I don’t play big live tournaments often. It’s just not my thing. I don’t enjoy sitting hours on end, and playing for days straight in uncomfortable chairs. I give mad props to live tournament players. It’s a grind. To each their own.

This would only be my 7th WSOP event now in the last several years. I’ve cashed in two, literally bubbled one, and came in 2 before the money in another. I went late into the 3rd day in one main event, just to bust on a coin flip when I still had a decent amount of chips. A lot of things need to go right in the critical spots in tournaments for you to run deep.

On one level, I’d love to play more big live tournaments. I think there’s a lot of money to be made in these games, if you can stand the scheduled grind. That’s not how I’ve planned my life though, but I enjoy getting into the mix from time to time, and I know I should force myself to just do it more.

I’m glad I get at least one event in last year since I haven’t been able to play for various reasons, the last couple of years. I had planned on playing 2 events, then coming back home, but on the second day of my first event, I got a call from my wife that our house was robbed. Great! What next? Oh, you mean all my license servers for my products on acepokersolutions went down this morning (which never ever happens). Awesome! I’m not going to ask what next anymore. I had to stay focused on the task, which I did.

Day 2 – Hand 1

Heading into day 2, I took a bad beat before the end of day 1, and was down to 22k in chips. I picked up a pot early after an open and a call, by shoving ron jermeyw/ AK and getting folds. I picked up a couple of more pots from raising and was up to 40k in chips pretty quickly. The average stack was about 60k at that point, so I still had work to do. Then I picked up this hand:

With blinds at 800/1.6k and ante’s of 300, the person second in chips opened to 3.8k in the CO and it folded to me where I picked up 9h9c in the SB. I wanted to see a flop w/ this guy (former WPT winner – but I had some real good early reads on him), but didn’t want to just call and let the BB in. I also didn’t want to just shove and possibly lose value from a weaker hand. It was an awkward chip spot (both pre and if I’m called), but I decided to 3-bet small to 9k. It folded back to WPT guy and he called. Flop came out a beautiful:

9s Th Qh.

With about 24k in the pot and only 30k behind I waited a few seconds and then open shoved, and was snap called by AQ. I hold and double through. Up to ~85k now with average stacks of ~72k.

Day 2 – Hand 2

Not too long after that pot, I picked up Ah9h in the CO and raised after the guy to my right open limped (chip leader). I got a call from the BTN, BB and a call from limpy. 4 way and flop comes:

Js 9d Jh

Checks to me, and I decide to check. Two of the guys in the pot were 1 and 2 in chips, and with a back door but draw on a board that wasn’t that draw heavy, I was more curious to see what everyone else would do here and maybe I could pick off some bluffs. I think I bet here a good amount of the time usually though. BTN bets a little over half pot. Everyone folds to me and I call. Turn is:


Good card for me. I might have led turn, but at this point picking up the nut flush also, no reason to do anything else but check, so I do. BTN bets again, about half pot and I call. River is:


Total brick. I check. I may lose some value from worse 9x, and not sure how many small pairs call if I bet. I don’t know much about this guy other Omaha is his best game. Omaha players love to bluff on boards like this, but I’d expect him to understand my check/call range on the turn. I’m not doing it really with anything that’s folding the river. So I was expecting a lot of check behinds in a spot that I can’t get much VBing. I was a little surprised when he bet a little over half pot on the river. I actually tanked a bit because of what I said above. He was completely and utterly stuff when I looked at him, so he looked pretty scared. His whole energy was I’m scared. I actually didn’t want to call, but did, and he turned over Tc7c. I scoop another nice pot – up to over 120k in chips.

Day 2 – Hand 3

I opened a couple of pots and had to fold to 3-bets. Standard stuff. At this point we’re getting pretty close to the money. People are tightening up a bit. The action folded to me in the SB and I picked up TsTc. Binds were 1k/2k now with 400 ante. I opened to 2.4k and got called by the same guy that bluffed 3 streets above. Flop comes:

3d 8h 9h

I bet ~2/3rds pot. He calls pretty quickly, so I put him on some kind of combo hand/draw of course on this texture. Turn comes:


I check, as I know this guy likes to bluff now, and not much value if I bet and get raised. I have him pretty well covered but I think it would eat about 2/3rds of my chips if I had to get it in here. He bets a little over half pot, and I call. River is:


