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Main Event: Day 5


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I thought I'd put some closure to the Live from the WSOP blog for this year.

For those of you who haven't read our Forums, I busted out of the Main Event today in 159th place ($41,000).

I had a pretty sick hand where I got Ace-Jack all-in against King-Jack on a Jack-Six-Two board and lost the 1M pot when the guy made a King on the river. The degree to which that hand affected my equity in the tournament is truly disturbing to even think about.

After that, I was down to 120k in chips (10 big blinds). I got it all-in with Ace-Five suited versus Eight-Seven suited. Before the board came out, I said to the table, "what am I, like 25% to win this hand?" Allen Cunningham replied, "you're basically drawing dead." The man knows his stuff. The flop was King-Queen-Seven with the King and Queen giving my opponent a flush draw as well. Good game.

That was the first hand in the entire tournament where I was all-in for my whole stack. I doubt many players made it as further than I did while still being able to say that. Overall, I'm extremely content with how I played. I was very comfortable and confident for the entire tournament.

There is a good chance I'll make it onto one of the ESPN World Series of Poker episodes. The hand I played with the Ace-Jack could make it on there. What's more likely, though, is a hand Tiffany Michele played against Alex Outhred. They got it all-in on a 985 flop. Tiffany had Aces and Alex had pocket Fives. The turn was an Ace giving Tiffany the $1.5M pot. At the time I write this, she now is 3rd in chips in the whole tournament with $3.3M with only 89 players left. I'd say the deeper she makes it in the tournament, the more likely they'll show her two outter on TV. I was sitting right beside Alex Outhred, so I'd say there's a really good chance I'll be on camera for at least a few seconds as a result of that hand.

I'm flying home tomorrow morning. Frankly, I can't wait to leave Vegas. This is a fun city and all, but I'm really not the type of person who can tolerate being here for too long. I've basically spent 30 of the last 45 days in this city, so I've had my fill for the time being.

The WSOP Main Event is shaping up to be an interesting one. Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, and a host of other talented players are still in. As a fan of poker, I can't help but find myself to be rooting for Hellmuth to make the final table. His level of self-absorbtion annoys a lot of people, but personally, I find it incredibly entertaining and downright impressive. There aren't many people in this world who lack shame enough to self-promote so effectively!

Until next year...


Main Event: Day Four


Today was an abbreviated day at the Main Event. The past few days we had been playing five full levels. Today, they announced we'd only play four levels, but midway through the fourth level they sort of abrubtly declared the day was over. I'm not complaining though... extra sleep will be nice.

There are 189 players remaining. I have 556,000 chips. Blinds will be 5,000/10,000/1,000 for another 40 minutes tomorrow. Average is 725k.

For the first time all tournament, I played at the same table for the entire day. I'm not sure if I should regard that as a good thing or a bad thing. The table seemed to be mostly full of good players, but that might be the case at all tables by this point for all I know.

Ray Henson started our table with the chiplead. I busted him in the first level. Three times in the first ten hands at the table, I re-raised him preflop, the last two of which he called and folded to my flop bet. After sort of getting desimated by the table, he opened from the CO and I called with AJo from the BB. The flop was J74. I checked, he bet 14k, I raised to 40k, and he moved all-in. When he shoved, I actually thought it was pretty likely he had QQ+. It was only 75k more to call, so I did. I was pleasantly surprised to see 76o and fortunate enough that it held.

Another big pot took place during 4k/8k. Owen Crowe (ocrowe online) made it 24,000 in early position. Two players called and I came along with 66 in the CO. Two more players called as well meaning the pot ballooned to 175k before the flop. A 6 in the door was one of the prettiest things I've seen in my life. The other two cards were a King and a Four with two hearts. Owen led out for 55k, it folded to me, and I moved all-in for 410k total. I think if I raised to 150k (or something), Owen is savvy enough to realize I almost always have a set there. I was hoping that a shove looked like a semi-bluff with a flush draw. Regardless, he wound up folding, but that pot alone beefed up my stack considerably.

I won a few other small pots and lost a few other small pots. Nothing too significant to write about. I'm pretty sure I didn't turn over my cards once the whole day (aside from the Henson all-in), which is cool. What else is cool is that I am still yet to be all-in, called, and covered in this event. Admittedly, I'll be pretty lucky to be able to say that this time tomorrow.

I'm expecting a call around 11:00 a.m. from Poker Royalty regarding a sponsorship from either Stars or Full Tilt. Frankly, I think they're going to try to pin me down into some type of a deal where if I make the final table, I have to wear their stuff. I'm really not interested in that. If I'm lucky enough to make the final table, the four month wait would be ideal for selling off every square inch of my body to advertisers like Nascar drivers do!


