Friday, March 31, 2006

Back from Reno

Updated 3/32/06 8:00PM PST

Woah!! Reno was a blast. Despite only coming in 120th out of 592 players, I had the time of my life and met some pokah pros.

Day 1

I start off looking for my seat after getting all my info to the registrar. I see David "The Dragon" Phan in the payline looking to get his seat. I approach him and say "Hi David." He says hi back and shacks my hand and I wish him good luck as he heads the opposite direction. Wow!!

1st hour of the 1st day of the tourny was something I'd like to forget. Table 54; Seat 8. 1st bad hand of the day. Guy in middle position raises the pot to 3x the blind to 150. Guy next to him says "You must really like your hand" as I too noticed how excited and how wide his eyes were. It's folded to me and I have QQ. I take a flop and it looks like a good one on 9-7-3 (something like that) and is rainbow; I bet and he raises. I take a good 2 minutes and end up folded this bad boy. I asked him what he had and he says he had a big pair. I believe him. Do you guys like this fold?

Next crippling hand w/in the hour. My AK gets flushed out by an A4 and I am down to about 1500 chips of my original 10,000. Despite being a great favorite here, I played this hand terribly and is a big reason why I struggled.

I get moved to Table 14; Seat 2 and things don't start off well. A pretty aggressive table and now I am down to 900 chips. Hard to raise and re-raise with this low of chips even at the 75-150 blind levels. 20 hands at this table or so I finally get to act in an un-raised pot and look down at 8-5s in mid position. I push it all in and is folded around to the small blind who takes his time and stares me down for 2 mins or so. He finally folds and so does the BB. SB says he had a small pair. Phew. 2 hands later, I get dealt an AKs. UTG (Under-the-gun) raise and I push all in and its folded around. He shows his pckt 9s and my AK is a fitty-fitty. An Ace flops and it holds up!!

I make moves now with my ever small stack and get it up to 5000 at a break. Blinds and antes are moving up. 1st hand after a break I get a K-K dealt and raise 3x and am reraised a few seats down (the guy that folded the small pair earlier in the SB). I put the rest in and he called immediately. I say "you got aces" he says no to my relief and then says "you got kings" and is right on. It holds up and now I'm over 10K!!

I later get it to about 25K and then take a hit as my JJ gets cracked by a fatman on the short stack who put in his last 7K in PF w/KQ and hit a K on the turn. This fat guy was on a heater. He got me and cracked Joe Sebok, Barry Greenstein's son's Aces w/a set of 10s on the flop before I could get Joe's picture taken with him. The fatman (but was very nice and humble) would also take another pair of pocket 10s and crack J-J w/a runner-runner flush. Goodness!!

Another person at the same table who was on a heater was Kevin Song. This guy's style is much like Tuan Le's and so was his luck (for 3 days). He ended the day w/96K and had re-raised a couple of hands that I initially raised. My end day chip count was exactly 13,000. I survived Day 1 from 900 chips!!

Day 2

I am at the same seat and table but nobody from the previous day is there. Will this seat continue to be lucky? Well, I decided to take a stand earlier after one of the pros (1st name Jonathan. I can tell he was a pro; good poker face and Evelyn Eg came by and gave him a hug!! Also hung out w/pro JC Tran) raised on the cut-off. I get AQs in the BB and push all in. He counts his chips and stares me down. I have the "Jesus" stare at him. He finally calls. I ask him if he's got a pair and he turns A8s over. I hit a Queen and am up to almost 30K now!! Was shocked too cuz the dealer had been dealing a few bad beats at this table with one not long before where A6 cracked AJ.

To my surprise and delight/fear, John Juanda has been moved to our table 3 seats to my left!! Juanda has a decent chip stack and was actually table talking at our table which was not very common to see him do. We even crack remarks about my man Phil Hellmuth who was MIA in the tourny so it was ok to do that. Made it to the break and asked him if I could get a pic with him. He agreed as Hasan Habib walked by and we ask him to take it. He takes about 3 tries and finally gets it but its blurry as hell (will post later). No time to get another pic or to get one with Hasan as everybody makes a mad gold rush to the bathroom before the break is over!!

