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Archive for January, 2009

I’m Out

January 30th, 2009 Poker, Travel No Comments »

Well that was short, and not particularly sweet. I’ve busted out of the APT Manila Main Event within 40 minutes – my quickest ever live tournament bustout. Pay those who took the unders at busting by the dinner break.

It all started pretty well. I was chipping up on a table full of unknown crazy asians. A couple of young Japanese players would probably give me the most trouble. My first significant hand I picked up AK and raised to 150 and found one caller. The flop was Q-J-T giving me the nuts. I fired 200 and my fishie was on the hook as he called. Turn king. Shit. There goes my double up. I bet 500 and he raised to 1,500. I assumed we both held an ace, but I just flatted and hoped for a brick river in case he had a set. It bricked and I checked. He fired 2,000 and I check-raised to 6,000. He called and I guess justice was served as he revealed AK also.

A few hands later I pick up QQ and re-raise to 400 after the guy to my right opened to 150. Surprisingly he folded preflop.

Then after a biggish raise to 250 from an older Asian guy in early position and a call from the guy to my right, I looked down at AdAh on the button. I re-pop it to 875 and both opponents called. The flop was KhJd4d. Not a great flop as both opponents checked to me. Perhaps I should check behind here to keep some pot control since I had the Ad in case another diamond fell. But instead I bet half-pot of 1,500. The older Asian guy then check-raised me to 3,500. The third guy folded and I had a decision to make. Folding here seemed weak, as I can’t put him on kings, so I really only fear jacks or fours. I would think he might flat call a set and try to trap me. It’s just as likely he could have ace-king or king-jack. Since I had the backdoor diamonds I decided to call and see what happened on the turn.

The turn was the 4c. Not a diamond but I felt it was a good card for me. I now beat KJ, and its now unlikely he had pocket fours. He then moved all in for about 5,500. I had 6,000. I went into the tank and was pretty sick at the decision. I really feared pocket jacks, but I felt he could just as easily have AK or KJ. There was also an outside chance he was getting overly funky with AJ or a flush draw. After seeing some pretty crazy play since I’ve been here, I decided to just lean towards a call. He turned over black jacks. The river bricked and I was crippled.

A few minutes later I got my last chips in with QQ against KJ and a king fell on the flop to bring my tournament to an end within the first level. Pretty sick. While there is merit to the thought that I could’ve or perhaps should’ve got away from my aces, I think it was pretty close decision. Perhaps at the Aussie Millions or APPT I could’ve got away from it when we have 20k in chips, but at APT it’s only 10k, so I’m afraid I just wasn’t good enough to make that fold yet. I think my mistake was betting the flop, rather than calling his shove.

So now I’m off to drown my sorrows and rue my luck at another lost opportunity.

Early Profits In Manila

January 28th, 2009 Poker, Travel No Comments »

So I’ve arrived in Manila once again. While I enjoyed my trip last time, I didn’t think I’d ever bother coming back here, but then I managed to luckbox a package to the APT Main Event on 888 Poker, so I find myself at the Dusit Thani hotel for another shot at a major tournament result. We’re in Makati which appears to be a newer, business area of the city rather than the slums we were in last time. I can go outside here and not feel nervous, and we’re nearby to westernized shopping centres and restaurants which were harder to find last time.

I decided while I’m in Manila I’m going to play a fair bit for practice and also because I don’t normally get much of a chance. Tonight was a Bounty event (13,000 pesos buy-in, US$270) where if you knocked out someone you got $50, but on every table there was also a bounty worth US$500 which was normally a well known player or APT person. There were 103 starters. At my table on got “Tommy” Le who is an APT pro and one of the “Poker Pack”. In the first level or so I picked up pocket tens in the small blind and called his raise with two others. Flop 7-2-T rainbow. It checked around to Le who bet 600, I flat called as did one other guy. Turn was a J. I checked again and it checked around. River…another ten! I’d hit quads. So I lead smallish for 850 hoping to get paid off. One guy folds before Le moved all in! Snap-call and bang he’s out and I’ve scooped a US$500 bounty as well as a cute little APT donkey soft-toy! So now I’m already in profit and have doubled my chips so I obviously enjoyed the rest of the tournament.

