20 December 2007

WPT Bellagio and Super High Stakes Poker

The $15,000 Five Diamond Bellagio WPT will always be one of my favorite tournaments. I arrived almost two hours late, and within forty minutes I built the initial 30,000 stack to 80,000. Since I missed all of level 1, I made things happen in level 2.

The first big pot was when I called a raise with the 8h 5h in the small blind. The flop came 2 2 4 with two hearts. I led out and the initial raiser raised to 9000 which left him with 18,000. He looked very strong when he raised me, so my plan was to call and if I did not improve, I would fold on the turn. The turn was an off suit 8 giving me top pair and I checked. My opponent all of a sudden looked very uncomfortable, he looked back to his cards, and it was pretty clear to me that my pair of eights was most likely the best hand at the moment. He went all in and I called. He had AK with no hearts, so he had four outs to beat me. The river was a blank and I won a nice sized pot.

Another interesting hand occurred around twenty minutes later in level 2. I was in the SB with pocket Jacks. The button limped and I raised to 800. The BB and the Button both called. The flop came 9 5 3 with two spades. I bet 2000 into the 2400 pot and was called by both players. The turn was the 9 of spades completing the flush and pairing the board. I had the Jack of spades, but I checked and the BB checked, the button bet 5000. I called and was surprised when the BB came along as well, I was wondering what he had. The river was the Ace of spades and I led out for 12,000. The BB folded and the button called with 8s 6s. He turned the flush, but I caught one of my outs on the river.

On one of the last hands of the night I was dealt AK on the button. A player in middle position raised it to 2000 and I re-raised to 7000 and he called. The flop was A J 4 and it was looking like a great way to finish the night. He checked and I bet 8000 and he went all in. I called of course, but was up against a set of Jacks. I doubled him up and left myself with 24,600 going into day 2. We started with 30,000 so it was not an ideal position to be in, but I was still alive and was ready to fight hard on day 2 to make a run at the title.

Day 1 finished around 9pm and I grabbed dinner with Maya and Gus Hansen. It also happened to be my birthday. I am not a huge fan of birthdays and was trying to sneak through the day without too much attention. Maya and I had a lot of fun relaxing and talking with Gus and some other friends. I was on the waiting list for the "Big Game" but it was getting late and I decided to go back to Maya's and get some rest for day 2.

Day 2 did not last long; I managed to win a pot early on by making a flush, increasing my stack to 36,000. I folded a whole round and was waiting for a hand. Nenad Medic raised in the cutoff and I called with 9c 7c. The flop was K T 2 and we both checked. The turn was a Jack giving me a eight outs for a straight. I bet 3500 on the turn and he called. The river was an 8 giving me the third nut straight. The pot was around 15,000 and I bet 10,000. He raised, which would put me all in. I pretty much knew I was beat, but I could not lay it down, since I was getting 6-1 odds to call. Nenad could be raising with a set or big two pairs as well, so I had to call. He had AQ, the nuts so I was out.

The tournament was not exactly over for me when I busted out. I had cross booked with one player before the tournament. And it happened that that player was the chip leader going into day 3, no other than Mr. Phil Ivey. I was sleeping after a long twenty hour session when Maya woke me up and told me that Phil was out. Cross booking is a great way to add a little more excitement to tournaments. I will cross book with any players in the world, the ideal scenario would be 6-10 players and we cross book 10-15% per person.

I have been playing a lot in Bobby’s Room this December. This tournament seems to bring all the high stakes players into town. Last week I played the biggest poker game I have ever played. It is hard to imagine that five years ago I was playing $1-2 PLO at Casino Helsinki and a few nights ago I was playing 2k-4k PLO against “Mr Omaha” himself. We played with a $200k cap, which was probably a little too small, but we were trying to keep things a little under control. I played twenty seven hours straight and made a decent hourly rate.

I am a huge fight fan, weather it is MMA or Boxing, I enjoy a good fight. A good friend of mine hooked me up with some great seats to the recent Mayweather vs. Hatton fight the other night at Mandalay Bay. This was probably the best boxing match I have ever seen.

With so much action at the Bellagio I have had no time for the online games. Although I have heard that there are no big games running. I have sat at the Martins Poker tables a few times, but no one has come to play. Hopefully the online games start running more and I can get back to business.

Good luck at the tables


06 December 2007

Marathon Sessions

I would like to give my condolences to the family of Chip Reese. I had the utmost respect for Chip. If there was one player that I could have sat behind and watched play, it would have been Chip. Poker lost one of the all time greats and he will be missed all. If it were not for Chip, poker would not be where it is today. I am lucky that the old timers paved the way for us so that it is possible to make a great living playing poker.

I was planning on posting a blog a few days ago, but I was on my way to the Bellagio and decided I would wait until I got back in case there were any interesting hands I could add.
I surprised myself earlier in the week by playing a 26 hour session, but I topped that off with a 41 hour session. I barely made it back to Maya's house, I have never been that tired before in my life. I slept 18 hours and woke up wondering what day it was. That is the longest I have ever played and hopefully I will never play that long again.

My first marathon session started as a $3k-6k mix of Chinese, Stud 8, PL 5 card draw, Triple Draw 2-7, PLO, and NL hold em. The NL and PLO had a cap. Johnny Chan, Gus Hansen, Doyle, and Jim were all in the game.

There were a few exciting hands during the night. In a no limit Texas hold em hand, Johnny Chan raised it up and Doyle announced "Cap," which means he is all in for the max. Johnny inst called and Doyle says "Queens" and Johnny says "Aces." It looked good for Doyle when the flop came Q 4 2. But an Ace on the river gave Johnny the pot. Even the greatest player of all time loses on the river every once in awhile.

Now for an interesting PLO hand. We are playing four handed. Gus, Johnny, Jim and myself. I raised pre flop and Johnny and Gus called. The flop came Q Q 9 and I bet and Johnny called. Gus took a little time shuffling his $5000 chips and finally raised. I did not hit the flop so I mucked, but Johnny tanks for quite a while before folding. The funny part was while Gus was raking in the pot; Jim told us that he mucked QQ and what the hell was going on with all the betting and raising. Gus just smiled and I am sure if he was playing online, he would have typed in "*ups*."

The game finally broke, but Gus and I were not ready to leave. We stayed and played Chinese, it turned out to be an epic session and after being down almost the whole time I made a great comeback in the last hour and ended up winning around $50,000. I was so tired at the end I made a crucial error in Chinese that cost me around 40k. It was obviously time to quit. I enjoyed this session of live poker because it was shorthanded the whole time and you can play more hands.

A few nights later I had my 46 hour session. People were in and out of the game, but David B and I were in the game the whole time. I finished a winner, but the wear and tear on the body was not worth it. Unless Bill Gates is passing out $25,000 chips I do not think I will ever play another 40 hour session.

I went another night really late to play again at the Bellagio. I got to Bobby's Room around 2am and played with Doyle, David, Jennifer, Jim, Johnny, Eli, and Rafi. We played 2k-4k mix. The game broke a little later and this time, since Gus was not around, I found a Chinese poker opponent in Rafi. We mixed it up and played with 2-7 in the middle, which is a new variation that is gaining popularity in some bigger mixed games. I booked a small small win, which sure beats losing.

