Katja is proud member of the german team going to the nations cup in Cardiff, UK, in February! She got invited by german team leader Michael Keiner along with other german top pro's as Christoph Haller, Roland Specht and Andreas Krause. The whole event is initiated by 888.com, world's biggest online casino as I hear. TV coverage will be huge. In germany DSF and maybe even RTL II will pick up the event. I did not really know about the structure of the event but what I understand so far is that it will be a series of single-table events where the players can win cash for themselves and then some kind of "main event" where money for the team could be won. I will post the details as soon as I know them. What I did hear is that UK's team will be leaded by our friend Dave Ulliot, aka the "Devilfish".
This is going to be interesting (especially when I am sitting at my boring desk while Katja's going to the tournament... more on this subject in an upcoming post).
Stepping down in limits on Partypoker to adjust to the new players and games styles proved to be a golden decision - I win at the 5/10 6max EVERY damn day. Not much, compared to my 30/60+ action at pokerstars but I take it as an learning step towards the bigger games at party. I resisted my urge to play higher so far and jump directly into the 60 games - let's see how long I can keep that dicipline ;)
There are more exiting news which are not yet ready to be published here; stay tuned!
Live action has it's advantages - winning! The last weekend saw me playing pot-limit holdem live action again on saturday night, getting great cards and playing good which came to a nice 2500€ win with a peek of over 4k ahead. It was an interesting night with some great hands, big pots and good plays. Much to my enjoyment I was able to bust Sebastian from cardcore.net (yes, that 21yr old 50k+ online winner since August 2005). Sure he was short on cash that night but seeing his face when his "sure winner" went down in flames was just sooo nice (we're kidding each other all the time about busting the other one). The hand went down like this: I was in the SB, picking up Aces. We got 2 callers and Sebastian in late position made it 110€ to go. The button called, I flat called only also as did Achmed, my dear friend (sidenote: Many say -including me- that Achmed is one of the best players around and he proved that just an hour before by winning the small 21 player tournament they spread there every saturday. Thats quite his habbit - coming the far way from Berlin, taking whatever is available and vanish). Anyway, we saw a flop four handed of A56 rainbow. I played some hollywood and checked as did the other three - I was hoping for a raise with Ax from Sebastian. Turn came an offsuit 9 and I checked again. In pot limit the stack size is *very* relevant. I had all other three players covered by far; Sebastian had about 500 left, Achmed had only 300 left and the other remaining player had about 2,500. Now I figured that Sebastian can't have 87 for a straight but both Achmed and Pete could have it. So my check here with top set served two purposes - trap and apply some security as I would very well be able to lay down that hand given the action (and some kind of read) is appropriate. It went down in the best possible way for me - after I checked, Achmed checked, Sebastian moved all-in, Pete folded. The bet had Achmed covered so I just called, Achmed folded. River was a blank. Sebastian made himself straight, looked around and me in the eye and said "small set only" with a proud voice that made clear he was expecting a sure winner here. You know, this kind of voice you could hammer somebody your fist into his face for, "small set only", lol, showing 99. I said very calm "nice hand" and opened my hand. The table exploded in laughing. Sebastian went pale, gave me a puzzled look ("where do I live again?") and after a few seconds stood up to "take a break". Lol.
I also lost a big pot (~4k) with top pair against a flopped set against annother player but still I managed to get out quite ahead which was very nice. Tuesday Katja went to the game and first went 3rd in the 20 player 200€-buyin NLHE tourney and than made a >2k score in the game also. All-in-all the WSOP training program went very well so far - I found my patience, start to feel well in live games again and more than 6k in winnings could not hurt either I guess ;)
This weekend we will be playing a 300€ NLHE tourney with 20 players max friday night which is more or less just the start of a wild side game night and on saturday a smaller tourney with more live action pot limit holdem (maybe half/half with 7stud).
