WPBT 7-Card Stud Tournament -- Results

Byron hosts the WPBT tournament series bi-weekly on Sunday evenings, now alternating Sundays with Miami Don's Blogger Big Game in fact, and Byron once again did a stellar job drawing the big names from atop the current WPBT Player of the Year standings, as each of the top 3 players as well as 8 of the top 16 among the average points per WPBT event list (the only one that really matters -- to me) participated and really rounded out a truly difficult field. My own personal goal, other than of course taking down the entire tournament for back-to-back WPBT victories in Razz and then Stud, was to outlast current POY leaderboard frontrunners StB and Lucko so that I could gain some ground on them from my current third-place perch on the POY leaderboard.

With those goals in mind, I began the WPBT 7-Stud High tournament with very lofty expectations. I would not disappoint. A few things were crystal clear to me just a few hands into the event, however: First, StB was reraising me every single time I raised early in a hand. Probably 90% of the time on the night, StB punished me with early reraises, even if showing a lower door card than I. I don't know if this was a deliberate strategy or not, but it worked pretty well for StB. Pretty well, that is, until I busted him personally in 7th place overall. Well played as usual, StB. Also apparent to me right away was that Heather #1 is an excellent stud player, and #2 was the early luckbox of the night, hitting multiple trips, flushes and even a boat all within just the first orbit at my starting table last night.

In Limit poker tournaments, I have consistently found over time that a slow, steady and non-hyper-aggressive game early is the way to go. I know, believe me it's hard for me to make those words come out of my mouth, but it's true. I made the final table on Sunday by doing what I always do in Limit tourneys -- surviving, not losing a lot of chips in any pots where I don't have a big hand, and winning big on my few monsters along the way. So I added about 50% to my stack early when I made an AQJ-high flush against DoubleDave's AQ9-high flush (still sorry about that one, Dave!), and I made a few other big hands as the tournament wore on, including one quads and a few rivered boats for good measure.

Interestingly, with ten players left in WPBT Stud event, the tournament leaderboard at that time was looking a whole lot like the current POY standings. Shortly after making the final table, I managed to knock out StB when trips beat his two pairs, earning my the chance to move up in the POY standings against the current POY leader, and then a few hands later I eliminated CJ as well when my 6th street flush bested his 6th street straight -- luckily there was no chance for even the luckboxiest of bloggers to suck out in that situation. I survived for several hands in 4th out of 5 remaining players, before Lucko ran into a flush from Maigrey and bowed out in 4th place. I had made my goal of outlasting both of the two players ahead of me on the WPBT standings, made the cash and I ended up out in 3rd place when my early pair of Aces failed to hold against Maigrey's progressively growing stack. In the end, Tony Soprano managed to take the lead and eventually bust Maigrey to take down the WPBT Stud crown. As always, the quality of poker play in the WPBT events is absolutely top-notch, and last night was no exception. Congratulations to all the final tablers, and especially to Tony Soprano for his big win yesterday, following up on last Sunday night's $1100 cashout for Tony in the inaugural Blogger Big Game. Way to go Tony Soprano! Now bring your damn show back on to HBO so I got something to do on Sunday nights please, thank you.

Mondays at the Hoy -- Results

Last night was another fun night at Mondays at the Hoy on pokerstars, as a host of bloggers and non-bloggers battled it out for $20 apiece and a shot at one of the three money spots at the top of the leaderboard as well as the eternal glory of knowing that you won a MATH tournament. In the end, it was Iggy outlasting the field to take down his first Mondays at the Hoy event, disposing of Guin after just a few minutes of heads-up play when his Ace-high bested Guin's King-high to end the tournament. Iggy played solid throughout the event, as he has been honing his skills in the blogger events much more often since he returned to the rat race, and remained near the top of the leaderboard throughout most of the tournament. LOK1 rounded out the cash positions with his third-place showing in MATH, ending up our first week with first-time cashers in both first and second place in some time.

