Archive for July, 2018

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2018 WSOP Main Event – Day 2

July 6, 2018

You know what it is. I’m not going to spend too much time writing this morning.

It’s Day 2 of the Main Event. I’m sitting down with 137.9k coming back to 300/600 blinds, or 230 bigs. Lots and lots of play.

I have researched my whole table and once again seem to be in a very favorable situation. I can’t speak on my opponents’ abilities, but I do know how many chips they have and what their past results are.

I have zero superstars at my table. There is one player with almost $900k in tournament cashes, and he will be on my left a lot, but he only has 41k in chips. That’s still almost 70 bigs though, so I expect him to be a bit of a nuisance.

I have the most chips at the table and the three other players with 90k+ seem to be the least experienced. The three of them have a combined $45k in live tournament cashes. I played with one of them on Day 1 and I’m happy to see him at my table again today. The player on my immediate left has 107k in chips but zero recorded cashes. That doesn’t mean he sucks, but it’s a good start. I would definitely rather have $0 in cashes with lots of chips than the guy with $900k in cashes.

The players on my direct right have the second and third most in recorded live tournament cashes, so I’m happy to have immediate position on them and they only have 56.2k and 24.2k in chips. Even 24k is still 40 big blinds, so everyone has stacks to play with today and nobody can be dismissed.

Tormund is starting the day with 62k and has former WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel on his immediate left. That means he will probably get a TV cameo today, as ESPN loves to show former champs. Look for a rugged looking red head when they flash to Duhamel.

Something like this:

Check back here for updates every two hours when we are on break. Cards in the air in 34 minutes. Let’s get it!

Just got word that I’m posting too many pictures of Tormund and it’s scaring away the people, so here’s one of the Pavilion before game time:

12:14 PM: Some notes:

-Tormund said he got crippled first pot he played and that Duhamel already doubled. None of that is good news. He still has 20k+ though, so far from actually crippled.

-There was a 3-way pot at my table that was raised once preflop and went check around flop, bet and two calls on turn, and check around on river. The board was KK9KJ and two of the hands were 99 and AK. 😮

-The player I played with on Day 1 has yet to show up 80 minutes into the day. He did this a bit on Day 1 too, so it’s not exactly alarming. But hey, he has $14.5k in lifetime cashes and this is only a $10k buy in, so…

First Break 155k

I am a pretty big fan of my table.

The most experienced and successful player seems to be on the nitty side, although that could be because of his stack size.

The guy on my left that has zero cashes is a total noob. He looks like he’s played very little live poker and there was a hand where it folded to my small blind, I called, and he just folded without seeing the flop for free.

The guy I thought would be the worst at the table, in seat 5, is not disappointing. Through 58 hands he’s rocking a 34% VPIP and 22% PFR, but I have him pegged as a punter, not a dangerous LAG. I’ve already played two notable pots with him, in back to back hands.

Hand 1: I make it 1300 with QQ. It folds to him in the big blind and he makes it 4200. We are super deep and I’m in position against a splashy bad player (imo), so I decide to call and go to the streets. Flop is AT8 with two diamonds. He bets 4k and I’m always taking a card off here with the Q of diamonds in my hand. The turn is a 7 and he fires 6k. Now I’m strongly considering folding since I didn’t pick up any extra equity, but after tanking for a long time and watching him stare in my direction, I’m not exactly convinced. I call. River is a king and he ends up checking. I check behind and he shakes his head like he’s losing and then turns over KJo. Okay buddy.

Hand 2: I make it 1300 with T9dd on the very next hand. I’m pretty early and my image might be bruised after that last pot, so this is probably a fold, but I get it through to my boy in the small blind and he reraises me to 3300. I’m practically LOLing as I call this ridiculously small 3-bet, happy to play my hand in position against this dolt. Flop is K82 with two diamonds and he checks it over to me. Since he tried to barrel off the last hand, he probably has something here, so I check back. Turn is a six and he checks again. My read is the same, but I decide to bet this time because I don’t expect him to raise very often and I want the pot to be bigger on the river when I get there and I can show down for free if I make a pair. I bet 3500 and he calls. I’m planning to bomb the river for more than pot when I make my draws and check back my misses because I expect him to rarely fold. I brick, give up and he shows… K4 of clubs.

