Sunday, May 31, 2009

WSOP Day 4 - "Shrinkage Continued"

Day 4 of the 40th annual WSOP can really be surmised in just 1 paragraph. Event #2 played to the Final Table and Quit. Event #3 played till 19 players were left and quit. And Event #4 was day 1a, played till 376 players remained, and quit. See a trend?

There were no bracelets handed out for the second straight day, as the effort was to shrink down the size of some of the incredibly large fields. It was however an incredible day of poker that included the usual WSOP hoopla, including this year’s Lemonade Selling Contest for Refugees International. The contest pitted a lemonade stand hosted by Annie Duke of Poker fame and Celebrity Apprentice runner up (she got hosed) vs. Norman Chad, the comical co-host along with Norman Chad of the ESPN broadcasts of the WSOP. It was lots of fun, and eventually saw Annie win the contest, and promptly donate all of the proceeds to charity.

But as for the poker itself, Event #2 has finally made it to the final table. The remaining 9 players all have unique stories. There is a WSOP World Champion still amazingly in the field, and a Pablosplace hopeful. Greg Raymer, the winner of the 2004 NLHE Main Event, has suffered some of the most unfortunate luck that I can remember, and is still in great position with 3.3 million chips, which is good for 4th place.

In a series of 4 hands over 2 levels of play, Raymer saw beats that I’ve ranted about from online play, but really, when there are 14 people left in a $40k buy in event, and you’re playing for $1.8 million, or even at the Final table of that event, these are just sick. The first hand, Raymer was dealt AA, and called a shove from a short stack, who flipped over As-Qs. With 2 spades on the flop, the river spade gave his opponent a flush for the win. Not terrible, as you can’t fault the guy for shoving with a premium hand.

In the second one though, it was much sicker. Raymer made a pre-flop raise, and another Short stacked player shoved with K9o. Raymer again called with AA and the flop produced a K, and the River a 9 to give his opponent two pair. But Raymer went back to work and accumulated more chips like the champion he is.

Then, when the action went to 10 handed, Raymer was dealt QQ. An Ace hit the flop on and the board was all hearts. Raymer bet it, and his opponent called. The players checked the turn and river and Raymer commented “Ace is good.” His opponent – AJ.

Finally, Raymer again has AA and shoves, only to be called by Ted Forrest who also shows AA. The pot is chopped on this one, but Raymer took it like the a champion. He just kept winning pots with other cards and now sits in a great position at the Final Table.

My other hopeful, and the guy that I really hope wins it all is Noah Schwartz. He is currently sitting short stacked with only 660,000 in chips, which is 8th of 9 players. He had been up around 3 million, but got very unlucky as he moved over the top of a player that was stealing with 7-6 (he had shoved all in) and then was called by another player with T-T. Noah flipped QQ and was in great shape pre-flop, but the flop produced a T, and the turn another T to give Torelli Quad T’s to scoop a giant pot. Schwartz is still alive, but will need a couple of double ups to make a run at the title. But I commend him for his amazing play and this Final Table appearance. Great job Noah.

In Event #3, the bubble burst at 90 players, and we ended the day with 19 players remaining. My eye has been on 2 players in the remaining field. 1 is the defending champion of this event, Thang Luu, who is currently sitting 2nd in chips with 410k. Repeats in the WSOP are just flat out impossible in this day and age. The field sizes continue to grow, and players are getting better and better as more and more players learn how to play the game. I think it will be very interesting to see if Thang can hang in there to win a second championship in this even in a row.
The other player that I’ve had my eye on is Freddy Deeb. I’ve only caught a little bit of poker on TV lately, but the couple that I have, were WPT events that saw Deeb at the Final Table. Deeb is really an undervalued player in my opinion. He is truly a fantastic poker player, that plays all of the games well, evidenced by the fact that 1 of his 2 WSOP bracelets came in the H.O.R.S.E. event. But he’s had 25 total cashes a the WSOP, 14 of which were Final table’s, resulting in 2 Championships (the 2007 H.O.R.S.E Championship, and the 1996 $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball). He also bubbled in 10th of the $3,000 Limit Hold’em event, or it would’ve been 15 Final Tables. Deeb is an incredibly accomplished poker pro, and I wish him luck in this event.

