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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

wrapping up the year in the delta, sort of.

I'll be spending the rest of 2006 in Mississippi of all places - Jenn has been down there for a week visiting family and I'm going down for a few days before returning home with everyone on New Year's Day. While down there, we will try to see what the newly rebuilt Beau Rivage in Biloxi is like and play a short live session, along with me actually meeting most of her family for the first time.

It's been an interesting year.

Poker wise, I doubled the roll this year, (almost tripled it before the great crash of November) qualified for the WSOP Main Event, and have really improved my live and online game.
I just need to quit having people spike after the flop more often than they mathematically should when I'm 80-90% to win. :-(

Life wise, I still have a great job and a great woman. I haven't smoked in over 18 months and still manage to work out 3-4 times a week.

2007 should bring great changes for me.
By the end of the year, I should have a house and a wife.
Boy it's strange to write that one down. But good. :-)

Best wishes for 2007 to all, even me.... Heff

Friday, December 15, 2006

back in sort of black.....

Well, naturally, the last 24 hours in AC was full of ups and downs.

-Tried one last tournament, the Borgata 50+10 at 11am again. This time, I final tabled.

Only 7th, for $355 (net +225 after add-on and dealer toke) when 1st was $3300, but I felt good about my play again.
 I lost half my stack in the first hour, but built back up to the starting 5K in time for the 5K chip add-on to begin the second hour. Then, I started making hands, good value bets, and busting people. At one point I got up to about 106K in chips at the 2k/4k level, which was around the 18-player bubble, but after that I not only went card dead, but opportunities for restealing just weren't there...
 Had to open push numerous times to pick up blinds and antes just to tread water, but finally open pushed the button for 50K with 7h5h at 3k/8k/16k - and watched the big blind go in the tank before calling me with Ax getting over 3-1 on his money. I have no idea what took him so long - that should have been an instacall -  but that'll happen.

So, after that, I was actually up almost 900 for the trip. By the time I left town to come home, I bled that down to +150, and really should have been -600.

*I managed to drop 125 at the 10/20 split game (not bad) -
*dropped a buy-in at 1/2NL to a strange tight-weak player (I was running a huge bluff, but I never should have gotten called to begin with)
*dropped a buy-in at 2/5NL, and it should have been two, but I lucked out and made a move that worked.

details below. basically, I feel good about the trip, and feel like I'm learning a lot more about live play - but I also know I lefttoo much money on the tables and have to think more clearly about what I am doing. I get too aggressive at the wrong times, and generally play too nitty compared to the players who are really building up stacks - I just pick odd spots to change gears.

At 1/2 NL. three limpers to me, including a button who, in the last orbit, checked behind a set on the turn and river heads-up in position because he was worried about a straight, and folded KK face up to a decent river bet on an all undercard board.
I raise to 13 with KJo from the small blind, because I haven't played since the table opened 30 minutes ago.
I get two callers, of course.
Flop A52r. I lead for 20, and button minraises me to 40.
I decide to rep AK/AQ and reraise another 65.
He tanks... asks me how much I have behind (about 100, not really enough to do what he's thinking) shuffles his cards back and forth and shows one to his neighbor in the "I have a shitty ace, how unlucky am I" mode... then finally calls.
Turn A. I decide to check here (probably a mistake, I should have just pushed - but I really didn't want to get called, obviously. I wanted to look like I was trapping so he would check behind and then I would push the river, with one more card to cloud the decision. I thought it was much more likely he'd fold to a river push than a turn push.) He checks behind.
River 3. I push, and he shows me A4 for the rivered gutter straight. I just muck, and he asks me how big was my ace. Idiot.
If he actually put me on a big Ace, he has to know he only has seven outs (a 4 or 3) and could be drawing dead depending on what cards come off the deck. Why he's minreraising the lead bet out of the blinds with a junk ace, I have no idea. My reraise says he's way behind unless he really thinks I'm bluffing.

Where I screwed up wasthe reraise size. I just should have reraised pot.
Pot was $120 when I raised $65 more. He's getting 3-1 odds, and the implied odds, with only $100 more behind, are just around the 4-1, 5-1 he needs to peel.
If I reraise bigger, a $100 instead, I kill those odds and feel better about the line. I'm not sure if that's what he was thinking or not, or if he just didn't want to lay down an ace.

Whatever. Bottom line, I shouldn't be running moves on live 1/2 players anyway.
I deserved it.

Then, at the 2/5 table.
 Good-sized stack opens UTG for 35? - and gets three callers?  - I look down at QQ in the small blind and decide to reraise to 200, half my stack. UTG tanks for while before he finally jams (prolly about 900 or so) - all fold, I call getting 3-1 knowing I've just run into AA/KK. Board comes K high, UTG shows AA, and there goes another buy-in.

 This is just a cold deck. I'm not taking a flop five-handed with QQ by just calling, that's ridiculous. I know none of the callers are ahead of me, and if UTG has AA/KK, I decided that was just poker - his range should be wider than that, and with the other 105 in the pot, I thought it was a good play overall.
 Really, it was an overly-large open raise, and a strange play to tank and and then push, by UTG. He said he wanted to make sure no one with JJ/TT decided to come along if he called instead of reraising.....I don't know why he would ever tank to consider flat calling in that spot to begin with. No one is going to four-bet over top of his flat call to allow him to reopen the betting again - if three people called 35, they might call another 165 - a reraise is the best option - after all, QQ is the worst hand I could consider betting 200 with unless I'm squeezing four players with complete air, the cold callers' range of hands that can continue to the flop just shriveled up - unless he calls and gives them odds to do so.
As soon as he makes a move by reraising my $200, he ditches all other hands that aren't AA/KK to begin with, whether he takes 2 seconds or 2 minutes to make the action. Anyway....

Now the profit is gone and I'm back to 0 for the trip, I decide that $600 is my limit here, basically, the WSOPC tourney buyin, and if I can't make something out of that, so be it.

I rebuy in, drop more money on a river reraise bluff, top off the stack, bounce it between $300 and $700, when I get really stupid.

 Big stack with around 2K, but was over 2700 before everyone started catching cards against him, opens for 20, I decide to call in position with 87o. We see a 8c4c4x flop heads up. He leads for 35, I raise to 80, he immediately repops for 180. I tank for while.
 One hand we had played before, I raise with AK in EP to 20, he calls in position. flop 644, I lead for 30, he raises I call. Turn J, I check fold to his bet. He says he has a 4, but i know he's FOS, talking to his guys on the other end of the table. I lie, tell him I had a middle pair (77/88) and read him for some junk 4, plus I didn't like the Jack. I don't know if he really listened or not. I tend to bullshit people when they are curious about what I folded, just to see if they act on the information or not later.
 So, while I'm tanking, I get a feeling I can blow him off the hand, so I four-bet all in for $307 more. Now, he TANKS, wonders aloud if I have an overpair like 99/TT......... to the point where someone else calls a clock. I'm too busy being mellow and watching a game to notice when he finally folds and shows me an 8.
 I do the only neighborly thing and show him a 7 as I rake the pot. He is not amused.
 I try to tell him I had a complete bluff, then I say I had 74, and the debate rolls for a minute before I finally tell him I had 87. At least he gives me credit for being ballsy, even though I just think he was being polite, but it was a stupidly aggressive move on my part. I did it because he was on a cold streak and I figured he would lay down a lot of hands there to a four-bet that he wouldn't have a couple of hours earlier. Me having a pretty tight, rocky image probably helped too, who knows.

Anyhow, end of boring poker hand stuff. More as I remember things.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

cliff notes update

ah - here goes...

- I suck at live tourneys. Finished about 90th of 280 in the WSOPC event. I actually played well, but never picked up a hand and/or action, lost a substantial pot with AK vs. KT when he rivered a gutter straight, and finally went out at Level 5 - 75/300/600 - with AJs allin preflop for 6K from the blinds vs. a pair of tens, and couldn't win the race. Only built up my stack from 5K to about 11K before the spiral began, but I played about as well as I could play a tournament - it's just not my strength.

