Get It Quietly

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

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Face In The Crowd

I made my way down to the Vic last night to have a look at the refitted card room and play the £250 tournament. The new room is nice, very busy last night and the lack of smoking in the whole place makes a huge positive difference. The much-anticipated mural is actually very cool. What it is, you have to see it really, but it's a sort of montage of the London skyline, with a certain amount of artistic license in that Big Ben and the London Eye are on the same side of the river and Windsor Castle seems to have been relocated to Central London. But the cool thing is that when you get up close, it's made up of half-inch square "pixels" which are headshots (boom ! headshot) of various players, all shaded different colours to make up the overall picture when seen from a few feet away.

The tournament itself was a total donkfest. It's nice to be reminded how unbelievably badly people are capable of playing in these tournaments if they put their minds to it. It made the WSOP look like an elite gathering of the world's top players in the showpiece tournament series of the year. Wait a minute. No, really it confirmed my handy rule of thumb that in general the standard of play in a live tournament is equivalent to the standard in an online tournament with one tenth the buyin (exception : WSOP main event which compares to one hundredth the buyin online). So I was quite enjoying the regular sight of two people butchering a hand appallingly and the loser stomping off muttering to himself about how bad the other guy was. Unfortunately, although I like a fast tournament, an average stack of M5 with 20 players left is a little bit too fast and I succumbed around 15th, in one of two ways depending on how well you understand tournaments :

1) With AK against AQ god I'm so unlucky it was sick, or
2) My pushing with M4, being called by a hand that was miles ahead of my pushing range and losing.

Fortunately just in time to buy in for the £1000 in Luton and catch the last tube home. Thanks to Dr Channing for using his undoubted charm to persuade Sylvia to secure a Friday Day 1 for me and a Thursday for himself. Neil also promised to add me to the betting in this tournament, I wonder how he will price me up !?

Finally today I also signed up to Facebook which seems to be a slightly more grown-up version of Myspace. If you're on there, don't hesitate to hook me up and make it look like I have more friends, which seems to be the main purpose of the exercise :-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back In One Piece

As above. The flight was a bit rough on the way in again, and it didn't help that a woman two seats across was hurling her guts up, but I managed to touch down with nothing more than a cold sweat to show for it. Also on the flight were Marty Wilson and arch-hagiographers Des Wilson and Tony Holden, who I would have hidden from had it been at all necessary. In fact it wasn't, as all three of them stood about four feet from me for 20 minutes in Vegas airport without blinking an eye. Which is all to the good quite frankly, there's no reason why they should recognise me and that's fine by me. On landing though I did see Philip Hilm, and quickly shook his hand just to say that I remembered him from Day 2 and well done. Over the years I have finally learned to show a certain amount of tact in these situations so I avoided any mention of chip leads, first player out or bokking.

Although it wasn't a great flight I did manage a couple of hours kip here and there which makes a big difference. Even so, a couple of days in a darkened room won't do any harm. And the last Harry Potter is out tomorrow ! What will happen ! I'm sad but I am actually interested to see how it turns out. I'm also quite sad because Lee Cook has signed for Fulham :-(. Good luck to him, he definitely deserves to play at the top level.

With that, you might be better off tuning in to my football blog soon enough, as I'm afraid normal can't-be-arsed-to-update service will most probably be resumed on here. Thanks again for all the comments, it's always good to have people funking for me and tuning in for a taste of Vegas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Final !

Minor funkage today for Jon Kalmar, who everyone tells me is one of the good guys. I'm slightly disappointed to see that after wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt (ironically no doubt) on Day 4 and a Stiff Little Fingers shirt on Day 5, come Day 6 he was kitted out in Full Tilt gear :-(. It would be good for poker in the UK too, although I don't usually go for this "I'm totally funking for this because it might be 1% beneficial to me in future irrespective of the personal and ethical qualities of who I'm funking for". It's like cheering on Chelsea in the Champions League just because it improves the English clubs' coefficient or some such bollocks. But anyway Skalie sounds alright so I will stress that I'm not directly comparing him to Chelsea :-)

Also some minor funkage for chip leader Philip Hilm, who was on my table on Day 2. He was in the most bizarre hand I saw in the ME, here it is, I'm going to make no attempt to editorialize it because it's just too strange. A geezer in early position wearing a Tam O'Shanter (lol donkaments, no stop editorializing), throws in a 5K chip without saying anything (blinds are 800-1600/200). Dealer says "call", he says "oh no I meant to raise", usual shenanigans. It's ruled a call. Obv three people call behind him including Hilm. Flop comes King high with 2 diamonds. Big blind bets out 3K. TOS raises it to 10K. Hilm raises it to 30K. Blind gets out, TOS calls. Turn is basically a blank. I'm so pokered out I can't quite recall who bet and who called, but anyway 30K more is shipped in by each player. Turn is the Ad. TOS now checks. Hilm pushes in his remaining 20K, TOS calls. Hilm shows the nuts, Q bit of diamonds. TOS shows, erm, K8. Kings with an 8 kicker.