In Event #4, the field size had to be capped. There were 2 days of poker that are considered to be Day 1a and Day 1b. Because of the size of the field, these days needed to be broken down this way to accommodate all the players, but because of the calendar of events, the field size is capped at 3,000 players per day. Well, day 2 sold out already, and we have a field size that has 6,000 players bought in. Day 1a finished with very few big names still in it. Jason Mercier and Corwin Cole are probably the two largest names that remain in this field, as nearly 90% of the field was eliminated that played in Day 1a. 376 players will wait a day to resume, as Day 1b gets under way with the other 3,000 players today.

Also today, we have the Final Table of Event #2 this afternoon, The final 19 players of Event #3 will be in play, and a special event in which the 25 surviving WSOP Main Event Champions will be competing in a Freeroll event. Greg Raymer will likely have to miss this event as he’ll be playing in the $40k, but the field will host an incredible set of names. It should make for a great television broadcast as well.

That’s all for Day 4. I’ll have more from Day 5, including the likely awarding of the next 2 bracelets of the WSOP 2009 tomorrow morning. Cheers

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pablosplace History is Made

Last night saw another one of the ladies of Team7Deuce take down the home game, although this time it was a first. Amber has played with us for nearly a year, and while she's cashed several times, Heads up poker has just never been her friend. Last night things completely turned for her on her very first heads up hand as she and Gary moved all their chips into the middle on a flop of Q-J-6. Amber had shoved, and Gary made the call. Gary flipped over A-10 for Ace high and a gut-shot straight draw, but Amber tossed over Q-3 for the made top pair. The turn card helped out Amber even more as the 3c fell, meaning that Gary was drawing dead to the 4 remaining K's in the deck. But the river card of 9h meant that Amber would claim her first title at the Pablosplace Home Game. I couldn't be more proud. Congrats!

It was a great game last night as 9 players saw action to the felt in total. That means that we paid 3 players, and Traci returned to cash in 3rd, moving with Pocket Q's, but was called by Gary who tossed over A-6 suited to win the pot when he flopped an Ace.

It was great fun. I'm looking forward to getting my chance again next week as it's the last home game before the bachelor party game, a nice live game tune up. We should have a decent crowd here too as I've already spoken with several players that will be returning from last night, and another few that say that they are DEFINITELY in for next week.

Until then, Cheers - P

WSOP Day 3 - A day of Shrinkage

Day 3 of the WSOP produced no bracelets. It was a day to trim the fields of Event #2, the open $40k buy in even and the Monster Event #3, $1500 Omaha Hi/Low-Eight or Better. Both tournaments are monsters in their own right for completely different reasons.

In Event #2 – play began with 89 of the original 201 players competing for a huge cash prize. This was the second day of this event, and action got going quickly with many big name pro’s hitting the rail. The likes of which that made their final exit included Doyle Brunson, Mike “the mouth” Matusow, Phil Ivey, Chris Moneymaker, Huck Seed, Michael DeMichele, Hoyt Corkins, and Antonio Esfandiari among others. In the end, 23 players are remaining. The last 4 finishers all were in the money and took home a prize of $71,858 for their two day efforts. Those cashers were, Vanessa Rousso (27th), JC Tran (26th), Sorel Mizzi (25th), and David “The Dragon” Pham (24th).

