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Archive for the ‘WSOP’ Category

Tell Me Why, I Don’t Like Mondays…

November 10th, 2008 Poker, WSOP No Comments »

This morning I woke up at 7am to play in the 100k Guaranteed tournament at 888 Poker. This is a great tournament for a number of reasons and worth the pain of getting up early! Firstly it is a ridiculously soft field and there is always an overlay. Today there were 347 starters, with a buy in of $216, that’s well short of the guarantee. It’s a deepstacked event, with 10k start bank so there’s plenty of room to play, but the best reason is the promo we’re running at PokerNetwork. The highest finisher of the PNW forum members gets free entry into the following week’s event! Also if you play this event you get free entry into the 10k freeroll the following week which starts two hours prior. So there are heaps of reasons to get up early for this one!

This morning however I would’ve been better off staying in bed. I had hardly played a hand for the first hour and a half before this hand came up. The player UTG raised and I called in EP with pocket sixes. Two other players called and we saw a K44 flop. Nothing special there, and the action checked around. The turn was gin for me as a 6 peeled off. It was checked to be and I fired out about a one-third pot bet. One guy called, before the UTG check-raised me. We got it all in and I found I was up against pocket kings. Pretty brutal. I finally hit a two outer, and it sends me near-broke.

Down to about 2,000 in chips, I got them in holding A8 on a flop of A83 and looked set to double up through an opponent holding AQ. But wouldn’t you know it, another queen hit on the river, and the one-two blow had well and truly knocked me out of this one.

Today was also the highly anticipated final table of the 2008 World Series of Poker. Change and F-Train did a great job of blogging this one, and it seemed to be a table which although slow in parts, produced plenty of action and excitement which should make great viewing. After couple of really sick beats, some badly mis-timed bluffs and some big pots, it was Ivan Demidov and Peter Eastgate who were left standing. With the exception of Chino Rheem, I think these two were the best players at the table and it should be a high quality heads-up match. Demidov has the lead and will be hard to beat, while Eastgate is gunning for youngest WSOP Main Event Champion ever. Both are worthy world champions. Demidov FTW.

My bags are packed as I’m off to Manila tomorrow for the APPT Manila event which starts on Thursday, once again covering the event live for PokerNews. I expect a decent but smallish field for this one, as I suspect many of the usual Australian attendees might be skipping this one to concentrate on the local Perth Championships, followed by the APPT Grand Final which starts in Sydney a week later. It’s going to be a busy few weeks!

The Final Days

July 16th, 2008 Poker, Travel, WSOP No Comments »

