Friday, November 30, 2007

November Top 15

15. The Cribs - Men's Needs
14. The Killers - Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
13. Alice in Chains - I Stay Away
12. Dire Straits - On Every Street
11. The Rolling Stones - Star Star

10. Bob Dylan - Thunder On the Mountain
9. Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun
8. Soulja Boy - Crank That (Soulja Boy)
7. Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer
6. Jackson Browne - The Load-Out/Stay

5. Turin Brakes - Red Moon
4. Natalie Merchant - Wonder
3. Fountains of Wayne - Seatbacks and Traytables
2. Al Stewart - Time Passages

Song of the Month: The Rolling Stones - Moonlight Mile

Happy Birthday

Today was my birthday. I didn't make a big deal of it and didn't really mention it to many people. If you're my friend and wondering why you weren't invited to the party, there was none.

It was a good birthday though - I took care of some business in the morning, went for a nice walk in the foothills while discovering a great new album on my ipod, and won at online poker. I then watched a fantastic football game and afterwards had an inspired conversation with Paul and Truman about tournament poker.

The real highlights, though, were getting birthday phone calls from my ex-girlfriend Laura and my sister Rose. It's funny. I had a lot of friends and family wish me happy birthday, but the most meaningful were from a couple of ladies with whom I've had up-and-down relationships. I thought it was nice that they thought of me today. It's interesting that I could get more satisfaction from them than from more "consistent", "reliable" friends and family. It's not fair, I guess, but that's the way it works sometimes. It worked like that in middle school, it's how Jean-Robert Bellande operates, and it's how Ryan Adams still has a career.

One of my all-time favorite movies, Meet Joe Black, (which I somehow forgot to put on the Underrated list) is all about this concept.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

EPT Baden Day Three

I had spent about seventeen days alone in Austria, walking through mountains, city streets, cathedrals, parks, and cemeteries during the day, watching Lost, reading, and playing online poker at night. Keeping my mind occupied was somewhat challenging - and then suddenly I found myself deep in this tournament trying to win a million bucks. It was with this backdrop that I entered day three.

I was nervous. This was the first time I had ever had a big stack late in a big buy-in event. I had gotten plenty of encouragement from friends and blog commentors, but physically I was alone in Austria. I spent a couple hours that morning walking around Baden looking for a hotel. Everything was booked. I must have gone to ten different places, most of the accommodations in town, and there was absolutely nothing. Finally a nice fellow at one of the hotels called to a hotel in the nearby town of Bad Voslau and got me a room there.

It was a weird feeling sitting down with that big stack because people had been saying congratulations and stuff like that but we weren’t even in the money! Most big tournaments don’t have a day where you start off outside the money and end at the final table.

I had a strategy to play really tight for a couple rounds, then open it up and suddenly start playing really aggressively once a few players had busted and we were near the bubble.


Get button to start.
Fold T7s cutoff.
Fold QTo next hand.


Button raises I find a way to fold KJ in the BB.
Raise QJo MP take blinds.
Fold KTo next hand.
Excellent news as they move the big stack Sebastian to another table – he seemed like a good and aggressive player.
Guy raises to 6100 Fuentes calls I call in BB with 6c5c. Flop Td8hc6h checked around turn Qc checked around river 5 I bet 12k they fold quickly.
Next hand folds to me I put the BB in for 15k with QJ he calls with AQs board comes xxxxJ.
Raise KJo UTG BB calls flop Ad8h3d he shoves I fold.
Now a devastating pot: UTG shoves for 11x BB, Fuentes calls on the button, and I fold 99 in the BB. UTG has Q7s, Fuentes has AQ, flop A98. If UTG doesn’t make a bonehead shove here I win a MONSTER pot against Fuentes no matter how the action goes.
Fold K5s on the button.
They move Sebastian back to the table now, and he’s on my left.
Fold T8 UTG.
Gunnar Rabe raises UTG and I call with 77. Flop AAK he bets I fold immediately he claps his hands in disgust and shows KK.

27 people left, 24 get paid
Raise JTo take blinds.
Raise UTG to 8k with 77 old guy reraises me to 24k pretty sure he is rocking a big pair here I can call and take command of the tourney if I flop a set but 16k is a lot especially on the bubble. He has 120k behind. I fold.

Gunnar Rabe raises to 8k I felt he was weak and was planning to reraise any two from the BB. AT was a monster – I make it 25k – he tosses his hands up in frustration but then defiantly calls. Flop K65 I shove for his last 35k and he instacalls with AA. I don’t suck out. I really got owned here. In hindsight, my correct play was just to move all in preflop considering it was the bubble, how much Gunnar was raising, and that I would have to call if I reraised to 25k and he pushed.

Very next hand a short stack raises to 12k on the button. I shove in the SB with AJ and he quickly calls about 30k more all-in with pocket fours! The flop comes KQT and I try to shake his hand. Very stupid mistake on my part there. He vehemently refuses to shake as the hand is certainly not over and sure enough the turn card is a four. I cannot explain how confident I was at this moment that the board was going to pair on the river. With everything that has happened to me in the big tournaments and my premature gesture, I was certain the board was going to pair and cripple me. Somehow though, the river completely blanked, I busted the guy, and almost doubled up.

Raise Q9o UTG win blinds.
Fuentes the ultra-LAG gives me a walk.
Bubble bursts and my mind-boggling streak of 18 straight events over 5k buyin without a cash is broken.

New table draw:
1 Swiss kid Anton with tons of chips, maybe the leader at this point
2 Fuentes
3 Pascal Perrault sorta short
4 Old man somewhat nutty but not loose
5 Ted Lawson very short
6 Huge stack
7 Alex Kravchenko
8 Me

First hand raise AQ EP Anton calls I check-fold on T43.
Pascal raises to 9k UTG I call with 66. Flop 884 check-check. Turn T check-check. River 5 he checks I bet 14k he calls I win.


Raise 88 take blinds.
Next hand fold 76s.
Next hand raise KJo EP BB reraises me I fold instantly.
Kravchenko limps on the button, I limp A4s in SB, BB checks. Flop Jc5d4d I check-fold to a bet and a raise.
Hijack raises I decide to fold KTs on the button with two LAGs in the blinds.
Old man raises to 9k UTG I call with 77 Pascal calls in the BB. Flop K85 rainbow they check to me I check. Turn K (second spade) they check to me I bet the minimum 4k Pascal calls old guy folds. River Qs check-check I win.
Next hand Kravchenko limps I limp KJs it gets raised and reraised behind.
Raise 33 EP Fuentes calls. Flop Jc8c2c I check-fold.
Fold A7o cutoff.


Fold QTo 2nd pos.
Give walk with T5s.
Fold T7s on button.
Guy raises to 14k I call with 88 flop 642 check-check. Turn K check-check. River 2 he checks I bet 20k he tank-folds.
UTG limps, Kravchenko limps SB I check A9 in BB. Flop KJ3 Kravchenko checks I check UTG bets Kravchenko calls I fold.
Limp Tc7c in SB Anton checks in BB. Flop K42 check-check turn 7 I bet 6k he calls river 5 I bet 14k he makes it 46k I decide to fold. I asked him after the tournament and he said he rivered a straight with A3.
Ted limps Kravchenko limps SB I check K6. Flop 9s8s2 checked around. Turn A I check Ted bets Kravchenko calls. I could make a huge move here with my image and probably get one or both to fold the ace but I fold.
Give a walk with J4o.
Fold T6s second position.
Ted limps I check T8s flop KQx I check-fold to a big bet and he shows a king.
Ted kept limping with his short stack and played a good number of pots considering his chips – it was different than how I play the short stack but it was really effective. Ted is one of the best short-stack players in the game so it was great to watch him operate all night and learn some new things.