As for me, I had an all-too-familiar occurrence of late, which was my daughters (1 and almost 3 years old) waking up crying in their bedroom within about 5 seconds of the beginning of Mondays at the Hoy. That played out well for me, since I was dealt the Hammer right as the wakeup began, so I reraised preflop instead of folding like I normally would, and Wes, the original preflop raiser, called my reraise as I figured he would. When the flop then came A74 rainbow, I pushed with my Hammer, figuring he likely has an Ace but I had to run. Wes called, showed his AK, I did not improve and I got up to tend to the girls. When I returned to the computer about an hour later, I had IM's that it turns out I had managed to quadruple up on my allin hand the very next hand with the rest of my chips (about 150 chips as I recall), and managed to outlast three or four other players before finally being blinded out. In all, a frustrating night for me at the MATH, but a very enjoyable time was had by everyone.

Congratulations again to LOK1, Guin and especially Iggy for their cashes last night in Mondays at the Hoy. See you next Monday night at 10pm ET on pokerstars. Password is "hammer" as always.

Mondays at the Hoy Tournament Tonight

It's that time of the week again! That's right, tonight is the latest installment of the weekly Mondays at the Hoy tournament. This is a private tournament on pokerstars that I host every Monday night at 10pm ET. The tournament is as always open to anyone and everyone -- just fire up pokerstars, look under "Tournaments", and go to the "Private" tab, and click to register for Mondays at the Hoy. Buyin is $20 for this event every week, so we're usually playing for a worthwhile prize pool. In addition, you will get to know some of the regulars fairly quickly, and the banter and trash talking that goes on while we take shots at tilting each other is typically alone well worth the price of admission.

I will be looking to keep the momentum going in this tournament tonight after my big WPBT Razz victory last night, so come one and come all and try to stop me! One thing we love at the Mondays at the Hoy tournament is first-timers. Again, there are no requirements to be able to play, and anyone is welcome. You, your friends, your parents, you name it and they can play. Just bring $20 and a desire to flaunt the U.S. government and its politically-motivated legislators, and you're in like Flynn.

See you tonight at 10pm ET on pokerstars!

WPBT Tourney Recap -- R is for Razz

Well I am pleased to say that yours truly took down the WPBT tournament last night in capturing my first Razz title among the blogger crew.

This event was a lot of fun, and as with the other WPBT tournaments hosted by Byron, they tend to attract a little bit more skilled crowd than most of the other weekly blogger tournaments. Part of that I'm sure is the $20 buyin, as compared to most of the other events' $10, but more than that Byron has created a WPBT "poker league" where most people actually care about winning bi-week in and bi-week out. Currently I am in the top ten on the WPBT leaderboard for Player of the Year honors, and I see this morning that winning this event has catapulted me to my highs for the year, 4th place in overall WPBT points, and more importantly, 3rd place in the average points per event category.

In any event, I managed to survive early on on the strength of just a couple of big Razz hands which I was able to score big pots with, but after that I started to get some good starting cards and I ended up reaching the final table in 3rd place out of 8. Smokkee had a huge chip lead for the entire second half of the tournament, and was hitting some incredible cards, and he and I basically took turns eliminating the field from the final table, with Pauly reaching the money along with Smokkee and myself shortly after Pauly knocked out his own brother Kameelah from the table. In the end Pauly succumbed to another bad card on 7th street (one of the themes of the night, and of any Razz event if people know how to play the game) against Smokkee, and Smokkee and I began heads-up play with Smokkee holding about a 1.5 to 1 chip advantage. I played very well heads-up in Razz, and with a little luck I ended up taking the lead, growing it significantly and then eliminating Smokkee all within the span of maybe 4 hands to take down my second WPBT title of the year.

Razz certainly lived up to its reputation as the world's most frustrating poker game last night. I have a full recap up of the tournament on my blog.

