Monday, July 27, 2009

Tim's Birthday Poker

On Saturday Night, the group got together at BJ's Brewery for some dinner to celebrate Tim's turning yet another year older. It was a fun time, with some great grub and some great fellowship.

After the meal, we headed back to my place for some poker action. In all, we were 7 handed. The play started out pretty fast, and included both Tim and I having to exercise our re-buy options relatively early (Tim a few times, although once he got really unlucky when I called his pre-flop all-in with 44. He showed 77 and I flopped a set of 4's to bust him).

In the end, once the re-buy period was over, Tim was the first player to exit. Chris would follow him, and Amber shortly after. Amber was clearly under the weather, and committed the last of her chips on a Q high board, but I made the call with KK and had her Q4 dominated. The turn and river offered her no improvement, and she was eliminated in 5th.

4 handed action lasted a few hours as Jay, Cherice, Traci and I were all relatively similarly stacked, though I believe that Traci began with the most chips, and Cherice near as many, and Jay and I were slightly shorter. We played really great poker, but it was very conservative for the most part. A lot of preflop raises to steal the blinds, with occasional continuation bets on the flop to scoop relatively smallish pots. I was able to chip up quite nicely to a decent stack, and a relatively comfortable chip lead.

Jay would be the 1st of our foursome to go out committing the last of his chips short stacked and just coming out behind. And 3 handed action commenced, and went about another hour. The first all in and call happened with the board showing Ks-Js-7c-2h. Traci made the move all in and I was faced with a very tough decision holding As-2s. It wasn't that much more to make the call, but I really didn't have a great read on her. Based on implied and pot odds, I went against my gut, and made the call hoping to hit the river. Traci tossed over 2-2 for the turned set, and the river bricked out doubling her up.

Shortly there after, I would steal a couple more blinds, and then play back at Cherice to get the rest of her chips in the middle on the turn. I had made a standard pre-flop bet of 3 times with K9, and Cherice came along. The flop came K high, and I made a continuation bet of another 30, and Cherice again made the call. The turn came with a 9, and I moved all in, Cherice committed the remainder of her chips with an Ace high, and I raked a good pot to take a sizable chip advantage to heads up.

Heads up with Traci lasted only two hands, when I got Traci to commit all of her chips after turning a straight. She called with middle pair, and the evening was over. It was the second win for me in as many nights.

Next Friday looks good to go for the home game, so we'll be a go at the same time as usual. See ya then. - Cheers, P

November 9 Spotlight - Joe Cada

Like many young aspiring poker pros, Joe Cada realized that college wasn't for him. The Shelby Township, Michigan native took the leap toward becoming a professional poker player shortly after beginning classes at Macomb Community College. And while most dropouts find the transition difficult, Cada's decision to leave school turned out to be the most lucrative of his young life. A short time later, he became a member of the 2009 World Series of Poker November Nine.

A cash game specialist, Cada took a stab at his first ever World Series of Poker this year after turning 21 last year. he cashed twice before the Main Event, taking 64th in Event #13 ($2,500 No Limit Hold'em) for $6,681, and then 17th in Event #34 ($1,500 No Limit Hold'em) for $21m533. Once among the chip leaders of Event #34, Cada was eliminated by the 2009 WPT Player of the Year, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier when Grospellier spiked a two-outer on the river against him.

Joe will enter the final table fifth in chips with just over 13 Million. He made a big move on Day 8, doubling his stack despite having his pocket aces cracked by the pocket tens of Jamie Robbins after all the chips went in pre-flop. That 3.5 million chip pot would have given Joe more ammunition to fire at his table mates, but it certainly didn't prevent him from attacking any more. Cada was easily the most active player at his table and even played back at Phil Ivey several times as the final table approached.

Joe is a risk taker, and will likely be one of the players to move quickly in this tournament. Hopefully, Joe can continue to move UP in chips. But one thing is for certain, Joe will see his share of the action.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

November 9 Spotlight - Kevin Schaffel

Kevin Schaffel is from Coral Springs, FL, and is the oldest member of the 2009 "November 9" at 51 years of age. He currently sits among the middle of the pack, 6th in chips with a little over 12 million.

A divorced father of two college aged children, Schaffel owned and operated several businesses prior to taking up poker and his run at the 2009 WSOP Main Event. In 2006, after putting his printing and direct mail businesses on the shelf because of a downturn, Shaffel increased the number of poker tournaments that he played, and began moving around the country chasing the poker circuit. While his name is not immediately recognizable to the casual poker fan, Schaffel actually has had a grea deal of success in the WSOP Main Event.

In the 2004 Main Event, Schaffel would exit in 42nd place for$60,000. In 2008, Schaffel would again cash in the Main Event, finising 324th for a $32,166 pay day. Kevin also has cashes in the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and two World Poker Tour Events, including a 5th place finish in the 2007 Legends of Poker $5,000 buy in event, which brought Kevin $21,375. In all, Schaffel has earned more than $1.4 million at the tables, including his payout for being a member of the "November Nine."