Played a House of Blues tourney. Donked out there. Played a Borgata morning tourney. Donked out there. I'm finding that live tournament poker is full of some of the most annoying people you will ever meet... :-)

- However, I am really playing well in every cash game this trip, be it 1/2NL, 2/5NL, or even the 10/20 Stud/Omaha split game. Despite not cashing in any tournament, I'm still comfortably in the black for the trip.

I also just barely missed a 27K Bad Beat Jackpot at Harrah's, At a 1/2NL table, I raise to 15 after 3 limpers - the guy right behind me reraises to 60. I look at my Jacks, think, and say "let's see a flop" knowing I'm behind.

Flop's JJ8. Quads are nice. I check, he jams, I call.

Suddenly the entire table wakes up. Everyone knows the reraiser has AA now. One more Ace, and we all share in the jackpot. Two cards to come, and he doesn't get there. Boo.... ;-)

And so it goes. Hopefully I would never have to do this for any kind of livelihood, I still have a good day job - I think :-) - I'm not sure how anyone could do this over the long term. The poker world is an nice place to visit, but it would be a bear to sustain as a life.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

up in AC....

...where I'll be playing in the 500+60 WSOPC event at Harrah's in an hour.

Got in yesterday, checked things out. Overall, a good day.

1) Harrah's comped me an extra day's stay when I asked to stay until Thursday night.

2) Between sessions at Harrah's and the Borgata Monday at 1/2 and 2/5NL, managed to run +300 and not do anything stupid. Completely card dead, though. Doubled through with QQ once, another time QJ vs. Q8 on QJx8 board, but otherwise found nothing of note. Play was... a huge yawner. Just put in the time, and make some coin. Like clocking in at work - hey, it was a $30/hour session, that is like work... :-)

Anyhow, let's see what happens today. 14 hour session if I'm lucky enough. I expect around 250 players or so. Let's hope I play Wednesday, since that's when the final table is.


Friday, December 1, 2006

mctilt, free tickets, and other matters

Meh, so what's been happening in the past month?

- Got so hammered by variance, cold decks, and my own monkey tilting play that I finally pulled out 95% of my online bankroll from Stars and Full Tilt. It seemed like I was the king of running overpairs into sets, and turning second-best hands at the 2/4NL tables. Basically, the roll is back where it was when I got back from the WSOP, and I'll use that for live play in AC or wherever, minus a couple hundred bucks I left behind for $5 and $10 tourneys/SnGs. I figure, I'll work on my tournament game, or do a SnG challenge working up the levels until the online plug gets pulled.
    (hell, PT stats have me at about 50% ROI, I didn't realize I did that well in tournament/SnGs, it always seemed worse.)

- Free bar poker is nice. Won two more donknaments in the last month, which gave me... absolutely nothing... and two tickets to a Washington Capitals game (woot hockey) - so at least I'm making something out of these uber-turbo lottery events.

- Still heading to AC in two weeks to blow off steam (and prolly money) at the WSOPC - I'd like to think I can break even or pull a profit - but I have had a cloud over my head for a while in cash games, so who knows?  (Jenn came by today to smudge the bad karma from me and my pad with some burning stick thing so the condo will sell and I'll quit donating - maybe it will work?)

- For some reason, I'm getting easily agitated for no reason lately, then completely letting go of it seconds later. Case in point, bopping out of the WWdN this week, and getting pithy to a railbird who was just cheering her peeps on as I left. It felt like less of her cheering for her friends, and more of her cheering against me, which was ridiculous - I'm just the interloper to those cats, they could really care less what I do or don't do.
    I'm a quiet observer by nature (I don't even cheer at sporting events that much) which makes me the exception, not the rule. I forget most people aren't like that, they love to be vocal and encourage their people.
   Anyway, I fully forgot about it a minute later, and moved on with the night.Off my radar screen. I didn't even really remember it until she mentioned it on her blog.

   Anyhow, stupid Heff - sorry about that, Change 100. I suck. Must turn over new leaf.


Friday, November 10, 2006

best ever, so long as it's $10 or less...

So last night I decide at the last minute to hit one of the free bar poker tournaments.

I'd actually taken one down back in September, and have been playing fairly well in these things lately. It's actually very relaxing for me in comparison to an online cash game pot for hundreds of dollars - so I experiment around, and play free and easy.

Naturally, I won (win #3 at these things)
     - but of course, the prize was a free Sunday brunch I'll probably never use.

So when I got home, I wasn't quite tired yet, and decided to play a couple cheap tourneys on Full Tilt before snoozing out.

Almost four hours later.....

I just wish it was a $20 or $30 tournament. This was the strangest tourney I ever played.

I double up on the third hand jamming KT into AT on a ten-high board on the turn - when a K falls on the river.

A few minutes later, I get someone to stack off on the flop with JJ vs. my QQ, and I'm suddenly chip leader.

Late in the first hour, there's a really bad player (had open limped 94o, J6o, in MP) that open limps again, with two callers, I bump it with JJ in the small blind, he calls and a limper calls. Nine high flop with two hearts, so I pot it, BOTH guys go all in, and I'm priced in to call. Open limper has AA, of course, and I'm down to 500 chips at 60/120 blinds..... :-(   I basically go from first to dead last.

I'm not steaming, but I tell him, basically, he's a horrible player and won't cash.

I short stack ninja my way back, winning races, AQ vs. TT, then TT vs. AJ. I double through AA vs. KK, and suddenly I'm back to 9K in chips.

Then, at 100/200, two limpers, a min raise, two cold callers of a min raise, and I have AhAs in the small blind. I pop it to 3000, and the open-limp AA dude (who is one of the cold callers) is the only guy that calls. Flop is 8-high with two hearts, so I jam my last 6600, and he CALLS ALL IN with AdKd.

Thank you, come again, I've made it from last with T500 to chip lead again with T20,000 in 30 hands.

After that, it was remarkably smooth and easy. I stayed a top 10 stack to the final table, where I was second in chips. I hit some hands and made some plays, got the chip lead with 7 players left. As we got shorthanded, I started turning up the aggression and pounding people, (I eliminated 5 of the players at the final table) until I got heads up with a 4-1 chip lead. I was surprised by how natural it felt to have a big stack and how much fun it was to play that way... :-)

Mellow, even-keeled patience is crucial to playing this game.
Calm, measured tactics and moves work better than pure aggression.
I often forget that.
It's good to be reminded of those truisms in a positive fashion.


Monday, November 6, 2006

no big AIPS banana for me

  So, despite having a pretty decent overall run, I couldn't hold snag that prized trophy in the AIPS series. Of course, a Stars spreadsheet says I was the player of the year, so I guess that's a nice consolation prize.

  I never got anything going in the tournament - barely moved above my starting stack, and was never a factor. That'll happen when you raise 3xBB under the gun with AA an hour an half in, get called in three spots, have the big blind jam the flop, you overjam, and someone else calls with a flopped set. Oh, the big blind turned a smaller set, too (he jammed with 66 into a 873r flop). Doubled through a few times after that hand, which left me just over a one blind stack, before jamming A6 into AQ preflop bounced me out 35th of 57, my worst finish of all the tournaments.

  That's annoying, but given that the final tournament was 4x the buyin of all the other tournaments, an out-of-the-money finish was going to doom me anyway.

   Still, much fun overall, and if there's another AIPS series, I'll be glad to play it.

   Otherwise, donking around 1/2 and 2/4NL tables on Stars and Full Tilt, trying to weather the swings, and building the roll back up for December.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

flop a set, i pay u....

I love how I doom myself sometimes....

Of course, the 3-4 buy-in drop I forecast happened while in AC this week. Whee.

It's easiest to sum it all up this way.

