Friday, August 25, 2006

Travel Update

Laura and I are having a wonderful time so far on the trip. We head to Madison tonight, then it is off to Chicago for two nights, then probably one night in Pennsylvania or New York, and then we reach her home in Vermont.

After long consideration I have decided to come home on September 1st for a few days before starting an epic fall travelling the circuit. There are just too many things I want/need to do in Colorado to get my life together in preparation for the fall. I arrive at DIA on Sept 1 at 7:15 PM.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rubbing It In

From: Thomas Fuller (
Subject: LOL

To Whom It May Concern -

About one month ago I sent you the following email:

Subject: Some of Party Poker's Finest Making Runs on Tournament Circuit

Hello. My name is Thomas Fuller and I have been a regular on Party Poker for almost three years now. For the last two years I have consistently played the highest-limit cash no limit tables available on the site. Although I am a professional player who plays mostly online, I play exclusively on Party Poker.

The reason I am writing this email is to inform you that my group of friends and I have started playing frequently on the live tournament circuit, and have been very close to some major successes. Three days ago my friend Paul Wasicka finished 14th in the 5k NLHE at the WSOP, and I finished 11th in the same event. Paul placed 15th in the WPT Championship main event two months ago.

My friends and I have rented a home in Las Vegas for the World Series and are playing almost all of the NLHE and PLHE events, including the main event. The players staying at this house are all Party Poker regulars, including

Thomas Fuller (tfuller, GnightMoon, APotIsAPot)
Paul Wasicka (kwicky, Kwickfish)
Christopher Moore (gcnmoo, schnie23)
Jason DeWitt (TheMasterJ33)
Joel Patchell (gamblegambel)
Nick Saxon (hostileblue)
Chris Viox (PiMaster)

As the 5k NLHE got down to the last two tables Wednesday night, Paul and I began talking to potential sponsors about a licensing deal if we made the final table. I feel that each of us on the list above could make a major breakthrough at any time, and wanted to give PartyPoker the "heads up" on sponsoring us. Like I said earlier, I've never played on any site but Party, and would like to give PartyPoker the opportunity to sponsor us before another site swoops in and steals us away.

Thank you for providing the games that have made this all possible. I hope to hear back from you soon.


Thomas Fuller

Your response was as follows:

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for contacting us.

We would first like to congratulate you for your performance at the events! We thank you very much for your continued patronage. We have added an amount of $25.00 to your account in goodwill. We do acknowledge that this might not completely justify the kind of bonus you might deserve. However, we just thought we could express our gratitude!!
We have forwarded your e-mail to the marketing department so that they can look into the matter. We request you to write to for matters such as this in future.

PartyPoker Customer Care

About a week later the marketing department got back to me with this response:

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for your kind email. I am glad you are enjoying our games. Online poker is a good platform to hone your skills and I am glad we could contribute to your current offline success. Unfortunately we do not sponsor any players "in advance". After a successful major event, we will be happy to negotiate a very attractive deal, but not at this point. Good luck in the main event. I hope you will be joining us at our Party at MGM.

Kind regards,
Irina Evita Cornides
VIP Marketing Manager

Since then both Chris Viox and Jason DeWitt made final tables at the WSOP, I cashed five times total at the WSOP and Paul Wasicka did pretty well in the main event. Thanks for your consideration.

Thomas Fuller

Friday, August 11, 2006

The End of the Story

I've been saying for about a week now that this summer has been like reading a really good book. It's been thrilling. You strive forever to finish the book and when it's finally over, it comes as a shock that there's nothing more to read. The experience is over. Eventually there will be another book to read.

Ironically, in the wake of by far the most important and exciting event in the history of this blog and my career, I will not be writing anything about the experience or its ramifications for at least a week or two. I'm going rafting with the six million dollar man and a bunch of friends in Utah this week, then taking a road trip. At some point I will be writing A LOT about all of this but for now I will just say I thought Jamie Gold played spectacular poker yesterday and is a very deserving World Champion.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Final Nine

Seat 1: Richard Lee, 11,820,000 chips
I don't know anything about Lee's poker background. From what I have seen he plays pretty loose and aggressive and gets involved in a fair number of big pots. He is not one of the best players at the table but he is also not one of the weakest. We have all agreed that the best way to play Lee is to trap him with a huge hand, and otherwise avoid playing a big pot. Paul and Lee have played quite a bit together in this tournament and it seems Lee likes to play back at Paul. I think Paul is likely to play a huge pot against Lee at some point, although probably not early on.