I worked right up until the dinner break of the final day which was an honour and a thrill to be part of the WSOP right up until its final moments. The final day was a little anti-climactic, especially after Tiffany Michelle busted out in 17th place. We were all sad to see Tiffany fall short of a final table berth, but obviously the big dogs were relieved that the stresses of the whole saga were finally over. PN released a press statement to get their feelings out in the open, to the raised eyebrows of many, so I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve heard of this situation.That night, Tim and I headed over to South Point to donk around in a low limit cash game. It was good fun as we were playing 80% of pots and splashing around. I raised every time I was on the button, much to the amusement of Tim who was always two seats to my left in the big blind. Tim fluked a $100 bonus when he hit a one-outer to make a straight-flush to put him back in the black, while I was pretty much square. Then a hand came up where I held 78o on the button and after some overly aggressive betting I found myself with the nut straight on the turn. The action was frantic as a third spade fell on the river. Tim donked out into me and I exclaimed “If you’ve got the flush I’m leaving!” and made a crying call. Tim showed a junky suited connector for the running flush against my nuts on the turn. Joke. Luckbox. Things then got pretty ugly as I couldn’t connect with any flops to cash in on my crazy, aggro image. One guy at the end of the table kept hitting all of his draws, and on one occasion made a running straight on the river, bet out into me and turned over his cards before I’d even acted. I’d flopped two pair and been run down. Standard. At least his stupidity saved me another crying call.Finally it was 4am and we were ready to call it a night. I said to Tim “I’m going to get aces this time” and I look down at two black kings from under-the-gun. I raised, Tim re-raises, I 4-bet and he calls. The flop is K-Q-T. I have top set, and the action is capped once again. “You don’t really have A-J do you?” I say and I feel sick when a jack hits the turn. I check and Tim quickly checks behind. A brick hits the river and again we both check. I flip over top set expecting to be good, and Tim shows a horrendous J-9. The guy caps it preflop and flops the second nut straight. Unbelievable! I grab my chips and walk out the door in disgust. Live poker is so rigged.That night I pick up some sort of bug as I’m feeling pretty average the next day. We head over to Garry’s where all of the PokerNews guys are hanging out for the day, with two tables of poker going as well as some action on the Nintendo Wii. Plenty of beers, laughs and fun were had by all. I played in the HORSE game and was in front early but then ran like a retard once again. I had to fold sets three times in Omaha. I flopped a full house with 33XX on a 3TT and Anthony check-raises me twice with T3XX. Eventually when I found myself re-re-straddling, I realised I needed a break.Later that night we went to karaoke. Highlights were Aussie boys doing “Land Down Under”, Leon’s “Hey Mickey”, Melissa’s “It’s Raining Men” and Zeke’s “Safety Dance”. Garry and Shane win the boy band award for their “Bye Bye Bye”. By this stage my fever had set in and I was struggling to get through the evening, and not just because of the bad singing. Once I got home I found myself shaking cold in bed, which was a little bizarre in the Vegas heat.The next day I drugged myself up and went for a quick trip up to the strip to do some shopping with Tom and Craig. We said hi/bye to Amanda and I got to see ten minutes of my first ever live WPT event at the Bellagio. Tom then picked up a new Mac laptop before we headed back home. We were going to catch up with the others at a poolside BBQ, but I started to crash again. I wanted to say goodbye to everyone, but I also wanted to try and get myself better for the 20+ hour flight back home the next morning. In the end I just wasn’t up to going out and rested up. My final night in Vegas was an early one!It was a memorable 7 weeks or so, full of hard work and long hours, but plenty of fun, excitement and laughs in between. The PokerNews guys are a fantastic group of people which made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. I’m sure we’ll catch up again on the circuit….somewhere!

Finally Some Controversy

July 13th, 2008 Poker, WSOP No Comments »

Phil Hellmuth Blows Up

We’re nearing the end of the Main Event and things are getting exciting with Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth and PokerNews’ own Tiffany Michelle still in contention as we head into Day 6. If any of those three can make it until the end then it will be huge.

After the Main Event has been a little dull so far, finally some controversy has emerged. Firstly Tiffany Michelle is wearing Ultimate Bet logos, much to the disgust of the hierachy at PokerNews. Expect more to emerge from this story once she is eliminated and the PN bigwigs can move in for the kill.

The other controversy was something I was fortunate enough to witness first hand, blogging the feature table on Day 5. Phil Hellmuth was moved to the direct left of Mike Matusow for the final two hours of play as I sharpened my virtual pencil for plenty of fireworks between these two. Generally things were pretty quiet until the final hand of the day. Here how I saw it go down in the live reporting blog on

Sat Jul 12 2008, 23:39 PST | Posted by TassieDevil

Hellmuth Ends the Day With a Blow-up

Cristian Dragomir opened with a raise to 80,000 before Hellmuth made it 255,000 to go from the small blind.

“I hope he doesn’t have aces,” said Hellmuth as Dragomir asked for a count. After a few moments, Dragomir made the call.

They saw a flop of and Hellmuth checked to Dragomir, who thought for a moment before firing a healthy bet of 300,000. Hellmuth sighed in disgust before folding face-up on the table.

Matusow laughed and said to Dragomir to show the bluff, and Dragomir flipped ! Matusow and the crowd roared in hysterics as Hellmuth jumped out of his seat and stormed around the room berating his opponent for calling his reraise with ten high.

“Listen buddy, you’re an idiot!” screamed Hellmuth. “This is the Main Event and you are the worst player in history!” he continued as the crowd was loving every moment of the blow-up.

Dragomir’s entourage continued to cheer as Hellmuth continued the barrage. The TD stepped in and issued a warning to Hellmuth to settle down before Dragomir stood up out of his chair to put Hellmuth back in his place with a cry of, “Enough is enough!”