He’s either setting the whole table up right now or he’s primed to punt later. I hope I’m the one to catch it.

Obviously I chipped up so it wasn’t all bad. I had AK in a 3-bet pot and got the AAK flop and two streets of value. I flopped top two with AQ. I 4-bet once with KK and took it down pre.

I am in the pavilion so the tables will be breaking in here, but the break order is good. I’m in the black area and the green and yellow areas break before we do. I want to stay here all day!

Tormund fell all the way to 14.5k but has doubled twice and now has 50k.

1:28 PM: First hand back, buttons opens to 1700 at 400/800 and I decide to see a flop from the BB with 74o getting such a good price. It comes down 773 rainbow. I check, he bets 1200 and I make it 4000. He’s the same guy I flopped the AK full house against and I played that hand slow after the flop, so I thought a check-raise here would look bluffs. He calls. Turn is Ah, opening up a backdoor heart draw. I lead 3000, which looks like a weak stab, hoping to induce a raise, but he just calls again. River is the jack of hearts. He has less than 20k behind, the pot is over 18k, and I don’t think he can fold an ace here, so I put him all in and he snaps with Q8hh.

Sigh.

124.7k

3:50 PM: Pretty dead level for me. The hand I posted already was the only substantial pot I played the whole time. There was a spot where a short stack opened button, small blind called, and I 3-bet AQ suited from the big. Looks like a good spot to squeeze so I thought button could jam a wider range here (and I’m obv snap-calling), but they both ended up folding.

The guy in seat 5 has noticeably tightened up. After rocking a 34/22 in level six, he’s now at 26/20 and I’m a bit perplexed at the random spazz those two hands I shared earlier.

The guy with $900k in lifetime cashes is sitting at 16/8, but he just won a MASSIVE pot on the last hand of level seven when he 4-bet pre, bet flop, and jammed turn on T7dd47d board and his opponent went into the tank for the first ten minutes of dinner break before eventually calling it off with KK and losing to AA. From the sidelines I thought it was painfully obvious seat two had AA and I would have folded QQ and JJ fairy quickly, but KK with a diamond is just a brutal spot. That gives seat two a lot of chips and I’m hoping he continues to play a nutty style, but I won’t be surprised if he opens things up.

Dinner Break

Dark Knight – 133k

Tormund – 50k

Chief Wiggum – 43k

Tormund got coolered by Duhamel with ESPN cameras all over them. Not sure how that works into coverage since it doesn’t start until 5:30 PM, but there’s a good chance this clip gets in there.

6:28 PM: Sitting on 134.5k after 8 levels and coming back to 600/1200 blinds. That was a rocky level for me. I got as low as 80k or so before chipping back up. I have some notes below of hands I’ll try to flesh out but I’m expecting a call from The Leak and that will probably take up most of my break.

After dinner, Tormund followed me into the bathroom and stood directly behind me as I peed into a urinal and somehow thought that would be more awkward for me than him. He told me to let him know anytime I need an escort to the bathroom and I considered going up to his table with my arms tucked inside my hoodie and saying, “I need help peeing.”

I whiffed a big combo draw with KJss in a 4-way raised pot. I was the opener and decided to check flop and I let 88 bet and then showdown on a T97ssT7 runout. I thought there was some chance I had best hand on river and I did consider check-raising flop, but with a bet and a call out there already, I thought it would have been unlucky to work.

One of the weaker players at my table opened to 3000 and the bad player in seat five called and I decided to see a flop with 75 of clubs on the button. I know s4 is going broke with overpairs that get beat and I want to play with s5. Flop comes down QQ5 with two spades. The PFR checks and s5 bets 5000. I actually think s4 has a better pair than me most of the time and s5 can have a wide range here, so I decide to make it 13k. The PFR tank-folds (KK!) but s5 eventually jams on me and I have to let it go.

I was on a bad run already when I opened the J9dd, s2 calls in position and s5 calls from the big. Flop is AT7 with two hearts. I c-bet 4k and they both call. Turn is a king and I decide I’m going to give it one more bullet and make it 12k to go and they both fold.

