Poker Tournaments

Live POKER

Walk into a brick and mortar poker room and you’ll see the small nuances that make poker both extremely beautiful and horribly ugly. They play out like a scene out an award-winning Broadway musical right in front your eyes. You definitely miss out on this experience sitting at home in front of a computer screen. If you stay long enough at the tables you get to experience, witness, and appreciate this theater firsthand. The lonely widower buying in for the maximum over and over and donating to the game. The crazy gamblers with nothing to lose playing any two cards and owning heads. The nits and there leather asses, the pros, the props, the degenerate dealers and the over the hill cocktail waitresses are all part of the show. Then there’s me, sweaty palms and all.

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Middle set holds

I sit in mostly silence, headphones in, about 4 months in on my journey of giving live poker a real shot, albeit part-time for now. I’m down $376 in about 70 hours play. A couple misplayed hands and 1 unprofitable event at the LAPC and I would probably be a winner but I still tilt and occasionally break the golden rule at the low-limits…don’t bluff. I guess old habits die hard and something about piles of checks in front of me bring out my degenerate side and make me go for the gusto even though we all know the negative outcome waiting for me on the other side.

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Sometimes I win!

I started out slow in January and February winning $250 in the two months combined, nothing major, but I was winning. Everything was running along smoothly till March hit. I had a few losing sessions and I guess I lost focus and bluffed off $260 in profit one night with pocket 10’s on a jack high flop and was snapped off by my opponent’s pocket Kings. After that I had an other -$200 session where I played every hand and again bluffed off my stack like a fish. Finally back to back $-200 losing sessions where I got my aces cracked both times for all the money. That shit hurt. I’ve never experienced that much losing and despair all in such a short time, honestly it made me want to quit.

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My play has been a dumpster fire as of late

I’ve brushed myself off since then and taken a little break on the cash games. I’ve started to play a live $65 mini deep tournament on Thursday nights and have been having some success. 5 tournaments played, 2 final tables with a near win 3rd place finish. Even though it’s a small sample size, all my records show that my success has come in tournament poker.

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What we think..

Even though I love cash games I have to be honest with myself and admit that I’m not ready for the live grind yet, but with plenty of training, practice, and a little bit of desensitization to losing money I’ll be back at it. I can’t let a bad month get in my head and ruin my goal of eventually supporting myself through poker. I have to prove to myself that all this time I’ve devoted to this game hasn’t been a waste.

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Ticking away

So till next time, good luck out there.

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I survived the LAPC

With the LAPC main event currently under way and the series coming to an end I decided to write about my experience at this year’s 2015 LAPC. I only played 2 events due to insufficient bankroll and time constraints. I managed to play Event #1 a $175 buy-in $100,000 guarantee No-Limit Hold’em tournament and Event #20 a $240 $500,000 guarantee also nlhe. I totally held my own and never felt outmatched in these massive +700 player fields. I played one hand at a time and just focused on my table and finding ways to beat them. Easier said than done, as anyone could agree that’s ever played in the giant Commerce Casino tournament room, the sea of players, dealers, and floor staff can be a bit overwhelming…..

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Event #1 attracted a field of 892 players, I arrived early expecting a huge turn out and I was right. Thank god. I didn’t want to make the hour an a half drive to Commerce and still have to wait in line to play. Play started sharply with 5k starting stacks and I proceeded to lose half my stack in the 1st level. I blame it on butterflies in anticipation to play, but I recovered nicely and won all of it back plus more with a set of kings. I played a tight aggressive style for the next few levels winning a couple pots and running my stack to about 9k then… I got into a pissing match with a young aggressive player on my left with Q-4 and I busted him with a river Queen when he called my all-in bluff with 8-2 on a 10-8-4 flop lol.

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Play went on for about 8 an half hours and I managed to maintain an above average stack till we reached 115 players ..15 players away from the money. I called 25% of my stack with A-10 of spades when a player in front of me moved all in. I should of moved all-in, but I didn’t and an aggressive player also called. The flop came two spades, I checked and the aggressive player bet and I called, the turn was a blank, and I checked, he bet and I called again. The river was a blank and I checked again, this time he checked and turned over a pair of 5’s. I was devastated, I was left with 8bb’s and resorted into squeaking into the money placing 83rd and winning $290.

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Event #20 flight 5 of 5 attracted a field of 713 consisting of a couple bracelet winners and a couple Circuit event ring holders. We started with 7.5k starting stacks and I doubled up on the the 1st hand with a set of 6’s when a player moved all-in with 2 pair on the river. The first few levels I dominated and ran up my stack to about 30k with little to no opposition. I was playing and running extremely well, all a player can ask for in a $500,000 guarantee tournament.

