Monday, August 02, 2004

Poker Rules

iggy: i can only say that you are the finest named online poker player
iggy: ever
ih8vegans: thank you

Welcome to this humble poker blog. I'm drinking & I'm irked so while this likely won't be a full-fledged uber post, I'll do what I can.

I know you expect a new post at work on Monday. I'm here for you, damnit.
Think Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker.

Sigh. I played in the big Sunday Guaranteed Quarter-Million Tournament on Party Poker today. My first ever, amazingly enough. I'm a damn good NL tournament player but my dial-up modem makes attempts to play 6-8 hour poker tournaments highly speculative.

1600 players signed up. First place pays 63k. I only got disconnected twice.

I build a big stack easily and early. I double-through repeatedly, avoiding suckouts somehow.

After four hours, I'm at 12k with about 200 players left. Average stack is around 6k at this point. Hank, who is running bad, shows up to sweat me. Damn you HANK and your bad luck! I move in with Big Slick after seeing only 16% of the flops. You'd think someone would notice, damnit. Get called by TT and I'm sad.

So, now I have an average stack. Down to 150 players. Long story short, I lose with 99 to A4c. I'm very sad now. I'm still replaying that last hand in my head. A4c??

But hell, I had an outstanding weekend at the tables. I played a TON of poker and loved it. Party Poker is just as fishy as ever, I'm still wondering where all these players are coming from. It's been quite a long time since I've experienced a losing weekend on there. Also, I did an overdue update of Poker Tracker last evening and can happily report that I have had only two losing months out of the last 18. These were early last spring when I wasn't playing very much, for assorted reasons.

Gotta love those affirmation moments. When you realize you aren't just throwing dice or flipping coins. When the numbers are stark and bold - no rationalizations possible.

My friend, Royal Poker, once blogged about sharing his bankroll fluctuations with his wife, for the sake of sheer spousal support - scrutiny. I'm a proponent of that because it ultimately gets at the root of things. We all play poker for different reasons and it's truly important to understand our true motivations for doing so. Honestly, for me, it started out as an obsession of knowledge. Like any complex subject, the more I learned about poker, the more questions I had.

Money issues are the number one cause of divorce in this country. Be honest. Accountability is a good thing.

I just asked my wife about this and she said, "Well, if you were a losing player, things might be different. I'd have dumped your ass a long time ago."

Nuff said.

My poor wife. Trying so hard to keep Monty alive. And it's a losing battle. Internal injuries - he ain't gonna make it. :(

So let's link up some stuff, shall we? I'm drunk and snarky. I feel like flaming Stinky but he took his lameass poker site down.

All Shall Fear StinkyPants
Stinky leaving the 2004 WSOP

I'm sad to see my Fast Eddie post disappear into the archives. Here's some follow-up info. In the WCOOP event the next day, I witnessed this chat from him:

AustinKearns: they sent me a bracelet
AustinKearns: its white and says poker stars across it
DirtFli: really?
AustinKearns: yes
AustinKearns: its white and stretches

Good God, he's telling people at his table that Poker Stars sent him a rubberband as a bracelet for being a champion. So very damn funny.

Eddie graciously sent me this email he received from Lee Jones at Poker Stars after winning 50k.

Hi Eddie - I understand getting pretty excited about winning $47K (it's never happened to me, but I imagine I'd get excited too . And I thank you for the apology - though you might want to consider staying sober until you've actually won the event. That's a lot of money to be on the line when you're drunk! But whatever, congratulations on your excellent play and your big win.

Best regards, Lee Jones PokerStars Poker Room Manager

Per previous doubting comments in this here poker blog, Doyle's Room is up and running. Yup, Doyle Brunson is back in the online poker business.

I may have to purchase this:

Mike Caro's Pro Poker Tells video just came out on DVD. We have it in
stock. We'll ship it in one business day. (We still have it on VHS, too.)

A huge thanks to Kevin for sending me a VHS tape of the Fox Sports Net live poker match. American poker championships or something? Watching Phil Ivey play poker is a joy. THANK YOU!

I'm happy to report Zerorake is dying. I have a littany of info about this site but have been loathe to give it any free pimpage. Fuck Dutch Boyd.

Zerorake and rakefree

Dutch Boyd and his old site zerorake.com and rakefree.com were all registered to the same PO box iirc. Do some whoising and you should get your definitive proof.

The fact that zerorake, after explicitly stating they were not affiliated with Dutch Boyd, has not responded to these allegations speaks volumes to me.

He still owes $400,000+ to previous players.

And a taste more:

Dutch Body and his "crew" realized all the heat www.rakefree.com was
getting on the message boards so he decided to use a similar domain
name to start his poker site.