I have been icing my thumb as much as possible and wearing a brace to try and speed up the healing process. I miss being at the golf course everyday. Hopefully only a few more days and I can get back out there. I am thinking of taking a golf vacation in December, I am trying to decide between Hawaii and California.

Good luck


24 November 2007

Golf, Poker, and Family

My daily routine lately has been almost perfect. I have been waking up early and our wonderful nanny/chef continues to impress with wonderful new dishes on a daily basis. After fueling my body I head down to the 24 hour fitness for a workout and warm up. I am happy with my workouts lately, my body feels good again. The golf course is right across the street from the gym, so after a good workout my body is ready for the range, but since my thumb is not yet healed 100% from an old Muay Thai injury, I have not been able to golf this past week. It looks like I am going to have to take ten days off, since I want to make sure it heals correctly. After golf it is back to Maya's house and hang out with Mila and Maya all night. I usually find a little time to play online if the games are good. Now if my shoulder was a little better and I could throw some tennis in there somewhere I would have my perfect day.

Phil Ivey called me while back and told me there was going to be a "Big Game" on Friday night. It has been a long time since I played live cash games and I was excited to sit back down at the tables and at real people in the eyes. It was the usual line up, I had Jennifer on my right and Minh on my left. Bobby Baldwin, Doyle, Guy (Noatima,) Eli, Lyle, and David B. were all in the game.

I am sure that I am not the only one who finds live poker so boring after playing online. I was also a little upset that we were only playing $2k-4k instead of $3k-6k or $4k-8k. We played a mixture of four games, NL Hold em, PLO, Limit Holdem, and Stud high. There was a $60,000 CAP in the NL and PLO games. I lost with AKs to KK in a capped pot and chopped with KK vs 77 since we ran it twice in another capped pot. I did still manage to leave the game a small winner, but the game was slow that I could not take it anymore and quit the game after five hours. The game was moving just to slow since we were playing nine handed and it felt too small, even though $2k-4k is a big game.

The Bellagio was getting pretty busy while I was playing the other night. This is a great sign, hopefully when the tournament rolls around, the stakes are bigger are more players are in town. I have talked a few times with Brian Townsend, Guy, and Bobby Baldwin about getting the $1k-2k NL and PLO game going again during December. I will play the Main Event in the upcoming WPT Five Diamonds, which brings back a lot of great memories and a few sour ones too.

On the way from the poker room to the valet pick up, I managed to take the long route so I could stop by the blackjack tables and hopefully win some money or break even while building up some comps for the Holiday season. I lost a little and when I finally got to my car I was a small winner on the whole poker, BJ trip. Maya on the other hand who came with me, hit two jackpots on the slot machines while I was playing poker and made more money than I did. She is a lifetime winner at slots and if poker does not work out, I might have to stay home with Mila and let Maya play high limit slots all day and support the family.

Online poker has been a roller coaster still, but the past few days have been profitable and on a little hot streak. I have been sitting at Martins Poker waiting for opponents, but no one has sat down. Actually, I forgot to stand up and leave the tables the other day and while I was in the shower, someone sat down and stole my blinds on three tables. That added up to 900 Euros, so I was not too happy about that, but I will get it back, someday.

Mila is starting to crawl and it is so fun to watch her grow each day. It is amazing how fast it all goes. She will be going off to school before I know it. Maya's family is visiting, her Mother just flew in from Israel and her brother from LA with his new Fiance. We are having a Thanksgiving feast today, my first Thanksgiving ever, and with our nanny cooking, it is going to be great I am sure.

I am off to the Bellagio, I just got a call that there is going to be a $3k-6k game and it is shorthanded. Wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes soon.

Good luck at the tables


13 November 2007

Roller Coaster Cash Games and an Online Final Table

What a few days. The action on Full Tilt has been incredible the past week.
I wish I could tell you that I have been winning everyday; instead I have been
on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. The first day the action was crazy,
I had one of my all time great days. Unfortunately the next three days no
matter how good my cards were, Full Tilt found a way to make me lose.

Last night was the icing on the cake. I played a marathon online session
and it was not looking good at all, but somehow, I grinded away and at
the end of the night had booked a win. It was a wild session with huge
swings up and down, Gus, Zigmund, and Kaibuxxe, were all gambling. I
played a little HORSE at the end of the night, but most of the session I was playing PLO.

The past few nights, Maya and my assistant have been playing
the FTOPS tournaments. It has been a lot of fun watching
them go deep and giving advice if they want it. Maya often wants
the advice, but when the advice does not suit her, applying the advice
is a different story. So the other night I decided to have a little competition
with them and see who could go the furthest. The tournament was a $200
PL Hold em event. It was only the second online tournament I have played this year, and I managed to make it to the final table.

I went into the final table with the chip lead, but it was not meant to be.
I got knocked out 5th which was still good for $14,000. Not bad for a
last second entry. On the way to the final table I played a big pot with
poker pro Chip Jett and knocked him out. For busting the Full Tilt pro,
I got a $200 bounty and a T-Shirt saying, "I knocked out Chip Jett."

Now for a gambling story on the golf course. I played a few days
ago with Jani (KObyTapOut) and I lost a little under $100,000.
Overall I am stuck a little over $100k in golf bets so far, and to be
honest I do not like being stuck. In the past when I get stuck at something,
it usually means I am going to put a lot of time into getting so good that
I can get even and make some good money. For now, I look at the loss
as a initiation to the golf gambling world. My swing under pressure is not the
same on the range, so once I can master that, I should be in great shape.
Golf is such a great game and I see why poker players love gambling on it.
I hope when its all said and done, I am the biggest golf better around.

Yesterday at the golf course, my thumb started to kill me. We had to cancel
our round and I just putted for a little while. I ran into Daniel, I
watched him hit a great chip shot on the 9th hole. It looks like all of
Daniels hard work on his short game is paying off.

My shoulder is starting to finally feel better, so I should get
back on the tennis court this week. I have only played two or three
times in the past two months, I need to get my game ready for Mr. Hansen.

I am getting excited for the upcoming WPT at the Bellagio. There are going
to be some huge cash games and I feel as ready as ever. All of the big
players in town will be ready to gamble in Bobbys Room. I really hope we can
play the uncapped NL and PLO game we played during the WSOP. The next
few days I might join Maya in some more online tournaments, so keep your eyes open.

Good luck at the tables


06 November 2007

Golfing in Monaco

I flew back to Monaco last week and I have been ordering all new
appliances and furnishings for my loft and have been spending a few days
getting everything set up. It is a great feeling being able to design
the loft just the way I want it and install all my favorite things.

My friends Mikko, Tommi, and Jani all flew into town and we golfed at
least 18 holes everyday, so it was a great time. I even I even decided that
I was ready to put some money down and start gambling on the golf course.

We showed up at the Monte Carlo Country Club the first day and Jani
said I would need two shots per hole because he was a 6-7 handicap. Jani did everything he could to make sure my first day gambling on golf was a good one. He had not played for a few months and was not able to play up to his standards. I booked a win and
what a great way to start my gambling golf career.

On the second day we changed course and played at the beautiful Four Seasons Resorts Provence at Terre Blanche. I played good enough to beat the rusty Jani. It was starting to feel like making money at golf was too easy.