Main Event: Day 3


I survived day 3 at the Main Event and am now in the money. Tomorrow, 474 of us resume to play 2,500/5,000/500. I have 260,000 chips, which is slightly below average, but far from concerning.

I started today with 247k and was never higher than 360k or lower than 160k. In the first level, things started off kind of poorly for me. I lost a race (Tens vs. Ace-Queen) for a 130k pot and then lost Kings vs. Ace-King (after someone said they folded an Ace, no less) for a 75k pot. Despite that, I astonishingly managed to actually increase my stack by a little bit in the first level.

I know it sounds hard to believe that one could play for ten hours and not really have any interesting hands to talk about... but I don't. I busted three short stacks in a series of about one hour. One was an 80-20, the other a 70-30, and the last a 55-45... so I was getting the chips in good.

My starting table had Jeremiah Smith who turned his 375k starting stack into well over 600k in the first level. This was no thanks to me. The two times we played pots against each other, I raked in the pot.

Later in the day, Smith was moved to my immediate left at a different table. He needed help carrying his $1.2M in chips!

That table was pretty tough. Jon Friedberg and a Swedish guy I know named Samir were also there. The others tended to be pretty competent themselves.

It was a cool table though because Hellmuth, Matusow, and Johnny Chan were all at one table or another very, very near ours. Matusow and Hellmuth kept yelling back and forth at each other, which was pretty amusing albeit annoying.

In the last level, I lost a race (Ace-Queen vs. Sixes) for a 90k pot that only cost me 30k of my chips (re-raised to isolate after two flat calls). It was kind of a bummer to lose that flip since I was getting 2:1 for my money... but I'll settle for losing the small flips so long as I can get a big one (or two) to go my way tomorrow!

I'm going to hop in the shower, brush my teeth, and hit the sack. This tournament is as much tiring as it is exciting.


Main Event: Day Two


I had a fantastic day in the Main Event today. I'm starting tomorrow with 244,000 with blinds of 800/1600 and an average stack of around 100,000.

I started today with 42,000 and was never even remotely close to being all-in during my accent. I won a lot of small pots at the start off of people who just don't seem to know how to fold. The Main Event is a value-bettors fantasy.

Here are a few hands that stick out in my mind from the day:

400/800. Last hand before dinner. I open raise to 2,200 from the CO with K7. Tight Euro calls from the small blind. Flop AQ6. He leads for 3,500, I make it 11,500, he calls. Turn 2. He checks leaving 30-35k behind. I have about 100k behind and slide a stack of large demonination chips into the middle. He thinks for about a minute and folds Ace-Jack face-up. I ask him if he wants to see my hand, he says he does, I smile and say, "well have fun being on tilt at dinner then!" :)

After dinner, raise to 2,600 with 99 in early position. Button calls and nitty old guy in the big blind calls. Flop AQ9. I bet 4,500, button folds, old guy raises to 14,500. I call. Turn 4. He bets 20,000, I shove, he thinks for quite a long time before calling off his last 45,000 drawing dead with Ace-King.

Folds to tight middle aged guy in CO who opens to 3,000. I re-minraise to 4,800 on the button with Ten-Eight offsuit. He calls. Flop Ace-Ten-Five two diamonds. He checks, I bet 6,500, he calls. Turn King. He checks, I bet 12,700, he calls. River brick. He checks, I examine he has about 35k behind and bet 20,100. He folds showing a King. I show him the Eight. Needless to say he bugged me for the rest of the night about what the other card was. He said he had King-Jack of diamonds which made sense given the way he played the hand.
Super loose, maniacal guy who starts hand with around 175k raises on the button to 3,000. I start hand with 230k and call from the big blind with King-Seven of hearts. Flop Jack-Four-Two, two hearts. I lead out for 4,500. He calls. Turn black Three. I lead out for 11,500. He calls. River black King. I bet 22,000. He thought long enough that I eventually got to the point where I was begging for a call. Unfortunately he mucked.

So tomorrow we return with ~1,300 players, 666 of which will cash. Hopefully I can survive day three with a healthy stack and really start having some fun.


Waiting To Be Patient


I kind of thought having three full days off between Day One and Day Two of the Main Event sounded like it might be pretty painful, but I managed to stay diverted really well. On Sunday, I went over to TwoGun's room in the Venetian and spent most of the day playing online poker and working on a few different things. The internet connection at the place I was staying (Tuscany, a local casino... I'm back at T.I. now) wasn't up to online poker standards. I figured that after playing for ten hours on Saturday that I wouldn't want to play any of the online Sunday tournaments. However, when I woke up, I was like, "what the heck else am I going to do?!" I wound up washing out of everything, but I was okay with that since I felt like I was playing really well.