Kevin will be sponsored by PokerStars when the Final Table resumes in November.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

November 9 Spotlight - Phil Ivey

It's hard to build up a poker player as accomplished as Phil Ivey. When he enters the Amazon Room and sits at the WSOP Main Event Final Table in November, Phil will easily have the most poker experience. Ivey's been on Poker's Biggest stage for years, and has so many success stories, it's hard to say what the best ones are. You can make a case that Phil is not only the best poker player alive (some would argue that to be true - and I agree that he has to be in that discussion), but some may say (and I don't think that they're off base) that Ivey is perhaps the greatest poker player to have ever played the game. He is that good. A win at this main event would only add to a collection of impressive poker accomplishments.

Phil is a professional poker player who plays online at Full Tilt Poker, and I went there to read up on his bio. What I came accross just continued to surprise me the more that I read. I wanted to share with you the bio on Full Tilt, because it does an excellent job on capturing the tournament poker accomplishments of Ivey (much better than I ever could have done). So, enjoy:

Raised in New Jersey, Phil's poker career began in Atlantic City. he made his name as a high stakes player before moving on to the live tournament circuit in 2000. It was then, at the age of 23, Phil won his first World Series of Poker title - beating Phil Hellmuth and Amarillo Slim in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event.

2002 saw Ivey claim 3 more WSOP bracelets, winning the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud, $2,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo and $2,000 SHOE events. Over the next couple of years, his success continued with wins in a World Poker Open event, two Bellagio and two Commerce events. In addition to these performances, he also made several WPT final tables - impressive results for a player only 25 years of age.

In 2005, Phil earned his 5th WSOP bracelet in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event, and made two more WPT final tables. He finished 2nd in the WSOP Circuit Event at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, before winning the Monte Carlo Millions tournament for $1 million in prize money. Phil then went on to win a further $600,000 just 24 hours late, with a first-place finish at "The FullTiltPoker.Net Invitational Live from Monte Carlo."

In January 2006, Phil was named Player of the Year by the UK Gaming awards, "Bluff Magazine" and "All In Magazine." His incredible run continued at the 2006 WSOP, with a 2nd place finish in the $5,000 Omaha Hi/Lo event and a 3rd place finish in the $50k HORSE event, winning over $800k in total. He also increased his reputation through the heads-up Phil Ivey vs. Andy Beal challenge, where he won over $16 million in just three days by playing against the poker billionaire.

The following year, Phil won the "Earphones Please" episode of "Poker After Dark" for $130k before making the final table in the 2007 WSOP $5k HORSE event. In 2008, Phil made his 8th appearance at the WPT Championships, where he won his first ever WPT title and landed in the top ten on the all-time tournament money list.

In 2009, Phil has proven himself as one of the greatest players of all time by winning two more WSOP Bracelets and by making it to the final table of the Main Event.

His 6th gold bracelet came in the $2.5k No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event when he bested a field of 147 entrants, including some of the world's top poker players, for more than $96k. He won his 7th bracelet in the $2.5k Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event for over $220k in prize money, a victory which ties Phil in fourth place with Billy Baxter for All-Time Bracelet wins.

In November, Phil will be looking for his third bracelet of the year and his first Main Event win when he sits down at the Main Event final table. Coming to the table with 9.8 million chips, Phil is guaranteed to add a minimum of $1.26 million to his career tournament earnings as a member of the "November Nine." To date, he has cashed in 36 WSOP events and accrued over $10.8 million in career tournament earnings.

Ask anyone who knows even a little about poker, and Phil Ivey will be the answer as the favorite to win this event.

Took down the home game

I must be playing some pretty good poker lately, as last night I was able to take down the home game again. We had 11 players to start, which meant that we again had to play with two tables. These are my favorite games because for me, more people simply equals more fun.

I started off play just completely cold. I played basically two pots, and committed little chips to them as neither of them really panned out for me (AK from the button lost to a 4 flush - and Kd-Td from the CO was re-raised all in, so I let it go). But apparently tight was right, as Janeth went out in 11th, and Jay in 10th - we re-drew our seats to complete a final table.

I opened with a flurry as I began in the SB with AA at 3/6 blinds. Robert 3 bet the pot, and Traci moved all in from the button for her last 34. I thought about the best way to get Robert's chips and then decided that 18 was nice, 34 of Traci's was better, and I moved all in to isolate. Everyone else folded, and Traci tabled JJ. The Aces held, and I began chipping up with a finally healthy stack.

Becky would be the next to exit in 9th place as she would get the remaining 8 chips she had in the middle with K9, but ran into Robert's Ace high. Chris would exit to Robert as well in 7th. Cherice would exit in 6th having played wonderfully. She moved with K9 as well, and got called by A8 of Robert. The flop came out A-K-J, which gave some hope to Cherice as she hit at least a pair, and the turn 9 gave her two and the lead. But the river 8 gave Robert a better 2 pair, and her night was done.