Seat 2: Erik Friberg, 9,605,000 chips
Loose, aggressive, Swedish, looks cool, plays super high stakes online, doesn't seem remotely fazed, rolls with Hollingol. Enough said. Definitely one of the top three players at the final table and a very strong candidate to win it all. Friberg is not afraid to play big pots, and could potentially go out very early similar to Matusow last year.

Seat 3: Paul Wasicka, 7,970,000 chips
Last night the entourage and Paul went to downtown Vegas and ate a great dinner at Vic & Anthony's at the Golden Nugget. It was a relaxed, enjoyable evening with friends and Paul seems happy and calm. After dinner we went to Binion's and looked at the wall of WSOP champions. I got a pretty big shiver looking at that wall on the eve of the final table. I can only imagine how Paul felt at that moment.

Seat 4: Dan Nassif, 2,600,000 chips
I don't know a whole lot about Nassif. I expect him to play a little tighter with the short stack than Binger, but he may also be happy with the final and now start swinging away.

Seat 5: Allen Cunningham, 17,770,000 chips
Cunningham is the big favorite to win this thing, as he should be. He's an exceptional player with no weaknesses and has a fantastic history of closing the deal at the final table. His career tournament earnings prior to this are more than ten times that of the rest of the table combined. His game is indescribable - it can be loose or tight, passive or aggressive, bullying or trapping, and is constantly changing and morphing. I love his game and his chances.

Seat 6: Michael Binger, 3,140,000 chips
Like Lee, Binger plays a loose, aggressive game and loves to tangle with Paul. However, he is now short stacked and has paid the price for trying to outplay Paul, losing a lot of chips in that manner. I think Binger desperately wanted to make the final table and now that he has done so, I expect him to come out swinging. Look for Binger to try to make an early move or exit at the final table.

Seat 7: Doug Kim, 6,770,000 chips
I'm not sure if Doug has realized he made the final table of the biggest poker tournament of all time, and that may give him an advantage. Apparently Doug is like the 4th best player in the home game he played at Duke, and doesn't have a lot of high-stakes experience. Doug seemed to be playing wildly when it got down to ten last night, but I think it had more to do with his cards than anything else. I don't know what to expect from Doug at the final table.

Seat 8: Jamie Gold, 26,650,000 chips
The general consensus amongst the players, the rail, and the media is that Gold is a fish who has hit an incredible amount of hands during the last week. Gold is an extremely loose caller of preflop raises and plays a ton of hands. Watch for Friberg, Cunningham, and Paul to take a lot of chips from him and avoid playing big pots unless they have him beat. With his chip lead and loose preflop style, he will be the player to watch early on. Almost no one I have talked to thinks he has a shot at winning.

Seat 9: Rhett Butler, 4,815,000 chips
He is the most straightforward of the players at the final table, and most feel he will need to get hit over the head with cards to make it deep. If Butler is in a hand, he probably has something good.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

So Long, Ford Focus

1 $12,000,000
2 $6,102,499
3 $4,123,310
4 $3,628,513
5 $3,216,182
6 $2,803,851
7 $2,391,520
8 $1,979,189
9 $1,566,858

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Fish Keeps Swimming

Tomorrow will be the most exciting day of poker for me since I got interested in the game six years ago (although that first big tournament at 32 Wheeler my junior year was pretty damn cool). It could be a very short day as Paul is now pretty short-stacked but it could also be an epic and end with my best friend becoming a millionaire.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Hunt For the Bracelet(s) Continue(s)

The Fish did not put in a single preflop reraise the entire day today. Anyone who has ever played with Kwickfish online would have a hard time believing that but I swear it's true. He was able to hit a couple big hands, cracking aces twice, and then played rock solid poker at a table of huge stacks at the end of the day to finish with just over 2 million. He's playing far different than he was during the WPT Championship but this kinder, gentler play is getting the job done. With 45 players left he is right in the middle of the pack.