Cutoff raises I shove AQs in SB he folds.
Raise AQ take blinds.
106k. Down to two 8-handed tables.
Folds to me in SB I have KQs…really interesting. I think it’s close between limp/reraise and shove…I decided to just shove…Anton tanked three minutes and folded, later he said he had pocket eights?! Pretty crazy laydown if that’s true.
Fold 87s EP.
Button raises I fold 76s in SB.
Fold QJs to EP raise.
Raise JJ EP to 16k…read all about it in this interview…I did actually make it 16k not the 20k I said in the interview.
Shove for 77k in SB with A9 Anton folds BB.
Fold A3 button with 84k.


19k a round.

Shove AJ for 84k they fold.
Raise UTG to 20k with KsJs Gunnar calls in BB. Flop Qs9s9 he checks so fast I felt like he hit it but F it I’m all-in he instacalls with AQ turn is a spade and I double up.
BB Gunnar is all-in for 6k I limp UTG with A6s button Denes limps SB limps. Flop AA9 with two diamonds I bet 10k Denes calls. Turn Kd check-check river x check-check I win sidepot but Gunnar has 3d2d and is back in the game.
Ted limps I limp K9o in SB Julian checks in BB. J756 I check till turn and then fold to Julian’s bet.
5-handed, 11 left. 180k, avg 256k.
Fold J8o UTG.
Raise 74s both blinds call. Flop AA7 they check to me I bet 30k both fold. Crucial.
Fold QTo in BB to a raise.
Walk Julian with K2o.
Combine to final 9-handed table. Three hands later Gunnar takes a bad beat and the day is over.
190,000 to finish day three/start final table.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AceHighWine Interview

An Australian fellow named Max Veenhuyzen interviewed me and wrote a story for his website, AceHighWine. The first question I answered by cutting and pasting something I wrote in this blog a year ago; the rest is fresh.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ten Things I Am Thankful For

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Toaster Pastries
The i-pod
The World Poker Tour
Gus Johnson
Fantasy football
The NCAA Tournament
My Friends' Girlfriends

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Top Ten Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

10. Aeroplane
9. Scar Tissue
8. Breaking the Girl
7. Desecration Smile
6. Snow (Hey Oh)
5. Otherside
4. Venice Queen
3. Wet Sand
2. My Friends
1. Under the Bridge

Monday, November 19, 2007

FTOPS $2500 Hands

I will finally post the hands from the last two days of EPT Baden soon. In the meantime, here are the hands from the FTOPS $2500 event which started Saturday afternoon:

I was very excited for this tournament because of its incredible structure, which is similar to a live $10,000 main event. I was also looking to improve upon August's heartbreaking 10th place finish.

5,000 chips to start


Raise TT 2nd pos all fold.

Fold A4s in BB to MadHatter’s pot button raise

EP limps and I limp button with 33. Flop 873 Omaholic leads pot I raise 3x all fold.

Fold 96s EP.

Fold 86s UTG next hand.

Call a raise with 55 in the BB and check-fold on T66 cause I didn’t want to play it faceup.

Reraise a cutoff raise with QJo button and win.

Raise next hand with 87s cutoff and win.

Small blind opens I reraise with AJo he calls. Flop Th8s4h check check. Turn Jh he checks I bet half pot he calls. River Qc he fires 60% of pot I fold.

Call a raise with 22 it comes KQQ he pots it I fold.

Next hand call same guy’s raise with T7hh Omaholic calls from SB flop 983 two diamonds they check to me I bet they both fold.



UTG limps I limp 53ss cutoff BB checks. Flop T99s they both check I check. Turn As BB bets UTG raises I fold they both have 98.

Raise Q9s on button they fold.

Fold 75s unopened MP.

Fold A3s EP.

Cutoff (raising every hand) raises, SB calls, I call in BB with A9o flop J65 check fold to a bet.

Two guys limp I make a large raise with AJo SB flatcalls then UTG reraises 3x all fold fast.

Raise KTs EP all fold.

Raise 66 UTG next hand four guys call it comes Th3s2h checked around BB leads at the 5c turn I fold.

Call a UTG raise (weak player) with J8s it comes 432 he bets I fold.

Raise 86s HJ CO calls on button Omaholic reraises we fold.



Raise KQo UTG get 2 callers in pos. Flop comes KdTs6s I check first caller bets it hard and button flat calls. I decide I’m actually not beating anything here and fold. This was a crazy and probably poor way to play it.

Raise J6s button take blinds.

EP raises I call with 65hh flop comes T92 two spades he checks I fire he folds.

Raise 7s7 EP three guys call flop As6s5 everyone checks turn 4s SB fires big I fold (gets raised behind).

Raise 64cc button Omaholic defends BB flop QhTc7c he checks I bet he folds.

Raise KJo get reraised and fold.

Raise AKs two guys call then MadHatter puts in a large reraise from the BB. I decide I have too many chips to put them all in here preflop so I end up smoothcalling and then the other two guys call too. Flop 5d4d2h MadHatter checks I check guy bets next guy folds Madhatter calls I fold.

Fold QJo UTG next hand.

Fold KTo in BB to the guy raising every hand next hand.

Raise AJo button Omaholic calls in BB. Flop Ac8c4s he bets I call. Turn Ts he bets I call. River Q he checks I check he has 55 I win.

Madhatter limps UTG I limp behind him with AK BB checks board of T76TJ is checked all the way down MadHatter wins with 44.



Raise button with A7o they fold.

MadHatter raises EP I flat with KK weak player behind us pots it MadHatter folds gets back to me I jam him in for 4x more than his raise he calls with AQs I win.

Raise AJo EP guy calls then SB puts in a gigantic reraise I fold.

Cutoff raises I call with QJo button flop 422 he bets I fold.

Raise 87ss UTG next guy calls BB calls flop J52 rainbow I fire BB calls. Turn K he checks I bet again he folds.

Fold JTo in BB to MP raise.

Fold AJo in SB to Omaholic’s UTG raise.

Raise KK next player calls flop Qh5s4h I bet 2/3 pot he calls. Turn Q I check-call a solid-sized bet river offsuit 4 I check he bets hard I think a long time and fold.

Very next hand get KK again raise a short stack reraises I put him in for 4x his raise he calls with TT I win.

Moved to new table.

First hand get walk.

Second hand raise TT in SB short stack in BB folds I show it.

Raise A7s button to 133 SB shoves for 900 I reluctantly fold probably should have called just to send a message to the table.

Raise 55 HJ win blinds.

Fold A7s EP.



Guy limps I limp 86s cutoff flop T43 BB bets we fold.

EP raises I call with AK flop J52 he pots it I fold.

Raise 88 EP gets reraised and rereraised behind me so I have to fold they get it in with KK vs AKs flop comes 982 devastating because the AK’s mistake cost me a stack here.

