I won my seat into the WSOP 2005 main event yesterday night! I am still very excited about that. Pokerstars is offering a weekly event, a $615+35 multi-table qualifier. Yesterday 301 players entered and 16 seats+$1,000+hotel accomodation were available. 30 players were "in the money" giving them back $650 for a free roll into the next one and the 31th spot would payout $15 for a total desaster. Right on I was surprised how slow this tourney started and that pace almost never changed. We started with a nice 2,500 stack and slow levels so this promised to be a long tournament. Actually this was my first "big buy-in" online tournament that came kind of close to the real thing. No fast and furious action, players taking their time, no many rubbish hands and a very concentrated atmosphere. Two hours before I had played stars $500,000 guaranteed tournament with a $530 buy-in and that was a different thing (I lost my chips there with KK against 33 and AK against A7).
The tournament started 1:00 a.m. my time and ended at about 8:30 a.m. so instead of getting some needed sleep I spent the night playing. My kids managed to stay up until about 4 a.m. but then went sleeping so all was very quit and the light were dimmed. This helped me stay calm and patient (although that is almost never a problem for me anyway). I played that way and the whole tourney was kind of uneventful for me with the exception of two key hands:
1) I SUCKED OUT! The hand went like this: I was dealt 99 in a seven handed game in middle position. The blinds were 200/400 with a 25 ante and I made it 1,600 to go. The SB raised it to 4,400 and I had no information about him yet. He had a 21,700 stack and I had him covered with a 23,000 stack. I decided to just flat call and see a flop which came 6-3-8 with two diamonds. He made a half pot-sized bet of 5,400 which I now know was his biggest mistake in the hand. That bet somehow "confirmed" me that I am up against a flush draw like AK or AQ of diamonds, maybe not even of diamonds could be he was betting his high cards alone there to protect his investment. After some consideration what to do I re-raised all-in hoping he would fold. He would have had about 12k left, about par at that time. He instantly called showing KK. Upps. I could not even start to moan about my bad play when a beautyfull nine turned and the river blanked, busting him out of the tournament and giving me the chip lead with over 45k, the next player over 10k away. Wow, sorry for sucking out but I still keep the seat :)
2) The best hand help up. When the play got more into a blind attacking mode I decided to steal some blinds also and holding KQo in middle position the sport just seemed right in a ultra tight game. The blinds were already 600/1200 with 75 ante and I had 32,000 left. I raised it to 3,600 and only the button called. The pot was now 9,600 and the flop came 6-4-Q with two hearts, giving me the top pair with decent kicker. I bet out 6,000 and was raised to 12,000! I called instantly. The turn was the 3 of hearts and I checked, not knowing where I stood in the hand. The button moved all-in for his last 7k. I called. He had QJo for top pair with not-so-good kicker. The river brought no help, actually it helped my bringing a K for kings-up and I again was in the chip lead with nearly 60k.
From there on I played no more hand and just waited to get into the money and finally into the WSOP as I was pretty scared about any kind of accident that seem to happen so often in the last months when it gets to the important spots. I throwed everything including QQ away, sitting to the rigth of the very agressive chip leader, which finally ended the day by throwing out the bubble boy with 53o against ATo. He had a lot of chips and played his big stack very well, putting preasure on everybody. Made no sense for me to mess around there, holding on to 4th or 5th chip position the whole time even while throwing everything away. It worked this time and made it to the last 16, getting a $10,000 valued seat into the WSOP 2005, $1,000 in cash and 7 night of hotel acomodation if I wear pokerstars logo wear which I play to do, looking like an online qualifier (which I am actually, yes!!!) in the main event could not hurt, only help as I see it.
Now we have the task of getting Katja into the main event also left, which we will start to try when we return from vegas in april.
