Monte Carlo, Monaco. Second biggest poker tournament in the world. Over 700 players pay €10,000 euros ($13,000) to participate. Incredible experience.
After being a 'high roller' in Las Vegas for many years (yeah, those old black jack times...) and getting treated there like the King Of Everyting is is kind of hard to be impressed. Neiher atmosphere, quality of food or service or accomodation can get that much bigger anywhere, right? Well, if anywhere then of course in dreamcountry Monaco. It is fantastic here. The location, the wheater, the hotel, the food, the service, the tournament, the players, everything is AAA+. We are staying at the Monte Carlo Bay, a five star jetset hotel. The European Poker Tour EPT ist having it's Grand Final of season 2006/2007 here and this is truly the center of the poker world right now.
The most beautyfull poker room possible - overseeing the Monte Carlo Bay
Katja in the media tournament on Tuesday (yeah, after the Jimmy'z party)
Joe Hachem has a good time - meanwhile he is out of the tourney
Tommy from Denmark and his friend having lots of fun
Ram Vaswani and Phil Ivey
Phil Hellmuth is here
We arrived already on Monday as katja had all kinds of media work to do on Tuesday and then there was of course that Welcome Party at Jimmy'z, probably Europe's most famous nightclub. Wednesday was the first playing day, flight 1A. Both Katja and have been assigned day 1A and the luck of the draw even brought us to the same table!
...and me playing on the very same table
We played there together on a "friendy table" for like 6 hours before our table broke. Each day here is seven levels, 90 minutes each with a slow structure (15,000 starting chips, first blinds 25/50, no ante). After we got moved things got thougher. Katja had a rollercoaster and ended the day with like 15k and I was carddead but bluffed my way to average chips, like 28k. So we both made it to day 2 which will be tomorrow. There are three more playing days that we would have to survive, so no reason to be happy right now - of course, being still in is a nice thing.
The Schenefeld Open is over by now. There have been 4 events. I played very long in three of those so I am very tired now, like 15 hours of sleep during the last 4 nights... Here is my recap:
Day 1: €200+unlimited rebuys+addon NLH
Over 70 player for this one. I got there with pockets full of money to start a rebuy bonanza and go all-in every hand to fill either my stack or my table with lots of chips. When I discovered that I was assigned to the highest table number (=first table to break) I changed my strategy to a "try-to-get-lucky-quickly- otherwise-play-it-like-a-loose-cash-game-until-the-end-of-the-rebuy-period-and-then-switch-to-correct-tournament-strategy-depending-on-my-chip-count". Still, good etiquette demands that you go all-in on your first hand blindly. Before the first hand was dealt I took the first rebuy for 1,500 chips. Rebuys could only be taken if on or below 1,500 chips). I was in the SB of 10 on the first hand. While the cards got dealt if course I informed the table about my plan to go all-in blindly and asked to get action, please. Kai in middle position raised to 220 and Thomas Biehl in the cutoff went all-in, for 3,000 also. Fold, fold and I move-in as announced. Kai showed that he is the ultimate chicken and folded although he had only 1,180 chips left. Thomas Biehl showed AKo and I squezzed my cards - 9 was the first one (juhu!) and the second was a 3. Relief as this kind of trash hand will surly win over AK. Board was blank but the turn brought a 9! The table got excited and I trash-talked a little about my perfect play-trash-hands-blind-out-of-position-for-all-my-chips strategy but my word got stucked back into my mouth when the river brought an Ace. Well, double rebuy time! Very soon I blowed those 3,000 chips also and took annother double-rebuy and then just annother one. Now I was in for 7 rebuys, the main buyin and the addon yet to come! Only 20 minutes left and they floorman already came by to count the players as the they wanted to break our table. Near to me was annother action table where Hassan played, already in for 12+ rebuys! I checked out Sebastian who had 7 rebuys also already. I thought to myself that I try one more time for a double-up and then shut down. I manged to double my chips to well over 6,000 when I played J-9 (limp... ;) and flopped a straight. I got full payout from a young guy who -I think- misread his hand but played it either way as badly as possible so when the rebuy period was over I took the addon and was sitting on almost 16,000 in chips! From there on it was no looking back to me. Yes, I did call an all-in with highcard Q and was shown quad-eight's but I always had the chips. All the way down to winning the tournament for a whooping €15,000 I was the chip leader. I think hope that I played really well the rest of the tournament.