Whew.

(JJ hand)

(AK 4-bet jam)

Dark Knight – 134.5k

Tormund – 40k

Chief Wiggum – 50k

8:45 PM: Can’t really seem to get anything going today. I 3-bet a cut off open with JJ on the button, he called and called again when I c-bet smallish on an ace high, two flush flop. I gave up after that and folded to a river bet when diamonds got there. I’ve done some studying of this spot and my opponent is going to be very ace heavy here. It would be pretty hard for him to have a lot of bluffs on the river. I suppose he could turn small pairs into a bluff, but I’m okay with my line. Annoyed though.

I got moved into the Brasilia room with about a half hour left in level 8. It’s an unfortunate move. I really liked my old table even though good things hadn’t really happened yet. I have zero info on my new table but there’s a 370k stack on my immediate left, and three other players wearing poker patches, including Liv Boeree.

I got word just before the break that Tormund has busted. Not really sure what happened but he was having a rocky day.

Chief Wiggum is up to 70k.

I guess I just made a cameo on ESPN, walking with my bag to my new table.

One hour left tonight.

10:46 PM: Liv Boeree attracting the cameras:

12:30 AM: What a rough day. I never had any real momentum to speak of and the chances I had to chip up didn’t really work out. I was handcuffed after my table move by going card dead and by having a huge stack and a super short stack on my immediate left. Both of those factors made it unwise to try and open wide. One guy can call and 3-bet with impunity and the other guy is too short to raise-fold against. I did end up busting the shorty when I opened the button with AJ and he jammed with A4.

Because of these dynamics I had absurd stats of 13% VPIP and 7% PFR after my move. Granted, that’s only a 75 hand sample, but it was pretty brutal. The big stack on my left was at 36/27 and Liv Boeree was at 25/17, but the rest of the table had VPIPs between 11% and 17%. That’s an extremely tight table.

This tournament is amazing. What kind of poker tournament can you be card dead for basically ten hours and have things not go very right and still be in there? It was a rough day, but I’ll be starting level 11 with 51 big blinds and hopefully I will snap off another good starting table draw. It looks like there are about 2800 left and I believe around 1200 make the money. I think there’s a decent chance that could happen tomorrow.

See you then!

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Main Event Sweat Post

July 4, 2018

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a brutal month in Vegas. I will do a full recap when I get home, but after over a month here I have managed a measly three min-cashes (none in the WSOP) while enduring many bricks – including shocking instant exits and last minute exits when my opponents are trying to punt to me – and lots and lots of pain.

Today I am playing my first Main Event ever and I have to say it feels totally surreal and I haven’t even stepped foot in the Rio yet. I can’t even really describe what I’m feeling right now. I’m not particularly nervous (please no superstar wizards on my left on Day 1 and please don’t put me on a feature table) but I am sort of in disbelief. I’ve never woken up and had playing the $10,000 Main Event on my list of things to do for the day. What a day.

We start with 50,000 in chips and blinds starting at 75/150 so everyone is sitting down with 333 big blinds and insanely deep stacks. We will be playing five two hour levels today before bagging and resuming play on Friday.

Bagging seems pretty simple. If you somehow just maintain a starting stack throughout the entire day you would start level 6 on Day 2 with over 80 big blinds.

And yet every year, many players – players much better than me – don’t make it to Day 2. I read that Max Silver picked up AA on the very first hand of the day yesterday and somehow got his opponent to put in all 333 bigs before the flop with KK only to see a king flop and find himself busted on the first hand of the Main. What a horror story.

I don’t have any expectations today except I want to play as well as possible and mainly I don’t want to rush my decisions, especially the big ones should they arise.

I will NOT be posting updates while I’m playing. I will be paying attention to what’s happening at my table. I will post stack updates on breaks and maybe a critical hand or two if I have the time or feel it’s necessary.

Check in here every few hours for an update!

Let’s do this. THE MAIN EVENT! Holy shit!

11:01 AM: Jack Effel still doing announcements.