* Normal, everyday chances of flopping a set with a pocket pair - 1 in 8

* Chances villain flops a set when Heff has a bigger pocket pair, reraises to isolate preflop, and villain calls out of position, drawing to two outs in a heads up pot. - oh, about 50%
* Chances Heff pays off even when he figures out he's beat, and doubles someone through - oh, about 99%
* Chances Heff flops a set with a pocket pair - about 1 in 100
* Chances Heff flops a set and runs into a bigger flopped set - about 1 in 2

    That, people, is how you can drop that much while playing reasonably decent, tight aggressive poker.

    I had no problems establishing and building a live cash game stack, but I couldn't hang onto it - I can't remember a substantial, large pot I actually won. I'm not sure, but I have a feeling my game is too TAG and predictable at times, and I allow these loose aggressives to play perfectly against me in a raised pot.

    I played two tournaments - managed to get myself up from 5K to 37K in one tournament, get it all in midway through with another big stack with AA vs. QQ preflop, and watched him turn a Q. - then managed to blow off 2/3rd of my stack in another tournament on the FIRST HAND with KK vs. 77 on a (guess what) 766 flop - hello, reverse implied odds, I'm an idiot.

    I'm usually good at split games, but also managed to drop 30BB at a Stud/Omaha mix game by never making a hand, or making second-best hands, or getting rivered, blahblahblah.

    Basically, the trip was a mix of me getting colddecked, and me being a stubborn idiot in refusing to recognize the fact I've fallen behind in a hand. I should have lost some money, but not as much as I did.

    Anyhow, I was thinking about making one more trip next month before the December WSOPC event, but that's probably not going to happen, unless I change my mind. My roll is still fine (down 10% or so, not a deadly loss) but I don't need another session like that anytime soon.

    In other news, the Borgata still is a great room, though not with as many dodos and donks as I remember (prolly should have played more late night sessions, it's hard to make bank in the daytime, as the regular to tourist ratio seems to be worse during the week) Either I'm too aggressive there, or not good enough live, but I go through the worst cash game swings at Borgata's NL games, both plus and minus.
    The Taj and Trop both look like God's Waiting Room, though the Taj at least has an electronic wait list for games now, and is definitely the #2 room in AC.
    Caesars had more tables running than I thought they would in the daytime.
    The Hilton is way south, far from everything, and tries in their own goofy way to be a place to play (cheap $30 poker rate for a room helps), and it's fine for a B-level game.
    Harrah's is such an odd room, and I wonder what kind of side action it will attract in December, or if everything will still be at the Borgata and Taj.

    We shall see, I guess. More TK.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

strangely heating up....

    Well, I've been moving the bankroll around, pulling a good chunk of it offline for a shot at these WSOPC events at Harrah's AC in early December. Eventually, it will all come out for B&M play, but that will take a bit of time - I need to milk the online cow while I can.
     I've been donking around at Full Tilt and Stars, which are still open to U.S. players, at least until Neteller figures out how to comply with the UIGEA legislation.
Maybe I can make one last online satellite for a big event - Full Tilt's Aussie Millions, or Stars' PCA, both of which are overseas events in January - I figure there's a limited window on the online pokering, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.
    Obviously, other players are even more desperate for action, because for some reason, I'm on a silly upswing that's brought me to a new bankroll high, mostly playing 2/4 full ring NL, of all things. One thing that's helped is finally getting PokerTracker after the last downswing and systematically analyzing my game. I found a couple of notable things.

    1) Not reraising preflop in position enough, period, regardless of hand strength.
    2) Coldcalling offsuit connected junk, like T9o, in position too much.

    Basically, being too passive preflop, which created issues further along in hands as you get to the flop/turn. So, I tightened up a touch, turned up the aggression a touch, and those small tweaks have worked extremely well.
    Hopefully, it's not variance, but a leap in play that's getting me there - but I'm sure the cold-deck/spewing 4-5 buyins session is coming soon.. :-)

    Anyhow, heading up to AC for a quickie trip this week, to scout things out in advance of December. - I haven't been up there since the Borgata opened their new room in July, so we'll see what the scene is like now.

    Oh, still leading in this series as well, despite missing last Thursday's tourney. Yippee.


Monday, October 9, 2006

LOL Donkaments!

OK, so these guys finally sent me my banana....

Since I've cashed in three of the four events I've played, I'm actually leading the overall points race, which provides this lovely winner's prize at the end of the series.

So, I obviously have to go for it now.

Also, since things are still legal for the moment, I guess wins like this are OK, eh?

Whee. I may have attained true tourney donkness.

Until the hammer of Frist smites us all down....

Is this what they mean by Nero fiddling while Rome burned?


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

uhoh, oopsie....

OK, so obviously thiscan throw a giant wrench into pokering......

Hmm. Where to begin?

  Anyone who thinks this is going to get fixed/repealed/changed anytime soon is dreaming, I think. As far as Congress is concerned, it's a dead issue, they're moving on to other, more important things (covering for guys trolling for underage boys, etc.)

   Regardless of how many people play poker, how it's a game of skill and chance, how much money could be acquired through proper regulation and taxation, as other "legal gambling" provides (lotteries and horse racing are notably and hypocritically exempted from these bills) --- ultimately, to Joe Momo, or Joe Congressman, this is all just a bunch of computer nerds and degenerate gamblers whining about not being able to play a game.

  All the grumbling, posting, and effort at a grassroots level is pointless. The only things that will bring back online poker legally are:

1) heavy backing and lobbying, whether through brick and mortar casino companies (Harrah's, MGM, etc) and/or the big online poker sites WITHOUT the stupid blackjack and sportsbook tie-ins (Full Tilt and PokerStars come to mind), along with some combination of American players, that can work to get a rider attached to a bill to carve out some kind of legal exemption....

2) heavy analysis of the bill's language and enforcement, which may provide some backdoor or loophole for players to continue to play and move funds on and off the online poker rooms.

   It's not looking good, though. Some sites are planning to just drop their US player accounts - backdoors are meaningless without a place to play. There are thoughts that maybe using checks instead of EFTs will be workable, or that the banking industry will find enforcement and compliance virtually impossible, so online poker will fall back into the gray - not really legal or illegal - world.

   Which is fine until the next politician wants to make online gaming an issue. Or the IRS really wants to examine all the money coming in and out of players' bank accounts. Or whatever. The point is, the online poker game, unless legalized and regulated, will ALWAYS have its head in the guillotine, just waiting for someone to take a shot at pulling the switch.

  So, what am I doing? Pulling the majority of my bankroll out of the online sites. Waiting to see if I should cash out or let things shake out for a few weeks. Limiting online play to Full Tilt and PokerStars with a small percentage of available money, until those sites drop US players or not. Generally, taking a wait and see approach, but realizing that it's highly likely that I won't be playing online in 2007, if not sooner. Wondering if my live game is sharp enough for a few more AC trips than usual.

Anyhow, we'll see what happens. All I know is, once someone catches you poaching free cable, it's not like they ever forget you ever had it and give it back. Online gaming hit the radar screen, and it's not dropping off The Man's scope anytime soon. The sooner you deal with it, the better we can move on to what's next, and make the next move.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Let's play tourneys online all night, too!

Ok, so I did satellite into the WCOOP HORSE tournament on Stars, which started Saturday at 4:30. Just eight short hours later, I was in the money, whee!

A 1800 person online tournament, with 30 minute levels. I only finished 157th, but that beat 90% of the field, so that must mean something, (hopefully) besides I'm a luckbox donkament player.

Anyhow, simultaneously, I tried a deep stack NLHE tourney on Stars (5000 chips to start, 30 min levels at 15/30 to start) and finished 52 of 721 - again, minimal money, compared to the buy-in, but a good run nevertheless.

Which is great,  because I've had my brains bashed in over the last two weeks. All the good work since Vegas - gone. Right back where I started. It sucks. I feel like I'm just on the edge of a breakthrough - once I quit having everyone spike their draws on me - but it's trying nevertheless.

At least they let me play next to this guy for an hour. I hear he's ok at poker.


Friday, September 22, 2006

I should just play blogger tourneys....

