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Archive for March, 2009

Roll Over Demons, Your Navel’s On The Other Side…

March 31st, 2009 Sport 29 Comments »

A quick shout out to the boys at the University Cricket Club, as our 1st grade side captured the premiership in emphatic fashion this weekend. They shocked off the top team in the semi, and then dominated the final against the North Hobart Demons. After a rough year for the club it is a tremendous achievement. Well done lads!

Perhaps they were inspired by this catch…one of the most remarkable catches ever seen…

It’s A Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain

March 22nd, 2009 Poker, Travel 29 Comments »

I arrived on Day 2 without any thoughts of reaching the money, but to simply play one pot at a time. I intended to play pretty TAG but after a late-night cram session with Duck (which may or may not have been a good thing) I would attempt to open a few more pots to steal those valuable blinds.

I had a solid table with Dom Italiano, Daniel Noja, Monica Nguyen and the intimidating presence of PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson two to my right. I had no intentions of getting in Lee’s way, but at the same time I expected him to play tight and straight forward, which is a much better draw than some young Internet gun.

I hadn’t played with Monica before and didn’t see much of her win in the High Rollers event, so I didn’t know how she played, but knew she’d be confident after that result. When I stuck to my plan of opening more by raising it up with KTo, I wasn’t happy to see her call on the button. I liked it a little better when the flop came KJT. I fired out a bet of 5k and Monica put in a strange min-raise to 10k. I only had about 20k-ish more and didn’t want to see my hand ruined by a scary turn, so I moved in, putting her on something like KQ/QJ/JT. She insta-folded what she later said was eight-high! Wow! I guess she thought I was an Internet LAG and not the nit that I am. So that nice pot got my day going in the right direction.

Monica moved tables, which really took the only LAG player away from the table, allowing me to chip up beautifully without any confrontations at all. At each break I was able to increase my stack and I still hadn’t seen a showdown. I picked up aces once and was re-raised. Perhaps I should’ve flatted but I think that’s stronger than shoving, and I felt my opponent was committed to calling. He folded, I collected a nice pot, and my TAG image was still in tact.

Lee also hadn’t showed down a single hand until he squeezed with 98s and was called by KQs. Thankfully a king hit and Lee was gone. I stayed tight and then we started to inch closer to the money. I blinded down to around 10BBs and decided I wanted to move in on a guy who was tighter than me on his big blind. I looked down at 56s and put it in. Plan worked well until he called. I thought I was dead, but he showed AK which was probably bottom of his calling range. I skillfully flopped a six and doubled up. I was then berated over my play as he was crippled. To his credit he fought on and actually made it into the money.

My image was shot, but I was now in comfortable shape. I opened up a little again but got into trouble and was bluffed off two pots. One was in a battle of the blinds against, eventual winner, Daniel Botta. He limped and I checked with 8c3c. The flop was A84 with two clubs. He checked and I fired the flop expecting to take it down. He called. The turn was a brick and I guess I should’ve fired again, but I wanted to keep the pot small as we were nearing the money. The river bricked a ten, and Botta fired an overbet of 45k which represented half my stack. I guess logically it doesn’t make sense for him to play an ace this way, but I couldn’t call with a bad eight. I made the mistake of flashing my cards and folded. He then flashed 47o for complete air. I constructively criticized his play and removed my hat to let out some steam.

The mistake of flashing my cards (something I normally never do) came back to haunt me a few moments later. In a three-way limped pot I was in the SB with KQ, and took a stab at a ten-high flop. The BB was the lone caller at which point I was done with the hand. We checked the turn and he fired on the river. I folded and he showed me KJ. I’d been owned again. He was old guy who was stupidly calling with just overcards on the flop, but I’d shown weakness and let him blow me like a feather off the pot.

Thankfully it was then dinner, and we were only four players from the money. After then break I folded AQ and AT to raises like a weak-tight nancy-boy until we squeeked into the money. There was one interesting bubble story from my table. With two players left until the money one player hadn’t returned from dinner and only had 15,000 in chips left. The big blind was one hand away and the BB and SB would be enough to eat up his stack. Incredibly he made it back from dinner in time for his BB. He had no choice but to gamble with JT, but found that he’d run into pocket aces. Somehow he managed to spike a straight and win the hand, double up, and limp into the money. Amazing.