Good news: I recognize zero players at my starting table! 🙌🏻

11:43 PM: For the third NL tournament in a row I had AA cracked in the first orbit! I had two black aces on a flop of 8h7h4h vs 6h5h! I check-called flop and turn but folded to a river in a 3-way pot. I lost 4% of my stack.

1:06 PM: First off, I love, love, LOVE my table. I don’t recognize a single player, there is a decent amount of limping, almost no 3-betting, and very little bluffing. Through the first level, it seems very soft.

I’ve logged 82 hands so far and the loosest player is sitting at 29% VPIP and the tightest is at 13%. No one seems dangerous. I hope I get to play here all day long.

I was sitting just below starting stack when this hand came up on the last hand of level 1. A 22/8 opens from early to 600 and it folds to me in the big blind, holding A6 of clubs. This is the biggest open raise I’ve seen at my table and part of me wants to fold, but I feel like I can win a huge pot if I make the best hand. I will not be looking to play a big pot with one pair.

The flop is 985 with two hearts and one spade and I decide to check-call 1000. I’m planning to bet 6s and 7s and possibly hearts.

The turn is the ten of spades and we both check.

The river is the jack of spades and this is obviously a great bluffing card for me, so I fire out 3600 and he immediately expresses displeasure and goes into the tank.

I expect him to fold hands as good as sets here, but after tanking for over two minutes he eventually calls it off with 77.

I have just above 43k heading to 150/300.

Omg the halls are straight madness during break. If you’re claustrophobic or hate crowds you might have a panic attack.

3:36 PM: I have made it to dinner break with 47k. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed with my current stack size because my table draw is such a gift.

I have 152 hands logged so far and I have been the second loosest and most aggressive player at the table. There is one loose/bad calling station at my table and everyone else has been playing pretty snug and straight forward.

I rivered the second nuts on JTxxK against the calling station after he bet flop and turn, and when he led 3000 on the river and I made it 11k I had visions of being completely incapable of folding my hand if he happened to jam on me. If he happened to barrel off with AQ here I’d be out of the tournament. I considered raise-folding but I can feel this dude is just too capable of jamming with worse. Fortunately he basically snap-called and ended up showing JT.

I was peaking over 60k after that hand.

I ended up chipping back down when I flopped top pair against aces and ended up paying off small bets all the way down.

I thought I had a great spot when the station open raised, I called with 65hh from cutoff, both blinds called, and we ended up going to flop four ways.

It was sexy: 874 with two diamonds. The station leads out for 800 and I decided to make it 2200 since a) I had two players to act behind me and b) if the station has a good hand, he’s never folding. NEVER.

Everyone folded.

Dang it. I really think if he has TT+ there I might end up stacking him (depending on runout). Pretty unfortunate.

Tormund is firing the Main. I have 5% of him, or 15% of him, depending on if Joker ever pays me for the 10% I fronted for him.

Tormund Update: 61k on dinner break

Cameras in the building.

6:29 PM: Just below starting stack after three levels. I have four more hours to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity I have at my table. I doubt I will ever have it easier the rest of the Main.

I don’t really have any notable pots to mention.

I am now the most active player at my table and by far the most aggressive. There is still some limping going on and basically no 3-betting – especially no light 3-betting.

I have been playing a lot of pots against the station at my table and I am getting way the best of it, but still haven’t picked up the big clash I’m trying to get involved in.

I am yet to hit a draw after the flop which has kept me from being able to get past the starting stack.

But hey, I’m still in there and I am definitely in a favorable spot for the rest of the night.

Four hours of play left!

If you are watching on ESPN or PokerGo (later), you might be able to catch a glimpse of me if you see any of these guys:

-I am directly behind Benjamin Pollack. I’ve seen cameras pointed at him and they are aiming right at me.

-Former Main Champ Robert Varkonyi is at the table in front of me.

-Former Main runner-up David Williams is at the table behind me.

Tormund Update: 58k

7:33 PM: The easiest chips at the table has busted.

8:50 PM: Finally was able to chip up at my easy table. I’m at 74k and have very good reads on every player and I feel like I’m exploiting appropriately. I’ve taken down the pot 100% of the time I’ve 3-bet light and I suspect I’m the only player doing that based on the 3-bet frequencies at my table.

