My NLHE skills are on the rise. The last week I placed in many more NL tournaments than before. I even won a seat to one of these Party Poker Million IV qualifiers next weekend. No, we are not on the boat already. Much to Katjas discomfort we haven't made our way there yet. Last year for the first time we really tried to qualify but failed, like this year so far. This is 100% because of bad luck and not because of my crazy NL style, ok?????? Ok, maybe I came to believe it to... We feel that buying into this event really sucks, you really have to go there as an online qualifier. Right now I am very confident of my NL game so I hope to make it next weekend. Katja has no real hope as the is under the impression that all here moves fail these days, which they do. That feeling will not help to straight things out for her I believe, so she has to take it easy for a few days.
I have not seen PokerWorks before. While I dont like the design of the site I got totaly sucked into it. I read all of Linda's postings in 2004 within the last two days. Great stuff! As I am playing at the Bellagio and the Mirage whenever possible (we go to Vegas two times a year as a minimum) and visit the WSOP some years now I come to know several of the players/regulars. Quite facinating.
She even wrote about Morad, the live guy, playing only 7stud, any limit. Last year while the power at the Bellagio went down we were playing together 200-400 and 300-600 stud at the Mirage and he was down over 200k in just 3-4 days and had to borrow money all around (computers were down also and he got no money out of his account). He was playing really bad and he got some bad luck also. But make no mistake: this guy can also be deadly as a snake, he for example won the 5k-WSOP-stud event in 2002!
Still, why do I tell you that? Cool thing, he's a regular in our local "home" game, the 7-stud pot-limit game running here in my hometown (the only game we have). In Vegas they just wait for him (he's getting a high-limit stud game in seconds when there was none for weeks). Sometimes he sent me back home with my tails between my legs and many parts of our not-so-cheap furniture pieces here could also wear a "Sponsored by Morad" tag. So when you see this guy, grab a seat and prepare for wild action, as he is fearless and does not care about the money, raising you all the way with a gutshot-straight. And sometimes, oh sometimes he's getting it.
Wow, good news is I got money in the Party Poker Million Guaranteed last night. Finished 22. out of 1727. Good news also is that I played very well the whole time. Over 6,000$ sure does not hurt. Bad news is, we need some new dishes as Katja got so disapointed when she busted out that she need to throw something and the dishes from our dinner were right available... she got some horrible beats from ridicoulous hand, nothing special for everybody used to these party poker games, when she went all in holding some trips only to loose against some miracle back door flush that does not have the hand, the position nor the stake to be there at that time in that pot. Anyway she busted out and I had some 10 minutes, oh wow.
I got nearly out very early by a one-outer on the river (hey, I am the guys with the outs!) when somebody limped with KK, I limped with AKs, the flop came 27A rainbow, I bet, he raised (!), I went all in, he called with all his money, turn is 9 and river is - case King. Oh yeah. I had only some spare chips left but made my way. I felt already very lucky to reach the money (130 paid) and got even more exited when we came close to the last 50 players. But then my cards dryed up, I got no good hand for about 2 hours so I got crippled. When 3 tables were left I managed to steal some blinds for the first time and got KK the very next hand. The chip-leader who made a lot of pressure and raised UTG or more than I had, I went all-in with KK, no one else stayed in, and the cards were opened: QTo against my KK. FLop is 29J giving him a straight draw and backdoor flush draw. When the King hit the turn he made the straight and improved to a fluish on the river, I had no help for my boat and was out in a then disturbing 22. place. This is the second time this year Kings betray me right when the money gets deep (in the 5,000$ no-limit holdem at the Bellagio in April I got them when only 20 players remained, 18 getting money, I hold average chips, get QQ, loose against AK (Barry Shulmann), get KK, loose against AK (David Pham I believe) and get nothing after 14 hours of hard work. This was the "power went down" event, the money got splitted as the could not play the final table the next day due to the power outfall).
If I had known in advance to get that far I would have been very happy - now I feel like a looser and think about the 200k for first place which would have came very handy. I really need to do some shopping with Katja to get us back on track, lol. Sometimes I forget how much money we move over the tables and how valuable a hundred could be... damm it, let's play some more now!
