Sorry for not updating the blog in 2 weeks. I was busy as hell. What happend?
We played two small local tournaments, Katja cashed in both (3rd and 4th as I remember) and some cashgames where we also won both.
Then it was time for the "Hamburger Herbstmeisterschaften" in Spielbank Hamburg. I hardly can remember that one. Both Katja and I started good, made some chips on day1, played some cash games and won there also, Katja in the pot limit holdem and I in the pot limit omaha (my new game of choice). In the tournament I got very lucky one time (in a small pot) when I had "Tommy" from Denmark all-in (for a fraction of my stack) on a Q-T-3 flop. I had only played crab by rasing in early position with Q-9, got a call from Tommy and made a pot sized bet on that flop. Heads-up, he came over the top and I could not lay it down so I called (I had lots of chips). I turned over my Q-9 but he had Q-T for top two pair! Well, I was in the zone and joked with him that I will still beat him in that pot and that he should get his money out to do a rebuy. I must be said that Tommy is a great player and I like the guy. We had lots of fun there and he had this "talk-as-much-as-you-like, you-still-dont-get-me-here" smile but the turn of a J changed that instantly. Now I had the opened ended straight draw and he was not smiling that much anymore. The 8 on the river made my straight and I almost fell out of my chair, laughing. He took it good and made some funny remarks while taking his rebuy.
Tommy from Denmark
On the second day he got it all back from me and some more: Tommy raised in middle position, I had A-T of spades in the big blind and called, heads-up. Flop comes A-K-T rainbow and I go all-in right away with 10k into that 4k pot. He has about 7k left and there are no more rebuys, lose the pot and go home. He thinks and talks for 4 minutes. I convince him that single Ace is no good (we were talking a lot in that moment) but finally he shruggs and calls, showing AQ. Good! Only 7 outs, I like the situation. Turn is a 6 and he stands up but the ugly J on the river makes his straight and gives him the monster pot, biggest pot of the day so far. Nice "redraw", Tommy :)
I got moved soon and lost A-Q vs. KK, all-in preflop so I am out of the tourney in 25th place from 60 and of to the cashgames (Omaha again). Katja did better until there have been only 13 players left (9 ITM). She went all-in on the button with T-T, got a call from friend/foe "Chappi" Peymann holding Q-8 (not that he had a lot of chips but the blind was 8k already and Katja had only 23k to raise). Flop came J-9-2 but the Ten on the turn gave him a straight and she could not fill up on the river so she was out also. I handed Katja my money and went home, tired. Katja played until the wee hours and came home with a nice cash game win so the weeked was still a success for us.
Dinner with winner, again
Tuesday we went to dinner with Sebastian "Luckbox" Ruthenberg, winner of the German Open (played and filmed in London by partypoker) before playing a small live tourney again, no money finish for us this time, but again a small score in the cashgames. In fact I played the holdem pot limit but Katja made much more playing the 10-20 limit game.
Congratulations to Sebastian for continuing his lucky year with this 50,000 Euro win. The guy is unbelievable lucky good and successfull this year. Congratulations one more time! Here is (german) press release.
While all others show those winner pics I show Sebastian in Barcelona... ;)
Wednesday we left to Dublin. PokerStars held a welcome party, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker have been there so the media attention was huge (again). More than 70 accredited media persons! Katja had drawn playing day "1A". She had a roller coaster ride but ended the day with 40k in chips, the average being 36k. Well done! Between my reports for the german pokerstars blog I played a No Limit Holdem Cashgame. I did poor at first but then won some hands and made a nice score. Later that night I moved to a PLO game with some experts (such as Arthur Rabie and Marcel Luske) where I gave some back. Next day was "off" for her, only 4 interviews and 2 TV-recordings. I was on duty reporting about the tournament and playing some more cashgames.