I’ve had good timing/reads with my bluffs, but I haven’t really gotten paid off when I’ve had big hands, except that rivered straight very early in the day.

Two more hours left in Day 1!

Tormund sitting on 60k.

12:07 AM: What a rush! As I’ve mentioned I was totally in control of my table. Pretty amazing, considering how many great players are out there and I got such an easy draw.

I finished the day as the most active and aggressive player at the table. I played 31% of my hands and the next closest was 24%. One guy was at 13%, another was at 19%, and everyone else was between 22-24%.

I raised 18% of my hands, one other player raised 15%, and everyone else was in the 9%-13% range except for the two nits at 3% and 6%.

I was sitting at about 80k with two hands left in the night.

I opened to 1100 at 250/500 with JJ from UTG+1 and a 23/11 with no history of 3-betting makes it 4050 with a stack of 25k to start. Definitely not looking to get 40+ bigs in here with JJ against an uncreative player, so I call.

Flop is J32. Pretty cool because this player type with his stack size is never folding. I check and he just jams it in. I snap and hold vs his QQ.

Very next hand I open 1100 with QQ and one middle player and the super nit in the small blind call.

Flop is Q65 with two clubs. I bet 1600, first guy calls and the small blind jams for nearly 15k. Happy happy joy joy!! The other guy is deep with me so I call and try to give him some rope to do something stupid but he tank-folds (88… what?) and small blind is so tight I’m hoping he turns over a made hand… but he has the A3 of clubs and I dodge it and bust a player for the second hand in a row… on the last hand of the night.

I bagged a very sexy 137.9k and Tormund bagged 61.9k. Just got word from Chief Wiggum also and he bagged 51k.

We will all be back in action after a day off for Day 2 on Friday.

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My GIANT Bust Out Hand

July 2, 2018

Since my last blog update I played 17 minutes in the $365 NL Giant on Friday night when I played a massive pot with AA against AJ of clubs that found me all in on the river on a board of K64ccA9c and heading for the exit in stunned fashion yet again.

The pot had roughly 24k in the middle after the turn action and I had about 15k behind. I knew he had a made hand and I thought it was very unlikely that he would fold to a river jam, so I stuffed it in. Of course, I was aware that the missing ace was the ace of clubs but I’m never gonna check-fold my hand getting 2.6-1 with top set and I definitely thought it was more likely for him to call a jam than it was for him to bluff the river and despite the numerous monsters under my bed at this stage of my trip, I had zero interest in trying to show down my hand for free.

He made it 600 pre and I made it 2500 facing two opponents from out of position so even though it’s certainly not impossible for him to have smaller suited aces, I would expect him to fold anything less than AT suited and since AK of clubs is not possible he usually only has a few flushes on the river: AQcc, AJcc, ATcc, QJcc, QTcc, JTcc. I would be surprised, but not shocked, to see anything else.

Meanwhile there are six combos of KK and AK alone. Granted, he might be inclined to raise these hands (and the other sets) earlier in the pot.

Shrug. Just another stupid cooler spot where I feel like pot size and strength of hand has me totally handcuffed. Considering all the variables in retrospect, he probably shows up with a flush here more often than not, despite more non-flush combos in his range.

With that said, it’s always worth reviewing certain pots to see if you took the optimal line. I’m not sure I did here.

With two players in position that have 600 committed, I’m not sure that 2500 is a big enough raise preflop. 4x seems big – and if I was opening from the cutoff it would be – but considering the situation, I don’t think it’s big enough. With 25k starting stacks, my raise to 2500 puts both opponents right in that sweet spot of speculating for 10% of their stacks.

Let’s say I have AK here. Would I give them such an attractive price? Seems unlikely. So what’s a good sizing? 3750 would get 15% of the stacks in, but that does seem rather large. 3500 doesn’t seem so bad. That gets 14% of stacks in pre and imagine if my opponents have hands like AK or TT+ – that’s a pretty gross spot. Most players aren’t going to fold there and that’s obviously great for me.