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Created on: 15-Mar-04
Expires on: 15-Mar-05
Last Updated on: 23-Mar-04
Domain servers in listed order:
The domain name was recently registered as can be seen above.
Zerorake.com uses actionpoker.com for its domain servers. If you look
up the registrant of actionpoker.com you will see that it is exactly
the same as pokerspot.com. Pokerspot.com was Dutch's old venture where
he cheated everyone out of there money.
Action Poker
PO BOX 2372
St Johns, St Johns 2372
Antigua and Barbuda

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Created on: 12-Oct-99
Expires on: 12-Oct-05
Last Updated on: 20-Feb-04

Registrant: Make this info private
PokerSpot International (24759286O)
No. 6 Temple Street
P.o. Box 2372
St. Johns, AN
No Valid City, No Valid State
Phone: 999 999 9999
Fax: 999 999 9999


Administrative Contact , Technical Contact :
Boyd, Robert
No. 6 Temple Street
P.o. Box 2372 St. Johns N/A 00000, AN
Phone: (650) 562-1900
Fax: (801) 749-1553

Record expires on 16-Aug-2004
Record created on 16-Aug-1999
Database last updated on 07-Jul-2004

please go to netsol.com to verify the information i have provided.

K, I'm fading fast. Time to link up and pass out. I have many great new poker blogs to pimp but it shall have to wait.

Here's some David Sklansky fodder for you lucky readers.
ML = math logic

The Bottom Line For Me

Here is where I am coming from as precisely as I can put it.

I have for many years felt that I owe my father the responsibility of persuading as many people as possible that being good at and/or studying math and logic will help you in more fields and to a larger degree than what most think. It is the reason I started writing poker books in the first place. The fact that the more I succeed with this persuasion, the greater it will benefit me, is of secondary importance.

By math and logic (ML) I do not mean merely simplistic arithmetic or naming fallacies. What I do mean is not relevant to this post though. That can be discussed elsewhere.

Of course most people admit that ML is critical for a few endeavors and somewhat helpful in a few others.

Where they differ with me, my father, and others, is not realizing that ML can help alot in many fields and help a little in almost all fields. Being a baseball manager is one of thousands of examples. But again this post was not written to argue my agenda. Only to state it.

Someone posted that they ageed being or getting good at ML will help you become a success but the same can be said for other things such as athletics or music. The problem with that comment is that athletics or music talent is almost worthless to your success unless you are truly superb at it. That is not the case for ML. Going from poor to fair, from, fair to good, or from good to great, will help you regardless, in many endeavors. That is my stance anyway.

A good analogy to ML and myriad endeavors, is exercise and sporting endeavors. Both ML and exercise will help you somewhat, but both are no guarantees of success by itself. Many people become successful without them. In fact so many people are successful without them, and so many people are unsuccessful with them, it clouds the fact that doing ML or exercise nicely increases your chances for success. Trotting out counterexamples to refute this point are misleading and in fact a perfect example of arguments by people weak in ML. Its a Bayes' Theorem error that I won't go into here.

Poker is an example of a field where ML is of rather strong importance, especially limit poker. The average player thinks it is of mild importance. Thus it is one field where my agenda fits. Make people realize that it is more important than they think. If I can persuade them about poker perhaps they will more readily accept the same point about other things. (Put succinctly by my father "If you really know math well, you can be good at almost anything." Or more recently on a TV show for kids about math, one 25 year old girl says "That kid Johnny who usually had his head in a math book, what is he doing now? Other girl answers "Whatever he wants.")

Depending on the endeavor and the degree to which you understand ML the greater you increase your chances of success. In some fields you may go from 2% to 4% in others it may be from 0% to 10% (eg physics). In almost all fields I believe the increase is higher than most people think. But again it is no gurantee. To be a better major league baseball manager than one who you are much better than in ML, you must be only very slightly worse than him at recruiting, understanding pitching and handling people. Most ML experts don't meet that criteria. But some do, or could learn to. I believe that those few could win more games than any manager presently out there.

Nowadays, at least 40% of the best 200 poker players are proficient at ML. While only maybe 5% of those who try to make money at poker are. It is a sad commentary that so few see that as strong evidence of my position, at least as far as poker playing is concerned.

When it comes to poker writng the effect is even stronger. Now it is almost impossible to be good at the field without strength (natural or learned) in ML. I would think that would be obvious. But apparently it is not. Usually I give poker playing the most emphasis in pursuing the agenda that I owe my father. Because that's my specialty and that's where most pay me mind. Sometimes I use other examples. Such as Barry Switzer's criticized but correct decision to go for it fourth and two from his 27 with the scored tied and 1:45 to go on the clock. I wish obvious examples like this in sports and other fields were presented to me more often. They are not.