On Monday, my friend Dave and I went to a par 3 golf course. The place was really cool; they modeled each of the 12 holes after famous par 3 holes from around the world. I hadn't golfed since high school and even then I was never any good, so I knew it would be an adventure. Dave said he hadn't golfed since he was very young. I figured laying him 2:1 on a skins match would probably be pretty fair. I guess he wasn't up for risking any significant sum of money, so we were only playing for my $10 versus his $5 per hole. I was okay with that. I'll take whatever action I can get.

For those of you who don't know how a skins match works, basically if you win a hole, you win a "skin". If we tie on a hole, then the skin carries over to the next hole making that hole worth two skins.

In the early going, I was looking pretty dreadful. Dave won the first three holes and another side prop bet where I laid him even money that this couple (a man and a woman) who we let play through would each fail to land their ball on the green off the tee. The woman narrowly missed but the guy stuck his shot just a few feet from the pin. They had to think we were weirdos when Dave exclaimed, "yes!!!" after the guy's tee shot. Haha... gambling is so awesome.

I mostly dominated the rest of the match after that. Well, I don't know if it's appropriate to say that I dominated it or that Dave just really melted down. I guess maybe a bit of both.

On one hole, the green was an island entirely encompassed by water. I think Dave would agree that it was like 5:1 (perhaps even worse) against either of us getting on the green in one shot. This was the 10th hole and I hadn't gotten on the green off the tee at all. Dave had done it once. I picked an awesome time though to have my best shot of the day: a high, beautiful, arching pitching-wedge made me look Tiger-esque when my ball landed eight feet from the cup. What do they say? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time.

The 2:1 odds on the skins turned out to be perfectly handicapped, I won 8 skins to Dave's 4. I can see how so many people find golf to be really frustrating, but I think it can be really fun if you're gambling on it in a manner that mostly evens the skill level. I think on 12 holes (par 36), I made like a 63 and Dave a 78 or something. That's like laughably bad!

Aside from a lunch with TwoGun and a short business meeting with Justin, the actor/model/dating coach guy I mentioned a few entries ago, I spent most of today content just hanging out in my room alone.

Tomorrow both TwoGun and I resume play in the Main Event. He starts the day with 48,000. I'm not too far behind with 42,000. James McManus, best known to the poker world for writing Positively Fifth Street, is sitting to my immediate left. He's the only player I recognize. That's not terribly bothersome to me; there are tons of less desirable table draws I could think of.

A player from today, Brian Schaedlich, ended day two with an astounding 745,000 chips! To put that into perspective, he could entirely skip day three and show up on day four in the money with an above average chip stack!

I told you this tournament is great.


Main Event: Day One


TwoGun and I both played Day 1C of the Main Event. I'm going to write this in kind of a disjointed style that will hopefully yield a higher volume of content while sacrificing proper grammar.

Starting table had Joe Tehan and several fish. It broke after about two levels. This made me sad since nearly everyone at the table was a fish. Didn't play any significant pots at this table. Moved to new table with around 27k (flopped a set against Tehan and probably misplayed it by leading the flop instead of check-raising, oh well).

Nine seat at new table. Don't immediately recognize anyone. That's good. Wait... who is that in the one seat? Damn... Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier... quite possibly the best French player in the world. He's low on chips, but in the first two hands I'm at the table, donkeys help him build back up to a playable stack. Crap.

I play three hands against Elky. I won all three. I only had two showdowns the entire day. For that matter, I only showed two hands all day. That's not a joke. Ten hours of poker and I turned over my cards twice! Each time it was against Elky. Here are my three hands against him.

1.) 150/300. I raise in the CO to 775 with AA. He re-raises on the button to 2,200. I make it 7,700 total. He folds.

2.) I raise to 775 with Ace-Queen. He calls. Flop T55. I check, he checks. Turn 6. I check, he bets 1,250. I call. River Q. I lead out for 2,500. He snap calls and mucks.

3.) I raise on the button to 775 with KQdd. He calls from the small blind. Flop J42, one diamond. He bets 1,300. I float. Turn K. He bets 2,850. I call. River 3. He bets 6,150. I call and he taps hand on table and mucks cards. I show him my hand anyway to tilt him a little that I called his flop bet with King high no draw.

We mostly stayed out of each other's way the rest of the night. There was another member of Team PokerStars at our table for a while... some Brazilian (or maybe Spanish or maybe Italian) guy who eventually busted. He played pretty well.