Fortunately for both players the clock ticked over to the end of the level, and the end of the day’s play to settle both players down. They eventually shook hands and began to bag up their chips as Mike Matusow summed up the situation best as he shouted, “Thank God for Phil Hellmuth! Thank God for Chris Moneymaker!”

What a way to end the day!

Further to this Hellmuth was awarded a one-orbit penalty which he will serve at the start of the day tomorrow! They say you always remember your first Hellmuth blow-up, and it was definitely a thrill. A highlight of an otherwise dull Main Event. Let’s hope he can go deep.

PokerStars Party

July 8th, 2008 Entertainment, Travel, WSOP 35 Comments »

So after the freeroll we headed down the road to the Palms for the PokerStars official WSOP party at Rain nightclub. After collecting our VIP Access “grey” wristbands and oddly being asked for ID, we fought through the crowd to the nearest bar. The place was packed and the bar was my favourite kind…open.

I grabbed a Carona and turned to find a rather flexible girl in a hoop suspended ten metres in the air above the dance floor. The hoop was all she needed to bend in an unimaginable variety of positions to get the evening off to a good start.

PokerStars Party Ring Girl

Apparently our VIP access gave us access to a more private bar, which was nice, but when some of the guys found an area we weren’t meant to have access to, (where PokerStars pros Joe Hachem, Emad Tahtouh and Grant Levy were hanging out) it suddenly seemed important for us to be in there. I’ve learnt in Vegas that if you are doing something you shouldn’t, you just act like you are doing nothing wrong, play it cool and no one cares. We walked into the “black wristband” area and hung out there for a while until security got sick of us ignoring their requests for wristband checks and asking us to move. I heard one of the guys slipped the meathead a $20 to stay. Personally, I was happy enough to be $20 richer in the “grey” area, so I wandered downstairs towards the stage and bumped into Tom (who had been working late and just arrived) and just in time to catch a eyeful of the delightful Dita Von Teese.

The Queen of Burlesque first emerged like a pearl from an oyster and followed that up with a performance as the bubbles of a champagne glass!

Dita Von TeeseDita Von TeeseDita Von TeeseDita Von TeeseDita Von Teese

There were other performances from girls hanging from various objects, with girls dancing all night aound the massive multi-tiered complex. After drinking too much and laughing at stupidity of others (Isabelle Mercier/Dario Minieri/Steve/Schepis/Slippers/etc) we headed home in the wee hours to grab some sleep before we had to wake up with sore heads for the first day of the big one…the Main Event!

Here are some more pics from the party:

PokerStars PartyPokerStars PartyPokerStars PartyPokerStars Party

They’re Just Jacks

June 23rd, 2008 Poker, WSOP No Comments »

A field of 727 took to the felt in the the $1,500 Mixed Holdem event and yours tuly was in amongst them drawing Orange table #10 seat 2. Not a bad seat as I didn’t recognize any players until about 20 minutes into the event when Barry Greenstein sat down in the empty seat 5. Uh oh. This of course attracted the fans on the rail who were right behind me, which forced me to get down low and squeeze my cards to keep the railbirds from laughing at my donkish plays.

Barry spashed around like a maniac looking to double up or bust, and I tried to stay out of his way, only playing one hand against him. It was a NL round with the blinds at 25/25. I raised with AsKs to 100 and he called in the big blind. The flop was A-T-5 rainbow. He checked, I bet 150 and he check raised me to about 350. I have no idea how wide his range is there. He only had about 800 or so behind, so if he’s making a move then he’s not putting in another chip, and with 800 behind I don’t think he’s folding any ace, so with one eye on a signed copy of his book, I pushed all in. He folded so quick I didn’t even see his cards hit the muck as the pot was slid in my direction. He busted out a few hands later with AT vs AQ as the Asian kid in seat 8 scored the book.

This same Asian kid sucked out on me in an early limit round. I’d raised with AK and he called in the big blind. The flop was K-5-2 rainbow. He check-raised me on the flop, and I should’ve 3-bet there I guess, but I didn’t want to go nuts and lose my stack. So I just called his raise, called his bet with a ten on the turn and again on the river when a jack fell. He shows KJ. Nice river buddy.

So I am down to 1,400 after about an hour or so, and am thinking that I can split a cab with Tom at 7pm when I bust out of this thing. I run it back up to 2,500 before the first break, which I am content with.

