Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Velden Wrap Up

Cool shot on the final day
Well another Intertops satellite trip has finished up and it was a great success, by far. I wish I could say I took home the title, but the experience itself was a win for sure. We all made day two, which is always tough and a plus for any poker player. The big buy in and long structure always bring around the better players, so just making it that far was quite an accomplishment. So I hope everyone is proud of their play. Unfortunately, only myself and Emil made day 3, but the rest of the guys got to enjoy a day out in Velden at least! I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit jealous they hit the beach without me. lol I can't complain too much though, as I was playing day 3 for a chance at 142k and the trophy! The day started out with a great table draw for me, seating me at what would be the final table. Always nice when you know you won't have to make any table changes and have the time to get reads on players. The play started out tough, aggressive and at times confusing, lol. So I had my work cut out for me. There was an odd balance of big/small stacks at the table with with shortest being about 20 big blinds or so. While I was one of the shorter stacks(35 bigs), I felt very comfortable and knew if I could just win a few good pots or get a double up, I could do some serious damage at this table.
Obv my new profile pic lol
I quickly noticed two guys on my right were very aggressive and the rest of the table somewhat passive. So this looked good for me at first. They were opening on my right frequently, and I 3 bet them a few times and took down the pot. A few other times my 3 bets were called and we battled post flop. One particular hand involved me 3 betting from the small blind w A6 of clubs for the aggressive button raiser. He thought for a moment or two then called. In retrospect, I think I made the raise too small, only going for a x 2.6 3 bet, knowing he was a good post flop player and I was out of position. It worked out well for me though when the flop came Ace 4 4 rainbow. I decided to check, knowing I was well ahead of his button raising range but still leery he may have a better ace. When he checks back the flop I knew I was good, and once another Ace hit the turn I knew I had the nuts. The only next move was to just figure out how to get any more money out of him! I decided to check the turn and call if he bet, and then put out a large donk bet the river, to look like a bluff. My hope being he wouldn't believe me and look me up light. Well he bet the turn like I hoped, but after a minute or two of thinking, he was good enough to make the fold. He even said out loud, it looked like a bluff! Crap! lol I think I may have missed some value there. I could have either checked to him and let him bluff the river, or just thinly value betting, and hope to get called. But, oh well, I had a gut feeling and went with it. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out. Almost though!;)
Gabor and I sweating Emil's final table
While I had a few decent hands and spots, I never really got any traction going, and after a few levels ended up about where I started the day. I Think there were some other hands I could have played possibly played differently, but still think they were probably the right moves. I just didn't have many hands to work with and the spots I did take, either didn't provide enough chips to keep me going or just completely backfired lol. Once the money bubble burst, I decided to open up my game, only to get 3 bet shoved on 3 times when I opened relatively light! So I found myself really short and it was a matter of getting a good enough hand to ship in at that point, hoping for a double. I shipped once with J 10 suited from under the gun, and surprisingly the big blind open folded an Ace! I had some other hands that I am looking back on an wondering, "what if" Like pocket 6s from the small blind with the same button player opening; and an open with KQ off suit that I discouragingly folded to a 3 bet shove from a tight player, when I had only about 15 bigs. When I finally put my last 9.5 bigs in, it was from under the gun with 88 and made it through everyone but the small blind, who called with Ace Queen of clubs. The queen hit for him but also added outs for me with a Q J 9 flop. A 7 turn was still hopeful for me but another q on the river sent me off the to rail in 22nd place. It was a decent payday, so while I was upset I didn't get the win, I will gladly take it lol I always find it funny when I do better in larger buy in tournaments with better structures and tougher players. I guess I should take some comfort in that as a player, an know my abilities are at least up to par with some of the big dogs. Clearly I still have a long ways to go, but it is encouraging at least. lol
Emil calm and ready for FT time!
From there we got to sweat Emil's action and enjoy Velden, having some delicious meals and enjoying the scenery between stops in and out of the final table area. It was awesome to see another member of team Intertops there, even though I was jealous i wasn't there with him! lol We did some interviews with the beautiful lake in the background, gambled a little in the very cool little casino and had some drinks to celebrate when Emil went out in 6th place. He was disappointed it wasn't a win, but the extra 26k in his pocket made him feel better very quickly as we enjoyed a fun last night out together in what was probably the coolest location Intertops has had us at yet. While we didn't scoop a win, we all had deep runs, played well, ate great food, enjoyed amazing scenery, drank delicious Austrian beer, and had ALOT of fun. You can't beat that. Well maybe at least not til the next satellite tournament! lol ;)
Team dinner at Lakeside!