On the third day we decided to mix it up and play a team competition.
I was partnered with Tommi and Jani played with Mikko. Mikko was driving the ball farther than I have ever seen. He carried their team as Janni was still not playing up to his potential. I was happy to play with Tommi since he was playing the best of all of us going into the day.

It was a very tight match coming down to the last hole. We got very unlucky
in the end and they ended up beating us. But we all had a great time
and I cannot wait for the next golf vacation. Maya and Mila spent some time in Hawaii this summer and Maya is still talking about how wonderful it was. I might take the family there for a week or two and enjoy Hawaii’s beautiful golf courses.

One thing that I cannot believe after watching the ESPN high stakes
golf is how all of the poker players bend the rules when they golf.
They use Vaseline on their clubs to keep the ball straight and other
tricks that are not legal. I want to learn real golf and will not bet
with those kinds of crazy tricks.

Enough about golf, onto poker, I was going to have a high stakes heads
up poker match in Amsterdam, but we are going to postpone it to a later
date. Every once in awhile I get offers to play in high stakes games
around the world.

I have been putting some time in online. My favorite poker room
Martins Poker just opened some high limit tables and I will be playing
there often. Lately I have been running very good at HORSE, I really
enjoy playing the different limit games. I do not have a ton of
experience at Stud or Stud 8 so it is great practice for me so when I
am playing these games in the Big Game against Barry, Chip, Phil, and Gus, I can make better decisions. No matter how good you get at poker, you can always improve and
practice and fine tune your game.

A few days ago I finally got the best out of my good friend Ziigmund in PLO. At the end of the session we even ran two flips and I won both of those. In limit Hold em,
Hoss_TBF and I have been battling like usual and lately he is getting
the best of me, but hopefully things turn around soon.

Mila turns six months in a few days and is getting cuter and cuter
each day. She is developing ahead of schedule and it is amazing to see it. She is growing
so fast and just started to sit up on her own. She is even recognizing our friends. I cannot wait for her first steps and her first words should be very soon.

On a funny note, I had a crazy dream a few nights ago where Maya got
3rd in the Main Event at the WSOP next year; we had a big argument
because I wanted all the money since I taught her everything she
knows. We had a good laugh about it at breakfast the next morning.

Good luck at the tables

19 October 2007

Visiting Vegas

I have been back in Vegas for almost a week visiting Maya and Mila upon returning from the EPT Baden and WPT Barcelona. Neither tournament was a success for me, but the online cash games were running strong and I managed to win my fair share. I have not played this much online in a long time. If I was not in the tournament or in the gym I was grinding away online.

First tournament was the Baden EPT. Instead of staying in Baden, I stayed in Vienna, which meant I had to take a 40 minute cab ride each day to get to the Casino in Baden. I was planning on staying at the Le Meridian, but I booked my room too late and was not able to get a room. Le Meridian in Vienna is one of my favorite hotels. I did manage to get a room nearby at Hotel Bristol, which turned out to be a fine place to stay.

Vienna is a wonderful city and I like having a better selection of restaurants, gyms, and other attractions a big city has to offer. Vienna was also hosting an ATP tennis tournament the same week and I managed to watch quite a few matches on TV.

After Vienna I took a short flight to Barcelona, another one of my favorite cities. The great thing about the WPT Barcelona was that they started each day at 5pm. This was terrific; you could enjoy the nightlife, play cash games or online games all night and still get enough sleep before the tournament. I have a morning routine, which includes working out, so the late starting time is great for me. Although on Day 1 I still managed to show up an hour late.

My first table at the WPT Barcelona was a very good table for me, only one known player, Ram Vaswani. But since I was late, they took my chips and made me redraw for a starting table. My new table had Barry Greenstein, Jani Sointula, Steve Zolotow, Alex Kravchneko, and Joe Elpayaa. There was not a soft spot anywhere at the table.

I played very tight and I lost every single hand I played, fortunately they were all small and medium sized pots, so I was hanging around. Just before the dinner break I made a move with AT diamonds and the SB called me with AK and I was out.

I am always happy to go out early in the tournament, because I know I did not sacrifice so many hours and not get paid. The most frustrating thing is to play for three days and get 15th place and hardly make any money. I went back to my room, ordered some room service and played online all night. I had a nice little win and booked a flight for the next morning and was in Vegas later that day.

If you have been following the online action lately, you have seen that I had a few great limit hold em sessions against HOSS_TBF. He plays a little different than normal limit hold em specialists. It took a little while for me to figure out what he was doing. Limit hold em heads up is a great game, which requires a lot of aggression and there is a lot of bluffing involved. Not laying down your hand when you are beat can cost you a lot of money, so folding at the right time is very important.

A lot of people might think of me as a PLO and NL specialist. But my limit games are very strong at the moment. Actually I mostly played short handed and heads up limit hold em for a year straight when limit hold em was the biggest game online. I was a little rusty the first few session against Hoss, but lately I have getting the best of him.

Despite winning a lot of money online during the trip, I managed to hurt my back and shoulder while working out. My shoulder needs about a week or two off before I can start hitting tennis balls again.

The reason I flew back to Vegas was for Poker after Dark. I did some work with NBC for some upcoming commercials and promotions. I had a very tough heat. Roland De Wolfe, John Juanda, Johnny Chan, Gus Hansen, and Daniel Negreanu were my table mates. The buy in was $20,000 and it is winner take all. It was a tough table but I had a lot of fun, should make for some good TV.

Maya’s best friend was staying at the house for a few days; she also just had a baby, a boy. So Mila has her first friend and they had a lot of fun playing with each other.

I have a few weeks in Vegas before heading back home to Monaco. The trip I am really looking forward to is to Australia for the Aussie Millions and for some Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open. Melbourne is a beautiful city and I am bringing the whole family to this one.

Thanks and good luck at the tables


09 October 2007

A Few Days At Home - And A New Hobby

I got back to Vegas last Saturday from a long European trip, but now I’m recovering from yet another 16-hour flight across the Atlantic back to Europe. This was a rough trip because I had three flights to get there. It started with a Southwest flight to LA. Once I arrived at LAX I had to pick up my bags at baggage claim and check in again at Lufthansa for my flight to Frankfurt. My final flight was Frankfurt to Vienna, which thankfully was short flight. By comparison, the 45-minute cab ride to Baden was a breeze.

This has been the busiest fall I have ever had, but I am really enjoying it. The weather in Vegas the past few days has been perfect. I got a little tennis in and hit the gym a few times. I have also picked up a brand new hobby and have fallen in love with golf. I just started and I am hooked.

I ran into Daniel Negreanu at TPC in Summerlin a few days ago and he was surprised to see me. I am sure he cannot wait to get me on the course and take my money. But that is going to be a while, because I just started and want to be able to put up a good fight when we start.

So far, I feel like Tiger Woods on the practice range, hitting the ball cleanly and pretty straight. But the few times I tried to play on the course, I could barely hit the ball. I did have a great shot the other day; I hit the ball in the hole from around 100 yards. The only problem was I had already hit three shots out of bounds and one in the water before that miracle shot. I scored an 13 on the hole and did not even have to putt!

