July 21st, 2006

WSOP Event #30 - $5000 NLHE 6-handed

Despite what you may have read on 2+2, this report is not coming to you from a Los Angeles prison.

Well, I finally feel like I played a tournament fairly well. Too bad it only lasted four levels anyway.

I figured that this might be the toughest field so far for me. Kristy Gazes and Carlos Mortensen were at my starting table. Carlos was on my immediate left, but way tighter (or more probably, catching cold) than his reputation. On my immediate right was an older gentleman. He sat down and started doing things like betting 600 into limped pots (blinds 25-50 to start). He was just playing extremely wildly and aggressively, betting and raising large amounts all the time. He never got to a showdown, because either his massive overbet would cause his opponent to fold, or they would raise and he would lay down. After about 15 minutes he makes it 300. Carlos cold-calls on the button. The flop comes 6-5-4. Old guy bets 600 and Carlos calls. Turn 2. Old guy bets all-in for like 3000, Carlos calls like a shot with 54 (I promise he played really tight after that). Old guy turns over Q8 for no pair no draw and is drawing dead.

As the fates would have it, the open seat would be filled by an acquaintance of the same guy, who also played overaggressive, but not nearly so much so.

I played a bunch of small pots (of course, it's a shorthanded tournament) at my first table but there was probably only one interesting hand. Carlos raised utg to 300 and I defended with 87s (or some similar suited connector). The flop came 953 (or something else that gave me a gutshot). I checked, Carlos bet 425 and I called. The turn was a Q; I checked and he thought for a while and then checked. The river was a dud, I bet 650 and Carlos folded.

This table broke shortly after. The second table seemed fairly tough and aware of what was going on. If they erred it was probably on the tight side. I did not recognize anyonoe at the table. The six seat made a fairly big mistake on the following hand. I raised to 300 with TT in the 50-100 round and he called out of the SB. The flop came down 7-5-3 with a flush draw. He checked, I bet 300 and he called. The turn was another 3. He checked, I bet 600 and he called. The river was a scary card, a 4 that brought in the flush draw. He bets 1500 and I call. He immediately starts shaking his head once I call and turns over 87.

I play a bunch of small pots. Twice in the 100-200 round I get to jam the flop with straight draws and force a laydown. At 100-200/25 I pick up KK in the SB. I raise to 600 and he calls. After the call he has ~4000. The flop comes gin, K94 with two clubs. I bet 600 and he calls. The turn is a 4. I figure I would give up enough in this spot and I would like to protect future give-ups, so I check. In retrospect betting 1200 is probably a lot better because then I can put him in on the river. Oh well. Instead, he bets 1100 and after some thought I move him in. He thinks for very long time, saying "you must be bluffing, you must be bluffing" repeatedly, but then folds.

A few hands later I kind of misplay a hand again. A player raises to 600 and gets two callers. I call in the SB with KcQh. The BB also calls. The flop comes 9h-8h-4, and we check it around. The turn is a Jh. I decide to bet 1200 with my overcards/gutshot/3rd nut one card gutshot, which I think is correct. The BB calls and the preflop raiser calls. The river pairs the 4. I bet 2000. The BB thinks for a while and calls, the raiser folds, and the BB shows QT no hearts for a straight.

A few hands after that, I'm out. 2utg raises to 600, it gets cold-called and I am in the SB with AJ. With 6200 chips I consider sticking it all in there. But I decide to just call, which I think is at least close to correct if not correct. The flop comes JTx, I check, raiser makes it 1500, I make it 4000, he puts in my last 1600, I obviously call. He turns over KQ and hits his 9 immediately to leave me drawing dead.

If it seems from the description that I didn't necessarily play all that great, it's because I only put in the hands where I think my decision(s) are a bit on the debateable side. Overall I think I played well and I'm back on track. Also I'm glad that if I was going to bust out on day 1 that I did it relatively early like I did today. This way I got some necessary shopping done and also got to go to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class (where things did not go so well as nearly bit my tongue off getting triangle choked).

Tomorrow: $2000 NL, pre-bought with PokerStars W$.

WSOP Event #31 - $2000 NLHE

They let me out on day parole, so I decided to play the $2000 NLHE that I was bought into via PokerStars. At my starting table was a guy by the name of Brandon Adams, who has a new poker novel out entitled Broke. Brandon gave me a personalized copy at the table. He seems like a nice guy and played well in the time we were together, so I look forward to reading his book.