Everyone else at the table was absolutely awful. Like not in the loose-aggressive sense that can be a headache to play against, more like the "waiting for aces" sense that is super easy to play against. I can say with almost complete certainty that Elky and I were the only players at the table who could be considered to have a positive expectation in the tournament. The Main Event is so, so, so, so juicy.

It sucked having Elky on my immediate left though because I had to play more carefully than I otherwise would have if he was on my right.

Bagged up 42,575 at the end of the day. TwoGun has 48,xxx. We don't resume until Wednesday, but when we do, blinds will be 250/500/50 so we are still very, very deep for a major live tournament.

It's incredible what good value the Main Event is. No other poker tournament even comes remotely close to matching it.


Fun Night At Tao


I texted my friend Johannes Strassmann yesterday to see if he wanted to hang out. He mentioned a desire to exercise, so we met up at the Bellagio fitness area. We ended up spending more time standing around talking than we did exercising. Johannes is a really fantastic German player who is very ambitious and has a lot of really good ideas for business ventures both poker-related and otherwise.

As a group of people, poker players can tend to be pretty lazy and unproductive. I mean, when you think about it, there isn't really anything inherently productive to passing around each other's money at the poker tables. I think Johannes understands this and wishes to do more with his life than play cards.

I went back to T.I. after our (extremely light) workout and changed clothes so I could meet up with Johannes and some others for dinner. After a few hours, he called me saying he was meeting some people at the Wynn. I made my way over there to meet up with them. This is when the night started to get really fun.

In addition to Johannes, there was a Swedish player named Mike, an Australian guy named Stewart, and an American named Justin. My first impression of Justin and Mike was that they seemed particularly well groomed and confident-acting for poker players. It turns out there was something to this: in addition to semi-pro poker players, they're both "image consultants" (which is basically a fancy way of saying "dating coach"). Essentially what these guys do is help clients learn how to approach women, act more confident, dress better, and generally work towards adapting a more "balla" lifestyle.

As you might imagine, they were extremely fun guys to hang out with.

Justin was a really impressive guy. He has his plate full with acting (had a small role in "The Holiday" and hosted a Disney Channel show called Disney411), modeling (is the lead model for a line of JcPenney's men's clothes), and poker (currently grinding out more than 1,000 hands per day at NL $100). He has worked intensively with two very well known online poker players (I don't think it's my place to mention them by name) on their social skills. With one player, he lived with him for three months in Australia and other parts of the world helping him transform his approach to life.

After grabbing some dinner in Chinatown, the five of us went to Tao (a nightclub at the Venetian) and partied until 4:00 am. We had a table with a couple bottles of Grey Goose. Between Justin and Stewart (and also myself once I got buzzed), we kept a pretty high volume of females hanging around our table. It was fun to watch Justin and Stewart interact with girls. Those guys have like Jedi mind-power with women that is intimidatingly awesome.

Justin is very friendly and good at networking. He has a very good mind for business. As a result of the contact we made last night, I might be helping him with some web-related work. One idea he has is to maintain a blog on how to create a ballin' poker lifestyle. I'm excited to see what we can work on together in the future.

Well that's all for now. I'm playing the Main Event tomorrow. In an hour or so, my friend Dave is picking up TwoGun and I for some miniature golf. Gee... poker players playing mini-golf... I wonder if there will be any prop bets?!


Chinese Poker with Seb


Last night, I got a call from Seb (of the PokerTips Forums fame) in which he asked if I wanted to join he and a friend for some $10/point Chinese poker in his room at the Rio. "Sure, why not?" I said. We had made several attempts to meet up this summer, but this actually sounded conceivable since I was just sitting in my room bored.

I got there around 11:00. Seb and I talked for a while until his friend Keith made it over around 11:30. I think Seb has a bit of a reputation as a "jerk" in some people's eyes on the forums, but for what it's worth, I found him to be a very agreeable individual in real life. He is clearly very intelligent and was enjoyable to converse with.

It was also nice getting to know his friend Keith who is an American who has been living in Vegas for two years. I guess the two of them met in a $3-$6 2-7 Draw game on the internet and now hang out when Seb comes into town. One thing we talked about that I'm becoming more and more convicted of is how poker players are generally pretty cool people to hang out with. It's nice being around other people who sort of view the world through the same lens as one's self.

Anyway, I thought the three of us made for exceptionally functional company. Maybe Seb would disagree, but I didn't find it to be the least bit awkward or uncomfortable. Observing from a distance, you wouldn't have thought it was the first time we hung out together.

We played a little Chinese poker, went downstairs and ate a late-night meal, and then went back up to Seb's room for a little more Chinese poker.