...you have the best of it and protect it when you don't. So or something like this goes the word in "Rounders", one poker movie that I like. I totally failed on this in my last session. I managed to throw my money in 5 times against better hands within a 2 hour period and I just can not deny the fact that I have known that I am beat at that point. Wow, very good, very professional. In retro all I can say is "this player went on tilt, this player went on tilt, this player...".
Friday was the first qualifier day for the german championships in 7stud, just 4 levels of play, buyin 600eur, rebuy each 400eur with a maximum of 3 rebuys. Starting chips were 2,000, how much chips you get for a rebuy depends on the time you buy - first 2 levels 3,000, level 3+4 4,000 and levels 5+6 give you 6,000 (these levels were played on saturday). While the limit starts with a spread of 20-100 in level 1, level 5 already has 200-1000 with 100 ante, so you get 30 big bets for you money in level 1 but only 6 big bets in level 5. My goal was to reach day 2 without any rebuy, which did not work as I had to buy one rebuy very early. Day 1 went smooth from thereon, I had 8,700 chips when we stopped the clock. I passed the cashgame as I was tired and still ill.
Saturday the tournament started early and so did I. I got great cards but all of them cracked. I played 3 hands, all got beat by ridicoulous flushes or turn-river two pair and I had to take my second rebuy. I played one hand, got beat (my QQ-A against 4-7-4) and had to take the third. Finally I won one hand (small pot) when things started to get interesting. We did not know how many players were qualified for the final of the championship in three weeks, as 4 casinos took part in this and not the number of players, the amount of money decided how many from each location come to the final (32 total). So we were in the dark if 9, 10, 11 or maybe even 12 players qualify. 12 players left is what we had at that point and everybody was already cheering, I reminded sceptic. I my calculation 10 was the most likely number of players from our location. I was very low on chips (like 2,500 left with ante 200 and limit 1,000-10,000). I decided to sit it out and hope for 2 others to bust out before me, just to be 100% sure. Now comes the difficult part of getting pocket pairs and throw them away. I got 99-Q once, mucked it, the pot was raised behind me, everybody folded, raiser showed KK. Pfhew. I got 44-A, mucked it, the pot is raised, re-raised and war was declared when ony player busted out with queens full against rolled-up 7's which turned to quads. One to go. A few minutes later on the other table, one guy also low on chips decided to call a raise all-in with KT-2o, catched 2-7-2-A (3) for open trips but lost against three kings. Phew again, two players out, I made it to the final ten. My next hand was 48-4, I raised allin myself, got called in one spot by 36-Ao which made two pairs nines against my two pair eight's, oh wow. This must have set me up for my failure in the cash game later on. Anyway, an hour later we got the message that only 10 players made it to the final, I am one of these!
Katja was also there, rejecting to play this bad structure and seating for me. While that worked in the tournament it failed in the cash game, where I played well except for these 6 hands. Six hands wrong played in a pot-limit game can ruin your day and this is exactly what happened here also, I was already ahead over 1G when I fell in love with pocket tens against a re-raise from an open ace. I convinced myself that a thrid ten will fall and shoved all my money in, got called, got my third 10 on the turn but stared at aces full of queens. All squeezing did not help to catch the 4th 10 (hey my nick is 50outs!) so I lost. I re-did stupid stuff like that to loose something like 1,500eur. Ok I had decent draws and many life cards but the point is I knewed every single time that they hold what they represent and still called or even raised. This was my "throw the money out of the window" party day :-(
Don't bet that I am still in that mood when you arive here for the german championships!
Ok, I still have to work to support wife, kids and some basic life but does it have to be that hard? Until I returned on sunday from the desaster in Baden I have been very tired, got a flue, been stressed in my job and lost over 1G online. Things are not running pretty well I would say. Reading about the Fista del Lago tournament at the Bellagio running these days (without us!) is no help further. I did told Katja already that we ae going to get a year away from all this very soon and enter the circuit. But unfortunatly this is still some time away as I have to work in my project with my client (the german goverment) until the actual work is done which will not be until sometime mid or end next year (and they pay some form of pain relief I can tell you). So the plan is, go to WPT final next year at the Bellagio, make some money, return back to work, take 3-5 weeks vacation in June, visit the WSOP, make some serious money, return, finsih the project and start traveling in about October. Sounds great!