That's not the reason for the funking though. The funking is simply because when my steal reraise attempt was called and I pushed forward my 75 offsuit, one finger on each card Action Dave style, Hilm laughed (good-naturedly) and said "good luck". I'd like to think that he recognised a kindred spirit.

Update : Hilm first player out. Top bokking !

Old School

I played the $200 Limit tournament in the Orleans today. This was part of the Orleans Open, a tournament I have a bit of a soft spot for. The Orleans run their tournaments very well too, everything was like clockwork today, and an impressive 299 runners ponied up for the limidonkament.

I busted out around 50th, but it was once again a testament to the edge a good limit player has in these things how many hands I actually had to lose to bust out. Here's my favourite hand, which was frankly worth $200 on its own. I love the bluffing hands in limit, just for all the people who say it can't be done. Passive woman limps in MP, SB completes, I check the BB. Flop Tc 6h 3h checked around. Turn Kc, checked to me, I bet, woman folds, SB calls. River As, check I bet he sighs, shows me Qh Th and throws it away. A couple of hands later he says "You had a King, right ?". "Yeah" (I know lies make Baby Jesus cry). Sigh again. "Yeah, obviously you had a King". Or 7c4c. Pwned.

Finally for 2 points each can you guess which two members of the Poker Hall Of Fame played in this prestigious event ?

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Most people who haven't already gone home are doing so today, but I'm still here till Thursday. Don't ask me why. I had a reason when I booked it, but it's long gone now. I've just come off five nights in Caesar's where my $2000 bill was reduced by half thanks to waving my ME ticket around. I am obliged to give Harrah's credit for this, I stayed in the Rio (all suites) for $1000 a week and I had a terrific suite in Caesars for another $200 a night, all on the poker rate.

Not just that, but on the whole trip Harrah's have gone up somewhat in my estimation, raising themselves from the depths of "scummiest poker operators on the planet". That postion is now reserved for the CEO Poker Tour. It's easy to sit at home and read about bad rulings, players acting up and nothing being done about it, various organisational problems, and so on. But you have to realise that these are the worst cases. Anything bad that happens is all over the internet within hours nowadays. Meanwhile, up to 3000 players a day have been playing poker without any major problems. Like me. I didn't personally experience anything bad at all, and on the one occasion when the floor had to make a judgement call, they got it absolutely right, by stopping play at 2am on Day One of the shootout.

The one situation that Harrah's really have to answer for is the tent. They really should have used the ballroom, which is right next door, and stuck the crappy Expo somewhere else (I'm sure we could all suggest somewhere). It's not really fair to blame them for the new cards (as ridiculous as they were), the structures or the payouts, because these were all approved (and in some cases even suggested) by the players advisory committee. The satellite system was a bit clunky but people soon forget how in previous years you had to sit there for 15 minutes counting money and having forms filled in after you had all sat down. 6%-9% rake isn't that excessive (see CEO Poker Tour again) and if it's anyone's business I tipped an extra 1.5% or so on my winnings. The very worst thing that happened all summer IMO was the play being stopped on the bubble because Hellmuth was short stacked, and that was surely down to ESPN. I don't know how much the chip leaders complained, if at all. Maybe you just have to expect this kind of thing in televised events, it's not the first time.

And of course the games were just the softest you could ever imagine for the buyin. If you swerve the Saturday $1500 madhouses and tear into the 5pm limit events instead, then I think anyone with a good grasp of the particular game(s) would have a really good chance of cashing and/or FTing. That would be my advice to anyone considering playing next year. Learn the limit games. If you can beat $3-6 online in whichever game it is, and you have a basic common sense understanding of playing to win in tournaments, then you have good EV in these tournaments, take it from me.