With 5 left, Robert would be the next to exit when I felted him with 88 vs. KQ. I raised pre-flop and he made the call. The board came out 9-4-4, and Robert moved all in. I made the call putting him on two overs, and ended up having him covered. The board ran out with two under's and my pair was enough to take that large pot. 4th place went to Brian who committed the last of his stack on the river with the board reading Q-2-T-9-2. I made the call with AA, and they were good.

3 handed, I was able to eliminate Jordan. I had the big stack, and I limped from the small blind with 5d-4d and the flop came out 6c-8d-9c. I checked, and Jordan checked behind. The turn was a 3d and I bet the minimum 10, and Jordan just called. The river was the Kd and I bet out 20, Jordan moved all in and I called with my flush. He showed T-7 for the flopped straight, and exited after the runner-runner flush.

Heads up, I commanded a huge chip advantage of about 900 to 200, and it actually went back and forth pretty well for the first 15 hands or so. The final hand played out with me having Kd-4d on the button, and opening to 30, Tim made the call. The flop came out J high with Jd-4d-Th. I checked and Tim checked as well. The turn was the 9h, and I again checked. Tim bet 50 which left him with only 60 or so behind, and I thought for a while deciding that I was getting too good of implied odds to fold, and just called. The river brought the Qc, and Tim moved all in. I called with my K high straight, and Tim tabled a pair of J's to be eliminated in 2nd.

It was a fun night of poker, and I'm glad that we had such a great turnout. Tonight, we're going out for Tim's birthday, and then likely coming back for some more home game action. Cheers, Paul

Friday, July 24, 2009

November 9 - Antoine Saout

In recent history, the World Series of Poker Main Events have been a stage where relative unknown poker players have placed their untapped skills on the worlds largest poker stage, and emerged from an unknown player to a multi-millionaire superstar. Since Chris Moneymaker won the prize of World Champion in 2003, it has become the popular trend to qualify for the Main Event through small online satellites with low buy-ins, and parlay that into a mega bucks. Such is the case for Antoine Saout.

The 25-year old Frenchman from Saint Martin des Champs, is playing in his first ever World Series and has no documented live poker cashes or experience. Saout started playing poker approximately eighteen months ago and won his seat to the 2009 WSOP Main Event on the Internet through a $50 satellite on Everest Poker ( In fact, many on the site are now sharing in the success that Saout is enjoying. Thanks to Saout's breakthrough of being an Everest Poker player who made it to the "November Nine," 51 players have earned a share of $1 Million, which breaks down to roughly $19,000 per person.

Antoine Saout has had potentially the toughest road to earning his way to the "November Nine" final table. For the final three days of playing the 2009 Main Event, he was in the unenviable position of being on the left of fellow "November 9" combatant Phil Ivey. Saout sits on one of the shortest stacks at the final table with only 9.5 million chips, but he does have history one his side. Should Saout chip up to an eventual win, I believe that this would be tremendous for poker as it would place the Chris Moneymaker effect back in action. The year after Moneymaker took home the big prize on his $50 sattelite, poker exploded! I would expect to see the same effect if Saout were to do the same.

Shipping the TPT

Last night's Twitter Poker Tour turned out a successful venture for me as I took down the TPT for my first time. I've won the TPTE event before, but this was my first win in the TPT after several previous cashes.

I was awe struck when I'd received a message that Lee Childs had joined the TPT for the evening, and opened his table to watch how he attacked the field. In the beginning, he was extremely aggressive as there were 28 players, and 4 tables. So with the action being shorter, Lee attacked often, and picked up some very good pots to chip to one of the leaders.

Then his table was moved as we consolidated to 3 tables, and he tightened up to some degree. @Kingsteve was at his table and chipped up huge, and would remain that way until 3 handed.

On my table, I was playing solid poker for the most part, and made one costly mistake early. With QQ, I opened for a min raise from early position. The flop came out harmless 7-4-2, and I opened for half pot sized bet. I got a call, and a raise behind me, and I re-raised. A fold then a shove, and I had a decision to make. There were 2 spades on the board, and I put my opponent on a flush or straight draw, having him covered. I made the call, and he tossed over 7-7 for the winning set. That one hurt a lot, as my 3000 starting stack had dwindled to around 800.

I would fall to under 700 when I was able to get things into gear. Blinds were still low enough that even though I was short, I could make some moves. I shoved with T-T at one point, and doubled my stack in a flip after the flop. I then called a pre-flop shove with AK after making a solid read, and my opponent tabled AT. That one took me to almost 2k. I would take some small pots, and then have a stack over 3k.

Then my big pot came with two tables left. I had AQ in the SB, and I was able to see a flop with 5 other players just by limping. The flop came Q-9-9, and I felt that I was best. I checked it to see what other players did, and an early position player opened, and was raised by a middle position player. I called, as did the early position player, so 3 of us saw the turn. It was harmless so I led out with a bet of 3/4 pot. The early position player called, and then the middle position player raiser went all in. I made the call, the EP player folded, and we showed our cards. My AQ was in great shape against KQ. The river blanked, my kicker played, and I chipped up to over 10k with that pot.