In the meantime I will the play the german championships in 7-card stud, the qualifier is running this weekend. The structure is ridicoulous, the price money is far from good and the players are all but bad. But what can you do when the Bellagio is over 11,000km away and you are on limited roll (means you still must get up and work your ass off) ?? Nothing I guess.
I must have murdered 17 children and some well-loved house pets on my 30 second way to the casino, as I got pushed around like I did that. But first things first: after the first day we took it very easy, Katja had to play late as 7pm, so we slept long, went some shopping, played one-or two hours cashgame, won both times about 2,000eur and had a nice an relaxing day. As Katja started to play her qualifier I made some some Partypoker business with WSOP-bracelet winner Ivo Doney. I started to play cash game again, 100-200 stud only. Katja busted out very late again and was "not to happy". To calm things down a bit I decided to quit playing and take a 2,000eur win and went to bed at around 1am. My last good and easy night this would be, fortunatly I did not know that then.
Friday morning went well again, with me going into the casino at 9am where a heavy 200-400 stud/holdem game was running. The were to very live ones, two experienced PLO players and about 3 good stud players, nobody except maybe one (Erich Kollman) would qualify as a very good limit holdem player in my opinion (with NLH being a total different thing). I needed to wait for about an hour to get a seat, knowing that the table will break in about 3 hours as the next qualifier started at 3pm that friday. After just three hands Katja arrived to watch me play and prepare herself for the qualifier (get really awake that means for her, drinking coffee, smoking, running around and chat with friends). The problem came when I catched no hands at all except one which I lost. I was down about 6,000eur after about two hours by not really being part of the game due to very bad starting hands. I tried to press it one or two times by playing scare cards but always bumped into heavy resistance and got to let it go. Finally I played a hand of rubbish (23-4 with 2 spades) against an complete (open king) and a raise (open ace), catched a five on 4th street and decided to give it a try. I played the hand, catched some more spades and had a small flush draw and the open ended on the river. The action was quit big, with two more players betting and raising on every street, me calling in between (I figured minimum two aces dead and one six was out with 4 seen spades, giving me 10 outs to a only hopefully winning hand). Anyway I got my six on the river, killed kings-up and aces-up and dragged a nice pot. A few minutes later the game broke, me still loosing 1,800eur. Katja went on to play the qualifier, but again no chance. Her only hope left was the shoot-out next day, where only 8 players of the remaining 200 qualified for the super-final.
At about 4pm I sat down in a new 100-200 stud game where Katja joined me after she busted out. It went up and down but nothing special, I was even ahead one time 2,000eur and thought "well, I made up for the morning, let me make a score again now and we could go to bed". This thought must have sealed my fate... Katja left, tired and exhausted with a little flue. For the next 11 hours straight I catched no cards (count: 0 pocket pairs, 0 split pairs, 0 three flush cards, 0 three straight cards and 0 three face cards). I played maybe 20 hands in that time, seeing 5 showdowns, loosing 2 of them. The worst a big pot (about 6,000eur) where I had a straight on 6th. Paul Testud played like crazy (ok, I believe some will say he played like tired and ill compared to other times but he sure gave action) with what I believe was aces up and Gregor from Germany had K3-3 and catched a 3 on 4th, so the pot was big. On the river Gregor catched one of his "dead" cards for a small full, which was good. After painfull 11 hours the game broke, I lost 5,900eur. However dissapointing the result was, I was very happy with my game and my patience. I figure dry spells like that come from time and you just have to go thru them as good as possible. I already had a 2 years long bad run (where I also played bad then) so I know what I am talking about.
It was already about 6am (Saturday) and I took a stop at one of the remaining Omaha pot-limit tables. I lost about 1,000eur there but witnessed really bad players playing pots for up to 20,000eur with real rubbish hands. One of them won all the money, the table broke and I went to bad. Fuck. But nice compared to what follows.