SB opens I reraise AJ in BB he folds.

UTG limps I complete KQo in SB BB checks flop Txx check-fold.

Raise 98dd UTG BB reraises small I call. Flop Td8c5s he bets hard I call. Turn 3s check check river Jd he bets quite small I’m forced to call he has AdKd I win.

Raise AK button win blinds and show hand.

Short stack limps UTG I try to limp 97s but some dumbass raises and then folds to the inevitable UTG shove.

Call a raise with 66 in a 4 man pot check-fold on KK2.

Moved to another table with Genius28 to right and no one else I recognize.



Fold A9s in pos to EP raise.

Limp K9hh button blinds check. Flop Th9d3d they check to me I bet 2/3 pot they fold.

Cutoff raises I call on button with KcTc flop QsTh9h check check turn 2d check check river Jh he checks I bet 75% pot he folds.

Fold Q9s EP.

Guy limps SB limps I check 84ss in BB flop J88 check check limper bets the minimum I call. Turn K I fire 2/3 pot he calls river 5 I fire ¾ pot he calls with KJ.

Raise KQs button blinds fold.



Smoothcall a raise with AK it comes AA5 he bets weakly I thought this might be the one and raised him but he instafolds.

Fold ATo EP.

Fold ATo next hand.

Limp JTo button flop QsJs9d check check turn K BB check-calls river K he check-calls again with Q5.

Fold 43s in BB to a CO raise.

Fold A2s in SB to a MP raise.

Fold 65o button.

Fold J8s in pos to Genius’s min raise.

EP limps I limp KQo blinds check board of 965K2 is checked to the river until EP fires and I call he has nothing so I win.

After a raise and a call I call AJcc in BB flop Ad9d8 I check preflop raiser fires big other guy folds I call turn 6d check check river 5d check check he has AT no diamond I win.

A couple guys limp including short stack I fold KTo cutoff it comes AQJ.

Raise QTs get reraised fold.

Limp 55 EP no one else calls flop T76 Genius bets pot I fold.

Fold A9o UTG next hand.



Fold T8s EP (Genius BB)

Fold KQo in BB to EP raise.

Fold ATo to UTG raise and 2nd pos call was good spot to squeeze.

Fold A7s in SB to MP raise.

Raise AA MP big stack calls SB calls flop 854 with a flush draw SB checks I check big stack bets SB folds I call. Turn 3 check check river 2 I fire 2/3 pot he finds a call with TT.

Thorladen raises cutoff I think a long time about reraising then just call with KJo SB calls and BB unsurprisingly shoves for 3300. Thor folds and I really think about calling but don’t.

Fold Q9o CO unopened.



Raise KTs MP SB reraises gigantic I fold.

Fold 64s in pos to Thorladen’s raise.

Limp 55 UTG next pos makes a decent sized raise folds to me I call and check-fold on JT3.

Next hand fold 85s in BB to Genius button raise.

Fold JTo UTG.

Limp 97o SB and fold to a 3.3x raise from the BB.

Fold A7s EP.

Fold ATo in SB to a LP raise from a guy who raises a ton.

Raise KJo button SB calls and the BB short stack reraises I reluctantly fold.

Fold Tc9c in pos to a Genius raise now that’s respect.

Raise JTo MP SB calls. Flop AA6 check check turn J he bets the minimum (160) I call river 3 he bets the minimum I make it 777 mostly just not wanting this hand to get turned over he calls with KQ…whoa.

Fold Q8o in BB to Genius button raise.

Fold 54s MP.



Fold A6s EP.

Raise 87s UTG all fold.

Fold A2o button.

Raise A8s win blinds.

Thorladen raises button and I flat call with AdJc flop 7c4c2c I check he bets 800 I call turn Js check check river 5c I check he bets 2200 I knew he had it but called he had AcQs.

Raise T8s MP guy calls and then BB reraises big.

Jonathan Little sits down two to my left with big stack this is bad news and now my stack is a bit short gonna have to lock it down here.

Raise AQs to 512 CO Little calls in SB then the BB shoves for 6700. I make one of the loosest calls I’ve made in a while and win a race against the BB’s pocket tens. Was trying to think how this guy would play AK and I didn't think he'd do that, and I thought he could have a worse ace or complete garbage.

Thor raises from the SB I just call with 99 in BB it comes AKx check check turn x he fires I fold.

7 of the 9 guys at the table are now above average and the only two who aren’t are very good.



Fold A3o in BB to UTG’s raise who has been raising UTG every time.

Limp JcTc in SB BB checks flop J98 two spades I check-call a medium bet turn Xs check check river Ah I fire 999 value/block he folds.

Guy who raises a lot raises to 700 I reraise to 2000 with QsTs he quickly calls which scares me cause he has short stack. Flop KKx check check turn 9 he checks I bet half pot he instafolds I think I scared him with that flop check.

Fold QJo EP normally I like to play that one with antes.

Almost every pot raised and reraised at this point.

Fold KJs in SB to MP raise

Then the crucial pot of the tournament:

Full Tilt Poker Game #4210208312: FTOPS Event #13 (30642026), Table 45 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 20:44:36 ET - 2007/11/17

Seat 1: two8off (35,358)
Seat 2: two4tunes (16,790)
Seat 3: HumphreyIN (7,997)
Seat 4: Genius28 (13,870)
Seat 5: thorladen (27,370)
Seat 6: GnightMoon (18,339)
Seat 7: fangus1 (23,708)
Seat 8: Jonathan Little (21,461)
Seat 9: cobey (20,807)

two8off antes 25
two4tunes antes 25
HumphreyIN antes 25
Genius28 antes 25
thorladen antes 25

GnightMoon antes 25
fangus1 antes 25
Jonathan Little antes 25
cobey antes 25
Jonathan Little posts the small blind of 120
cobey posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #7

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to GnightMoon [As Ac]

two8off folds
two4tunes folds
HumphreyIN folds
Genius28 folds
thorladen folds
GnightMoon raises to 666
fangus1 calls 666
Jonathan Little folds
cobey folds

*** FLOP *** [7d 6d Kd]

GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon bets 1,222
fangus1 calls 1,222

*** TURN *** [7d 6d Kd] [2h]

GnightMoon bets 2,999
fangus1 has 15 seconds left to act
fangus1 calls 2,999

*** RIVER *** [7d 6d Kd 2h] [7s]

GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon bets 6,666
fangus1 raises to 18,796, and is all in

GnightMoon folds

Two hands later get KK and raise and all fold.

Moved to another table.

Walk big stack with J7o.

Defend BB with 76cc it comes T8c2 check-fold.



Walk big stack with 83o.

Raise KTo hijack (hanging curveball with my stack) sure enough the BB shoves and I have to fold not a wise raise by me there.

Fold T2s button with 3700.

Cutoff raises with big stack I call in BB with JTo and shove on KKQ (stop n go) he folds.

Next hand cutoff raises to 900 I have KTo in SB and 5k and fold reluctantly.