I rode that stack to the final table, where I played my best poker. I was involved in a lot of pots, and got the best of the ones that I was in most of the time. I didn't have spectaculr cards, but I used position and solid bets to chip up. I moved when I made my hands, and it worked.

Lee childs would eventually go out in 7th place moving his last 4k with 77, and getting called by another middle pair (I believe it was 99).

I had chipped up to about 35k when we'd made it to 3 handed poker having @Kingsteve covered by only 80 chips, when the big hand of the night came in. I woke up in the BB with QQ, and Steve had made a pre-flop 3 bet from the button. I min-raised him, and he 3-bet me. I shoved my stack and he made the call with AJ. The Q's held and elminated in Steve in one giant pot, where I would take a 75k to 9k lead into heads up. From there, I controled action and took down the eventual win.

It was a fun tournament, and I am still in a little shock that I took it down to be honest. In looking back on my play, I really only made 2 mistakes, but got lucky on 1 of them. I moved with TT on a board of Q-8-5. This was after I'd re-raised pre-flop from the big blind and was called. My opponent said that they'd laid down JJ, which had they called, I would've busted. But the shove made them muck their hand, and I continued to chip up.

I had a blast, and now have a TPT title under my belt. Hopefully, I can continue this kind of play and end up the season on the top of the leaderboard.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

November 9 spotlight - James Akenhead

James Akenhead is a British Poker Pro and has just two World Series of Poker cashes to his name. Both of Akenhead's cashes came after deep runs on poker's biggest stage. James finishes as the runner-up to Grant Hinkle in a $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament during the 2008 WSOP, earning $520,000. he also took 39th in a 1,500 Euro buy-in No Limit Hold'em Event in the WSOP Europe festivities in London that year, taking home just over 3,000 Euros for the effort. James is a former railroad conductor who now competes on the green felts for a living.

Akenhead is a regular on the Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour and finished 4th in the U.K. Open in 2008 after winning two preliminary heats. Akenhead is one of Britains top players, coming from a long line of pro's from the country including David 'Devilfish' Ulliot, Roland de Wofe, John Gale, and Liv Boeree. In July of 2007, James made his mark on U.S. soil winning a $1,000 event during the Bellagio Cup with a $41,000 prize. He's since cashed in tournaments around the world, including the United States, Bahamas, Germany, Ireland, and France.

James Akenhead is one of two non-U.S. players at the 2009 Main Event final table, joining Frenchman Antoine Saout. He's just 26 years-old and is the tournament's short stack. He'll likely have the support of poker's established pro's during the finale, who are looking to buck an ongoing trend of amateurs winning the Main Event.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Announcing the November 9

Over the next 9 Days, I'll be posting player Bio's on each of the 9 members of the Final Table of the Main Event of the 2009 World Series of Poker. I think that it will be fun to get to know a little more about each of the players.

Here's the Schedule:

Day 1 - James Akenhead, 6.8m
Day 2 - Antoine Saout, 9.5m
Day 3 - Phil Ivey, 9.7m
Day 4 - Kevin Schaffel, 12.3m
Day 5 - Joseph Cada, 13.2m
Day 6 - Jeff Shulman, 19.5m
Day 7 - Steven Begleiter, 29.8m
Day 8 - Eric Buchman, 34.8m
Day 9 - Darvin Moon, Chip Leader, 58.9m

I hope you enjoy the content.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Twitter Poker Tour Charity Tournament (Benefiting Bad Beat on Cancer)

I am pleased to have worked on and put together a Charity Poker event with the Twitter Poker Tour to benefit Bad Beat on Cancer. this is a charity that is near to my heart as my wife Traci is a cancer survivor. The event will be hosted on Full Tilt Poker, and be on Sunday, August 9th at 6:15PM EST/(3:15PM PST). The Tournament Number is 99488653, and the password is TPTFOR BBOC. The buy in is only $10, with half of those proceeds going directly to the charity. There will be several top Full Tilt Poker Pro's attending, and the event is open to everyone.

I'm passionate about poker, and doubly passionate about the eradication of cancer. I think that it's impossible these days to not know someone who has been impacted by cancer. In our case, I would hope that no individual would ever have to endure what our family has had to endure, and that perhaps one day, we'll even discover a cure.

There are tons of wonderful charity's out there, and a bunch that are affiliated with cancer. But for me, The Prevent Cancer Foundation is the group that Pablosplace and Team7Deuce has joined with, and taken the 1% pledge to donate 1% of all of our tournament proceeds to charity.