30 mins into the next round where blinds are 600-1200 with 100 antes. I had set up the 2 people to my immediate left with position raises the past 2 times around. They had more chips than me but I had the cahonnes to bet into them. This hand unfortunately finally ended my tourny run. It's folded around to me in the SB and I get those Queens again. I raise to 3400 and he immediately goes all in!! He has 60K and could have easily raised 3x-4x what I raised because he was only gonna get called by a hand that had him dominated. Good play but bad raise amount. I put him on a small pair or weak ace and call. He says "you got me" and flips over K4o. Here comes the "you got me" jinx as I see this nightmare flop of K-3-3. I see no help on the turn and the river is a "paint" but its another King and now my 28K or so is all gone and rewarded to this donkey hitting his 3 outer. Got to shake Juanda's hand again and gives me some kind remarks.

This is a long post and am surprised if you read all of it. I also attended the Finalt Table Tapping which I will write about later tonight or tomorrow. I will also get my pictures up. If you have a facebook account they are up there. I will try to post them here later as well.

Premium hand stats:

- JJ went 0/2: The all-in that I couldn't avoid cost me about 7K on day one. Also on Day 1 on an early hand, it went call-call and I popped it and 3 saw the flop w/a King hitting and the 1st caller bet leading to a fold. Loss was minimal in this case.

- QQ went 0/2: Wish I had Johnny Chan's luck with his fav hand of whores. Of course, I folded it early in the 1st hour w/the dude's eyes getting huge like Chris Tucker's and the obvious backbreaker all in versus K4o

- KK went 1/1: All in PF vs AK and it held up for about 5,300 on a double up.

- AA went 2/2: Wow, I actually thought this hand would bust me. 1st time I get this hand, was at the 2nd table I was at on the 1st day. I have about 11K - 12K. The UTG player (the fatman Doug before he caught his heater) raises the minimum. I and my neighbors have caught on this guy that when he raises huge, he has a mediocure hand of 2 overcards or a small pair and when he raises small, he has a monstrous hand. Knowing that, I think I'm out immediately. Then 2 seats from him, it's popped up again. It's folded around to me and I'm thinking I probably should fold before looking at my cards. Low and behold I get dealt "America Airlines," "The Weapons of Mass Destruction," pocket aces and do an acting job before I push. The fatman immediatelly calls (if I had QQ there, I'd muck) and we got the PartyPoker special: QQ (Fatman), KK, vs. AA. No paint on flop but the turn put a 4 flush for the QQ. River was irrelevant and I built my stack to about 30K.
Next AA, I limp UTG and I get a call from 2 seats away from my nemesis Kevin Song. Cuttoff or Button position calls and then reraised by the BB. Here we go again?! I push all in. 2 limpers fold and BB takes about 5 mins to make his decision and finally folds.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rock-Solid Luck

First off, I just completed my finals!! Wahoo!! Just got out of the dreaded Art History class for the last time. My grades don't appear to be A, B, or even C worthy unless the "A" stands for "Atrocious," "B" for "Butt-ugly" or "C" for "Catastrophic"!

Well after yesterday's unbelievable episode of the WPT, I had to give my thoughts about it. First off, my heart goes out do David Singer. Monster chip leader from the get go and after that runner-runner draw out he suffered to rudy-poo named Ricardo?! There was no climbing back either as he was surprisingly the first to get sent to the rail.

Onto heads up, between the 2 satellite qualifiers of Ricardo Festejo and amateur (that's saying it lightly)Al Ardebili. Ardebili had to be the tightest mo'fo I'd ever seen. Throughout the touny broadcast, he was folding machine. He did so well in doing that that he should apply for a job at Nordstrom and be the guy that folds the clothing! The broadcast (or Al) didn't bluff or outplay his opponent in any hands. The 3 hands that he "played" were 2 times where he got Q-Q and doubled/ko'ed somebody and the 3-3 (short-stacked) and miraculously hit quads. Now HU, Ricardo is dealt A-2 off and pops it. Mister Turtle Rock, has the 2-3 of diamonds and comes out of his shell and calls the raise!! Somebody call the paramedics! However, I like the check raise Ardebili made trying to steal the pot away from Ricardo. If I were Ricardo, there is no way I call that hand despite being a 87% but the thing is, he doesn't know that and here, I think you have to play the opponent. The guy has been rock, solid and beyond and even if you think he has a flush draw, you're not that big of a fav and there is a better spot to get your money in. Well, Ricardo obviously calls after taking a long time and my jaw tried to hit the floor!! That is definitely the most unbelievable call I've seen in a long time if ever!! The 3 outer hits on the turn and Ricardo is now thinking "Oh-no-no!!"