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All was running well till I was moved to a table full of really tough opponents. Everytime I raised, I was reraised, and everytime I bluffed I was called. For the most part I followed my solid game plan and won a few pots but being card dead wasn’t helping. I attempted a few bluffs near the money and was unsuccessful, plus I noticed an ace was slightly marked and I made a comment to the dealer. A pro player Phong “Turbo” Nguyen took it personally and proceeded to berate me and try to throw me off my game. I went completely card dead and only managed a min cash, I finished 85th for the day and 467th of the total 5 day starting flights for $390. I vow to use this as a learning experience and never back down to any player due to being close to the money.

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Overall I had a profitable LAPC, but I need to drastically improve my play on the bubble if I want to succeed and take down one of these huge tournaments and make a name for myself. Hands down I need to get serious and really improve my play in the the later stages of tournaments….but I’ve continued my online grind and played plenty online tournaments, winning 7-8 tournaments with fields of 21-115 players. I won 65mbtc grinding freerolls, but it’s been an up and down since SealsWithClubs closed down and I’ve taken my game to Nitrogen Sports, but that’s for an other day……

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So till then, good luck out there.

Waiting for the next BOOM

All I hear about these days is how hard poker is to beat and how in the early days a mediocre poker player could make a healthy living off the game, because the opposition was so weak. This frustrates me because I feel like I missed my chance to capitalize on the online poker boom, I feel like my game and bankroll is at a level where if I had the opportunity, I could succeed at online poker if the games were really that juicy.

I reside in beautiful California, and currently it is illegal to play online poker, one of the largest states with the highest player pools and still no legal online poker. I blame PokerStars and there shady practices. PokerStars operated for years illegally in the USA and acquired a fortune without following laws and regulations. On the flip side they did attract more players. Now that California is close to passing laws that would make online poker legal, PokerStars slows up the process by getting in the way of the Indian tribes and the Casinos. Pushing them away from reaching an agreement over the bad actor clause.

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Still I grind. On illegal sites, at the mirco stakes, gaining experience, building my bankroll, looking forward to the day California legalizes online poker and we have the next boom. Whenever this happens I’ll be ready, I’ll be ready to capitalize this time because I’m putting in the hours and thousands hands.

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I didn’t play Online as much as I regularly do these past 3 weeks, but I was still extremely profitable. At the time of my last post I was at a 128 mbtc bankroll currently I’ve built my bankroll up to 210 mbtc! I played 20 tournaments most 6 max format, with player fields ranging from 18-54 runners, I got a 4th, 3x 3rds, 2x 2nds, and a 1st, winning 82 mbtc. I pick and chose the tournaments I wanted to play and I only entered tournaments when I felt like I was in a extremely focused mental state.

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Overall I had great few weeks and I look forward to a successful 2015. I’ll be heading out to the LAPC in a few weeks and I plan to play my best poker game and run extremely good. Wish me luck!!

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So untill next time good luck out there.

Grinding my face OFF

Call a doctor my face has literally fallen off!! Ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration but in all sincerity, I’ve played 30+ online tournaments in three weeks and have been extremely successful. I’ve made 10 final tables a 6th, 5th, 2x 4th, 3rd, 3x 2nd (including a chop) and 2x 1st places!! I won 69 mbtc more than doubling on online bankroll, bringing it to 128 mbtc. I’ve had most of my success in 6max tournament format, I chopped a 5 chip 6max tournament heads up on a Saturday and won it outright the next day!!

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I also played 2 “live” tournaments during these 3 weeks, and had no success. I headed down to Morongo Casino and tried my luck at one of there daily $45 morning tournaments and proceeded to get my flush chased down by a 2 early position players trips when the board paired on the river. I rebought for $20 and played tight for about an hour, then I finally shoved my last 11bb’s with A4 in the big blind and got called by AJ and I was out. I also played the Sunday 5k guarantee at Pechanga and played super aggressively. I raised and reraised every chance I got and build a loose, crazy image. I shoved all-in preflop with AA and got called by a bigger stack’s QQ, I was looking and feeling good till the queen came on the the flop and I was out!

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I did play one $1/$2 nlhe live cash game session at Pechanga and had great success winning $254 =127 big blinds!! My first hour was boring and uneventful, it consisted of 1 or 2 won small pots and lots of folding! I took a break and came back to the table to find a few new faces and also the table dynamics had totally changed. I started catching cards and made the nut flush on the river to crack a set of kings and I also won a nice pot with quad 3’s. I owe my low limit cash game success to being patient, waiting out the fishes is one of the major characteristics that all winning poker players possess, the kids call it “old man game”.

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Overall I had some had some decent success, nothing to quit my job over but I feel like I’m setting a strong foundation. This path I look to journey down is full of pitfalls and obstacles and all this experience that I’m gaining by “grinding my face off ” will do nothing but bring me one step closer to that BIG score that we all chase.

Good luck out there.