The 23 remaining players will get under way today at the Rio as we work closer to the final table. Of the remaining players, the top chip holders are

1- Justin Bonomo (2.6 mil)
2- Ted Forest (2.5 mil)
3- David Baker (2.3 mil)
4- Greg Raymer (2.1 mil)
5- Lex Veldhuis (2.1 mil)

After that, the next place chip count is at 1.2 mil. I’m still pulling for Noah Schwartz (541k) to win this one, but he’s going to have to play some amazing poker today to get into the money.

I find it interesting that Ted Forest was able to do so well given the fact that he didn’t return from the Dinner Break…well, on time at least. 52 players went to dinner, and 51 came back. About 2 hours later, Ted Forest returned to his seat where he’s missed several rounds of blinds and antes. He claimed that he’d gone back to his hotel room and fell asleep. Well the nice mid tournament nap apparently refreshed him, and he’s now 2nd in chips!

In Event #3, we saw that largest field EVER in the history of the WSOP for a Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo-Eight or Better event. 918 total players bought in for the $1500 entry, which is almost 100 more than entered for this event last year. This is a great sign as to the continued growth of Poker. The event included several marquis names including the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Ferguson. Probably the most interesting story of Event #3 is that last years champion in this event, Thang Lu, is not only alive in the tourney, but thriving as the chip leader. It’ll be interesting to see if he can hang onto the lead and repeat as the champion in this event.

A total of 197 players will make their way to the Rio again today to resume play. Chip counts weren’t made available as I wrote this, so I don’t have any updates there. But I’ll let you know about more notables at some point.

Today will have three events in play, as we play down to a Final Table in Event #2, Reduce the field size of Event #3, and begin play in Event #4. I thing Event #4 (which is the $1,000 NLHE event) may actually pose the largest field size of any of the tournaments outside the Main Event. It’ll be interesting to see how many players turn out for their shot at a bracelet.

I’ll have more for you tomorrow. Cheers, Paul

Friday, May 29, 2009

WSOP Day 2 - The first Bracelet

Day 2 brought the very first bracelet of the 40th Annual WSOP. And the first champion of 2009 was none other than a bartender from N9NE Steakhouse in Las Vegas, NV - Andrew Cohen. This was Andrew’s second WSOP cash, as he'd finished 15th in Event #3 WSOP Circuit event for a little more than $15k in the 2006/2007 series. But this time, he made away with the jewelry and the top prize in Event 1 $500 buy in NLHE, which was $83,778.

Andrew really stepped up his game at the final table and began knocking out most of the competitors at the final table to take a huge chip lead that he wouldn’t relinquish. When play slowed down (and it got terrible slow when we hit 5 players remaining), Andrew was the first to really start to mix things up, and he came out on the better side of each of the showdowns to eventually claim the prize.

Most of the participants in the field were relative unknowns, but Andrew now holds the esteemed honor (even if it is for a day) of being the ONLY 2009 Bracelet winner. Congratulations Andrew.

In the other event, the media circus began when Event 2 got under way. Event 2 is the “Who’s Who” of the poker world, and is the $40,000 buy in NLHE event. The field size had been talked about in many poker circles, and in the end, there were 201 players who paid the $40k to enter the tournament, which means a prize pool of a whopping $7.7 million, of which first place would take home just short of $1.9 million. Not too shabby. The tournament will begin paying the final 3 tables (or 27 players if you’re wondering), and with over 200 big name pro’s, there were a TON of notable exits yesterday. The current chip leaders after day 1 are:

Bruno Fituossi – 812,500
Chris Moneymaker – 805,500
Justin Bonomo – 738,000
Alexander Veldhuis – 646,500
Kyle Wilson – 611,500
Brian Townsend – 609,000
Michael DeMichele – 519,500
Emil Patel – 494,500
Alan Sass – 491,000
Andrew Black – 449,500

Personally, I’m pulling for Mark Seif (411,500) or Noah Schwartz (168,000), as those are two people that I’ve had dealings with. They are tremendous human beings, and seeing them take down an event like this would be 100% deserving. I’ll provide more info on twitter (@Pablosplace) as the day unfolds. Action will resume again in the Amazon Room at 2PM as the 89 remaining players toss their chips around in an effort to win the 2nd bracelet and likely one of the largest cash prizes of the 2009 WSOP