Raise KK everyone slowly folds to the BB (maniac) I am praying for him to put chips in the pot and then he suddenly shoves! I happily call but he has AA! Goodnight Moon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Battle of Good and Evil in Buffalo

On Sunday night, the 9-0 New England Patriots travel to Buffalo to play the 5-4 Bills. I have grown fond of these Bills, who have won four straight games to put themselves in playoff contention after a disastrous start to the season. Following an 0-3 start and week five’s stomach-punch home loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, the Bills’ playoff aspirations appeared more dubious than Andy Dufresne’s chances of getting out of Shawshank.

But like the esteemed Mr. Dufresne, the Bills never lost hope. After a much-needed bye week, Buffalo has peeled off four straight wins (albeit against teams with a combined record of 8-28).

The Bills have not had a 300 yard passer all season, and just once had a 100 yard rusher. They have a full-fledged quarterback controversy between J.P. Losman and rookie Trent Edwards, but no one, including the two QBs, seems to care or mind which one starts. From my vantage point, it appears the Bills don’t care about anything this season but winning.

The Bills are ranked 31st out of 32 teams in total offense so far this season, and 28th in total defense. Knowing those stats, it is hard to imagine how they have managed to compile a winning record. But they are 6th in the NFL in turnover differential, and in the top 10 in both sides of the kick return game. Their kicker has missed just two field goals this season (neither shorter than 40 yards). The Bills are eighth in the league in net punting and first in punt returns.

Their opponent this weekend is the mighty New England Patriots, a brutally powerful, efficient, star-studded machine that has set its sights on not only an undefeated season, but on being the undisputed Greatest Team in the history of the game. These Patriots may well be the greatest ever. They have won just one game by less than 17 points, and that was on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts – themselves winners of twelve straight at the time.

This Patriots team is not just good though – it is malicious. Never before have I seen a team this cold-blooded, pissed-off, arrogant, and mean-spirited. The Patriots have deliberately run up the score in every game they have had the chance. With a 38-0 fourth quarter lead during a week eight home game against the Washington Redskins, the Patriots twice went for it on fourth down in Redskins territory. The second time they ran a Tom Brady sneak directly into the pile.

There is no reason for Brady to play late in a blowout win. Along with Peyton Manning, he is the most indispensable player in the NFL. The consequences of a Brady injury would likely be more devastating to his team than those of an injury to any other player in the NFL. Belichick keeps him on the field late in these games, and tries to score as many touchdowns as possible, because he is pompous, insane, and egotistical. The repercussions of “Cameragate” appear to have driven him over the edge, and now he’s out for blood.

Bill Belichick is the NFL’s resident mad scientist villain. Like the best villains, he is cold, cruel, and smarter than the good guys. It appears to me that this season is all about Legacy. He has three Super Bowls. He is undisputed as the greatest coach in the NFL, if not all of American sports. But that’s not enough for Belichick – he wants more. Should the Patriots win the rest of their games, they will be deservingly declared as the greatest team in football history.

Perhaps the strongest rationale on how I choose my favorite teams is the current emotional state of that team’s fan base. The Boston fan base is currently experiencing almost unprecedented bliss. The Patriots have been this decade’s premier NFL franchise. The Red Sox have won two of the last four World Series. The Boston Celtics recently mortgaged their future for a shot at short-term salvation – and appear to have found it as they are currently the NBA’s only undefeated team. It’s important to note that each of these teams has employed consumptive, slash and burn team-building techniques to achieve short-term success. The Red Sox have the second-highest bankroll in baseball (almost three times as large as that of the Rockies) and the Celtics have to pay luxury tax because they are over the NBA’s salary cap. The Patriots manage to keep things under control using the NFL’s time-honored tradition of cutting players (such as Corey Dillon) and forgetting about their non-guaranteed contracts. These are teams built on high-priced free agent acquisitions, not patient farming of home-grown talent.

Four hundred miles to the west live the most tortured sports fans in the United States. Buffalo has two major sports franchises, the Bills and the NHL’s Sabres. SUNY Buffalo, a large state school, features two of the weaker programs in Division I college football and basketball. The Sabres have never won a championship in 37 frustrating seasons in the NHL. The Buffalo Bills have never won the Super Bowl, but they did lose it four straight times between 1991 and 1994. Since those Super Bowls, the Bills have not found consistency, have not played in the AFC Championship, and suffered one of the most devastating losses in sports history.

Since 2001, the Bills have won just one of thirteen matchups against the Patriots. They are sixteen point underdogs this time. Worse, they will likely be without their top (some would say only) offensive asset, rookie running back Marshawn Lynch. Even Andy Dusfrene had a rock hammer.

The one advantage the Bills will have is a raucous, bloodthirsty crowd. Buffalo has hosted few meaningful games the last few years, and only one (the tragic Dallas loss earlier this season) in its own time slot on national television. Like Duke in basketball, the Patriots will get the best effort from every team and home crowd they travel to the rest of the year. They have brought this villainy upon themselves, and I hope they pay for their sins.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Four Generations of Viox

In a couple hours, I am going to board a plane from St. Louis to Denver and go home. Thanksgiving is in a week and my birthday is in two. It will be nice to spend this time at home.

When I first arrived in St. Louis almost a month ago, I stayed at the house of Chris “PiMaster” Viox and his family – his wife Julie, their 5? year-old daughter Ellie, and their 18 month-old son Joe. After two nights there, we drove to New Albany, Indiana, where I roomed with Chris at the Holiday Inn.

One day we took a trip to visit Chris’s parents in Kentucky for dinner and Monday Night Football. Chris’s parents are younger than mine. They have grandchildren. My parents are not going to have grandchildren for a while.

I carefully watched Chris and Julie take care of the kids. Taking care of kids is tough. Really tough. I can’t believe people do it. The thing about little kids is they are very, very ANNOYING. They make annoying noises. They have to be taken care of. 24/7. That’s the thing about kids, is they don’t go away, they’re never not kids, and someone always has to take care of them. I like hanging out with kids, I like watching them play and learn and get bigger, I absolutely love watching them look at something and think about it and then suddenly figure it out. But there’s all those diapers and that food flung all over the place and the crying and most of all, the 24/7 attention drain for years and years.

I thank my parents for getting the job done. It was a nice job, too. I hope I can give them some grandchildren, though it probably won’t be for at least five years. I also thank my future wife for taking care of our kids, because she is likely going to do the majority of the work.

After Indiana, Joel, Jason, and I stayed at Chris’s brother Matt’s house. When we first got there, Chris and Matt’s grandmother and mother were both staying there. There was a moment one evening where I saw the grandmother (who I was informed is in fact a Schweiss, not a Viox, so the title of this post is actually inaccurate) playing a memory card game with Ellie. The concept of great grandparents and great grandchildren is almost mythical to me. It was nice to see they really do exist.

Matt’s house was a blast. We got in a really nice routine of waking up late, finding some exercise late in the afternoon, eating dinner and playing poker or going out at night. There were no girlfriends, wives, or kids. None of us have any. It was nice, but it can’t go on forever like that. I wouldn’t want it to, and neither would my parents or my potential children.