It's good to suckout and be the winner winner chicken dinner, eh?

Friday, September 8, 2006

We hate satellites, too.

Satellite to a $650 tournament on Stars, a qualifer for seats at the US Poker Championships at the Taj in AC next month. First and second get a $650 buy-in, third gets $39 back from the original satellite buyin. Read is villain is an overaggressive donk who jams far too much.

Seat 1: heffmike (24650 in chips)
Seat 3: xxxxx (26284 in chips)
Seat 9: xxxxxx (30066 in chips)
heffmike: posts the ante 50
xxxxx: posts the ante 50
xxxxxx: posts the ante 50
xxxxxx: posts small blind 400
heffmike: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to heffmike [6d 9d]
xxxx: folds
xxxxx: raises 1600 to 2400
heffmike: calls 1600 (defends because.. well, just because)
*** FLOP *** [Qd 8d Jd] (whoohoo, i have floosh!)
xxxxx: bets 2400  (goot)
heffmike: raises 6600 to 9000  (please overplay your hand)
xxxxx: raises 18616 to 27616 and is all-in (whee)
heffmike: calls 13200 and is all-in  (oh, wait, he has to have a redraw here)
*** TURN *** [Qd 8d Jd] [Kd] (*@$#&#!)
*** RIVER *** [Qd 8d Jd Kd] [Ac]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
xxxxx: shows [Td Jh] (a flush, King high)
heffmike: shows [6d 9d] (a flush, King high - lower cards)
xxxxx collected 49350 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 49350 | Rake 0
Board [Qd 8d Jd Kd Ac]
Seat 1: heffmike (big blind) showed [6d 9d] and lost with a flush, King high
Seat 3: xxxx (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: xxxxx (small blind) showed [Td Jh] and won (49350) with a flush, King high
pokenum  -h 6d 9d  - td jh  -- qd 8d jd
Holdem Hi: 990 enumerated boards containing Qd Jd 8d
cards  win   %win  lose  %lose  tie  %tie     EV
9d 6d  676  68.28   314  31.72    0  0.00  0.683
Td Jh  314  31.72   676  68.28    0  0.00  0.317

Thought I was a bigger favorite than that, but oh well. That'll happen. Besides, hitting new bankroll highs daily, so maybe I should just be a cash game player for now.

Although this did turn out well, second week in a row at a final table...


Friday, September 1, 2006

Tournaments suck, but do I?

OK, so things have gone fairly well over the last two weeks. Ever since I got back from Vegas, been running really well in cash games - despite giving back quite a bit over the last couple of sessions, I've still grown the bankroll almost 25% this month. Good stuff.

I ended up buying into the FTOPS HORSE event and flamed out in a mighty way in hour but I did satellite into Stars' WCOOP HORSE event, the smaller one, on Saturday the 23rd. mmmm, 30-minute levels. Me loves the new cash HORSE and HOSE tables Stars is running now too. 5/10 HORSE goot!

I really haven't done much in tournaments this month. A couple of final tables, but no big cashes. This week I did play in a couple of blogger tournaments - I've always found them to be enjoyable, especially with buy-ins under $20.

I finished fifth in the weekly WWdN tournament - Wil Wheaton started this series on Stars about a year ago - I've won once, a couple of seconds.... a strong group of the original poker bloggers, where I really learned a lot of tournament strategies and moves. It sucks when you open push AQ five handed and get called by KQ - and they flop a K. Boo.

I played in the Ante Up Invitational with a couple of guys I used to work with in Florida last night on Full Tilt. After I stupidly bluff a preflop raiser all-in with 99 out of position on a KTT board (AK goot, I'm an idiot) I have around 1300 with blinds 40/80. 
AA under the gun, I raise to 200.
Button or SB (can't remember) reraises to 1300.
BB (one of the organizers) jams for 1800.
I call, of course. Button calls.

Me - AA
Button - KK
BB - AQo (??????)

anyhow, I can't fade two outs with a K on the flop, see ya in 58th. 

I hate tournaments.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

heaters are nice

Well, at least the giant cloud over my head has disappeared for the time being.

   In the span of less than 24 hours, went up about four full buyins at cash tables on Full Tilt and Stars. If I make one flop call I should have made getting 3-1 with a straight draw that got there on the turn, and actually have AhAx hold up against KhKx and Ac6c (donkdonkdonk) going all in on a 8h7h5h flop - it would have been twice that. Basically, I've made up for the Vegas downturn and then some over the last couple of weeks, even before the heater.

In other minor news.

- The one time Jenn and I hit a free bar tournament since we've been back - she won, of course.

- Probably will play the FTOPS HORSE tournament this Thursday, since I'm a sucker for rotational games - I should be able to satellite in and not pay the full $200 entry, which would be nice. I don't have time to play any of the other big tournaments in the series - and it'll be the same for Stars' WCOOP next month - I will try to satellite into their Razz and HORSE tourneys, assuming they ever flip the switch on making those games live - but most of the other events, I don't have 6-8 hours to kill for them.
    I was looking at the schedules for the WPT Borgata and U.S. Poker Championships at the Taj in Atlantic City for September, seeing if any of the preliminary tournaments are at a
convenient time for me. Nothing jumps out - some of the $300/500 events at the USPC look interesting, but I have no idea what the structures are. The Borgata structures look solid, but the dates and times just don't work out.. :-(

Until I have a good tourney finish to report - Later!


Thursday, August 3, 2006

Returning home...

Back in Virginia now - rest of the trip was fine - although my last couple of cash game sessions at the Mirage and Venetian were unmitigated disasters.
Jenn ran well, naturally, while I was taking a bath. When you keep running two pair into a bigger rivered two pair, or sets into straights, bad things will happen.

Picasso at the Bellagio was very choice Monday... Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie were eating there at the same time in a group,
so I took a brief moment to tell them how good their series of Hold 'Em books are - always good to give people feedback.

Delmonico at the Venetian also an excellent restaurant for those dining in Vegas - we had excellent meals at both places.

Never did get a chance to play at the Bellagio (room just too packed with overflow from WSOP players) so at least that's something to save for a future trip.

Anyhow, back to real life for me - blog updates will be infrequent from here on out, unless I actually do something interesting from a poker standpoint.

and I guess I'll need to get one of these photos, since Jenn never got into the Amazon Room to shoot a picture of me...

Later - Heff

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sunday around Vegas....

So, besides getting the jersey signed Sunday (below), we did do the touristy things - drive to see Hoover Dam...

then over for the scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon....

and driving Go-Karts like silly people here (forgot to take photo, oops)

So it was a pretty much a non-poker day. The desolation of the desert around Vegas, rocks and dust replacing grass, the amazing topography compared to the flat woodlands of the East Coast, the enginnering and technology necessary to even create a bearable city to live in amidst 100 degree heat every day - it's all incredible stuff.

Ok, poker content does follow. Skip if you're sick of it.


After everything Sunday I did pull a late night session at the Mirage (first time there, can't say I liked it much) and the Venetian (which I'm rapidly starting to like as a room) where I bounced between -300 and +200 throughout the session only to end in the red again... :-(   Too many people spiking two pair after the flop when you're an 80% favorite to win will kill any positive momentum.

I really wasn't feeling up to playing. I'm still annoyed and disappointed over my showing in the Main Event. I was playing well until the AK vs. QQ hand - and then my game just went in the toilet. I should have been able to hunker down with over 30 BB, hang on until the dinner break, and then take the 90 minute break to refocus and get back to playing my normal game. Instead I made a moderate problem worse and busted myself out of the event like a rank, inexperienced amateur.... oh wait, that is who I am, I forgot.

I continued to play badly last night, and then I finally got out of the funk and started hitting my game. I'm still annoyed, but just over results. I played well last night, only made a few small mistakes, and was happy with my decision making for the first time in a while. I can take that. I'm still down for the trip, which sucks. But, I needed to get back to the tables and remind myself I'm not a horrible player, I was just playing horribly. There is a slight but important difference.