I think that one of the great surprises of this event so far has to be the great play of Former WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker. Chris just hasn’t received much respect from the top name pro’s since winning the Main Event a few years ago. He’s a skilled player, who definitely got lucky to win that event, but was good enough to get himself there. I like Chris for the same reason that many other players like him; he is largely responsible for the poker boom. It was Chris that took a $40 online satellite buy in all the way to a WSOP Main Event Championship and millions of dollars. Overnight, it gave every amateur poker player the dream of being able to run lucky enough to do exactly the same thing. People everywhere chase the dream of what Chris was able to accomplish. I know that I am not alone when I think “maybe one day, that could be me.” Chris is a wonderful ambassador for the game of poker and gives all of us amateurs hope. I wish him continued success at this event as well.

In addition to the action of Event 2, Event 3 will also get underway today. Event 3 is the $1,500 buy in Omaha Hi-Low Split (8 or better) event, and should attract a decent crowd. I’ll bet that most of the high profile pro’s that busted in Day 1 of Event 2 will likely be playing in this event.

That’s it for the Day 2 recap. I’ll have more information about Day 3 tomorrow morning. Cheers, P

Thursday, May 28, 2009

WSOP - Day 1 Complete

The elimination of the bubble player signifies not just that all the remaining players are in the money, but this bubble also tells us that it's the end of Day 1 of Event #1, the Casino Employees $500 NLHE buy in. The end of the Day 1 comes after some 13 hours of play in which 866 participants began throwing chips around in an effort to seize the first bracelet of the 2009 World Series of Poker. Play was very fast and furious from the get-go, with more than half of the field sent packing in the first 4 hours. While the field contained mostly relative unknown players, there were a few notable names that brought their $500 and a dream of being the first winner of the WSOP. Pat Poels came and went quickly, busting within the first hour and a half of play. Legendary Tournament Director Jack McClelland would do slightly better, but he also would leave the felt just after the dinner break. Kyle Morris and Marsha Waggoner were also in play, but neither of them advanced to day two.

As far as players that are left, a late charge helped Cesar Chavez chip up to the chip lead after Day 1, after amassing a 107,700 stack. Other than Chavez, it looked as though there was only one other player above the 100k mark. Casey Kuhn, a dealer at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Iowa who made the trip out west to do some playing of his own was at 101,300 just before play ended. These two men have really distanced themselves from the rest of the field. But there are still 79 other players hungry to catch them, of which about two dozen players of which will start Day 2 in the 80,000-chip range.

That’s all the news from Day 1. Today begins Day 2 and the start of the eagerly awaited $40k buy in NLHE event. This field will be star packed with many big named pro’s as it promises to be one of the richest pots of the tournament. There are several guesses as to the number of participants that will vie for the huge crown, but most seem to think it will be between 200 and 300.

That’s all from Day 1 in the Las Vegas desert.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The World Series of Poker - 2009

So the 40th Annual World Series of Poker kicks off in style tomorrow in Las Vegas, with an unbelievable 57 bracelets to be handed out throughout the multiple events. Event 1 is the $500 buy in Casino Employees event, which plays No-Limit Hold’em.

The next couple of months is a poker player’s dream as this is the pinnacle of the poker calendar. Who amongst you will become the next Jeff Madsen, who turned his 21st birthday into multiple Bracelets? Who has it in them to become this year’s Erick Lindgren, last year’s Player of the year? Can someone else become the next Chris Moneymaker, and turn a $40 buy in into the greatest prize that poker has to offer? Will Phil Hellmuth end the series still having the most bracelets of all time? Will Jamie Gold still be the WSOP’s all time money leader?