We get back after the break and I put my new Bose headphones on and crank the music up. I get motoring during the limit round when I find two black queens in the cutoff. The hijack raised and I 3-bet. It folded around and he capped it. I called. We took a flop of J-J-2, he bets, I raise and he 3-bets. I’m concerned that he now has aces or kings (I don’t think he caps preflop with a jack) but he only has a few more bets behind so I’m happy to get it in. I cap it, and he cringed and calls. A red queen falls on the turn and he tosses his last chips into the middle. I say “If you got aces or kings you’re in trouble” as I call. He flips over A-K and is drawing dead. I’m up to about 4,400 and back in business.

A little later we’re back to no-limit with 50/100 blinds and the weakest player at the table limps, before the same Asian kid raised to 300 from the cutoff. I’m in the big blind with 5d6d and decide to speculate. The other guy calls and we see a flop of Jd9d4d. Bingo Bango Bongo! I’ve flopped the flush! I check (maybe I should donk-bet out there), weak guy checks and Asian kid fires 800. I want to protect my hand from another diamond and since the Asian kid is so aggressive I play it fast and raise to 2,000. The weak guy folds and the Asian kid moves all in. I insta-call and he cringed as he flips AdAh. I dodge another diamond and double up to about 9,000.

A few hands later with the blinds still at 50/100 I raise to 300 with AsQc from the cutoff and get flat called by a good solid player on the button. The flop comes Q-J-8 and I fired out a continuation bet of 475. He raises to about 1,200 and I push all in. He has about 4,000 behind and calls. I’m in trouble as he shows pocket kings but an ace peels off on the turn and I bust another guy. I later found out he was Ben Fineman but I had no idea at the time. I’m now up to over 13,000 and amongst the chip leaders.

I then limp in limit with pocket deuces and spike a set against the same Asian kid. I call his bet on the flop and he check-raises me on the turn, I 3-bet and he calls. He folds to my bet on the river, clearly on a flush draw.

Back on NL and the guy to my right raised to 700. He’d done this a hand earlier and I folded A-J, but this time I had pocket tens and re-raised to 2,000 to isolate and put him all in. He called with QcJc. A queen-high flop wasn’t ideal but the turn was a good one for me again as a third ten peeled off and I bust another. Next hand I get two red aces, raise and take it down with a continuation bet. Suddenly I’m at 19,000 and have more chips in front of me than I’ve ever had with about eight stacks of green $25 chips.

Then my tournament defining moment arrived. A German pro by the name of Jan von Halle had been at the table for a little while and spashing around like crazy. He’d just finished 4th at an earlier event and was full of confidence as he also looked to gamble it up or bust. I saw him wins pots at showdown with 23o, 2h4h and 63o. He was playing most pots and had built his stack up to about 10,000. In this hand he limped in from middle position and it folded to me in the big blind. I checked with Th4h. The flop came TcTd9c. I checked, he bet 325, I raised to 775 and he instantly re-raised again to 2,000. I was sick. I’d just built my stack up to this fantastic position and I didn’t want to lose it all with a hand I didn’t even want to play. I didn’t put him on a straight or flush draw, even though they were on board, as I don’t really think he would play it like that on a paired board after a tight player check-raises him. Maybe I’m wrong though. He could’ve had JJ-AA but the limp preflop makes those hands a little decpetive. I really felt like he could easily have T7, T8, T9, JT, QT, AT or 99, which all crush me with JJ-AA making up a small percentage of his range. I just hated this spot. In hindsight my check-raise didn’t achieve anything, as I get worse hands to fold and inflate the pot out-of-position against a tricky pro. If I check-raise I have to go with my hand, or perhaps a check-call and/or raise turn is a better line. I just didn’t think it though when I raised. I sat there in disbelief for what felt like ten minutes and in the end I decided I didn’t need to throw my chips away at this time and could wait for a better spot.

At the time I felt like it was the right fold. Until a few hands later where the same thing happened. Von Halle limped and it was folded to me in the big blind. I held AhQh and raised another 500. He instantly called (as if he ever folds!). The flop was king high and I fired out, he raised and I folded. This time he flashed a king. I say “So you flash a king this time…so does this mean you didn’t have a ten last time?” He replies in broken English “I know you didn’t have a ten, you don’t fold a ten, so unless you had aces I had you beat”. I assumed this implies he had kings. I could’ve busted the most dangerous player on the table, and had close to 30,000 chips before the dinner break. An awesome spot to be in. I let a tournament defining moment pass. As it was I went to dinner in good shape but rather frustrated.