Before leaving for Europe a few weeks ago, I forgot to plug in my Aston Martin so, when I got home, it was completely dead. I had to have it towed to the dealership last Monday and get a new battery installed. I had to make a decision about the fate of my car, leaving it in Vegas or shipping it with me to Europe when I move. I decided to ship it to Monte Carlo as I am not quite ready to part ways with my first fancy car quite yet.

On Sunday I played the WCOOP main event, but nothing special happened and I was out early. I was focusing more on some high-stakes online cash games and did not give myself a great shot. It also didn't help that I was not picking up any good cards. I broke even in the cash games, so it wasn't too eventful of an afternoon. Congratulations to all the players who made the final table.

Three and four years ago I used to be a Sunday junkie, playing all the Sunday tournaments. Playing the WCOOP reminded me of back then, which seems like so long ago. Just shows you that anything is possible in poker.

I played quite a bit online this week and had a solid HORSE session a few nights ago. I started the night playing some $200-400 PLO and got very unlucky in some pots early in the session and was stuck around 100k. I decided to single table and play some HORSE. I ended up booking a nice 120k win. It was a tough game with a few friends of mine. I was really playing well, and hitting hands, which is always nice.

I have been playing a lot of heads-up NL on some of the Euro sites and been running very good. I had an interesting hand against my last opponent. I raised on the button with A7 and he called. The flop came A 7 3 and we were soon in a raising war.

Before I put my last chips in the pot, I told my friend watching that he most likely has 33. But if he thinks I am folding top two he is crazy. I called and the seven of diamonds peeled off on the turn. It was very nice to get lucky one time.

I will be playing the EPT Baden and then the WPT in Barcelona. My favorite hotel in Barcelona is totally booked, which is disappointing. If you are ever in Barcelona, Hotel Arts is the only place to stay.

Good luck at the tables and I will keep you posted on my results in Europe.


30 September 2007

A Big Hit and an Interesting Miss at Million

As many of you might know, I was involved in some monster pots a few days ago in the ‘Million Dollar Cash Game’. I will start with the one that I won. First I will go through the hand and then give an analysis at the end.

Blinds are $300-600 with $100 ante. Phil Ivey limped UTG and I limped behind him. Brian Townsend (SBrugby) raised to $3,600, it was folded around to Ivey and he folded. I called with 66.

It was a beautiful Q 5 6 flop for me, rainbow. I checked to Brian and he bet $7,300 and I took a few seconds and called.

Brian and I have played quite a bit of NL Hold ‘em together, both online and live in the Bellagio ‘Big Game’. We know each other’s game inside and out. Brian is a very smart and deep-thinking player, which is why he is one of the best NL players in the world. He can probably remember every hand we have ever played together.

The turn was a K of hearts which put two hearts out there. I checked and he bet $20,000. Normally I would raise my set here, but I decided to play it differently this time. I just called his $20,000 bet.

The river brought a 4 for a board of Q 5 6 K 4 and I checked. Brian bet $40,000 and I check raised to $150,000 after thinking for a while. Brian was not happy about it, which was a good sign, because that eliminated him from having the nut straight. He finally called and Brian had QJ which he was value betting the whole way.

This hand is very interesting for many reasons. Phil Ivey and I were playing props, and Brian knew that. When Brian raised pre-flop $3,600 and I was the only one to call, I looked at my prop score sheet just to see if Phil or me was on for a double or triple in props. Brian probably picked up on this and knew I might be playing a weaker hand than normal.

I checked called the flop, which is standard, but check calling the turn was something I have never done against Brian in the hands where we were heading to a showdown. It was very hard for him to think I would play my set this way.

When the river came 4, it was a great card for me. I would not call an 80 per cent of the pot bet on the turn with an open ender. So Brian knows I did not have 7 8 for the straight.

I checked the river to give him a chance to bluff or bet for value. Luckily he took the bait and bet $40,000 on the river. Now, there was a small chance he had KK or QQ or even 78. But I decided to value raise to $150,000 with my set of sixes.

I know Brian thinks very deep into each street and how the hand was played. By playing the hand the way I did, it was nearly impossible for him to put me on a set. He called with QJ, which would beat a bluff, but thankfully I had a hand this time.

The props that Phil Ivey and I were playing are quite confusing. Basically, we were betting on the flop being red or black. If the flop is all one suit, you win double. Being the gamblers we are, we do not stop there. We each have three cards, and if one of those cards hit the middle card on the flop, you win more.

As you can see in the following hand, it can create some bizarre and interesting situations. We both had Aces, Kings, and Queens as the bonus cards, I was black and Phil was red. When playing with props, it can definitely make you play a little different than normal.

The end result in this following hand is not great, but it was a very interesting and deep-thinking hand. I am sure Phil and I will be talking about this hand for a long time. It was one of those moments that you can appreciate even though I did not win. It was great poker and we were both thinking on very deep levels.

I was up quite a bit in the game going into this hand. Ivey raised from the cutoff to $2,000, a very weird raise amount. Almost all day the standard opening raise was $2,100-$2,700. I was on the button and called with Ad Tc, Brian also called in the SB. There was $7,400 in the pot and the flop came AAJ with two spades and a club.

I said to myself "Mamma Mia!” This was a great flop for me for many reasons. The ace of spades was the middle card on the flop, second it was all black, and finally, I flopped trip aces! To make things even better it was a near certainty that Phil Ivey did not have an Ace. Because I was on for a triple in props, Phil would not want to see a flop having a red ace in his hand.

Brian checked and Ivey bet $6,000 into a $8,000 pot. I was very happy at this moment and was thinking to myself, how could I make more money on this hand. I decided to put a little teaser raise out there and raised to $15,000. Brian mucked and Phil re-raised to $50,000. I was more than happy to call the $50,000.

The turn was a 5. Phil thought for a while and bet $100,000 and I called. I was very happy the way the hand was going at this point, even though I started to think he might have pocket jacks.

The river was a Qh and Phil took a long time, hard to tell, but it felt like five minutes, before betting $250,000. Now I was not happy at all. Maybe Ivey forgot about the props? Could he have played AQ? I was 99 per cent certain that he did not have an Ace. So the only hand which would make sense is JJ.

My mind was all over the place trying to figure out what was going on. After thinking for a little while, I thought I was beat, my mind was racing and thinking about so many things. A quarter million dollar bet on the river is usually a sign of someone with a hand. But Phil Ivey is one of the best NL players in the world and if there is anyone capable of pulling a bluff off, it is him.

I could not help but think that Ivey was down $300,000 in the game and had just lost $30,000 on this flop alone. Was he steaming or did he really have JJ? I decided that if I did not call, I would not be able to sleep. I counted out $250,000 and slid it toward the middle of the pot.

He had JJ. So I lost but I do not regret the hand; it was one of the most interesting hands I have ever played.

After the game, I spent Friday in Monaco looking at places to live. I found a beautiful flat on the 33rd floor right in the middle of city center and after seeing it with my own eyes, it was better than I could have imagined. I will go back in November and Monaco will be home. I flew into Nice very early that morning and then caught the last fight out to Munich.

I went to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest and for some business meetings, I cannot talk about details, but my Presidential Suite of the nicest hotel in town, was comp’ed. The room was simply amazing. I have some exciting news that I can hopefully share with you soon.

