Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 1: $600 Stud Hi-Lo Venetian Win

This takes top spot for the trip although only just because it was my first proper live win and I even got a trophy !

Cant say too much about this except I was incredibly lucky, especially around the bubble when I was short and allin a couple of times and then on the 2nd day when 12 of us returned (I was average stack) and I basically hit everything. At one point I think I had 50% of the chips with 6 of us left !

Ive been playing Stud Hi-Lo a lot more in the last year and it had already climbed to my 2nd favourite type of poker behind plo8.   I often play short handed though so this helped in the late stages but I have to adjust when we play 7 or 8 handed as I rarely do this online.

As for the tournament itself it was my 2nd entry of the trip and I only able to enter as I hadn't made day 2 of the $1,500 WSOP on the first full day of the trip.  There were only 95 runners so the cash I won wasn't huge relative to the trip but it did allow me to "freeroll" the rest of the trip at just under $15k and obviously relaxed me, increased my confidence, etc etc for the rest of the trip.

Heres link to my up to date Hendon Mob list and below is a photo of me and the heavy marble trophy which at about 4kg nearly put me over the luggage allowance on the flight back !

See you next year WSOP, left the money behind the cage for an even bigger shot !

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 2: $3k PLO8

My biggest buy in for the trip and was looking forward to this one a lot.  Having had decent runs in nearly everything before this I was in perfect frame of mind.  When I played this the previous year it went awful as I was just in the wrong frame of mind and even tilted some of it off.

Anyways when I got to my table it didn't look particularly great but I was determined to play a lot more aggressively than I did in the $1,500 (when card dead/jetlag stopped me).  It worked as I knew where I was in the majority of pots and had players categorised pretty quickly.  I was in gamble mode but didn't need to take any massive gambles as most people started with just 3k of there 9k available with the 2 rebuy chips.  First break I was over 10k and by the 2nd break I had over 20k and felt great.  I struggled to push on for a while but was patient and after peaking towards 50k I lost a bit back to finish on 31k, 42nd/141 at end of day 1.  435 had entered and 45 would be paid.

Day 2 began on a table I knew would break within an hour or so.  I knew this so wasn't gonna play too wild to begin with.  As it turned out I got involved in my first allin crucial pot when I would have been crippled if I had lost.  I had raised AK23 and been reraised and chose to flop it although it was for towards 20% of my stack.  Flop came K102 and I held vs AAxx to nearly double and reach peak stack of near 60k. 

I couldn't move on from this stack for love or money and floated between 40k and 80k for hours.   Obviously I had moved tables and I knew I was on this one until the cash came but wasn't sitting and waiting for that.  Another key hand with AA83 came when I raised and got a caller before a shortie moved in and bb decided to try and isolate with A1025.  I had him covered but only by 13k ish and the board ran out something like 10,j,Q,10,x .  Gutted and short I set about trying to double up and I finally got allin, called and covered for the first time in the tournament , now about 20 from the money.  I 3/4up off the A1025 guy and amazingly didn't go allin called again until after I cashed.  Play had tightened up just enough that I could steal enough to stay afloat although there was one huge hand in bb where I had been given a free flop and took down a chunky pot by repping a wheel when I only had a good low and no high.  I had bet the turn strong and matey had flat me but with a river blank I felt forced to move allin for roughly a 80% pot bet and winning this pot fully allowed me room to feel more comfortable about cashing.

Just after the cash and table break I doubled off a mad Russian (whom I had doubled up earlier when he raised QQ26 (3diamonds) from the bb after 3 limpers 9only playing 15xbb).  I gambled with him as I knew his range was wide as can be but missed completely with AJ45.  He went mad when he lost this allin, obviously had a short memory from our earlier clash, but still went on to final table.  This new table probably had 50% of the chips in play despite there being 4 tables in play but this worked out well for me as my 8-15xbb stack meant I had just enough to freely pick spots to gamble/resteal etc whilst playing fewer pots.  

When we hit 27 left it was a table redraw and late in day 2 now.  9 handed and blinds big compared to a lot of stacks luck was required.  I knocked out a short stack but only after doubling up another 1.  Was the way of day 2 really, just couldn't win or 3/4 quite enough of the big allins to progress to the big stack.   We finished the day with 17 left but I was  14th , well really joint 12th/17.  Still had enough to win it but needed a double or 3/4pot increase asap to put me in the hunt. 