I was extremely relieved to make it into the money, although the $1,000 win still had me in the red thanks to the repechage. I wanted profit dammit!  I was focussed on trying to make the result count. As others gambled I waited for my spot. I finally found it with AQ vs A6 to get back to 120k. A few minutes later I won a race with 77 vs AK when I hit a set. I then 3-bet with AK to win a nice pot and suddenly I looked down at 350k. As Oatsy commented it was the first time for the ENTIRE tournament that I was at average chips since the first hand of the event.  So sick.

That didn’t last long as I lost a 40/60 with a short stack to take a dent to my stack. I held my spot with a few steals as the field was narrowing. Jarred Graham was moved to my table with a big stack and I was excited to see this young gun play up close. He opened a lot of pots and went on a sick run of power poker. He three or four bet in like 4 consecutive pots and took them down everytime. No idea what he had, but he definitely had balls. He was looking to play a massive pot and found a spot with a pair and flush draw against Botta’s top pair. This was the key hand of the tournament. With one million chips in the middle Botta’s pair held and he would go on to win the tournament, as Graham was crippled and eliminated soon after.

I had one eye on the pay jumps and was thrilled to see us down to our last three tables. Warney was moved to my table but didn’t get a chance to spin one past the cricketing legend as I was looking to gamble with my short stack. The blinds had got a bit silly by this stage with several levels removed that might normally be there in a tournament of this structure. I found myself with about 5 BBs when the biggest fish on the table opened with an all-in raise. A retarded overbet of about 600k. He did this the hand before and showed T6. I looked down at the Ac in the SB and decided that was enough to call and look for a double up. He showed JhTh and I squeezed to find the 8c behind my ace. I was in front and when the flop landed Kc6d7h I was well in front and looking good for a double up. The turn then brought a horrendous 9h. Quite simply, the worst card in the deck. It gave him straight and flush outs to go with his pair outs. I was sick and felt the pain coming as the Ah landed on the river to complete his flush. I was out in 25th place for $3,000.

I was satisfied with my result. I got my money in good and that’s all you can do. I was short for the whole tournament, but played my game. I was able to chip up regularly without showdown and was prepared to gamble when I had to. The monkey is finally off my back. I ended up about square for the JHDSS, but now have a Hendon Mob record to show for my efforts.  Thank God!

A Second Chance

March 21st, 2009 Poker, Travel No Comments »

So I regrettably stood in line to repechage back into the Main Event.  I hated the thought of wasting more money on being a tournament donk, but the maths dictate that rebuying is a must.  $550 set on fire, and I was back on the felt, for potentially the last ever time.

My table draw was ok.  I had Andrew Scott on my table (again!) but he was two to my right where he couldn’t give me too much grief.  There was a young kid to his right, who at the first break I found out was Brendan Rubie – a talented young player who won the opening event at the APPT last year.  He was certainly in control of the table early.  I decided to make a stand and 3-bet him in position with a suited connector only to have him check-raise me on the flop.  Ok, back to plan B, avoidance.  I was down under 10k within the first two levels and LOL’ing tournament poker.

From there I just played my TAG game and worked my short stack.  I shoved with AJ on an ace-high flop and got an opponent to fold the same hand.  There was a huge donkey at the end of the table collecting all the chips and I was praying for a hand to double through him but it wasn’t to be.  Not much changed until the last few levels of the day.  Andrew “Adgee” Jeffreys got moved to my table and the dynamics changed immediately.  He shoved over the top massively with AJ and was called by AK and 66.  The 66 spiked a set for a 100k pot.  Andrew then shoved several more times, as he had no intentions of going through to Day 2 with anything less than 50k.

I was on about 14k when I found pocket jacks.  I raised, Andrew shoved, I wished him luck and called.  He had A5 and the board bricked to double me up.  Andrew busted soon after and we got down to the last hand of the day where I picked up pocket queens.  Ricky Gov opened and I shoved, trying to get another desperate gambling call.  If I had Ricky covered I think he would’ve gambled, but he would have 4k left if he lost so he folded AQ.  Not to worry, I was happy enough to bag up 32,500 chips – the highest point for my chip stack all day.  I was through to Day 2, with a below average stack, but enough to get some room to breathe on Day 2.

Main Event Day 1a

March 19th, 2009 Poker, Travel No Comments »

So I was 0/6 heading into the Main Event.  I didn’t particularly want to play but I’d prepaid my ticket.  The pain induced by poker was clearly outweighed by my laziness to seek a refund.