Day 2: €500 NLHE freezeout
I started quitly but catched some cards soon. I won big pot's and lost them. A rollercoaster ride. From 70+ players I got down to the last two tables (9 players ITM) with double the average in chips. Then I made a I-am-here-to-win play and reraised a check-raiser and a caller (Peyman) with my nut flush draw and overcards. I was almost right as the check-raiser had nothing but a straight draw and the all-in caller was on the same, weaker flush draw but had hit a small pair. Now I was slightly behind vs. Peyman but ahead for a large sidepot against the straight-draw opponent. The turn gave the guy the straight and the river blanked out to I lost versus both players and was crippled. I manged to get one more double-up but then I played badly by calling for all my chips with AJo from a tight middle position raiser who I should have know to have me beat there. Out in 16th spot. I joined Katja, she has busted out in 17th spot only seconds before after losing an all-in preflop situation holding K-9 vs K-8 of her opponent.
Peymann 'Chappi' - which way he looks better?
Day 3: €800 NLHE freezeout
Again, almost 80 players. We had a last longer side bet in place, 14 people for €100 each. I somehow flowed through the tournament, playing my best tournament poker since a long time. Laying down Q-Q preflop saved my life one time (most likely) and was just 'in the zone'. I got to the final table with some chips and survived until 4th place after taking two beats. With four players left Shine went all-in on the button, I called in the BB having lots of chips with AJs. He showed 4-5. On the turn nobody had improved but I had a straight and a flush draw togheter with my overcards. The river brought one of his 6 outs, the 4 to double-up Shine. Shortly later I lost my remaining chips vs. a five-outer on the river - ironically it was a 4 again. I got €6,600 for this 4th place finish, not bad but I surly I wanted to win here. Tony, who got 3rd and I splitted the last longer money so I made some moeny there also.
Day 4: €1,000 NLHE freezeout
Not a long tournament for me. I had good start, getting from 6,000 to 9,000 chips in the first hour. Then I doubled up a guy who had raised in the cutoff. He raised, I called inthe BB with A-Q. Flop came Q-8-8 and I check-raised him, big. He re-raised and I put him all-in. Of course he showed K-K which held as they should here. I just played that hand poorly. A typical case of not adjusting to the changing situation. I had put him on K-Q when he did raised and was not able to change my perpective on the hand as the betting went on. Maybe I was to tired or to excited about the two last longer sidebets: one list, the €100 list, had 22 (!) players and the other, €500 bet, had 6 players. I, of course, in both. After losing the hand I changed my strategy and this worked for some time but then I lost a strange hand to bust: I raised UTG+1 with AKo to 900 (BB was 200). Button called and BB, Sebastian, called. Flop 3-4-T with two spaded. I made 1,500 bet, button called, Sebastian folded. Turn 6 of spades for 3 open spades. I thought and troed to get an idea what we button player had. He was new at the table and had many chips and I had never seen him before. Finally, being short stacked with about 5,000 already in the pot I went all-in for my remaining 3,000. He thought for a while but then called, showing 5-6 offsuit. OESD on the flop and a pair on the turn. No help on the river and I was out. I had no intention to play cash games in the bad mood I was in and left home a little later, leaving Katja there. She was out also already but the liked to play the juicy cash games. This proved to be a good decision as she made a *very* nice score that night. I was also excited this morning when I read that my very good friend Frank Debus won the torunament and Jan-Peter Jachtman, also a good friend and long time opponent got 2nd. Congratulations boys!
Jan-Peter (l.) and Frank
So, that's what happened the last few days here besides spending 12+ hours inthe office every day :D. Tomorrow I will leave for EPT Monte Carlo. I feel good about my game right now, Katja is in a good mood and we will try to rock there.
Katja got 5th at the EPT in Warsau! She earned herself (and me ;) over €64,500 there which will go straight into our WSOP 'warchest'. Well done!
