This is such a clear call online or against any aggressive reraiser. However, this guy might have been tight enough for me to let it go. I dwelled a bit, shoved in the rest, was shown QQ and lost, gg me. Oh well, AJ on the button with M7, can't lose too much sleep over that. Annoying though because I was planning to raise the button with any 2, so 90% of the time I just let him have it.

Overall it was good fun. I had a soft table early on, found it more difficult in the middle stages but once the antes really started to bite felt comfortable again. Considering I had average chips with 200 players left out of 1600 and I'd only won one race (and lost a small one), I think I gave myself every chance and we'll probably try again on Monday ($2500 short handed).

$2000 NL, Day 1 Dinner Break

Still hanging in there with 7900 chips. I would have had a chance to launch them in at 300-600/75 for half an hour before dinner but someone's chips disappeared on the break and they had to pack everyone off to try to sort it out. Hands of moderate interest :

Level 1, 25-50. Scandi makes it 150 2 off the button. I make it 500 with QQ in the SB. He reraises, must have been about 1600 total, and I decide nuts to this and shove for 4K total. He asks if he can show me his hand (to gain a reaction) and is told "No". At this point I think I'm good and try to subtly induce a call. Obviously too subtly because he folds. And shows me Kings. Later it transpired that he was from Finland, which as I understand it is not part of Scandinavia. But even so.

Level 4, 100-200/25. Chinese woman limps UTG and I make it 850 with AdQd behind her. All pass, she calls. Flop comes T62 with two diamonds. She donks 1500 and I shove (LDO) for 6K. She tanks, shows JJ and mucks. Some dude looks at me and says "AK diamonds ?". She says "No way, I wouldn't put all my chips in on a draw". No, but I think you'll find that what I would do is the key question here.

I was then moved to Devilfish's table, and enjoyed a typical fish grilling when I 3x-d his early position raise with AA. He finally tabled 66 and passed (he was quite short stacked to be fair so it was a close one). The Fish was in good form and friendly to me. So at least someone doesn't read this blog.

That put me around 14K but since then I haven't picked anything good up, and any time I've tried to nick I've been snapped off. So, we'll have a gamble once we restart and see what happens.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


If anyone here in Vegas wants to trade your cash $ for my (cash £ or dollars on Pokerstars), Email me.

The Iron Curtain

Quite a few people aren't happy about the final table setup here in the Rio. Whenever they can, they're sort of curtaining off the final table and having a delayed broadcast on the internet which is an hour behind, all in the name of a few $ of course. I'm not even going to insult you by asking you to guess how much of that money comes back to the players involved. You know how much. Anyway, obviously I haven't been inside it yet, but I gather that the audience is very limited. I read that ZeeJustin's parents flew in for his final table but they weren't allowed to watch it [1]. Luckily the four ZeeJustins who had been knocked out were able to keep them company. Well, that joke's been made so many times now one more won't hurt. Which is what he said ... alright I'll stop.

So I also read that Matusow, of all people, was threatening to boycott any broadcast final table he was in. I'm not sure he's thought that one through. The bottom line (quite literally) is, however much anyone whinges about it (including me), if they said you had to sit on a spike at the final table like in Blackadder, everyone would do it.

I'm still firing blanks in the $500 single tables, hopefully I won't do the whole roll on them before I even start the tournaments. I will be kicking off in the $2000 on Friday, so I might have a quiet day tomorrow just to gird my loins for that. Meanwhile Keith (Hawkins) and Guy (Bowles) are both going strong in today's $5K No Limit, let us gogogogo !

[1] This bit's actually true.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Feet Under The Table

Made it in one piece, the worst part of the journey was the descent into Vegas which was a bit bumpy. Immigration on the other hand was a breeze, they didn't even ask me what I do for a living. This must be a change of policy because I've always been asked before. Or maybe it's just a Vegas/poker thing as all they really wanted to know was how much money I had on me (and other players were asked the same thing). I stayed awake long enough to have a meal in Aquaknox (Venetian) with Frode, Jan Sjavik and Julian Thew which was very good.

I'm checked in the Rio, and it's something of a blow to my "everything about Harrahs is crap" attitude to find that the room's really nice, good value for money. Both my ATM cards work, and my dollar account appears to be completely juice-free, score (Citibank dollar account ftw). The staff seemed to have sorted out a lot of the poker problems and I'll be able to start going for gold once I'm de-jetlagged. I managed to resist the $1500 Shooutout today, tempting as it was. Word on the street is that the Bellagio are kicking in a $25K seat to their daily tournaments, rather than just taking it from the prize pool as I (and probably everyone else) assumed, which would make those a lot more tempting. If anyone can confirm that one way or the other, please do.

I've made a conscious decision not to spend half the trip in my room on the Internet, and that includes forswearing 2+2 and a lot of blogs, so if anything really juicy happens let me know :-). I couldn't help noticing that Hellmuth won his 11th bracelet yesterday, with the size of the fields and his apparent emotional state so far this summer I didn't think he would do that. Credit where it's due, he may be an emotional cripple but he's good at what he does in poker tournaments.

