Luckyblind's Poker Blog

Random thoughts and reports from a relative Poker newbie.

Name:
Location: Drogheda, Ireland

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Monday, January 31, 2005

Skill Vs Luck

A recent post on the Hendon Mob Forum had me thinking about how much skill is actually involved in playing poker. I am only going to concentrate on tournaments as that is all I really know about - my cash game sucks !

Immediatley players such as Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda, Devilfish, Gus Hansen and even Phil Hellmuth spring to mind. All have multiple wins in large field multi table tournaments and even more final table finishes.

Lets use Daniel Negreanu as an example. Going back over his performances for the last year he has the following finishes :

3rd out of 512
1st of 376
1st of 302
1st of 68
1st of 287
3rd of 538
2nd of 546
3rd of 221

Plus 8 other money finshes, mostly top tens.

If it were purely down to luck the odds of these 8 top three finishes are:
171:1 + 376:1+302:1+68:1+287:1+179:1+273:1+74:1 = 1730:1

My reckoning is that if it was all down to luck ten that means he would have had to enter 1730 tournaments to achieve these results. You may be able to do that in one year online but live tournamnents ? He probably entered less than 50. That means he achieved over 30 times his expected results if it was all down to luck.

Now let's look at Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott. Not a particulary stand out year for him but his best 8 finishes were:

5th of 454
1st of 85
4th of 59
3rd of 82
1st of 171
3rd of 128
1st of 60
2nd of 58

Combined odds of 521:1

Now Dave plays a lot of tournaments but again he probably played no more than 50 in a year so he acheived 10 times his expected results if it was down to luck.

You could go through the results of a lot of players and the findings would be similar and if you go back long enough for most of them you will find that they get more than expected return most years. I think most people will agree that although not statistically impossible, nobody has a run of luck that lasts that long.

Of course there is luck in poker in the short term, I am sure that everyone at some point has had someone hit a 1 or 2 outer on the river against them to knock them out of a tournament, but I am sure that if you kept count of how many times you won a similar hand then in the long run you would be well ahead.

So where is the skill in poker ?

A not exhaustive list of skill points:

  • The ability to read other players
  • The ability to pass a good hand when you know you are beat
  • The ability to use your position to its best advantage
  • Knowing when and when not to play poor starting hands
  • Patience
  • The calmness to avoid 'steaming'
  • The ability to 'change gears' when necessary
  • Knowing how to adjust your bet size to extract the most out of a winning hand
  • Knowing your outs on any given hand
  • Ability to correctly determine 'pot odds' and 'implied odds'
  • Knowing the point you need to gamble
  • Luck !

To sum it all up in whose words I am not sure but ' A good player has more bad luck than a bad player ' - I must be a very good player because I have had lots of bad luck recently :-)




Friday, January 28, 2005

What's happening ?

Not much really ! Still slogging away at the heads up on Stars. So far W20 L6 at $20, W3 L4 at $50 and L1 @$100 so a bit of way to go to make it profitable but having fun learning!

I played a few tournaments and every time I have got into good position by halfway and then had a dominating hand cracked as I push for more chips. Each time it was the first time I had called or gone All in pre flop, sooner or later one will hold up and a final table will be mine. So far this year my MTT is not so great, two just in the moneys other than the satellite wins. I am not too despondent as you only need a couple of final tables to reset the balance.

Other poker sites

I have cleaned up my links so that only the best of the other blogs and sites are there now.
There are some good new blogs and sites out there, if you haven't found them yet then here is a rundown of my favourites.

Blonde Poker

A new site run by Tony 'Tikay' Kendall and Dave 'El Blondie' Colclough. The tournament reports from Tikay are very colourful and the site is updated on a regular basis.

Antes up

Another new site aimed mainly at the Irish poker scene. Run by Tom Murphy a regular at The Fitzwilliam. Set to include profiles of all the lesser known Irish players.

Milkybarkid

Ben has just taken the decision to go Pro. Best of luck, should be entertaining reading how he gets on.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel's site has a lively forum and he is also very open in his blog which you can access through his site.

The Camel

Keith has at last hit a good run of form and he seems to be one the good guys of poker although his writing pulls no punches when necessary.

Terence Chan

Another pro's blog which is written well and frequently updated

Fifty outs

A german player who frequents a lot of major tournaments with his partner who also plays.