I didn't ladder day 3 at all but again the allins just wouldn't go my way on the key ones.  I lasted 2.5hrs but never got above 150k (115k start) and floated between 40k and 100k for the most part.  My final hand to finish 11th was A223 vs AK29.  A cash game buddy of mine from previous year had reraised me pre and whilst I hated allin pre with this hand I knew I had no choice given the blinds and situation and was hoping to see that exact type of hand when I cringe called allin.  Amazingly the tight woman left in the mtt folded aces the same hand even though she would have had a decent side pot.  Funny enough she had also folded AKK3 preflop vs the most aggressive player on the table sb vs bb too and only got 8th .  Anyways back to my hand and the board ran out something like K1046 but bricked the river 10 I think it was.  He went on to finish 6th for $50k. 

I cashed for just over $17k so was gutted but so happy to have got as deep as I did and very happy with my overall play throughout the tournament.  Would go as far to say its the best ive ever played in any tournament in my poker career.   Top 4 places paid 279k,172k,125k and 91k so I couldn't help but think of those but only now am I thinking about the money as I write this.  At the time it was all about making my 2nd wsop final table and taking a shot at the bracelet :(

Great experience and a lot learned.  Only concern I have is treat live and online so differently I still don't crave mtts now ive been back a few weeks.  Its daft but that's just me I guess.

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 3: Back To Back WSOP Cashes

Not much detail about the first one as that's within the next post.  Lets just say I busted it on Day 3 and was gutted to miss out on the huge money.   I wasn't angry or disappointed though and having bust that at 4:40pm I knew I would still play the 5pm $2,500 10game I had planned all be it on red bull when required after 3 flat out solid days of poker already.

I played the 10game once before in 2009 when I was pretty much awful at half or more of the games.  This time it was quite different though.  Whilst I wouldn't put myself on 9/10 or higher for any game I would put myself between 5-8/10 for all the games and it amazed me how much bad play there was within this tournament.

Once again a lot was on my table draw which varied through the first day, we were 6 handed so this was a huge factor.  Day 2 though I was moved within 15 minutes to a table I knew wouldn't break until I bust or reached the cash.  This had 3 or 4 soft spots and the other 1 or 2 were playing straight up abc for most part of the games.  I chipped up but eventually blinds and luck got me a bit.  I survived my first allin of the tournament on 2-7NL triple draw when I shoved allin with a marginal but definitely correct squeeze from the bb.  Guy that covered me called from sb to draw 1 card but missed.  That was my only allin before I cashed although I was very very short approaching the bubble as blinds were huge compared to half the stacks.  

Once I cashed I needed a lot of luck and got a little but lost 2 hands in a row in Badugi to bust in 33rd/372 for $4,900.

That ended a mtt slog that had started Tuesday:
Tuesday 5pm-2am
Wednesday 2pm-2am
Thursday 2pm-4:40pm paid out for 25minutes then 5:10pm-2am
Friday 2pm-9pm 

After busting I headed back to Venetian as was staying at Pallazzo.   1/2pl hilo game running so jumped into that and played till 2 or 3am making a couple of hundred $ too.  LOL addict.

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 4: Fitness & Healthy Eating

Now this wasn't planned or expected but it kind of fell into place due to several factors. 

Before I left for Vegas I had been to Malta and lost a few lbs out there eating a bit better than normal and not drinking as much alcohol.  Whilst I was only there for a week and didn't hammer any "proper" exercise I did go for a lot of long walks daily.

The starbucks $18 credit daily I mentioned in an earlier thread meant I pretty much had a largish baguette of ham or turkey along with juice/boost drink and fruit/nuts/coffee/bananas for the first 11 nights.  That meant I only needed to eat once more during the day which usually ended up being between 10pm-2am depending on my body clock which got later as the trip progressed and more later mtts (5pm starts) were there.  That could be anything from chicken burger from BK or often if I was in Venetian it was a fish dish in Grand Lux.  I only ate one beef burger the whole trip and didn't eat any other beef , again not planned and highly unusual for me.

The deep runs I seemed to get in nearly all the mtts I played meant I wasn't drinking as much alcohol as I would even at home.   I wasn't off it completely but it made a massive difference and the huge part of not really ever getting bored in any mtts (mainly due to ipod but other factors as well)  this trip was a big factor.  I remember getting drunk the previous year deep in a $600 plo mtt even though it was near the cash I was just bored and not in the mood.  Somehow this didn't happen this trip.