Spring break technically starts right now for me. I hope all ya'all have a wonderful and safe break!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Random Thoughts

Chalk One up for WWE's SNME

Even though the ratings weren't tremendous, I must say that the WWE put on a great show with their Saturday Nite Main Event (SNME) over TNA Impact this week. The show didn't have any week segments and the Detroit crowd appeared to be hot all nite (too bad Sheed had a b-ball game or I'm sure he would have been there and got some air-time). The night was capped w/a "real" main event between "The Has-been Kid" (as Jericho called him. ok, hes not done yet; hes still the heart-break kid for now) Shawn Michaels vs. "The Boy Wonder," "Shane-O-Mac," Shane McMahon. Every PPV, main event match w/Shane that I recall never disappoints. And technically, he isn't a "real" wrassler. He's the bosses son how makes "special" appearances and always puts on a show. I don't recall him ever winning a match but still, the guy gives 150%. How about that superplex off the ladder to the tables outside. Holy shit!! How the hell is that not the end part of the match?! What an unbelievable spot! Noticeable, you can see that Shane's face under his left eye is bruised and HBK's elbow is bleeding. Lots of props for the matching continuing after this spot but the ending of the match, that could have been abolished. Hmmmm, I wonder what "The Hitman" thinks about that?

Finals Week

The dreaded week known as finals week has dawned upon me. 3 test this week w/finance today, business tech tomorrow, and the ever ridiculously difficult art history class. Don't get me wrong, art history paintings are nice and dandy and all but trying to remember 200 paintings, artists, and vocab that I'll probably never use again for a introductory AH class and for a BA requirement (more like a BS requirement but the BS doesn't stand for bachelor science) is too farfetched to me.

Oh, the suspense! 5 more days til' I fly out to Reno for the WPT World Poker Challenged! I emailed the PokerBlue support (the site I'll be representing) about the tourny. Their support has been slow so I am getting more anxious. So far, they have been trustworthy as I've cashed out a nice 4-figure sum w/in 48 hours.

If this is my last post in awhile, I hope to return to you and share my success/disappointment from the tourny. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Random Thoughts

Taking down the Sharks... That is the Steve's OnlineShark Member

Woah!! Me, TheStudent, has been MIA with Sharky's tournys lately with a shitty thing called school I have to attend to. Lil' of me had been in the biggest funky funk since Marky-Mark and the Funky-Fresh came out with "Good Vibration" (was that Mark Walberg's group's name?)

So after 2 grueling, diabolical weeks of school torture of presentations and papers, I had some time to acutally focus on a tourny. Black, Shark shirt attire on and game face ready! Sometimes, I'd play ring games of 30 to 45 minutes. Not very effective as its hard to get your grove on and recover from bad beats or getting "out-set." So anywho, I enter Steve's ("Sharky") $5 buy in at "pokahdotcom." Surprisingly, only 21 die hard Sharky's enter. I guess every1 else is out on good ol' St. Patty's day. Probably ol' Sharky too takin out Ms. Shark (also named Patti) as I didn't see him there. Got into deep shit early bluffing my chips away. Down to about 500 w/1st 20 mins or so. Got no cards early and con't to get bad cards but "stole" some pots. One hand that got me going where I played a 3-7 from SB and flop came 7-9-A. 3 handed, I lead and bet and get called by Shark veteran CharterBoss. Turn is 7 and check it to Boss who bets. I believe hes still got the flushy draw and put him all in. My hand holds up.

Final table, I have gain chip lead with blinds still fairly low. I get the AK of hearts on the cut off and raise 3.5 the blinds. I get called by another Shark vet Lazrus. He's got just a lil under than me. Flop is 6-5-6. He pushes all in and I fold like a lil school girl. Laz says he had A2. Tilty bird coming for me.. or not. Still in 2nd in chips w/6 to go.