But, as Jenn says, it has been a wonderful experience. She's encouraging me to tryand satellite in next year, at least for a smaller, preliminary event, if not the Main Event again. We'll see. I need to get better.

Relatively speaking, in 2005 I tried a couple of times to get in the WSOP and never came remotely close.

In 2006 I'm a much better player, have grown the bankroll, won a few online tournaments, and just missed a seat in April before winning it last month. 

So the growth curve is promising, and if I learn from this trip, 2007 should be a better year.


Alright, done now. Come on back.

To close the trip, it's dinner at Picasso at the Bellagio Monday night - maybe a session at their poker room, although I feel like I've got a black cloud over my head right now, so I may skip that.  Tuesday will be Delmonico at the Venetian before the redeye flight back to Virginia arriving Wednesday morning, and it's back to real life.

It's been a wonderful ride, sorry I couldn't do a little more with it. :-)

Back with closing thoughts when I get back to VA in a couple of days - Heff


Jenn and Daniel

yep, she got the jersey signed Sunday. Negreanu is the anti-Phil Hellmuth.

Red Rock Canyon, Sunday


Sunday, July 30, 2006

hey, someone had a good Saturday.

   While your hero was busy playing like a complete mope in the Main Event, Jenn was tearing things up in the Poker Expo next door. She...

    - played battleship poker at the Pokerstars booth  (playing someone heads up on a laptop back to back, just like Battleship the game) and beat someone, then drew for a prize and won a video iPod.

    - sat in a free turbo sit-and-go at Full Contact Poker's booth, where I found her after I donked out, and won heads up when her QTo beat AJ all in preflop with a TTxQx board, and picked up a Daniel Negreanu hockey jersey - which she will try to get autographed Sunday during the dinner break - the guys at FCP said he would be there while playing day 1C, and I'm sure we can get a woman winner a little special dispensation to ensure she gets an autograph. I made sure I took the obligatory winner's photo....

Anyhow - Sunday will involve a day trip outside Vegas and a lot of non-poker content until the evening, when we get the jersey signed. There may be go-karts involved later. Maybe we will play. We scheduled the return flight to NoVa on the Tuesday redeye, landing at Dulles early Wednesday morning, so we will try to enjoy the rest of our stay here.

Later - still bummed, but getting better - Heff

rolling downhill...

A little while later, after bleeding more chips through blinds and what not - I'm at 6800 and am looking for a big hand to double through with. Party limps UTG for 200, I have QQ in the cutoff and decide to raise to 1K to 1)isolate so I don't take this flop multiway, and 2)find where I'm at with Party. When it comes around to him, he jams and goes all in?
    He has me covered - he started the hand with about 10K or so. And I'm really, really puzzled - I even say to myself "did he do the donk limp, then reraise with AA move?" - I really start thinking he wouldn't toss over half his stack into the pot preflop without a strong hand - after all, I raised an UTG limper, I must have something. I decide it's far more likely he has AA/KK/AK than rags. I decide to show one queen (like I have AQ) and fold, while "waiting for a better spot" - the worst reason in the world to do this.
    Because Party immediately flashes me back a 2 - and says something about staying off his blinds....???????????
    Maybe he forgot he limped UTG - or maybe I forgot that he was in the big blind instead of UTG - I can't really remember anymore. Either way, it was a horrible play on his part, jamming half his stack to win 1500 when it's very likely he gets called. It was probably a worse fold on my part, though. Yeah, against a reasonable player it's hard to call off almost 30 more blinds preflop with QQ in that spot. However, against someone with three different Party logos visible on his body - I should have been more willing to consider he was doing this with air.

Anyhow, it gets worse from there. I raise a couple times for standard raises preflop and have to fold to reraises. I lose two blind on blind battles with Full Tilt woman - both times I check fold the flop and she shows me she hit the board both times.
 I limp with 88 after an UTG limper and Ladbrokes raises to 1100 - it gets folded around to me and I have 4200 behind - It's push or fold time, obviously, and I think for a long time. FinallyParty (not in the hand) calls a clock on me, which is a little annoying and a couple of the other players at the table say so. Ladbrokes tells me he would not have called a clock on me, which makes me think he wants a call. I decide he's definitely not folding if I jam, and I'm probably behind, and I fold. He shows JJ, I lie and tell him we're racing (like I have AQ again) - I'm just getting hammered.
    Finally, we're about 20 minutes from the dinner break. Ladbrokes has a huge stack - about 45K - and the woman has about 30K or so. I'm in the big blind with Kh8h when it's folded around to the button, who open raises to 700, a standard amount.  I decide to make a play.... or maybe it's better to say I lose my mind and reraise all-in for 3600 total with a really weak hand preflop for the first time all day.
  He instacalls. I immediately say uh-oh and watch him roll over KK. Oops.
  I flop an 8 and turn a second heart for 11 outs on the river or so - but a 3c on the river seals my fate. See ya. Thanks for playing.

   Ok. Good to type all this out and have it recorded. An actual non-nuts and bolts post to follow to wrap it all up.

forgot to post this earlier today... :-(

AK - hateithateithateit.

  So, there's a minimum raise from the random nine seat to 400. I decide to call in the small blind with 9c9s. Full Tilt woman calls. Flop 6h7dTh. So, I have second pair and a gutter straight draw. We check to random, who bets 1000 into a 1200 pot. I ask what he has left, which is about 4K more. I decide to isolate and reraise to 3500, woman folds, he pushes for 1200 more, and I call. He shows QhJh for the flush draw with overcards. He turns a Q, then rivers a heart for further overkill, and I drop to 14K. boo.
  I didn't think he was that strong there and took a chance - I don't like his minraise in early position, but whatever. On that flop he's looking to get it in the middle anyway, and I'm actually a slight dog according to hand calculators (54/46,  but that'll happen.  I had a shot to take out a player and it didn't hurt me that badly to miss.

Later the shortie in the two seat open jams out of the small blind for 825 total and I call him with A3. He shows Q8, the board blanks out, I eliminate my first player and get some chips back.

Now the hand that killed me first - there are many others, but this one was tough.

I have about 16K now. The blimpie in the ten seat raises to 1K (i'm not 100% sure, but this was probably the very next hand) I see AKs in the small blind again, and ask how much he has left. I hear about 8K, so I decide to reraise to 3500 again. He jams. It's 4900 more to me, actually. I think for a while and finally decide to take the race against his pocket pair and call.

I show my AKs, he shows QQ - not bad, a slight dog, but better than AA or KK, obviously.

Flop AA5. the table goes oooooh. I think about what I should be able to accomplish with a  24K stack at 100/200 blinds, and how I can keep playing small ball, accumulate chips, play my game.

He's dead to two outs, the two queens in the deck. I'm a 90/10 favorite here.

He turns a Queen. ugh.

I still have outs. One ace, three kings, three fives for a bigger full house. Only about 16%, though, and it doesn't get there.

I'm down to 7200 now. That's not bad - I still have over 30BB, and I tell myself that I still have a playable stack and can make it back. Honestly, though, it took a lot out of my game and the rest of the level showed it, as everyone jumped all over me afterwards when I was in a pot. I didn't go nuts, or drop an f-bomb or whatever. I took the beat calmly and correctly - inside though, it really killed me, and that's a leak in my game I need to fix.

The rest of the ugly denoument later.... after another beer - Heff

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Gavin, ESPN and me - well, not really.

   So, I see Gavin in the one seat, but he has no chips - only about 3K. There's another shortie with less in the two seat. I'm in the three. To my left is a Full Tilt qualifier - a woman with a big stack and a friendly personality - cute in a tomboyish sort of way, mid 30s, and working her charm on the table. There's a couple of older Euros on her left - a Ladbrokes guy from Wales with a big stack in the five, and another old guy with below average chips in the six. There's a fat dude from Houston covered in Party Poker gear in the seven seat, some cutey boy with a pink LV hat in the eight, some other random guy in the nine seat, and another blimpie, over three clicks, in the ten seat, who keeps trying to make small talk with the woman between hands in a horribly inept and goofy way, but she handles it really well.