What is presented to me once in a while however is a chance to tout ML when it comes to the field of poker writing. To argue that lack of ML must almost certainly result in a flawed book. But to make that argument I must first assert that the author is in fact weak at ML. I cannot simply criticize the book. I must clearly identify the author as someone who has the temerity to believe that he is qualified to write poker books without good ML and to point out that THAT is most likely WHY the book is flawed. I owe my father and the world at large that. And IF (and only if) being a bit rude (up to a point) increases my chances of succeeding, I will do it (without guilt, but not gleefully either).

But still, we want to know what kind of ass you're getting, David! Fess up!

Geepers, this is getting long. This might be a pseudo uber post. What the heck, let's post this long article about low-limit player done good, Daniel Rentzer, by Jon Eaton. This was written for a college class by Jon Eaton and posted on RGP.

Subject: article about danny rentzer

Daniel Rentzer, a 27-year-old amateur poker player, was in the
midst of playing for a $500,000 first prize in the LA Poker Classic
tournament at the Commerce Casino among poker's elite. He looked down at
his cards: a pair of threes, a hand nicknamed "crabs" in the poker world.

Just moments before, Gus Hansen, a professional poker player,
had made a raise from the $6,000 forced blind-bet to $18,000. The other
three players still left in the tournament folded to Rentzer, who had
already invested $6,000 "blind" (two players start the hand with two bets
that they must make before receiving their cards).

The game was No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker. Players take two
cards down that only they see and combine them with five cards in the middle
that everyone can use and make the best standard 5-card poker hand they can.

I think he has ace-king, Rentzer thought to himself. Rentzer
called with the pair of threes, knowing he was probably a slight-favorite
with the pair against a non-paired hand.

Rentzer had made a daring call in the hand when the community
cards were queen, six, 10, six, two. That meant that if Hansen had any pair
higher than threes as his down cards, or any single queen, six, or 10, then
Rentzer's hand was beat. However, he made the call, because his instincts
led him to believe he had the best hand.

Rentzer confidently showed his cards, and said, "I got a pair of threes."

"Good," Gus said, and leaned back in his seat, stunned Rentzer made such a
bold call.

Rentzer, who has played cards since his childhood, has developed a talent
for the game that allowed him to make a living playing poker.

"I think I have a gift for the game of poker and don't want to
waste a talent that I have put so much work into," Rentzer said.

Rentzer, having just recently graduated from Pepperdine
University with a bachelors in business management, is currently juggling
his career as a poker player with law school. He wants to ensure that he
has an option outside of poker for a living.

"I hope that I can choose either profession as a means of paying
the bills," he said. "I love poker and will always play the game regardless
of whether I choose to find a second occupation or not."

Rentzer rode the recent wave of poker on television and the
Internet to win his way into the 2003 LA Poker Classic at the Commerce
Casino in Los Angeles, by way of a $220 "satellite" tournament, a smaller
tournament designed to let players with limited funds win their way into a
higher buy-in events. The event was televised on the Travel Channel's World
Poker Tour, which airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Rentzer has a love for the Commerce Casino, the place he calls
his "home away from home." It was only natural his first major tournament
appearance was there.

"I have been playing there ever since I turned 21 and learned the most about
the game of poker at the casino," he said. "I have also developed tons of
friends at this casino."

Rentzer ended up finishing second to Hansen in the LA Poker
Classic. His ultimate goal, however, is much more than just to win money
and tournaments.

"I want to make poker more respected and better for everyone,"
he said.

Rentzer has played in numerous tournaments, including the World
Poker Tour Championship event, held each April at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The $25,000 buy-in main event is one of the most prestigious events in the

Having tangled with the best of the best in the poker world,
Rentzer actually considers the inexperienced players the toughest to play.

"People that don't know how to play can have any hand at any
time, and there is almost no way to get a read on someone who does not know
what is going on," he said. "I think all professional players would have a
tough time playing in low-stakes games where everyone is gambling instead of
playing fundamental poker."

Rentzer is also a regular in online card rooms. On any given
night, you can find him playing in high-stakes games against others around
the world. Obviously, online poker has had a huge impact on the poker
world. Now, people can play virtually all day against others at various
different games.

Online poker has even given people the chance to win entries into larger
buy-in events for much less than even in real casinos. Chris Moneymaker,
the 2003 World Champion of poker, won his way in for $40, whereas others put
up $10,000 to enter the event. But the full impact of online poker is still

Rentzer has a lot of praise for online poker.

"Online poker has given tons of people a chance to compete in a realm where
they were never before able to play," he said. "It has also given tons of
players a chance to compete with professional players that they may never
had a chance to play against before."

