Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Back to reality...

Back to reality... 1+ week later, freezing in the snow... brrrr...

I thought i could post a little summary of my vacation... oh memories.

One of the many bay of Sint-Maarten
On the poker side, even if i only played 1 day in the tournament, i really enjoyed the tournament.  It was fun and help me gather some more experience with live poker since i mostly play online.  I'm an emotional player and even if i try my best to focus and not show any emotions that could help other players, i'm pretty sure some might be able to "read me" sometimes.

All-in all, i think i played a decent tournament and i should be thankful of being able to play in such a great event.

St-Martin was a very nice island, the beaches were awesome with crystal clear water.

Definitely no snow in there....
The resort was very nice, my girlfriend and i have really enjoyed our vacation.  The resort is the only "all-inclusive" of the island, the pool was also very nice with a swim-up bar where i discovered many new drink mix.

The resort beach

Sadly on our way back, our flight in St-Martin was delayed and we got stuck in Atlanta missing our connecting flight, so we had to sleep one night in an hotel nearby until we got another flight the next morning, but it was all covered by the flight company, so it was no big deal, everything still went smooth.

So here i am, back home...

Once again, i would like to thanks Intertops for sponsoring, for all the goodies (poker gears, champagne and stuff) and most of all, for giving us the chance to take part in such events.

I really enjoyed my vacation and i will try again next time... see you at the table!  :)

Simon  (Sim1979)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Caribbean update

Hi again,

At first, i would like to congrats Brian for making it into the money sunday night, way to go man!

So far we're (me and my gilrfriend) enjoying the beautiful resort and island.  The sea is awesome and you can even see plane landing right above your head directly from the beach (the airport runway is right outside the resort, i'll try catching a picture of a plane low landing today).

Sunday we had a dinner in the italian "a-la-carte" restaurant in the resort with John (John is the person working for intertops that followed and cheers for us in the tournament).  He's a really nice and funny guy.  I took the calamari and a "sauté" with mussel, shrimp and scallop and it was very good (my girlfriend took the sirloin and John goes for the lamp and both seem to have enjoyed their plate as well), so overall was a really nice dinner.

Yesterday (monday) when we came back to our room in the afternoon, we received a little surprise, a gorgeous plate of fruit with a bottle of champagne, wow.  Thanks again John.

Yummy  :)
Then we rented a jeep to explore the island a little and been to Marigot on the french side of the island (our resort and all of the casino are on the dutch side).  Interestingly, many people speak french on the french side, but not many speak dutch on the dutch side (mostly everyone seem to speak english).

Anyone for a little golf game next to the ocean?

We've also been to a place called "Terres Basses" where most of the riches and famous (and heard some actors) seem to have their (huge!) palace but we've been formely warned not to take any pictures though.

Here is a picture i've taken from one of the many montain top on the island, the rail of light on the right is the bridge leading to Marigot on the french side, our resort is on the very far top-left.

Sint-Maarten "Strip" at night (Dutch side)

Simon (Sim1979)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Card dead for 98% of the day

Really an uneventful foldfest for most of the day. I got in one interesting pot near the end of 400/800.  I opened A8dd from the button for 1800. Sb called with abig


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Out After Day 1 -- Time to Enjoy the Resort

So I'm out, while never really being in control of my destiny, mostly fighting against the blind, but still it was a great experience.  Here's how it went down:

First of all, the blind structure was good, you start-up with 20k chips and level last 45 minutes (for the first day, and 60 minutes for the second day).  Ante start at level 4, so it's still a fast tournament.

There was 138 entries total and 12 re-entry (you could rebuy if you've lost all your chip within the first 6 levels) for a grand total of 150 entries (which pay 17 person with a grand-prize of 41k to the winner).

It was a 9 players per table setup, overall, my table was very aggressive (no cheap limp here) and there was very few showdown.

Level 1:

It start-up kinda bad, having to pay big money to see flop with pocket connector twice that didn't hit got me down to about 18500 chips pretty quick.