   In my first couple of orbits I start accumulating chips. I raise with AK in LP and get called by Party in the BB. Flop KJJ, he check calls a standard bet. He leads a turn that puts two clubs on board, and I just call. We check the river and I hold up - not sure I like not raising the turn there or value betting the river, but I don't think he calls with anything I beat.
  I again raise with AK and get called by the random nine seat. He check calls a AcJcX flop and we see a blank turn. There's about 5K in the pot, and he has about that much behind. He checks, I jam, he tanks and folds, probably thinking about calling with a flush draw or something. - I end the level with 18.5K and am feeling very good and comfortable at the moment.

    Meanwhile, Gavin is just getting crushed. The woman is just getting hammered by the deck - she rivers a gutter straight after limping UTG with A3 and calling Ladbroke's raise with KK, and somehow sees a river 4 on an all overcard board against Gavin and rivers a set with 44. Gavin open jams the last hand of the level with TT for only 1000 chips and it holds up, so he sticks around as we go to break.

    All the while during this late action, there was a mobile ESPN crew filming at the table.  Since I was between Gavin and the woman, I might actually be in some footage next month when day 1B airs....

    When we get back for Level 3, he shortly jams for 2100 from UTG and gets called by the button. His AJs can't beat the button's KK, and Gavin Smith is gone.

    This would be the high point of the day for me. All downhill from here, baby - and it only takes about an hour and a half.


reviewing... level 1/2 at table 197

ok, so I get to my table, 197. Of course, one guy at the table is from Reston, and another is from Falls Church - gee, three Northern Virginians, what a surprise......

The table is very tight except one kid from North Dakota who is very aggressive. I have position on him, though, and everyone else at the table is pretty quiet and straightforward. I feel very relaxed after the first couple of hands and just play my game.

I do get hit with the deck, though. KK twice, AK and AQ a couple of times. - but it's hard to get any action. Both times with KK, I reraise a raise in front of me to isolate and get a fold I don't really want. I reraise AK out of the small blind (a recurring theme this trip) to 500 against an original raise of 150. He calls, and we check down a Q5659 board - I let him win with TT by never betting out, but I thought he had a middle pair that would look up a bet.

Later, I cold call a raise to 200 from the CO with TT - the small blind calls, three to a flop of 956. Checked to me, I bet 400, SB raises to 1000, I think and call. Turn pairs the 9 and the small blind leads for 700. I think and call what seems to be a smallish, defensive bet. We check the river Q and I suck out on his flopped two pair with 56 when the board paired on the turn.

Later, I check raise a Q high board with 88 and get a laydown, so I end Level 1 with T13625. I've played strongly to pick up small pots a bit at a time and slowly accumulate chips without having to show down anything but AK, TT, and one of my KK reraises, so my table image is good too.

I spend level 2 spewing chips, though. Drop 2K with ATs when I think I'm open raising in LP - but miss the UTG limp that is now calling me. I bet a K-high flop and get called, decided to call a small bet when the Kh gives me a nut flush draw, despite the paired board, and fold to a river bet when I miss everything. I also get check raised on the turn and donk bet intoon the river again later in another hand and have to fold....

Finally, with about 40 minutes left in Level 2, I'm back down to 10K and I openraise with Ah8x in LP and get called by North Dakota in the SB. I've purposefully avoided pots with him, as I think he's the only really crafty player at the table. We check a flop with two hearts. A third heart comes on the turn and he leads for 700. I say "oh really?" and reraise to 2100. He reluctantly folds, I run my stack back up to 13K, and just then the table breaks.  BOOOOO. I really liked the table, I was comfortable, and had good reads on the players. Oh well, I move to table 84, seat 3. As I walk up, I see Gavin Smith in the 1 seat and think, oh, this could be fun.....

More later - Heff


I didn't make dinner break - I'm out. Horrible spots, donktastic play - and that's just my play.  :-)

I was THIS close to having 24K in Level 3 at 100/200 blinds and cruising along nicely.

And it all went downhill from there.

I did outlast Gavin Smith and Phil Hellmuth, though, so that's something.

More in a bit after I get something to eat - we're back in the room now.

Jenn had a very awesome day, actually.

Better than mine. Ugh.


Level 2 Update

Table broke at Level 2 -- I have 18000 in chips. Gavin Smith is 2nd on my right but very short stacked. Things are going well. ESPN is all over the table. Will update more at the dinner break.


And they are off .....

Posting for Mike.....

They are not letting anyone in to watch yet but Mike just text messaged me to say he has 14,000. Not bad for the first level. He goes on break at 2pm and they will let people in after that so he or I will update a bit later.

- J

I'm off

to Day 1B - they played six full levels of Day 1A yesterday, ending about 3am Vegas time - so we'll play the same length of time today. Hopefully I'll have a reason to be up that late.

I'll do audio blog updates from the cell phone when I can, and maybe type a couple up on a break if have a moment.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Audio entry

omadugi with a ten qualifier?

  Anyhow, Thursday afternoon we hopped around and just checked out different properties - The Palms, New York New York - before popping back into the MGM Grand for more 1/2 NL play - both Jenn and I pulled a good profit off the tables - I managed to get paid off when I flopped quad aces by a flush, and actually had KK hold up one of two times (JJ flopped a set on me, 66 rivered a set - but I already hit a K on the flop)
  There was a list of interest for 4/8 HORSE at MGM, so I put my name on it - when the game got called, I was fifth on the list. 90 minutes later, I was still fifth - so Jenn and I went back to Nine Fine Irishmen across the street in NYNY to get some food and listen to the live band. Afterwards, we popped back to MGM and found that I'd already been passed over on the HORSE list and it was now 15 names deep.... :-(
  So, it was getting late and we decided to head back to the hotel, but when I got there I decided to call the Venetian and see if they were spreading any mixed games.
  "We have a 6-12 HORSE and 6-12 mixed game with two names on the list."


    So starts the Omadugi adventure.

    I sit in a 1/2NL game for 10 minutes until I get called for the mixed game. Boy, it is ever mixed. I think the only game NOT in the rotation was Chinese Poker.  There was Stud. Stud/8, Omaha/8, 2-7 Triple Draw, Badugi, Pineapple, Razz, and of course Hold Em. Now, I know how to play all these games - but that doesn't mean I'm any good at them, especially the draw games, which are fun, but I have limited experience with.
   Some of the guys at the table, though, had no idea. And that's what made it fun. It was a pretty conversational table, full of jokes and guys just goofing around. One guy insisted that an Omaha/8 game with a 1/4 pot guarantee skimmed off the top if anyone got to showdown with a 10-high Badugi or better in their hand would be the best action game ever. Of course, every dealer in the world would hate having to chop the pots up in that game, not to mention it would take forever to figure out who won what after showdown. I suggested he call it Omadugi. Maybe it will catch on in the NYC clubs, since he said he played out there.
   Anyhow, I loved playing because there are NEVER any mixed games spread on the East Coast at lower limits, and AC does not spread any draw games like Badugi. This was the only time I was going to get to play any of these games live. Hold 'em, Hold 'em all the time gets boring. This was a challenge.
    Alas, I failed miserably. Basically, before the mixed game, I was up a small amount for the trip, about $160. Now, I'm down $80.... which isn't bad, actually, and nothing to cry over. Dropping 20BB in a 6 hour session just happens sometimes, especially when you keep check-calling J-high Badugis with people who know how to play the game better than you. I got cold-decked a lot on the river/third draw too with people making really thin draws - which tends to happen when you aren't a good enough limit player to save bets, or snow people well enough in the draw games.
    It was worth it for the experience, though. Sometimes in life you get free lessons, and sometimes you pay for them... :-)

    I might try one more mixed game if I get time between WSOP days or after I get bounced from the tournament while I'm waiting for my return flight. I'm actually saving the Bellagio's poker room, and its 2/5 NL game for my last live session before I leave.