A lot of people have said that the Bellagio or the Venetian would do a better job, but would they really ? I've always found the Bellagio cardroom a bit odd. Yesterday I stood at the podium for five minutes just wanting to ask some general questions about the games, and I was totally ignored. I don't know if this is because of my legendarily poor bar presence or because I wasn't waving a $20 around. Anyway, obv after a while I just took my business elsewhere. There seem to be a lot of problems with the current WPT event, draconian cell phone rulings and what have you. Meanwhile the Venetian have just hosted this CEO Tour fiasco, and while they ran their deep stack tournaments well, there's a big difference between running two tournaments at once with 500 people in the room compared to six tournaments and 3000 people. I'm not going to go as far as taking my hat off to Harrah's, but it is tipped a little more jauntily than I would have expected.

Dreaming Of Lions

That's about it. Neil, Al and Tristan busted out yesterday. Willy Tann and Julian Gardner succumbed this afternoon. Now, I'm sure there are lots of nice guys and good players left in this event but it's of no account to me which one of them wins. If there's anything to say to the remaining players, do your best, enjoy it and try to keep it in perspective. Oh, and tell all those agents to go and ... well, my family read this blog now. I'm sure I don't need to draw you a picture :-)

I hope all the guys I mentioned above aren't too disappointed. As I said on Pete B's blog in connection with my own second place, if you always want more, you'll never be satisfied. Only one person will come out of this event without the temptation to think about the saddest words "it might have been". It might have been what though ? I could speculate about Jamie Gold's mental state, given some of the stories I've heard about him, but I won't. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Missing out on a bracelet by maybe 4 or 5 hands really didn't bother me for very long, but I only have one foot in this poker world and I am (just about) still connected to the real world enough to be happy about turning $40K in the hole into $80K profit on the trip whatever else might have been. On a trip to the bookstore last week I picked up an audio book of "The Old Man And The Sea". I remember reading this book at school and it having no impression on me whatsoever. Listening to Donald Sutherland read this book over the last couple of days was different gravy though. As I understand it, and no one else can understand it for me, the theme is that winning or losing doesn't matter as much as being a man and doing your best. You only answer to yourself. Sleep well guys. Dream of lions.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Shootout Final (Part 2)

David Mosca (4th) : David is a 2+2er and was on my left so we chatted a fair bit. He was a very nice guy and an excellent player. He told me that he and Anh (3rd) had played about 10K hands against each other heads-up online, 50-100 kind of level. It seemed unfair that I was up against these two guys and Ram, seeing as I've just moved up to 5-10 limit on Stars. Still, it's a WSOP final, you can't expect a table of donks ! Outside a NL tournament anyway :-). David had a bad start but came back and started to looked very dangerous. Unfortunately for him he lost a huge pot to Ram when he bet the river, Ram dwelled for ages and finally called, at which point David threw his cards away. He was unable to recover from that and busted to Ram with A2 v TT. One thing I really liked about David's game, when he didn't have an auto-fold he would take his time and it was impossible to tell whether he was really thinking or just acting. Whenever I felt my decision was obvious (which it is in limit a lot of the time, because of course you only have 2 or 3 choices), I couldn't make myself slow down and so I was probably giving away timing tells when I actually did have to think.

Anh Nyugen (3rd) : I think that's his name. A lot of people were calling him "Van Diesel" for some reason. He was very quiet, methodical, completely impossible to read and looked a great player although I wasn't sure if he was maybe playing too tight 4-handed. Then again, you do need cards in limit and who knows what he was passing. He busted to Ram, all-in on the turn with 2 pair against Ram's flush draw, which of course obliged on the river. Had he won that pot, he would have been up to 500K three-handed and very dangerous. I wasn't really sure whether I wanted him to cut Ram in half (in that pot) or bust out so I locked up second, anyway there wasn't anything I could do about that. The only time I saw him animated at all was when he suddenly announced that I looked like some actor from "A Knight's Tale". I haven't seen that one but he's not the first person who's told me that. I have had a lot of lookalikes in my time, Essex and (briefly) England off-spinner Peter Such I think was the best one if not the most famous.

Me (2nd) : I just bet my hands. Bear in mind though, that in limited hold them, doing stuff like check-raising the flop with a gutshot is just betting your hand. Basically I have learned to play limit HE from reading Matt Maroon's book and Howard Lederer's chapter in the Full tilt book. Both these sources are fairly straightforward and heavily stress betting your hand when you have anything at all, especially on the cheap streets, and rarely if ever slow-playing. It's interesting that Maroon has said in his blog that Lederer is the only player who he really fears in a limit tournament. So I highly recommend these books. It worked for me. After winning a pot with Jacks to move up to 340K, I got chipped down to 200, then eliminated Baker and won a big pot with the Aces. From then on I just went on the most unbelievable rush. I was picking up big hands, not being outdrawn, winning multi-way pots with like second pair, having Ace high hold up unimproved heads up, everything. It was one hell of a buzz. It lasted almost exactly from eliminating Baker in 7th until the heads up match ...