Katja studying her opponent
Saturday was Day 2 for Katja and bought myself into a €500 NLH event as 230 others did also. We both did poorly. Katja played 3 hours but finally busted out in ~63th place (32 paid). Not bad but still, no money. Katja reached the second day in 3 out of 4 EPT events this year but failed all three times to get into the money. 2 bad plays and also some bad luck. Still, she is in such good shape mentally and continues to improve her game daily that she in absolutly good position to get there soon.
Sunday final table
Katja raking a monster pot with A-K vs. A-8 (15 left)
Sunday's €300 tournament proved this. While the EPT final table took place (with the very good Roland De Woolfe winning 550k) 208 players entered that tournament. Katja doubled up in the very first hand with Q-Q against a scandinavian blufffer to her left and it was no looking back then until the final table for her. The bluffer got replaced by - Greg Raymer. Two Team PokerStars players on the table in seats 8 and 9, chatting and talking the whole time, the media loved it. I myself was in seat 2 of table 1 and guess who was on my left after about an hour? Yes, Chris Moneymaker. So, we both had our own world-champions with position on us. This keept up for like 2 hours before I took almost all of Chris chips holding T-T vs. his A-Q, all-in preflop. Q on the flop but T on the turn. I moved on to ~30th place (18 ITM) when I ran shorthanded into A-A :( Katja did much better, reaching the final table with chips. Still, the made her first costly mistake during the whole tourney there by min-raising with A-J on the button and laying it down to an "all-in" from the small blind (my opinion) and then lost a race for all of her chips with T-T vs. A-K in the BB. 9th place, good result, still she was very disappointed and we talked long about that A-J hand.
Since yesterday afternoon we are back in Hamburg. Katja has a day "off" today again (only one phone interview ;) and a small tournemant tonight; tomorrow she leaves to Munich to comment on some poker stuff for DSF.
After a two (very) good weeks playing the new $50/100 and $100/200 on PokerStars yesterday the inevitable backswing occured. I was up something ridicoulous to the tune of 35 BB/100 during the course of 3.500 hands (how do you spell rush?) when reality sat in again and I lost 6 sessions straight, multiple buyins in each. When the dust cleared I was still up like 7 BB/100 but now on scared money so I took the (remaining) money and ran.
***EDIT 10/18: Sorry for any misunderstandings but I was not up 35 BB/100 over all those those 3,500 hands (which would have been about 500k), I was up 35BB/100 DURING that rush. Also those hands from those two weeks included some 50/100 and 30/60, moneywise I never touched 6-digits (but almost). Final result is about one third of it. Sorry again, I was not pretending to kill the game that much :D ***
This week Katja and I will play those tournaments:
1) Oct. 17 (today) €200+10 in Casino Schenefeld
2) Oct. 19 (Thursday) €300+15 in Spielbank Hamburg
3) Oct. 20+21 (Fri/Sat) €525 "HH-City Championships" with two rebuys and one add-on (€100)
The last event will (relatively) huge with like 60 players. I hear it is almost sold out already so if you have no seat yet - hurry up.
US-President Bush created just one more wasted land. Today he signed the port security bill that passed senate two weeks ago and see! Ports are save now! Jipi! USA saved by president bush! Proof is available for everyone this time. See yourself:
Looks like my former business balance sheet
PokerStars is staying in business and will be huge, only future will show how things turn out but I am pretty positive that Stars will be in good shape. Did you know that PokerStars has already a share of 35% european customers (compared to party's 25%)? I did not but learned it today from a "reliable" source - the owner himself! He also stated PokerStars is still holding the balance of all player accounts together in segrated accounts, away from operational money.
