Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Watching Pauly: The WPT Satellite II
"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt..." - Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act I, Sc. 5
Where to begin? First of all, I have to thank everyone for their support. I woke up this morning truly humbled by the adoration and support from my brother, friends, and fellow poker bloggers. Thanks to all of you for staying up late. My brother has to get up at 5:30 every morning to make his trek down to Wall Street, but he hung in there to the very end (almost 1:43am EST) as did so many of you. Al Can't Hang was there from start to finish providing the updates and showering me with phrases like:
Everyone is here now (watching). You can go ahead and win the damn thing!
HDouble gets a ton of credit in his scouting abilities. During a break, he shared with me some notes on a player at one of my tables. It came in handy later on when I went all-in over the top of the guy when he re-raised me.

My buddy Jerry was watching in Miami. Even his lovely wife Sara got hooked on the drama and stayed up late to cheer me on (thet're bumming this morning though... but I do sincerely appreciate the fact that so many of you suffered severe sleep deprivation to be there). Whenever I won a pot there would be a random comment from a different blogger. That fired me up. That was jet fuel. That was smack for a junkie. A sip of warm hooch for an alkie. Yes, I had some great railbirds... Felicia, Maudie, Chris Halverson, Boy Genius, Grubby, Signor Ferrari... and the rest of the folks out that silently cheered... Bad Blood mentioned he watched. Knowing that you were out there was inspiring. In some cheesy way, when I won a pot, didn't we all feel elated? And when I lost a pot, didn't we share in the disappointment? True drama. And it was free. The ups, the downs, the twists, the turns. To hell with reality TV. My life never ceases to amazing me. A TV show would never do me justice. I deserve an entire freakin' channel.

Editor's Note: OK I'll save that rant for another post. Hey, if I forgot to mention you watching, please forgive me... just shoot me an email and I'll add you to the roll call.

And lastly... in true Obi Wan Kenobi fashion (to my Luke Skywalker)... when times got tough, Iggy's words rang through my head and kept me focus on the task on hand. But he didn't saying anything Zen Buddhist or George Lucas like "Use the force." Rather he simply stated, "Make moves!"
6 April 2004, WPT Satellite ($330+ $25), 312 Players
1. WPT Seat ($27,000 Value) at the Championships at the Bellagio
2. WPT Seat
3. WPT Seat
4. $6300
5. $3780
6. $2520
7th thru 312: Nothing
Level 1: Started with T1000. Levels are 20 minutes long. 312 players. I was at a table with 9 players. Some of my early folds were 2-2, A-9 and A-4s in LP in unraised pots. Then I got Big Slick in the big blind. UTG raised and doubled the blinds. Both the LB and myself called. Flop: J-9-4. Everyone checked. The turn: 10. LB checked, I bet the min. UTG called and the LB pulled a check-raise of T125. Did he make a straight? I called and UTG folded. The river: Q. Bam. I made my Broadway Straight. No flush possibilities, so I had the nuts. LB bet 400. I re-raised all-in about 820 more. LB called with K-Qs. Ouch. River saved me. I had 3 outs after the turn to win and caught one. I doubled up with T1995.

Level 2: With 275 players remaining and an avg stack of T1151 I was where I wanted to be. I caught JJ in middle position. I am going to write something up soon about Pauly's Trouble Hands... A-Q and J-J. I can't stand them both. They malicioulsy taunt me like a jilted ex-girlfriend. Alas, I limped in with JJ and fold to a flop with an Ace. I have T1975 and playing tight.

Level 3: About 187 players left with an avg stack of T1390. I folded 77 in EP. I limp-folded 99 in MP to a raise behind me. With JJ UTG I raised (4x BB). The button reraised to 500. I folded to AQ and QQ. I would have won with a J on the turn. I guess it was a good lay down, but I should have limped in UTG. That was my first mistake of the night. It only cost me T90 in chips, but it was a bad play period. I escaped with T1740.