The Day After

Just a quick update here from the trenches, on D-Day minus one after President Bush signed the port security bill with the anti-gaming legislation tacked on into law in the United States. In case anyone is curious, I can confirm that it is business as usual this weekend for the major poker sites serving U.S. customers following the passage of the anti-gaming provisions. Of course partypoker and a few of the other smaller U.S. sites are going through with their promises to block all players from U.S.-based IP addresses on their sites as of the signing of the bill by President Bush. But otherwise the online poker landscape in fact looks very similar this weekend to how it looked just before the transfer of funds between U.S. players and online gaming sites became illegal on Friday morning at 10am local time in Washington, DC.

For example, pokerstars on Friday night was running its normal operations, including for U.S. players, and things seemed to be going off without a hitch. The main lobby on pokerstars reported approximately 91,000 players online at around 10pm ET on Friday night, exactly 12 hours after the signature of the port security bill, and that 91,000 figure is more or less right around where that number has been for many months, so no dropoff in action has even been observed on pokerstars since the bill went into law.

And a similar story at full tilt, where Friday night's $20,000 guaranteed tournament at 10pm ET boasted more than 1200 players, if anything a bit larger than the recent roll call for this event for a Friday evening. But again the traffic numbers for full tilt are generally in-line this weekend with recent usage levels for he site that was the first to stand up to the U.S. government and announce its commitment to continue to serve the U.S. market, where it maintains its innocence and its right to offer an online poker platform to everyone around the world.

Lastly, I purposefully went ahead and made some transfers with my Neteller account last night and this morning, and again can confirm that it is business as usual for the leading e-wallet application used to transfer funds to and from online poker sites by U.S. players. Again there appears to be no degradation in service, no new terms and conditions or special announcements being made by Neteller, nothing out of the ordinary at all. So for now, U.S. players have the means to get money into and out of and to play at most of their favorite poker sites in just the same way and to just the same extent that this was possible 24 hours ago, which is I'm sure a welcome sign to us all, not only as poker lovers but as lovers of personal freedoms for everyone.

Weapons of Aggressive Holdem -- The Delayed Steal

This will be my first in a series of posts about various moves and strategies I keep in my arsenal in no-limit holdem tournaments. The first move I want to cover is what I call the delayed steal. The basic premise behind the delayed steal is that, rather than a typical steal which I might execute preflop or with a bet of around 2/3 of the pot on the flop, I can instead just smooth call (or check-call) my opponent's continuation bet on the flop, with an eye towards stealing the pot on the turn or river if I continue to believe my opponent is weak.

The delayed steal can be preferable to the normal flop steal-bet for a number of reasons. First, it allows me to check some hands on the flop, or to call some small bets, and thus provides me with the opportunity to see some free cards in other situations later in the same game, because my observant opponents will remember me as someone who is fully willing to check the flop but then bet on the turn or river to take down a pot. Second, just looking at the number of chips involved, the delayed steal will usually net me more money than a steal on the flop because, if executed correctly, I will convince my opponent to make a bet of between 2/3 and the full size of the pot, which I will call and then have more chips to steal in the pot on later rounds. One other nice side effect of executing a nice delayed steal once in a while is that it will act to prevent my opponents from making standard continuation bets on the flop, because they know I might call them and make them lay down to me on later streets. Anytime I can make my opponents play more timidly against me, that plays right into my hands as an aggressive player myself.

So how does the delayed steal look in practice? I'm in the Mookie this week, and I limp preflop from middle position with AK, with one player already limped in from first position. Four players see a flop of Q92, and the first three of us check it around on the flop. Last position then bets 100 chips into a 135-chip pot, and the first two players fold. With the action back to me, I have no reason to believe that my opponent actually hit this flop. He only limped in preflop with 4 other players already in, so his range of starting hands is very wide, and now he only bet about 2/3 the pot, and only when it had been checked around to him by 4 players on the flop. So I figure my AK could likely be good here. But rather than raise, I just smooth call his flop bet. Often times, to an observant player the smooth call is more scary than a raise, because many players might raise with a decent-but-not-great hand to find out where they're at. The smooth call can indicate a draw, but it can also indicate a big hand like flopped trips, two pairs and similar holdings. So here I just smooth call what I perceive to be a position-based bet on the flop and with just two overcards, with the clear plan to take this pot away from my opponent on a later street. Plus, with two overcards like my AK, letting another card fall before I execute my steal can help me in that I have six outs that can fall to give me top pair on the turn.