We received the TV coverage from WDR about Katja recently and I uploaded it to YouTube. If you wonder about the appearance of that slim, good looking, young and energetic guy (me) after about half of the film, let me tell that it took "only" 5 shoots to have me walking by in that unbelievable fashionable way. Not kidding, only 5 shoots! Am I a pro or what? ("That was perfect, you're wonderful. Let's do the shoot just one more time"):
I guess you already heard it by now but our buddy Thang from Hamburg, Germany, an successful live and online player won the EPT in Baden. We had a great celebration afterwards and tons of fun. Thang is a real nice guy (you just don't want him to be on your table) and this is not a one-time success. Thang already won two of those big sunday tournaments and was also quite successful in this years WCOOP on PokerStars. He qualifies for almost anything, WSOP, WPT 25k event, Party Poker Million, WPT Paris, etc. etc., you get the idea. Though player who knows what he is doing.
I heard his cousin and friend, also one of our "local players" here in Hamburg (these days a PLO online pro), Mingh, has 50% of him :)
50% of an EPT event winner - that's a lucky strike
Me with Jin Cailin at the Baden Open 2006
Marcel building his usual towers at the Baden Open 2006
Bad Beat in Baden But Bucks The Baden Open is over for me. 15/181 for €3,500.
Play started today with 28 players and 4 player went out in the first 30 minutes. It took about 2 hours more to eleminate the other 4 and reach the money spots. In all those 3 levels I had one time 7-7, raised in MP, all folded and one time 9-9 which I folded to an UTG raiser. That was it. No pairs, no suited connectors, no two face cards. When we have been down to the final 16 players I found A-J once, raised, all fold.
In the last hand before the break I find 5-5 UTG and as I have only about 6 BB left I go all-in right away. All fold to the button, who makes the call. Blinds pass and button shows A-Q. That guy has won a huge pot (130,000+) just a few hand before when he called a raise with Q-T, saw a T-7-3 board and went all-in, only to meet his opponent with A-T. Don't worry, a Q comes on the turn and the river brings another 10. So he was already lucky.
In our hand the flop came Q-5-7, I made a set! Wow, almost unloseable, right? No, because the turn was an A and the river another A (argh) and he makes a better full-house. My old friend PokerStove says I should win this hand on the flop in 98% and before the flop in about 55%.
So, my dream of becoming 3rd was not to be. Today.
We're in Baden, Austria right now. This year they host three major events in row here: 1) the €5000 EPT Baden event, the €2000 Baden Open and the classic Seven Card Stud European Championship "PokerEM", a €2,700 event which has been won by the likes as Phil Hellmuth before (lol). It is a great week here in one of the most beautyful casino locations available.
I did not play the EPT but Katja did, she lasted like 8 levels in day 1 before busting out, never having any momentum. Right now the EPT is down to 12 players, the final is today. I love that two of my buddies, Marcus Golser and Duc Thang Nguyen are still in the tournament and I really wish them all the best for getting this one home.
Both Katja and I played the Baden Open. Katja got busted by Paul Testud in his typical manner (playing agressivly and getting lucky) when she had 9-9 in a unraised pot (one limper and Paul in the SB just calling) and the flop came 6-7-8 rainbow. Paul checked, Katja went all-in right away with about 6,500 into a 1,500 pot, limper folded and Paul called (having lots of chips), showing 5-7. So far so good but the turn brought the 9 (!) making the straight for Paul and giving Katja a set. The river blanked out and Katja was gone.