So many questions will be played out over the next few months, and you can count on Pablosplace to deliver you with the updated results of all 57 events. I am after all addicted to this. I still carry with me the dream that one day, I’ll be able to join the crowd of fellow players at the event, but for now, it remains a dream.

I have some people that I’ve been chatting with recently that I’ll be pulling for, as well as some pro’s that I think would make some really interesting stories. In the end, I’ll make it as entertaining to read on my site as I possibly can, and I hope that you all enjoy my feedback.

A note, I will be missing some events between June 20th through June 28th, as I have this little thing going on in life (getting married and going on a honeymoon). But other than that, I’ll be blogging pretty religiously, and tweeting as well (you can follow me on twitter as @Pablosplace). Good luck to all of my friends that will be participating!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Throwing a changeup

I'm thinking of re-designing Pablosplace, but I have no real clue how to do it. I'm not a tech guy at all, and I have no real knowledge in Web Design. I don't know if it will be financially worthwhile, but I'm interested in changing a few things on Pablosplace. If you know about "How To" do this kind of thing, contact me. I'd be interested to hear costs associated with a web re-design, and how labor intensive and expensive it might be to do the things that I want to do. Thanks, Paul

oh, e-mail is probably the best way (

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pablosplace Teams with The Sports Legends Challenge

Would you like to attend the Ultimate Sports Fantasy? If you're a sports fan, then you have to take a look at this. The Sports Legends Challenge is placing 25 Legendary Sports Icons together with 25 poker pro's at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Don't miss your chance to join sports icons:

Troy Aiken, Emmitt Smith, Jerry West, Reggie Jackson, Michael Strahan, Herschel Walker, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Mike Ditka, Kyle and Richard Petty, "Dr. J" Julius Erving, "Sugar" Ray Leonard, Bobby Hull, Fuzzy Zoeler, and more.

There will also be an incredible collection of pro's in attendance and playing with you including, WSOP World Champions:
Phil Hellmuth Jr.
Johnny Chan
Jamie Gold
Tom McEvoy

and other Top Pros like: Annie Duke, T.J. Cloutier, Phil Laak, Gavin Smith, Chip Jett, Amir Vahedi, Layne Flack, and so many more.

If you're thinking of entering the event, make sure that you use my Promo code to get a discount on the experience.

For info on the experience, you can click on the icon at the top right of For info on the attending celebrities and icons, click here :

And to register for the event, click here

Friday, May 15, 2009

One weird week

I'm kinda glad that it's Friday today. I just wish that I wasn't going on this trip with Girl Scouts. I could use the time to relax with fewer kids in the house. Take it easy and wind down from everything that's happened in work, at home, and just basically in life. It's been a tornado, and now it's time to start picking up the pieces.

I'm glad that Traci's back home again. But it has added a few more wrinkles to the home life. She requires a lot of work when she's here simply because she needs assistance with everything, and there are a lot of things to do. But still, I'm glad to have her home.

The kids are.....well, they are kids. And they certainly can make life challenging. They have so many things happening in their social calendar, that it's hard to balance it all. And what little time I have left over, I try and squeeze some me time in. It's tough with all that is going on to simply relax, and let go.

When it comes to poker, I'd say that this is largely my problem of late. I've been too distracted by what's going on around me and the things that I need to do, places that I need to go, errands that I need to run, small household chores that need to be finished, etc. etc. etc., I haven't focused at all on having fun with poker, and playing well. All these distractions kind of came to a head last night.

I had to pick up Abby and Emma from my ex's at 5:30 which meant that I was going to cut it short to get back home. 2 phone calls as I arrived to pick up the kids meant that things were just running late. By the time that I got back to the house, 15 minutes had elapsed in the tourney. When I sat down, I was already down 180 chips. But I rebounded to chip in the right direction.