With Paul's huge run I have elected not to play in the 10k Bellagio event as planned and will instead play a $1500 WSOP event or two, as I did today. The amazing thing is even if I win a bracelet I could end up making more from the 4% stake I have of Paul. The Fish has already wrapped up a huge sum and in the next few days that amount could become truly life-changing. If he should happen to make the final table, it will dramatically change MY life.

I made a decent run today, accumulating a lot of chips via suckouts, but I was really card dead and ran 99 into QQ after the dinner break to bust.

Monday I take another shot at a bracelet, but the real excitement will be getting updates on Paul. I'm expecting a small field of average players in the 1.5k NL tomorrow with most of the best players in the Bellagio tournament. I've heard some differing reports but the main event will either play 4 levels or down to 27.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Online Rail

With the Fish aka Paul Wasicka making a big run in the WSOP main event, I've been closely following the tournament online. Cardplayer/Pokerwire have pretty much monopolized coverage of the event. Luckily for me and the rest of the virtual rail, they do an excellent job reporting relevant and exciting information as the tournament progresses. With updates like these, I feel like I'm there in the Rio myself:

Sun Jul 30 20:37:00 PDT 2006
Paul Sexton Wins Pot
From early position, the 8 seat raises to $600 and is called only by Paul Sexton in the big blind. The flop comes 852 and both players check. The turn is the 9, Sexton pumps $700 into the pot, and the 8 seat folds. Currently, Sexton has $24,000.

Sun Jul 30 20:41:00 PDT 2006
Pizzolatto Adds To Stack
Seat 3 raises from late position to $1,000, Nath Pizzolatto calls from the button. Seat 3 checks in the dark and the flop comes 863. Pizzolatto bets $1,600 and seat 3 folds.

Sun Jul 30 21:01:00 PDT 2006
Fitoussi Eliminated
Bruno Fitoussi's pocket 7's do not hold up against his opponent's pocket aces and he is eliminated from the tournament.

Wed Aug 02 20:56:00 PDT 2006
Boatman Steals Blinds
From middle position, Barny Boatman raises to $3,000 and all players fold. Boatman steals the blinds and antes, and climbs to $60,000.

This hand happened squarely on the money bubble, with the players eliminated in that few minutes of time receiving nothing and everyone still alive at the end of the bubble receiving a minimum of $14,597:

Fri Aug 04 17:19:00 PDT 2006"
The Only Hand I Would've Called With"
Action is folded around to Mike Sullivan in the small blind, who raises to $30,000. His opponent in the big blind makes the call putting himself all-in. After flipping over pocket Aces he says it was the only hand he was going to call with since the bubble is still looming. Sullivan shows pocket 6's. The flop comes A65 to give both players a set. The turn brings the case 6 to give Sullivan quads. The river is a meaningless 7 and Sullivan takes down the pot and eliminates the short stacked player. He is now at $180,000.

No way this guy sets foot into a cardroom for at least two years.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My Biggest Loss Ever

Yesterday I lost more money playing poker than I ever have before in one day. At one point early in the session I was down 26k. I scrapped all the way back to -6k before finishing on a downswing and wound up down about 22k. I was massively unlucky and my cards were incredibly cold, but I also misplayed some hands very badly. During my fight back I thought I played about as well as I ever have, but then I screwed up a hand very badly:

Seat 7 is the button
Seat 1: ReadMyAvatar ( $6173)
Seat 8: APotIsAPot ( $8090.41)
Seat 10: svizec24 ( $4450)
APotIsAPot posts small blind (25)
dushu posts big blind (50)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to APotIsAPot [ Ah, Ad ]
svizec24 calls (50)
ReadMyAvatar raises (200) to 200
paranoia43 folds.
DorsVenabili folds.
fredcharles1 folds.
FUNPOKER1222 folds.
APotIsAPot raises (700) to 725
dushu folds.
svizec24 calls (675)
ReadMyAvatar calls (525)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Js, 4d, 7h ]
APotIsAPot bets (1389)
svizec24 calls (1389)
ReadMyAvatar calls (1389)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 6h ]
APotIsAPot checks.
svizec24 bets (2336)
svizec24 is all-In.
ReadMyAvatar raises (4059) to 4059
ReadMyAvatar is all-In.
APotIsAPot: christ
APotIsAPot: AA
APotIsAPot calls (4059)
** Dealing River ** : [ 8h ]
Creating Main Pot with $13397 with svizec24
Creating Side Pot 1 with $3446 with ReadMyAvatar
** Summary ** Main Pot: $13397 Side Pot 1: $3446 Rake: $3 Board: [ Js 4d 7h 6h 8h ] ReadMyAvatar balance $16843, bet $6173, collected $16843, net +$10670 [ 7c 7d ] [ three of a kind, sevens -- Js,8h,7c,7d,7h ]
APotIsAPot balance $1917.41, lost $6173 [ Ah Ad ] [ a pair of aces -- Ah,Ad,Js,8h,7h ]
svizec24 balance $0, lost $4450 [ Kh Ks ] [ a pair of kings -- Kh,Ks,Js,8h,7h ]