Heads up w/Scotty baby! Scotty was complaining of me stealing to much. Well... no comment. Heads up, Scotty played tremendously changing gears and taking it to me. I fought back with some "moves" and ended up taking it down like a drunk girl on a coach (yea I wish... nevermind, I'd never do such a thing. Seriously).

TNA (no, not "T & A") Thoughts

Last Sunday marked the return of Sting to TNA returning as Steve Borden (real name) and (My goodness) "Big Pappa Pump" Scott Steiner sporting a new tatoo on his chest. Good god; Steiner's left arm itself weighs more than me total!! The suplex machine annihilated my man but it looks like we will see the Stinger once again!!

Congrats to "The Fallen Angel" for winnin the "X Title" vs. Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. With my poker winnings, I should go and get these PPVs on DVD. Seriously, this is "real," innovative, and well-choregraphed wrestling. If you never thought a big 300 pd Samoan could run and suicide dive thru the middle rope to attack the oppenent, you've gotta see this!! Right now, I am trying to get their name out there so they can survive and compete with the WWE. Click on the link on the right for the website. Check out wrestlers like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, and Petey Williams. They never disappoint like that you see of HHH in the WWE. TNA airs on a terrible timespot of 11PM on Saturday nights but if you're at home and a die hard wrestling fan (like yours truely), you've gotta watch this. Sometimes, watching 1 minute of their "X-Division" matches is better than watching a whole main event with HHH in it.

My spiel and rant for tonight/today... Might be the last one in awhile so I hope you all enjoyed. 8 days (9 til tourny) till I fly down to Reno to take care of bid-ness. I hope this recent tourny dubya can get me rollin' rollin' rollin' like Limp Bizkit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"You're playing for $500K...!?" or Not

Those words uttered by one of my new fav. poker players Kenna James. Not only is he a great and spirited character, but this guy can play poker. This guy was absolutely incredible at the WPT Legends of Poker. What a laydown he made with AJ in the BB after an UTG raise and predicted the hand of his oppenent (Forgot his name) as he then immediately throw his cards away (JJ) in a flash as VVP commentated humorously. Again, making unbelievable laydowns and calls; reading people like reading a Dr. Suess book. The only problem was that he had a nemesis and big donkey by the name of Alex Kahanar. Ugh. This guy's name and play reminded me of Aaron Kanter from last year's WSOP. The name that rolled off my toungue when I saw his name even reminded me of Kanter. Rumpulstilskin butt-ugly mofo who sucked out on massive pots against Kenna James 3 times (broadcasted). In particular, the heads-up hand: James gets dealt A4o on the button and raises. Dannanmen/Kanter, I mean Kahanar looks down at J10o. He goes on and asks for the time like he's tired (just like Dannenman's excuse for playing the last hand at the WSOP so terribly) and asks for the time. Finally, he decides to raise (I would actually put him on a strong hand here cuz he acted very weak and then strong w/the raise). Kenna, however, has had a phenomenal read on this donkey after seeing him show many hands and act particularly and decides to push all you can eat baby (Men "the master" Nguyen's all in saying). Now, from watching I noticed that Kahanar had been weak as Kenna said earlier "The last time you stood up, you had 8 high" and remembered that. Any movement of getting up or talking signified weakness in Kahanar. When Kahanar flopped 2 pair (Q4)HU vs. James, he was dead silent. So Kenna, trusting his read, made the right move. Kahanar than admits he will make the bad call and Kenna goes on to say "You're playing for $500K?!" Unfucking believable!!! Did he think that Kenna meant that they were playing for $500K in play chippies at a home game with his buddy Kenna?!This play was by far worse than Dannenman's. Like only the poker gods know, they again reward the donkey, and in this case, its the 3rd time that he outlucked the shark Kenna James. After this, I look at Kenna from chanting "Ace Ace Ace, to a dejected and dumbfounded by what just happened. It even looks like he aged 8 years after that hand.

Again, another great episode but "the best player" (IMO) at the table got unlucky and came up short. You'll be seeing Kenna more not only on Poker Royale as a commentator, but at the final tables of major tournys.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What a show!!