These are just some of the good reads out there, pretty much all the links to the left have some good posts/content in them. Have a look for yourselves when you have the time.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Trip report with pics

My trip report with pictures is now up at Clanpoker.

Hopefully internet access will be better in France for quicker progress updates.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Of to France

Finally after 6hrs of play in a satellite for the EPT in Deaville, France.

PokerStars Tournament #4624413, No Limit Hold'emSuper SatelliteBuy-In: $360.00/$20.0098 playersTotal Prize Pool: $35280.00 Target Tournament #3251223 Buy-In: $2600.009 tickets to the target tournamentTournament started - 2005/01/22 - 18:00:00 (ET)
Dear Aces_Mike,
You finished the tournament in 1st place.You qualified to play in Tournament #3251223 and are automatically registered for it.See Tournament #3251223 Lobby for further details.In addition a $1,000.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

It was touch and go for a while, I lost two big pots early on with AK and was down to 1300 from initial 2500 chips. Patience prevailed and I climbed back up to 5000 without showing a hand. I dropped back to 4000 and when down to 30 or so I took a shot with 99 and it held up vs A10, shortly after I called an UTG raise with JJ. I had seen the guy raise from here with nothing so when the flop came 988 then 7 on the turn I called all his bets then a J hit the turn also bring a flush possibility. He moved in and I was up into the top 10 for the first time.

Patiently winning small pots here and there and also flopping a set of Queens vs a set of Jacks I made it to 2nd place with twenty left. It took forever to get to 16 players which was the bubble for the $380 consolation prizes. I was picking up no cards at this point and when I did pick up AK it cost me 6000. 9 places were up for grabs and I had been whittled down to 10th place with 11 left. I had 6000 and the blinds were 600,1200. A guy folded his small blind to me and was criticised by the other shortstack on the table. I was pleased when the guy replied ' Mike can play I did not want to double him up with a weak hand '. This seemed to satisfy the complainant who eventually went out on the bubble. I took as a sign to move in 3 pots in a row and was soon back up to 15000 and then Mr complaining reraised a big stack only holding QJ and found himself up against a lovelyBig slick which held up and I will be joining Milkybarkid in France.
Hopefully I can do better than my WPT effort although I don't ssuppose the Holiday will be anywhere near as good as the Bahama's !

Stay Lucky !

Mike

Friday, January 21, 2005

Heads up

I still can't overcome the luck factor in the Turbo STT on stars so I ventured into a new arena - Heads up matches. So far I have played 8 at the $20 level and am undefeated, when moving up to $50 I am 2 wins - 3 losses. Biggest comeback was when down to 300 chips and so far no match has gone any further than 3 levels and I have only gone all in once with a substantial amount of chips pre flop, AKs running into AA in a $50. I had been raising a lot pre flop and this was the first time he had come back at me rather than call so I should have known better !

No poker tonight though it is time for a few drinks, hopefuly tomorrow nights France Quailifier will go well and I will get a shot at the European Pro's in February.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The right fold is the wrong fold

As well as the Turbo STT I have played a couple of $10 MTT on Pokerstars over the last couple of nights. I was running well in both until similar situations occured. Both times until I saw my opponents cards I thought I had made a good fold when in fact I would have won massive pots that would have put me in or very near the chip lead.

Firstly was a $10 Rebuy and first paid approx $5000. I had got to the last 130/515 and was comfortably above average with over 30,000 chips. I had not rebought and only added on. There were two stacks on the table bigger than mine. One was immediately to my left and one opposite me. In my small blind I picked up K10 of clubs and it had been called by the big stack opposite and I called, the other big stack let us see a flop. At this stage blinds were 1000,2000 with a 100 ante so there was 7000 in the pot. Flop comes 3 8 10 with two spades. Not wanting to mess about I led out with a pot sized bet. Big blind immediately moves in and without hesitation the other large stack moves in as well ! I figure at least one of them has a set or A10 at least, one is most probably drawing to the flush. Well I was right about one thing, there was a flush draw - Q high ? and pocket nines ? The nines held up and I was gutted to have missed out. A few hands later I flop TPTK with A10 also holding nut flush draw and move in only to be called by a set which held up.....

