I had a long weekend full of action, all at pokerstars. I played a lot of tournaments and cash games, all the way up to $100-200, combined >10k hands. The result is a little on the negative side, about 5k, mostly to some losses at the $30/60 where I lost 6k in one night, getting rivered by one-, two- or three outers minimum 25 times in large pots. In the big game I had mixed results, I won in 2-3 sessions and lost in 2-3, all together about even. At the best moment I was up $6400 but was greedy (10k was my goal) and gave it all back, lol.
But, there was the $500,000 guaranteed tournament for $500+30 on sunday which I had planned to play and finding no time to play any satellite for it I bought in directly. There were about 1,300 players registered and a whooping $148,000 to the winner with 135 spots paid.
I started slowly and calm into that tourney, playing not many hands. I got three good hands in a row once and managed to bring my stack to double-average with about 900 players left when I first looked at the current ranking. Online poker pro "TheBeat" was leading and I opened my browser to make same research on him. I found a interesting interview with him.
Even at his high level, Pete still struggles against certain opponents. "I have a problem playing very aggressive people. I don’t enjoy playing gank, because he's more aggressive than I am, and I'm pretty aggressive. He could be playing any two cards, and he's willing to put his tournament on the line at any time. These very aggressive players like gank, sdouble, and P0ker H0, I don't like to be at the table with them because something bad can happen. When you know somebody's aggressive, he makes you make loose calls against him. You end up playing a little more stupid." Some of his most respected opponents on PokerStars are sandow, mackerel t, and RiverLoser.
I made a mental note on that line:
His style in general? He plays very aggressively, making big bets often, but he's never afraid to throw away a losing hand. "I can get off a bluff even though I have half my chips in the pot already," he told me. "I raise a lot preflop, but if someone comes over the top when I don't have a big hand, I'll throw it away. I just like to put myself in position to make a run to the final table. I don’t care if I have chips or I don't have chips, because I think I can win it from any spot. I'm not gambling like some others are. Most of the time, when I’m winning a tournament, I'm coming from the middle of the pack."
As it turned out, this would get important for me only shortly after...
I managed to keep my stack above or at least on average chip count and I slided into the money without any problems. When getting near the money the game got to raise-take-it or raise-reraise-fold style and we saw not many flops. Due to the high blinds my stack was getting smaller and smaller and I was nearly down to half the average when I decided to make an move. I picked my spot, a player named "DominatorSMD" on whom I believed to found a small tell regarding his betting speed and his hand strenght. Soon a situation arose where I was in middle position holding A6s and he was UTG and raissing 3 times the BB. I had about 15k left and moved in without hestitation having this figured out earlier. All folded to him and he called, having me covered by 8k. He showed QQ. Upps, so much for my sure tells. Flop was safe for him but the turn brought an ace and when the river was a blank also I doubled up. He did not came over it and was trying to trashtalk me for about 30 minutes (he survived and even came back to 60k before finally getting eliminated in 37th spot).
I knewed feared that I would get action on my next raise or reraise so I waited for a good hand which not came. Finally I got moved, holding exactly average chips.
Wow, my new table had TheBeat in seat #1, sdouble in seat #4, myself in seat #5 and two more well know leaderboard top10% players. I thought about my options at light speed and decided to take control of the action in the first possible situation (about 100 players left). Right the first hand I got A6o. It was folded to TheBeat in UTG +1 and he promply opened the pot for a standard raise. Fold, fold and the sdouble called! It was on me. I thought about what I had read earlier about TheBeat and decided to to take control right here. I thought sdouble is 99% on a weak drawing hand like 67s as being the super-agressive player that he is he would even raise with AA, knowing that he would get action from any decent hand anyway. So, I shoved in, about 25k into a 10k pot at that time. It took forever to complete the hand, everybody was already stalling (or thinking :) and my hands got weat while waiting. Finally they all folded (hand must have taken 5 minutes at least). Phewww.
This A6 was the best hand I got for the rest of the tournament, except one which made me leaving the tourney. No pairs except 22, no big aces, no two paints with position, nothing. In 28th spot I had a less-than-half the average stack and moved in on in MP with A7s but got called from the BB with AQ. The flop of AQ2 ended all my dreams and when no runner-runner 7's came I busted out in 28th getting paid about $2,200. Not bad but it still hurted me, I wished to made the final table and get 3rd or better (who not).
It was 4:30a.m. and I had to leave at 5 for my job so I then carried $2000 to the $100-200 taking a shot there which ended as a loose canon when I lost A9 against A8 with a A on flop and 8 on the river and 77 against 86 with a six on flop and turn. Clever players like me won't die easy, lol.