I got off to by far my best start to this tournament, getting up to nearly 8000 by the first break. I think I've only ever even doubled up once before the first break, so to quad up is pretty nice. On the second hand of the tournament I defend my BB with Ah6h. The flop comes 8h6d2h. I check, my opponent bets 150, I raise to 450, he raises to 800, I jam and he folds. A few hands later, I have AA and raise to 75, he re-raises to 375 out of the BB, I put him in and he calls with AK. So it was a pretty short day for him and a great start for me.

I pick up a few more hands and win some small pots for the rest of the round. I pick up TT in early position in the 25-50 round and make it 125. I get a cold-call two to my left, and late position makes it 600, leaving himself with 1800. I call and the other guy folds. The flop comes KT3. I check-jam, he calls instantly, but turns over 33.

A little while later a short stack raises to 150 from middle position, I call from the SB with KQ, and Chris Bigler also calls in the BB. The flop comes K8x, I check, Chris checks and the raiser jams for his 625. I call, Chris folds, my opponent shows 98 and misses. Other than some preflop wins, this marks the end of anything good that happens to me.

The open seat is filled by ex-NHL player Travis Green. Travis seems like a really nice guy, enjoying talking about hockey with the other hockey fans at the table, and asking us about ourselves. I even asked him about his famous kiss and despite apparently still feeling embarrassed about it after so many years, he had a good sense of humour about it. Travis arrived to the table with not a lot of chips and was in push-or-fold mode, but he seemed to make good decisions doing so. Interestingly, the seat formerly held by the guy I beat with A6s vs ?? and AA vs. AK was also filled by a former NHL player. His first name was Eric and apparently he played a total of three games for the Bruins. So I may be the first person in WSOP history to eliminate two players in the same tournament who are ultimately replaced by someone who has played in the NHL. Nifty.

Green is eventually eliminated and replaced by Layne Flack. Layne starts off by confusing the shit out of me, asking me how I did yesterday, how "the Swedish kid in the one seat" did, and how "the fat guy to [my] left who busted [him]" did. Since I don't remember playing with Layne yesterday, and the guy to my left yesterday was a thin young guy, I figured out that it was a case of mistaken identity. However, Layne then recalls that I used to work for PokerStars, and that I managed their support team. He remembers that we talked about PokerStars at the Bike. What's fairly impressive is that this conversation was almost two years ago, and we only played together for about an hour and never got involved in a significant pot.

A few laps in, Layne opens from the cutoff for 375 in the 50-100 round. Layne has about 1600 behind after making the raise. The SB calls and I raise to 1000 with 88. Layne puts it in, the SB folds. Layne shows TT, I don't improve and he doubles through me to take me down to about 5000. Four hands after that I have AT in the cutoff and raise to 300. Now a short-stack pushes for 1300 from the SB. I call him, he has 66 and I don't improve. Hm. Anyone else like to be doubled up? A couple laps later I go for a blind steal with K9, get re-raised by the SB, and fold. So in that space I go from chip-leader to in push-fold mode with 2600.

In the last hand of the 100-200 (no ante) round, it's folded around to me in the cutoff and I have 55. I slide my 2400 in. The button folds. It's on the SB (the guy I doubled up with 66 vs AT), who seems to be somewhat inexperienced in live poker. He very quietly says "raise". It's fairly loud during the last hand of the break with everyone getting up, talking to one another, on their cell phones, etc. and I think the only two people that heard him say raise are me, the BB and the dealer. The BB says something imperceptible to the SB but points at my stack, thus obviously communicating words to the effect of "are you sure you meant to raise? That guy's already all-in."

So here's today's audience question. We all know that if I call for a floorman he's almost certainly going to rule that his verbal declaration is going to stand (which means that he'll be calling all-in, as I had him covered). From an ethical perspective, should you ask the floor to come over for a ruling? From an ev perspective, should you ask the floor for a ruling? Ignore the fact that the dealer chose to ignore the error and give the player the option to call or fold, because that's in fact what the dealer did. Anyway, I elected not to call for the floor, he folded, and I won the blinds.

Not much to report after that. We came back from break to 100-200/25, I folded most of my first orbit, then open-pushed with JT 2-off. The cutoff called immediately, which I figured meant I was in a world of trouble, but he turned over 88, one of the best hands in his distribution for me. But again I couldn't pair, so that ended my day.

Tomorrow: $5000 PLHE. Should be a good one.