Secondly was a $10 Freezeout and we are down to 30 from 1080. First pays $2700 and I am just below average chips. Blinds are 1500,3000 with 150 ante. I have picked up QQ in the BB. Then UTG moves in for 40,000, table chip leader re-raises in for 80,000 and then SB puts his 40,000 in the middle. QQ cannot be good here ? I never thought about the pot odds of over 3:1, I just assumed there was no way I could be ahead and folded to wait for a better spot. What did they have ? First player A3 offsuit, Chip leader JJ and the third player had called two All in's with AJ offsuit ! Unbelievably the ladies would have been a preflop 65% favourite in 4 way pot before the flop. To rub salt into the wounds a Q appeared on the flop and I am left wondering how I would have got on with a massive chip lead with 28 to go ! My next big blind I get A10 and see a flop of A103 and find out I am up against pocket 3's. At least I got $50 back in this one....

As far as the Turbo's go I have played 25 of each of the $55 and $25 versions. I am up $50 for the $25's and down $100 for the $50's. Even though I am not really winning in these I am sure I can beat them when the cards even out. So far 20 of my exits in mostly 4th & 5th place are when I am better than 4:1 preflop, yet not once have I outdrawn I higher pair myself when All in preflop. Reading The Camel's blog, the general opinion is that these are the best for regular profit but everybody finds them boring. I just find them frustrating at the moment !

I have also qualified for the French EPT final quailifier on Saturday night, we had planned to go out for drinks so I will have to stay sober and go home at 11pm to play. Whilst on the EPT, I am not sure if anyone who reads this blog is likely to pay the €10,000 entry to the Monte Carlo Millions, but if there is anyone then buy in direct through Pokerstars. They are only charging $12,300 which at the current rate is only €9389, not a bad saving !

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Turbo Turbo turbo

I have now played over 40 NL turbo's in 3 days and apart from the two runs into bad beat beat city I am enjoying them immensely. I am over my moaning now, it was just the worst run I have seen. I know in time it will even itself out but I am convinced it is skewing my ROI figures at the moment. I am going to continue on with the $25 ones where at the moment I am getting back 30%. The games are soft though that when all bad beats are averaged out over say 200 games I am sure I can get it up to 45%. I would have kept on at the $55 level but my bankroll is not big enough for the swings just yet. I think 20 buy ins is necessary for these turbo's as sometimes you need to take a chance due to the speed of them. If only I was rich enough not to have to withdraw all my big online wins for other stuff !

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

This now officially a bad beat blog !

This is now getting hard to stomach, I know it will run my way just as much over the long run but short term I am getting killed whenever I get involved preflop with pocket pairs. I thought it had changed after playing 6 $25 NL turbo's last night and getting 3 firsts, 2 seconds and a third for a healthy profit. I never had AA, KK or QQ once in all of these and the worst beats were AK vs Ax both time when heads up with the chip lead !

However it has gone back to good old outdraw city this morning. So far I have played 3 and these are my exit hands :

KK vs QQ
QQ vs 1010
QQ vs 99

All in before the flop and each time a set flopped against me !
Odds of this happening are 64:1, I'm off to the bookies to find a longshot to lump some money on.

Anybody got any lucky charms for sale ?

It gets worse - 4th game AA vs 57 and you guessed it 346 on the flop ! over 300:1 now !

Monday, January 17, 2005

What are the odds ?

I know it sounds like I am moaning, but the deck has been hitting me right where it hurts recently. Last night I started playing the $55 NL Turbo’s on Pokerstars. At first look they are a really soft game, although there are a few good players lurking for feed. It started of well with 2 wins and 2 seconds without getting many big hands, just playing good solid positional poker. On the back of this I entered the $215 Tournie. No complaints in that one apart from running KK into AA twice ! I came back from the first one but could not do it again and finished 1343 out of over 2200.

Then I went back to playing the turbo’s. As I was still suffering from jet lag and had slept all day so I ended up playing another 16 and only got one third ! This is the reason why:

AA vs Q5 and Q4 Board 109J8x
AA vs 22 and 2 flops
KK vs 99 and KK vs 88 and KK vs QQ set each time
KK ran into AA twice
AK vs Ax lost 3 times
99 vs 88 you guessed it an 8 flopped

Others were closer but I was ahead every other time bar one on my exit hands and the one I was behind was AJ vs KK and it took the proverbials by giving me an Ace on the flop only for a runner runner flush for the Kings !