On Monday I flew back to London for the EPT London. It was not too exciting. I survived Day One with more than average in chips, but lost a coin-flip during the second hour of Day Two. If my 99 would have held up against my Finnish friend Ville "Isokala" Wahlbeck's AJ, I would have had a very nice stack and a chance to go deep.

Anyone who loves tournaments should try their best to play some of the EPT's. They are very well run tournaments, and they are in beautiful cities, so it's a great trip no matter what.

I just arrived back in the States. I am excited to play the WCOOP main event today. I will be back in town for six days and then heading over to Europe for the EPT Baden.

Good luck at the tables.


19 September 2007

WSOPE Ends As Million, Monaco Beckon

Congratulations to Annette 'Annette_15' Obrestad for winning the WSOPE Main Event. I have been hearing a lot of great things about her and am very happy to see her take down this prestigious event. She beat 362 of the world’s best players, and she is only 19. This is great for poker and Annette proved that she is one of the best tournament players in the world.

My last two days in the main event did not go as planned. I feel like every poker player in the world when I say, ‘I can’t win a race’. The last two days I did not win any coin flips, especially the last few hours of Day Three.

Near the end of Day Three, after the dinner break, I went from chip-leader to a little below average. On one of the last hands of the night, Matthew McCullough raised to 22,000 and I re-raised to 60,000 with AK. He really should have folded his 44 since he still had 50,000 chips left, but he went all in and I called and we were off to the races. I did not hit and I was down to 200,000. Winning those races is so important that deep into the tournament. Instead of being top five in chips I was in the middle of the pack going into Day Four.

I busted out in 29th place very early in Day Four. My final hand I was able to get my money in as a small favorite, but my pair did not hold up. It went like this. Gus Hansen raised to 18,000 and I moved all in from the button for 178,000. Magnus Persson came over the top in the big blind for 238,000.

Gus went into the tank for a few minutes and I did not feel so good about my threes at this point. Mr. Hansen finally folded and Persson turned over AK off suit. He flopped a K and I did not hit my two outer. As always it is very disappointing to go out so deep in these tournaments.

In the five biggest pots I played in this tournament, I did not win one. One of them was a hand that I did not play well, where I thought my opponent was making a move and he had the nut straight and I was drawing dead going into the river. The other hands were hands where I was a favorite or in a coin flip. You have no chance of winning if you cannot get a little lucky and win the flips.

One of the biggest pots for me in the tournament was against good friend Daniel Negreneau. With blinds 1,200-2,400 he raised to 5,000 when I was in the small blind. I re-raised to 18,000 with AA and he called. There were 40,000 in the pot and Daniel had 92,000 left. The flop came 2 4 5. I led out for 31,000 and he raised all in. He had 5-3 for a pair and a straight draw and I had AA, which was the best hand because I had blockers. Unfortunately I caught an A on the river and that gave Daniel a straight and a very large pot. I was not the only one who lost to Daniel with AA, Gus also lost a big pot with rockets.

Overall the WSOPE was a great time and I will definitely be back next year. The Empire Casino did a great job hosting the event. I had a great feeling that I was going to win this tournament, I gave myself a chance and my tournament game is coming on strong. I am looking forward to the upcoming EPTs

Next I am playing in The Million Dollar Cash Game, it is considered Europe’s most prestigious high stakes poker event that will be made into a TV series that is scheduled to broadcast on Sky Sports in January 2008. This should be a lot of fun. Some of the players scheduled to play are Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Tony G, Gus Hansen, Erik Seidel, Marc Goodwin, Howard Lederer, Allen Cunningham and John Juanda. Blinds are $300-$600 with $100 ante and the minimum buy-in is $100,000 with no max. The nice thing about this cash game that is different from other cash games is that you can use money from your online account to buy in.

After the Cash Game I will have a few days off and on Friday will take a quick trip to Monte Carlo looking for a place to live. I will still spend a few months a year in Vegas for WPT and WSOP events, but will soon call Monte Carlo home.

I have been playing online and it has been a rollercoaster ride. I am usually very good about keeping a level head, but tournaments can make my head spin. I have been chip leader of quite a few big tournaments this past year with 20-30 players left and cannot seem to take down a title. I will just have to wait for the EPT London to try and win my next tournament.

My family and the nanny just got into London from Israel. We are going to enjoy London as a family for a few days.

Good luck at the tables


17 September 2007

Saving The Best For Last At WSOPE

The WSOPE has been going great and, luckily, I have saved the best for last. All of the tournaments have been run very well and I really like the new structures. One thing they do here is spread out the players to three different casinos. Imagine only having one Day One at the WSOP in Las Vegas, instead of dragging on Day One for four days.

The HORSE event was first and looked like a great chance to win a bracelet since the field is so small. However, it is a super tough field. I had Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer, and Jeff Lisandro at my starting table. I felt that I played well, but just could not catch any cards. In limit games, it is very tough to bluff.

My starting table for the PLO event was the toughest starting table I have ever had to play. Kenny Tran, Devilfish, Juha Hellpi, Mark Vos, Robert Mizrachi, and a super tough young Swedish kid. The end result was the same as the HORSE – I just did not hit enough hands and was not able to make a run.

Unfortunately, even though I didn’t get the result I wanted, I lasted long enough in the PLO to miss the Ultimate Fighting Championship 75 event here in London. I was really looking forward to watching it live but had to settle for ordering it online and watching it on my laptop.

My tournament game feels like it is peaking at the right time and I have had a gut feeling the past few days that I was due for a big result. The first two days of the Main Event have been almost perfect and I will try my best to keep it going on Day Three.

Day One did not start well, but got better. I was playing very tight the first five hours and not catching any cards. I was down to 8,000 from the starting 20,000. I finally looked down at KJ of spades and called a raise. The flop came J high with two spades, I had top pair and a flush draw. All of the money went in on the flop and I hit a J on the turn and a spade on the river. This turned out to be the turning point.

I had 24,000 when I was able to make a very good read on a player who obviously wanted to gamble. He was low on chips and we were coming up on the dinner break. His body language and attitude were telling me he wanted to get his chips in as soon as possible.

With blinds of 100-200 I raised utg with 77, he raised to 7450. I took a long time and finally decided to call, since I knew there was a big chance I was in better shape than a coin flip. He had A2 and I was in great shape, but he spiked an A on the turn. I was down to 17,500 instead of 32,500.

These are the times in tournaments where it is very easy to go on a little tilt and usually bust out quite quickly. Luckily for me, it was dinner break and I had time to cool down and regain focus.

At the dinner break I had a good feeling that the rest of the night was going to be good. I built my stack to 76,000 with only two showdowns. I was very happy with my performance after the dinner break; I don't think I could have played any better. I did not have any cards, but was able to pick up a lot of pots without showdown and build a stack.

At the end of Day Two I was still the chip-leader for my heat. We were down to 84 players and I was in second place behind my good friend Gus Hansen. My starting table on Saturday included Gus and Daniel Negreanu. You can bet there were a lot of interesting hands with Gus and me at the same table. I can’t tell you about them now but you can follow the play on PokerNews.com.

Wish me luck and hopefully I can keep up my great play.