Next hand I picked up pocket aces and re-raised a guy who folded. Then a few orbits later I pick up aces again and re-raise a guy, who calls. Flop 8-6-2 with two hearts. He donks out for 1,000. I had no idea what he had, but I had aces so I moved all in. He quickly called and I figured he had something like pocket tens. He showed KQ offsuit for no pair, no draw. Just king high! “I thought you were bluffing” he said. OMG. Thankyou sir. I bust him and scoop another $50 and have over 14,000 chips.

Soon after I raised with A4 and flopped two pair and got paid off by a young Scandi kid who made a move with middle pair. I’m thinking I hope I don’t use up ALL my luck today. Then I raised with A6 and same Scandi called. The flop was A-K-2 rainbow, and I thought I’d mix it up and see if he gets overly aggro again so I checked, he checked behind. The turn was an 8. I bet 600 and he called. River was a 9 and put three diamonds on board. I checked and he bet 500. A very small bet. I probably should’ve stopped and realised I didn’t beat much, but since he was Scandi, had already shown me he as aggro and it was so cheap, I quickly called. He turned over pocket eights. Urgh, I let him have a free card and he hit a two-outer. Damn.

Not much happened then for a little while until at 100/200 a guy went all in under the gun for 475 without looking at his cards. With a $50 bounty on the line, and since I had plenty of gambling chips I decided to raise to 1,200 and hope to isolate against him and gamble. My cards…64 offsuit. The all-in guy then starts telling the table how I was doing exactly what I was doing – trying to steal his bounty. Thanks buddy. The table folds to the big blind who calls my raise. Flop Q-6-4. Bingo. Big blind checks and I bet 1,300. He then tanks for ages, and another guy calls the clock. He then raised to 3,175. I’d made a move and got lucky, so I wanted to protect my hand and get that bounty so I shoved and he folded (what he later said was pocket deuces). The all-in player then turns over A3 and is in trouble. Turn 2, the other guy would’ve hit a set if I hadn’t have pushed, and suddenly the short-stack has life with a gutshot draw. River 5. The bastard makes his straight to stay alive and $50 slips through my fingers with a runner-runner. Urgh. Next hand I have him all in again with A5s against his pocket fours and he spiked a set. So I had two good chances to bust him and missed.

After than things got slow until the 200/400 level. I had AJ on the button and raised, with the Scandi in the big blind who had just under 5,000. I knew he was capable of re-stealing light so I snap-called when he moved in. He showed AQ. Damn. The board bricked and I’m back down under 8,000.

The levels were every 20 minutes and the dealers pretty incompetent. Incredibly I went the whole 200/400 level without being in the big blind.

Again things got slow, I had a couple of failed steals after people shoved, and twice I re-shoved on others (with 55 and 88) and they folded. Then at 300/600 I picked up aces (for the third time! omg) and raised small to 1,300 from the cutoff and the big blind shoved with AJs. Two diamonds on the flop gave him a flush draw, but he missed and I picked up another $50 bounty and am back to about 15,000.

My next raise was again from the cutoff to 1,800 with the blinds at 400/800 with QJs. The short-stack to my left shoves for 4,400 and I’m ready to gamble, but then the big blind flat calls. He had another 10,000 behind so his flat call was pretty suss. With so much in the pot I had to call and hope to hit a flop. It was A-J-3. I got a piece of it but the big blind huffed and puffed and sighed and sobbed before moving all in. I insta-folded and he had AQ. The short stack had 44. Turn and river bricked. If the big blind didn’t get involved I would’ve busted another shorty.