I have dropped down to the $25’s tonight and am so far 2 wins for 2, hope that is not an omen. I am gonna play 100 of each in total and see where the land lies and if I can get an ROI of 40% I am getting a new desktop for the home with a big monitor and am gonna multitable 4 at a time. That works out at roughly $80/hr and will do nicely.

$1.71 update

This challenge has finally bitten the dust in the heated battlegrounds of the VC ½ Omaha tables. I worked it up to over $300 and blew it an entertaining afternoon, the table included a hungover Hectorjelly and also briefly Hyzepher from Boards.ie.
Ah well it was fun while it lasted.

Pokerstars goodie bag

I forgot to mention on my trip report how good the Pokerstars goodie bag was. First of the bag was a large holdall with a disrceet Pokerstars logo and also embroidered with my name. Inside were 8 different tops including polo shirts, ice hocky tops, a nice WPT jacket and the obligatory T shirts. There was also a Sterling silver card protector, a Zippo luggage tag, a fan, a beach towel, a hat, flip flops and a $10 phone card. Thanks Pokerstars.

I also forgot to mention what a nice guy Lee Jones is. We got talking to him a few times on the trip and he always made time to answer our questions.

As I am finishing this I have just won my third in a row so maybe my luck is on the change !
Stay Lucky !

Mike



Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sometimes you wonder what you have to do !

Whilst wide awake from the jetlag, I decided to join Jerry who I met in the bahamas in a $55 Turbo on Pokerstars. Unfortunately our reunion last two hands as my river misfortunes continue.
Here is the hand history.

PokerStars Game #1078977025: Tournament #4613632, Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2005/01/14 - 20:50:49 (ET)
Table '4613632 1' Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: hankhankhank (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: Aces_Mike (1490 in chips)
Seat 3: Stoffers (1480 in chips)
Seat 4: sophieday (1500 in chips)
Seat 5: nycjoshie (1500 in chips)
Seat 6: Susp3nc3 (1500 in chips)
Seat 7: argofys (1120 in chips)
Seat 8: fatjim (1460 in chips)
Seat 9: BARJA55 (1950 in chips)
Stoffers: posts small blind 10
sophieday: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Aces_Mike [Qd Jc]
nycjoshie: folds
Susp3nc3: calls 20
argofys: calls 20
fatjim: folds
BARJA55: calls 20
hankhankhank: folds
Aces_Mike: calls 20
sophieday said, "finished 7th and top 4 where getting a seat into the 650 tourney"
Stoffers: folds
sophieday: checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh 7h Tc]
sophieday: checks
Susp3nc3: checks
argofys: checks
Aces_Mike said, "ul"
BARJA55: bets 40
Aces_Mike: calls 40
sophieday: calls 40
Susp3nc3: calls 40
argofys: folds
*** TURN *** [Kh 7h Tc] [9d]
sophieday: bets 120
Susp3nc3: raises 180 to 300
BARJA55: raises 1590 to 1890 and is all-in
Aces_Mike: calls 1430 and is all-in
sophieday: folds
Susp3nc3: folds
*** RIVER *** [Kh 7h Tc 9d] [Kc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
BARJA55: shows [Kd Ts] (a full house, Kings full of Tens)
Aces_Mike: shows [Qd Jc] (a straight, Nine to King)
BARJA55 collected 3550 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3550 | Rake 0
Board [Kh 7h Tc 9d Kc]
Seat 1: hankhankhank folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Aces_Mike (button) showed [Qd Jc] and lost with a straight, Nine to King
Seat 3: Stoffers (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: sophieday (big blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 5: nycjoshie folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Susp3nc3 folded on the Turn
Seat 7: argofys folded on the Flop
Seat 8: fatjim folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: BARJA55 showed [Kd Ts] and won (3550) with a full house, Kings full of Tens

Usually I make no comment but a 'ffs' was in order here !

Ah well it must change soon, I did manage a 3rd in a similar game earlier, but busted out of two Monte Carlo qualifiers early on.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The massacre part II and Trip summary

It is 4 o'clock in the morning the day after our return to Ireland and jet lad has officially kicked in. We arrived home at 5pm yesterday and I have spent most of the time sleeping, hence me being wide awake now! At last I have some time and access to finish off my trip report.