Level 4: Field was down to 187 and the avg stack was almost T1700. I played 10-9s on the button and A-9s in LP. Bailed after the flop in both instances.

You Have to Beat a Superior Hand Heads Up if You Want to Advance

I shall go into more depth on the issue later in a future blog. But now, you get the example. AJ in MP. I almost walked into a huge trap. The BB did not raise the pot preflop with KK. I limped in with AJ. I bet on the flop: 4-J-6 and he called. When a 7 hit on the turn I put the BB all-in. He called with his KK. I caught an Ace on the river and took down KK. Would I have folded if he raised pre-flop? Probably. Alas, with T2375 I had twice as many chips as I had the week before when I got bounced in 71st. Time to play tight and not get involved in dangerous pots.

Level 5: Half the players had been eliminated, only 149 left with an avg. stack of 2100. I got a table change and I was 3/10 in chips at my new table. I got a dangerous hand... K7S on the button. Normally I'll see a flop for a cheap when I have position with almost anything. I hadn't played a hand in a while and wanted to test out my table so I limped in. The flop: 9-9-7. I had two pair, but someone must have the set. I check-called and bailed out on the turn when a 10 hit with a possible straight. Boy Genius discusses this hand in a recent blog but he thought I had K9 not K7:
Those are the types of hands that kill me. At least Pauly had the good sense to just call on the flop (again, assuming he was playing at least a set)... Normally, on a flop like that one, I'd have probably went in for a raise, and someone with 8T would have chased. And, of course, hit the straight. And I would have been stinging from the hit. Good and sensible. That's our Pauly.
I ended the level with T1855.

Level 6: 109 players left with an av. stack of T2800. Another table change. Had to adjust to new players. Was 9/10 in chips at my new table. There was a guy named Wang and he was raising a lot of pots from LP. I knew he most likely never had anything. I limp in UTG with AQ. Another trouble hand. Wang raised about half my stack. I called to see a flop and didn't like it, when 3 spades including a King hit. I was fucked and pissed and left with T505. It was time for a break and I ate a slice of poundcake.

Level 7: With just 81 remaining, I was on the verge of being the next to go. Time to be aggressive. I have to thank Felicia for some sound advice in plugging the leaks in my short-stack game. I still need work, but I have made a definite improvement. Heeding her advice I knew that the next hand I played... I would have to go all-in on and hope to double up. I got 2-2 and I was ready to pull the trigger but I got gun-shy! Seriously. I had not seen a pair in almost two hours. But I folded. The very next hand 2-2. It was time. I went all-in against AK.

The Classic Matchup: Low Pair vs Big Slick

Have you sent hose stats the the WPT cuts to just before commercials (right after a nice shot of Shana)? What is the better hand 2-2 vs A-K? Statistically heads up 2-2 is the better hand. But it's a coin flip. I was ready to start packing. I was done for. But no aces or kings fell on the board. I doubled up and was fired up. I felt like Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction when that guy ran out of the bathroom shooting at them like a madman... and he missed with every shot! And what happened after that? Still alive by a miracle, Jules killed them all. After that hand I had T1815 after being down to T505. I could hear the rumble of everyone watching me play. A few bloggers rattled off congrats in the chat. Al Can't Hang wrote me: You're my god dammed hero!

I folded JJ but ended up go all-in UTG with 99. My Jacks-o-phobia kicked in, but shit, Nines are a whole different story. No one called and I stole the blinds. Next up A-J my lucky hand for the tourney. I went all-in preflop in LP over the top of two players who limped in. One guy called with KQs. I caught a J on the flop and I was golden. I doubled up once again for the second time within fifteen minutes. I had T3930 when the level ended. A huge difference from the T505 I started with. With more energy, I was alive again. HDouble suggested I calm down and play smart.

Level 8: 54 players left with T5600 the avg. stack. I stole some blinds with A-medium suited twice. I lost with A-10s UTG to a shortstacked QQ trying to knock him out. It cost me about T1200. When the level ended I was around T2500.