Ram (1st) : Ram is Ram, a lot of you probably know him better than I do. As you can see above, he made some big hands in key pots but that's not to take anything away from his play which I thought was excellent. He was very, very focused and (for various reasons which I won't go into here but which many of you will be able to infer) not at all concerned about the money, just the bracelet. Heads up, I hate to say this but I can't put it any other way, he did get a lot of help from the deck. Let me stress that this was help he did not need. I said to Carlo afterwards, even though I started heads up 1.4-1.0, Ram was probably the favourite and probably would have won if the cards had run evenly. Once he caught me up in chips he was the clear favourite. The deck simply speeded the process. He won two pots in a row with 63 off, the first one with flopped trips against my (definitely overplayed) gutshot draw and another with a 7-high straight against my wheel. There was a hand where I had A7, he had 45, the flop was 732 and I don't need to tell you what came on the turn. In fact, luckily for me the river made a four-flush which saved me two bets. Those were the only really bad ones. The rest of the time he was just playing better than me and winning most of the showdowns, which is tough to beat. David Mosca, interestingly, wasn't quite that impressed by Ram, you can see his comments (and mine) towards the end of this thread. But I thought that Ram played really well and fully deserved the win.

What's quite interesting is that if you asked me to rank the players (other than me), I would put them almost exactly in their finishing order, perhaps swapping Mosca and Nyugen. This may be harsh on the 7th and 8th finishers, who were perhaps affected by the hands they lost to leave them trailing in the first place, and who knows how the rest of us might have reacted in the same adversity.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shootout Final (Part 1)

The best way I can think of to talk about the final is to go through the players, and talk about various hands and impressions as and when. So, in reverse order :

Rayvenia Puckett (8th) : Basically a local amateur who had given the tournament a spin. However, she was much, much better than you would have thought from first impressions. Given the structure of the tournament (which was awesome), anyone would have to have been extraordinarily lucky to reach the final without being at least competent, and she certainly was that. However, she probably was the weakest link in truth. She had Kings cracked by Ram's rivered flush, and then Kings lost to Noyan's Aces. Those two hands seemed to affect her quite badly and the rest of the table smelled blood in the water at that point. I did feel sorry for her because the one thing that was totally FUBAR about this tournament was the payout structure. Everyone who won the first round made $6500, which was far too much, while 7th and 8th made $12K and $9K respectively, which was nowhere near enough. It was pretty weak that Rayvenia only made another $3K for winning what was probably a very tough second round table over at least 8 hours play.

David Baker (7th) : Lost a couple of big pots early on, once when Ram turned a gutshot straight. I did think at the time that Ram was dangerous enough without hitting draws on people. David was on a short stack for ages and I thought he didn't play it all that well. He didn't seem to open-raise enough, and was mostly putting his chips in calling, even 3-handed. However, he kept escaping again and again and again. By this time I had been chipped down to 200K (partly by Baker with 88 against my AK) and the prospect of 7th place for a bag of rice $12K was weighing on my mind. Eventually I took him out myself with AQ v Q9 on a queen high flop. Everyone except David was probably pleased, not just for the payout jump but because it meant Greg "FBT" Mueller stopped calling the play :-)

Sondre Sagstuen (6th) : Had an awesome "bad guy in Casino Royale" look. However, he did seem to have some weaknesses. Warren, who was sweating most of the game, was quite critical of his play but that seemed harsh. He did, however, have a spell where he was caught bluffing too much and I think he overpaid me in a hand just after Baker was knocked out when I found Aces (just in time !). That knocked him down to the short stack, and when he raised my blind with only a few chips behind I thought I would take a shot at busting him with 64o. The flop came Q53, monster, I check-raised and he dwelled right up for his last 4 chips (which was the raise plus one chip). He made a very reluctant call with T7hh (one heart on the flop), and I rivered a 6.

Ishak "The Butcher" Noyan (5th) : This was the guy who knocked me out of the PLHE with AKs against my QQ. I thought he played much like I did to be honest, tight but very aggressively when he did play. Unfortunately his rush came too soon, when the limits were quite small, and he couldn't accumulate enough chips to really get going.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Morning After

Some have said that it's the worst day of the year, the day you are knocked out of the Main Event. Well, that depends how much you invest in it emotionally. I was a bit annoyed for about an hour, went out for dinner, played some blackjack, went to bed, now fine. I do think that I had a bad beat with the draw on Day 1. I've heard and read about a lot of donktastic antics in the first day or two, but unfortunately I didn't see a lot at my tables.