Check out all of the videos on  the Intertops facebook page!
Run good

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Poker Life, Velden!

On to the next one! The WSOP may be over but the poker never stops! We have arrived in Velden, Austria for the another amazing tournament series! Myself and the rest of Team Intertops are in this beautiful location to take a shot at the massive 2700 euro Poker EM main event! Intertops had satellites running for a while a couple months ago for this awesome trip, and lucky few of us are here to attempt to make the poker dream a reality. The idea of scooping a win here for insane amounts of money for only a cheap satellite entry online is "iving the Dream" to be sure! Intertops has done it again, not only did they pick a great tourney in a great spot, they over deliver on taking care of their players.  From helping with rides from the airport to getting us settled at the hotel/casino to taking us all out on a boat ride to an amazing dinner! Its been incredible and its only day two! lol No ones even played poker yet!
After writing my last blog post on lesson learned from the WSOP, I knew I needed to take a step back and get some perspective. I will admit, at first the idea of traveling this far and playing poker again so soon after the WSOP wrapped up was not looking so great to me.  The life of playing poker professionally can be brutal sometimes. The airport lines, the long flights, hotel living, the costs and just the straight grind that is tournament poker wears on you quickly.  But as soon as I arrived here, I knew this opportunity could not have come at a better time.  The country is beautiful, the location is amazing, and the people I've met already are great! It's already been the best reminder for why I wanted to do this for a living! These are the experiences that make all the losses, bad beats and close calls worth it. The job could allows us to travel across the globe to play a GAME...It puts things in perspective really quickly, especially with all the tragedies that seem to be happening on a daily basis in the world.
On our boat ride to LakeSide for dinner!

Being adventurous and trying the local cuisine!
Wish us all luck, as  we start our main event here today!  And I know from my previous experience in Seefeld that the competition will be fierce. At least the insanely aggressive play will not be a surprise this time around! lol  It should be a really challenging tournament to say the least, but I know will all will enjoy it! Maybe Team Intertops can come away with a five way chop!? (Nahhhh no chops! but I'll let them have 2-5th at least! lol) We are all hoping for a deep run and to come home with the championship trophy, but all we can do is play our best and enjoy the ride!  Everyone here has already won in my book!  I'll be back soon with another post updating our day 1 status!Run Good

Monday, 18 July 2016

Lessons Learned from the WSOP

Well my first WSOP has come to a close. It has had it’s ups and downs, and downs, but overall I learned a Lot and am still grateful to have been able to play at the biggest and best series in the Poker world. While I didn’t get to live out my poker dream completely and play the Main event, I’m confident the lessons I’ve learned from this roller coaster adventure will help me refocus me for upcoming events and come back to crush next years WSOP! So to keep me on point and have something to reread before next years events, here’s a list of the top 5 most important things I figured out in the last 5 weeks!
Confused look for most of the series lol

  • Have a plan, but be flexible!  I had what I though was a really good plan going in. I had mapped out all the events I wanted to play, totaled it all up and even made a spreadsheet for investors! It was all set up! Until I got there and it basically went out the window! lol While I still played in a decent amount of the events I planned, I changed my game plan on almost a day to day basis. There were simply too many tournaments outside of the WSOP that were softer and clearly a better value.  I had not done enough research on other events in town and it caused quite a bit of stress and confusion. I was constantly torn between what I planned and what others were telling me to play. Flip/flopping on what to play will drive you crazy, believe me. (lol) Just figure it out beforehand and Commit. Another big part of this was reentering tourneys after busting. While many, if not all of the tournaments had multiple day ones, I repeatedly fired a second bullet after busting. While there are definitely spots where I think reentering is worth it, I know now that I was just glory chasing and went WAY too hard too early in my trip. By not sticking to my plan of just reentering the next day, I wasted valuable mental energy, relaxation time and of course money.

