While browsing the net (best way to destroy workplace productivity) I found an article from Denis Watermann on Pokernews.com. I had never heard of him before but his picture looked familar to me - the guy that have beaten my AA with 66 in level 6 of the WSOP 2005 main event.
Read how he describes "Mr. Calling Station" (very well). Indeed, he does whine a little about his bad luck later in the tournament where he lost a race with 77 against AK. He also described the hand where "Mr. Calling-Station" called my all-in bet with the 9h5h trash hand but he is incorrect about his holdings: it was the KQ of hearts, I do remember that hand very well (lol)
Please note also that I dont blame him for beating me with 66 vs. my rockets, I blame my bad luck to loose the first real hand I had for hours right away. I would probably have played the hand in question the same way he did given his position and stack size. Sorry to hear that he does not made better use of my chips ;)
Back at my workplace. Pipe dream is - over. For now.
The WSOP 2005 was not good for us - you may have already read about the first part of our trip, starting early July. Now it was time for our second departure to sin city. I will be short about the trip here as it was no fun at all, again. The trip went well, we got rooms at the Treasure Island arranged by Pokerstars and first thing we done is go over to the Rio to get the seat assignment card. We meet Willie Tann there, the eventual winner of the final $1000 NLHE event (good for $188,000). While we stood in line there waiting Willie brought a full steak-and-beans meal over to us as we were very hungry from the trip. Thank you Willie and congratulations! We had plans to attend the evenings Pokerstars party at the Mirage but sleept thru it.
We we woke up at about 4 a.m. on thursday morning, the official "day 1" of the main event. We were refreshed and feeling well. My first day of play was "day 2", friday. We had a nice early breakfast and then went over to the Bellagio were we played a little 30-60 holdem. It was a wild game (lol) and after 6 hours I was stuck about $1500. Katja went to the pool and room in the meantime and when she returned we decided to play the daily $500 NLHE event at the Bellagio which had a new-record number of players participating, about 240 this day. I got assigned table #10 and could not find it! I searched and searched but still no table #10. Finally I got instructed to get into "Bobby's room", the high-limit room-within-a-room in the Bellagios poker room. Wow! A few days ago I have seen Doyle sitting right there in that seat that I had, raking a $500k pot (sea of yellow chips, wow). Now I was there. That still felt special, although I played so many thousand hours of live poker for all kind of stakes already.
Anyway, I played good and almost tripled my stack when right before the break I lost a key hand with KQ in the SB against QJ in the BB when KQ8 flopped and the money went in but he runner-runnered a straight to beat me and leave me with only less than the starting chips. I never recovered from that beat although I manged to last until only 60 players were left when I ran with AK into AA in the BB. Katja was out before me and was flirting with frenchman, superstar and singer Patrick Bruel, who promptly invited her to a "drink" the following day (while I would be in the main event).
After that we lost something more in a 30/60 game where the turning hand was my AK vs. AQ with A in flop and Q on the river. After that beat all went wrong and we finshed kust another loosing session.
Next day, friday was the main events day 1b, my starting day. I slept well and got there on time. My pulse was calm as I was not excited about the event. In the first level I had to lay down overcards after the flop against a re-raise two times and was down to about 9,000 in chips.
I got KK once UTG and made standard raise only to win the blinds, 75 in chips. In the second level I got KK again in the BB and busted a player who had only 200 left from a tough beat before and who went all-in with 99. I won this hand.
Until level 6 I had 46 times (!) 83, combined with all the 82, 94, J2 and stuff like that I played more or less no hand in that time. The cards were really ugly and the few times I had something like KQ I was called by a calling station two seats behind me who made every hand but forgot to bet them when I checked the hand down. Once I got desperate and moved all-in after a standard raise on my left (75/150, raise was 450 and I moved in for 6800) with junk only, 95 of hearts. Mr. Calling-Station called me! I already stood up as I figured him to have QQ or higher and was very surprised when he opened KQ of hearts. This guy called more than half of his chips with KQ, wow. The flop came 95x and it got scary again when the turn was Q but the 7 on the river doubled me up.
I played solid again until the dinner break. Katja was there, returning from her date with Patrick Bruel and we went to the Rio buffet together. I was in good mood, having about only slightly less than average chips and we talked about the tournament. When I returned to the table I made a bad mistake: JJ in middle position, standard raise, only Mr. Calling-Station called. Flop came J74 offsuit. Wow, top set! I thought about what to do and hoped for Mr. Calling-Station to call again so I made a small bet. Think how disapointed I was when he folded! Then I got nothing for the rest of the level when I finally found AA in middle position for the first time (note, exept for 2x KK and one time JJ no pocket pairs higher that 77 for me, 1x AK and 2x AQ, that was it in almost 12 hours). There was raise to my left and I seriously consideres only calling, to make this a "make it or break it" hand but finally I made a strong raise. All folded to the player on my left who thought for 5 minutes and finally called. Flop came T63 rainbow, he quickly checked. I had him covered and put him all-in. He called in a split-second, showing 66 for a set. Ohhh wow. I lost the hand and had about 5000 left. A few hands later, in my BB there was raise and 4 callers, I found KQs and also called. Flop came QQ7 and it was on me. I thought about the originaly raiser who had a lot of chips but played very tight - I thought he had AA, KK or AK to raise UTG. I decided to push and the UTG raiser thought for some minutes before finally - raising! Holy shit. I was hoping for a protection raise but could not really believe that. All folded, I showed my hand and he showed AQo. No help for me and I went out of the main event very late into level 6. Sigh.