Rentzer said that among the most complex things in poker, such
as the psychological aspect, the mathematical aspect and the mental aspect,
the most difficult thing to master is patience, and not going on "tilt."
Tilt refers to a player playing recklessly after having a good hand being
beaten by a weaker one, where the winner was actually mathematically a
long-shot to win.

But of all the things that he has encountered, Rentzer keeps
coming back. The losses, the wins and all the money are just things that he
keeps in the back of his mind. He no longer plays over a few beers with
friends, he is playing to pay the bills.

But it's not just the money that keeps him coming back. Poker is a game with a never-ending supply of new situations.

"I keep coming back for the love of the game," he said. "Every
time I play, I learn something new."----

I suppose I should have just linked to that, but it seemed worthy in my Guinness fueled haze.

OK, let's wrap this up with style. This past week of poker caused me to take pause. Fast Eddie won 50k and a few days before, Senor Beef, a regular on RGP, won 93k in a big online tourney. DAMN. Why am I wasting my time grinding?

I'm an idiot. Tis funny cause it's true. Most folks who know me think I'm profoundly retarded for grinding out win after win, instead of taking a shot at a nice payday. I think I finally see the light. Thank you for your patience.

Fast Eddie is 23.
Senor Beef is 22.

Senor is a low-limit player. And a pretty cool guy, from what I can ascertain. Senor won his first satellite into the event for $62 (buy in, rebuy, add on), and kept the seat. This a great freaking story. I hope you enjoy it - it took forever to format with this new shitty blogger editor.

Trip Report of winning a big multi. Parlay $60 bucks into $93,000. That's why we play this silly game, isn't it? Here's a first hand account - a blow by blow.

This is long but sooooooooo worth it.
Hoyt = Hoyt Corkins, WPT star & poker pro

Tourney report: $500+$30 Sunday. Long.

From: SenorBeef (senorbeef@yayforspam.com)

The guys at 2+2 wanted me to write up a tourney report, so I did. I figured people here might be interested, so I'd cross post.

I'm not really sure all what's supposed to be included in a tournament report, so I'll just discuss my overall strategy, big hands, and my thoughts behind some stuff. Might be some inaccurate info there as this is from memory, but I'm not going to comb over every hand history for the tournament.

A bit of history: I played tournaments when I was first learning to play poker because you could get a lot of play out of 5 bucks. I do think I had a bit of a talent early on - I was making final tables in 200+ player events fairly frequently, but these were just $5 tournies, or $1 rebuys, or whatever. After I became more experienced, I started leaning towards cash games. I did play a significant amount of sit and goes, but playing multitable tournaments went out the window for me except for an occasional one just for kicks for about 9 months. The sunday before I won, my poker stars account (not my whole bankroll obviously) was down to $41.85. I decided to take a long shot on the 5am $20 tourney, and I ended up winning out of 180 players, for $1080.

From there, I began playing more tournaments in the $10-$50 range - I got 6/887 in a $10 rebuy for $1400, which was particularly frustrating because at the final 12 or so I had a dominating chip lead (30% above second) and I believe I was the most skilled player left. I called big stacks with hands like AQ and got sucked out by A8 - I doubled 3 small or medium stacks up,with, IIRC, 2 hands I dominated and one coin flip. Crippled me enough to make the final 6 but not beyond, when my blind attempt steal ran up against AK and I busted.

I decided to play one of the $22 rebuy satellites to the $530, and won in my first. I found the structure to be crazy, but if one adjusts properly, the games to be very soft. I ended up playing 6 of those satellites and winning 4, giving me a lot of tourney bucks to work with.

Out of 12-15 tournaments, winning one, 6/887 in another, and winning 4 big satellites where only about the top 10% qualified made me reconsider playing more tournaments because it was clear that I at least had some talent for them. So I looked towards the $530 optimistically, though realistically expecting to bust before the bubble.

As it began, I played a more conservative style than is typical for me. I knew I was going to be up against a tough crowd, and while the blinds were still low, I only wanted to enter hands with a reasonable chance of stealing or when I had a good chance of being the favorite. I was in 322/655 at the first break, not having gone anywhere.. up a whole 300 chips. I played conservatively, won a few small pots, but didn't have much opportunity to win anything big. There was a big hand in which I held jacks and AK vs AK went all in against me. I couldn't call there, but it would've been sweet if I did, as I'd have tripled up early.

I became a bit looser as the blinds went up, and won a few medium pots in the second hour.

By the end of the second hour, I was doing much better - a little over 10k chips (4x starting chips), in 52nd of 356.

I was sitting to the right of Josh Arieh during the third hour, which I thought was pretty cool. I'm still a low limit player learning the game, so sitting at the same table as the guy who came in third in the WSOP main event was a bit exciting for me. I wasn't intimidated, although I did watch him more than other people probably.