Katja broke (her shoe)
My own expierience is a little better, I made it into day 2 with average chips. 181 players started, 28 left now, 20 in the money, winner gets about 100,000 Euros. I had a though time all day, being sandwiched between Antonio Turresi and Marcel Luske for long hours (and having Ross Boatmann with a mountain of chip coming to the table did not really help). It looked good in the very first hour when I was able to almost double-up by going all-in on the turn with the nut flush and getting a call from a weaker flush but I could not hold onto my chips as Marcel Lusked was right behind me and just outplayed me several times. He called each of my raises and got very aggressive thereafter, either hitting or putting in incredible bluffs. I went low as 5,000 chips in that time. Still, it was a very good learning experience. Marcel himself struggled a few times against other big stacks before getting the break with two increadible plays, one of those *very* questionable in my mind (but again, Marcel plays probably as many high buyin tournament hands in a month than I do in two years). Here they are:
5 players limped with blinds at 100/200, including Marcel, Ross and me. Flop came down 2-4-6 with two clubs. The player who had the SB made a bet of like 2,500 into a 1,400 pot. I quickly folded my hand but Marcel called. All other players folded. The turn brought the 3 of clubs, completing a possible flush and a straight for everybody. Now the first player made a huge bet of like 8,000 and Marcel called again. River: A of clubs! Guy checked, Marcel went all-in and the guy called having less than Marcel. Marcel showed 10-5 offsuit, with the 5 of clubs for a mini-flush. Other guy showed 5-7 without any club and Marcel took a huge pot. Wow. Not only did Marcel limp in UTG+1 with T5o, he called a big bet with just a gutshot and a 5-high backdoor flush draw, he called for a large chunk of his chips on the turn against the nuts, gets lucky on the river and thinks his 5-high flush is good. Please note that I am not criticizing Marcel here, I am just looking at the hand if there is something to learn here. Quite honestly, I don't think so.
Me, showing the nut flush
Anyway, I somehow got back to like 17,000 chips without any showdown, got moved, played the very first two hands on that table against the "Bully" with 140,000 chips there very aggressive and got to almost 30,000. Then I found Q-Q UTG, raised to 3,300 (BB 1000) and got reraised by the button to 9,000. I called to see a T-high flop but checked, having an odd feeling. He went all-in and I thought for like 3 minutes before laying it down (me! wow!). It was right on, he showed A-A. I got moved again with a stack of like 18k, average at 25k. My new table and seat (8) was bad news. Right behind me: Ross in seat 9 with 50k, Ram Vaswanni in seat 1 with like 80k, agressive famous asian guy with like 45k in 2 and Ivo Donev in seat 4. A few minutes later the guy with the huge stack of 140k came to this table also as did "Bad Girl" Xuyen Pham. Very though table and being the absolute short stack is not really helping here. Anyway, I played tight and made one more huge laydown (for me) when I called a raise from the UTG player with A-Q as did two more players (asian guy and Bad Girl). Flop came 9-J-Q with two clubs and the UTG guy made a good sized bet. I thought and with two players behind I folded to this very dangerous board, showing Ross my hand. Asian guy folded (later he said he had AQ also which I absolutly believe) but Bad Girl went all-in, meeting a call by the danish UTG player. Bad Girl showed K-J of clubs for pair, gutshot straight-draw and the second-nut flush draw. Danish guy showed 9-9 for a set. Turn came an A (now I would be hung) and river blanked out so Bad Girl lost a big pot. I made some money with Q-Q UTG and K-Q when I flopped K-K-8 and ended the day with average chips. Play will comence today. Btw, Barney Boatman wnet out with A-K vs. 10-10, Ram lost almost all of his chips vs. Mr. Big Stack when he semi-bluff check-raised on the flop of 3-7-T holding 8-9 for all of his chips and meeting a call with A-A. Ross lost one big pot somehow and finally lost 3-3 vs. T-T. My buddy Dirk Schümann then took out Ram with his last few chips (6-9 on the button, J-J for Dirk in the SB) and only one hand later he took Ivo Donev out by raising in the SB with Q-Q, Ivo thought two big pairs in a row are somewhat "unlikely" and went-all with 6-9, Dirk calling and winning).
I dreamt last night I would get 3rd today - so now let's see how dreams compare to reality!
This is by far the best statement on the crazyness in the poker world about the current situation and it is not from "Joe Average" but from Nolan Dalla, media director of the WSOP and PokerStars.com director of communications until yesterday.
Black Friday For Online Gambling
I have read many public forums over the past few days. Until now, I have not spoken out publicly on the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and the new version of this law which was attached to the Ports Security Bill on Friday night, although my views are probably foreseeable.