I left off after my third hand played on day two and I had around 13000 chips. We started playing the last 30 mins of level 6 which was 200/400 with 75 ante. By the time the level finished I had posted another BB & SB and had not played a hand so was down to under 12000. This was still more than I started the day with but the blinds were now 300/600 with a 100 ante so it was 1900 a round to play.

Players were falling at a rate of nearly 1 per minute and soon from a starting 258 on day 2 there was less than 200 left. My table had seen its fair share of casualties. 'The Grinder' took out 4 people in less than a round. KK and AA taking out two players each and he was table chip leader with over 75,000. He lost a big pot vs Daniel Larsson when whe came back over the top with QQ and Daniel called with AK and made Kings full.

I was finding it impossible to make a move. Each side of the table there were large stacks raising and re raising each pot and every hand I had in postion was unplayable. At one time I had 7 2,8 2, 9 2 , 7 2 and 10 2 in consectutive hands !

Daniel Negreanu took the seat to my left when a player was eliminated and he was soon chirping away even though he was not playing many pots with his less than average stack of around 20k.

I had let myself get down to 5200 chips when I picked up AJ of clubs third to act. Danny Ashman had made it 1500 to go from UTG, Mark Smyrski folded and I moved all my chips into the middle. He had been rasing with any two face cards and when he was the only caller with KQ I found myself a 60/40 facourite to double up.

The flop came K 10 J all red and with no more Jacks or Queens coming on the turn or river I made an exit in 187th place. By the end of the day over 200 more players had been eliminated.
At the end of Sunday 9 remained and it took only 1hr and 15 min on Monday for the final 6 to be decided.

Suprisingly I felt quite calm and relieved when I went out. I am confident I did about the best anyone could with the cards I was dealt. I made a couple of good laydowns which on another day I may not have made. I was shown trips vs my top two both times.

Summary of hands dealt

I was dealt KK once - all folded to my small raise in late postion
QQ once - hand described above
JJ twice - held up to the river twice
AK 3 times - twice won blinds. Once I reraised a possible blind steal and lost a couple of thousand chips when up against AA !
AJ/AQ 4 times - won medium pot with flush, blinds once and laid down top two vs a set post flop and also this was my exit hand!
A10 3 time - won blinds twice - laid down top two vs set once.
88 first hand of tournament - folded after a A high flop had a bet and a call, 8 came on river but was early on and correct move was to fold after flop with two overcards and action.
55 once in BB and called raise to fold to a bet on AKx flop
22,33,44 once each in late position - unplayable as each time there was a raise and reraise ahead of me.
Suited connectors - 10,7 twice, managed to limp but missed flop completely both times.
Junk hands - way too many to count !

Other poker action

I played in two $100 Sit and gos and finished 5th twice.
I also played two $300 tournaments and after doubling up early in both without showing a hand I was crippled in both holding the nuts on the turn only for some one to suck out and river first a flush then a full house. The second one I was knocked out by Tom McEvoy who sat down in the small blind on my big blind after arriving late and took my last 50 chips with 10 7 vs my 78 !

Strangest moment 1

I was sitting on the toilet reading a local paper someone had kindly left behind and started reading an article on the tournament and found myself reading about a certain Mike Lacey from Ireland who had qualified for $160 !

Strangest moment 2

I was temporarily barred from the casino because they thought I was dealer in the poker tournament (I was wearing Pokerstars Polo Shirt along with about 50 other gamblers I could see in casiono!) and therefore prohibited by Bahamain law from gambling!

Casino Gaming

After deciding I needed a break from poker I played a bit of Caribbean stud and Let it ride and overall made a profit of about $800 plus 3 nights of free drinks. Total and utter gambling but good fun! Saw a crazy beat in Caribbean Stud when a guy from Boston played KKAQ2 and dealer had KKAQ3 ! Then two hands later he played a hand blind, the dealer quailified and he flipped over Four jacks for a $1500 score. This hand may have been mine as Colin and I decided to leave and this was the first hand dealt without us and would have been mine had both of us stayed !
Catherine became addicted to a nickel slot called Power Slotto and I became a mini addict myself as well to this and Video poker . We won about the same as we lost on these and quailified for a lovely Atlantis beach towel with our slot points - High rollers or what ?