I'd eventually get over 4k in chips at one point, before blinds would take me down, and then chaos ensued. I was arranging the kids to get bathes taken care of, the older girls packed for their trips, and then Traci came home at the same time. There were orders being barked, kids running through the house looking for things and needing help, the little ones were in the tub. It was just a madhouse for about 30 minutes. That's when I busted. With 16 players left, I was moved from one table to the other and woke up in the BB with AK on my first hand at that table. A player from early position limped, and a player from middle position raised 3 times. Action folded to me, and I re-raised half the pot. The limper folded, and the original player moved all in. I called, but was in trouble when my opponent flipped KK. That would be my end of poker for the night.

There were 52 entrants in the tournament, and I guess that I can say that I exacted my revenge against Andy Bloch. After the QQ debacle a few weeks ago, I min-raised the first hand at his table with Q-10o from middle position. The CO and Button came along, and Andy folded from the small blind (advantage - me). The BB came along as well. We checked down the board to the river, and my turned Pair of Q's ended up the best hand. (advantage-me). Andy would bust a couple hands late in a race (AJ vs. 88) and his AJ never caught up (advantage-me). Overall I would say in the score vs. Andy Bloch, we're even (Score Andy -1, Pablo -1).

I'm hopeful that after I get home from this weekend with the Girl Scouts that I'll be able to recharge my batteries somehow. I could really use it. The home game tonight will be hosted at Andrew's house. Let me know if you need details on it, and I'll send you all the info that you need. Until next week, cheers - P

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Life is fragile. Respect it, and live it.

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I had a friend say that I’m going through hell, and I don’t buy that. It’s been challenging both emotionally and physically for sure. But the reality is, everyone will come out the stronger for it.

On Thursday, Traci went in to see her doctors because her Hickman Catheter site was infected. It actually appeared a few weeks back, but then antibiotics began to clear up the infection. But once the antibiotics had run there course, the site became infected again, and the doctors wanted to pull it out. (In case you don’t know what a Hickman is, check it out here The reality is, a Hickman should only be in for 6-8 months before they should be removed because of the risk of infection. Traci’s had hers for well over a year. It was just time to remove it.

The hospital was full however. So instead of admitting her, and getting her a room, they sent her down to the ER to wait in the hall with everyone else who has a whooping cough and the swine flu. Turns out, that’s not so good for someone with a compromised immune system (another attribute incurred from cancer patients having undergone Chemo), and we fought to get a room. The nurses were actually really great and stole a room for us as soon as one became available. The reality was, the hallways were lined with patients because the ER was so jam-packed. So getting a room was really a luxury.

But there in the ER, Traci sat. We waited, and waited for availability in the OR to remover the Hickman, and they kept coming in and saying “there was a trauma, and we couldn’t get you in.” Or, “we just had to bump you, and you’ll have to wait a little longer.” It was frustrating as her last meal was at 11AM on Thursday. Finally, I left at 4AM Friday morning because I still had to get the kids to school.

Friday came and went, and I got done with work and picked up the kids from Girl Scouts and dropped them at home with Traci’s grandparents. When I got back to the hospital at around 7PM, I found out that Traci had still not been offered anything to eat. I took out my anger at the Doctors and the Nurses there in the ER. Right there in the Nurses Station, I very loudly began to berate them for their lack of care, their inability to pay attention to a patient, and their sheer neglect for Traci as a person. It had been over 30 hours and she hadn’t been offered anything to eat. It was unacceptable, and I lost it. I screamed at the Doctors that they were Hitler, running this show and treating these patients worse than Jews in a concentration camp. I demanded that they get on the line with surgery and either get her in there now, or let her eat. The latter took place in moments.

On Saturday morning, Traci was set to have the IR attempt to install a new Pick line. This was difficult simply because prior to getting the Hickman, the doctors preferred that she get a Pick Line. But because the Graph vs. Host disease has attacked her skin so violently, and because her veins are so small, a Pick line was nearly impossible to install. After several failed attempts the last time, the physicians and surgeons finally relented and agreed to install the Hickman. Fortunately this time, a good vein was found on her right bicep, and after several tries, the surgeon finally was able to install the line. And later that evening, she went into the OR to have the infected Hickman Catheter removed.