Top Ten Condiments

10. Ranch
9. Hot Sauce (Tabasco)
8. Soy Sauce
7. Mayonnaise
6. Mustard
5. Pepper
4. Sour Cream
3. Ketchup
2. Butter
1. Salt

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top Ten Rolling Stones Songs

10. Sister Morphine
9. Beast of Burden
8. Moonlight Mile
7. Gimme Shelter
6. Wild Horses
5. Sympathy For the Devil
4. Dead Flowers
3. Satisfaction
2. No Expectations
1. Brown Sugar

Monday, November 12, 2007

Favorite Ten NFL Players

10. Jon Kitna
9. LaDainian Tomlinson
8. Vince Young
7. Michael Vick
6. Steve Smith
5. Brett Favre
4. Troy Polamalu
3. Adrian Peterson
2. Champ Bailey
1. Ben Roethlisberger

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Huge Run

I made my first ever cash in PokerStars (in)famous 6000+ player Sunday Million, and made quite a run before busting on a marginal hand in 36th place. I've made a couple pacing adjustments in my game which have helped out a lot the last couple days. I actually had three marginal plays where I put in chips badly today, each of which blew up in my face, and took a couple bad beats. My gear-shifting is almost seamless now and I am closer to my goal of playing a perfect tournament.

I am fortunate to be able to learn from a near perfect and wildly creative tournament player, my good friend TheMasterJ33. Today he got second place in the Ultimate Bet Sunday tournament for $26.5k - just six weeks ago he won the same tournament.

Not a Bad Day

I got 27th place in the FTOPS $500 6-max PLO tournament for $1478 this evening. I played with my friend Matt, a far better and more experienced PLO player than me. A while ago PiMaster formulated a Great Theory of PLO Tournaments which we used throughout the tournament with great success. The Great Theory is so effective that
  1. I don't want to reveal it on this blog
  2. I will use it to play PLO events at the WSOP this summer, even though I have logged less than 40 hrs of PLO in my life
PLO is all the rage right now for young NLHE pros much like myself. I have no delusions nor interest in becoming a great or even winning PLO cash player, but the entertainment and EV of playing PLO tourneys using The Great Theory are probably both already higher for me than playing NLHE tourneys.

After the PLO run ended, I made an even deeper charge in the FTOPS $100 rebuy tournament. I had a powerful chip lead with 20 players remaining, but was very unfortunate with two tables left and busted in the hated tenth place for $5391.

Right afterwards I got a message from my friend Adam who said "Any time you can turn four or five hundred into five thousand, that's not a bad day." He's absolutely right. It sucks to bust out of a tournament like that - 1600 players, 1st place $86k, 10th place $5400, chip lead with twenty left, mostly weak players left. But it's not a bad day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Standard Stacking

I played a hand today that seemed pretty straightforward, but I wound up thinking about it quite a bit later and thought it was actually quite interesting and demonstrative of some pretty crucial cash game concepts.

It was $10-20 no limit hold em, which is basically the only game I've played in the last year. I honestly don't remember how many players were at the table because I was playing three tables and a couple of them were very shorthanded. I know this table had more than four players, but don't recall how full it was. In any case, I raised from early position to $70 with pocket jacks. $70 is what I almost always open-raise to, mostly because it is convenient to press the "bet pot" button. A player named Thumper called from the big blind with QcTc. Thumper is fairly tight and one of the better regulars I play against. He certainly has some game but usually plays pretty straighforward. His call here is quite standard, whether shorthanded or not. It's probably the right play, although folding this hand heads up out of position against a player of my caliber wouldn't be a bad decision either.

The flop came J-x-2 with two clubs. The x was somewhere between 5 and 8, again I'm not sure what exactly. Thumper checked and I made a normal continuation bet, something like $100 into the pot of $150. 2/3 pot is a very typical continuation bet for me. I'm not sure how closely Thumper watches my play, but if he did he would know that I continuation bet far less often than most players. I probably continuation bet (both in and out of position) less often than 90% of regulars at the $10-20 level. However, on a board like this heads up and in position, I will very often bet with nothing. For example, if I had the 6-3 of hearts or T-9 of spades, which I will have far more often than top set, I would almost always bet this flop.

Thumper had a pretty powerful hand on this flop, a flush draw with an overcard as well as some backdoor straight possibilities. He elected to check and call, another sort of standard move that I would have done in his shoes. Many players would checkraise with this draw, which wouldn't be a bad move but would leave him in an awkward spot if I didn't fold to the raise.

When Thumper calls it tells me he has something. There is the occasional player who could conceivably check-call here with absolutely nothing or ace high, but Thumper is not one of those players. His call doesn't tell me too much though. He could have top pair, a pair of 8s or something, a slowplayed set (but obviously not jacks), or a flush draw.

The turn card is where this hand gets interesting. It was a low club. Again I don't remember what it was exactly, but I think it provided minimum straight possibilities. So at this point the board was roughly Jc7s2c5c. There was about $350 in the pot and Thumper made a slightly unusual play of betting out about 2/3 pot with his made flush. I love this part of the hand by Thumper and do it pretty routinely myself when I make a draw on the turn. Checking made draws out of position is one of the more common mistakes I see at the $10-20 level. Far too many players always check in this situation and minimize their profits. This allows their opponent to check behind, control the pot, and possibly outdraw on the river. It does allow their opponent to bluff the turn or bet a worse hand, but most players get scared when a flush draw hits and stop betting, whether they have anything or not.

So Thumper bet out 2/3 pot and I had a decision. Folding is unreasonable, even if I think it's likely he has a flush. I didn't know if he had a flush, a lower set, a weird two pair, a pair and a (perhaps nut) flush draw, or top pair. Anything else would be pretty unlikely but not inconceivable. Raising is an option for me, but I believe that is the worst possible thing I could do. I called the bet, which I believe is both the standard play and the best one in this situation.

The river paired the deuce, making a final board of roughly Jc7s2c5c2d. I was very happy to see the board pair, of course, as now the only hand that would beat me was pocket deuces (quads).

Thumper bet out the pot on the river, which was something like $720. It did cross my mind that he might actually have quads here, but that was a minor concern. I thought he probably had a flush, maybe the nut flush. I had about $1600 left in my stack on the river, and knew right away that I would be moving all-in. I let the time bank go down for a while, pretending to be thinking about the hand, then moved all-in for about $850 more than Thumper's bet. I knew Thumper would be getting great pot odds here and would likely call with whatever strong hand he had. However, I thought he might actually fold a flush despite the great odds because I would be so unlikely to be bluffing in this spot.

He called quickly though, and I won the $4000 pot.

A lot of players would simply write this hand off as a cooler and try to forget about it. I believe that hands like this are why I am one of the top $10-20 NLHE players out there and why my ego has grown to the point where I make statements like this. I am so much better than my competitors at minimizing losses on big hands gone awry and also at squeezing value out of less powerful hands.

Thumper's final call of $850 was only 1/4 of the pot, but it was also for 42 big blinds. Thumper could fold every hand for the next 28 orbits and lose less money than he did by calling the final bet during that hand. He was getting 4 to 1 on the call, but I believe that his hand will be the best far less than one out of four times in that situation. What he especially has to understand is the power of his own bet on the river. When he bets the pot on the river, I am basically always going to assume he has a very strong hand. It's possible that he could be making an interesting play with something like 99. But even if I do think he might be bluffing, it is very very hard for me to raise my last $850 all in on the river with nothing. I would be far more likely to call, as it is likely I have at least a pair since I bet the flop and then called a good-sized bet on the turn. Thumper bet the pot for value on the river, hoping I would call with a worse hand. He needs to understand that when I small-raise a bet of that size on the river, I am almost never bluffing. Further, I will never be value-raising with a worse hand. On a paired board to that action, I would never consider raising with a worse flush. In fact, I would probably just call his pot bet with an ace-high flush.