I had another opportunity like above - I threw away 77 when AK and AK both went all in before me. I don't recall the exact chip positions, but in this case, at least one of them either had me covered or had enough to do significant damage, and so it was a relatively easy throw away.

Again, neither hit, and I'd have taken down a HUGE pot if I called. Ah well. In the third hour, I was willing to be looser because of the blinds, but was running pretty dry. I made about 3k chips to be around 13k, 73/151 at the time.

One memorable hand: I called a short stack, IIRC about 1/4th to 1/3rd my stack's all in from middle position with 66. In tournaments like that, I don't mind taking a coin flip with someone who only has the ability to take 1/4th my stack. I was up against AK and the flop came KKx. I begged "save meat the river, stars..." and I hit my two outer. Lucky, obviously, but it wasa coin flip in the first place and I was in a position where gambling couldn't cripple me.

*** FLOP ***
[Kh 8s Kc]SenorBeef said, "brutal"
SenorBeef said, "save me at the river stars"***
RIVER *** [Kh 8s Kc 7d] [6h]
SenorBeef said, "oh man"
Ector said, "all u have to do is ask"
SenorBeef said, "that river miracle worked on my side for once"

I made some money stealing blinds and raises at this point, and that was a significant booster because of the blinds at the time. Once we start getting near the money, I like picking on smaller stacks, as no one wants to bust out right before the button, and they're apt to give up a hand much more easily. Having one of them raise 4x the BB and then being able to steal that gives you a significant boost.

I got lucky and hit a 3 outer when I was all in preflop with AQ against KK.

I'd reraised a small stack 4800 preflop, and they went all in for another 3000 - I had to call with AQ, I think. Was up against KK and got lucky. I was only gambling for 1/3rd of my chips at that point, though - that was key. I'm always more willing to gamble obviously when losing only takes 1/3rd my stack.

Looking over my hand histories, I notice I stole some big pots without a showdown from Erik123. I know that name from somewhere, so perhaps he's a famous online player and I don't recall it. I ended up going from 13k to 40 kwith only one showdown and that was only for a net +7000 pot. (Unless I'm forgetting something). I was using pressure very well against smaller stacks, especially before the bubble when they were extra cautious.

I gained about 18k chips (to add to my 38) when AJ went all in against me preflop when I had AQ and it actually held up. I raised 4x BB in the SB, and the BB reraised me all in. It was entirely possible they were making a play against a steal with a crap hand, so AQ seemed like a no brainer calling hand there.

I busted a few very small stacks (like 4k to my 60k) with stuff like AJ - I became very aggressive and loose towards tiny stacks that couldn't really dent me when I had a reasonable hand.

I think I was the chip leader during this time period for about 45 minutes. I was getting excited but not overly so, actually, I was surprisingly calm I suppose.

Glancing back over the hand histories, I was playing tighter than I would normally be under the circumstances. The size of that tournament's pool changed my play, I think - that's probably a bad thing, but I adapted pretty well. I might've been a bit shell shocked from when I got 6/887 before when I was in the chip lead and doubled too many people up. I didn't want to risk the chip lead so early I suppose with big gambles. I stole my share of blinds, but not much more than my share.

I doubled some small stacks up in this time period too, so it wasn't all swinging my way.

I lost the lead when medium stacks with 40k start going all in against each other once we hit the money and whoever won became automatically the new chip leader. I was still in the top 10 for a while though. AQ seems to be my lucky hand of the tournament - I won a lot of pots with it, I'm noticing.

A bit after we got in the money, I was sitting next to Scott Fischman, of recent and fleeting ESPN WSOP coverage fame. He was getting absolutely hammered by observer comments about "the crew" and, well, their supposed circle jerks to petting zoo molestation and everything in between. I almost joined in myself just for the hell of it and said "I'd try to join the crew if I win this tournament, but I think I may be too heterosexual", but decided it was in poor taste. Apparently not too poor to put up in a tourney report, though... It would've just been friendly joking though, as I don't really have an opinion on them either way. He was lucky to survive for as long as he did - he had about 1/3rd to half the average stack and kept going all in to steal blinds and never got called. He exposed himself constantly though, and not always from late position.

Looking back, I doubled up a LOT of small stacks trying to bust them, but only ones small enough not to be significant. I stole a decent few blinds and won some small and medium pots to make up for it though.

The observer chat when we were down to 60 or so was flooding. I was considering turning it off as a distraction but a few people I'd met earlier in the tournament from near my home town were talking to me. But damn, those railbirds get noisy towards the end. The observer chat was shut off when wewere down to maybe 5 tables, IIRC.

mal247 [observer] said, "senor are you giong to be *****ing about bad beats on RGP all week"
SenorBeef said, "yes mal"

We were down to 34 when I busted Eric Lindgren. Unfortunately, I can't claim any big stories where I busted him with a huge pot, or that I outplayed him - he was crippled by the previous hand and called all in because he has less than the BB. I was in the BB and had a free flop.. beat him with K4o. Still, I thought it was cool that I got a chance to bust a famous (for poker), WPT winning player in a big tournament. I'd rack up another one later....