   Pretty much, though, I don't think I'm playing any side cash games from here on out until I'm done with the Main Event. I'm going to try to make the off days non-poker related - maybe go see Hoover Dam or do something else like that.

   So, later today I go back to the Rio to the Full Tilt lounge to get gifted with their gear so I can look like a NASCAR driver when playing Saturday. Oddly enough, regulations prohibit any .com advertising when playing in the Main Event - but all of PokerStars gear has the .com on it, meaning hundreds of Stars qualifiers Friday were turning their shirts inside out and finding black tape to cover up those four little characters.  Not all .com's in the room are bad, though.....

   Later - Heff

and they're off!

with two hour levels, playing 10-handed. not sure of the total number of entrants yet. But, it only took seven minutes for someone to donk off 200BB and bust out of the Main Event..

more later, including why mixed games are fun yet annoying..... - Heff

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Ok, back to update all on things - we're essentially waiting for Saturday, but to review Wednesday.
-  Moved over to the Candlewood Suites, just off the Strip. Good property, convienent, with a kitchen and separate bedroom, so it'll be a good spot to make home base for the duration of the trip. I picked up a router from Circuit City and configured it Wednesday too, so at least we have secured high-speed wireless here as well.
-  We ate at a place called Rosemary's way out on West Sahara (we picked up a rental car Tuesday) for a late lunch - recommended by a friend and well worth the off-Strip trip. Can't beat a top shelf three-course meal for lunch for only $25
-  Decided to check out the downtown area and the Fremont Street Experience Wednesday night. Probably will not do that again. It's the land time forgot. Everytime there was a "light show" on the covered roof, it seemed like it was an LG advertisement, yet people looked up anyway.
   Good to know the Golden Nugget has a reasonably decent looking poker room, though we did not play there. We did pay homage to Binion's across the street and sat in at a must-move game - at 1/2 NL....(???)
    Jenn said she's never been more bored playing. Me too. Bunch of old Tighty McNits and people bouncing between betting $25 into a $10 pot on the flop, and people just check calling with a full house on the river. Just really, really odd play, and no entertaining table talk or conversation at all.
    Hard to believe the original home of the WSOP has come to this, but since it's Binion's in name only now, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.
- Anyhow, after that colossal waste of time, we tried to get to the top of the Stratosphere tower, but the line was pretty long, we didn't feel like paying to get to the front of it, so we shelved it for later in the trip. Besides, we had a pretty good view from the Wynn, so it's not like we haven't seen Vegas from above yet.
- Later, I decided to pull a late session over at the MGM/Grand and see their poker room. Not bad, actually, although like most poker rooms, it's as far from the valet/self parking as you can get, the Wynn's room being a notable exception. Very young crowd. Newer tables. Room seems pretty well run, and it gets a lot of foot traffic (close to the pedestrian bridge across to New York New York, and next to a couple bars/nightclubs)
  Players much more aggressive and talkative - and that's a good thing, because if the table isn't entertaining, with a lot of chatter, live poker can suck. The silly stories and chatter makes live play worthwhile. Pretty much every other hand had a live straddle, and one time there was a blind raise UTG for $20, followed by a blind all-in for $160. The raiser tanked and folded after seeing he had a Queen - The blind all-in showed 54o... :-0
   Anyhow, I never really got anything going. Best part was raising only to $12 in EP with KK  (too small, but I wanted action) and getting four callers. Flop ATx. I check, figuring someone has an ace. By the time it gets back around to me, there's three all-ins for about $90 apiece, so it's a ridiculously easy fold. The all-in's show KT, A5, and AT for flopped two pair. The fifth guy in the hand that folded said he had AQ. So, there's only one Ace left in the deck, and it has to come out on the flop - but at least it only cost me a 12 spot.
  Left after three hours only up $40. But, I liked the room.
  So far, I think I've enjoyed the Venetian and MGM the best of the poker rooms I've played in so far. The Wynn was nice, but something - the dealers, floor, players, I don't know - just seemed quirky to me. Maybe it was the weird $3 chips everyone was playing with at the 1/3 NL game I was at Monday night - I really have no idea. Caesar's has a great mid-day tournament, but I'm not sure about their cash games, since I was sweating Jen and didn't play there Tuesday after busted out. (Though I hear Caesar's sometimes runs a low-limit mixed game I keep seeking out this trip - although upon further research, the Venetian is more likely to run it, another point in it's favor.)  I have not played at the Bellagio or Mirage yet.
  I believe later this afternoon we will poke our heads into the Rio to do more celebrity watching, and probably see what the properties west of the Strip (Palms, Orleans) have to offer. Friday will be mellow - I'll probably watch the start of the Main Event, and in the afternoon I have the party/meet and greet with Full Tilt to get squared away for Saturday's 1B start. Otherwise, I'll relax, maybe sit next to the pool with Dan Harrington's Hold Em tournament books for final study, and get some rest for a long session Saturday.
  I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to blog via phone, so there may be some audio updates Saturday, along with the occasional entry if I can tap into a wireless network at the Rio. It's the only way to keep up with how I'm doing - any coverage from CardPlayer or wherever will just mention me as "Seat 1" or "the other player" :-)
    Table 197 is right on the rail in the front of the room, next to the massage area, near the cages. So 1) there will be a ton of foot traffic and distractions but 2) the table will probably be one of the first to break up, so at least I won't be there the entire session, although that may not happen for many hours. At least I will have a short trip to the bathroom as needed.
  More TK Friday..... Heff

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Ah, let's see, more details tomorrow, but...

-Played in the Caesars tourney today - over 130 people, great structure - of course, I donked out around 80th getting too aggressive with AKs vs. QQ - but Jenn finished 7th for a nice cash. :-)  That only took seven hours to do, so that was most of the day.

-Hopped over to the Rio, then the Bellagio - basically goofed around, got something to eat, scouted things out.

We're moving out of the Wynn to the Candlewood Suites (Holiday Inn) just off the Strip for the "business" part of the trip Wednesday - so more time to blog then.

Signing off with pix of the day..

Bellagio fountains with Bally's and Paris in the background

Phil Hellumth Jr. at the televised final table of the $1,000 NLHE w/rebuys event, seeking a record-tying 10th WSOP bracelet.

And of course, the all important seat registration card - I'm officially registered and squared away for the Main Event starting Saturday....

Later - Heff...

Monday, July 24, 2006

At the Wynn Las Vegas.

uh, the corner panoramic view from the 38th Floor (with a little "upgrade" via Andrew Jackson from Jenn) rocks.

Anyhow, got in today. The Wynn is, uh, amazing. It's really hot, though no hotter than a Florida summer in August. So far the day has been...

-Getting to Vegas and the Wynn by 1pm Vegas time.

- Checking out the views, the flat screens everywhere, the shower and tub in the bathroom.

- Playing the first available game in the Wynn in the afternoon, 4/8 LHE - and donking off $100 - first conversation with Jenn - "DON'T LET ME PLAY LIMIT HOLD EM AGAIN!"

-Heading to the Rio, checking in with Full Tilt in their lounge - they said they aren't registering their qualifiers until tomorrow afternoon. - while I'm there, seeing Phil Gordon walk out as I get out of a cab, walking by Phil Hellmuth, Brian Haveson, Victor Ramdin, etc, etc, pros everywhere.

-then heading over to the Venetian for dinner at Bouchon (way, way excellent, and at DC prices) - but before that - playing 1/2 NL with Jenn - great moment beforehand - we accidentally walk up to the tournament desk in the back of the room - and there's a woman who accidentally steps on Jenn's foot and is really apologetic and nice about it.... Hello, Jennifer Tilly,  Phil Laak, I see Antonio Esfandiari is over there too,...