I hope that every reader of Pablosplace, every member of Team7Deuce, and every member of the Twitter Poker Tour will join me in participating in this tournament, and in giving back to this worthwhile charity. I thank you in advance for your charity.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The November 9

Surviving a field of 6,494 player, 9 players will reconvene at the final table in November for a shot at $8.5 Million and the most illustrious prize in Poker History, a Main Event Championship Bracelet. Here are the final 9 Players, their Chip Counts, and their World Series of Poker Experience:

Darvin Moon – (58,930,000) CHIP LEADER – The beneficiary of two gigantic pots late, Moon has soared to the chip lead. He busted Bill Kopp in 11th place by flopping a better flush with Qd-Jd to Kopp’s 5d-3d, and won a pot worth about 45k. Then, he eliminated Jordan Smith in 10th place with 88 vs AA by flopping a set of 8’s, and getting Smith all in on the flop. This is Moon’s first ever tournament cash at the WSOP, and he's set himself up nicely to run very deep with almost twice as many chips as then closest player at the final table.

Eric Buchman – (34,800,000) – This makes double digit cashes for Eric Buchman as he has 9 previous WSOP Cashes, totaling $320,893 in tournament winnings. He also has 1 Circuit cash to the tune of $208,666. He is no stranger to final tables with 3 already under his belt (1 being that circuit event, the $5,000 buy in Atlantic City where he finished 2nd). He finished runner up in the 2006 WSOP in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event, and 6th in this year’s $2,500 buy in Omaha/Seven Card Stud HL/8 or better event. Eric is a professional poker player, and a force to be reckoned with as he sits 2nd in chips. He is very experienced.

Steven Begleiter – (29,885,000) – Another unknown in poker, Begleiter has also made this his first ever WSOP Cash. With just under 30 million chips, Steven is poised to make a very deep run.

Jeff Shulman – (19,580,000) - ‘Happy’ Shulman is another experienced player who is no stranger to the cash in the WSOP. With 15 career WSOP Tournament Cashes, and $289,551 in career earnings at the WSOP, Shulman is an experienced player. He was 4 other final table’s in the WSOP, but never finished better than 3rd. In 2000, he made only $500 in the Charity No Limit Hold’em event for that 3rd place finish. His biggest cash to date was that same year where he made the final table of the Main Event, but was eliminated in 7th place for $146,700. Things have changed at the main event since ‘Happy’ last took part in a final table, but look for him to use his prior experience to accumulate chips.

Joseph Cada – (13,215,000) – Cada had his first, second, and only cashes at this year’s WSOP. He placed 64th in Event 13 (the No Limit Hold’em $2,500 buy-in event) for $6,681, and he placed 17th in Event 34 (the $1,500 buy in No-Limit Hold’em) for $21,533. Joseph is being railed by the pro’s at Ultimate Bet, so expect names like Hellmuth, Duke, and Tiffany Michelle to be names along the rail if Joe is able to run deep.

Kevin Schaffel – (12,390,000) – This is Kevin’s second career WSOP cash, with the other coming in as a 324th place finish in last year’s Main Event. Schaffel picked up a payday of $32,166 for that performance.

Phil Ivey – (9,765,000) – The best player at this table is probably the best player in the world. Ivey is the 7 time bracelet winning monster that NO player at this table wants to get involved with. Despite the fact that he’s shorter on chips, the professional poker player is a regular to all high stakes games. He was the youngest player ever to attain 5 WSOP bracelets, and of his 7 previous victories, none have come in No Limit Hold’em. He has 35 WSOP Cashes, 22 of which came at Final Tables. Despite the fact that Ivey holds more than $3.4 million in career WSOP Tournament winnings, this will be his largest WSOP cash. Of the 6,494 players that entered the tournament, Ivey is considered one of the favorites by most, and at this final table, he has to be counted a favorite regardless of his chip size. Expect Ivey to use his experience to take some uncontested pots, simply because other players want to avoid him.

Antoine Saout – (9,500,000) – The Frenchman of the field is one of two non US players. Saout has made this final table his first WSOP cash, and hopes to make it the year that an international player takes it away from the Yanks. He’s got a long road to hoe if that’s the case as he’s sitting 8th of the 9 remaining players.

James Akenhead – (6,800,000) – The Brit comes into the Final Table with the fewest chips of the November 9, but is not without his WSOP final table experience. Akenhead has 2 other WSOP cashes to his credit, including a runner up in last year’s $1,500 buy in No Limit Hold’em Event #2. His 2nd place finish netted the Brit a sum of $520,219. Later that season at the WSOPE, James also placed 39th in the E1500 buy in event netting him 3075 Euro’s. Make no mistake, James is an excellent player, and very capable of doubling his stack to make this very competitive.

All 9 players are capable of putting together a run, and winning it all. It’s almost a shame that we have to wait till November to see who will be crowned the next champion. I’ll have a piece on each of the players with a little bit more bio information as we approach the main event. But for now, that’s all on the main event till November. Cheers, P

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 Tables Left in the 2009 Main Event

Yesterday, day 7 of Event #57 drew to a close, and the massive field of 6,494 that began with hopes, dreams, and aspirations of becoming the next world champion of the main event were dashed by every player but for these final 27 players. 26 players will walk away with large cash prizes, but only 1 will go down in poker history with the title 'World Champion'.