For those of you who don't know much about Chinese poker, don't feel bad... I didn't either prior to last night. It's a pretty simple game. Even a total novice can play pretty close to optimal. In a sense, it's sort of just an extravagant way to flip coins. I mean, don't get me wrong, there is definitely some skill involved, but I'll bet you could teach a thinking poker player the rules of Chinese poker, sit that player down for a session against Phil Ivey, and they might only be like 35-40% dogs on booking a winning session after a couple hours of play.

When we realized that we were all kind of just passing the same money back and forth, we upped the stakes to $20/point to try to induce some variance. As soon as we did that, poor Seb just started running ice cold mostly to my benefit. I left around 3:00 a.m. as a $300 winner (SHIP IT!!!!)

Those guys were cool to hang out with and hopefully we can do it again soon. It's always nice to meet new, interesting people.

Well I'm going to rendezvous with TwoGun at the Venetian for the $2,500 Deep Stack event.


Back in Vegas Focused and Ready


The flight from Houston to Vegas is getting all too familiar. It's pretty bad when you start to recognize landmarks in the desert. It's like... "hey, there's that one rock with the steep dropoff on its south side!"

While the flying back and forth can get pretty annoying, I'm generally pretty happy with my decision not to stay out here for the entire series. I talked to a friend of mine, German pro Johannes Strassmann, who told me he was going through some serious WSOP/Vegas burnout. A couple weeks before coming out here, he was talking to me about how excited he was for the Series and how he was going to be really focused for the entire time. Fast forward to a few weeks later, and he's talking about not even wanting to play any more tournaments aside from the Main Event. Vegas has a way of doing that to people.

Obviously the WSOP Main Event is the most important and profitable tournament of the year, so I'm glad I was able to go home for a while and recharge the batteries, so to speak.

I'm really, really confident heading into this weekend. I feel like I've improved so much since last year. Of course, luck plays a big part in any one person's results in any one tournament, but I'm ready to do all I can to put myself in a position to make a deep run. I feel like I've gotten more comfortable with a lot of tournament situations and am ready for anything they can throw at me.

Tomorrow, TwoGun and I are going to play in the $2,500 Deep Stack tournament at the Venetian. That will most likely be the last tournament either of us play before the Main Event.

I'm playing Day 1-C which is on Saturday. I don't believe TwoGun has registered yet.

Well I'm going to take a little nap and then probably meet up with some people for dinner. Ciao!


Sixteen Hours of Tournament Poker


I played in the $1,500 WSOP event yesterday. Since it was a Saturday, a whopping 2,700 people showed up to play. My table was really good and had players frequently making mistakes. The only player I sat with all day that was familiar was Jeff "yellowsub" Williams.

After not getting much going, I busted out in level four after shoving Ace-Queen into Ace-King.

That was at 4:00 p.m. and I still felt like playing. I found out that Binion's was having a $250 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament. At the time, it sounded fun, so I took a cab downtown and made it as the second level was starting.

A sign of how many people are in Vegas for poker right now: the Binion's H.O.R.S.E. tournament had 270 players!

I don't play much H.O.R.S.E., but I probably understand hand values and stuff well enough to fare decently against a bad field. Thankfully, Binion's had a really bad field.

Without even running all that well, I built the 7k starting stack up to 80k by the time we were down to 30 players. At this point it was already 2:00 a.m. and I was beginning to question why I chose to play this tournament.

I ran pretty awful in a Razz level and was reduced to a short stack when the money bubble popped leaving 24 players left. With 22 left, I raised with a Ten door card and Ace-Ten down in Stud. A tight player with a King showing re-raised me. I knew I was beat, but it was 4:00 a.m. and I only had like four big bets left, so I just got all of the chips in. His hand held and I busted in 22nd for like $600.

It was a fun to cash in a live H.O.R.S.E. tournament, but I'm not sure I was really prepared to play for twelve hours.

For the day, I played from noon to 4 a.m. and was feeling pretty burned out when it was over. The timing worked out okay though; I'm heading home tonight for like ten days and flying back for the Main Event.

TwoGun gets out here on Thursday. Look for some Live from the WSOP updates from him!


Frustrating Day at the Venetian


On the WSOP schedule today was a $2,000 pot-limit hold'em tournament. That didn't much interest me, so I played in the Venetian's $1k. Their tournaments have a truly sick structure. We started with 15,000 chips and blinds of 25/50.

In the first level, an older European guy raised under the gun to 125. I followed four other callers from the big blind with King-Ten of diamonds. The flop was King-Ten-Four with two spades. I led out for 650. The European raised to 2,500 which screamed "Aces" to me. When everyone else folded, I thought for not too long and went all-in for 14,000 total. I didn't think he would be able to get away from Aces in this spot. He called, but wound up being in better shape than I would have liked with Ace-Queen of spades. I was only a 59% favorite to win that 600 big blind pot, but thankfully it held.