Online? Don't ask. This picture show me playing. Since I went over to party I get roasted all over. I played one session of 10/20-6max, 4 tables and the games were so ridicoulous loose that I had problems to even understand whats going on there. Of course, I lost big-time. In my frustration I went over to stars and played 30/60 with the small money I left there and was lucky enough to make up for my loses there. But what the hell are these guys thinking there? 4-betting with 93o? Re-Raise with 24? Wow. I stepped down to 5/10 6max 2 tables to make the necessary adjustments. Let's see...
Starting the new year sees me doing a lot of things different than before. First, my usual sports and dieting program got active, actually I started running again even early in december avoiding the total weight crash I have over xmas all other years. Although I have no weightbet opponent this year I am fully motivated and expect to lose about 10kg until April and annother 6-7 until late summer. This is usually when my motivation gets down to 0% and I quit any sport activities. Then I decided to take on Partypoker once more. 2005 saw me playing 70% of all tournaments and 95% cashgames at pokerstars but the cash game selection there is not broad enough right now so I packed my things and moved over to party, let's see how the year will be going.
Most important I decided to take on live games again. After staying home and sending Katja out to play nearly all 2005 I found that one important virtue got lost for me: patience. This was already the case while being at the WSOP 2005 and got worse thereafter. It was just difficult for me to sit say in a $150 satellite and stay focused. My eyes were everywhere but on the table, my thoughts wandered around and my results suffered (reference: nearly all my 2005 posts here). The action frequency playing multiple 30/60+ tables online is just so high compared to the slow live action for me... but, I am fully motivated for an extended trip to Vegas for the WSOP (3 month does not look out of range) that I need to practice playing live again. And that is what I started. I will force myself into going at least once a week to some live game and may it be a small limit game or even a home game.
So last weekend was the first time. I called around and got informed where the "big game" will be that weekend - 'big' is €500 buyin pot-limit holdem or holdem/7stud mixed which can get quite a game late at night. So I went there, Katja coming with me. The night itself was quite boring to me, I played only about 5-6 hands and lost almost all of them so I got stuck as deep as 2,500€ before finally winning one. I finished the night a 1,500€ loser. The next day we went again, having a 20 player tournament before. Katja and I got busted in the middle, I never had a hand and had to lay down A9 wit an A in flop and QQ with an ace in flop before moving in with 66 and running into KK.
After enough players got busted/appeared we started yet annother potlimit game and this time I had better cards and control over the table. I lost only two hands the night, first when I limped with 89s of hearts and the flop was 889. I managed to get most money into the pot on the flop but lost anyway when an Ace showed up on the turn and the other guy showed me his AA. Next was a bit more ugly, I had J9o in the SB, limped and saw a flop of J93. I made a pot-sized bet, got a min-raise and reraised again. Headsup now. Turn is an A, we both check. River is a T, we both check. I show but he sticks JT into my face :(. It could be argued that I gave him a free card on the turn but if you know your player like I do here my play was correct.
In annother hand I had some more luck but I believe I also played it well. I limped on the button holding the ATo, 4 players see the flop. Flop comes AA4, no suits. First player bets 100, next (Frank K., loose wild player) calls and a player I never have played cash game before with raised the pot (that was the guy cracking my QQ-Q in new years tournament with J6 but he is excused as I had no chips to raise his BB). His bet was about 600 and he had 500 more. I had each player covered. Now, holding AT I went into the tank. Am I beat here? I replayed the hand - he limped only before the flop, quite uninterested. From the few hands he played at that table I knew that he has an understanding of poker but was also very nervous, being unused to the high stakes. I figured he would have raised with AK and AQ in middle position preflop to not "play around here". I eliminated those hands. AJ? What about AJ? Uhoh, *very* likly. I serious considered folding when I picked up a small tell on him that lead me to think he was not that strong. What about the blinds? One had made a bet and one had called - could somebody there hold 44? Frank? He is definitly tricky enough for that play. I looked at his stack, only 2-300 left. Ok, no problem. First player was the kind of guy checking his ace here. So I figured my hand to be good and therefore re-raised. First players folded both quickly and the other guy called all-in very fast also. Maybe I was wrong and he limped with AQo or the like? I feared the worst already when the turn came out - 4! Actually I was relieved because now I was almost guaranteed a split pot unless he had 44 or hit the river. Now the river showed me a sweet T! The guy opened A2s and I won a decent sized pot. In review he played his hand awfull bad and deserved to win a small pot or lose a big one! I feel good about this hand not only because I had a nice win with it but it showed me again that in live games theres just more to the game that in limit online poker - and I missed that!