I do not believe most of the members here quite understand the degree of damage this new legislation will have upon the online gambling industry -- including sports wagering, poker, and affiliated businesses such as MadJacks, et. al.
Before I comment upon this legislation and its detrimental impacts, first I should disclose that I have been involved in the poker business for more than a decade. I was and am the Media Director for the World Series of Poker. I was, until yesterday, the Director of Communications for PokerStars.com -- the second-largest online poker site in the world. I resigned my position based on legal advice. In 2004, I was the Editor of a sports betting magazine published by SportingBet USA. I also served as a guest handicapper here at MadJacks for four years. Please note that the opinions expressed here are not those of the World Series of Poker, PokerStars.com, or anyone else I have been affiliated with. They are my own.
Once this bill is signed into law (possibly as early as Wednesday, Oct. 4), it becomes effective immediately. This is why 888, PartyGaming, and others are suspending US operations, effective immediately. News has already been released that .COM (money) poker games will not be available to US residents. However, .NET (free) games will continue uninterrupted according to reports.
I expect this to have a ripple affect across the entire industry. Most of the larger poker sites, and likely offshore sportsbooks as well, will be forced to block wagers from US residents. Otherwise, all operators/employees are subject to arrest and prosecution if they enter US territory. Those here and elsewhere who have stated this new law "only applies to financial transactions" have a narrow and tragically misguided view of the legislation. It essentially makes any employee or agent of the offshore site a criminal under US law -- UNLESS they block transactions from US residents. In short, an executive from an offshore sportsbook could enter the US and not fear arrest, provided that company is not doing business inside the United States.
Hence, the impetus is on the sites themselves to shut down US operations and links to US clients. I expect that most of the larger sportsbooks and poker sites will follow this trend for a few reasons which follow:
1. First, many of the larger, more established companies will take a long-term strategic view. They will decide it is better to operate within the law, rather than break it. This is especially true for public companies subject to gaming law and regulations, such as Party, 888, etc.
2. Companies which comply with US law now will be in a better position to re-enter the US market, provided online gambling is eventually legalized.
3. While profits will decline in the short-term, these companies will be forced to expand into new markets (Asia, Latin America, and so forth) or perish. Those companies with diversified products (non-US sports on the betting menu, for example) will be in better position to make the adjustment.
4. I expect a number of rogue sites to pop up and circumvent the law. Clearly, some sites will emerge and take the risk of accepting US wagers because of great potential profit. Sadly, I expect some of these rogue sites will be poorly run and mismanaged and scandal will result, which impacts the entire industry, and this makes legalization in the US even more difficult.
5. I expect that most of the majors in the sports betting market will continue to operate through the end of football season (the most profitable time of the year) and use the 270-day enforcement discussion period as a gray area which can be exploited to their advantage. However, as arrests and prosecutions continue to make news (Caruthers, Dicks, etc.) some of the majors will be forced to confront the prospect of blocking US traffic. I also expect US officials to put pressure on some governments such as Costa Rica, Antigua, and others to regulate their own sportsbooks, in the manner that the US government is involved in drug policy in counties like Mexico, Columbia, and so forth.
6. I predict that most of the majors will conduct themselves in a professional manner, by refunding deposits and paying (winning) players upon request. More to the point, I am not withdrawing my money from any poker or sports betting account at this time. However, those sites which openly violate US law will risk eventually being targeted in international court. I admit to having less knowledge on this issue than any other. But I do not fear that well-established sportsbooks will run away with money. I can say with absolute certainty that the big poker sites will act in good faith. I think I know this industry well enough to express this confidence.
As to the impacts on poker and sportsbetting, this new law is going to be DEVASTATING. Especially for poker.
A. If poker sites cannot accept deposits from US players, that will kill 70-80 percent of the overall market. The question becomes -- is there enough of a remaining market and enough contributing players in smaller markets to sustain operations and expansion? Perhaps. But it will take years, if not a decade to return to what has been the golden age of poker.