I knew exactly what was going on here and I didn't do the right thing. Whether that was because I hadn't had many hands all day, because I had gotten into a penis-measuring contest with ReadMyAvatar, because I had been playing for a long time and was fatigued, or because I have been playing more tournaments than cash games lately (where overpairs are unfoldable), I'm not sure. The fact is this should have been a casual laydown, and making mistakes like this is completely unforgivable.


WSOP Main Event: -10,000
25-50 Wednesday afternoon: 2.5 hrs, +7192
25-50 Thursday: 7.5 hrs, -21,921

Year to date: 149,133

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Goodnight Moon

I got knocked out today shortly after the dinner break but who cares! The Fish has over 300k, PiMaster has over 100k, and I have 5% of each!

The truth is I am devastated. I wanted to make a deep run in this tournament so badly and I really felt I would do it. I came back from the short stack so many times eventually I started believing it was my destiny to claw for days before finally hitting a huge rush and making the final table. Obviously I've busted out of a lot of tournaments and been really disappointed each time, but this one is special and it's so disappointing to see that final river card and know you're not going to be the world champion this year.


My first table was an excellent table, with weakling short stacks to my left and unimpressive medium stacks to my right, but I knew we would break soon.

250-500 blinds, 50 ante.

A Scandinavian I could already tell was aggressive raised in the cutoff and the very shortstacked button called all in. I pushed in for about 8x the raise with JJ in the SB and the Scandinavian folded. The short stack had pocket threes and I won a solid pot.

An orbit later the Scandinavian limped on the button and the SB completed. I made a large raise with pocket threes in the BB and the Scandinavian called. The small blind got out of the way, the flop came Kh7h4h or something and I bet, luckily he folded. This was definitely one of those "the most aggressive player wins the pot in hold em" moments.

I raised in fairly late position with JTo and the short stacked SB called. The flop came K76 with two hearts and we both checked. The turn was a Q and he bet 2000. I put him in for about 9k more. He put his chips in really fast and I felt nauseous, but not as nauseous as he did when an ace hit the river. There are thousands of guys telling stories like that right now, and I guess I'm one of them, sort of.

A bit after that the table broke and I got moved to a much different table. There was a guy with close to 200k playing pretty wildly, limping into a ton of pots, and immediately calling large raises. Kenny Robbins, a young player I played with last year in the main event, was two to my left with a pretty decent stack. Based on what I saw last year Robbins was not a good player, but he is quite aggressive and I knew his position could present a problem for me.

300-600 blinds, 75 ante.

The huge stack limps and I limp behind with Ac7c. Robbins limped, the small blind limped, the big blind checked, and the flop came 9c5s4c. It was checked to me and I bet 2000. Robbins made it 10,000 and everyone folded to me. I was almost certain he had a big draw and went into deep thought about his specific hand possibilities and my percentages against them. I felt the most likely hands were 5c6c, 5c3c, 5c2c, 3c2c, Kc5c, in that order. Right when he raised it I knew he was probably weak (did not have a set) but would call if I pushed in. I was a little bit worried about bottom two pair and a tiny bit worried about the set, but I really felt confident he had a huge draw and because I held the Ac and 7c (both big semibluff cards he might have if I did not), I thought he had the 5c along with another one. It just seemed he was totally willing to get the money in and like I said, I knew he was calling if I pushed. I finally decided to toss it but after thinking the hand through, and especially after I talked to him at the break and he told me he had "two overs and a flush draw", I think I made a poor laydown. I mean obviously I did considering he had two overs and a flush draw, a hand I had absolutely crushed. This was probably my biggest mistake of the day, and shows my true weakness: an unwillingness to gamble. Until I am willing to really get in there and gamble, I am not going to be a top tournament player.