I slept well and woke up when Katja left for her final shout-out. 30 minutes later I came over and saw her disgusted about 1) first hand rolled up 5's - lost, 2) second hand 5 card straight with a royal flush gut shot, Erich Kollmann winning with a baby flush and 3) Two pair aces in hand #4, also lost. She had nearly no chips left when I came and moved in with JJ-A, loosing to two pair. Who knows Katja knows that she neads some minutes after things like that, which I gave her gladly. We joined a PLO game, had some ups and downs and changed over to 200-400 half/half again. At 5pm the super-final started, so I had to leave that game and about 4,000eur I had already lost there.
The final constisted of 80 players, everybody already in the money. I had something every hand, pairs, draws, overcards and I played them very aggressivly trying to get a early chip lead. Unfortunatly that did not worked out and I left in a disappoing 77th place. Katja went to sleep thinking that I will play at least 2 hours into the tournament, which I also failed. After only 5 minutes of re-adjusting I grabbed the only open seat in the 200-400 again, lost 2 big pots in two hands and paused my play to see Katja and get some mental help from here. That turned out to be difficult as I woke her up, informed her about my failure and got hard words from here for my early exit, my looses, my failure to wait for her and my igoration of the need of a longer pause between tournament and live play. She was right in every point, as usual. After about an 15 minutes later (wow, that girl is quick) we both returned to the game and sweated it out together. At some point I gave her the seat as I was still running bad. She got 66, raised with position, got called in one spot, flop came 5-6-7 rainbow, other guy bets, she raised, he called, turn brought the 9, he played, she called, river is A, he bets, she calls, he played 6-8, got his straight and our money. Two more hands we played strong, QQ-A which improved to aces up but lost to river 28-879K-8 and AA-K with lost to a small flush. All other hands could not been taken to the showdown. We lost big that day. I am still thinking about what to learn from my mistakes here.
I already told you about the tournament we play over this long weekend, the european 7stud poker championship, a very well established tourney with very nice side action over 5 days. Yesterday (wendsday) was the start. I had a really hectic day...
The day started at 6:00am where I went to work in Stuttgart, where I do client project. After a long meeting (5 hours) and some very quick descisions Frank (my good friend and colleque, see actual image album for a picture of this cool dude) and I jumped into a cab to the airport at 13:30 with the filght going at 14:45 so more than an hour left with a drive time of usally about 25 minutes. So far so good. As it turned out, there was a heavy traffic jam on the highway and we got real late to the airport, actually about 14:30. We directly went to the check-in counter just to be informed that the flight is cancelled due to technical problems. Umppf. Ok, next flight? At 17:30 buuuuut: booked out nothing possible. Car? Train? Over 900 miles with about 4 hours left until the tourney starts? Impossible... and I did not even mean the nice gala dinner at 17:30 which we liked to get (dont forget, 500eur just for eating and drinking as a fixed price). Katja catched her flight the same morning at 6:30 from Hamburg to Vienna without any problems and was doing something like a "day off" until I called with these problems (we could not come). Uiii, that must be really love... Anyway, we figured to fly to Frankfurt and try to catch anything there and that actually worked. After long and serious discussions with the airline we got new vouchures and made it to Vienna at 18:40! Great, the tournament starts at 19:00 with a 40 minute ride from the airport to the casino. Good, Katja made our buy-ins (also after some discussions as no passport copies were available) and the chips were placed on the table, so the worst that could happen that we are going to be blinded away by something right (four 30 minutes low levels)?? Wrong. After the tournament was on for about 5 minutes Katja got informed that after 30 minutes the stacks without player will removed. 25 minutes left for us to make it no problem at all, right?? Wrong again, annother heavy traffic jam! We talked our driver into breaking every possible rule and sweated the whole way, all the time on the phone with Katja (she was trying to talk the floorman into extending the time). That was the first time we got real nervous as we had to jump into our hotel room before arriving to get our document to be allowed to actually enter the casino. Ok, we made it 29 minutes and 30 seconds after the tournament started and as we approached out seats the announcment to get in the stacks was made... not 30 seconds later and our weekend would be busted! Great!