I played three tournemants saturday night at stars, a $300 NLHE, the $33+R WSOP qualifier and a $50 NLHE one. In the $300 event with 135 players I got 70th only, loosing two big pots with JJ against QQ, getting it all before the flop each time. You can hardly call that bad beats, more likely bad situations. In the WSOP qualifier I got confused, dropped a nice stack, made one rebuy, forgot the add-on during the first break and lost AQ against AK with an ace in the flop after about two hours.
The $50 NLHE was ruinning better apparently, I got 3rd there out of about 400 players for a $2100 payout. I figure myself a little unlucky there at the final table because about 15 times somebody was all-in and survived, a few times against me. When I went all-in for the first time naturally I busted right away :-S.
I extended my $100-200 experience. I sat down there in a 8-handed game that was looking not to hard. Luckily, I won again. These are my actual pokertracker stats: 126 hands in 1.48 hours, VP$IP 29.37 with a overall profit of $5,902.00 (23.42 BB/100, lol, I wish I could keep that forever). I put this small sucess mostly on two circumstances: I really play my A game there, single-tableing only and playing full-concentrated-tight-agressive and drawing out in two pots: winning with A9 against AK on a Ax9 board and winning 99 on a xx9-9-x board against JJ. On the other side I got a beat today (not a bad one, but a beat anyway) holding QKs in late position and getting into a raising war on a K high board and a flush draw with the BB "The Grinder" Michael Mizrachi who happend to hold AKs which was good in the end.
Tonight (sunday) I play both the $215 350k guaranteed at stars and the quarter million at party. If I happen to be alive when one or two midnight tourneys start I will play those two, although I must leave the house at 4 in the morning (that is, if I don't sit on any final table :)
Except for the Step Higher SNG's I am playing on Pokerstars only these days. I don't know why exactly but somehow I like it over there these days more than party. The software offers more small-but-nice features, examples would be the touney lobbys where you not only see the players and their current ranking but also their hometown and their chip amount or the ability to see for which tourneys you are actually registered already. It feels they have their ear a little more on the players needs and I appreciate that a lot. Totaly fitting into that feeling is a line from their "career" webpage:
Conduct market research of current and prospective real money players to develop understanding of needs and expectations of real money players
Yesterday I played some tournaments there with mixed results. Most important I played two MTT qualifiers for the sunday big $215 $350,000 guaranteed event, on for $11+R and one for 500 FPP. I got lucky and made a seat in both, the second giving me T$215. There were 122 and 188 players there so I am really satiedfied with this result. I also played the evenings $109+R event. Wow, that was a rollercoaster ride. I got a pretty big start, and came doubled up very early, then took some blows and needed to rebuy after 45 minutes. I increased my stack from there, took the add-on and was at about 8k after 2 hours. I was sitting to the right of a very active player, "ActionJeff" if I remember it right. And that guy got cards! I got into four confrontations with him, won the first, lost the second (with the better hand), won the third (with the worst hand) and then raised his pre-flop raise holding KQs all-in. He called, having me covered, showing JJ. Pot was about 15k. Flop came KQ9, two pair for me, but the turn showed the T giving him the straight and the ace on the river did not help me so I was out. Note that the guy played not bad at all, he was just agressive and catching some cards also. This is a total different thing than the jerk limping/calling my all-in raise with KJo monday night and then turning a straight to beat my set (see below).
Sunday night, tournament time: I played the quarter million guaranteed at party but did not go anywhere, a quite exit without any pot after about 90 minutes. Other in the $350k at stars where I made 106th place out of over 2,800 players. And I got a beat there, wow. I had nearly average chips and got in in holding AQs against KT and flopped AQ2. I made a big mistake there, yelling at the turn "NO JACK!!!" (which had some success) and again yelling the same thing at the river, which had no success, a ugly J appeared and I was done. Ughhh. At the same time I played a $35+R WSOP qualifier where only 27 out of maybe 400 players were left at the time. I had the BB and there were 5 limpers. I had more than average chips and found 44. I raised all-in (I know, questionable but the limpers had less chips than me and were all weak-tight, I did not fear aces or kings from a tricky opponent there). UTG called! All others went out of the way. He showed KJo which made for a very very bad call I think don't matter what I had. Anyway, flop came A4Q giving me a set and him 4 outs to a straight. I said to myself and Katja (she was watching) "no ten please" and before my mouth was closed the ten was laying there on the turn. Sure enough, the river brought no help for a boat and I was crippled with less than 2k in chips. I throwed those in on the very next hand (SB) with 94, got two pair and won. I waited for a few hands but only trash even by my standards. Right before the blinds I shoved with 96 of hearts, got one caller with AQ, found a nine in the flop but a Q on the turn and was out in 23th place.