After that hand, I didn't see the point in hanging around. Having not yet eaten lunch, I went to the Grand Lux and had some pasta and chicken.

Later, during 100/200, a middle-aged European who had displayed some clownish tendencies raised to 800 after someone limped. I picked up Ace-King on the button and made it 3,300. It folded back to the Euro who went all-in for 17,000 total. Against anyone who I perceived as being solid, I probably would have had to fold there. However, I didn't think I could fold here against this particular player, so I called. He said, "I put you on a move," (lol) and turned over King-Jack. A Jack on the turn sent a 35,000 pot during 100/200 his way.

After that, I was left with 16,000 (note: yes, I would have had 51,000 during 100/200 which is just sick to even think about).

A while later during 200/400/50, I started the following hand with 18,000: raised to 1,025 with Jacks in early position. Four people called. The flop was King-Queen-Jack. I checked, a short-stack moved all-in for 5,200, and a player on the button called. The button player had been playing a lot of hands and generally seemed pretty bad. I figured his range here to make this call was KQ, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, JT, AT, and T9. Of course, there are only two of those hands I'm losing to, and even against those two hands I still have a full house redraw. With that in mind, I moved all-in for 17,000 total. He said, "I guess I have to call," and turned over Ten-Nine offsuit.

For what it's worth, the short stack had Ace-Queen and managed an unlikely suckout when a Ten came on the river. I didn't get there and was forced to exit the Venetian fuming as much as I have since arriving in Vegas.

I think my frustration was significantly aggravated by the fact that I was extremely focused and playing extremely well at a table full of spewy players. Even after the Ace-King losing to King-Jack hand, I still felt good about my chances of doing something big in this tournament.

Hopefully I can muster equal focus in tomorrow's $1,500 WSOP event, which should be my last before the Main Event. I'm pretty torn about the fact that I'm heading back home Sunday night. I feel so focused and hungry to play right now that I hate the thought of missing out on these juicy events.

Since I still feel really focused and ready to play, I'm going to head over to the Rio. They have a 7:00 p.m. nightly $300 tournament that I'm sure is really good. Plus, I need to register for tomorrow's event anyway.


On RainKhan's Left


I played in the $1,500 donkeyfest at the WSOP today. It had 2,420 entrants. I busted out around 500th on the last hand before dinner break.

A few hours earlier, Hevad "RainKhan" Khan (whom many of you will remember as the "crazy guy" from the WSOP Main Event telecasts) was moved to my immediate right. At one point, he moved all-in for 12 big blinds and I called with pocket Sevens. He had Queen-Jack. King-Nine-X, X, Ten. Nice hand. That knocked me down to 850 chips during 150/300. I actually built that back up as high as 5,500. After dwindling down to 3,600, I called a player's all-in with Ace-Jack. He had Ace-Eight. Eight-Eight-X flop. Good game.

Although things didn't really go my way today, I'm entirely happy with how I played. These big field, low buy-in WSOP events are just mind-blowingly +EV.

Playing with Khan was fun. We chatted quite a bit amongst ourselves since we were apparently the only players at the table who wouldn't be accurately described as "amateurs".

He told me that he still relives what it was like to go deep in the Main Event. He said it was by far the most fun he's had in his life.

While his antics on TV last year were pretty obnoxious, he evidently doesn't act like that all the time. You could also tell that he's done a lot of growing up in the year since making the Main Event final table. I think he is good for poker.

I got a text from Seb saying that he was on the rail waiting for a seat in a $50/$100 Stud/8 game to open up. At the time, I was really short on chips, so every hand mattered; I was unable to get up from my seat to go find him and introduce myself, and by the time I busted out, he had already texted me saying he left. Oh well, I'm sure we'll see each other around.

Tonight I think I'm going to meet up with Ray "Exitonly" Coburn and a few of his friends at South Point for some bowling (and hopefully bowling-related prop bets).

All for now.


Silly Races


Well I wound up finishing 18th in the $2,500 6-Max for like $19,000. My bustout hand was a race for 15% of the chips in play. One way of looking at it is that I would have been like 5:1 to win a bracelet if I won that race. Looking at it that way is kind of painful! :)

I guess I don't really have much to say about the tournament. I started day two with 120k, built up to 180k, spewed down to 90k, won a race to get back up to 180k, then lost a race for a 350k pot. There's really not much else to it.

It was really fun to get deep in a WSOP event, though. When we got down to three tables, there were like a ton of railbirds and ESPN 360 cameras, so it was sort of neat from that standpoint.

