Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I finished the day 9th in chips out of the remaining 47. I didn't quite play my best after dinner; there were a couple siphons against Matt Russell with 54 offsuit. Sadly I have the chip leader Joel Casper directly to my left tomorrow and he knows I like to raise a lot of pots since we played the last couple hours together today. He's a solid player.

No one else in our crew survived the day. I'm the last remaining hope. It would be pretty pathetic if not one of us final-tabled, but I don't see that happening.

There will be coverage tomorrow on pokerpages.com and bluffmagazine.com.

Huge Stack Dinner Break

Everything has gone ridiculously well today, I've moved up to one of the biggest stacks in the tournament with very little risk and no bluffing. At dinner break I have 48k which is something like 3x the average after we started with 10k. The table has been really soft and I've hit so many hands. I feel like Jamie Gold.

There's a nice article about yesterday's final table here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Second Place

I got second today for $35k. I played pretty well. The guy who won it hit an absurd rush of cards at the final table and it was over in a hurry. I had a significant skill edge when it got heads up with me down 290k-130k. There was no shame in my bustout hand.

The last two tournaments were probably the best I have ever played, so obviously I'm feeling great about tomorrow's main event. There has only been one other tournament where I haven't booked a flight before the final table, and that was the 2006 World Series of Poker. That one ended pretty well.

The Gambler and Matt both snagged seats in the evening mega-satellite, so we'll have a very strong crew attacking the rednecks tomorrow.

Chip Leader Final Table

This is how the day went:

Beginning: Idiots dumping stacks to me when I had monsters and they had one pair.

Early-Middle: Busting PiMaster on a bad beat and busting slowplayed pocket kings with a double gutshot.

Late-Middle: Stealing

Bubble: Stealing

Two Tables: Stealing

Final Table 10-handed: Aces UTG, got big action, wound up busting KQs.

I had very little in terms of big preflop hands but I just walked on water all day as far as not running into hands when I was stealing. When I did get called, I kept hitting big flops and getting paid off.

There are some solid players at the final table but with Manny Minaya short-stacked I think I am the favorite to take it down. Anything less than first would be disappointing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I got up a couple hours before the tournament today (and yesterday), exercised, and showered. I felt ready to play. Paul was at my starting table and his presence inspired me to play some fierce poker. Paul was absolutely annihalating the table with an extremely well-timed array of squeezes and big hands, getting the trickier players to make huge mistakes and pushing around the weaker ones. His table presence is really strong. That's something I could work on, but I'm not really sure how.

I've always been sort of a scrappy type when it comes to competition. I'm not athletically gifted or wildly talented in other ways. Early on I developed a wicked competitiveness that I've leaned on throughout my life. Recently I've been getting lazy and not always pouring everything I can into my games. The low point came the other day when I lost to PiMaster in NBA Jam.

Today I played HARD. I never had a pair bigger than threes but I was scrapping and bluffing and trying to find ways to win pots and pouncing on any weakness I saw. It didn't work out, and I sort of misplayed my bustout hand, but I think today may have been the first step towards becoming a more potent tournament player.

Friday, October 27, 2006

See Last Post

Nothing has changed. I can't get anything at all going in these tournaments. I have come to loathe Caesar's Indiana. It's a terrible institution frequented by some of the weakest members of American society. The poker room is abysmal. Some of the tables are too small and some are too big. They had us sitting in these stiff wooden chairs today which sucked. The worst part is they split the tournament into two sections, one of which is upstairs in the smoke-filled, extremely loud slots area. The tournament staff is okay and the dealers are pretty shitty in general. I feel like I go on tilt as soon as I step on that godforsaken boat. Everything else (crew, Holiday Inn, New Albany, Louisville) is great, though the weather got shitty today.

PiMaster got third in the PLO yesterday. Matt had a small cash in one of the $500 tourneys. That's it for our crew so far.

I sort of think playing high-stakes online cash games is pretty much the worst way to prepare for these smaller buy-in, redneck-filled tournaments. I sort of have a cash-game feel to my play and it's hurting me. I'm also making some good-read/unsuccesful play kind of moves against idiots who just don't know how to play. Mostly though I'm just not picking up enough hands to win.

Now just six days away from my main event victory.