The on the turn, an offsuit 6, I check it again, waiting to see if my opponent is willing to fire another bullet at the pot with what I still figure to be an inferior hand. He checks behind, all but saying out loud that he does not have a hand he is willing to play here, and basically begging me to take the pot on the river. Which is exactly what I do when the river card pairs the 9, also dropping a third heart and creating more scare cards than my opponent wants to consider. And providing me the perfect opportunity to spring the trap:

My opponent folds, and I pile 335 chips into my stack early on in a multi-table tournament. Interestingly, this move is often best executed with a hand like this, where I might not actually have been stealing after all since my AK was likely the best hand on every street. But the important point is that a delayed steal can bring several benefits (in addition to winning the actual hand in question) when combined in an apparently random fashion with other continuation bets and steal-moves on the flop in no-limit holdem tournament (and cash game) play.

My next post will show the reverse of this, how I can also maneuver my opponent to believe that he is doing the delayed steal move on me, and use that to chip up nicely early in tournaments as well.


Shane Nickerson and I were at Commerce Casino playing NLHE about four months ago. There was an Asian guy in his mid-30s at our table, who just couldn't catch a break; he was out-drawn several times in a few hours, and he eventually got up and moved to a different table that was still close to where we were sitting.

Fifteen or twenty minutes after he moved, we heard him shouting "Ten Q! Ten Q!" as he stood up and pointed at the table where the flop presumably had just been dealt.

I looked over, and assumed that he had flopped a draw, and needed a ten or a queen to complete his straight, but I figured out very quickly that he was actually shouting "thank you" to a woman who had called his kings with nines, and they were both all-in. He was deliriously happy that she'd called him with a totally dominated hand, and he was going to get close to unstuck on the night.

There were two clubs on the board, she had a club in her hand, and she caught running cards to make a four-card flush. The poor guy, who had made such good decisions while he was playing, and had just gotten really unlucky, was just crushed.

Since that day, when Shane or I get outdrawn or get really unlucky (in poker or not) one of us will say, "TenQ."

I am the UltraGigli (UPDATED)

Sunday, I played in the PokerStars $530, one million guaranteed tourney. I joined 2322 other players, grabbed at seat, and gleefuly found pocket aces on the very first hand, UTG no less.

I ran them into a set of deuces, and was eliminated 2323rd out of 2323. Eschewing context for sensationalism, Bluffmagazine.com declared, "Celebrity players have traditionally had a tough time in the online poker arena; Wil Wheaton (Stand by Me) was the celebrity host last weekend on PokerStars.com, and after losing a heads-up match to the TLB winner of the week, he was promptly knocked out first out of 2323 players in the weekly $1 million guaranteed prize pool tournament." I guess the fact that I had played limit O/8 for less than one full day, yet still managed to play for 90 minutes against one of the best in the world doesn't really count for anything there. Nor, apparently, does the fact that I'm not a celebrity poker player in any way that means anything. Just ask the producers of Celebrity Poker Showdown if you'd like to confirm this fact.

That's a tough way to go down, but there are far worse things than going broke with aces early on in a tourney on a J-high flop, when it's likely that you're up against some dude pushing it all in with AJ (it's certainly no worse than going broke with queens on the bubble by running them into aces, which I've done. Twice.) but you don't get a job working for Entertainment We(a)kly if you don't know how to kick a pseudo-celebrity like me in the junk, so good job, Bluffmagazine.com, and thank you for putting me as close to Pamela Anderson as i'm ever going to get without worrying about the Hep. C, and thank you for making me appear to be a completely clueless celebrity player who has never won anything or made a respectable finish in a big tourney.