  • Be Disciplined!   Staying along the same lines as sticking with your plan, being disciplined enough to stay the course throughout the series is vitally important! If I maintained my discipline and didn’t reenter those tourneys, I would have saved myself from a lot of stress. And while I said be flexible, don’t be so flexible that you end up just going with what everyone else is doing.  You are there for you and no one else. I need to workout everyday, eat healthy, and get a good nights sleep or I’m off my game. Don’t drink, stay out late, skip workouts or eat crappy food, just cause that’s what everyone else is doing. I fell off my routine multiple times throughout the series, I either was trying to keep up with what everyone else was doing or simply slacked off, and I know it cost me my A game. You don’t want to ignore people’s advice completely, I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities if I did, but make sure you still put yourself first.. Do whatever you need to do to bring your A game everyday, no matter what.

  • Bank roll management! Your bank roll isn’t big enough! lol Plain and simple, if you think you have enough, double it. I don’t care who’s bank roll strategy you follow, but double it. Some players come out to the WSOP and take every last cent they have to the tables. Its INSANE. Unless you are completely comfortable with losing your entire roll in a few weeks(and I don’t think anyone should be) Don’t be one of these players, be smart! Use the same intelligent financial decisions that got you here in the first place. Yea it’s the World Series of Poker, and you should take your shot, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot and go home broke! Many times throughout the series the loss of money, compounded by a stretch of running bad, caused me to to tilt and knock me off my game. Even if the thoughts are WAY back in my mind, it’s still there enough to start even the best players down a bad path of negativity and self doubt. Save yourself the trouble and make sure you have enough in your roll to not worry. I know it will improve your play at the tables and make the trip much more enjoyable.

  •  Just playing at Intertops while watching the One Drop!
    4. Pace yourself! Burn out is waaayy too easy at the WSOP!   Six weeks of nonstop poker is sheer craziness! haha I have a new respect for pros that play this every year and honestly, a little bit of pity. The way I and many others went about playing this series is not a way to live, even for 6 weeks! lol Doing nothing else besides playing poker is mentally abusive to ourselves and just not healthy. Being in a casino everyday, while fun for a bit, but gets very old very fast. Dealing with the smoke, the table games, the alcohol and the same degenerate players really takes a toll on you.  You need to make sure you are are balanced and not just grinding away the experience! There’s always another tourney! Thats the beauty of it! If you bust out, leave the casino and do something besides poker! Poker (actually another amazing tourney) will be there tomorrow! Also be sure to schedule days off completely. You might not think you need the break, but trust me, you do.  I was delusional thinking I could play everyday for 12-15 hour days and be at my best! If I took more time off completely, I know my game would have been better and my bankroll would be fatter lol.
    5. Enjoy the Experience! Remember you’re at the WSOP! Its the biggest and best tournament series of the year! It’s poker heaven!  And It’s Vegas! Have fun! Take time to enjoy the process. Poker is supposed to be fun, right?! If it’s not, then what’s the point! You should wake up everyday and smile at the thought you get another shot at poker fame and tons of cash!  Appreciate how lucky we are to be able to play a game like this! Soak it all up! Take pictures, meet Pros you’ve only see on TV, watch a final table in the thunderdome, have a fancy meal, see a show, hit the clubs and the pool!  I mean, it is Vegas! and the WSOP is a spectacle to say the least! ! lol There’s always something going on, poker related or not! I regret not making more time for all these things and really diving into the whole thing.  Unlimited poker isn’t always a good thing. Put the chips down and have some fun somewhere else! 
    The WSOP goes by way to fast and painfully slow at the same time lol When things are going well it’s over all too quick and when things are going  bad, you cannot get on that plane home fast enough lol It’s the part were you have these feelings all in one day that’s hard to describe, but I’m sure most players understand what I mean! lol Hopefully others reading this can learn from my very expensive lessons and not make these same mistakes. And If you’re around for next years WSOP and see me doing any of these things, you have my permission to slap me in the face with a copy of this! lol;)
    Run Good,

    Monday, 4 July 2016

    WSOP -- The Dream Continues!

