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