The huge stack limped and I just limped with AK. An orbit before he had limped and I had raised him with AK, he had called and I had won the pot with a bet on the AJT flop. I figured if I raised him again I would probably need to flop a hand to win the pot, or face the prospect of calling postflop overbets with ace high. But mainly I was just limping to trap Robbins or someone else, so they would raise and I would move in. Robbins considered, but folded, and then the button just quietly announced that he was going all-in and put seventeen and a half thousand in the pot. Everyone quickly folded to me. This sort of crazy bet from an unknown player is often ace-king, and sometimes it's a pair. There's always the chance that it's a worse ace or a berzerko bet with a suited connector or whatever. After counting my chips I found I would have 9,500 left if I called and lost. I announced the call and turned over my AK. I was thrilled to see him turn over AQ. There was around 37k in the pot and if I won it I'd be over 46k with a chance to trap the huge stack or Robbins and really get something going. Sadly the flop came QQ6 and I was decimated. That was definitely one of the most devastating hands I've ever played.

I doubled up with AQs against the huge stack's J8s not too much later to get back in the game. Then this hand came up:

400-800 blinds, 100 ante. Four guys limp to my big blind and I check with T6 offsuit. The flop comes QT6, the first flop of the tournament I really hit (except for an unwanted set of aces on day one). I check and for the first time since I've been at the table, it checks around. The turn was a disgusting ace putting two flush draws on board, and I cautiously checked. The first limper checked and the second limper fired 3500. The huge stack then called and so did the small blind. I then went deep into thought about what people had and what I should do about it. At first I was pretty worried the bettor might have KJ, but then I thought back to the flop and remembered that he immediately checked, seemingly disinterested in the pot. So I thought he probably didn't have KJ, and the other guys definitely didn't look like they had the nuts. In fact it looked like the other guys didn't have much at all, so I was really only worried about the bettor. I kept thinking back to his complete disinterest on the flop and decided to go all-in for my 18k. To my shock and horror, the first limper then started studying. At that moment I thought I was a goner. He was a fairly cautious, short-stacked player and for him to have checked twice and now be considering the all-in with nothing invested he probably had the dreaded KJ. After some thought though he showed his cards to the rail (A6) and folded. The other guys quickly folded too and I picked up a much-needed pot to almost double and hit the dinner break with 31k.

500-1000 blinds, 200 ante.

Two orbits after dinner and down to 25k, I picked up TT in the small blind and made it 4k. The big blind was a 22 year old player named Ryan who goes by "youngluck" online. Ryan actually went to dinner with us and so I had gotten to know him by this point. I knew him to be an aggressive, fearless player and also a blind battler. He knew me to be a tight player. So I was a bit surprised when he quickly shoved all-in after my raise. I thought for a while. I just hate calling off all my chips unless I know I'm ahead. I knew he did not have kings or aces based on his quick all-in and body language. I also knew he had some sort of good hand based on everything else. That could mean any pair, AK, AQ, AJ, maybe ATs. Eventually I called and I was perturbed to see his KQo. I felt I had been playing solid enough to discourage this sort of wild all-in from a hand as poor as KQ, even blind-on-blind. Anyways I lost the race and that was the end of my 2006 World Series of Poker, at least as far as playing goes.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Relaxed and Confident

The house had a disappointing last few days, as MasterJ and Toph were both knocked out pretty early. Michael Odeh, who I was staking along with the Fish, also bit the dust. That leaves myself, Paul, and PiMaster. We are probably the three playing the best tournament poker in the house right now, and I wouldn't bet against any of us.

I feel very comfortable with my situation. Getting two days off was key as I got all the tilt out of my system, realized I have already outlasted well more than half the field, and thought about how meaningless chip position is at this stage of the tournament. I play an excellent short stack (although I'm really not that short) and I'm prepared to be one for however long it takes. I will not panic and make a bad play for all my chips. I want this bad.