    The struggle is real, but the Dream continues! Well we are wrapping up week 4 of the WSOP and if you have been keeping up with any of my updates on social media, you will have noticed I am still struggling out here at the WSOP. Fortunately for me, from the feedback on my last article and just talking to all the other players here, I am NOT alone! lol Clearly everyone can’t be winners and for a first timer like myself, it seems like its a common occurrence to be overwhelmed. The craziness that is Vegas poker during this series has force amny others to go home broke with their tail between their legs! lol But no worries we are not giving up that easily! There’s still LOTS of poker to play and plenty of time for our luck to to turn around! Stay positive and get back to work! BUT I will share a few stories with ya and try and get some sympathy from everyone, I mean, what’s a poker blog without some bad beat stories!?

    While I know being overwhelmed by Vegas affected me, I’ve had a hard time finding any Major mistakes I’ve made while playing? Sure I can pick out some small ones, and clearly there may have been a BETTER play I could have made at times. But when the money went in the middle, I almost always had the best of it. So that makes me feel a little better, but just a little lol. I’ve had JJ get two outted by 77,  AQ flop a Queen all in against my AK at least 3 times, a9 turn an Ace vs my 99 and Aces cracked twice deep in two big events! lol Pretty standard bad beat stuff, I know you’ve all been there but they still sting! Here’s one from the Goliath 600k guarantee. With a doubled up 40k stack going into the 5th level, I get a table change and it was all down hill lol. Player first to act raises to 800 at 150/300 blinds with a 100 ante, the short stack  just calls(?). I raise to 2700 on the button with AcKh and they both call? Flop comes J 10 3 all clubs. First guy checks UTG, short stack shoves his last 2400( again ?) I call and the other guy folds. Short stack turns over KQ with no club and hits a 9h on the turn, giving him a straight and no club or Queen on the river means I lose lol. I’m not sure why the short stack didn’t just ship all in over the original raise, but I’ve found that I don’t really understand why alot of players here do the things they do lol. I understand that the result would have been the same, as I’m clearly calling his all in there preflop, but at least I would have understood the logic behind his play after. lol Weird plays like that have stood out to me, maybe cause they are happening alot, or maybe cause Im giving some players too much credit, thinking they are good, just to prove me horribly wrong lol

    Article on my trip to CAPT Seefeld in
    Austria in  Casino World Magazine.
    A hand I played particularly well and am proud off (prob just shows, how much a calling station I am lol) was in another Planet Hollywood Goliath event. With a 15k stack at 200/400 blinds with a 50 ante, a super aggressive younger guy who just lost a hand raised from 4th position to 1200. I called from the big blind with 86 suited. Flops Ks 8h 4d and I check, he bets 1300 really quickly and I call. Turns a Qc and he fires 3500 without even thinking. I call river comes the 10d and he almost instantly goes all in for my last 11k when I check. He looks sick after I don’t snap fold. I though for maybe 15 seconds and called it off and he says “your good, I punted”. Then his jaw hits the table when I turn over my hand. lol Went with my gut and I was right, huuraay me.  One time in like 100 that works right?! lol This last one from the monster stack is up for debate lol let me know if you would have made this play, or if im just a donkey! I 3 bet squeezed from the button on a very active players raise and a very weak players call. I have Q6 of diamonds. we all have about starting stacks at 15k. He makes it 150, guy calls and i make it 550. Just the original raiser calls and the flop comes Ac Kc 8h. he checks and I bet 1250 (why that much? lol) and he calls. Turn is Qc, and we both check. River is 5c, for a four card flush on the board and he checks again. I bet 2700 and he tanks, eventually calling me with KQ for top two pair? I still don’t know how I feel about either one of our plays in this hand lol so feedback is welcome. Live and learn right?

    Breakfast with Pro and coach Jonathan Little!
    I’ll stop whining to you now! lol  We’ve got roughly two more weeks here with SO many tournaments and cash games to play, so we’ve got plenty of opportunities to write at least a few more winning hands!;) lol If anything this has been a great learning experience, and hopefully It forces me to progress as a player. Lets hope I at least don’t make the same expensive mistakes! lol This weekend has alot of fun lower buy in tourneys that can potentially turn this trip around! Wish me luck!

    Run Good and have fun!