UPDATE: I heard from Ian McKenzie, who wrote the blurb at bluffmagazine dot com. Ian says,
I certainly didn't mean to portray you as a bad player, as the poker world knows you are one of the
more skilled and experienced celebrity players.

The TLB winner's are always tough to beat, as they obviously spend more time playing than anyone who has a job/social life possibly can.

Anyhow, I will edit my story to include some context. I would have included the way you went out the $1 million, but I didn't see the hand.
So Ian, it turns out, is a decent fellow, and that job at EW will probably not go his way. Anyway, I've thanked him privately, so now I'm thanking him publicly.

But enough about that. How did I earn the coveted title of UltraGigli?

Tonight, in the WWdN Tuesday tourney, I found pocket kings in MP about two orbits into the game. Just as I do when I always see pocket kings, I said, outloud, "Oh shit. Here I go." With blinds still at 10 and 20, here was a raise to 100 ahead of me, which almost always screams AK or AQ, so I came back over the top  for 350 to get heads-up. He re-raised me, I re-raised again (I meant to push and slipped off the slider like a Former Star Trek Actor) and eventually all the money went in. He showed AQc, paired his Q on the flop, caught an Ace on the turn, and IGHN.

Since I was Gigli'd in back-to-back tourneys, first with Aces and then with Kings, I now declare that I am the JLo's glorious ass part of Gigli. I am, in fact, the UltraGigli.

Hear me roarpke.

DADI V Results

Well, I played like a fucking retarded donkey with no thumbs and a crash helmet in last night's DADI V WSOP Extravaganza, and bounced out in the 40s, lasting much longer than I should have. I did successfully drop one HAMMER early on, though, so it wasn't a total loss for me.

I know exactly what happened: I went on really stupid "I shouldn't have folded" tilt very early on, and then collapsed into card-dead tilt before ultimately pushing my 77 into QQ when my M hit 6.

I've located a Karl Rove-sized leak in my tourney game that experienced players have been able to successfully exploit much to my detriment (and I'm not disclosing it, so don't even ask) that absolutely destroyed me last night. I've also decided that, when My M is an apparent 12 but is actually going to get cut in half to 6 "within 1 minute," I may as well play like my M is 6, and start pushing any cards I'd raise, with the very narrow exception of massive monsters, like AJ[1] or The Hammer[2]

So after I bounced, I tried to talk myself into playing more poker, maybe a 180 SNG or a 4-player heads-up match, but Guitar Hero beckoned, so I rocked out with my conscious mind while I let my subconscious reflect on how poorly I played in the tourney and exactly why. It ended up being a good use of my time, because I five-starred Cochise and Spanish Castle Magic (I'm still on Medium), and I had the aforementioned revelation.

Gracie, Drizzt, and the blogfather himself made the final table, but a player called TonySopran0, who I don't recognize (Sorry, man. drop me a note so I can link your blog if you read this) [4]  won the whole thing, and will be heading to the WSOP with a bunch of WPBT POY points, as well.

Congrats to everyone who made it deep, and thanks to TripJax and HighOnPoker for hosting.

[1] That's a joke.
[2] That is quite serious.
[3] This is not a footnote.

[4] via Tripjax, I see that this guy is a total ringer! No wonder he won: he's already won a seat in the Main Event at the WSOP, and is a Silver Ironman at Full Tilt. Rigged! Sooooo rigged!

The Return of Eurofriendly Friday

I bounced from last night's WWdN in the pathetic 70s last night, when my M was 4 and I pushed my A8o into AQs. Not a whole lot I could have done last night, though, because the only cards I ever caught came at the first level, when they're not worth that much unless I have something like aces over kings and all the money goes in.

Huge congratulations to Maudie who went on to win the whole thing, and to everyone who made the final table. I saw a few familiar names there, but also a lot of new faces; if you're new to the WWdN tourneys, welcome! Please introduce yourself sometime, mmmkay?

Because there is no WWdN this coming Tuesday, I named this week's Eurofriendly Friday game after N1kita, who busted me with the aforementioned AQ vs A8o.