Everything went smoothly. Traci was incredible through it all. She had a really positive attitude saying things like “well, thank goodness it was this weekend. I’d rather have it now than over Emma’s birthday, or the Wedding, or the Bridal Shower.” I couldn’t believe how great she was. There was of course the occasional crying, and there were plenty of complaints about the eating (or lack there of), but overall, I was amazed by her positive attitude and positive outlook on the whole situation. It was encouraging.

I also want to thank all of my friends who kept asking about how things were going, both through text and on twitter. It was extremely peaceful to have those positive affirming messages come through, just checking on us both. Your thoughts and prayers were absolutely felt, welcomed, and totally appreciated.

Mother’s Day was a day of recovery from the procedures. Traci is today in bright spirits. I brought her kids in to see her and visit for a while along with a Mom’s Day flower arrangement. It was a good time.

Now that things have settled down, I’m hopeful that Traci will be home by Tuesday. And the healing should have come far enough along that we can resume some form of normalcy. I’m missing that at the moment. I don’t like coming home to an empty house, or sleeping in a bed alone. I miss my partner. And I’ll be happy to have her home.

Some takeaways from all of this, a moral if you will; I’m so appreciative of life. It’s something that I think that all of us take for granted. It’s a gift. The ability to simply exist every day, and the ability to love. There are so many trivial things that can affect us every day, and damper our moods and our outlooks on life. I think that it’s important that we remember that the fact that we’re here to begin with is a miracle itself. I came away from this weekend simply happy that I have so many loved ones in my life. Thankful that my children are healthy and happy. And thankful that the woman that I am going to marry is going to come home. Everything else just seems to me to be less important. I’m not worried about the fact that I’m still behind two months in pay from my employer. I’m not worried about the trivial things in life. I intend on focusing on those items that bring about joy in my life, and that of others.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A renewed sense of vigor

After my "Poker Vacation" post, I took a good 48 hours away from my laptop. I just needed sometime to really clear my head, and wash out the negative thoughts. I mean, I was catching what I called some REALLY terrible beats, and to some degree, they were. But a recent post that I read on cardplayer ( kind of renewed me as a poker player.

I started to go back to those losses, and asked myself "If I was in the other player's shoes, would I have made the same call." In the heat of the moment, I can emphatically berate my opponent for what would otherwise be a crumby read, and a bad move. But not everyone plays poker the same way. That's what makes this game fun and challenging. If all of us played the same way, it would be a boring game.

I have to start giving credit to the guys that are calling an all in with A-5os when I have KK. That just takes plain guts. I should commend guys for chasing that dream when I've got a set of 10's on a 10 high board, and he goes runner-runner flush. I should praise players for their grit and their tenacity for breaking AA and KK on the same hand with 7-6 suited. Those plays, while statistically improbable, are far from impossible because I've seen them. They happen, and they happen a lot. All that I can do is say "nice hand sir," and move onto the next one. Because it's a game. This isn't personal, or some vendetta that someone has. It's a couple of people playing a game of cards.

I still want to win at it though, and I've sort of switched gears to some degree. Patrick Sebastian (or @Sebastianrocks on Twitter) had started a new contest idea that proposed a race to $250. The idea was, start with a bankroll of $10, play in games for no greater than 10% of your bankroll, and the first one to $250 wins. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it.

One of the videos that I'd watched on the Full Tilt Poker academy was by Chris Ferguson where he detailed his bankroll building strategy on his quest to turn $0 into $10,000. It took him quite a while to get things really going, but once he did, he simply adhered to strict bankroll management strategies in order to steadily move in the upward direction. I liked what he had to say, and I wanted to follow it to some degree, but I lacked 3 things that good poker players need to be successful: 1) Patience 2) Discipline and then eventually 3) Confidence

Playing at the micro levels can be intensely frustrating. A $45 player S&G win at the $1.25 buy in level produced a whopping $17 prize, or a $16 ROI. That still doesn't really give you enough cash to move up to the larger levels. And each loss puts you further and further into a hole.