04 September 2007

Leaving Pain in Spain, EPT Moves to London

On the flight to Spain, I was very focused and ready for the upcoming EPT Barcelona. I have not played a lot of tournaments this year, but I am very excited for all the EPTs this fall. Not only are EPTs my favorite tournaments, but also Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. Maya, Mila, and our nanny/chef, all came along for the trip so there were no excuses not to perform well. I could use an airline sponsor since my entourage is growing and I have spent over $40,000 on airline tickets in the last month.

After we arrived I found out I was scheduled to play on Day Two. That was great news as it gave me an extra day to get used to the time change. My mom, dad and sister all flew in before the tournament and I got to spend some quality time with them. It has been a long time since I have been back to Finland and it was really nice seeing my family.

Day One was very good. I managed to stay out of big pots and slowly accumulate chips. When play was done for the day I was in sixteenth place. The European circuit is very different from the WPTs in America. The average age of the players in Europe is a lot younger, which is probably why they are twice as aggressive. Also the structures are very good in EPTs; they add a few levels that really allow for a lot of play on Day One.

The worst bad beat of the tournament for me came the morning before Day Two. I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and a terrible sore throat. My throat hurt so much I could not get back to sleep. I took enough painkillers to numb the pain, but I was in bad shape. I was not in the mood to grind all day and was willing to gamble a little more than usual.

I eventually busted out on Day Two with pocket deuces. The blinds were 500-1k when the cutoff raised to 3,200 and I was on the button with 41,000. The SB and BB were both very tight, so I figured the cutoff was raising a large range of hands. I decided to push all in thinking that the raiser would fold pocket pairs 33-99. If he had AA-TT he is going to call and there is nothing I can do. He woke up with QQ and I could not catch a miracle deuce.

It was very disappointing to get sick and to get knocked out so early. I would have liked to play small-pot poker and try not to put my chips at risk with a coin flip if I could avoid it. But sometimes things like this happen and you have to adapt as best you can. I will have to wait until EPT London for another shot at my second EPT title.

I have been putting some good hours playing online and doing well. I have also been enjoying spending a lot of time with my girls Maya and Mila, we have been going to the beaches and relaxing and enjoying a little vacation.

A few days ago, Maya, David Williams and his girlfriend, Noah Boeken, and I took a 30-minute cab ride to a very nice beach outside of Barcelona. Noah Boeken is one of my best friends on the circuit and it is a lot of fun seeing a lot of my old European friends.

My Mom, Dad, and Sister have all really enjoyed seeing Mila for the first time, and Mila is loving the attention as usual.

I leave for London tomorrow and will attend a WSOPE launch party tomorrow night. The next day I start playing HORSE, which I’m really looking forward to.

I’m hoping for some good results there, but whatever happens I’m going to an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event at the O2 Arena on the evening of the 8th. I love watching this type of fighting. It’s tough, no-excuses combat that reminds me in some ways of heads-up poker – fortune often favors the brave.

Good luck.


26 August 2007

Mixed Fortunes Online; Barcelona Beckons

I finally got back to playing online this week and my results have been up and down. I have played everything from Razz to NL and even some HORSE. I have been playing $100-200 and $200-400 NL, $200-$400 PLO, Limit Hold ‘em, and HORSE. The Limit Hold ‘em a few days ago was a roller coaster ride. My stack went from 20k to over 100k, back down to 20k and then up again.

I played earlier this week with the new rising star of Internet poker, 'KaiBuxxe'.

Last week in London I met ‘KaiBuxxe’, he really does exist. Contrary to what everyone has been telling me, he is beatable, at least in Chinese poker. I won 11k in a short session with Roland de Wolfe, Ilari aka ‘Zigmund’, and ‘KaiBuxxe’ playing $500 per point. Pretty impressive that he is only 19 and beating the online games for so much already. It will be fun battling him at PLO online.

David Benyamine has been doing well the past week and it's great to see. A lot of people were counting him out, but I have always believed he is a great player. When he is hot, there is no one better than David. He can play for 20 hours straight online; he has the best poker stamina of any poker player I know. When the games are good at the Bellagio, David can put in marathon sessions, sometimes lasting three days.

I started yoga this week to try and make my back more flexible. I have been in the gym a lot and got to play tennis twice. I want to get my back as healthy as possible before I leave for Europe on Sunday. I am really looking forward to Barcelona, it is a beautiful city and my room at the beautiful Hotel Arts has a spectacular view of the sea.

There is a million dollar cash game in London after the WSOPE. I will be playing alongside Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Mike Matusaw, etc. I really enjoy the cash games on TV and have had good results so far. Make sure to check out the videos on my website from previous cash games.

Good luck and I will write from Barcelona. I am scheduled to play on day two and will have updates on my website.



ps. In Denmark they have already set the betting lines on my tennis match with Gus Hansen. Right now we are trying to decide what surface to play on, my personal favorite is clay. But we would also like to play the match during the big ATP event here in Las Vegas in early March, which is on hard courts.

20 August 2007

Big win in London - and an online review

On my flight into London from Rome, I was really looking forward to getting back to what I do best, playing poker. I had just spent eight days in Italy without placing one bet, which could be a record for me. On all my previous visits to London it has been raining and I have just never had any fun. I was hoping that this trip would be different.

After landing at Heathrow I caught a cab and headed for my hotel, the Montague at the Gardens. I had a nice room and unpacked my things and headed to dinner with my agent. We had a great meal with Liz Lieu and Shannon Elizabeth, two of the nicest girls in poker.

The next morning, I was more than ready to play some poker. The game was to be played at the TV studio with blinds of $100-200 with a $25 ante. The minimum buy-in was $25,000 and the max buy-in was $50,000 so it was going to be some deep stack poker, my favorite!

Once the cards got underway, I found my groove. I was playing a lot looser and more aggressive than normal. I was going to mix it up for awhile and apply the pressure.
We were playing six handed most of the day and sometimes four and five handed. I ended up a winner the first day. There were quite a few big pots and a couple of huge bluffs. I was fortunate enough to win the largest pot of the three days.

The game was full of good players and two online qualifiers who rotated in and out throughout the day. Tony G was also in the game. His behavior has sometimes been a little over the top, but I think he is a very intelligent player and businessman. He has always been nice to me and we get along quite well.

My very good friend Ilari "Zimund" Sahamies, Martin de Knijff, Juha Helppi, Jan Sorenson, Tobias Person, former CEO of 24 Hour Poker Per Hildebrand, and Rene Mouritsen were in the game. Rene finished second in this year’s $10,000 PLO when I got third place at the WSOP.

It was a lot of fun to play with old friends from Europe, especially Ilari, one of the funniest poker players I know. He pulled out a couple of moves; if you have heard about his recent play in the Bellagio "Big Game" he is never afraid to put his money in the pot.

He managed to play very well against me, and he got me at least one time to lay the best hand down on the river. Tony G immediately said, "show a bluff, it’s good for the game," and Ilari showed the table the bluff while he raked in a nice-sized pot.

As I promised, I am going to review a hand I played online against ‘sbrugby’ a few months ago. A little background first. Before this session, we almost never played HU NL Hold ‘em for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time. We were finally playing for a while and I was up two buy-ins when this hand developed.