A few minutes after Katja busted (she went all-in with 2-2 on the button to be called by the BB with A-Q which won) I met with Sebastian to have a 'big' - it took us 3+ hours in one of Hamburg's best restaurants to eat through all this first class food. Afterwards we went to our local Casino Schenefeld to play some cash games, hopefully with Hassan - Sebastian was full loaded, ready to 'cover him'. Wow. Anyway, Hassan was not there but two tables NL 2/5 were going. We took a drink with Tony from PokerOlymp.de when two high rollers from our usual pot limit game asked if we would be interested in some shorthanded pot limit omaha. I was hot for it right away - Sebastian said he want this only with small blinds, like 5/10 (you chicken! ;). We all agreed but I added 'you guys are all putting up live straddles, right?' in fact creating a much bigger game. 10 minutes later the game was going, 6 handed.
Nothing big happened for - 2 minutes. Then we had the first 4 way all-in pot (everybody was playing 500 euros or more). I did raise with A-T-5-5 on an unpaired, 9-high, nut flush draw flop. Two players called, one came over the top. I figured my odds and called for all my chips as did both other players. The turn paired the 9 and the river brought an offsuit Jack - the re-raiser announced that he had misread his hand and showed the 3rd nut flush draw (Q-8). Sebastian folded right away, he has been looking for some straight and Tony showed K-2 for the second nut flush draw. I said I had the best draw but failed and I could add a pair of fives to the open nines for two pairs. Big moan all around - nobody had anything! I won that pot with about 2,500 and the game was on! I promised to see every flop no matter how much from now on and played like this for 3 hours until I got too tired. As usual there have been some big pots and some bad rivers but I managed to win a nice chunk. In one spot I raised blind on the button, the SB reraised and a limper reraised all-in for over 1k. The small blind did not have that much and I was sure he was going to call so I called a €1.040 bet (100 was my initial raise) - blind! The board came down with 3 spades and the initial raised had something like kings up, small blind player folded. I started to squeeze - first card was a spade! I discovered the next card - black! but a club - the next: 6 of spades! Annother big pot for me - my hand was 3-4-5-6 double suited. Wow.
So, if you come for the 4 day tournament marathon next week then I might be in that gambling mood again ;) - all details here
Katja just made the final table in EPT Warsaw event!
Going into the day short on chips she managed not only to survive and get into the money, no, she went straight ahead to the final table. Probably I am much more excited here in Germany then Katja herself over there in Poland.
I have not long talked to her, she gave me two calls during the breaks, telling me what happened. First one was when she won a key hand vs. the very same guy that busted her in EPT Dortmund - and it was the very same hand! Katja had T-T and the guy held A-K. All the money went in preflop. In Dortmund there was a King on the river to bust her, in Warsaw there was a third Ten on the flop (and no Ace or Kind on the board of course as usual when you don't fear it) so she survived and left the guy crippled.
Second time she called me I actually thought she is out in 9th place - I knewd the action was nine handed, the "real" final table (EPT final tables are 8 handed only) from following live updates in the internet. When I saw her caller id on my phone I natually thought "Oh well, she was short on chips, she busted, too bad". But boy I was wrong! She called because she was on - penalty! Katja? She told me that she accidently showed her hand after going all-in and getting called, not seeing there was one more limper (his cards have been hidden a little below his stack but he did clearly call). That guy called also, holding many chips. They gave her a 10 minute penalty but her hand was live. Of course, she still had to win the pot to be egliable to use her penalty ;) - Katja had shown Q-J. First limp-caller checked the Q-Q-x flop, other guy went all-in. First guy instacalled, holding the same hand as Katja, Q-J. 'Poor' and bad playing second limper called, showing A-A! No ace on turn or river and Katja won half of the main pot, bringing her stack to just about 100k (still very small).
Katja never complained about getting the penalty and I think it was the correct decision also. Here is a perfect example why it is so important that nobody acts out of turn - the poor guy with A-A naturally thought his A-A is good on the Q-Q-x board when he saw that Katja is holding a Q - he can't give that last Q to his opponent. With Katja's hand still unknown his play might have been different, not knowing that he has very little chance to win the main pot and giving more Q-credit to his opponent.