Here's an example, a day one trip report from the excellent Bond18. This guy definitely knows how to play, and writes damn good trip reports. Day two is also worth reading on the same forum. So anyway, he's doubled up early with a set, ran over the table all day, and finally had someone shove a huge stack in with AK against his Aces out of pique because someone called the clock. Where was all that on my table ? LOL. Oh well. At the end he says he flopped five sets, had Aces twice and Kings three times during the day. I flopped no sets, had Aces once and Kings once and won about 3K with the pair of them. What can you do ?

Anyway, the juggernaut rolls on, and for (the many) assorted stakehorses and attention whores who busted out, there's also the Bellagio $10K going on right now. From pokerpages coverage of that :

"The number of players complaining about the month they have spent in Vegas has grown tiresome. This is a 10k WPT tournament that thousands would sacrifice a thumb for the chance at a chip and a chair. If you'd don't like it go home! Vegas is sick of you too!"

Damn straight. If you don't want to play any more, bugger off home. Or there are other things to do in Vegas. Which I shall be going out to do in a moment. And of course today we are funking for The Guvnor (270K), Mr Big (280), Al R (120 odd IIRC), Tristan (100), Bad Beat (90) and The Camel (35). Gogogo !

Finally, one more snippet for you though, Paul "Action" Jackson's account of, among other things, the Limit Shootout. I suppose you should just read it for yourself, I'm through with editorialising this kind of thing, it always gets back to people. Anyway, my chimpanzee dollars arrived in the bank this morning. Ship it !

Main Event Day 2 (Busto)

Busto. Nothing to work with. Unfortunately my post-flop play isn't good enough to accumulate chips without hitting hands. Pre-flop I'm fine, which is how I was operating today most of the time, stealing and re-stealing with air just to keep up. But eventually someone found Jacks and that was that. Basically in 17 hours of play I never had a hand that could stand the action when I was reraised. Not even AK. I had Aces once, 3x-d the guy's raise and he passed. Kings twice, no action either time. I hung in as long as I could waiting for that rush but it didn't happen. I'll post some more thoughts on the trip overall when that's sunk in, but basically I had all my luck in one tournament, and if you could choose how to use your luck, that's what you would want !

I'm here for another week and if I don't play another hand of poker that sounds fine right now. Also I made my debut at the craps tables last night, in that quality establishment the Imperial Palace. Fortunately we lost and I decided that dice sucks, which is a brilliant result in the long term.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Main Event Day One

That was a tough day. Where were all the donks I was promised ? Well OK, there were one or two, but I was stuck between two super-tough players all day. High water mark was 33K, lowest was 12K and I have 22K going into tomorrow which is a nice reraising stack.

Definite hand of the day, the antes have just kicked in so I raise it up with 96ss, one caller, a super-loose Central American looking guy with a huge stack. Flop comes 874 with two spades, so basically gin :-). I bet 1200 into about a 3K pot, deliberately small to give me room for a 3-bet shove. He obliges, making it 4500, and I shove for 15K total. He calls in three seconds with Jc9c. Flush on the river, ship it.

All in all it was good fun, if draining, and I am happy to say that there were no shenanigans at all on our table, no angle-shooting, no whoop-whooping, no tantrums, nothing like that. There were three excellent players to deal with, and two or three more who were very competent. All under 30 years old, obv. There were a few weaker spots, nothing too lol donkaments, but a few players who overplayed Aces post-flop, gave free cards by slowplaying when they really shouldn't have, and a couple who simply cracked up towards the end of a 15-hour day. I'm still there for tomorrow's rush, that's the main thing !

Monday, July 09, 2007

Getting It Loudly

Bouncing around Vegas with 100K is fun :

I initiated the wire transfer from the Rio today. Predictably, it took ages with tons of paperwork. Anyway, I asked the cashier what guarantees I would have if there was a problem. She didn't quite seem to understand the question. On further prompting she said, "We are a major corporation sir. This is Harrah's".

I feel reassured already.


We bumped into Padraig and Veronique in the Wynn the night after the final. Padraig rules and, on a first meeting, so did Veronique. She was telling Neil and me how she busted out of the Ladies Event with 84 suited, much to our approval. "I wonder who taught you that ?" joked Neil. "I know who got the blame for it" was Padraig's response.


I was very pleased to see "Purle, William" in the Main Event runners list today. At 8am the morning after the night before I was completely unable to drag him away from the roulette table for breakfast. Despite the 115 degree heat here in Vegas, I was feeling a definite nip in the air ...