$65 SNG: -65
$300 NL: -340
Monday Oct 23 afternoon 2-4 PLO (coco with PiMaster): 2 hrs, -1239 = -620

$500 NL: -550
$500 NL: -550
$1k NL: -1060

Year to Date: 196,889

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sucking in Poker But Not in Life

Two more small tournaments quickly went down the tubes. The $300 NL involved me value betting a big hand and getting called by a bigger one. The $500 NL involved a two hour stretch of useless hands ending in a desperation push with Q2s.

It's been a bit of a cold stretch in poker, and I have yet to make a real attempt to relocate my major online business to a new site or sites.

I'm really enjoying life though right now. The Bag came in tonight, MasterJ rolled in a bit later, and the Wolf gets here tomorrow. I'm really excited about this trip (especially my inevitable victory in the main event just 10 days from now) and the future: Vermont, Foxwoods, home to my new condo in Shanahan Ridge, then the Bahamas, Australia, and beyond in 2007.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I don't really have a lot to say about the tournaments so far. The first one, $300 NL, had over 800 players and we decided not to play it cause we would have been deep down the alternate list and come in with like 7x BBs. The second was the $500 limit and I did ok but lost some pots in the second and third levels and went out a bit later. The third was the $1k NL today and basically I made a stupid bluff to blow most of my stack.

I'm absolutely loving New Albany, IN where we're staying for some reason. I had this tomato-basil-sage soup on Friday at a small place that I've been thinking about ever since. It feels like fall, it feels like real life, and it feels just great after what I've been doing the last four months.


500 limit: -540
1k NL: -1060

Year to date: 200,074

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fifteen Months of Main Event Misery

It’s been a rough go of it in my attempts to strike it rich in the big poker tournaments. In some of them, I may have had negative expected value. I think I've figured out most of what I've been doing wrong and most of what I can do right, though. I do believe I am now well above-average in most tournaments I play, and expect to do something big soon. Thinking about how I can improve got me thinking about what is starting to become a long list of failures:

WSOP Main Event, July 2005
I got up to 60k after six levels, and finished day one with 44k. I probably should have finished it in the 70s. I definitely could have played stronger poker on day one and gone into day two with a ton of chips. On day two I had the misfortune of picking up kings against aces, and then lost the last of my chips with ATs vs QJo. Perhaps if I had played a little better on day one I would have had a chance at a comeback on day two after the KK/AA hand.

Legends of Poker Bicycle Casino Los Angeles, August 2005
I played just four hands in this one, getting coolered with JJ vs QT on a J98 flop.

Borgata Atlantic City, September 2005
I actually played pretty well, but I never had the cards. I outlasted 75% of the field but was never a factor.

US Poker Championship Taj Mahal, October 2005
Again I played pretty well, but again I didn’t have the cards. I lost all my chips with AK vs AA on a K high flop after making a questionable call of a reraise.

Foxwoods World Poker Finals, November 2005
I hit a huge rush at the end of day one and finished 4th in chips. On day two I started off playing well and accumulating, but then I got moved to a table with Alex Jacob and his huge stack to my left. At the time I didn’t really know how to handle the situation and I paid the price. Eventually I got all in against Alex with with a flush draw against two pair after I made a weak preflop play and I busted in 59th place for a profit of just $1800.

Paris/Bally’s WSOP Circuit, November 2005
I was ill-prepared for this level of competition and I made several large mistakes. Tournaments like this where I sort of threw away my chips are not acceptable, and hopefully, they are a thing of the past.

Five Diamond Bellagio, December 2005
I played decently and got fairly lucky to build up some chips on day one. Starting on the last hand of day one, though, I went steadily downhill with a series of poor decisions and weak play. When I got shortstacked I really didn’t know what to do. Like the Paris event a month before, I didn’t belong there and threw away my chips.

Gold Strike World Poker Open, January 2006
This, courtesy of the Wolf, describes it best:
Long story short... He played awesome all day - no siphoning, no donking, straight up solid mistake free poker. He was poised for a deep run when this hand came up...Moon calls an aggro player’s raise preflop with the 9sTs. The flop comes 992 rainbow. The aggro fires out 5k, Moon raises to 10k, and the maniac instantly makes it 25k. Moon pushes in the rest of his chips and they flip over their hands. The other guy shows QQ and Moon is in great shape to double up and have a chip stack of 77k - which at that time would have been 2nd in chips of the whole tourney. Turn x. River Q. Disgusting.