Katja is on a weeklong "girls-only" vacation so I am alone here at home - alone that is without her, I have my two kids staying here with me, a 14 year old boy and a 15 year old girl. Well, my son is fighing with me all the time to use my up-to-date comupter to play the latest game (I figure World Of Warcraft to be his actual favorite) and my daughter is either out, partying with friends or sleeping. I guess thats pretty normal 8-}.
Today in a week we'll leave to Vegas, to play in the Bellagio Five-Diamonds tournament. As it is eastern the monday is a off-day here so I have only three work days left for the upcoming week, which already feels like the vacation has already started. Let's hope that we can make something there so we are going to stay two, maybe three weeks. One week will be the standard "lost it all" or "about even" timeframe, every extension itself will be a success :)
Partypoker is treating me brutally the last three weeks. No matter what I play I always get beaten by ridicoulus hands and boards! If I am behind when the money goes in you can rest asured that I am not going to outdraw you - if I somehow manage to catch something on the flop then turn and river will surly bring the unlikly outcame. I tried it all now, changed my style a little but anyhow, I play tight my aces go down against 37o, I play loose my KQs will loose against KJo and I play balanced my 88 will loose against 66.
So I thought, maybe I should give Pokerstars a try and played an evening there. At first it looked good, I made a fast few hundreds in the 30-60 game and then went for $160 Double-Shoutout WSOP qualifier SNG they offer. This tournament is great, you just have to win 2 one-table tourneys and you are off to the WOP main event. I played tight, agressive and patently there and managed to increase my stack to over 6,000 with 4 players left on the first table (1,500 starting chips). Then I found K5 of clubs in the BB, there was no raise so we saw the flop three-handed: Kd, 3c, 4c ! I made top pair and a flush draw. Well, the pot was already about 500 so I did bet the pot. One player folded, the other went all-in for about 700 more. I could not see how I could fold there so I called. He showed A7 of clubs, my top-pair was good but my flush draw was now my horror scenario. Right on the turn came the 9c and I lost the hand. Ok, no big deal, still about 4,500 left for me. Then the guy that made the flush busted out another player with some miracle and had the same chip count as I a few hands later. Now much later I found KQs on the SB and called. Flop came KQ4 rainbow. I made a big bet there of about 1,000 and the BB wnet out, leaving only my flush specialist, which called. Turn card is the 7 of clubs, putting now two clubs on board. I went-allin with my top two, fearing a small set of 4's there but thought I would not let it go anyway to better to myself. He called my all-in bet! The cards were opened and figure my surprise when he showed A4 of clubs for a small pair of 4's and now a flush draw. The river brought a club as you might guess and I got really angry for a minute. Wow that was really hurting. After cooling down for about 15 minutes I went to the 30-60 cash game again trying to win some money for todays $500,000 guaranteed tourney. How I got ripped off from $1,500 was even by partypoker standards ridicoulous. AA cracked by 42o, KK cracked by 7Ts, AK and AQ always loosing (I guess I lost about 10 coin-flip hands in a row there) and giving me a overall very bad experience.
Today I will try the $250,000 at party and the $500,000 guaranteed at stars, maybe my luck changes there a little bit. Would feel good!
The PPM IV brought money to some friends: Matt from the Pokercronicles made 74th spot for a 10k payout and Casey Kastle made over 40k! Well done boys!
The PartyPoker Million IV is on his way - without us! A lot of friends, even some of our local players here from Hamburg, made it to the ship. We failed. That is hurting! Not even the tickets to LV lying here in front of us and the confirmed suite and limo pickup make this anything but frustrating. Next year we try harder!
On the playing side still no relief, Katja went playing live one time and lost again, for no less than 4 loosing session in a row! Online is about even these days, with a 6th place finish in limit holdem out of 80 players and a 10th place in a NLHE multi with 100 players (I am not playing cash games the last few days). Oh and I won 2 of 2 $200 SNG's I played today, one limit and one no-limit at the same time (why I am doing such silly stuff is beyond me)
I am watching Pokerstars very closly the last days. Having decided that the $100-200 games there are not for me (yet) their WSOP qualifing action in incredible. On partypoker the WSOP is still non-existent. I got to get money to stars and try to win a seat!