At this point the blinds were 3-6k and I was stealing with just about anything from late position. The increased value of the blinds and antes offset the risk of exposure.

SenorBeef said, "this alone might put me on the yearly tourney leader board,eh? :P"
sevup [observer] said, "ive got money beef the mouth doesnt even make the final table"
SenorBeef said, "yeah you're right, I'm gonna end up busting 29th because of my arrogance"
sctirish1 [observer] said, "i wonder when beef will be done talking about how good he is"

I got raised in the SB by the button for 24k (of my 95k stack), and the button had me covered, so this possibly was a fool hardy move, but I figured he'd raise with plenty of hands he wouldn't call with there.. I raised allin with 55. I was playing to win at this point, not come in 25th...

SenorBeef collected 59200 from potSenorBeef: shows [5h 5c] (a pair of Fives)SenorBeef said, "behold the power of presto"
SenorBeef said, "!!!!"

That reraise steal with a low pair might've bought me some action later, too.. in retrospect it's probably action I didn't want. I just got too drunk with the power of presto.

Here's the biggest hand of the tournament for me, so I'm going to paste the history. It's a modified history - I wrote a little program to clean up my hand history file so I could follow it more easily. It cut out the chat, emphasized what hand I was dealt for easy tracking, cut out ante posts, and deleted people from the showdown info that didn't contribute any money to the pot.

*********** # 374 **************
PokerStars Game #569074819: Tournament #2039022, Hold'em No Limit - LevelXVII
(6000/12000) - 2004/07/25 - 22:38:32 (ET)Table '2039022 71'
Seat #1 is the button
3: SuitedAces (89940 in chips)
Seat 6: easyH (109762 in chips)
Seat 1: SenorBeef (111072 in chips)

I'm still among the top half of chip positions at this point, with 19 people left.

Seat 2: lucky karma (63496 in chips)
Seat 7: emptyseat88 (27348 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (99829 in chips)lucky karma: posts small blind 6000
SuitedAces: posts big blind 12000

*** HOLE CARDS ***

***-------------------------> Dealt to SenorBeef [As Qd]

easyH: raises 24000 to 36000

Hoyt (Hoyt = Hoyt Corkins) here has been trying to run over half the pots since he came down to the table. His game is all about putting massive amounts of pressure on everyone. I figured him to be raising with a large variety of hands, nothing likely to be too strong.

emptyseat88: calls 26748 and is all-in

He's very short stacked and he also knows that Hoyt is putting on pressure without the best of hands, and therefore, his call doesn't necesarily signify an especially strong hand.

melonhead: folds

SenorBeef: raises 74472 to 110472 and is all-in

My plan was this: Since hoyt was probably just applying pressure, if I reraise all in (I have him covered) and he has a mediocre hand, he'll fold, leaving me heads up with Fischman, who I have very much out chippped, with alot of dead money from the blinds, antes, and Hoyt's raise in the pot. I figured if I was a coin flip against Fischman (very likely he had a low pair given what I said above), with all that extra dead money in the pot, it would be a very profitable play. Comments?

easyH: calls 73162 and is all-in

Uh oh.

*** FLOP *** [4h 5c Tc]
*** TURN *** [4h 5c Tc] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [4h 5c Tc 8s] [Kd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***

easyH: shows [Jd Jh] (a pair of Jacks)
SenorBeef: shows [As Qd] (high card Ace)
easyH collected 164828 from side pot
emptyseat88: shows [Qh Ac] (high card Ace)
easyH collected 101844 from main pot

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot 266672
Main pot 101844.
Side pot 164828.

Board [4h 5c Tc 8s Kd]

Seat 3: SuitedAces (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: easyH showed [Jd Jh] and won (266672) with a pair of Jacks
Seat 1: SenorBeef (button) showed [As Qd] and lost with high card Ace
Seat 2: lucky karma (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: emptyseat88 showed [Qh Ac] and lost with high card Ace

Figures. The situation I described above - matching overcards vs an underpair - is something I shied away from earlier and it cost me 2 big pots. This time, I play it, but I'm on the losing end. I don't feel I made a bad play here for the reasons I outlined above, it just didn't go my way. I'd appreciate comments about this hand.

Seat 8: SenorBeef (1310 in chips)
SenorBeef: posts the ante 600

I had 710 chips left after posting the ante on that pot. Average stack at the time was ~100k?.