Out chip leader for the moment is one, Darvin Moon; who in custom practice for the WSOP main event, has earned his first ever WSOP cash. He has no major tournament victories or cashes to speak of, and yet sits on a stack of more than 20 million, better than 4 million more than second place Billy Kopp.

But the real story of the 27 remaining players is that of the 11.7 Million of some guy named Phil Ivey. The 7 time bracelet winner is THRIVING in this years main event, and ask any player remaining, he is the player that you don’t want to tangle with. Ivey is in rare form even for his standards, dominating this Main Event field. He’s playing a different game this year than everyone else, and it has just been a higher level of poker than everyone.

The remaining 3 tables have two goals: First, to survive today’s carnage as 18 players will leave us, and we’ll be down to the final table. Make that table, and you’re guaranteed at least $1 million in cash earnings from the tournament, but sponsorships galore and poker infamy await the 9 players who will resume their play in November for the chance to become the next WSOP Main Event Champion. The second goal is to come out on top of that final table, and claim the ultimate prize of $8.5 million, and Champ.

Here is how the final 3 table’s will sit as we begin play today at noon.

(Table 1)
Jesse Haabak - 2,750,000
Ian Tavelli - 4,385,000
James Calderaro - 6,475,000
Jonathan Tamayo - 3,300,000
Warren Zackey - 5,485,000
Eric Buchman - 10,005,000
Leo Margets - 1,530,000 (the lone remaining female)
Tommy Vedes - 5,070,000
James Akenhead - 8,615,000

(Table 2)
Phil Ivey - 11,350,000
Jeff Shulman - 10,170,000
George Caragiorgas - 1,615,000
Nick Maimone - 1,545,000
Andrew Lichtenberger - 5,625,000
Marco Mattes - 5,285,000
Joseph Cada - 6,565,000
Darvin Moon - 20,160,000
Jordan Smith - 4,510,000

(Table 3)
Jamie Robbins - 9,795,000
Antonio Esfandiari - 4,470,000
Francois Balmigere - 1,440,000
Ludovic Lacay - 5,610,000
Steven Begleiter - 11,885,000
Ben Lamb - 9,410,000
Antoine Saout - 11,135,000
Kevin Schaffel - 11,245,000
Billy Kopp - 15,970,000

Later in the day, I will be sending out updates through twitter ( from my @Pablosplace account. Feel free to follow the bust outs from there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The 2nd Annual Seven Deuce Day Tournament

There are 4 events that Team7Deuce makes a tradition, and the Seven Deuce Day Tournament is the only one that I would call a holiday. It was become tradition that every July 2nd, Team7Deuce don’s our team apparel and heads to a casino, to take our home game to the felt.

Last year’s tournament produced a single cash, as Andrew made a deep run and finished in the money. But this years Seven Deuce Day would produce two cashes, one a final table.

7 members of our group made it to the Bicycle Casino on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 for the 2nd Annual Seven Deuce Day tourney. Besides myself, Tim, Andrew, Jordan, Jay, Amber, and Chris were in attendance, and I think that we represented our group VERY well. The tournament started each player with 4,000 starting chips, and 20 minute levels, beginning at 25/25. 6 of us made it to the first break (which was 4 levels) with Jay making the first exit of our group slightly before the break.

And at the break, we actually were mostly just hanging in. Only Tim and Jordan were on the positive side of stacks, with Tim slightly over his starting stack, and Jordan chipping up to over 17k. I had played some really great poker in the first few levels to chip up to over 6k, but lost a big pot when I bluffed all in with 7-2os, and found one caller after the turn.

The hand played out (with 75-150 blinds) I raised from early position to 300, and found 3 callers. The flop came out 8-9-4 giving me a backdoor straight draw. I put my opponents on absolutely nothing having seen a few levels of play with each of them, and after the SB checked, I led out with 600. There was only one caller from the cutoff position, and we saw the turn of a rainbow T. I immediately moved my remaining 6k into the pot, and he made a quick call showing KJo. I praised him for his great read as the river fell blank with a 3, and he doubled his stack through me, as I dipped below 3k for the first time in the tournament. I had to question his logic by calling with K high, and a straight draw. He had said that he’d put me on AK, so I REALLY don’t get the call. But, he had the best hand. Although, I’d get the best of him in the end.

After the break, Chris would hit the rail quickly. I think I overheard him say that he was all in AT vs. AJ. That was enough to end his day about midway through the tournament. Amber would follow him shortly after that. My table broke with 8 tables remaining, and I was moved to seat 2 at Jordan’s table. I got lucky as my tournament life was spared and picked up some steam with an all in with 88 from early position. But I was called by KK and was in trouble. The Seven-Deuce magic kicked in though as an 8 hit the flop, and I sent my opponent to the rail while moving to around 10k by the time that I was pulled from that table to re-balance. With about 6 tables remaining, I saw that Jordan had hit the rail. He had just gone card dead, and the blinds and antes had just really eaten him alive.