Level 9: I'm about 40th with 48 players left and the avg. stack of T6600.

Overcards vs. Middle Pairs

I had AJ again in MP. I limped and the button raised. He's the guy that HDouble gave me some notes on. I made him for a medium pair, possible A-medium suited. The time to act goes so quickly in tournaments. I wish I could have studied him more. I made a quick snap decision and went all-in. He called with 77 and it was a race! The flop: K-3-4. The turn: A. Nice, very nice. I was leading and I could breath for a millisecond. The turn: 6. I made my pair of aces and doubled up with T5540. Signor Ferrari wrote me:
To borrow a line from Han Solo... "You're doing great kid. Now don't get cocky."
Two hands late Big Slick. I raised and everyone folded. No action. With A8 in the BB I caught a huge flop with A-x-8. The level ended and I had T6340.

Level 10: I'm around 17th out of 36. Avg. stack is T8600. My buddy Wang, the bluffer raised a pot and I called with JJ. I figured I had him on bluff-steal. I had all rags hit the flop and moved all-in. He folded. Up to T7800. Then I folded AK UTG after I saw a flop of QQ8. I figured someone betting had the Q and wasn't willing to pay to see any more cards. I had AK again on the button and caught a flop with a K. I stole some blinds with preflop raises with A-10 and A-2 suited and ended the level with T8740.

Level 11: I was 16th out of 28. With the avg. stack around T12000. The blinds were 400/800 and coming around quick at my shorthanded table.

Miracle River

I should have been knocked out when I went all-in preflop with A-10s against JJ. I had T4400 and the button's raise put me all-in which I called from the LB. The flop: 5-2-3. The turn: J. I was fucked. I only had four outs. I needed a 4 for the inside straight. Then... BOOM! The river: 4. A miracle 4. I was fired up. I was pumped. A slew of congrats hit the chat. My brother could not believe my luck on the river. Once again saved. I needed cards if I wanted to go to the Bellagio. And I was catching them.

I few hands later I had A-10s again. I flopped a full boat: 10-A-A. I slowplayed and let people try to catch cards. I won T5000 in that pot. Nice. I saw a flop with AK UTG and folded when all hearts hit. I ended up with T9954.

Level 12: I'm around 11th out of 21 left. Two tables. I was so close. Avg. stack was T14,000. I didn't play any hands and the table was fairly tight. I went all-in in the BB with A2s against the LB A9. I got lucky when the board had two pairs and I ended up chopping the pot. Whew. Saved again on the river! The level ended and I was right back where I started at T9500.

Level 13: I'm mentally drained. It's past 1:30am EST. Been playing for 4.5 hours. 18 players left. I was 15th. I had strong hands and made some moves. AK, AQ, A10s... I went all-in and stole blinds. I had AJ on the button and folded to two players who went all-in (10-10 and 7-7). When there were 12 players left, my table went to six handed. I had a little over T10,000. The blinds were 750/1500 and coming around fast. I won a pot with AQ but lost all my blinds and could not play back to raises. Then I saw 7-7. I took a deep breath. It was time to make a move. I went all-in and A3 on the button called me. He caught a 3 on the flop and I was leading until he hit an Ace on the turn. It was over and I was bounced in 12th. I probably never should had made it that far. I used up all my good cards in prior hands.

I was disappointed and dejected, but honored that so many people watched and hung in there for almost every hand. That made me absorb the brutalness of the loss. I was so close to making the Final Table. I knew that once I got into the final 10 that it didn't matter how many chips I had. I knew if I got that far, I could make the right plays to win a seat. I got several nice emails and messages from everyone telling me that I played great! Thanks again.

Oh well. That's that. My next pursuit will be a seat at the World Series of Poker.

Thanks again for everyone who watched and cheered me on. You guys rock. For some good write-ups on last night, visit both Boy Genius and Al Can't Hang.

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