B. Online poker sites and sportsbooks will no longer be able to advertise (.COM-related services) inside the US. Media outlets will simply refuse to accept the ads. This includes print, television, and radio. Consider the implications. Thousands of new players were signing up daily at various sites. All of that vanishes. Sports gambling is less-reliant on advertising. However, the loss of the US market will force unforeseen changes in how these businesses are run, especially those companies that have multiple-gambling related products, such as BoDog, Paradise, etc.
C. Online betting sites will likely not be able to post banner ads and links to gaming sites, especially those based inside the US. "Aiding and abetting" laws could result in arrest and prosecution for those who provide links to US residents. Poker magazines, online betting forums, and even MadJacks could suffer. I remain uncertain as to how severe this impact will be, especially at MadJacks. But for the hundreds of poker sites/sports sties and blogs out there that are dependent upon online poker and sportsbook advertising, many will go out of business. Once again, this might not seem a big issue to everyone, but these are the pioneers who are bringing in new poker players and sports bettors and when they dry up, the market shrinks and everyone is adversely affected.
D. Many sites use what are called affiliates. Persons who are affiliates and live inside the US will now be subject to arrest and prosecution, particularly those who do not block financial transactions from the US.
E. The celebrity poker culture around star poker players will diminish. One poker site is heavily branded to many big names. Now, these players will no longer be able to promote their sites inside the US. Hence, their value and stature diminishes.
F. Big events like the World Series of Poker, which attract meany players and great interest from online poker sites, could decline in size for the first time in history. I am most sensitive to commenting upon this event because I still have a longstanding association with the WSOP. However, anyone who looks at the situation must conclude that the WSOP and major poker tournaments will be hurt by this new law.
G. Online gaming sponsorships of various products and services will decline. For instance, Golden Palace ads in boxing arenas, NBA stadiums, and on halftime shows will diminish, if not end completely. PartyPoker ads that are seen regularly on TV, on all stations, will fade away. Millions in advertising revenue will be lost by media companies (which begs the question (why were they not fighting this legislation?)
Keep in mind that these points are off the top of my head. I do not pretend to have a legal background. They are simply personal points of view and speculation as to the impacts of this new law.
Finally, there were some here and elsewhere who said not to worry, that the law would never pass, and so forth. Now, we see what happens when we remain complacent and passive. Aside from this being an outrageous violation of personal freedoms and privacy in this country, I view this issue as largely symbolic of the decline of civil liberties in recent years, and an eerie warning of what is to come. It brings to mind a bumper sticker I saw recently, "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention."
Las Vegas, NV
Thought I share that with all of you although it scares the hell out of me.
After taking extensive legal advice, the Board of PartyGaming Plc has concluded that the new legislation, if signed into law, will make it practically impossible to provide US residents with access to its real money poker and other real money gaming sites. As a result of this development, the Board of PartyGaming has determined that if the President signs the Act into law, the Company will suspend all real money gaming business with US residents, and such suspension will continue indefinitely, subject to clarification of the interpretation and enforcement of US law and the impact on financial institutions of this and other related legislation. Access to PartyGaming's online gaming sites for the Group's US free play customers will be unaffected. Access for all of PartyGaming’s non-US customers will also be unaffected.
All this happened this weekend, PartyPoker stock value is down 60% (Neteller also dramaticly down).
Here annother gem from 2+2 fits perfectly, phrased by a posters wife:
"In a country where it's legal to carry a firearm this is absolutely ridiculous."
To bad as I just witnessed the biggest online tournament in history, the WCOOP main event on pokerstars. 2510 player ponied up $2700 and pokerpro J.C. Tran won more than $670.000! This will prove to have been a historic tournament because as it looks now next will not see any significant US players there anymore (also things can change and maybe Mr. Bush refuses to sign that bill).
We'll see how things develop over the next few weeks.