I started the hand with $212,033 and he had $99,297. Brian was on the button and made his standard raise to $1,800, I re-raised out of position to $5,400 with the 5 6 of clubs, he put in another raise to $16,200. I felt very strong that he did not have a monster hand like AA or KK. I decided to call and see if I hit any piece of the flop. I was also ready to try to bluff him out of the pot.

The flop came 3c 8h 6s. I obviously liked the flop since I hit a pair with two backdoor draws. I checked with the intention of check raising all in if he bet. Even if he had AA or KK I had a backdoor straight and flush draw and five outs to hit two pair or trips, and if he had two big cards I was ahead.

He bet $18,800 into the pot and I came over the top all in and he called with – I could barely believe it – 8 9 off suit. So he raised me pre-flop to $16,200 with 8 9 off suit and I called with 5 6 suited. It is pretty funny we managed to get over $30,000 in preflop with nothing better than 9 high. I just caught enough of the flop to keep me in and caught my flush to take a nice pot of $198,593.

I’ve just got home to Vegas, and am enjoying some time with my family. It was the first time being away from my daughter and it’s amazing how much she has grown in the past few weeks.

It is going to be a short stay at home before I head back to Europe for the EPT Barcelona and the EWSOP, both of which are going to be a lot of fun and hopefully very profitable! My whole family is coming with me to Europe, including our amazing nanny, who has turned out to be an incredible chef.

Even my mother and sister are coming to visit from Finland to see our baby Mila for the first time, so it will be a family affair.

Good luck at the tables.


11 August 2007

Time Out in Italy

Sorry for not writing sooner, but I have been vacationing on the beaches of Gaeta, a little town 90 kilometers north of Napoli. Marco Traniello and Jennifer Harman invited me to visit them in Marco's hometown. Marco has been telling me how beautiful Gaeta is and I have not been disappointed.

My life has been very exciting and stressful the past few months and a little rest and relaxation is exactly what I needed. My back has been very bad lately and it's finally starting to feel better. I got to play a little tennis yesterday, which is the first time I have played in a few weeks.

Many of you might know that Gus Hansen and I have a big tennis match coming up in near future. I will write more about that soon. But it should be a great event and everyone is invited.

Now, a little poker insight into what I believe running bad, really is. In the past when players or friends would tell me about ‘running bad’, I used to chuckle inside and think, there is no such thing as running bad. Especially when they would tell me they were running bad for six months or even one year.

What running bad really is, is getting unlucky and playing poorly. I was very fortunate to run good for almost three years. The last three months have not been my most profitable, but I am excited and ready to finish the year strong, live and online.

I have not had this long of a break from online poker since I first started playing. It has been almost a month since I played last. I have spent the last week wiring money to a few different sites and getting my accounts ready for action. I have heard that there are some new players crushing the games and the action is crazier than ever. I cannot wait to be back in the mix.

In my next blog I am going to review an interesting hand from my online play and discuss how and why I played the hand the way I did. The first one is going to be a huge $300-$600 NL hand against SBRugby. We managed to get $30,000 in preflop in what turns out to be over a $200,000 pot.

Good luck at the tables and next stop is the ‘Cash Game’ in London.

05 August 2007

$25,000 Poker Million VI

I was very excited after seeing my table draw for my first heat. The only players I recognized were Phil "The Unabomber" Laak and Howard “The Professor” Lederer. The other three players were unknown and my chances were looking good. But in fact, it turned out to be the toughest table in the tournament. I can't tell you the results yet as they are going to be on TV later this year, but I can tell you it was hard work!

I did not realize how amazing this tournament really was until I arrived. There were a total of 72 players each buying in for $25,000. Then the tournament sponsor added $500,000 to the purse. It would be so nice if this became standard in poker tournaments. I cannot wait for next year’s event.

I spent the past few days hanging out in London, then tomorrow I head to Italy for a little vacation where I am going to visit good friends Marco Traniello and Jennifer Harman. Italy is my favorite place to visit and should be a great place to rest and relax before the 'Cash Game' in London on the 14th.

My agent Stephen lives here in London, so today I had five interviews with European Poker magazines and one photo shoot. I have been in a lot of meetings and talking about some exciting possibilities for the future. My good friend Liz Lieu was also here playing the tournament and it was nice seeing her for the first time in a long time.

The new season of High Stakes Poker on GSN is coming out on TV soon. I am involved in a couple huge pots. One is an absolute sick hand where we get it all in on the flop for over $500,000. You will have to wait and see it on TV to see the final result.

I enjoy the TV cash games and think they are great for the avid poker player and fans. I watch a lot of clips of various games on You Tube. The one we are shooting on the 14th is a special for Scandinavian players. It will be fun to see some old friends and new faces. The minimum buy in is $25,000 and the max is $50,000. There is a $25 ante and the blinds are $100-$200. My friend Ilari aka “Zigmund” will be playing, and so there will be some gambling going on. I will buy in for the max and hopefully finish a winner in the game.

I got a new laptop and am going to start grinding online, since I have a lot of free time the next few weeks. Some of my best months of playing came when I was all alone in hotels. There are no distractions and I can really focus on the games. I am going to start playing on some of the European sites, since I am not in the States. If things get worse with online gaming, I am thinking of moving my family to Monte Carlo. Great for taxes and they have one of the most beautiful tennis centers in the world.

Will write from Italy.


01 August 2007

Heading to London

I've just arrived in London for my heat in the Ladbrokes Poker Million.

The tournament starts with tables of six. If you win your first table you advance to another six-handed table. The winners of round two will play in December live on TV for the grand prize.

It is an invitational tournament only and I just wired $25,000 to enter. So let's hope I can win some money!

My back has been giving me a lot of troubles the past few days, so I have not been able to play tennis or do any martial arts. But I have been able to get down to the Bellagio for a couple great workouts with Gary, my favorite Bellagio trainer.

I forgot to mention in my earlier blogs that I wanted to thank Daniel Negreanu and his beautiful wife Lori for letting me take over their living room for a few hours three weeks ago for my website's photo shoot.

When the photographer arrived at my house, he immediately asked where the poker table was. Well I do not have one in my house - I play enough poker as it is. I guess he just assumed that I would have one.

He wanted to take most of the shots with me sitting at the table so we had a little problem on our hands. Luckily, Nick an avid reader of Daniel's blog, knew that he has one at his house. I called Daniel and he invited us all over. So thanks again Daniel!

27 July 2007

Hopkins vs Wright and a fun prop bet

I got two tickets to the big boxing match last Saturday night at Mandalay Bay. Bernard Hopkins vs Winky Right. I enjoy UFC fighting a lot more than boxing, but first row seats to any fight makes it worth your while. Mikko and I drove to the Bellagio and put a nice size bet on Wright.

Mikko was so confident that Wright was going to win that he took 10 per cent of my action. We hopped in a limo and headed over to Mandalay Bay. Lately lady luck has not been on my side, and she’d deserted me that night too: Hopkins took the win.

The night before the fight Maya and I celebrated good friend Roland de Wolfe's Birthday at the Wynn. Roland and I have been friends for a long time. We met a few years ago on the European Poker circuit. Roland is one of the funniest and most entertaining people I have ever met.