I had a miraculous run. I was dealt Q9 there, won an 8k main pot from blinds and antes. 82o the next hand, UTG+1. Next hand, UTG, I have K6.. better to go all in here than be forced all in with a random blind hand, so I do.

Someone raises me to isolate it heads up (yay for me) and I'm against 66. I get lucky and catch my 3 outer, and now I'm up to 32k. However, I have to post a 12k blind.

This is perhaps my most questionable play of the tournament, but I don't feel it was clear cut bad: a middle position player raises all in when I'm in the BB with 37o. 37o is only a 3:2 dog to big cards. I have more than 1/3rd of my stack in, with the blinds, and also, 18th to 10th pays the same payout, so I have no concern over busting in 18th place. However, if I want to rebuild a chip lead, I'm going to have to mix it up and get lucky. So I called, heads up. He flips over AQ - as I'd hoped, I'm only a 3:2 dog. I caught a 3 and now I'm up to 75k. I made a recovery from 710 chips to 75k in 3 hands.

Granted, I got lucky, but I didn't make any bad decisions, I don't think. You can argue the 37 decision, but I think I had sound logic for making that call. Also, the hand that crippled me I played fairly well too.. so even though I got lucky, I don't think I made any bad decisions there. I'd love to hear comments though.

From there, I played my 75k very well and built it up fairly quickly.

A few hands later, I still needed chips, I made a steal play from MP with 33 against a small big blind (30k) figuring I had a high chance of getting called, but probably being a coin flip. Keep in mind: 10th to 18th place pay the same, it doesn't matter. I have no reason not to take risks here. I'm not playing to squeak out 9th place. I got called by KJ and won that coin flip, getting me back up near average stack.

I got 33 again a few hands later with a raiser (with a decent stack) in front of me and folded.

I busted a guy with jacks again AK and got back up amongst the chip leaders at 225k.

Won a coin flip with a guy with 50k. I've been mostly lucky on coin flips after that miraculous recovery - but I've been putting myself in situations where I'm up against a guy with 1/3rd my stack, tops - so it's not like I'm putting my whole tourney on the line and getting lucky.

I busted the 10th player out with QQ vs Q9 to get to the final table. At the final, the starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 3: easyH (726412 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 4: lucky karma (90184 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 9: melonhead (173467 in chips)
Seat 1: BigArmo (77296 in chips)
Seat 2: the new plan (147515 in chips)
Seat 5: delta3 (133672 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (169504 in chips)
Seat 7: dass (304115 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (312835 in chips)

The only person of the group I knew well was easy H, Hoyt. He'd been trying to run over my table for a while now, and I was afraid of him. He was willing to risk his entire tourney, put me all in, at any time, and that was dangerous. I tried to avoid him until later stages because I didn't want to take the risk. He knew that, of course, and that was part of his strategy.

BigArmo I had played with a decent bit, along with delta3, and dass at least for one table, so I had at least vague reads on their style or better. The other ones I don't recall knowing, although they may have been on my tables at some point.

I became more conservative when we hit the final table. I was playing to win, but.. I had the stack to ride out a few people busting. When I was in 18th and 10th to 18th paid the same, I could throw caution to the win and go nuts. But now... I would move up 5k or so for everyone that busted out. I wasn't timid, I just wasn't going to tangle with the big stacks that early, there was no reason to. I was still very aggressive when I entered a hand, but I was playing tight, and playing position strongly (steals, etc.)

I got a lucky break when a 270k stack (dass) who had me covered went allin in MP and I called with QQ. Possibly a risky call with so many people left and him having me covered, but I figured I was either a big favorite or a coin flip. I wouldn't have expected him to go all in on AA or KK, so I figure.. either I dominate him and have a good shot at doubling, or he's got AK and we'll play a coin flip. Under the circumstances, though risky, it seemed worth the risk. I called, he had A7, my hand held up, and I had doubled up.

A hand I get some flak for - I caught Q3o in the BB which was 30k. A player goes all in for 80k on a blind steal, him in the SB, me in the BB. He's short stacked and very aggressive (dass) and I figure he can be going in with any 2 hands here. Q3 is not a good calling hand, however, I'm risking, at worst, 1/10th my stack, already have 3/8ths of his bet invested, and have a chance to knock out a good player and move myself up 5k, with little risk to myself in terms of chips. I get a lot of inexperienced rail birds saying "you play q3?? you suck!!" but I think under the circumstances it was a good decision. Comments welcome. He ended up having AK.. and I caught a boat - yeah, lucky, but it wasn't a bad call under the circumstances and I was only a 3:2 underdog.