As played, I think my flop sizing is fine. Once I get called there though, there is almost 13k in the pot and when I bet 5k I’m giving him 3.6 to 1 on a call. He needs to win ~22% of the time to make calling profitable and with his actual holding he is ~18% to make a flush. When you factor in implied odds (which he clearly had here), it’s a very easy continue for him with his flush draws.

Since I perceived his holding as strong, I like some other options better.

Option A) I can size up. With 13k in the pot and ~20k effective behind, I think a turn bet of 8k can be easily justified. Now he needs to improve to the best hand on the river ~28% of the time. The problem here is that it’s probably still profitable for him to continue here since he’s basically always getting paid off on the river since my price will be way too good to fold, which is why I like…

Option B) I can check-jam. In real time I was considering this line, but when I improved to top set, I didn’t think it was super likely for him to bet. I can’t imagine him betting his naked kings here. I knew he was strong when he called the turn so I didn’t quite have that information before I acted here.

In retrospect I really like checking here for a ton of reasons.

1) If he has a king, he’s drawing dead and he will likely pay off a smallish bet on the river after the turn checks through.

2) If he’s at the top of his range (AK, sets) he’s going to bet and I will be able to get stacks in here with him drawing nearly dead most of the time.

3) If he’s on a flush draw, he might try to take it away and I can check-jam and put myself in an amazing spot – whether he folds or calls doesn’t really matter.

4) If he decides to check-back his draws on the turn and the river comes a club, I can proceed with caution and check-call. When I check turn and river, my hand doesn’t look super strong here so he will probably size down with his flushes and I will get off relatively cheaply and remain in the tournament. I can’t imagine him going for much more than 60% pot here which I could check-call and still have 60+ bigs.

Let’s rewind to preflop and imagine if I made it 3500. That makes both players continuing decisions tougher, which we want to do. Even though I’m nutted here, I won’t always be in this particular spot so we don’t want to make their decisions easy just because I’m at the top of my range.

If I size at 3500 and the AJcc decides to continue and the other player folds, there will be almost 8k in the middle heading to the flop. Now if I bet half pot, I can reasonably get stacks in on the turn. There will be ~16k in the middle and I will have around 17k behind and jamming seems pretty damn optimal. If the third player decides to call the 3500 (a reasonable assumption) preflop it would make jamming the turn here automatic. In that case, there would be 20k+ in the middle and I’d have less than a pot-sized bet left on the turn. Perfect.

👌🏻

I don’t think I played this hand bad. I doubt anyone would argue that I should have folded at any point in time. I got insanely unlucky like I have so many times this series. That’s undebatable.

But just because I took an insane beat and can seemingly chalk it up to simple bad luck, doesn’t mean I can’t learn from the hand.

Did I take the best line possible? I don’t think so and I think I’ve illustrated why. The “mistakes” I made in this hand can be attributed to my lack of experience in no limit hold’em. I feel like I’m an above average NL player in the scope of the entire poker world, but if you narrow it down to the top 25% (and assuming I’m even that high is quite a leap), there’s no way I’m above average at NL hold’em in that smaller pool of players.

I have busted with AA in two of the last three NL tournaments I’ve played… both times in the first orbit of the tournament!!!

My takeaway from both those pots is that I need to rethink my 3-bet sizings and try to plan ahead better. In the typical month, I might play one NL tournament, on average, so it can be hard for me to get practice in deep stacked NL. I did play a ton of NL tournaments online over the past year but those events tend to play with a much quicker structure and the decision-making and planning becomes much more trivial.

I think this is an important hand to review as I head into my first MAIN EVENT ever. I’m not planning to play any poker until then as I’m going to be spending my time relaxing and studying before I hop into Day 1C on the 4th of July.

Tormund was ridiculing me for not getting some live NL warm up in at the Rio… like in the Daily Deep Stack, but my pain threshold has been really low as the summer has progressed and multiple days off in a row to recover and recoup mentally seems like a better use of my time.I will not be live blogging my Main Event progress, but I will make a blog post you can follow that will have stack updates throughout and if I feel like mentioning a hand it will only happen during breaks. The Main obviously deserves 100% of my focus.

Good luck to me! Last chance for 2018 WSOP redemption!