Normally I am not a huge Chinese food fan, but Wing Lei at the Wynn was very good – I strongly recommend it. Also joining us at dinner was Jeff Madsen, Theo Taan, Mikko, Nick and his girlfriend, and Jason from Full Tilt and his girlfriend.

It was a lot of fun and Roland was the life of the party as usual. At the end of dinner all of us made a $100 bet who could guess the total bill. My tennis trainer Nick, the prop bet king, was only a few dollars off the total of $1,333. Nothing like getting paid $600 for eating at the Wynn.

Last night Nick and I went to play some tennis around 9pm at the park. Both courts were busy, so of course we managed to find a wall and start making bets on who could hit closest to sign on the wall. Nick has taken Mikko for almost every penny he has by hitting stop signs or light poles from 20-50 yards away yet I still agreed to play him $100 a shot.

Being the nice guy he is he offered to give me two shots for every one shot of his. Thankfully the courts opened up and I was only down $200. As soon as we started to hit, it started raining. We decided to just enjoy the cool weather and keep playing. It was really fun sliding on the slippery court; it reminded me of the clay courts back home in Finland. My back was very stiff so we just rallied and worked on my forehand.

I’ve made a weight loss bet with Nick. I’ve bet that he can not lose 15 pounds in four months. It does not sound so hard until you see his eating habits – it’s amazing how good he plays tennis with the food he eats.

He is so motivated to win that he gave me a $1,000 freeroll if I see him drinking a soda. Who doesn't love a free roll? I just restocked my refrigerator with every single soda Vons carries, so he is tempted on a daily basis. My refrigerator is more than ready for an episode of Cribs.

I am enjoying a little break from poker before I head to Europe for a long stretch of tournaments and high stakes cash games. I will post more poker-related stories soon. It’s so hard nowadays to get away from poker for more than a few days, because it is so easy to play online.

I will start up again soon and will post interesting hands from my sessions in this blog. I have not been this excited for tournament poker in a long time; I plan on making it a very successful trip.

Hope your enjoying the website and blog, now get back to the tables and good luck.


21 July 2007

WSOP $10k PLO Final Table Report

Have not had a chance to sit down and write about what happened at the WSOP in Vegas until now, but I wanted to tell you about reaching the final table in Event 50 the $10,000 PLO.

Usually May is filled with anticipation for the WSOP. This year was a little different. All of my excitement was for the birth of my baby Mila.

My fiancée Maya and I had a beautiful healthy baby girl on May 8. So even though the WSOP is the biggest time of the year, my energy and focus this time was not on poker.

However, I still planned on playing five events or so and was really looking forward to the $50,000 HORSE event.

But it did not go as well as last year when I final tabled. Heading into day two I had 145,000 chips. The blinds were very high compared to my chip stack. I am looking forward to the upcoming WSOP Europe HORSE event, as I really enjoy playing HORSE.

The other event I was looking forward to was the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha. PLO is my favorite game and I felt like I had a great shot to win my first bracelet. I was top five in chips going into day two and was gaining momentum.

I was catching amazing cards, but could not hit a flop to save my life in the first half of day two. I had K Q J T double suited, J J 9 9 double suited, and KQJ9 single suited. These are some of my favorite hands, and each time I hit no pair and no draw on the flop.

I won a big coin-flip against Annie Duke soon after and we got all of our money in pre-flop. She flopped the striaght and I hit my backdoor flush.

Another big hand, I started with 250,000 in chips and I raised pre flop with A K J 8 and the current chip leader called me. The flop came A J 6. I bet the flop and he called. The turn came a 2 and I went all in with my last 143,000 and he called, after seeing my hand he mucked. It is pretty nice to be all in and your opponent calls and tells you he is drawing dead.

Another key hand, I was in the BB and five people saw the flop of A 9 8. It was checked around. I had A J T 6 and the turn was a 2 and I bet the pot. Everyone folded to the SB and he called.

The river was a 3 and the SB bet $130,000. I took a long time and based on his fast call on the turn I put him on a draw, when the river was a blank, I called and my one pair was good.

I built my stack to over one million when we were down to 10 players. We were waiting to lose one more player before the official final table would come back the next day.

I got all in pre flop verse two players with A A Q x with the nut diamonds. One player had A K K 2 and the other guy had 8 8 9 Q. They both had clubs and the flop came J 7 4 with two clubs and the turn was a blank and the river was a club, giving both players a flush.

If I would have won that hand, I would have knocked out two players and been chipleader with 1.35 million at the final table with only eight players. Instead I started the final table with 600,000 which put me fifth.

Also at the final table were friends, Doyle Brunson, Marco Traniello, and Robert Mizrachi. I knocked out Doyle out in 6th place, it is very impressive how he continues to reach final tables and dominate the big cash games at his age.

As we got three handed I really liked my chances, especially after flopping a Royal Flush and doubling up when Robert made a full house on the river. We both checked the flop, and I bet the turn and he called.

I was praying for the board to pair and hoping he made a full house. My wish came true when the board paired; as calmly as I could I pushed my chips all in.

To Robert's credit, he took his time and looked like he might even fold, but he called with a small full house. I was now chipleader and ready to take down my first WSOP bracelet.

The turning point at the final table was when I flopped the nut flush. I bet 150,000 into the 240,000 pot on the flop and Robert called. At this point I was putting Robert on a small flush or a set. The turn was a Jack – a total blank.

I bet 400,000 and he called again. I was still not sure if he has a set or small flush. The river paired the board with the Jack. Before the dealer took his hand off the card, Robert moved all in. Now I was faced with a very tough situation.

I was pot commited, I was left with 800,000 and there was 1.3 million in the pot, but I did not think he would bluff a smaller flush. I folded my nut flush face up and he immediately turned over the 9 high flush.

It was the sickest bluff anyone has ever made against me. Instead of knocking out Robert and having a commanding chip lead, I was now the shortstack.

I ran into Robert's A A x x a few hands later and was out in 3rd for a little over $311,000. It was disappointing not to win when you are that close, but now I am even more motivated to win my first bracelet.

I am really looking forward to the WSOP Europe and the EPT events coming up this fall. I have not been committed to the tournaments lately because I have been putting all of my energy into the cash games, live and online.

That’s it from me for now. I hope you enjoyed my blog and, as always, please email me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my website and blog better.

Thanks and good luck at the tables!

20 July 2007

Welcome to my new blog

Welcome to my first blog at this new address. I’ll still be updating my Myspace page, but this is the blog you should read and subscribe to first as it’s where I’ll be sharing my news first.

The first thing to say is, as soon as you’ve finished reading this, to head over to my new website at www.PatrikAntonius.com. Have a look around, download some pictures, then head back here and let me know what you think of it.

The site is your window on my world so it’s important for me to know what you want to see more – and less – of on there.

After the great result in the WSOP, I’m heading over to Europe later this month to take part in some other big tourneys.

First one is the Ladbrokes Poker Millions VI, then it’s the WSOP Europe, and finally the Million Dollar Cash Game in London on September 18th.

I’m hoping my good run of form will stay with me on the other side of the pond. I’ll be letting you know here how I get on in each of them.

So subscribe to this blog – or check back regularly – and let’s stay in touch.

Good luck!