My Day 1 table was pretty soft except for Dean Nyberg who I knew would give me some grief two to my left.  I nearly four-bet him light with my 98s when he squeezed, but there was a short-stack in the middle, so I decided I’d give him benefit of the doubt for a real hand.  He showed K2o.  Hmmm.  As he amassed chips, I kept my distance and chipped up pretty solidly without any real confrontations.  I got up to about 35,000 from my start stack of 20,000 when I finally picked up a real hand.  I had AcAd in the small blind and popped it up when two players limped.  One of them called.  The flop was king-high with two baby spades.  I fired a standard c-bet and was called.  The turn was another spade.

This is where things got tricky.  The right play is to probably bet and fold to a raise.  After all, I don’t want to give a free card.  So of course I check, with the intention to call.  He then overbet the pot by several thousand, which would commit roughly half my stack.  A very weird bet.  At the time I was totally confused and went into the tank for what felt like an eternity.  I’ve never had the clock called on me before but they were well and truly justified in doing so.  Worst case, I was drawing dead to a flush, or to potentially two-outs against a set.  At best I was up against a king with no spade, but more likely was flipping with a pair and flush draw combo.  There wasn’t much that I beat, so in hindsight it was an easy fold.  At the time, it took me a while to find it but eventually I tossed those beautiful cards into the muck.  The decision played on my mind, but two days later I bumped into the guy and he said he had a baby flush.  NF me.

As we entered the last few levels of play my stack drifted back towards the starting stack.  Since it was a repechage event, the correct strategy was to gamble and try and get a semi-decent stack, as I had the option to rebuy back into the tournament if I busted.  I’m not balla enough to think that rebuying for $550 is a small thing, but if I’m going to play an event, I intend to play it properly, and in this situation gambling to get a big stack or use the repechage is the correct play.

I saw a few raised flops with suited connectors but missed every time, and eventually got my chips into the middle in the final ten minutes of the day in a limped pot with A8 on an ace-high flop.  When my flop bet was called I felt like I was beat, but I didn’t want to be left with 10k in chips so I stuck it in and found myself drawing dead to my opponent’s set.

I was happy with how I played and how I was able to chip up throughout the day with little confrontation.  The aces hand was hugely disappointing but I need to be more positive about making a great laydown than letting it affect my play.  I could’ve easily survived the day with 20k-ish if it wasn’t a repechage and only busted because of the second chance concept.  Hopefully things would turn around on Day 1c.

Tournament Pain

March 16th, 2009 Poker, Travel 14 Comments »

It’s been a busy few weeks as the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series consumed a lot of my time, while another related project took up the rest of it.  We wrote daily reports and covered several events live for PokerNetwork, while I manage to also play a few events myself.

I thought it was going to be another disappointing series as I looked to try and secure my first cash result in a live major.  I was deep in the opening event before having pocket kings cracked by ace-queen within sight of the money.  I also played solid in the limit event, despite being short the whole way before losing QJ vs QT all in pre, within one table of the money.  I busted early in my next NLHE event, before tackling the PokerPro event.  It was the first event where I amassed some chips and was confortable the whole way through.  Unfortunately I suffered from some techincal problems that the machines were having which caused me to lose my blinds at a crucial stage of the tournament.  Down to the last 11 players and playing five-handed I ran my AT into AK in a blind battle, was crippled and eliminated soon after, just three spots from the cash.

I played another NLHE event and busted early before going deep in the 6-Max.  This tournament, despite being the largest buy-in for me for the series, was the most enjoyable and comfortable to play.  I was able to accumulate chips early and was in control of my table which had a couple of solid pros on it.  I just have a better feel for where I’m at during a hand when playing six-handed that the full ring boredom.  Unfortunately I made one costly mistake in this event.  I was drawn into a pot from the small blind in a limped pot with Q9 and saw a KQ3 flop.  An early position limper fired a small bet which I decided to call with my middle pair.  I then turned a 9 to make two pair.  I guess I overplayed by hand by check-raising my opponent all-in, however my main mistake was that I misread the size of his stack.  I thought he had three grey $1,000 denomination chips behind, but the one at the bottom was actually a yellow $5,000 chip.  The greys and yellows are very hard to distinguish across the table.  Of course I should’ve asked for a count.  Anyway my opponent called with KQ and I took a big dent.  I tried to fight back, but Sam Youssef got moved to the table and proceeded to open every pot like a madman.  I finally made a stand with A8 but ran into AJ and was eliminated in around 40th place.

0/6 in the JHDSS, with only the Main Event to come…was it even worth the bother?