Stars spotted

Excluding all the top poker players

Michael Jordan playing blackjack for 10,000 a hand, three hands at a time.
Rick Fox playing Caribbean stud.
Barry Bonds walking around resort.

Great people met

Colin and Donna whom we spent a lot of time with. Colin is one of the top players on the Canadian circuit which has a lot of 300+ runner $500 and $1000 events - I see a trip to Canada coming soon.

Jerry 'Sophieday' Lotterman III. Played on my table the first day and on many of the same Caribbean Stud tables - Some heads up Pokerstars action looming.

Vinnie Lawrence - Every time I raised a pot it seemed to be on his blind !

Mark Smyrski - Sat next to him on Day 1 & 2 and glad to see him make last 30.

Spiro 'Lucky55' and wife Jenny. Spiro finished 17th and it was his wife who taught me caribeean stud.

Ronnie, Annie and all of the gang from Norway.

Resort rating

Poker aside this was a fantastic holiday and I could not recommend Atlantis enough. It is a beautiful, clean and well run resort with plenty to keep everyone entertained. It can however be very expensive. A five minute phone call home was $40 and you need at least $100 per person a day just to eat. When I have a bit more time then I will put all these reports up on Clanpoker including photo's.

Now I have to go and try to get back to noramlity !

Stay Lucky !

Mike

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Atlantis Poker room massacre

Apologies for the late posting, the hotel has no travel adaptors for UK/Irish appliances so I have had to wait for one of the 4 computers in the Library to become free. I only have 15 mins so will have to be brief. A full trip report will follow as soon as I can.

So I sat down on Day 2 as a shortstack with 9325 chips. 258 people had made it through in total out of 461 entries. This is more than double last years numbers. The total prize pool is almost $4million and first pays nearly $900,000. They are paying 80 places, the minimum payout is over $11,000.

I start on the button and I am drawn with 3 average to large stacks to my right. Mark Smyrski from my table yesterday is first to my right with over 25,000. Danny ' The Bruiser ' Ashman is next with over 40,000 and 'The Grinder follows him with almost 20,000. Daniel Larsson is at my table again three to my left. The other two players to my left have 10,000 and 17,000 respectively. The shortest stack is 7000.

First hand I pick up QQ and it raised to 1500 UTG by Daniel. No callers to me and I push All in and after some thought he folds a small pocket pair. Two hand later I get KQs and it is folded to me, I raise and pick up the blinds. When my big blind comes around I have pocket 5's and call a 1200 raise. Flop AKx, I check and fold to a pot size bet.

That was the last hand I played until over 70 players had hid the dirt. I had no hands and most pots were raised and reraised. Times up now I finished 187 will finish report later !

Friday, January 07, 2005

Day one

So we arrived last night and went down to the Dig Deck for the Pokerstars Cocktail Reception.There was plenty of free drink and we made the most of it. We met a couple from Canada, Colin(Kanuck) and Donna, with them we made the most of Pokerstar's hospitality and much Vodka, rum and wine was consumed.Afterwards we made the 15 minute trek across the resort to the poker room. There is not normally poker at Atlantis so Pokerstars had to build a room from scratch.They have done a good job with well over 30 tables and a large projector screen for the tournaments.Colin entered the super satellite for $200 which attracted well over 200 entrants. He finished 50th which was not good enough for one of the 18 seats or $8000 cash on offer.I entered a $100 Sit and Go to get a feel for the place and was quickly up from 1500 chips to nearly 4000 without showing a hand. I had the goods most of the time !Then with 5 left it all went pearshaped, an ill-timed postflop bluff ran into a set and then AA was cracked when J10 made a straight. Finally AK failed to improve against 88 and it was time for bed.