So what was Thumper supposed to do on the river? Betting out pot and then folding to my raise is one way to play it. Betting 2/3 of the pot and then folding to a raise would be a solid option as well. Checking and calling wouldn't be too bad either, as I might actually have just the ace of clubs or something and bluff. Also, this minimizes damage in case I just made a full house. The point though, really, is that playing out of position against good players is very unprofitable. It must be avoided at all costs. There are some great players who manage to do this pretty well, but even for them it is far less efficient than playing in position. It leads to ugly situations, as Thumper learned the hard way on this hand.

My last few sessions, I have sprinkled in more bluffing in medium-sized pots than in the past and had great results doing it. But in spots like this, in the pots worth over 100 BBs, I almost always have the goods. I probably shouldn't even be writing this as some of my competitors will surely read it and get a better understanding of how I play. Time after time though, my opponents pay me off.

My greatest strength in no limit hold em is folding hands like Thumper's in situations like his (I actually made one of the greatest folds in the history of the game, ask me about it sometime if you don't know the story, I can never talk enough about it). I am constantly getting into arguments with my friends where I describe a particular fold I made and they can't believe it and think it was a mistake. I do make more incorrect laydowns than anyone else, but a high enough percentage of the big laydowns are accurate to make them profitable overall. While there are exceptions, I actually believe that the big folds are where the top players make most of their money - not the big bluffs and calls. This is especially true at the $10-20 level, which is as interesting, competitive, enjoyable, and profitable for me as it has been at any time in the last 26 months.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Battle Against Degeneracy

I believe the most challenging aspect of professional poker is the struggle against disorganization. I use the word disorganization as broadly as possible. I refer to disorganization as the following:
  • Lacking daily routine (disorganized schedule)
  • Disorganized and inconsistent living arrangements caused by travel
  • Disorganized timing and consistency of meals
  • Lacking consistent exercise (disorganized/nonexistent physical routines)
  • Disorganized social life
  • Inconsistent, often ridiculous sleep schedule
  • Unreliable and inconsistent pay scheduling
  • Disorganized personal affairs, bills, taxes, documentation, etc.
Many poker pros decided to be take this career path because they are inherently lazy people. They don't like routines, schedules, bosses. They don't want people telling them what to do and they don't want to wake up to an alarm clock.

These qualities, while they make poker a desirable career choice, also make it a difficult one. It's so easy for us lazy folk to start sliding down the slippery slope of degeneracy. Once that slide begins, it's hard to get traction. It's much easier to avoid falling down in the first place.

Every day is a battle against degeneracy. It's easy to sleep till 2 PM, play online poker for a couple hours in your underwear, eat a frozen pizza for breaklunner, watch youtube videos for a while, then get back on the tables for another session. I've done this. We've all done this. Probably even PiMaster.

I don't believe this is the right way to go about it. My own struggles against degeneracy have been well-chronicled in this blog. Time after time, I have suffered my worst results during periods of high-volume gambling and low-volume "other activity." Conversely, all my best results in both tournaments and cash games have come after prolonged breaks from the game.

I can cite Taylor Caby and Brian Townsend, two of the most successful internet pros on the planet, as players whose attitudes and results follow a similar pattern. I don't know either of those guys but read their blogs and it's the same thing over and over - they take breaks, they have active social lives, they spend a lot of time on business activities away from the tables, they only play when they want to, and they absolutely annihilate the games when they do sit down to play. I remember reading one of Taylor's blogs where he spent about three sentences describing a cheeseburger he had recently eaten and one sentence about his recent poker results. There's a guy who has his priorities straight.

I can cite Shannon Shorr as the opposite. Shannon was on top of the poker world during the middle part of 2006 but has had a miserable 2007. I feel bad using Shannon as the bad example here, because he writes one of the most consistent, entertaining, and honest poker blogs out there. I've read his blog for the last eighteen months, fascinated by the inverse relationship between poker obsession and poker success.

Little things can make a big difference. A twenty minute walk before dinner. A correspondence with a friend you haven't talked to in a while. An episode of Survivor, or whatever nonsense you happen to enjoy. In Europe, for me, it was a cemetery in the village of Patsch, quiet afternoon contemplation in cathedrals, and pre-tournament walks around Baden.

There are players who are reading this and chuckling cynically. I ask these players to spend a couple hours every day the next week on organized activities that have nothing to do with poker. Make it a priority. It will pay off, I assure you.

Top Ten States

10. Florida
9. North Carolina
8. Colorado
7. Hawaii
6. Vermont
5. Oregon
4. Washington
3. New York
2. Alaska
1. California

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Top Ten Bob Dylan Songs

10. Song to Woody
9. Visions of Johanna
8. Isis
7. Blowin' In the Wind
6. Desolation Row
5. Just Like a Woman
4. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
3. Tangled Up in Blue
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
1. Like a Rolling Stone

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Pursuit of Perfection

The next live tournament I will play will likely be the Five Diamond $15,000 main event at Bellagio on December 12. This will be the beginning of a tradition of playing specific, high-stakes, coveted events. I did not play passionately enough in Indiana and I'm not surprised I didn't cash there. I need to feel desire and desperation in order to play my best poker. The $15k price tag alone should be enough to get the blood flowing.

I looked back at my hands from the Indiana main event like a football team looks back at film after each week's game. I played well but made several smallish mistakes. There may have been as many as ten hands I felt I could have played more efficiently.

I want to play a mistake-free tournament. I've never come close to playing perfectly in a major, so it's a bold goal to try to before the end of the year. I'll have the FTOPS VI to fine-tune things.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Caesars Indiana 5k Main Event

I left my EPT Baden notes at home, so it will be another ten days or so before I post the hands from days three and four.

So I walked into the poker room with this scary Halloween mask on. The plan was to wear it all day and not reveal my identity or talk to anyone but two minutes in they made me take it off so that didn’t work out. It was a sign of things to come I guess.

The only player I recognized was my friend Joel Casper, a really solid player I played with throughout the main event last year, on my direct right. A few minutes in a guy sat down two to my left and I snuck a look at the name on his seat card – Wade Woelfel or something like that, who I knew was soggy_dogg online. Other than that the table was mostly n00bs, including a couple guys who played really bad.

10,000 chips to start

Throughout the tournament I always raised close to 2.5x the BB, never more or less.


The first hand Casper limped and I limped with Jd9d, the flop was all clubs and I folded to a bet on the turn

Limp QJo board comes A high someone bets I fold.

A few guys limp and I uncharacteristically make it 350 in the SB with KJs, two guys call which I wasn’t expecting. Flop comes A high and I check like a wuss, then check the turn and river too and lose to a measly 66. I think this might be the only hand I regret from all day but you be the judge.

Couple limps to my BB, I have T4o and check. Flop 993 checked around, turn T I bet 125 into 200 they fold.

Limp 87o behind some other limpers (Indianans like limping), flop J32 someone pots it I fold.

Raise 85s cutoff they fold.

Weak player limps, I limp Ks8s, four guys see the flop of Ts2s2d they check to me I bet 150 into 250 they fold.