I had a similar lucky hand a few hands later: A player ahead of me, UTG + 2, goes all in for 90k. This is arguably my worst call of the tournament. He was being somewhat aggressive for blind steals, but not especially. A 30k blind, however, was about thit his 90k stack, so I figured his raising requirements to be relatively low. I was hoping he had maybe king high or a low pair.. and I called with A6s. That was a loose call, and maybe a bad call, but I have a lot of chips and I'm very anxious to bust people. He flipped over AQ and I ended up lucking out and catching a flush. That's the only hand where I got lucky where I may not have made a good decision, I believe, but as always, comments are welcome

He busted, and with 5 left, the table looked like this:Seat 3: easyH (637884 in chips)

Seat 4: lucky karma (71392 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (272888 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (749058 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (403778 in chips)

My goal at this point was to avoid Hoyt or catch him with a big hand when he's trying to run me over (QQ-AA) I wanted the small stacks busted because the prize money really moved up from here and I wasn't afraid to try to bust them myself. I still played relatively conservatively towards the medium stack and hoyt, but was very aggressive towards the low stacks.

S 18 finally called one of Hoyt's bullying preflop raises and doubled up off him. I was relieved. No disrespect to S 18, but I thought I could handle him better with chips than Hoyt - and that I could handle Hoyt pretty well if he was a small to medium stack.

Down to 4:
Seat 8: SenorBeef (604558 in chips)
Seat 9: melonhead (400278 in chips)
Seat 3: easyH (321820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (808344 in chips)

I open-raised from the SB with melon head in the BB with TT for 120k (4x BB). He went all in for a little under 400k. It's a risk to my stack, but.. he could easily just be making a play against what he feels is a weak blind steal attempt, and hoping I fold. I decide with 120k already in, I'd call the 280k, because it doesn't take him a big hand to make that move from the BB. Turns out he did have a big hand - AK, and I won the coin flip.

And we're down to 3.

Seat 3: easyH (453820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (716344 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (964836 in chips)

I'm feeling extremely confident at this point, and my strategy is more loose aggressive because the worst I can do here is 38k if I bust. I might as well go for the win.

And.. Hoyt keeps up his pressure tactics, and I get a hand I feel is worth calling:

*********** # 447 **************

PokerStars Game #569231629: Tournament #2039022, Hold'em No Limit - Level XX(20000/40000) - 2004/07/25 - 23:45:05 (ET)

Table '2039022 31' Seat #8 is the button

Seat 3: easyH (453820 in chips)
Seat 6: S 18 (716344 in chips)
Seat 8: SenorBeef (964836 in chips)
easyH: posts small blind 20000
S 18: posts big blind 40000

*** HOLE CARDS ***

*** -------------------------> Dealt to SenorBeef [Jd Ah]

SenorBeef: raises 80000 to 120000

easyH: raises 331820 to 451820 and is all-in

S 18: folds

SenorBeef: calls 331820

*** FLOP ***
[5d 8s 3h]

*** TURN ***
[5d 8s 3h] [9h]

*** RIVER ***
[5d 8s 3h 9h] [8h]

*** SHOW DOWN ***

easyH: shows [Qs Jh] (a pair of Eights)
SenorBeef: shows [Jd Ah] (a pair of Eights - Ace kicker)

SenorBeef collected 949640 from pot

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot 949640
Board [5d 8s 3h 9h 8h]
Seat 3: easyH (small blind) showed [Qs Jh] and lost with a pair of Eights
Seat 6: S 18 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: SenorBeef (button) showed [Jd Ah] and won (949640) with a pair of Eights

AJ Isn't the greatest hand, but he's raising with nearly anything on the button, and I have the chips to risk busting him. Turns out I had him dominated, and I was much relieved to have him gone. He'd refused a deal when we were down to 4.. so I dunno how happy he is with his 38k. Probably not too sad...

It was a few hands after this that S 18 and I made a deal, which, since this post is already huge, I'll address in another thread. I got 92.5k, he got $74,030. I'm happy with the deal I made. After the deal, after all that tension and 7 and a half hours of playing.. after all we were fighting for were TLB points, we both just sort of went nuts. The hand that won it for him was 33 vs QT.. he won the coin flip with 33. He technically took first place, but for all intents and purposes, I won the most money, had a 3:1 chip lead at the end, and made the favorable deal.. so I consider myself to have won.

Fuck blogger. That took WAY too long to format. VERY angry. I should be writing, not formatting text, damnit.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I've still a ton of great poker content for you in the que but it shall have to wait till next time.

And remember, I don't do this for free, err, wait.....yes, yes, I do. Please consider signing up for Party Poker with bonus code IGGY as a way of supporting this humble poker blog. 20% deposit bonus for new players plus now offering rake kickbacks for those of you who care about these things. Email me.

Damn, I'm drunk tired. Thanks to anyone reading this drivel. I'm just making this up as I go along....

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