Monday I played a $109+R MTT. I got to the chip lead after about 2 hours (98 players, 9 getting paid) and made a very bad decision there: to leave my game plan and play tight and wait for a premium hand. Which of course never appeared. For the next 2 hours I saw nothing except one hand where I had AA and busted a very small stack. Short story: I finished 10th with 9 paid, getting all in on the button with QTs against the chip leader with 99 in the BB. Two times before other small stakes had survived her all-in's, I lost my first. It was frustrating, especially since I had seen my mistake but failed to do anything against it. I remember very well when I was on the button with A6 of spades and it was folded to me (a sure raise for me at other times) - and I also folded!, having still left 30k of chips, nearly average with about 15 players left. I just could not switch gears back from rabbit to tiger. It was a little unreal. I learned from it, hopefully and proved that yesterday in the qualifier, where I looked out for the "right gear to be in" depending on the tourney situation and wrote about it via MSN to Katja, putting myself under pressure to not find any excuses for not doing it. And, look, I made it so there is something to it. Based on my last experiences I am very proud and confident about me NLHE tournament game right now, still having a handfull glitches to fix but I am surly improving. Feel free to critize my plays.
While these are so-lala-news I have also sad news to share: I lost $8,000 of my winnings from the last weekend. How came? Well, I could not say either. I know I looked for a shorthanded game and found a $30/60 stud game. I consider stud to be my best game. The higher the stakes the better I am. I played up to $300-600 live many times and can not only hold my own, I expect to win there. So joining a shorthanded 7stud game for "small stakes" like $30-60 looked like no bad idea at all. But it was. Lord, it was a joke. I could not win a hand. There was one guy who bought in for about $400 only and whenever he was over about 1k he left and bought in again for 400 something. He was unbeatable. Whatever I or another opponent had, he had it better. He must have done this win-leave-come-back thing for about 10-15 times. I played there for three hours (failing to leave as always when running bad) and made it a very nice day for two other guys. Actually I was under shock afterwards. If I at least would have seen that I am overmatched, outplayed or being dominated in any way it would not been so hard, I can easy accept the fact that I get under sharks and fail to swim fast enough and pay my price for that. But I yell at the fact that I get pushed around by two guys while my hands are tied behind my back (=getting bad cards) and I forget to use my other tools (=my legs) to escape the situation. No, I, being the clever guy that I am, think "oh brother, wait until I free my bonds then I get back to you" while being pushed around and laughed at. Talk about plugging some holes in game dicipline here.
Some friends are off to Barcelona for the big heads-up tournmant. Good luck! I just heard that Ivo Doney made his first match in bracket #1, very nice!
Yesterday I played at pokerstars again. After cashing out there and loosing the reminder my account was empty, so I reloaded it with $2,000. That was the maximum my card and account allowed for this weekend so I had no chance to drop deposit any more money there. I had plans to play the evenings $160 WSOP double-shoutout but had over 2 hours left. So I joined a full running $30/60 games with the intention of winning something between $160 and $300 to have a 'freeroll' there later. The first 45 minutes went uneventfull, I struggled between $1600 and $1800. The I lost 4 ridicoulous pots in 5 minutes, played very bad in one more and was down to about $600. Hmmm. The table got emptier with only 4 players remaining and I thought what to do. Play shorthanded here, risking all my money on some marginal hands or leave, take the loss and forgot about it? Katja stepped by and recommended me to leave the table. Like the good husband I am I did the only thinkable - stay there. While the still watched I got busted out of AKs against 74s with a K on the flop, being down to about $300 in chips. Katja gave me "the look". I returned to her "the other look". In case you never heart about "the other look" that means you show your "bambi" face, wide open eyes, almost filled with tears, saying "I did nothing bad, I am innocent, if you would only believe me...". Well, cards were still coming so before my look good do his job in full I had to re-adjust my sight to the screen. Great, JTo with only two others players at the table, both well over 3k and the pot was raised an re-raised (I had the BB). I thought what-the-hell-I-am-bambi and repopped it. The flop came J high and I managed to get all my money in on the turn, which gave me a nice T for winning two pair. I almost tripled up on that hand and never looked back from there. I left the table 30 minutes later with $3,600, winning a gigant pot with my last hand where I had the nuts on the turn (straight) but the river paired the board and brought the third heart with 4 opponents betting like crazy the whole way - I just called for pot odds with $1800 in that one and was honestly surprised when it got shipped to me.