I also used the gym 5 times in 18 nights as well as steam room/spa a few times.  Obviously chilled by the pool enough too although that could have been a bit more especially in the last week.  I often found I only had time for gym or pool though so opted to gym it instead.

All of the above obviously helped my whole mindset on the trip and in cash games as well as mtts and it would be nice to think I would do similar on another trip, test that in Caribbean when im all inclusive for a few weeks hmmmm tougher methinks.  The big bonus was losing half a stone in that 3 week period too, unexpected, just gotta try keep it off now or even lose more !

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 5: Attention/Effort In Smaller Mtts

Whilst there were originally a whole host of $200-$600 tournaments I had the option to play I only ended up playing 4 in the end.  Deep runs elsewhere and having to change my flight to a week later being the main reasons.

For some reason though I seemed to enjoy these a lot and put nearly as much effort in as the 4 WSOP mtts too.  I wont mention the only cash in any detail as im saving that for another post.  The other 3 were 240 plo/plo8 at the Nugget, 600 Stud8/O8 at Venetian and 240 plo 6 handed at Caesars.

At the Nugget I went into a huge early big stack and likely chiplead but blinds were up quick enough and after losing 2 flips and a bad beat I crashed out in about 19th from memory with the final table or less getting paid I think.  Was very happy with my play though and was pleased to venture downtown the one time that trip for the diff vibe.  Even had my only couple of ciders that day down there !

The Venetian 600 was uneventful except maybe my bust hand where one guy announced straight on river and everyone mucked before he turned over a misread 2 pair with a live 4 for low in O8.  Ironically I couldn't beat this and had waited to see the hand before I mucked unlike seat 8 who was distraught that he would have scooped and demanded but failed to get matey boy a penalty or warning , LOL.

Caesars was a lot of fun and I played loose as hell the first few levels.  My 20k went to over 60k by first break and I had only hit 1 or 2 hands and just bluffed countless scary rivers without getting looked up once !  I couldn't get much higher though and lost a 100k pot with aces at 500/1k when the guy had called off half his 48k stack preflop with QJ102 dbl suited and flopped a flush vs my aces.  Crippled I doubled up then managed to steal to survive until near the bubble with 18left and 15 paid.  I only had 71k at 4k/8k but average was only 160k.   I potted AQ108dbl std and got 2 callers which was ideal as long as it came down a flop I couldn't fold on.   Q97rainbow obliged and got it in vs guy that had just limped Q388 and doubled up tight old guy on a A98flop who obv had 999.  This time he had 10,8,6,2 so I was in great shape but a 5 hit the river and instead of going average stack with a chance to cash high or even win I was out.  Was gutted as it was the night before I flew home and had taken 7 or 8 hours to bubble.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 6: Cash Games Patience

Whilst I didn't play as much cash games as previous years due to the many tournaments suiting me and deep runs I still clocked in plenty of hours.  Out of 19 days I played on 15 different days. 7 losing days and 8 winning days. 

U could actually split it into 2 parts as there was a 3 day period in the middle (due to deep tournament runs) where I didn't play at all.   Interestingly the the first 9 days 6 of my 7 losing days.  The last 6 obviously only included 1 losing day.  

There are obviously many factors to this and the main one was definitely just running a lot better.   I did feel confident and more settled later in the trip but I think the same applied to the first week as well but it was just more a matter of limiting the losses.  I also got drunk a lot less than other trips, the fact I now have an ipod was just brilliant as it kept me entertained when ever I felt bored or just needed to take a mental break from watching the action.

My worst day 7 days in I lost $775.  I had won $200 at the Rio on 1/2 big O but moved over to the Venetian to play 1/2 plo8 instead.  I lost $975 there in my worst session but I still think it could have been more if I had played bad or tilted. 

I got quartered  on a strange pot where on the turn I had bet pot with 2nd nut low draw, 2 pair and nut flush draw.  All 3 players called and the river came a 2 to show QJ562.  Holding A3J6 it was an obvious pot bet to get value out of worse/same lows.  Unfortunately sb repotted for a few hundred more to show A34x.  The same guy was a fish maniac and also stacked me when a $75 pot on a 2,3,10 4 way flop when we got $600 in each.  My AK45 no match for his JJ56.