While Katja was in her penalty it took only 3 hands when some poor guy ran his A-K vs. A-A and busted. Katja made the final table! She is second shortest stack but that might mean nothing, she done a great comeback from a small stack that day also. Also, she has 30,000 euro secured and if she manages to only survive one more player she is already at 40k (360k to the winner).
Fnal table starts today at 2 pm. I wish her all the best! Go Katja!
I am defintily playing the EPT Monte Carlo. I paid my 10,000 euro buyin yesterday (yes, a day before knowing Katja is going to score in Warsaw ;). Looking forward to a great event - they expect 600 (!) players there and just added a full day so they can stick to 90 minute levels.
Congratulations! Sebastian placed 3rd in the EPT Dortmund, the biggest EPT event ever. Here is a photo two other local buddies, all from my home city Hamburg:
Sebastian on the EPT final table
Sebastian, Thang Nguyen, Frank Koopmann
Sebastian, now 34th in the CardPlayer 'Player of the Year' ranking list, EPT Baden 2006 and two times sunday quarter million guaranteed winner Thang Duc and Frank who just placed 4th in last weeks Sunday Million on PokerStars (dealing as the chipleader, getting 4th then for 128k)
What's more important, Sebastian showed he really understands the game and has what is needed to win.
I guess you all know that one of Katja's and my biggest poker buddies is Sebastian Ruthenberg aka MiamiVice aka taktloss47 aka Luckbox, in short since some time only "lucky" for me. Sebastian is having a very good run over the last months and is incredible successfull in poker tournaments (he is a winning cash game player also). Even more impressive, he is successfull in both live and online tournaments. He won the Partypoker German Open in London last year, he got on both big events final tables last week in Bregenz (to name just a few) and now he is about to accomplish the biggest success of his young career: reachng the final table in the biggest EPT event in history, the EPT Dortmund with 494 players.
They are down to the final 14 players now. Play will resume today at 15:00 local time, first getting down to the final 8 for the televised final table and then finding the winner for 672,000 euros. Sebastian is in 3rd chip position right now with no large gap to the leader. You can follow the final table later today on EPTlive.com
I am rooting strongly for him - even reaching the final table would confirm his position as one of the best players in Europe and winning would be real live changing for him, not even talking about the money. All the best to you buddy, Go! Go! Go! (and I get live weekly 'bigs' if you win, right?)
My own fate in the EPT event was sealed when I made a big all-in reraise out of the big blind with A-Ks in level 5 of the tournament but Gunnar Rabe called me for all his chips with J-J and won (he is also still in the tournament so he made good use of my chips). I also played the 1,000 euro event but after losing twice with aces I got busted in level 6. On the positive side I played some online poker and made up for all my buyins (100/200 FL). In fact, I decided to use my weekend's online winnings to buy myself into the EPT Monte Carlo event later in March, a 10,000 euro buyin tournament. I would go there anyway, accompany Katja and blogging so I think why not play?
Katja was also not able to get anything rolling in the tournaments but she played some cashgames and scored nice winnings so the weekend is still Ok for us.
Katja enjoying the cash games
Regarding Katja, you get to read "How the hell is she making any money?" across german boards from time to time as the has no relevant international tournament success yet. While I don't want to get into details here let me just say that Katja is one of the best live cash game players I know (and I know quite many) and she picked up tournaments seriously only since like 18 month. If I would not have Katja I would be broke, that many times she saved our bankroll from my "swings" (which you might have read about here a lot). My favorite saying is "I try to lose less than Katja wins". I do the big limits and scores (whenever possible ;) but she gives us the financial "grounding" we need to survive in the poker world. If there are any real 'professional players', Katja is 100% one of them.
We arrived in Dortmund yesterday early as we had a lot of media work to do. We meet with friend and co-worker Roy von der Locht who helped us tremendously although it was his birthday. Later then players started to arrive and the last chance satellite saw 238 players trying to get a seat into the EPT event (28 seats in the pricepool).
Upon arriving in Dortmund Katja meet Katja:
Later in the evening we went to the PokerStars welcome party which was the best party of all EPT partys so far - very nice location, good food, good show, nice people, just perfect. Katja got tired around midnight so I dropped her in the hotel and went to the Casino again, watching the action.