I'm taking a day off from poker today to clear my head. I may or may not play the $1,500 no-limit event tomorrow. Not totally sure yet. Chances are I probably will, though. Those big-field WSOP tournaments are just so, so, so incredibly +EV that it's kind of part to pass up on them without much of a good reason.

After busting last night, I used more than half of what I cashed for to register for the Main Event (playing Day 1-C, Saturday, for what it's worth). I went to one of Vegas' finer establishments and blew a little cash. It was a good day for me financially, because I also had a pretty big position on the Celtics to win the NBA Finals, which they did.

Seb from the forums messaged me saying that he is in town, so maybe we'll meet up later for a drink.


WSOP $2,500 6-Max: 5th out of 76 Heading to Day Two!


I played in the $2,500 6-Max WSOP tournament today. A little over 1,000 players entered. I'm among 76 other players heading to day two and I have the 5th largest stack in the tournament!

Obviously I'm pretty excited about how today went. It's 3:30 a.m. in Vegas right now and we resume at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, so forgive me if this is brief:

Two significant hands.

First, during 200/400/50, I started the hand with 25k. Jon "FatalError" Aguiar raises to 1,050 from the hijack. He started the hand with ~30k. I call on the button with Ace-Five of spades. Flop is Ace-Six-Five. He bets 1,750, I raise to 6,000, he calls. The turn is a Seven putting two hearts on the board. He bets 10k, I shove for like 18k total. He sighs and calls with Ace-Jack of hearts. It holds.

The sick part was, I didn't even realize he had a flush draw until several minutes later when he said something like, "I wish I could hit an eighteen outter one time." I was like, "uhh... but you only had nine outs." The whole table corrected me and was like, "dude... didn't you see he had a flush draw?" No I did not. Thank god it held!!!

New table not too long after. I have 56k which is among the tops in the tournament. I raise with Jacks. Button calls. Big blind calls. Flop is Ace-Jack-Seven (queue bells and whistles). Blind checks, I bet like half pot, button shoves all-in (for like 7x what I bet). Of course when he did that, I was doing cartwheels in my mind. What happened next? Big blind immediately says, "I'm all-in too." I've never called anything in my whole life with as much speed and glee as that hand. They had Ace-Seven and Ace-Queen. Ship the chip lead.

After that hand, I had 104k. I was as high as 145k and ended the day at 120k.

Tomorrow, average is 65k with 76 players left. We'll be playing 800/1600/200, so I've got like 75 big blinds (which is an enormous stack compared to what I'm used to... online tournaments).

It's pretty exciting to be in this position. There's a lot of poker left to be played, though. Even though I'm fifth in chips, my stack only represents what an average stack will be when there are 40 players left. To make this final table, I'll need to be clutch.

Woohoo poker is fun!!


You Can't Buy This Kind Of Entertainment


I almost feel too bad for the guy to make an entry about this. Almost.

So two posts ago, I mentioned how I played in the Venetian $2,500 and that among the recognizable faces from that tournament was "Ozzy87".

For those of you who don't know Ozzy, do a Google search. He's basically one of the most well known online poker players from the past two to three years.

Anyway, I just found out that he made it to day two of the tournament but had an un-uniformed FBI agent waiting for him when he showed up today to play. Why? Because he's not 21!

What makes this notably hilarious for me is that I talked to him on day one and he was acting very weird.

He was sitting at the table next to mine. I'm a sociable guy and everything and I like to make contacts with well-known people in the poker world. You never know when that type of thing can come back to be of great benefit.

So anyway, I lean over towards his table and ask, "hey Ozzy, when did you turn 21?" He hurriedly responded, "I'm 21." I sort of chuckled and was like, "haha... well... obviously. I asked when did you turn 21?" Still hurried, "oh... October."

I picked up on a little anxiety coming from him, so I just ended the conversation and wished him well.

At a break maybe an hour later, I noticed him just sort of standing around by himself. I walked up to him and asked him why he's not playing the $10k heads-up event at the WSOP. For that matter, I hadn't seen his name on any WSOP live updates for this year. It kind of puzzled me why someone with such a (presumably) huge bankroll was playing at the Venetian.

He told me that things haven't been going too well for him lately and that he's just focusing on playing some of the smaller stuff. Fair enough, I thought to myself. I kind of wondered why he wasn't being staked by someone. I'm sure there are dozens of poker players who would jump at a chance to back Ozzy. But alas, I didn't feel it was my place to ask him that, so I just let it slide.

I was a little surprised at how generally awkward and, frankly, toolish he was acting. Basically he was acting like how you would expect someone to act who was really, really stoned but trying not to seem like it while in public.