My best day came late in the trip for $1,230 profit on 1/2plo8.   Was funny as I was trying to get drunk but it was the one time the waitresses were few and far between so I remained sober until 1 or 2am !  There was a mad drunk Asian at the table that was always going to get stacked and I was lucky enough to finally catch him on a K66 flop with KK vs his 6xxx.  That was my only significant pot for $600ish profit.  The rest was just general play over many hours.

My final cash game profit was $2,050 for the trip.  Maybe next year I will note down how many hours ive played to get an hourly rate, almost wish I had this trip.   Somewhere in the 80-150 hours region is all I can guess at, so similar but probably a bit less than my online rate.  Previous trip I made $3,220 from cash games but played more hours and definitely was luckier, whilst getting no luck in tournaments that trip.

1/2 big O:    -$30
1/2 plo8:   +$895
1/2 plo:     +$995
15/30 O8: +$325
1/2 nlh:      -$135

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 7: Playing "Famous" Players

I'm not one to get star struck and certainly not in the world of poker where I believe everyone is overhyped but I seems to play so many "big" names , world champions and old school players that I had never sat with before on this trip.  Bear in mind I only played 4 WSOP events and in my first event I sat with no famous names on 1 table before busting 7 or 8 levels in.  List below:

Phil Hellmuth - Without doubt my favourite player, for entertainment value mainly. 
He turned up 55 minutes late and sat opposite me in the bb at 25/50 next to Padraig Parkinson in the $3k PLO8 event.
First hand there was a limp and I popped it up to 200 with A256 and got limper and PH calls.  Flop comes QQ6 and Phil leads out for pot of 625 (He only has 3k at start of hand as u get 2 x 3k addon chips u can use any time or if u bust the chips in front of you) and I flat call.  Turn is a 2 and he pots again and I raise allin obviously.  He calls and turns over 3356 and misses his outs for half the pot. 

So my claim to fame was busting him the first hand I played him, not many people on the planet can say that !!!    On another note I had so much fun on that first table, the banter flying between Padraig, Phil and another young high staker I didn't know was just hilarious at times and most of it obviously aimed at Phil but you could see he was enjoying it and in a good mood. 

Joe Hachem - Haha complete opposite of above and hilarious.  Last 27 players and only an hour left of day 2.  We've just been redrawn and im on his table, he has less than 2 big blinds.  He doubles up luckily the hand before this so has about 4 big blinds and raises pot/close to allin on my big blind.  I pick up naked AA107 so instant call and he shows AA104.   The board runs out 7xxx7 with no low and now the best bit.   He already stood up before the hand and now turns to me and says "REALLY, REALLY KID" in a loud angry voice.  I just wanted to burst out laughing but held my poker face and even began to stand up to offer a shake of hands but he didn't notice and was out of there at the speed of light.   Hilarious stuff, I know I can be a nasty keyboard warrior online but I never let that translate to live play and found it so funny that a guy that's took down the main event can react like this for a tiny cooler pot.

Other past world champions played for the first time were Jonathon Duhamel, Greg Raymer, Huck Seed and Tom McEvoy.

Noted other players played were Barry Greenstein, Luke Schwartz, Elky, Mike Matusow, Steve Zolotow, Tony "tikay" Kendall.  Maybe others will edit if I remember more.

My Top 8 Las Vegas WSOP 2013 Experiences - 8: Hotel Rate

Always good to start a trip well and locking up a decent hotel rate back at the start of the year felt good.  I actually booked about 6 different blocks of dates as they were 100% refundable all at the Rio and all with a $9/day breakfast credit included as well.  Unfortunately as I had to delay my trip by a week I only ended up using one of these bookings before I moved to the Pallazzo as part of a package I had raked earlier in the year.

The rate in the end was a total of £559 for 11 nights or average £50.80 per night.   I booked before they introduced the compulsory resort fee (which will deffo make next year more expensive) and when I turned up they told me I had booked for 2 people so the breakfast credit, which was chargable to the room at any time of the day at starbucks, was actually 2x$9 = $18/day ! effectively knocking over £10 per night off the room rate !!!

June Figures

This was mainly offline in Las Vegas at the WSOP from 16 June until 4 July.   My most successful  trip to date and I had won 1 or 2k before I left as well without playing that much.   WSOP to be summed up in more posts to come.

June:  +£19,773

July has got off to an awful start and brought me back to earth.   In my first week since back im struggling to play cos of the heatwave and dropped £2,500 at worst point.  Back to -£1,600 at mo and playing a bit better although most of the loss was just run bad anyway.