Of course everybody playing resonable poker in Germany is here so this is a real 'come togehter' of long time friends and buddies.
I did not play any games (also too tired) but talked half of the night. Today day 1A will begin but about everyone I know will be playing day 1B like me.
Katja is also playing 1B but they do some special TV tournament today (single table "showpoker") so she is busy with media again all day. I will watch and enjoy :D
Looks like. I have not posted since exactly a month and truly I'm feeling bad about it. I guess I was (one of) the first german poker bloggers back then in 2004 when I did start this blog. Do I want to dis-continue it? Do I feel tired of writing? Well, the answer is no. So, what's up?
There are times when your head is full of things and you just dont have the time and patience to sit down, reflect about whats happening and have the inner feeling it would be good idea to let the world know whats going on and share your feelings. I guess this what all bloggers go through. Then, as a small excuse I have this german blog I write for pokerstars in Germany. I update that one a lot and it is quite some work. Go over there and just count the posts I have written since last August when that blog started after the WSOP 2006. Is it really only 6 month ago?? Wow, feels like an eternity already. But wait, I have more excuses. First and most importantly I am back in the office. Yes. Sweet live as a poker pro is over. Since early this year I work on a new project and have just established a new office. Now there are forecasts, controllers, accountants, employees, various problems, a small office community and last not least a business model to care of - again.
What I am doing there? Sorry, can't tell you that yet. It is a project in the poker world and that makes it so amazing and mind occuping. It will be only a few weeks only until you will all know and read about but so far I can't announce it publicly. Stay tuned. It's big.
So, what else? I almost quit online playing. The last session was some 100/200 early in February where I blowed 30 BB in no time. Since then I played 2-3 tournaments online and thats it. I also almost did quit playing live cash games since early February. I get up so early in the morning that I need to get some sleep like at midnight now and the juicy part of the cash games are almost always after midnight. I still do play the local tourneys but not strictly to make money there, more as entertainment and get the office out of my head. This must be the reason I did exceptionally well during the last few weeks as I won 2 times and was numerous times in the money. Tournament-wise I am "running hot". For those of you interested about "Hassan" it looks like this is not going to be his year. He clearly started losing and he is not taking this too well. Actually his game suffers. The few times I played with him the last weeks he was not really dangerous - in combination with his mostly big stack this is a promising outlook. To bad I am not playing that often to get my share from him - back.
Right now I am sitting in a train near Stuttgart. Katja is sitting next to me, sleeping. We got up this morning at 4:30, went to the airport to take a flight to Frankfurt. After the usual delays because of some broken parts on the plane we got there only to be informed that our connection flight to Friedrichshafen is canncelled because of some broken parts... they rebooked us to take the train which we did. We are on our way to play the Bregenz Open. The tournament is running the whole week already but we have only the time to play the €800 event today and the main event €2000 tomorrow. Both will be freeze-out NLHE. I heard they are sold out with 200 players, a great turnout. Bregenz is a nice place to be and we will certainly enjoy our short stay there.
March is going to be a hell of a month: Bregenz now (2 events), next Wednesday to Dortmund for the first german EPT event which promises to be a huge success (main event + one special TV event + 1-2 'side' events), then Katja is going to the EPT Warsau, I am going to Isle of Man. Afterwards four events in our local Casino Schenefeld and then comes EPT Monte Carlo where I might be playing also. Between all this Katja has media work without end and I have a business to run. Not talking about my two kids, beagle Paula and Katja's horses. Might get ugly somewhere down the road. If your interested in what Katja is doing media wise, it's a lot. The whole month will see her hosting an "Online Poker Show" which was produced in London a few weeks ago (8 episodes, on DSF from 6th March). She will be in many newspapers and TV appearances over the next weeks (a lot have been filmed and shooted recently) and there will the upcoming 89sec pokerstars TV-ad which is very good (other than the short "Learn horseback-riding by riding, learn poker by playing poker" which we not liked).
Conclusion? There is a whole lot going on in my live and honestly will try to keep you all updated. Please bear with me for being lazy in these crazy days.
Oh, there is one more important thing: Katja and I are going to get married. In Las Vegas. During the WSOP this year. After all those years we will finally keep our promises. Details will follow.