LOL it all makes such perfect sense now. He was playing in the tournament illegally.

The Venetian was tipped off about it overnight and was ready to bust him when he showed up for day two.

When it comes to people making utterly bonehead decisions, this will serve as a very, very memorable example.

Ozzy made a pretty dumb gamble here (obviously). I hope he's prepared to be laughed at quite a bit for this one. But no one was hurt and life will go on. I'm sure he'll be fine in the end.


Six Max Is... Comfortable


I played in a $200 buy-in 6-max tournament at Binion's today. One thing I guess surprised me that I never really thought about is how much more comfortable it is to play with only six players instead of nine or ten. Hooray for no stinky poker players three inches beside you!

The Binion's tournaments are great. Anyone looking to play stuff with $100-$300 buy-ins should check it out. The structure isn't great, but it's totally acceptable given the buy-in. There are far, far worse offerings for $200 in this city.

Another big plus is the ease of competition. For those of you not too familiar with Vegas, Binion's is Downtown. Generally speaking, Downtown kind of appeals to lower-income people, so a lot of the regulars in these tournaments aren't the savviest of folks.

Although I busted out in the fourth level, I'm pretty happy about how I played. If a straw poll was taken at my table asking who the best player was, I would have liked my chances of winning that vote. There was one younger guy and a middle-aged Asian guy that weren't bad or anything. But the other three players were all older guys who made quite a few mistakes.

In the cab afterwards, I thought about the hand I busted out on and think I might have made a small mistake. With blinds of 100/200 and a stack of 6,000, I raised to 550 under-the-gun with pocket eights. The young guy who had around 9,000 re-raised me to 1,550. He had re-raised me once before. It folded back to me and I moved in. He called with Kings.

I think my play is totally standard there with pocket Tens, somewhat marginal but probably still good with Nines... with Eights, I might have spewed a little.

Oh well, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Time for some blackjack and/or craps. I'm trying to keep the Stratosphere on my good side so they'll keep letting me stay here for free. Changing hotels is a hassle.

Tomorrow, I'll be going over to a mansion that Ray Coburn and like ten other poker players are renting for the WSOP to play online tournaments. Each of the major US-facing sites are holding a WSOP mega-satellite in lieu of their regular big Sunday tournament. It'd be a nice boost to the bankroll to win at least one of the satellites since it's effectively just a $12,000 cash prize.

All for now, thanks for reading Live from the WSOP.


What a Lovely Start to the Trip!


I arrived in Vegas this morning just in time to play the $2,500 Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza tournament. When they say "deep stack", they mean deep stack: we started with 20,000 chips and blinds of 25/50. I should have taken a later flight so I could have gotten more sleep and just skipped the first couple of levels. I only slept for about four hours last night, so I was dragging butt a little bit.

Nothing too interesting happened in the tournament. The field was actually quite tough. Across town, the WSOP was holding the $10k heads-up championship. Since that tournament doesn't appeal to a lot of people, many lesser-known players decided to play at the Venetian today. I saw Steve-Paul Ambrose, Ozzy87, Alexander Jung (the German who won the Party Poker Million), Shaun Deeb, and a host of other recognizable faces. The only guy I recognized at my table was a guy named Adam I met in Dublin who plays as "adamoos" online. Everyone else seemed pretty fishy, so it was a good table.

That said, I busted in the fifth level.

I never really got anything going. Lost some small pots, won some small pots... boring, who cares?

During 200/400/25, I started the hand with 16,000. A donkish guy with a ton of chips he got from relentlessly bluffing people limped in early position. I made it 2,200 with Ace-Queen in late position. Folding never crossed his mind.

The flop came King-Ten-Nine. He led out for 3,000. I figured there was a good chance he was just using his big chip stack to try to scare me off my hand. I had also been playing really tight, so I figured a shove would look really strong. I shoved, he snap called with Queen-Ten. Good game.

I'll probably just take it easy the rest of the night. I'm staying for free at the Stratosphere. Since they have a bad location, they're a little desperate for business. Last time I was in town, I threw around a couple thousand on their craps tables to get their attention. It worked. They immediately promoted me to the highest level of their rewards club. So, for a couple of nights anyway, I'm staying in a suite for free. Who said craps is -EV?

Tomorrow, I'm probably going to play this $200 buy-in 6-max tournament at Binion's. I've never played a live 6-max tournament before and think there might be something to be said for not letting Monday's $2,500 WSOP event be my first one. It's possible I won't be able to muster the desire to play a $200 live tournament. I probably should, though. I'm sure it's ultra soft and I could kind of use a boost to my confidence after today.

You guys have to get out here. It's a donkey convention!


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