World Poker Challenge, March 2006
I got off to a poor start, losing 20% of my stack, then flopped top pair against a tough player and misclicked for my stack when I meant to make a small feeler raise. Of course he had a set. Whoops.

Midwest Regional Poker Championships, April 2006
After grinding along for a couple levels breaking even, I get all in with a flush against top pair/nut flush draw on the flop. My opponent makes a runner-runner full house to send me packing.

Mandalay Bay WPT, June 2006
I make about 800 second best hands and bust in the second level. Nothing I could have done about this one I don’t think.

WSOP Main Event, July 2006
Looking back on this one, I really played my heart out. I got down to 3k because of bad luck and fought back to over 30k before losing 22k with AK against AQ all in preflop. Again I came back before getting all in for 52k with TT vs KQo and losing.

Borgata Atlantic City, September 2006
I play as well as I can for a couple hours, then make a huge bluff with J9 on a 987 board, knowing my opponent will have to fold his overpair. Sadly he has TT and calls. I then lose the rest with AKs vs jacks.

US Poker Championship, October 2006
I play poorly on day one, leaving me as a short stack. I grind the short stack for quite a while before losing a coinflip and heading out the door.

Festa al Lago Bellagio, October 2006
I play probably my best main event poker yet, never getting all-in, before losing a monster pot shortly before the money with AA vs JJ all-in before the flop.

All told 15 tournamentts for a bit over $140,000 in entry fees with only one cash for $12,000 to show for it. Nowhere near any final table. First prize at the Indiana WSOP Circuit should cover the losses and then some, however. I believe I am going to win it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

[sound of crowd booing]

I had a couple hand-under-hand situations the first two levels today, TT against a short stack's AA (both late position) and then 9d8d vs Jh9h on a board of AdJ7dJd9 where I got min raised on the river and paid it off. That put me down to 46k. Not too much later I had the dream situation of raising to 3k in early position with my first pocket aces of the tournament and watching the fairly nutty chip leader Brandi Hawbaker immediately make it 20k directly behind me. A few seconds later all the money was in the pot; she had jacks and the big blind announced he had folded a jack. J66 was the flop and I staggered out of there.

It was a real stomach punch as I felt I played my best throughout the tournament and only got all my chips into the pot once. It just wasn't meant to be this time.


I go to Indiana early Thursday morning. I have set some very aggressive goals for the trip and expect to dominate the field like I did Canterbury a year ago.

Tuesday Oct 10 (25-50): 1 hr, +4345
Wednesday Oct 11 (airport coco with Kwickfish 10-20 shorthanded): .75 hrs, +2294/2 = +1147
Festa al Lago Supersatellite: -1080
Bellagio 1k nightly Friday: -1080
Ultimate Poker Challenge Binion's Saturday: -340
Bellagio 1k nightly Saturday: +18,135
Festa al Lago WPT: -10,300

Year to date: 201,174

Monday, October 16, 2006

Excellent Day One

Things went very well today in day one of the WPT Festa al Lago at Bellagio. The field is very tough with pretty much every great player in the world playing and few soft spots but I was able to exploit a couple weak players and more importantly make a bunch of good hands including 99 vs Martin DeKnijff's Q4 on a Q94 flop to really get me going. I finished the day with 86,275 which is close to double the average so I'm feeling great about things going into day two, despite the tough field.

The Fish lost most of his stack with two pair versus a straight, then came back from 1500 to 16k, then lost an all-in with AQ vs Erick Lindgren's queens. Alex missed like three hours of the tournament and somehow has 60k.