The main event started late as the organisers struggled registering everyone in time. They have changed the process for tomorrows half.We finally kicked off at 1pm, an hour behind schedule. 10,000 chips to start and blinds of 25/50. The only player on my table I recognised was Daniel Larsson. I was on table 12 in seat 2 and he was in seat 5. We were due to play five 75 minutes levels today. I finished the first level on 1500 chips, AJ of hearts making a flush on the turn which i bet as the board had also paired.The next few levels I was up and down a few chips here and there. Every time I raised with a hand everyone folded. Everytime I called with a hand, I missed the flop completely and was forced out.The table was very tight and no-one was up or down much early on.At the end of level 4 I was down to 6000 chips. Mostly due to losing 2000 when I re-raised a button raise from the small blind with AK. Yet again the flop missed me completely and I was put all in post flop. I couldn't call and was now one of the short stacks on the table.
Three hands into the fifth level, blinds 150,300 with a 50 ante, I flat called a 600 raise on the button with JJ (my biggest PP so far). The flop came 336 and it was check to me and I bet the pot. It was called only by the initial raiser. Next card was a 7 and I bet 3000 of my last 4000 and he set me in. I had to call and was relieved when he showed pocket 8's and I doubled up.

Shortly after that I picked up the hooks again in a five was unraised pot. The flop and turn was Q high with no flush or straight. I put no-one on a Q when it was checked around and when the turn was rag I called a 500 bet along with 2 more players. River was rag and it was checked around and my Jacks stood up again!This was the high point of the day and I finished the level down at 12600. Just before the level finished they announced the 6th level would also be played today and after much argument it was decided it would be a 45 minute level. Blinds were 200,400 with a 75 ante. I picked up not one hand to play this level and I finished the day on 9325 chips.
201 players started today and 117 or so are left. The highest stack on my table was 38,000. Daniel Larsson has about 25,000 along with a couple of others. We lost 3 players all day and we saw the rockets at least 6 times, to my knowledge they were not cracked all day. Bad beat of the day, A french guy to my left tried to knock out a shortstack with KK and was beaten by A10 when two tens flopped.My best hand was KK which I raised and everybody folded. Other than the flush I made nothing higher than a pair when I saw the flop.I made the right play everytime today, I just could not hit the flop when called or calling. Daniel was easily the best player on the table and made some strong moves on scary boards. The table chip leader hit at least three nut flushes and the rockets twice.Other notable players still in are Chris Moneymaker, John Juanda and Carlos Mortenson. I chatted briefly with Surinder Sunar and also Daniel when on breaks and the both seemed like nice guys. Also at my table everyone bar one annoying loud American played in excellent spirit.
Catherine spoke to Chris Moneymaker and told him not to knock me out. He looked bemused when he asked who I was and she told him I wasn't even on his table!
All in all, I have enjoyed the experience so far. I am not entirely happy with my chip postion though and will have to double up early on Saturday when the two halves combine. It is still 75 minute levels and blinds are 300,600 with a 100 ante.
I have forgotten my camera lead so no pictures to post yet, I will try and borrow one to upload what we have taken so far. The resort is fabulous and I am looking forward to a day by the pool in the late 20's heat !
Apologies for the formatting I had to write in notepad as the Dail up is so expensive!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Arrived

Arrived safe and sound after a 19 hr journey ! We are on the 20th floor of the west Tower - Great views ! Dial up is a bit slow though, wish my wifi had arrived in time.

Just getting ready for the pre tournie cocktail reception.

Will update with more details later.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A New year to end the year...

As we see in the new year it is drawing to the end of my first year in poker and my biggest test yet is a mere three days away. I am finding it difficult to think about anything other than the Bahamas and the WPT. Even Catherine is having trouble sleeping !

It is merely the fact that such a huge sum of money is closer than it ever has been before in my life. I cannot expect to win, but I will be doing my best to win. Of course like many others it is more likely that I will bust out on the first day than to get to the final table. As long as I have done my best I will be happy. If I am busted on a 40:1 shot on the river I will be happy. If I have one of the moments of madness like I get sometimes in smaller stakes games I will be very unhappy!

Last night was the first home game for a while and we started earlier than usual to fit in 3 games as we were all hungry for some live action. The line up was as follows:
Myself, Deco, Sean Paul, Kev, Steve (Tiny Tim), Anto, Sean Snr, Joe, Pat, Jerry and his brother Brendan.

Everything was going well in the first game, I slowly built up my chips, the deck was hitting me in the face for the first couple of levels. In a multiway raised pot I hit a straight on the flop and after a bet and a call, my raise was big enough to get rid of any flushers. Things then started to dry up card wise, but I was still chip leader (just), when we were down to five.