Raise ATs UTG soggydogg calls flop J63 we both check turn 7 I check-fold.

Limp Td7d in SB BB makes it 250 I quickly call flop Q96 I check he bets 200 I call turn T we both check river 8 I bet 500 he just calls with AJ (higher straight).

Raise A7o cutoff, BB calls and checks in the dark. Flop 985 I bet 200 he makes it 450 I call turn 5 he bets 450 I fold.

Casper limps I limp 7d6d guy makes it 250 BB calls, Casper calls, I call, flop K33 BB leads out all fold.

Soggydogg raises to 150 early position fish calls I call in BB with 87o. Flop T84 two clubs I check dogg checks guy bets 200 I call dogg folds. Turn 5 I check-call 500. River 7c I bet 700 he calls and I win. Good hand there I think. The question is whether I should fire huge if a different club hits the river, the answer is maybe not considering he paid off a smallish bet on that card.

Dogg raises UTG the next hand the same fish calls I fold K9s in SB.

Guy raises UTG I fold KJo on button.

Raise AK cutoff button calls flop AQ8 with a flush draw I bet 250 into 325 he calls turn 6 I bet 600 he folds.

Fish raises UTG I call with Qc9c Flop 655 guy bets I fold.

Fish raises UTG I call with T7o BB calls flop QJT we all check turn x BB bets UTG calls I fold.

Raise AJo get three callers no interest in 853T board.

5 way limped pot I have 53 in SB on a K42 flop BB leads for 250 I am the only caller. Turn Q I check-call 400. River Q I check-fold to 500. This was a marginal hand as I called a pot bet on the flop and 400 more on the turn out of position but I felt like the guy might have two pair and I could get a checkraise in on the river, especially if it was a six but looking back I dunno if I should have even called the first bet.

Two guys limp I limp A3o from the cutoff flop nothing and fold. Again maybe shouldn’t have been in there but these guys were playing so terribly I was absolutely dying to see flops.

I limp Q9o the button limps the SB raises 125 more we both call the flop comes QsJ2s the SB bets 175 I make it 500 to put some heat on the button who could have a drawing hand and also try to figure where I’m at and take control of the hand. The button folds and the SB calls. Turn 4 he checks I bet 500 which was small – I didn’t know if I was beat or not and I was just looking to sneak a bet in there so he would check to me on the river and I could check behind. He calls and checks in the dark, river is a spade, I check, my plan worked perfectly throughout the hand but the son of a gun has AsTs (the nuts).

Raise 75s guy calls I check-fold on KT4 flop.



Late position raises I call with KTo in the BB board of rags is checked down he wins with AQ maybe I need to fire the turn and river there.

Moved to new table where I would spend the rest of the day.

I can honestly say there wasn’t a single good player at this table. If you guys are reading this I am just being honest, you all have a lot to learn.

Get walked the first hand which was nice because I was the BB two hands in a row.

Raise button to 250 with T6s the SB makes it 500 I call flop is 997 he bets 500 I fold he shows KK this was just how the tournament went for me in the early going.

Guy raises UTG I call with TT flop is A53 he checks I bet 500 he folds.

Raise KsJs BB calls flop Th9c8h we both check turn 5 he bets 300 I call river 3h he bets 500 I fold.

Limp 88 UTG some old guy makes it 350 and I sense enormous strength, BB calls, I call, flop 9c6c6 we check to the old guy who bets 625 I know he’s huge BB hesitantly calls I fold. The BB checkraised the turn and shoved the river, and the old guy folded what he said was AA – pretty sure the BB had him.

Guy raises I fold 86s in the SB – officially out of gear four finally, it was fun (not) while it lasted…

Fold 98o in position to a raise.

Guy limps I limp JhTh six guys see the flop which is KhQh3 checked to me I bet 450 only the BB calls turn 2x he checks I bet 1400 he folds. Raise AhKh button calls BB calls. This is a good time to introduce the BB who is a kid named Bryan Sapp or “squirrely1” or something online. He was probably the second best and second most active player at the table behind me and basically knew what he was doing, but butchered several hands pretty badly…anyways I have AhKh here and the flop comes Ks8s7s and we all checked. The turn was the 6c and Sapp bet 500, I called and then the button raised to 2000, then Sapp shoved for 7k so obviously I folded. It was pretty funny cause the button quickly called not realizing Sapp had a grey 5k chip in there. Sapp flopped a flush with Js4s and the button was drawing dead with T9 for a straight.

Raise ATs UTG steal blinds.

Fold J9o in BB to Sapp’s cutoff raise.

Limp Ts7c in SB BB checks flop Ks9s5s check-check. Turn 4s I check-call 100. River K check-check I win.

Two guys limp I limp Q9o on button flop 832 fold to a bet and a raise though it crossed my mind to make a move cause Sapp was the raiser and he played “raise only” poker meaning he would never flat call a bet postflop, he always raised so he could just have an eight here and have an easy laydown if I came along. Anyways I spend a lot more time thinking about moves I could make than actually making them…

Raise TT win blinds.

Cutoff limps I limp Ts6s from the SB flop comes T32 I bet 175 they fold.

Raise ATo from the cutoff BB defends flop comes Jc72c check-check turn K he checks I bet 400 he makes it 1k I fold very reluctantly, again thinking about moves I could make if I had more chips and wasn’t wearing a skirt.


In the old days I would get pretty pissed off at situations like this, playing with a bunch of tools but not getting anything going and getting short-stacked. I think I’ve matured a lot though and I was actually feeling fine at this point, knowing I still had 30 BBs with no ante and could just play really tight the next level. I’ve come back from the short stack so many times now it doesn’t faze me at all. I really feel this is one of the biggest mistakes the less experienced players make, panicking and dumping their chips if they get off to a bad start. I’ve actually gotten off to a bad start in most of the tournaments I’ve done well in, amazingly enough.


Fold QJ EP.

Fold 88 in BB to a raise and reraise.

Fold AJo 3rd pos.

EP raises to 500 I shove for 5500 in SB with AK BB folds jacks EP folds too.

Guy limps I fold A4s MP.

Buncha limps I fold JTo cutoff.

Fold A9s to EP raise.

Raise 88 MP they fold.

Five guys limp to my BB I check 95o. Q83 checked around, turn 8 checked around river 9 checked to one of the limpers he bets 600 folds to me I fold.

Two guys limp I fold K5o in SB.

Sapp raises to 600 I have AJo and 5800 on button – I decide folding is my best play.

Raise KQs hijack they fold.

Fold 55 EP.

Two guys limp I fold 94o in the SB.



Raise KQ MP they fold.

Raise AJo EP they fold.

Fold A5o hijack.

Raise JJ EP Sapp calls in BB board of AKxxx is checked all the way down I beat his 66.

Next hand raise JTs UTG get reraised and fold.

Sapp raises cutoff I fold T9o in BB.

Active guy limps I limp J3s from the SB flop comes 922 I think about leading out but check the BB checks the limper bets I think about raising really close to doing it but I fold.

Sapp raises I reraise A2s he folds.

Raise 5d4d cutoff the SB calls. Flop T32 all diamonds he checks I bet 850 he calls turn Js he checks I bet 1650 he shoves me in for about 3500 more which was a scary line but I call. He has AdK, I fade a diamond to double up.