I have so much to write about these poker tournaments and the future and SURVIVOR and life but right now I just want to relax and play well and win a million dollars in this tournament.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Breakthrough at Bellagio

This afternoon a bunch of us played in the Ultimate Poker Challenge $340 event down at Binion's. I played my best crapshoot tournament game but took three horrible beats and exited just in time to get over to Bellagio for the $1k nightly event. I siphoned my way down to 2000 from the 5000 starting stack before winning three huge, hysterical pots to become a force. There were some choppy waters from 27 players down to the bubble at 10 players but at the final table everything went well for me. We chopped with five players left with me slightly behind the chip leader. I walked away with 19.6k - my first ever cash at Bellagio after several blown chip leads and a couple dramatic bubbles - which was just less than second place money. I was the best player of the five remaining and considered rejecting the deal but first was only 10k more and 5th was only 4.5k so I decided to take the cash and lock up my second winning trip to Vegas in a row after the first six or so all ended in the red.

Some of the hands that went down today were incredibly bizarre and hilarious, but it's 5:26 AM so I'll try to write about them later. Tomorrow is NFL Sunday and the main event starts Monday.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Survivor California Pool Teams

Here's how the "draft" shook out - you can ask me about the specifics of how it went down with the tiebreakers and everything if you want. I assure you it was all done fairly. I know I said everyone would be getting 3 Survivors but there were enough participants in the pool to knock it down to teams of 2. The teams:





Cao Boi


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Survivor California: The Pool

Here's how it will work:

Choose FIVE Survivors from the cast and rank them in the order in which you'd like to draft them. Everyone will wind up with THREE members on their team. The only goal in choosing Survivors is to pick the one who will OUTWIT, OUTPLAY, and OUTLAST the competition and get FIRST place. No bonus points for anything but first.

Listing your picks right here on the blog would be best. If you can't, and don't want to create a blogger profile, email them to me at gnightmoon@gmail.com.

Ties will be broken based on a coinflipping procedure conducted by me.

Picks must be in by 8 EST (when the show airs) Thursday.

My picks:

1. Yul
2. Parvati
3. Candice
4. Jenny
5. Sundra

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Congrats Concat

Alex "Concatenate" Jacob, one of my best friends in the poker world, won the US Poker Championship at the Taj Mahal for $878,500. He cruised through the final table in convincing fashion, winning it really without too much trouble. In a few days I am going to try to write about why he and Paul and Jason Strasser and Shannon Shorr are winning millions playing tournaments, and I continue to struggle. For now I will just say that hands like this are the difference:

Sat Oct 07 18:34:00 PDT 2006
Alex Jacob Rakes a Monster Pot
Michael DeMichele raises to $75,000 and Alex Jacob reraises to $225,000 from the big blind. The flop comes Kh9s3c and Jacob bets $325,000. DeMichele raises to $900,000 total and Jacob moves all in. DeMichele thinks for a few moments before mucking his hand. With that pot, Alex Jacob has taken over the chip lead.

Alex had A-5 offsuit on this hand. I feel like these hands, which only come up once or twice a day, are one of the differences between champions and me.

Thursday Oct 5 evening (coco with Kwickfish 25-50): 2.5 hrs, +500/2 = +250
Thursday Oct 5 evening alone: 1.5 hrs, +4005
Thursday Oct 5 night (coco with Kwickfish, 10-20 shorthanded): 3.5 hrs, +5406/2 = +2703
Friday Oct 6 night (10-20 shorthanded): .25hrs, +5565
Saturday Oct 7 night (10-20 shorthanded): 2 hrs, +4052

Year to date: 190,347

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Three and Out

On the third hand of the day Thomas Wahlroos raised to 2500 and I had an automatic move-in with AcKc. He called with 99 and flopped quads. The Fish was out soon after, also losing a coinflip. We head back to Colorado tomorrow.

I think I'm going to abandon plans to play at the Bellagio and Niagara Falls, as I can no longer count on the online cash games to break the fall from my lousy tournament play. I will likely spend more time playing in Indiana and potentially Minnesota instead.


Sunday Sept 24 Million Guaranteed: -215
Wed Sept 27 (25-50): .25 hrs, +5154 (suckout on Schlauch)
Thursday Sept 28 (25-50): 1 hr, +986
Thursday Sept 28 night (25-50): 1 hr, +6763
USPC: -10,000

Year to date: 173,772

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My First Day Three - lol

For the first time, I have reached the third day of a poker tournament. I haven't been above the 20k starting chips since level two on day one. I spent the last three and a half hours of the day in a horrifyingly awful spot, with the worst seat at the worst table I have ever played at in a tournament. I picked up a couple hands and people folded to my reraise all-in. Unbelievably I got reraised two of the three times I tried to open a pot even though "it seemed like you had aces every time you put chips into a pot" as Alex put it. I finished the day with 15,700, a fresh table draw, and a pulse.