I was still getting no cards and foolishly called a raise from Deco with K9 suited and when the flop came Q high I bet out 3000 into a 4000 pot. He only had 4000 or so left so he was allin or nothing. I thought the flop had missed him and he wouldn't be able to call. I was right, it had missed him, however he correctly deduced I had no Queen and that his pocket jacks were good !
A few hands later I lost another 4000 or so when I was allowed to see a JJ5 flop from the big blind holding a 5. I made a small bet to see where it was and it was called by Deco. It was checked to the river where another 5 fell and I was sure I was beat but for some reason bet another 1000 and felt I had to call the other 1000 he raised me in order to find what I already knew !

By then I was low chipped and Deco took the rest of my chips when I went in with cards I forget now but were marginal favourites. I was just destined to give him all my chips. He went on from having 2000 chips to splitting the pot with Joe. Jerry finished 3rd.

The second game had a faster structure and there was a lot more gambling going on. I lost almost half my chips trying to bully Deco out of a pot with a pretty looking but useless KQs. Then a few hands later I more than trebled up when I called a raise from Joe along with four others with JQ. The flop was JQ and Joe bet, Brendan called and I moved in. To my surprise they both called, Brendan with Qx and Joe with pocket Kings. No help for either and I was back in good position.

The blinds were rising pretty steeply and I had bled off to about starting chips (6000) when the blinds hit 800/1500 with still six left. I went All in with nothing twice in a row and picked up the blinds and without realising it the chip lead also ! If I had have noticed I had more chips than anyone I probably would not have done it for the third time in a row! As it was I did with KJ UTG and was promptly called by Kev with KK, he had 500 chips less than me and next hand my K6 never held up All in from the Big blind! Brendan went on to beat his brother into second place, Anto finished 3rd.

The third game I think I played my best poker and made into the last three with half the chips and up against Kev and Sean Paul. I say I played good poker but I made one bad move against Sean snr. With Four left I pushed All in on a K high board with K10. I had said before I did it that for a change he was playing big cards but I wanted to gamble. He had AK and I hit a 10 on the river to knock him out ! It was the only time I came from behind to win a hand all night, although plenty came from a short way behind to beat me!
This was a tough one and there were more flops seen than usual when down to the last three. This suits me and I was winning my fair share but could not finish anyone off ! Twice I lost big pots Allin pre flop and crawled back up to the chip lead. I am not superstitious but I think it was Karma that Sean Paul kept outdrawing me. Earlier in the game I had called with 22 and the board fell 663. He bet 600 into a 2000 pot and I knew he didn't have a six so I raised another 1200 and he folded after a bit of thought. I showed my 2's and he was a bit annoyed to say the least as he had pocket 7's.
I ended up finishing third as every attempt to knock out either when they were shortstacked backfired on me. I flopped two pair agaisnt Sean Paul's one, only thing was the board was all spades but I called his all in as it was for so little chips and of course the 4th spade hit to match his 6 of spades ! I lost more chips when I made a straight against Kev's higher straight. I was finally All in for my last 4000 with 8 10 against Kev with J10. I hit trip 8's on the flop but the turn and river were 7 9 to send me home down 1 buy in !

It was good to get 10 hours of live poker in before Thursday and I would like to thank everyone who has wished me well and I am determined to do well. It was especially good to get a phone call from Anthony Fagan who you may have seen on the WPT series two final table at Aruba giving me some tips !

My side of the draw is getting a bit tougher as late entries include Carlos Mortensen, John Juanda, Surinder Sunar, Kathy Leibert, Chris Moneymaker, David Williams, Howard Lederer and the Fossilman. If I do go out early it would be good to get to play with a few of these guys first, however it will be even better if I get to bust a few of them!

Hopefully I will be able to update this blog from there. There is Dial up in the hotel but I don't know if I will be able to use it with my Irish account. Apparently there is also WiFI access but I don't have my WiFi card for my laptop yet. If I can get good access there will be full reporting including pictures at Clanpoker . If you haven't checked the site out yet than have a look, it is starting to take shape and there are some articles up now from Ben Grundy AKA The Milkybarkid. More are promised from other good bloggers/writers.

Hope you all have a good New Year !

Mike