First hand after dinner we’re at 300/600 limit I pick up pocket aces again, this time under-the-gun. I raise it up but get no customers. I play tight but lose two big pots in limit to a guy who claimed to “live with limit pros, so I’m great at limit”. First he raises from the cutoff and I 3-bet in position on the button with pocket nines. The flop comes K-Q-X and I try to take it off him with a raise but he 3-bets and I give up. Next hand he raises from the button and I 3-bet again from the small blind with AcJs. He calls and the flop comes KsQs4c. I bet out and he calls. The turn is the 9s, and I should’ve fired again (although wouldn’t have made any difference), but I check-call with straight and flush possiblities. The river is the 7d and I’ve missed everything. He checks behind and says “seven”. I’m like SEVEN!?!? WTF?!? He shows As7c. He floated the flop, picked up the flush draw and rivered a pair. Nice one limit genius.

The limit portion of the tournament played much bigger than the no limit portion, so these two losses stung and I was down to about 10,000. Not much happened in the next NL round, except for one hand which could’ve been interesting. I was in the small blind when this obese lady makes her way to the empty seat to my left. She stumbles on a rack on the floor and drops half of her chips on the floor under my seat. I stand up and help her pick them up and she takes her seat. She smells real bad. Urgh live poker. I then sit down and the action is on me with a raise and a call in front of me. I look down and find pocket kings. I raise it up, one guy folds and the other tanks for ages. It looks like he’s about to call but he also folds. I wonder what might have happened if she hadn’t have disrupted the table like that. Maybe my play might’ve looked more like a move, rather than just playing my cards.

My next big hand was in limit again against the limit god. He raised from the cutoff and I 3-bet from the button with AQo. He calls and I flop the nuts with K-J-T. He bets, I raise and he calls. The turn brings a 9 and again I bet and he calls. The river is a 7 and again I get called. I show the nuts, he shows pocket nines, like I should feel sorry for him that he floated the flop with three overcards, caught a two-outer and then didn’t pair up on the river. Bad luck buddy. So I’m back to 15,000 again.

I played tight for a while until I found pocket tens in the big blind after seven limpers in the pot. I raise it up big to 1,700 to go and everyone folds except for Von Halle who tosses his chips out defiantly. I can tell he’s just loving out-playing me with our deep stacks. The flop comes K-Q-6 with two clubs. I fired strong for 2,600 and he jumps out of his chair declaring “all in”! I can’t see how I can ever call here eventhough I felt he was drawing. I folded and he flashed the table the 4 of clubs saying “Is this good?” Schmuck.

A few hands later the same situation emerged with 6 limpers and I held pocket jacks on the button. I raised to 1,400 and the player in the small blind hesitated before moving all in and having me covered. Then a player in middle position also moved all in for about 4,000. I realy felt like I was probably beat. I thought the middle position guy could easily have AA or KK, or maybe AK, while I wasn’t so worry about the guy in the small blind as I felt there was a strong chance he had a mid pair like 77 or 88. In the end I made a bad call. The middle position player had AK and the small blind showed QQ. As Phil Hellmuth would say “They’re just jacks”. The board bricked out with an ace on the turn giving the main pot to the middle position player. The small blind had me covered and I was gone. Roughly 170th place.

I have happy to hang in early when things didn’t go my way, and it was a nice feeling to see my name near the top of the leaderboard on the big screens during the dinner break. I had opportunities to make it to Day 2 but made a few bad decisions. Ultimately it’s all about minimizing mistakes and taking your opportunities. Overall disappointing and Jan Von Halle will give me nightmares, but it was a great experience, and one I hope to be able to do again some day.

WSOP Debut

June 23rd, 2008 Poker, WSOP No Comments »

I’ve decided to get my hands dirty and have a crack at WSOP glory. I’ll be playing Event #41 – $1,500 Mixed Hold’em Event which is half limit and half no limit. Hopefully I can work my way through the day, one level at a time.

You can follow the live updates here and hopefully I last long enough to get some coverage.