Sorry for being short these days, but really not much is happening. Katja goes on a girls-only vacation next week and I party alone with kids over a long easter weekend so maybe there is something to write about already in the air... and vegas is only 12 days away!
Casey Kastle, one of our most nearest friends in the poker world (and he is even very close including all "non-poker" friends) made the final table in the PPT $500,000 tournament in San Diego and got far as 4th place! Congratulations for that, Casey. Well done! I'm pretty sure many of you know Casey or at least read about him already. In the latest Bluff magazine top player list he was on 7th spot and his achivements in the WPT events are unmatched. I read he has by far the most money finishes in WPT events (unfortunatly not the most pricemoney :), even far more than Juanda, Hansen or Negrenau. We meet only a few times a year when we travel to the bigger events (he seems to be everywhere) but Katja and I are always eager to see him and talk about the newest stuff. Me regulary exchange emails so we know roughly whats going on in each others life's and that a good thing. If somebody would ask me who I would I say is the greatest guy in the professional poker world, my answer is clear: Casey is the man!
There are two things I especially like very much about that guy: 1) he made out poker life in the US so much better by bringing the WSOP to "non-smoking" (the Mirage and Bellagio followed soon and now most poker rooms are non-smoking) and 2) his business cards reads "Retired". I have no better word to describe this relaxed, ultra-cool, deep-thinking guy. Casey, you are the nuts!
Fortunatly either Katja or I have ever played any serious with Casey, it just never happened. Sure, we played together in Baden at the PokerEM, the worlds biggest stud event, but Casey says (truly) that stud is not his game (the pro's are coming to Baden for their unmatched cash game madness, this must be the reason why I never ever came back from that event with any money left in my pocket IN NINE YEARS now, lol). We exchanged a few hands in live PLO games but managed to never run into each other. His main game is NLHE. All I know about his game is from reading on the net but based on that there is a clear strategy: avoid him at all cost!
Vegas! I just booked our tickets! We go to the Bellagio for their 5-star world poker classic starting April, 4th. How long we will stay there is still open, depends on how things are going for us there. I have a good feeling, I think one of us is "due" to a nice score :)
Said that, the last two weeks went horrible for us. Since the nice score at the local tournament nothing went in the right direction (up): Katja booked her first three-in-a-row loosing sessions since what feels like forever and I am moving in the wrong direction (down) online to. No scores! I loose everywhere I go: 15/30, 30/60, PL 1000, SNG 200, Multis and even in the million guaranteed I made only place 227th with 220 paid (everybody was in the money about 30 seconds after I busted). This is a not welcome downswing for us :( but hey, I once had a two-year lasting loosing streak so I guess two weeks can be taken still easy.
It is almost comical but I have not seen my weighbet opponent for months. Before I saw him more or less every day when I went playing but nowadays we seem to miss each other all the time. I hear he had a bad streak but recovered (so nicely that he is going to Amsterdam now for some high-limit cash game action) but on the weightbet part he is way behind (I hear). Good... but I won't slowdown, 6 more weeks to go and I am better doing than expected.
This weekend was a designated partypoker weekend. Having cashout'd nearly the online roll two weeks ago I rebought for the monthly bonus code to catch the $200 deposit bonus in mid-week. Partypoker has just added more limit and tables. Now with three tables of 30/60 limit action and many many no-limit and pot-limit games this place feels like game-selection heaven. For us the new $1000 buyin pot-limit holdem games are the most interesting as we are very used to the structure and specifics of that game.