Not a total brick, but close. I check. He bets 60% of pot. I tank. I know he likes to bluff, and I just caught him bluffing not long ago. Since that pot I got a little more info out of this guy and think I have a pretty good read on how he’s thinking about the game. It’s a pretty straight forward level 2 thinker, and I’m pretty confident he floated the flop and nailed the turn. None the less, I give it some time and try and chat him up by telling him I have a good hand in this spot, and “if I fold and show, would he fold and show.” And he said, “probably”. Now the fact this guy even said anything after looking like petrified wood the previous hand I was in with him told me he was much more confident. So I folded, and he shows AQ. Whew.

poker handsDay 2 – My bust out hand

Speaking of AQ, I lost a hand vs a short stack shove w/ my AQ vs his KJ pre for about 24k. I won a couple of pots opening, and also lost some on hands I had to give up or was 3-bet. I was at about 88k w/ blinds of 1.2k/2.4k, 400 ante when this hand come up/

I opened to 5.5k in middle position w/ KcKs, and the button (3rd in chips w/ ~170k) flatted on the button. The SB squeezed for 46k, I hollywooded and eventually shoved, and was snap called by the button. I was called so quick I thought for sure he has AA, but he turned over AcQc (he had the look that he made a bad read). SB shoved w/ 8c9c. So I was in a pretty good spot to actually have some chips to play w/ the bigger stacks, both of which I had position on (sigh).

Of course the guy to my left, god bless him and his first WSOP, told me, “oh nice hand, I didn’t think you were that strong.” But before I could tell him, no, the hand isn’t over yet, it’s not nice just yet, an Ace came in the window. Yeah. So I min cashed for $3792. It could have been worse.

I had a tough day 1 table, and wasn’t in a good position, so it was very up and down. I had a lot of swings. I think I played Ok overall, but I did make one bad call down on day 1. I think the rest, well, I know the rest I really got max value out of all my hands, made +EV bluffs, picked off some big bluffs, and all the usual poker story crap. lol

I don’t think I played my best poker, but I played well enough to run deeper than this considering that minus two KK hands, I was absurdly card dead this tourney. AK twice, no aces even once. No JJ, I got TT once. AQ once. I had to make due on position and reads for most of it. I flopped one set also, and made one flush.

Now on to some day 1 bluffs. 🙂

bluffing pokerDay 1 – Bluff hand #1

Blinds were 200/400. It folded to the SB who opened to 950 and I called in the BB w/ Kh7h and about 14k in chips. The flop came:


SB bet ~60% of the pot. I had a really good read on this and had been outplaying him in other spots earlier in the day. I had an over card, backdoor flush, and lots of bluffing outs. Turn came:


SB bet ~50% of the pot and I called. Now I have the nuts. Ok, kidding, but I sensed hesitancy from him and was planning on bombing most rivers. River came:


SB checked, and I bet 62% of the pot, and he didn’t think too long and chucked his cards into the muck. Obviously a ton I can rep here and no reason I’d raise the turn if I did hit my flush. I didn’t think he was even a strong level 2 thinker, so I was pretty confident I could push him off a lot of hands on many run outs for this board. Bluff works… yeah.

Day 1 – Bluff hand #2

I don’t make river bluff raises very often honestly. I have to be really confident in my reads and what I’m doing. I thought this was a good spot, but I was a little worried he also turned and then made a hand on the river based on my other reads.

Russian player who was a decent mid stack opened in MP to 1.4k w/ blinds at 300/600 and ante of 50. I call on the BTN with 9hTh (I had about 22k at this point). It folded and we saw the flop heads up. The flop was:


MP bets a little over half pot and I call. Turn is:


MP player bet again a little over half pot, and I called. I saw this guy double in some really bad spots earlier. This isn’t a horrible spot to double, but my read is that he just likes to bet, but he’s not a total maniac. I don’t think he’ll triple w/ nada, but double w/ complete nada is in his game. River comes:


MP pauses for a second and then bet just under half pot. I’m pretty confident that my 9 isn’t a bluff catcher anymore, which I was instantly sure of, so I moved quickly to make a raise. I almost fumbled this though because I got nervous w/ my chips which isn’t something I ever tend to do, but I announced raise and moved my remaining ~17k in to the pot. He tanked, and I thought at that point he was going to eventually call me, but he eventually showed KK and folded. Whew. I was sweating balls on that one.


I had some other smaller bluffs, 3-bets, one 4-bet bluff also against someone. Perhaps I’ll make another post with a couple of other hands. I did have one bad call down and another hand I’m not sure I played so well. Overall though it was a fun experience. I hope I can make one more event this year at least… we’ll see!