I've made the decision not to upload several hundred dollars into my online accounts simply because I want to prove to myself that I have the capability of playing well enough at the lower levels before testing myself completely at the higher stakes. I think that from time to time, I can play with those players. And I'm starting to build my confidence enough to the point where I feel that I have enough experience to belong.

I needed that run of just really bad cards. I needed that run of unfortunate beats, and disappointing results. I needed it in order to grow as a player, and learn how to roll with the punches in this game. It can be cruel. But it is a game. And it should be fun.

I'll be attacking this $10 to $250 challenge with a renewed vigor and doing everything that I can to get there at my own pace. If I win the challenge, all the better. But I really simply want to begin to build my online bankroll, one session at a time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The U.S. Poker Directory - A Fantastic Site

A couple of months back, I started a discussion post on the Twitter Poker Tour website ( – for the plug). I was curious as to what card rooms everyone was playing in for live poker, and what stakes they were playing in. I was hopeful to find good tournament action wherever I went, and got some really great feedback from several players as to where they played, and what limits, and their likes and dislikes about certain venues. It was a very surface level chat that, while I enjoyed, didn’t really answer the questions that I had about poker rooms across the US.

Recently I ran into Jeff Becker on Facebook. Jeff has a website called US Poker Directory ( On this site, I found all of the information that I was looking for, and then some. Jeff led me to a virtual map that used Google maps technology to have mapped every Brick and Mortar poker room in the US. It sounds pretty improbable, but I encourage you to check it out here ( I was WAY impressed with what I saw.

If you scroll over any individual city, you can zoom in to see all of the casinos/card rooms in a geographical layout. By clicking on the icon, you pull up the casino/card room’s contact information, address, and a review of that card room by anyone who has stopped by. It’s EXACTLY what I was looking for.

I encourage you to give the site a look, and provide some commentary on the card rooms that you’ve played in. The more participation and feedback that we can generate, the better the site becomes. Congrats Jeff on a marvelous site!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm taking a poker vacation

So tonight at Pablosplace, we had 13 players show up for Traci's birthday. An impressive turnout for sure. It was one of the single most bizarre nights EVER in the HISTORY of Pablosplace.

It began with a Mona Vie taste testing, that was really more of a sales pitch than a taste test. It was interesting to see the history of the product, and the tasting was actually pretty good. But really I could have done without the attempt at gathering us in as sales people. I just don't think that it's something that I have the time for, nor the ability to commit to at this time.

Once we actually began play, there were players EMPHATICALLY stressing the needs for a Turbo Blind. I was out voted on the 30 minute levels by the group who insisted on 15 minute levels, which is WAY too short for our play. We actually went up 2 levels on our table before we made one full rotation. Sick.

I caught a dead run of cards, and made it to 8 handed. I finally caught AK and raised the 3-6 blinds to 18 after Jason limped. Tim asked me for a count from the BB and eventually raising to 60, the remainder of my chips. Jason made the call for his last 20 or so, and I called. Tim said that I was ahead which actually shocked me. He tossed J-8o and Jason, K-8. But it didn't matter any. A Jack hit the flop and I was done.

I'm done with poker for now. I just have to admit that my play is just terrible. I can't believe that it's just bad luck, or bad beats, or anything of the sort. It's OBVIOUS that it's my play because the losing is just too consistent. I'm giving up poker for a while. I'm not sure how long, but I need the break apparently. No online play, and no live play until I can get my head right. This game has just ceased being fun, and I hate it. I'm so mad, and it's my home game. It's just not right.

I'll blog again when I've got the confidence back. Though I have no clue when that will be.