Two guys limp and a dude shoves for 1800 I make it 4k with AK, get it heads up, and lose to QJo.

Raise 99 EP Sapp calls in BB and check-folds to my bet on 554 flop.

Fold A4s EP next hand.



EP raises I find TT in BB. He has 8k behind. I almost just folded preflop but called. Flop AQx I check he bets 1500 I thought he might not like the flop but folded.

A friend of mine “Slippin Thru” raised to 1200 and I called on the button with Js4s. This was a player-specific move as I noticed all day Slip was checking and folding when he missed so I thought I would just buy the pot if he didn’t like the flop. Sure enough it came AcQsxs and he checked and folded to my bet. I flopped a flush draw but that was irrelevant. Slip if you’re reading this I really recommend you mix up your play and get a little more aggressive. Try checkraising flops that you hit or betting at flops like this one. You have a very tight image, so try to use it to buy a few pots.

Raise the next hand QJo cutoff win blinds.

Fold 74s EP.

Raise QcTc UTG +1 a fishy guy calls flop is JhTh8c I check he bets 3k (overbet) I shove for 10k more he folds.

Raise next hand UTG 9d8d two guys call flop is 633 I bet 2100 they both want to kill me but fold.

I want to make a point here about gear-changing. A couple levels ago I was open-folding ace-jack and now here I am calling raises with jack-four and raising under the gun with suited connectors and bluffing at pots. When it was 100-200 no ante and I had 30 BBs there is no reason to do anything but play tight but now there is 1100 in every pot, guys are getting scared of me, and I have chips to work with and outplay guys.

Limp T2o SB BB raises I fold.

Raise 99 to 1025 the fish in the SB makes it 3025 with 15k behind I had no read, tanked forever and folded. This was in a period where I was raising half the hands so I was expecting someone to reraise but then again this is Indiana so they probably have a hand when they do it.

Raise AQ EP guys are really getting annoyed but all fold.

Next hand raise QQ second position and three guys call. Then Slippin Thru in the BB shoves for 6k. The first caller has a big stack so it would suck if he was trapping me with AA but I decide the best play is to shove. The first guy tanks forever and then folds what he says was AK and then the next guy tanks and folds sevens. Slip has ATo and I win, but would have lost to both the AK and the 77.

UTG limps a guy makes it 1k I fold A7o in BB.

EP limps I limp 6c4c SB makes it 1600 folds to me I call board of AQ748 is hurriedly checked down he wins with KcQc.

Limp 66 UTG a short stack raises to 1200 I call flop AKx check check turn A I check he tries to induce me with some table talk then jams I fold instantly he laughs in disgust.

Limp A2o on button last hand before break. SB makes a small raise BB folds I call flop is QQJ he bets 1500 I really think about making a move but fold.

25,400 at dinner break


Raise JJ cutoff they fold.

Sapp raises to 1600 EP he is sitting on around 20k I decide he is definitely shoving AK and most importantly I want to play every hand postflop for the minimum so I just call with QQ. The fish in the SB calls too and the flop comes JsT7s. They checked to me and I really thought about checking behind because I was worried about either one jamming and me being in a tough spot but I decided to bet 3300 and the small blind instantly pushed in for 12.5k more. I immediately announced I was going to need a lot of time to think about this one and ended up taking about three minutes before finally folding. I really considered all the angles. One of the biggest considerations was that if I called and lost I would be back down to a short stack whereas if I folded I could keep pillaging the table and seeing some flops. Still though, it was probably a bad fold against his range which I think included AsTs, AJ, KJ, and QJ. The whole hand comes down to the range of hands he would call a raise with in the small blind, and JJ TT and 77 certainly lead that list. Also Indianans generally don’t semibluff as much as most players so it makes AsTs and KQ a little less likely. Definitely my hardest decision of the day and ultimately, it may have been a bad one. Later on the guy made some really terrible preflop shoves, he really had no idea what he was doing. I just don’t know about this one, and would appreciate feedback.

Guy raises to 2k with 14k behind I jam from the SB with AK he folds.

Two guys limp I limp 74s from the cutoff it gets jammed and rejammed behind me I fold obviously.

Raise 99 they fold.

Fold QTo next hand EP.

Fold 43s next hand.

Old guy makes it 2650 UTG a fish flat calls I have 55 in the BB. It’s 2050 more for me to call with 6875 in the pot already. Both these guys play wildly and poorly after the flop so it’s almost a guaranteed stacking if I hit the 5. UTG has 12.7k behind and the other guy has over 15k. There is a slim chance of outplaying them if it comes A high or something and what finally gets me to call is the realization that both will stack off if they have overpairs or top pair on the flop. The flop comes 652 with two diamonds, I check, UTG instantly shoves, the other guy folds, I call, he has 88 with the 8d, it comes running diamonds and I lose. I slammed the table in disgust when the fourth diamond hit which I am disappointed I did because I have really done a good job lately of playing with class and also keeping my emotion totally even-keel. I had been playing well all day long without too much luck and this pot would have gotten me to the final table, I really felt.

Left with 8.5k.

Guy shoves for 5.9k Sapp smoothcalls both in EP I decide to fold AQ. They have KT and JJ – I would have lost to both.

Guy raises LP I fold A7o in SB.

Shove K9o on the button win the blinds.

Raise TT to 1550 BB calls flop K32 he checks I decide to check turn K he checks I jam for 7k he folds.



Fish jams UTG for 14k I fold two red sixes LP button jams with AcKs UTG has Ad9h four hearts hit and UTG wins. This was kind of a devastating pot to watch because if the idiot hadn’t shoved UTG I would have shoved and then doubled through the AK.

Fold K9o hijack.

Fold T8o hijack 7300.

Fold 98o second pos 7100.

Guy raises LP I shove for 5300 with QQ he has AcQc board comes AQxxx I double up.

Next hand I have AQ and 12.5k which is interesting – I jam and all fold.

Fold KQo EP with 14,700 and table going bananas at this point sure enough it gets raised and reraised behind me.

Sapp raises from the cutoff I almost instapush Q6o in the BB but end up folding – he “couldn’t have called a push.”

Guy limps I fold 62s in SB.

Sapp raises EP to 2200 I shove with AK for 12,800 some guy tanks behind us and folds then Sapp says he thinks we both have an ace so he calls with 88…this bothered me for the following reasons:

  1. I would never shove with 77 or lower, but Sapp doesn’t know this
  2. The guy actually had 99, not an ace
  3. It was enough to get him off 88
  4. I lost the race

I was pretty disappointed afterwards, there was no question I was the best player at that table and the overall field was so hilariously weak. I remember playing a Five Diamond tournament last winter at the Bellagio at a table with Nam Le and thinking “there’s no way we’re gonna get rid of this guy unless someone sucks out on him.” I’m obviously not Nam Le but yesterday at Caesars Indiana, I sure felt like it.


I played excellent tournament poker today but was very unlucky and busted late in the night of the $5k event here in Indiana. I am very disappointed as the field was extremely weak and no one at my table could play but it didn't work out.

Pi and Toph are in with medium stacks with 27 left.

Condolences to the Gambler, who was playing fantastic poker before a few terrible beats knocked him out.