So from late thursday on the race was started. As of writing this on Sunday noon I already have 2,500 hands played with 42h with a VP$IP of 26,5%. Right now I am down about $1,500 but only due to gigantic pot I just lost. Let me share the story: I had KK in the BB with $2,600 in chips. There was a minimum raise to $20 and 5 callers. raised the pot to $120. All folded except the SB which called, he had me covered. Flop came K43 of all differnt suits, made top set and had no worries about anything. He checked, I played it full, but got called. Turn is a harmless T, check-bet-call. River comes an ace and I was already hoping he hit that ace for something like aces-up or so that I get money. I went check-bet(allin)-call. Figure my surprise when he sticked that 52o for the rivered baby straight in my face. Outch. I must say that the kind and amount of beats you got to take there is in no way different to the limit games. These guys just play it all and there is no holding back. Like money is nothing. I am very happy that these games are there. Although I made no big score there yet I am pretty sure they will come. Just not so far. Too bad.
It was another weekend of getting close to the money. In the friday night special tournament 90 players were in the money, I reached 112th spot holding nothing less than rockets. But even more close than this was yesterday nights million dollar guarranteed event. Nearly 2,200 players, 270k for the winner and 220 in the money. I got 227th there :(.
This tourney was a wild ride the whole time. I managed to qualify thru a single table satelitte for $70 which I won so the entry was already cheap and sweet. We came 10 minutes late from dinner so the tourney was already started when I started to play but only about 25 chips from the starting stack of 1,500 were missing. I played kind of solid poker getting AA cracked two times in a row in the first 3 hours and being down to just a few chips. I came back each time. I made decent chips when I got 44 three times in a row and hitting a set in the first two of them, folding the third pre-flop for an all-in and a call but would have won that also. Not long ago, don't you worry, I got cracked AA again and was down to just a few hundreds. Then I sucked out big time in two hands: first I won AJ against QQ with an Ace on the river and about 30 minutes later I catched a strait holding AQ against AK. Both were against the same player who was naturally complaining big time. Sorry dude, that must have hurt this far in the tourney. I was holding about average chips when I misread a hand badly: holding KJo in the BB of 1,000 it was raised in middle position to just 3,000. I figure him on a AT or some small pair and call. Flop comes 4J7 rainbow and I bet what he had left being very sure to have a winner here. He called and showed - QQ. No miracle and I was low again. To low to reach the money. Then I sucked out the hand with straight, see above, and was back to to about 14k. Then my destiny fullfilled when I was in the SB, it was folded around to me and I found AKs. Only 7 players to bust for a minumum of $930 payout so the thought of letting it go flashed thru my mind for a milli-second but the situation seemed to good to pass. So I shoved. We were shocked when the BB called showing KK! This time no hel came on the board and it was over. Ohh, that was hurting. The situation came up so bad for us. No limper, no raiser, a big hand in the SB, a even better hand in the BB, no ace on board, argghhh. I was reminded of the $5,000 buyin NLHE tournament at the Bellagio last year where I had the kings and the BB called my all-in raise for an average stake holding AKo and catching an ace on the flop right away. Too bad.
A long time my friend Tony "Granit" was in the chip lead. I wonder what happened to him as the reached only 113th spot. I am even more excited as my friend Frank came in 35th for a well deserved 5k payout the more as he was very low on chips inbetween. Congrats Frank and Tony!!
On a side note: Katja and I were even out Friday night to play in the live PLHE 10-20 game. This turned out to be a bad decision as we lost both - for about 4keur together. Game was slow and bad, I played a real lot of hands and lost 1,300eur in small pieces, never getting anything. Katja was quite the opposite, she played only about 5 hands the whole night and lost them all as far as I remember. Too bad.
We can't go to Vienna for the EPT event. I got a business meeting scheduled for the main events day which I can not cancel or miss so with travel time added we would came about 5-6 hours late which maybe Phil Hellmuth can do (although it looks like to often these days... lol) but certainly not we. So we will miss this event. I heard from Felicia that Otis and BadBlood, two good bloggers (Otis being the official EPT blogger for stars), will go there and we would have loved to meet with them. Too bad.