After that we decided that it was enough and we went back home as soon as possible, which was the next sunday. I took a week vacations at home before I returned to work yesterday. We will take some time off from poker now, for mental and financial reasons, at least July and August. It was a tough year for us, with 6 loosing trips in a row, no great tournament success and a big money looser overall. It is time to step back and re-adjust just in case that the way we have been running in fact altered our game to the worse. So, don't be surprised if I post here only rarely, there will not be much to report about the next weeks. But - we will be back, that's for sure. Good luck to all of you!
Another Vegas trip ahead, tomorrow morning Katja and I will meet in Frankfurt and fly non-stop over to Las Vegas for the main event madness. I must say that I never liked it so less to go to Vegas like this time, I almost passed the event. I lost any hope to make something in the sidegames or smaller events and right now I don't think I can make any money in the main event.
Not that my game is off or somethink but the bad-beat-mania that takes place since a few months in finally getting into my head and soul. In every all-in situation where I was right about my read or estimation and be therefore ahead I now fully expect the worst to happen. Want an example? Last weekend, $300 NLHE saturday tournament on stars, 16 players remaining (18 in the money) and I have above average chips. I am in the BB with AJo, the button raises like he did always, I re-raise and he calls. Flop comes JT3, no suits. He bets agressive, I put him on QJ or KJ and re-raise all-in. He has me slightly covered and calls. He shows KJ which is a big dog to my AJ, top pair/top kicker. While I leaned back and mumbling "no king, no king" a Q peeled off followed by a 9 that gives him the straight and I am out in 16th place instead of having the 2nd chip-lead. I have stories like this to tell about every time I play these days. I went thru my pokertracker-db and looked how many times I sucked out in big pots and how times somebody sucked out on me (online tourneys >$100 buy-in only):
Since May 1st I discovered 134 all-in situations. 29 were coin-flip situations with AK/AQ against an underpair or vice versa. I lost 21 of those. In 76 situations I was ahead when the money went in (like in the situation above), I lost 52 of those. In 29 situations I was behind when the money went in (like QQ against AA or similar). I won a stunning 7 of those.
This analysis boosts my confidence on one side that I still play (more or less) good (and really, I don't doubt that honestly, I feel my NLHE tournament game IS very good). On the other side that confirms me that I am in a very bad streak since some time. If my memory serves me right since 9 months now, when the desaster started in Baden. This is also shortly after I started to write this blog. Actually my very first entries were written in Baden. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
So, I don't have have any high hopes for the upcoming trip. Kind of new feeling. My friend Frank tried to qualify until the last minute but failed. I would let him go playing under my name if this could work out there but it would most likly not. So I go.
Speaking of the rare suckouts that I inflict there was a very good one. Let me tell the story. It was the $1500 WSOP limit holdem shoutout event. I had seat no. 4, in seat no. 6 was englishmen Garry Bush and in seat no. 2 was Barry Greenstein. Yes that Barry Greenstein that is playing in the highest games available and doing the open-challenge games against Daniel Negreanu. When the first players busted out including seat no. 3 I was sitting right next to Barry. I have never talked to Barry before although I have seen him on many of our travels. I was unsure about if I like the guy or not. Reading some of his material he comes around pretty arrogant at times although I feel that nobody has that much respect both in the recpoker and the 2+2 community like him (well, except Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey, both have never posted as far as I know). Anyway, he had a draft of his new book "Ace on the river" which I browsed shortly. It was looking nice but what impressed me more was the 2 hours talk that we had there. I won't go into any details here but it included the challenge matches and poker, both high stakes and tournament wise. I found that I actually like the guy very much and got confirmed some of my thoughts about how to approach the game and the poker lifestyle in general. I was impressed when Barry told me he learned german and russian just to be able to read the right learning material for his studies when he was younger. You know how difficult german and russian are? If you my dear reader are the typical american "english only" guy then you have no idea - how to play AQ in a raised pot is a piece of cake, compared ;)
Ok I got carried away a little. My suckout. It went down like this. 6 players left, I was UTG with Barry in the BB. I found AK of diamonds and raised right away (limit!), I guess the limit was 100-200 at that time. Everybody folded (Garry Bush had a very bad tournament, he was card dead the whole time) and Barry called. Flop came down K-7-3, one diamond. Perfect I thought. Barry checked, I bet, pretty sure to take it down right there. Well, Barry raised me! Honestly I gave no credit to that raise, I watched him changing gears to perfection before and thought he was trying to outplay me. I re-raised. He re-popped it to 4 bets and I still gave him no credit. Wouldn't I do the very same? (Well actually not until I play 100-200 cash game or higher). The turn was an ace and I almost feared to get no more action on my hand now but boy was I wrong! He check-raised me, I re-raised. Think of my surprise when he 4 bet me on the turn! I remember my surprise very sharp. Now comes the problem, I simply got carried away. Instead of going onto the tank and re-think the whole hand I simply re-raised and got called. The river brought another ace, giving me a full house. Barry checked and I throwed out a bet. Now think of that: Barry said "well, I hit the flop myself pretty nice", showed KK (!) and mucked his hand without calling my bet. Think of this! Throwing away your kings-full for one single bet in limit holdem on the river. How damn sure was the guy about my holding and how damn correct was he! I was serious embarrased. Barry never recovered from that and went out in 5th place, I myself made also no good use of those chips and was eliminated in 3rd spot. I apologized to Barry when he left about that suckout and he simply said "oh no problem" in a way that sounded like he already forgot about the hand - and I believed him. What a great lection I got there. Again, in case you read here Barry, sorry for the suckout. In my analysis now I am pretty sure that I should have folded on the turn when Barry 4-betted me. Ahhh, a lot to learn. Still.