Let's see, I play like a ridiculous LAG - I raise 72o preflop into three limpers in the CO, get an UTG caller, he check calls pot on the flop and check raises all in on the turn - board has all paint of purple horseshoes on it :-) -  so I fold 7 high on the turn.

later I raise with black JJ in EP to 15, get 5 callers (?) - flop Jx9d8d, - I lead for half my stack with top set and get in against AQ and fade the T to get back even.

also raise in EP with KQo to 15, only BB calls - he leads T-high flop, I check raise from 15 to 45. we check the turn. river pairs the T - he checks, I bet 70, he folds, I show the bluff. he is not happy.

So, I end up down 75 for the day, a pittance.

Anyhow, Tuesday looks like at tournament day at Caesars, a $130 Noon tournament with a great structure, for practice - maybe more poker, if I have time, go to the Rio and finish up Main Event registration.

I must admit - seeing 200 tables all lined up in the Rio Convention Center - it's intimidating. I'm so out of my league -and yet, I have the same chance as anyone else, really.

I have to keep telling myself that.


phoenix airport = datsun.

I have a running joke about the Nissan Pavilion in Northern Virginia - it has such horrible access for a concert amphitheatre, I jokingly call it Datsun -  because it's not good enough to earn the new Nissan name.

Phoenix International Airport is a Datsun airport.

Connecting now, in Vegas soon.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

one day away

Ok, so our flight leaves for Vegas Monday morning - pretty much everything is buttoned up and ready to go (Jenn is a very good advance planner) and if all goes well the next post should be from the Wynn on the Strip, where we are staying for a couple of days (the original vacation) until we move to a place off the Strip with a few more home amenities, like a kitchen, for the duration of the Main Event.

First thing after we get in Monday, I'll go by the Rio and make sure things are squared away with registration and the like - we're eating dinner at Bouchon in the Venetian that night - and I would imagine the next few days will involve some poker playing, some casino hopping on and off the strip, and generally checking out the city before I have to get down to business Saturday.

So, check for daily updates, and wish me luck.

Oh, almost forgot - she blogs too....


Friday, July 21, 2006

gambool? sort of....

I love to play poker. I don't really like gambling.
The two concepts may sound contradictory at first.
Meaning, most poker players also gamble on other things - dice, sports betting, blackjack, etc. The love the gambling action as much as the skill involved in playing poker.
I rarely gamble, bet, or engage in any gaming other than poker. When I'm in a casino, I don't stop by the table games, sportsbook, or the gaming floor unless I'm killing time and dropping a dollar in the nickel slots. In a nutshell, practically all gambling has a inherent house edge that's extremely hard, if not mathematically impossible, to beat over the long term.
In poker, that edge comes from the other players at the table, and their varying skill levels. You aren't playing against the house or casino, so they doesn't care who wins, so long as the game keeps moving.
You can win long-term and minimize the effects of luck and variance by, among other things

1) playing within your bankroll (if you only have $500, play a 1/2 NL game, not a 2/5) and
2) trying to play most of your pots against the worst players at the table, not the better players.
Now, I have no delusions - There's a huge element of chance in poker. Sometimes you just get cold-decked, or the cards just play themselves and there's nothing you can do about it. Two-outers hit on the river when you're 95% to win. Sometimes you have to make a big bet or raise with just a draw, not a made hand. All you can do is make good decisions, try to get your money in the pot with the best of it, and hope the cards fall your way.
So poker is gambling - but it's also skill, and at least you can apply your skill and ability to create your own "luck", to seek out and take advantage of profitable situations, instead of hoping someone rolls a 7, or a little marble falls on black.
The action is interesting enough - but consistently booking a win, and knowing it's because you played well, is much more rewarding.
When I first started playing, I decided to set aside a few hundred dollars as a strictly poker bankroll. I play only poker with this money, I live life with the check I get from work every two weeks.
A few weeks after I started playing online, I added a few more dollars for a bonus, and then stopped depositing money. I figured, if i can't keep this money going, if I go BUSTO and lose it all, I shouldn't be playing for money, period.
Since then, I've grown the bankroll ever since. Some months are flat, and there have been peaks and valleys. But 1) I've never been close to BUSTO and 2) I'm basically playing off of all profits and winnings whenever I play online or live.
Now, I am overbankrolled for the games I usually play online and probably have wasted too much time not aggressively growing the bankroll and playing bigger games.
I guess if I was more of a gambler, I'd take bigger shots, seek bigger action. But I'm in no hurry to play bigger pots. If the bankroll grows because I'm playing well, then everything else will take care of itself.
Now, none of that really explains why I'm even trying to play the Main Event, where I'm just an average player compared to the field - and only if I'm grading on a curve - but at least it makes me feel like less of a degenerate gambler and more of pure games enthusiast, seeking competition.
Ah, the little stories we tell ourselves...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

we love play pokah....

One of the nice things about having a girlfriend that

1) lets you teach her how to play poker,
2) ends up liking the game, and
3) is actually good at it

is that you can go together and goof around at one of these free poker tournaments local bars run nightly, have a beverage, and get some live play in without having to drive to AC or organize a home game.

Of course the level of play is brutal, with short stacks, escalating blinds, and the fact that no real money is at stake - but we usually go and play once a week anyway just to get out and about.

Last night both of us were done after an hour in a 30-person tournament - nothing exciting happened  - her top two pair went down to a rivered straight, my short stacked open jam six-handed with a suited ace got called by two pocket pairs, one of which flopped quads.

I've only won one of these things - Jenn has actually finished first or second at least six times - she's a much tighter, more conservative player than I am and seems to have these donkaments figured out - while I end up busting myself more often than not.

Maybe she should use the WSOP seat instead of me.

Oh wait, that's right. It's non-transferable. Guess I better tighten up my game. :-)

At least she's coming with me to Vegas. She's never been either.

and so the trip planning begins.....


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Eeyore Quote of the Day

from a book my better half gave me on my birthday - encompasses the donkey mentality perfectly.....

"They haven't got Brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and they don't Think."


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If you're using a blue toy, why not a Smurf?

Yes, it's a little fuzzy, but that is a picture of Eeyore sitting on a stack of chips at the Borgata in Atlantic City. He's my mascot and card protector.
When playing hold 'em live, it's suggested you use some kind of card protector to put on top of your two hole cards so they won't get folded by accident, turned over, or some other disaster. Most people just use an extra poker chip - and some use a knickknack like a mini-globe or a cartoon donkey.
I saw a little Eeyore keychain in Target one day last year and thought it was the perfect size for a card protector, and how silly it would be to use a donkey (poker speak for a stupid, horrible player) in a live game or tournament. I figured 1) it's good for a conversation piece, 2) it makes me look like a sillier, worse player than I am, and 3) it would actually remind me notto be a donkey.
Plus, poker players complain a lot, and sometimes it's good to use the Eeyore voice for a quick laugh....
"I never hit any draws.... Why do I raise with Kings, they'll just get cracked anyway.... They only call me when I bluff...."
So, I bought one, took the keychain part off, and started using it. After a while, I realized I wanted a couple extra in case I lost the one I had, but I couldn't find any more in the stores around here. I actually searched the internet and found an importer in Florida that distributed Disney toys and bought five more direct from them.
Yes, I am a dope.
Anyhow, despite all of this, I am not superstitious about Eeyore. If I lose him, or forget to bring him along when I play, nothing bad happens. I just like having him around.
One other thing. When I first started using Eeyore, he would tip over too easily, so I decided to weigh down his bottom with something to change his center of gravity.
So, every Eeyore has a lucky penny glued heads-up to his ass.

and I'm really not superstitious.


Looks like 1B is it

Word is I will probably start play at the WSOP ME Saturday July 29th, the second of four Day 1 flights... Assuming I survive the cutdown from 2000 to about 700 players, I'd return to the Rio for Day 2 play Tuesday, August 1st, and then again for Day 3 Friday, August 4, when the money bubble will probably burst at around 800 players paid or so.

So if I get deep in the tourney, I'll have two days off been sessions, and plenty of time to recover and relax. After Day 3, though, it's play every day until the final table Thursday the 10th.

Should be interesting - I've never been to Vegas - more on that later....