John Duthie, or Mr. Big as Neil calls him, is certainly living it to the max here in Vegas. No cabs for JD, he is swishing around in a Rolls Royce ! As is befitting for the man who lays a good claim to making the sickest play of all the World Series so far. Facing a 17K bet on the river in a cash game, John decided that his opponent "didn't have it" and called with Queen high. Opponent had Jack high, ship it. Phil Laak was so impressed by this that he wrote down the hand details on his phone, "including suits", just to make sure that people would believe him when he recounted the tale.


Here are some of my favourite threads and links from this year's series if you've missed any of them. If there is a common theme, it can only be that online players rule and circuit pros suck.

Nobody calls Earl a chicken

Everybody calls Esposito a chicken - this one is my favourite of all.

Should you call with AA on the first hand ? A 2+2er resolves the eternal dilemma. Or does he ?

Taylor Caby nails it - He's right. The online players have all the mobney and it's more like going back to school every year. And is that really Mike Matusow with the penultimate comment ? Good impression if it's not.

From the pokerpages account of the Limit Shootout final :

"There are two railbirds, clearly intoxicated, who are cheering/heckling Ram Vaswani. I can't tell which! On a big hand between Ram and David Mosca, in which the board was 5-5-4-Q-4, Ram bet 40K on the river and one of the railbirds said, "Yeah! Good bet, Ram!" Vaswani just snickered. Mosca made the crying call and Vaswani turned over 4-4 for quad fours. Mosca lost a significant portion of his stack from that hand. "Hey, Ram," continued the drunk, "did you play good, Ram?"

All fairly standard except that the drunk in question was Johnny Lodden :-). I quite like the vibe on Pokerpages with their reporting. I know Pokernews have all the hands, and they have some good people on their team, but the PP reporters are laid back, quite funny sometimes, and have a decent understanding of the game. They don't feel obliged to suck up to Harrah's, and in fact are all caning the Gaming Expo, especially their female correspondents, understandably. Most of all though, they were nicer to me about the heads up :-).

Also on Pokerpages, Michal Cheser. Standard too, in fact very perceptive, but what I love about this is that Pokerpages felt it was necessary to stress at the top that this was a joke, and you aren't a bunch of donks, oh no. So, ironically, the one ME comment piece that was accurate had to be portrayed as a work of satire so as not to upset everyone.

With that, it only remains to say LOL donkaments and watch out for me on day 1D tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shootout Day 2 (Part 1)

We came back 6-handed on day 2 to finish the second round. As I said before, the structure was kind of odd in that the second round was much slower than the first, for no apparent reason. Our second round table took 4 hours to finish, and there were still a couple more in play when we did. If we had played through on the previous night it wouldn't have finished till 7 am, so clearly the decision to break was correct.

Anyway, having not written this up at the time, the final is still quite fresh in my mind but the conclusion of round 2 is all a bit of a blur. I do have the impression that this session was the best I played in the tournament. So, Bill Chen ran into Aces twice and was unable to recover. The weaker European player (who I realised was probably German, whatever) finally dribbled them away. I lost a pot to Noah Boeken where I correctly interpreted his flop 3-bet as an attempt to buy a free turn on a draw. He was clearly surprised when I bet the turn, but called (correctly obv) and rivered his straight. That knocked me down to 50K. However I turned a set in a big pot against Noah to recover. Noah saved a bet by folding the river on that hand, but he also folded the river for one bet in two or three other pots and I can't help wondering whether he was right every time. Folding the river in limit is a very dangerous game. Not only can you lose the pot you're playing, you can also encourage people to take future pots away from you. I basically don't do it unless I have completely missed a draw, I'd rather just drop the bet. I know, I'm a calling station :-)

Knowing that Noah was capable of putting a hand down, I was able to make a move on him when he was quite short-stacked. I raised on the button with T8s and he three-bet from the small blind. The flop came AK6, he bet and I thought I'd take a shot at it and raise. He slammed the table and folded after a little thought. This hand made the Pokerpages coverage, they speculated Queens (just like the hand I played in the mixed limit event) but who knows. I found Aces and tried to trap Noah for the rest of his stack, but he was good enough to save a full bet. Finally the Scandi also found Aces against him and finished him off.