Again I struggled to find spots or cards and we move to the final two tables. The table had Chris Parker, CEO of the APT on the table with a $500 bounty on his head. He was also just shorter than me with about 8,000 chips. I played about four hands, and decided I was going to target Parker’s stack/blind if it got around to me. Even if I take a chance at his $500 bounty, that bounty alone was worth more than finishing the tournament in 8th place anyway and I was getting short with the blinds up to 600/1200 with 200 ante. The hand before Chris was in the big blind, he limped under the gun. A guy flat called and I looked down at A7. I figured the caller was weak, and that Chris is likely to have a small pair or a monster. I decided to go with it and re-raised, hoping Chris would call with a small pair and we’d race for US$500 and the other guy would get out of the way. What I didn’t consider was the guy to my left going all in over the top of us all. Shit. Chris also called to attempt to triple up with AT. The raiser had AJ and I was in trouble. A jack on the flop and it was all over.

The crapshoot made it tough. You just had to gamble and although A7 wasn’t a great hand, I think it was a good spot and if I’d busted Chris I would’ve pocketed in total more than about 5th place was worth. As it was I was out in 18th, with the top 10 paying, but I made more than 8th place paid anyway so not a bad start to my Manila trip.

I also got a spot on the APT update video with the lovely Riza Santos. Keep an eye out for the flying donkey toy being caught at the 30 seconds mark…

From The Den: My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2008 – Part 2

January 20th, 2009 General No Comments »

Well here it is, my top five most memorable moments of 2008. You can read this article at PokerNetwork:

From The Den: My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2008 – Part 2

Aussie Millions Main Event

January 19th, 2009 Poker No Comments »

Being fortunate to get a chance to play in the Aussie Millions Main Event last year was a dream come true. Getting the opportunity to play again this year was unbelieveable. I wondered if I’d ever get another shot, so I was truly appreciative of my PokerNews co-workers covering for me to allow me to play.

I learnt a lot from playing last year, as well as the experience I’ve gained travelling around watching world class players up close, so I had high expectations of giving myself every opportunity of going deep this year. I’m afraid it just wasn’t meant to be.

There aren’t a lot of hands to write about as most of them were pretty straight forward, they just didn’t go my way. I never got my stack above 20,000 after running into a full house on the second hand of the day, and things just went south from there. The key hand came during the 100/200 level where an online LAG raised to 600. It folded around to me in the small blind and I raised to 1,800 with black kings. He called and we saw a 9-9-6 flop with two diamonds. I led out for 3,000 and he shoved for just under 10,000. I called and he flipped Ad4d for nut flush draw. The jack of diamonds hit the turn and it was over. If my hand holds up there I have 30k+ and the toughest player on the table gone. The rest of the table were pretty lightweight, so it was a pretty devastating blow.

I was down to about 8,000 and tried to chip away, but always took one step forward and two steps back. I picked up pocket tens, pocket jacks and then pocket tens, in three consecutive hands. I spiked a set with the tens but got no action. Then with the jacks, my opponent calls with a bare ace flush draw and makes a running flush and of course I pay him off with my third nuts jack high flush.

The blinds snuck up and I got into push or fold territory. Everytime I pushed I had a pair or AK but never got called. Our table broke and I got moved to Eric Seidel’s table. First hand an early position player raised and I shoved with pocket tens. He called with AQ and spiked a queen on the turn. One hand with Seidel, and my Aussie Millions is over.

It was obviously disappointing but I don’t see what else I could’ve done today. It just wasn’t my day as the cards didn’t fall my way. Last year I won a key race, this year I lost it. Some people said it’s all experience. Well last year was meant to be experience, this year was meant to be cash! Oh well, I guess the cash will have to be Manila now!

From The Den: My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2008 – Part 1

January 2nd, 2009 Poker, Travel, WSOP 15 Comments »

Working as a tournament reporter and blogger for PokerNews has enabled me to travel to many amazing countries during the past twelve months, and at the same time I’ve been fortunate enough to witness up close some of the world’s best Texas Holdem poker players and personalities. Upon reflection of the year that was, I thought about my most memorable moments from 2008 and decided to compile my Top Ten. Some of these moments you may have heard about, some you may have not. I’m sure everyone has their own moments, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind, whether good or bad, right or wrong, as the most memorable, from my vantage point, merely three feet away from the poker table.

You can read the first part of this article at PokerNetwork:

From The Den: My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2008 – Part 1