I had a big hit on my stack around the middle of the level being dealt AKo, raises big, 1 callers.  Flop is K-T-9 (rainbow).  I was talking first, so i bet, he call.  I don't remember the turn card, but it was a low card (maybe a 3, it was no help for both of us), i bet hard again and he pushes all-in (7k)... i hesitated a lot and folded (and showed)... (he mucked obv. but later told me he had QJ and floped the straight... but since he mucked... you know...).

After seeing the rest of his tournament (he lost all my precious chips to two guys and ends up being one of the 12 rebuyers after level 3)... i think i should have called, but i didn't knew a lot about his play at the time.

At the very end of level 1, i have been dealt pocket A which didn't paid though (1 caller of my raise that folded on the flop).

I ended up level 1 at 11k... tough start.

Level 2:

Around the middle of the level i had a huge hand.  BB, Being dealt ATs (Spades), one guy raise 3xbb, one caller and i call also.  Flop Q-J-9 (one spade, which give me open-ender with the nut straight if a Kings comes up).  Since i'm off-position, I bet big, the initial raiser raises me 2.5x my raise and the other players re-raise him all-in (and had me covered) so this is it, my tournament was on the line, would i go for the big pot (around 35k if the initial raiser would call our all-in... which i thought he would...) or fold and try to grind out to get back on track. Tough decision and i folded...

I should've call that open-ender...
Yeah i know i know, i should have called that, i had an open-ender (including a nut straight if the king popup), a runner-runner flush (which is really far-fetched tough) and maybe an Ace that could save me.  But it was so early in the tournament, i didn't want it to end so quickly.

The initial raiser show AA and the all-in guy show 9-T (pair of 9 with open-ender)

OF COURSE, the freaking K comes up on the turn... man poker is so hard on your nerve sometimes... it still hurt typing this...

So i was down to 10k, but 2 hands prior to break, i've been dealt pocket 9 (under the gun, but i have to force a move) I raise 3xbb, 2 callers.  Flops: 6-4-3 (two diamonds), first to talk, i bet big, 1 caller, the other fold.  Turn a 9 (thanks god!), i bet big again, he raises me... i call, Rivers was an 8, i pushes all-in since the flush didn't hit and the straight was not really plausible (either a 5-7 or a T-7)... he called and mucked.  He later told me during the break he had 65 (so open-ender straight since the flop)... his call was very surprising considering this, he must have put me on a missed flush or something.   I wont complaint, he doubled me up to my original stack (20k)... so i'm even money at the break... which is good considering the bad start.

Level 3:

Level 3 was really really bad... players were playing slowly (so i haven't seen a lot of hands in 45 minutes, i would say 2 tables turn at most and it was an all-fold level... tried to limp twice if i remember but was caught-up by raise so had to fold... if i remember, i end-up the level with 15 or 16k chips.

Level 4:

150-300 blinds (start of 25 chips ante).  which mean 675 chips per turn, so i better start up the machine a little.  Sadly though i was still on a bad streak of cards getting my loads of 2 and 3 (man did i see many 5-3, 5-2, 7-2, J-2 in this tournament, it was terrible).

Middle of level, down to 10k chips (again!), I'm dealt pocket 7 on my big blind (oh yeah!), one player raise, everyone fold, i call.  Flops J-4-2 (two diamonds), i talk first (of course i'm always off-position), so i strong bet, he pushes all-in (which had me way covered, he had like 40k+ chips), so i call with my "not so frightening" 7k chips left, he show QTo... with no hit on the turn or river, i win... back at 20k again.  It was the same guys that double me up at the end of level two, and once again i question his move... his decision to bluff me out was surprising, since i was low-stacker and i call pre-flop, and i bet big on the flop... i was pot commited... the odd of me calling his bluff were huge.

Level 5:

Tough level again, call raise with two low-pocket hand (hoping for a trips that would pay me big time) cost me a lot of chips.  At the middle of the level (down to 16k) i am being dealt AQs (spades) on the small-blind, everyone fold until the button pushes all-in (6k), i call (BB fold).  He show pocket deuce, typical race, no hit for me on the flop (he even hit his 2 on the river)... bummer....

Big hit on chip... back to.... you guessed it... 10k!