Three-handed, the American and I put in five bets pre-flop (I had Kings). The flop came KQ8, he check-called me all the way with Aces. Maybe this is standard at a certain level, I mean I am very likely to have made a set with that pre-flop action, but it was still great play by him to lose the minimum there IMO. That gave me good momentum and the deck started to help me out as well. I had the American all in with AKhh against TT on a rag turn with 2 hearts, but missed it. Even so the Scandi dropped out in third soon after and I had a 200-70 chip lead on the break. Now the limits finally started to bite hard and basically one showdown hand would either finish it off or bring us level. Fortunately we pretty much committed on a flop of QT9, I had JT, and when the 8 came on the turn he made a resigned call for his last bet with KQ. Final !

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Balla-ing It Up

OK. First of all, for the next 10 days, you should either pretend this blog is called something else or, if the concept of getting it loudly does offend the senses, and I could understand that, peruse other areas of the Internet for the duration.

I like the Gold Coast, no problem with it, but I'm sorry, it just won't do after that result. Plus there are rather too many potential nippers in here right now. I'm staying here long enough to play day 1 on Monday then, whether I'm still in or not after that, it's Caesars from Tuesday-Sunday and Bellagio Sunday-Thursday. Unfortunately Bellagio is booked up until Sunday and even if I promise them major balla blackjack action they're not going to kick anyone out for me until they see the colour of my chips. Which is fair enough, and of course they're booked because of the WPT event starting Tuesday. But that's all fine, I can roll up on Sunday week and then half the point is to give them (the appearance of) balla blackjack action which should stand me in very good stead in the future. They would require me to put the whole 100K in action to wire it back for me, which is a bit much, so I'll probably still have to put my trust in the Rio not to fuck it up. This seems marginally safer than carrying it all back in my shoes. But only marginally.

So for anyone out here reading this, that's where I'll be. Unless you're on the nip of course. Then I'll be somewhere else.

Update : When I popped over to the Rio at about 7pm to sweat, they surprised me with an early dinner break, but that was good because I caught up with a few of today's runners for a quick meal at the Sushi restaurant in the Wynn, where I had by far the nicest meal of the trip so far, kobe beef carpaccio yum yum. And it's the first Vegas restaurant I've been to probably ever where they didn't bring me twice as much food as I normally eat in a day. Anyway, during the meal Mr. Big [1] advised that it's not worth playing blackjack at Bellagio for future considerations because you have to put huge amounts of money in play, so I'll probably just play some of the mixed cash games instead.

[1] John Duthie.

Shootout Day One

This was written on the morning of Day 2. I can't be bothered rewriting it with dramatic foreshadowing and stuff so pretend it's then.


I don't know when I'm going to post this but I like writing these up while they're fresh. I won my table in the Limit Shooutout today. Woo hoo cash !!

I didn't know anyone on my table, it was a reasonable mix, a couple of weak spots, one very good player on my immediate left and the rest fair to moderate. I made QQ hold up against 4 opponents, somehow, and that moved me up to 5500 (3K start). Then everything went pear-shaped as usual and I dropped to a low of about 1200. Fortunately I found AQ and QQ just in time to double up twice. Then I won the key hand against the good player, a Dutch guy, who I gave the blog address to so if you're reading this dude, sorry about this hand ... I complete the SB with A5, he raises I call. Flop K3d2d check-bet-raise-call, I check-raise with the gutshot. Turn 9d I bet to follow it up, he raises. I go in the tank and nearly fold. But I have the 5d so I reckon 4s are good, Aces are probably good, and a diamond is enough to check-call and see. But if I miss these I'm going to fold the river. It comes a diamond, check-bet-call, and he has A5 no diamonds ! Sick.

So I was pleased to take a good chunk out of the best player at the table, who had position on me, and even more so when he lost a couple more hands and busted 4th. We jockey for a bit 3-handed, then this Scottish guy in a Ladbrokes shirt (about 100 "Team Ladbrokes" oiks have just arrived, 90 of them with a constant fag on the go) decides I'm bluffing all the time, I realise this and take him all the way to valuetown, with a decent amount of help from the deck to be fair. I started heads up with a small chip lead and went on a massive tear, two straights and a two pair all paid off, rarely in doubt, that one was just meant to be, even though the guy was playing just as well as I was.

We were the third table to finish out of 72, so I have a good 2-3 hours before we sit down again for round 2. I probably need to finish 5th in this to get out of it on the trip ... but on the upside I reckon I'm about 50-1 to win a bracelet right now. Bring it on !