Update : OK scrub that. Bellagio are not adding a $25K seat, they're basically taking $25K of your money (if you're the winner) and saying "you have to play this". Which isn't so appetising. We'll play it by ear tomorrow. Also this evening I opened my account by (sigh) chopping a $225. I just can't be ruthless enough turning down these deals, especially against women ...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What's An Angle-Shooting Skank Like You Doing In ...

... oh no wait, yes, you're in the right place. Courtesy of "Bond18" on 2+2 a Devilfish/Shannon Elizabeth tale that I enjoyed :

"A bit after this “Devil Fish” David Ulliot came over to the table and began blatantly hitting on Shannon Elizabeth and asking her to come to dinner. She at first begins with some excuse about perhaps still being in the tournament, not sure when we’re getting done, even though they had already told us. He continues to spit his game, telling her about the various places he’ll take her. She seems to reluctantly agree, and says “why don’t you give me your number, and I’ll call you when I’m all set here.” He gives it to her and she punches it in to her phone. Hmm, I seem to recall this trick from my single days. Well done Devil Fish, I certainly hope at your age I still have the stamina to be tournament poker player, and a guy who harasses C movie stars half my age for what will be an incredibly awkward and platonic evening."

What's A Sick Gambler Like You Doing In A Place Like This

I went to the gym this morning. As I was walking past the treadmills I thought "Wow, that guy is the living spit of (well known poker player)". Then he said something to the guy next to him, and I looked down for the subtitles ... yes of course it was Bushy ! We had a quick chat, he said he normally goes to the gym in Friern Barnet but he was with a friend who lives this way. Generally he seemed in good form, said he wasn't going out to the WSOP though.

Now most of you are probably so wot so wot, you met Bushy in the gym big deal, but this always freaks me out when I meet someone from the poker world in the real world. I always think of the two worlds as being completely separate. It was just one of those funny double take moments, I would have assumed it was some crazy lookalike and walked straight past if I hadn't actually heard him mumbling like only Bushy does in the whole world :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Off And Staggering

Ever since the WSOP really "exploded", the first couple of days have been noted for a few "teething troubles". However, instead of having fewer problems year on year as Harrah's gain more experience running the thing, it seems to be a little worse each time around. Until now, when by all accounts it's a lot worse.

Check out 2+2 for a litany of complaints, but cliff notes are as follows. Many problems pre-registering online ; "new and improved" cards that attracted the derision of absolutely everyone [1] and were withdrawn tout suite ; registration lines up to "4 to 6 hours" long, and worse than that people who "pre-registered" still had to wait ; hour-long waits to play satellites, despite legions of dealers sitting at empty tables flicking their plums [2] ; and so on.

Then if you have the patience and/or stubbornness to overcome these obstacles and play poker, you might end up next to Hellmuth, betting 1/6 of the pot on the river, being called by Ace high, mucking and kicking his chair over. Is he going to do this every time he loses a pot for 6 weeks ?

If they haven't improved the situation by the time I arrive, I'll be playing elsewhere, just coming back in for the ME. And if everywhere else sucks too, I can either do something else or come home. The bottom line is that you have to vote with your feet if you want situations like these to improve.

Still could be worse. Against my better judgement, I picked up "Bigger Deal" the other day and now I'm slogging through it. I shouldn't be critical because I knew what to expect from the prequel, so I'll just say that it's much the same except without the hope that he'll do his bollocks because he's being freerolled everywhere, mostly by Pokerstars. What strikes me though is how all the gimmicky things he goes to, and seems to quite enjoy, sound like hell on earth to me. Poker cruises with dealers throwing up on players through seasickness and comedy nights where the highlight is some bloke streaking. Twice. A boot camp where you pay $3K to get shouted at by Annie Duke (insert own joke here, I don't need to repeat myself). The "World Cup of Poker" where you have to play like a total weak-tight rock (not that Holden finds this difficult generally) under instructions from your "captain" (some egg off the Internet). The one plus point is that it reinforces my conviction that all this shite is for people who can't actually play, be they organisers, celebrity figureheads or suckers, I mean customers.

On the credit side, there are a couple of interesting quotes, my favourite being Barry Hearn's "A light bulb flashed over my head ... Wow, here's a sport where the players pay the prize money ! Well, I just had to get into that." Ex. Fucking. Xactly.

[1] Except for one guy who said "I like them. Anything that pisses off all my opponents so much is good for me".

[2] One player who queried exactly why he had been sitting at a table waiting for a setup for an hour was told "Where's your rush to get to ? The Bellagio and Wynn are full".

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Climate Mash

OK, here's my last word on this before I, erm, fly half way round the world just to be a sick gambler.

Now, if this doesn't convince you, nothing will. PS not a rickroll. PPS most awesomely of all, it's the same guy who recorded the original.