Level 6:

Now 300-600 (ante up to 50).. so a huge level, i have to get back fast, so i forced things a little, with no card i've try some bluff and blind steal that helped me keep my stack around 15k, but nothing more.

Level 7:

Now 400-800 (ante 75) Middle of level, being deal AQo... once again off-position, raise 2.5k (about 3xBB), 2 callers, flop K-J-(and another card i don't remember).  I bet big (about 3k, which is big for me considering my stack, but not considering the pot...), the other player raise, the other pushes all-in.... I folded and walk-out to get a bottle of water... man this tournament was really tough on my nerves, i felt like nothing was working at all.

Level 8:

Now 500-1k (ante 100), about 9k left in chip, definitely one of the lowest stacker of the tournament, first hand coming back from the break, being dealt pocket 3 on big blind (so already have 1k of my stack in the pot).  Everyone fold to the small-blind, he raises me, i call (i don't know why i just called... i should have pushed all-in, which was about 3.5k more chip, but he would have called anyway)  Flop 654 (rainbow), he bet 2k, i pushes all-in (about 3.5k total and having an open-ender), he call and show 78... i'm dead... and even worse, i even caught up my 2 on the river... double slap!

All in all, even if i didn't win (finished mid-position, around 80 out of the 150 entries), it was really a fun experience. Other players were nice (well, most of them), and the dealers were very funny joking all the time. Now i'm left with a lot of time on my hand to enjoy the wonderful island and resort!

Once again, thank you Intertops Poker for letting me play in this great event and best wishes to Brian who's still in the running for day 2.

I will keep updating the blog during the rest of my vacation.

Simon (Sim1979)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Making it Through Day 1 at the Caribbean Poker Tour

My name is Brian and I'm down here in St. Maarten for the CPT.  We're on dinner break for the main event. I must've eaten something that didn't agree with me so I was feeling pretty ill. I decided to skip level one of the tournament to lay down since the structure is pretty good (20k stack and 45 minute blinds).

I played a decent amount of hands during level 2 but ended up around 19k. I lost my only showdown KT<Q8 on a T84A8 board.  I checked back the turn after the add and let him get there, oops.

My strategy is to make it through day 1. I'm trying to play pots in position so I can build them up when I have hands that can win a showdown. I don't see the need in getting out of control stealing pots when the blinds are small.

The resort is nice and the people here are awesome. It's quiet and relaxing during the day and at night there's loud music and people dancing everywhere. They had a fire dancer last night on break from the dinner and all of the dealers, in full Halloween zombie costumes, were following her around while thriller played. It was pretty awesome.

I'll post more after day one but if you want to follow my poker tournament out other adventures in real time check my Twitter @WhatIsKulpDoing.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

I Didn't Even Play My Best But I Won the Online Satellite and I'm Going to the Caribbean!

My name is Simon aka Sim79. I got lucky a couple of weeks ago and won the final Caribbean Poker Tour satellite tournament hosted by Intertops Poker and Juicy Stakes Poker. I won a $2700 prize package that includes accommodation at a luxury resort and buy-in for the Caribbean Poker Tour Main Event. There will be lots of players in St Maarten for that and the WPT Caribbean that starts right after that so it should be a great trip!

I was a little surprised I ended up winning the online tournament. I don't think I played my best poker.  It started up kinda bad, I lost some good pots that forced me to re-buy (which I don't usually do, but it was definitely worth it that time with such a prize to win).  The re-buy helped me double-up and enter the Final Table mid-stacker which is good for such a bad start.  I didn't get so many monster hands (no AA, KK or QQ) but got some AK that paid at the end.

I won two draws that paid me a lot at the end and made a huge difference as I was low stacker (6th of 6) and put me right back on 3rd and then 2nd with only 3 players left.   I might have overpaid some draw when I was low stackers, but I had to try to hit something as there was no second prize. It was do or die.

This is the resort where Intertops Poker and Juicy Stakes Poker are putting us up. Not bad, eh?!
I always say that a bad player can win with luck but that a good player can't win without luck.  There’s always a luck factor and it doesn't matter how good you are or how many chips you have, there’s always some luck involved. I just try to stay focused until it's over.  