Fun table the second one, and a good job too as headphones are now banned. Apparently it's OK to receive secret CIA messages on the bubble, but not once you're in the money. In the house, Noah Boeken, Bill Chen, Matt Matros and Jean "The Prince" Gaspard who regular visitors to Vegas will know. I had the usual ups and downs, but won a couple of big pots with KK (one against Chen and one against Matros). I lost a sick pot against Boeken with Q9 on a board of T87x6 when he had J9. That sucked. However I raised the last 3 pots of the night, and in the last one The Prince called me all-in with A5 v my AQ which I won to return to my high-water mark of 43K. That's almost dead on average playing 6-handed tomorrow. Matt is out, there are two Scandies left, one's quite tight and the other is a bit "how the hell did he win his first round ?". Then there's Chen, Boeken and another American who's pretty good. I didn't catch his name but we were talking about money and I said how strange I thought it was that American bills were all the same size, what if you were blind ? And he said that his girlfriend was working on a case that's going through the Supreme Court to get that changed. I always did wonder about that.

Anyway, for some reason the second round is literally half the speed of the first, in terms of blinds vs stacks, so they decided to stop it at 2am. Although there are at least 40 people left, I can't see many faces about. Ram's still in, Terrence Chan, Victor Ramdin, I think Isabelle Mercier, that's about it.

It was quite friendly as I said, there was a funny pot early on where Chen flopped a set and Boeken turned a bigger set. I couldn't resist pointing out that they were wearing Pokerstars shirts, what did they expect. Plus it was funny when Chen tried to 3-bet it to 3200 instead of 2400. Math, as he said, is hard. Matt pointed out that there were 4 Europeans at the table in what was supposed to be the American game. If I can take it down tomorrow on the 4th of July, that will show the fuckers and no mistake.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Out Of It

As most of you will already know, I finished 2nd in the Limit Shootout for $120K. This is just a quick post because I have three very important things to do first :

1. Sleep
2. Hookers/Coke Extravaganza
3. Lots of sleep

Thanks to everyone for all the comments throughout the WSOP. Yes, all of them. If they weren't supportive, they were motivational. Very well done to Ram. The heads up was sick. He was totally in my head. Going on a rush from 200K to 1.4 million on a WSOP final table was amazing though. Proper report later. Much later, so don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Briefly, I won my first table in the Limit Shootout, so that's a cash. 72 players will come back about an hour from now. Full report once I have proper Internet back, in the mean time wish me luck !

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No News Is Bad News

Lack of updates is not because I'm tearing up the SHOE. On the first hand today, the other short stack tripled up with 8s. On the next hand, I went for it with 7s against the same two opponents and ended up losing to 6s and 2s. The end. Oh well, I've had worse. It's not as bad as driving to Luton for a Day 2 and going out on the first hand to John Ruppin. Quite.

Lack of updates is because my internet connection has gone kaput in my room. Not to worry, I'll do without for a couple of days, I'm moving hotels on Thursday anyway. If anyone here wants to contact me, text msg is yr bst bt.

Monday, July 02, 2007

$1000 SHOE End Of Day One (Not Busto !!!)

ot*Applause*. Don't go nuts though. I have 2500 chips, and we'll be playing 600-1200 Stud on the restart. However, the average is only 10K so if I win my push-and-pray hand it could be game on. I'll add my thoughts of the day in the morning.

Update : This has been fun so far. The only thing more boring than NL hand histories is limit hand histories so I'll spare you them. I inched my way up to 5500 without ever managing to yard my way back to nothing like I usually do in the NL. Then I tried to play 3 pots of Limit Hold-em against Matt Matros out of position, with predictable results. 30 minutes of short-stacked Omaha 8 insanity ended up with no net gain or loss, and then I only found one spot in the final Stud 8 level to put it in, and split it thanks to rivering a low.

In the house today : Matt is a nice guy but I really wish he wasn't on my immediate left again tomorrow. Cyndy Violette was super nice, a decent player and a total MILF all in one bouncy little package :-). I was briefly on a table with Chris Ferguson again. At the other end of the spectrum, my favourite egg was the guy who berated his Hold-em opponent for beating him with A4s. "A4s ! That's a crap hand !". Then we switched to Omaha, and in quick succession the coach showed down Q665, 9772, J773 etc., naturally bumbling into half the pot each time. I guess he only gave Hold-em lessons. And in the "Typical Pokerstars" hand of the day, Warren had an unfortunate hand against another English player whose Stud High board read AcKcQcJc. He bet the river blind, Warren called, and the guy flipped over the last card, Tc obv.

Unfortunately, still being in the tournament means I can't play in this. Which is a shame. This was my chance to put in $125 dead money and annoy the crap out of all the proper players by babbling "ooh this is fun. What, three darts from this line here ? Do I have to start with a double ? What if we both get down to 1 what happens then ha ha ? Oh is it my turn ?". And so on.