December 31. saw Katja and me playing a €300 two-table live tournament. It was held in the Spielbank Hamburg, a place where we seldom play any poker anymore as they fail to adjust the tax to a reasonable level. But, this tourney was an exception as it was tax-free, no entry-fee, 100% payout and given the players it had a huuuge overlay for everybody even able to cover his hand correctly. So, we skipped a party and went to the casino (isn't that 'pro'? lol). The tourney found 17 players and when I drawed for my seat it was the ace of spades (table 1, seat 1) which I took for a good sign. Katja re-drawed until she had a seat at the other table.
The tournament started fine for me, I made a straight in the very hand when I limped in with 78o and Frank, my former weightbet opponent (who refuses to take the same bet again) also only limped in with AK. Flop was A67, he made a small bet, got a caller and I called also. Turn was 9, it went check-check-check and the river was a 5, both checked to me and I made a pot sized bet which was not called. The pot held about 400 chips anyway (1500 start chips) and that was a nice start for me. I was able to run my chips up to 3000 without ever being in any danger when the "final table" got build (Katja made an early exit when her AQs met KK and got no help)
So was the situation at December 31., about 22:30. I was feeling good, about the situation, the game and with my new owned luck I expected nothing bad. Well, this would not be yours truly little blog would things not come down in the most nasty way since then. This is how that and two others tournaments went since then:
1. In that live tourney I happened to get NO cards at all when the final table started, no two paints, no ace-x, not even king-x, only hands like 52o, 93o, 84o and so on. I had no chance to make a play at all as in the 10 seat was an aggressive danish player who knew what he was doing. He raised almost always and with two big stacks right behind me I could not fight there without at least a decent hand which I did not get. So I went down in chips to about 1,000 when only 5 players including me were left. I was the short stack. I picked up TT on the button and "raised" the BB by 40 (BB was already 1,000). I won the hand! Then the two chip leaders clashed and only 4 players were left, 3 in the money. I was the small stack again but with two other players also in danger. UTG I picked up QQ and shoved my money in, not even being able to raise as I did not had enough to cover the BB. UTG+1 called, SB called and BB checked. Nice. Flop was all rags with one diamond but turn was a wonderfull Qd! I started to feel like I could win that hand with my set. River was a diamond blank, I opened, big ahs-and-ohhs but even more ahhs-and-ohhs when the BB showed J6 of diamonds for a flush and I was out in 4th place. We left the place in a hurry, not even taking time to say goodbye to anybody or even paying our small check (I was a little pissed as you might figure). Katja and I arrived in the new year 2006 at home, togehter, which I figure is the best way possible to arrive anywhere!!!
2. Sunday (Jan 1st) I played a $50 MTT at party. I had a nice stack after 2 hours which I lost with AK and a board of A47 against AT when a T showed up on the river (sounds familar?)
3. The $500k guaranteed on party saw me playing for about 3 hours and holding an average stack which first got cut to half by running with AKs in late position vs. AA in the BB (nice) and then in the hand right after I got KK, called a raise and moved in with about 1200 into a 1800 pot when both other players checked to me on the 3-4-4 board. One folded but the other called after some hesitation, showing AQ. Turn was save but the river was an A and I was out (700 left of over 2900). Sigh.
So I figure it still takes some time to allow this new luck of mine to really get accoustimzed to my personal conditions and as it looks this is no easy task. Katja and I talked for a while about all the beats we took very late in big-buy events in the months behind and we were laughing about'em. At least that's something good - and I won some money in the cashgames to cover the tournament costs thru the last days.