Then, my big hand of the tournament came into play. I was playing very solid poker, and had chipped up to around 20k, when I woke up with AA in the SB. A middle position player (whom I’ve played with before and identified him as the most solid player at my table) limped in, and found a caller from the hi-jack seat. But the button looked down at his cards and immediately announced all in. I asked for a count, and it was just under 15k. I moved my 20k in, and the other two players folding (the one that I thought to be a good player showed A9os). When cards were turned up, the button seat showed Ks-Ts. I had him crushed with my Aces, until the flop came out K-T-K. The flopped boat was devastating because there was only 1 remaining Ace in the deck. But as fate would have it, Seven Deuce Day was going to be lucky as the turn was the last Ace in the deck, and my boat was better. The river was a J, and I moved to over 37k on that hand, and had a sizeable chip advantage at my table.

But things went south for me from that point, and I couldn’t catch any cards. I went card dead for about 90 minutes, until I busted. I was still healthy at the bubble with about 25k, and noticed that Andrew had gone out just before the bubble burst. He would hit the rail in 30th place, and only 27 players would get paid.

Things continued to head south for me as the blinds went to 2000-4000 with a 500 ante, and I had chipped down to about 14k. I was in the cutoff seat when I looked down at KQo and figured it was time to make a move. I pushed all in, and found a caller who tossed over AA, and my day was done in 15th place. I was very happy with the way that I’d played. I got unlucky once, and lucky once, and played great the remainder of the day. It was a good tournament.

The final player from our team still in the running was Tim, and he was also holding onto around 14k. He never really chipped up very big though, but somehow managed to survive a couple of all in’s shortstacked, and found his way to 1 table. With ten players remaining, about 1/3 of his stack was gone through when he went through the blinds without seeing a flop. Then he placed 2 of his remaining 3k into the ante from the button, and folded. It was a good thing too as it allowed him to move up one more spot. With 7 players remaining, Tim committed his last 1k chip into the ante as the Blinds were 5k-10k with a 2k ante. In a three way all in (Tim was one of them) two players were eliminated. Tim’s A6 would not hold, and he was eliminated in 7th place. This was Tim’s 3rd final table, and second in a row. A great performance by him.

I want to thank everyone on Team7Deuce that made the day so incredible. It was a very fun day of poker with some amazing representation by our group. I’m looking forward to the next event, and hopefully, the next tournament win.

A month off of Blogging - Recap

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away……I had a blog. Upon this blog, my intent was to share the home game results for Pablosplace and the games of Team7Deuce. That blog blossomed a little last year when I received some positive responses to my coverage of the WSOP. I also began including some items of my personal play for some additional content, and I would recap the play of the Twitter Poker Tour.

Then, I had a wedding, and a honeymoon, and then Traci had a hospital stay, and I made a Vegas run, and things just kept getting tossed by the wayside. All that to say that life has yet to resume to any form of normalcy until this morning, where I can once again write about life.

The week of the wedding was somewhat of a blur. There were so many little details to attend to, so many little items that needed personal attention, that I actually played very little poker. On Friday night, instead of playing poker, the guys and I left the rehearsal dinner and went to see ‘The Hangover.’ If you haven’t seen this movie yet, make plans now. It was one of the single most funny films I have ever seen. From the commercials, you would think that you’d seen it all. But in reality, it has so many unexpected plot twist, amazing lines, fantastic delivery, and a story that is completely and totally unique. All in all, it was one of the best films I’ve seen.

The morning of the wedding, Tim, Andrew, Brendan and I all headed down to the Pechanga Casino for their daily tournament, (A $20+5 buy in with a 1 time optional $3 add on). The tournament is somewhat of a donkament, and the structure is just completely insane. You start with 2500 chips, and the blinds double every 15 minutes, starting at 25/50. Within 60 minutes, the 25 chips are colored up. It’s really fast.

I would be the first of the group to go busto on the wedding day, on 300-600 blinds. I made a raise to 1800 after one limper had tossed chips in. Action folded back around to the guy who moved all in. I made the call with Ad-Qd and the tossed over K-To. He would flop a K and I’d be done as he just barely had me covered. An interesting play. I was out at about the midway point.
Andrew would follow me to the rail a few moments later. But Tim and Brendan decided to make deep runs, and both cashed in dramatic fashion. Andrew and I were sweating both of them as they were only a table apart, and Tim was growing very short stacked. From the big blind, Tim squeezed a 6-2os, and was nearly all in because of the blinds. The UTG player 3 bet, and the table folded. We encouraged Tim to play his 2 live cards, which turned out to be bad advice turned good. Tim made the call for the rest of his stack with his measly 6-2 and his opponent tossed over pocket tens. But as I said, we weren’t done, as the flop produced a deuce, and the turn another to give Tim’s set of deuces the win. We went beserk as did the casino, who I think was really pulling for Team7Deuce.