The Eurofriendly games are usually preetty small (I think we had 20 or so last time) but they're just as fun as the Tuesday games. If you're a European player, or an out of work actor who writes from home like me, you should join us on Friday in the WWdN: N1kita Eurofriendly Friday game.

What: WWdN: N1kita Eurofriday
Where: PokerStars.
When: Friday, April 21. 1800 GMT
Password: monkey
Tournament number: 23319749
Buy-in: $10 1

WWdN Tourney News

I've lost count of the WWdN tourneys, but I think we're near 30 now, right? I must admit, I really look forward to this weekly game, even if it's massively -EV, because it's a minimal investment, and whether I make it deep, Gigli, or bust with the hammer on the bubble, it's always a great time. Here are a few WWdN Tourney news items that I've been meaning to post:

I have finally spoken with the appropriate people at PokerStars, and the first WWdN Tournament of Champions is ready to go, as soon as I turn in a list of the winners. The date and time for the match will be released shortly. If you won one of the first eight WWdN tourneys, look for a notice from PokerStars in the coming days.

There will be no WWdN tourney next week, April 25. Instead, I'm teaming up with TripJax for the DADI 5 on April 24, which will feature a whole slew of prizes, including a seat in a $1500 WSOP event! All the details are at the Donkeys Always Draw Invitational blog. Because this is a WSOP satellite, the buy-in is $28, rather than $11, but the prizes are sweet and make a nice overlay. However, if the buy-in is out of your budget, don't worry: the regularly scheduled WWdN tourney will be back on May 2.

I'm putting the WWdN Thursday games on a break. While I've come to really look forward to the weekly games, playing twice a week, every week, without any sort of break, was starting to take too much time away from my family. I'm going to set the West Coast games up for once a month, just like the Eurofriendly Fridays (which needs to happen this week, I've just realized.) However, for those of you who want to play with the regulars on thursdays, you can look for NOT WWdN in the tourney lobby, and I think you'll be happy with what you find.

Now, questions: how many people would be interested in playing a higher buy-in tournament every couple of months, like $22 or $33? How many people would be interested in the occasional heads-up challenge?

Hope to see you all tonight. Let's get it over 100 for a two-table pay out!

What: WWdN: Change100 Invitational
Where: PokerStars.
When: Tuesday, April 18. 8:30 EST
Password: monkey
Tournament number: 22928623
Buy-in: $10 1

Hammer out Cancer WPBT POY Tourney

There is one thing I've learned over the last year: poker bloggers are ruthless when you're playing with them. Though we all like each other quite a bit, we rarely play cash games with each other for stakes that actually matter, because it's pretty -EV to play against a WPBT member. If you think I'm joking, google for "-EV poker bloggers" and see how many of us have sworn off playing together when it's not a tourney.

However, there's something else I've learned about poker bloggers over the last year: they are some of the most generous and kind-hearted people in the world. For a ruthless bunch of sharks, this community sure is good at taking care of people when they need it (see: ass, BG's; Tuttle, Charlie; or Katrina, Hurricane).

So this Sunday, the much of the WPBT will take off their sharkskin suits, pick up a hammer, and play in a tourney to raise money for the American Cancer Society.


Hammer Out Cancer, A WPBT-POY Circuit Event

Organized by EasyCure

When: April 16th - Sunday
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Full Tilt Poker
Cost: $10 $16 ($15 goes to American Cancer Society)
Password: dahammer

The tourney will count toward the WPBT Player of the Year race, and will raise money for a very good cause. I also understand that there's a pretty good chance for some Full Tilt pros to show up and play, too.

Reminder - WPBT Tournament Tonight

Attention all WPBT players:

Tonight is a WPBT-sanctioned event which counts in the running for POY points. This will be a No Limit Hold'em event in deep stacks format - players begin with 3k in chips.

Details are as follows:

Full Tilt Poker
9:00 EST
Buy-in $20 plus 2
No Limit Hold'em

Please note - this tournament is for WPBT members only. For additional information, please visit Biggestron.

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