This tournament was so fast there wasn't much time to figure my opponents’ playing habits.   Some players play more aggressively when they can still re-buy.  

My advice to tournament players is tighten your play when you have less chips (playing less flop), but play aggressively when you go for it, don't let yourself go bellow 8xBB+SB or 8 turns (or 4-5 turns if it's turbo).  If you do get bellow that level, spare the most chips you can to maximise your all-in.  

I play mostly online. When I first played live with friends I was a stone-type player, playing mostly "tight-neutral" seeing only 20-25% flop... and ultimately losing, minimising my loss, but still losing at the end.  Playing online pushed me to see more flop, trying to limp more PF and folding more on the flop  since I’m less attached to my hand.  Minimize my investment and maximize my gain.

I don't plan on quitting my job or anything. I just have fun. I’m pretty excited to be playing in the Caribbean Poker Tournament and to sharing stories and pics with you here on our new blog!


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How I Won My Way to the Caribbean

I won my way to the Caribbean Poker Tour by winning an online satellite tournament at Intertops Poker. What I really liked about that tournament is that I didn't play scared. In a tournament top heavy like this, you have to be able to make some plays and grind out all the small edges you can.

I don't remember any hands specifically but I do remember it being an up and down type tournament for me. There were a few times where I got overly aggressive but I always picked up hands when I needed them.

I didn't think I could actually win the tournament until we were three handed and I had a slight chip lead. I was short stacked coming into the final table so I obviously ran really well.

I'll be playing at the Caribbean Poker Tour in Sint Maarten November 1 & 2.
Overall the competition was fairly soft. Most players were either too nitty or too aggressive. There was a few decent MTT regulars in the tournament but it was a Sunday so I figured most of them were playing a large amount of tables and they probably weren't paying much attention to this one. This allowed me to open a lot more on their blinds and fold some big hands to them as well.

I was very happy with my heads up game and I never felt like I was going to lose (unless I got extremely unlucky) during the heads up match.

My biggest thing is understanding bankroll management. This isn't 2007 anymore. Tournaments are hard now. The bad tournament players aren't even that bad anymore. I make sure I have a minimum of 100 buy-ins for any tournament I’m playing -- I prefer to have between 200-300 buy-ins.

Michael Jordan didn't become the best basketball player by sitting around, he practiced every day and that's what all poker players need to do too. The guys who are doing really good at poker are putting in the hours. To get ahead I think you need to read every book you can. Join a poker forum and get involved. Join a training site and actually study.

I started out as an online player in 2005. I didn't play a real live game until 2009 and let me tell you, I was in shock at how bad live players were. The game is so different. But playing live the same style that I didn't online has brought success because people make so many mistakes live. If I could multi table live poker, I feel like I would have a lot more money in my pocket than I do now.

Without online poker I would be terrible at poker and I probably would have given up by now.

Poker has always been fun for me. The money is nice, but I love competing. My goals over the next few years will be to get better at mixed games. Currently I feel that my Razz and PLO game are the best they have ever been, but I still need to improve in all the other games. Besides that, I would also like to win a WSOPC ring event. If things go right, I could see moving to Costa Rica to grind full time.

I look forward to sharing stories, pics and video clips from the Caribbean with you in a few weeks!


Online satellite champions living the dream in the Caribbean next month

Juicy Stakes Poker and Intertops Poker hosted online satellite tournaments this fall and two players won all-inclusive trips to St Maartens for the Caribbean Poker Tour. Their prize packages include Caribbean Poker Tour St Maarten buy-in, all inclusive resort accommodation and travel expense money.

Chris P aka “Grandma Mary” won his $2700 prize package in an online satellite in August. “Sim79” from Quebec, Canada just won his trip last Sunday.

The two online winners will be posting stories, pics and videos from the Caribbean right here. Check back between now and then though for personal posts as they reflect on their online tournament win and prepare for live tournament play in the West Indies.

The Caribbean Poker Tour Main Event (buy in $1000 + $100) is November 1 & 2. This is the second year that the Caribbean Poker Tour has brought players to the West Indies a few days before the WPT Caribbean tournament, also in St Maartens. Complete schedule of CPT satellites and main events