So much so, that the dealer informed Andrew and I that “your buddy is all in here, you want to come check it out?” And we headed over to see that Brendan had shoved with pocket 9’s and been called by the large stack who held pocket J’s. I made it to the table in time to quib “Oooh!! At least you still have 2 outs!!!” The dealer nearly lost his sides laughing so hard, as did the other players at the table. The flop came out with all overs, but didn’t improve either hand. The turn was a meaningless 6 giving Brendan one card. And wouldn’t you know, he hit his 2-outer on the river! The table exploded and cheered. Even the guy with J’s had to give Brendan a hand shake. The room just became electric as both our guys were getting closer to the money.

Tim would shortly after get involved in another big hand as a guy bluff raised with Jd-9d and Tim made the all in call with AQo. A third player went all in with 88 and the flop came out good for Tim as he’d flopped a Q, and took the 3-way pot. That gave him enough chips to cruise to the money. The bubble burst with Brendan very short stack, and Tim average stack. Brendan would finally leave the game in 17th, and Tim would make the Final Table, eventually going busto in 7th. It was an incredible start to an incredible day, as we made the 3 hour trek to Marina Del Rey to get me married. The party was incredible, and I was so happy about really every detail.
Traci and I left the following day for our honeymoon, a week long cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was an unreal vacation, which included a little Parasailing in Cabo San Lucas, and much too much food throughout. A great trip from start to finish. However, when we returned, Traci had spiked a fever of 102, and had an elevated white cell count which indicated an infection of some kind, and was hospitalized. Between managing the kids and spending days at work, and nights at the hospital, blogging got tossed by the wayside. But with a week long stay and a healthy dose of antibiotics, the fever subsided, her stomach settled, and Traci came home.

This past weekend, Tim and I threw a shotgun bachelor party together for Robert, and we made a suicide run to Las Vegas. On our way, I was following the action through twitter as play had reached the money bubble at the main event. The bubble burst as we were traveling somewhere through Victorville, and we made the decision to start our party by railing at the main event at the Rio. The experience was one like no other I’d ever experience.

As we walked along the hallways, just outside of the Amazon room, I nudged Tim as we’d pass Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen. It suddenly became very real that we were at the World Series of Poker. Somehow, the giant banners didn’t kick that into gear for me. Seeing Men Nguyen meant that it was real. We walked into the Amazon room, and immediately saw that there was an all in and a call at the secondary Feature Table. Joe Hachem was had called a short stacked all in turning a straight, and his opponent tabled top pair to be eliminated. We watched this table for a little bit noticing that three seats to Joe’s right was reigning WSOP Main Event Champ Peter Eastgate, also with a good sized stack. We made our way around the room, just star struck. Mike Sexton (and sitting next to him was actor Lou Diamond Phillips), Kenny Tran, Joe Sebock, and then over to the Featured table where we saw Phil Ivey. We left that for a small bit and saw Phil Hellmuth standing up talking to a tournament official about something. It was unreal.

When we’d got there, play had about 5 minutes remaining on level 17 and the announcement came over the P.A. from Jack Effel that the players would finish that level, and be done for the day. So it turned out a good thing that we began our day there. We left with a couple minutes remaining in the level, and shortly after the announcement of the bust of Phil Hellmuth, who had moved all in on a board of J-T-X with AA, and two callers came along, on with J-T, and the other with 8-9. The 7 on the turn gave the player with the straight the large pot, and sent the Poker Brat to the rail, but having extended his personal record of the most cashes in WSOP history.

From there, we went to dinner at Stack in the Mirage. I had DM’d Lee Childs to see if he was interested in using our extra VIP pass to the VooDoo Lounge that evening, but he responded back that he was well chipped in the Deepstack event at the Venetian, and he likely wouldn’t be able to make it. So after dinner, we walked across the street to rail on Lee for a little. And when we did, we found that he wasn’t the only player there. There were about 90 or so players remaining, including WSOP Main Event Champions from 2002 Robert Varkonyi and 2006 Jamie Gold.

I went up to Lee while he wasn’t in the hand to say hello. He was amazing, and began recounting a hand he’d just been in where the his opponent check folded the flop to Lee’s aces. I gave him my card and wished him well, telling him that I hoped that given his stack, he wouldn’t be able to join us. And it turned out, that he was still alive when play stopped for the evening at around 2AM. It was a remarkable trip.

I left out a few tournaments that I’d played in, notably Seven Deuce Day, as I actually wrote a specific blog just for that one while Traci was in the hospital. It was easy to do as she was sleeping most of the time. And a few TPT tournaments, including the last one on Thursday where I again bubbled the cash in 5th place in the first Deepstack Tournament in the new Season 4 format. I really like the new format. I also left out a few homegames, and my bachelor party tournament which was an amazing time at the Pechanga with the guys. I’d last the longest of our group that day, going out in about 40th.

From here out though, it looks like things will return to some form of normalcy, and I can again begin to blog with some regularity. Thanks for baring with me through my silence, and I look forward to updating you regularly going forward. Cheers, Paul