I have to say I enjoyed the day thoroughly. I got to play with a lot of tough players, got to see some pretty intense head-butting between Brandon Adams and Thomas Wahlroos, and got to see some spectacular bluffing. Even if this trip ends in a pre-cash bustout tomorrow afternoon, I won't consider it a complete waste. I've learned a few things about what I need to do to compete in major poker tournaments, in terms of both strategy and mental preparation. I'm excited about playing tomorrow, which is something I couldn't have said two days ago.

Clawing Away

I've been playing much better today. I was at a fairly rough table to start and that, combined with my i-pod, got me to focus I think. A pot came up early on where I raised to 800 (150-300 blinds) with KK. Carlos Zambrano called on the button and then the big blind Gregg Merkow called. I had just 11k entering the hand so it was going to be hard to find a foldable flop. It came down T94 with two spades and Merkow bet out 1600. This is always a suspicious bet from a good player but I obviously wasn't folding. My first thought obviously was to go all-in but I decided to just raise to 5k in case Carlos flopped a set. Carlos quickly went all-in after my raise and then Merkow called. It didn't take me long to fold, Merkow had 9d4d, Carlos had AsJs, a spade hit the turn and Carlos doubled. It's incredible that I did not go broke on this hand. So many things have to happen in order for me to fold:

  1. Carlos has to smoothcall preflop instead of reraising
  2. Merkow has to call a raise with 94s
  3. I have to raise the flop instead of shoving
  4. Carlos has to decide to go all-in instead of folding his draw
  5. Merkow has to call him
  6. I have to decide to throw it away despite the pot odds

So I guess I may have a guardian angel out there, or maybe there is a reason why I haven't busted out of this tournament yet despite little in terms of good cards or good play. As long as I still have chips there is still a chance.

After that incident I ran it up to around 10k by picking up some big hands and have big stacks call my raises and then fold on the flop. I then went completely card-dead, got moved to a fearsome table with Brandon Adams, Thomas Wahlroos, Alex Jacob, JJ Liu, Gigabet, and a tough older Asian player in that order to my left. I stayed card dead before moving all in with QQ and doubling through the Village Idiot's K9s and then pulling a successful squeeze play. I now have 17.6k.

The Fish, contrary to reports on Cardplayer, is still alive with a very short stack of around 8k. It's not going to be easy for us as the antes finally hit after dinner, but the higher stakes can potentially lead to a faster comeback.

A Pathetic Effort at the USPC

Today was the worst I have ever played in a championship event. I played a style where I was not tight enough to warrant folds to my continuation bets, but didn't play wildly enough to inspire any fear or get paid off with big hands. I did not play with confidence, probably gave off numerous tells, played big hands predictably and made the minimum when I had them, and failed to follow my insticts and ended up calling off a lot of chips when I knew I was beat. It was hopeless, uninspired poker that left me questioning my confidence, ability, and desire.

But I couldn't find a way to screw up J9 vs A9 on a 875T6 board late in the day, and consequently I will be returning for 150-300 blinds tomorrow at 1PM with 11.6k. If I don't come up with a better effort tomorrow I may abandon trips to Bellagio and Niagara falls later in the month. The player I was today does not belong in major events.

The Fish has 33k.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Vancouver Is Nice This Time of Year

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin
'Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

- Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A Changin' "

September Top 15

15. KT Tunstall - Other Side of the World
14. Say Hi To Your Mom - The Twenty-Second Century
13. Guster - Satellite
12. Gillian Welch - No One Knows My Name
11. Snow Patrol - Shut Your Eyes

10. Death Cab For Cutie - Your Heart is an Empty Room
9. Gillian Welch - One Monkey
8. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
7. John Mayer - Waiting on the World to Change
6. KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See

5. Gillian Welch - Lowlands
4. The Raconteurs - Steady as She Goes
3. Gillian Welch - Look at Miss Ohio
2. Gillian Welch - Wayside/Back in Time

Song of the Month: Gillian Welch - Wrecking Ball