Nice so far, I had the money to play the $160 which I did. Nothing good over there, I exited quickly. Then I found two tourneys, a $50 NLHE MTT and a WSOP qualifier for $33+R. I entered both, they were starting both at the same time. I took two rebuys early on and after one hour the addon, which made me investing $123. First two hours the usual tight play then I got warm and in play-mode (if you ever play with me and see me getting into this mode, run). After a about three hours it looked like this:
I was leading in both and managed to came in this position to the final table in both events. That was a true great feeling. In the $50 event I finally 3rd for a $1,950 payout (got a bit unlucky there). Interesting sidenote: the other two final table players were both (unknown to me) german players also! Wow. In the WSOP qualifier which I *really* liked to win (11k for the winner, $650 for 2-10th) I was even leading with 6 players remaining when I lost AKs in the big blind against AA and shortly thereafter my all-in hand with KTs against ATo against the eventual winner, "The WINNER". I was a little unhappy about this ending but anyway, I made over $2500 on $170 buyins which is not bad if you figure I was all-in for all my money with JTo and $300 left only 4 hours ago...
After sleeping for a few hours I joined the $100-200 game for the very first time. The game was almost full with 8 players and looked pretty soft, so I took a seat, putting $6k in front of me. I had no "game plan" other then winning a little the then run. In the third hand I lost a decent pot with JJ against T7 in the BB on a T high board, leaving me with about $4500. Upps. I stayed, played my best tight/agressive game and got lucky again soon - A9 against AK on a A-x-x-9-x board. All togehter I was there only 15 minutes, playing 28 hands and winning $2,088. I guess taking a nice win in the very first session can not hurt my confidence and motivation for the sessions to come...
Today I will have a full schedule of poker. Cash games over the day, some sport/sleeping/work in the afternoon and later I will play in the $350k guaranteed (stars), a double-shoutout again, the sunday $600 WSOP qualifier and the Quarter Million at Party. Also I still have some freerolls for the 'Step Higher' tourneys which I plan to use.
Uhoh, Step Higher: yesterday I played a step 3 event ($500) and lost AK on a board of xxA-A-? when I got my money in on the flop - other guy had 44. No draw but the tiny 4 on the river ended my tournament, back to step 2 ($100). There I exited in 10th place (out of ten) when I raised the BB of 15 and 4 limpers with QQ to 150 and got one caller. Flop came 7-x-4 and the money went in, you guessed it, the other had 74s and called a 150 raise with only 15 already in with 74. Oh wow. Something is different on partypoker (or with its players). As I play more and more on stars this gets better visible every day (or could it be that is because I am running so good on stars...?? lol)
My friend Frank (staeljmun at partypoker) played the WSOP $300 qualifier this morning and I was sweating him nearly all the time (in between I had two meetings and several phone calls, talk about workplace productivity, lol). 210 players entered, 4 seats and $4500 for 5th and $2700 for 6th place finish. He played well the whole time. When he got to the final table he needed to change location, as the danger of someone coming in wanting something from hin here in the office complex was to big and every missed hand could have meant a serious blow.
I had the same thing yesterday, buying into a $100 SNG. I folded the first two hands and when I got dealt 88 my project manager came in - I quickly folded, turned "I am away" on and we discussed some issues of second-level importance (because they were not poker related stuff) for about 60 minutes. When I returned I saw that without playing one hand at all I got 4th in that one - talk about wild party games!
Back to Frank: with 6 players remaining and $2700 secured one player got crazy, blewing his chip lead to less-than-average. Frank stayed calm and quite (being on a tablet pc without a keyboard may have helped him stay out of chat :). One busted with a crap hand and then there were five left. Blinds were at 2000-4000, he had about 25k left, being one of the shorter stacks. When he was in the SB and everybody folded he moved in with AKo agaionst the BB, which was the chip leader. That guy called and turned over - KK! No help on the board and Frank was out on the bubble, with a $4500 payout. Outch.
We talked for a while and the payout was no help for his pain. Maybe it will be later today but now he is a little depressed. Sorry, pal. I am sure you will make it and we will party together in Vegas for the big one!
My own poker story is nothing to write about: I had a big loosing month in April because of my Vegas tilt but since then I lost something as I am loosing online also. Not every day but my figures are pretty red. Not very nice 4 weeks ahead of the biggest and longest tourney this year... I will think about a solution now (maybe winning could help?).