For the first hour I played real bad, unconcentrated and uninspired and needed to make my rebuy very fast. My table had 3 unkowns, 3 known-to-me players, one local hero and Kiril Gerasimlov, the heads-up champion from 2002 I believe and a real though customer if he get any cards (which was not the case this night). After the first hour I managed to focus on my game (stud is really my hometown) and got better and better results. After two hours I took the add-on for double the chips as nearly everbody I believe to be in medium chip position with serious limit raises ahead. After the break out table got broke soon, the table I got was full of chips but before I could take these into my stack this table broke to and I got moved to one of the final tables. A word about this tournament: there are 3 qualifiers over 3 days where 24 player out the field are qualified to play the super-final on Saturday. Each of these 72 (plus 8 players from a last chance crabshot saturday right before the final starts) is already "in the money" which not means the player is actual ahead as you got to pay 3 times 900eur if you got to play all three qualifiers. So the ultimte goal is to make it on Day One and have a freeroll to the big price money. So it was very comfortable for me to actual sit on one of these 6 final tables - when only 48 players are left eah table plays down to four player, each of them is qualified and gets some money right away. I did so lala for 2 hours, just holding my self. I checked for Katja regulary but the was in trouble all the time, failing to improve her big holdings. The got all-in one time with rolled up 4's and catched a fouth one on the river to surive a little longer but actually got busted around place 60 :-(
I got out of trouble right after a break with high limits with rolled up 2's and sending two players out of the tournament. From there on it was easy sailing, just by using standard tournament play (ok, whatever that means, but I got out of any trouble after that). My friend Frank got to our table but he made one mistake and got crippled and never recovered from that. He was something arround #35. Katja's and mine friend Castey Castle came to our table and got the nickname "action casey" very quick. After holding very many chips when busting out Henry Novakowski (who is famous for his 6th place finish in the WSOP championship event and "discussion" about "american idiots" with Daniel Negrenau) he got in trouble later but made our day by going all-in with a small chiplead (but the worst hand, "action casey" as I said) against a guy and busting him as 5th on our table so we all got qualified!!! Wow! Thank you Casey!
It was already 3:00 in the morning and I was eating and talking with Katja as someone showed a open seat in an omaha 500eur buyin 5-10 pot limit game where I realized three drunk live ones, 3 ok players and 2 sharks. I wanted to go to bed at that time but the situation was clea, the seat looked so inviting and the situation was just right. And right it went - I got ahead real quick, dropped it to one of this sharks by managing to forget everything about "playing the player" and "dont chase weak draws" and went ahead again by playing just straight against the weakies. After about 90 minutes I quitted a 1700eur winner.
The nice and successful day continued in the hotel room for annother 15 minutes but I will not go into more details here.
Sometimes they drop their money as they like to throw it out of the window. Like yesterday. People from outside the poker world would never believe that, with the exception of some stock brokers maybe.
Our 7stud-PL session last night -in which we played both at the same table which is kind of unusual for us- was nothing special, more or less the game from friday continued. Some of the more "active" players were missing so the action was so "lala" until the ultra active player arrived, a guy from india (or somewhere near there).
He managed to loose about 10 buyins (500eur each) within about 2 hours which by itself could happen to everybody except that he needed to play not one of the hands. You know, like calling with unimproved split 8's with kicker 3 against open king betting the pot 3 times and shit like that. He saved our night, Katja won about 3,000eur and managed to win 1,400eur after being down about 1,500. We were never in any danger and there were no big pots this night.
The exitement already starts about the upcoming tourmanent in Baden, Austria, the european stud championship, the Poker EM. This is a *very* nice tournament with 5 days 24h action, which is kind of unusual in europe as you might know. The food is great (and expensive, 500eur, f&b from Wendnesday evening until sunday) and the action is everything you could ask for. Every game and limit is available with the highlight of normaly 3 tables of 3,000eur buyin Omaha PL. These games are pretty difficult but very live at the time with big money around.