The start off to season for of the WPT did not disappoint. The Mirage Showdown had its share of great skill, emotion, and diabolical beats. Four pros that consisted of "Kido" Pham, Chris Bell, Gavin Smith, and Ted Forrest. I remember the last time I saw Kido, he wasn't near as aggressive as he was yet Mike and Vince kept saying he was known as an aggressive playa. Maybe, the show didn't show it as we all know, you gotta be hardcore (aggressive) to succeed.

To my surprise, Ted Forrest, who Vince once called the "Junk Man" didn't play a hand in the 1st hour of the broadcast. Of course, its edited by I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Go back and watch: Ted "The Hitman" (as VVP was callin him that broadcast) didn't "play" a hand until 7PM on the dot with the 4s. I must admit, I was not the biggest Ted fan but damn, he played the best that night. Changing gears, making phenomenal reads and laydowns that I thought were possible from Ted. Mad props Ted; I knew who already won before the broadcast but on the WPT website, it has a poll on who deserves a 2nd chance at the final table: Ted Forrest w/68% of the votes as of this moment.

How about Chris Bell? he played pretty well at the start against the amatuer Eugene Toddthat kept making great facial expressions (should have put that guy in the new FTP commercial with Howard Lederer; would be funny as hell) and then getting lucky against Ted when he hit the "slot machine" on the river against Ted. Damn, I got my tell on Chris there (gotta love all those new cameras installed). When Ted called the re-raise on the flop, Chris showed fear (watch the re-runs if you missed it). Then the river came and he coulnd't contain himself. Still, it takes a lot to laydown top pair and top kicker in that situation, but I probably would have done the same thing after that read.

Oh, other than Eugene Todd's antics, the funniest thing on the show had to be when Mike Sexton said that Eugene Todd was a "bid-ness" major. I about choked on my Gatorade there. :-D

Hectic weeks. Finally a day for a break... until tomorrow

Presentation, 15-page paper out of the way this week. I think I am about dead. You must be thinking, "well that can't be so because I am writing this write now." Next week gets even better as I have a paper due for my fav class AH otherwise known as Art History or otherwise known as Absolute Hell!! Also got another presentation (lighter than the one I gave today at least) and a project to due for the final week before finals. I probably gonna wish I were in a tombstone or something after this term as I've been punished, annihilated, and raped by this term (aka AH class).

Today marks the start of the new season (broadcast wise) of the WPT. Am looking forward to it but ever since I found out about CP, I know who already wins. Hell, I also know who wins the upcoming National Heads Up Championship which should be really tight as my man Philly Boy (as Shark calls him) played stellar and took it down.

Countdown to Reno is only 18 days away!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

WPT Tourny of Champions

As we are on the verge of the new season of the WPT (TV wise), yesterday marked a new episode of the WPT Tournament of Champions. I must say that the advertisement for this was terrible as all I've seen for TV commericials were hyping the new season started on March 8 and completely ignored the show yesterday (which was a new episode) or at least I'd never seen it on the Travel Channel before.

My man John Stolzmann was there. He looked quite different without his hat but hey, I guess you dress differently after you win over $1.5 million!! Along with "Johnny Blinder" are WPT Player of the year "Kid Poker" Daniel Negraneau, Micheal Gracz, Alex Brenes, Eli Elezra, and the maniac/lucky horse shoe known as Tuan Le. The first first to exit the felt was Stolzmann. He had played very tight and decided to take a stand w/8-9 after a raise by the poker tramp Tuan Le. I tell you want, anybody else at the table would have folded (K-J off suit), but not Tuan. I really doubt that his reading tells of others is that good (as shown in a previous tourny against Bradley Burman; failing to laydown AK and spiked an Ace on the river). Tuan has about $60K invested and will cost him over $500K to call and does so with a K-J off suit. A delayed flop as the cards were stucked with sticky glue or something but the window card was an 8 giving hope but to only be shattered as the next 2 cards came K-J and no help afterwards.

Tuan eventually abolished the field and took out every player; literally Not only that, I don't recall him being the favorite PF (pre-flop) whether it was a coin flip or being a 3-1 dog. Good mother of God!! I have never seen somebody this lucky before in my life (at least he admitted it in his interview at the end). His 1st WPT Title, the same lightning kept striking him and in the WPT Championshiip, he got some "help" (cahoots with him?) from his friend Hasan Habib (Oh and don't forget his mircacle gut shot straight HU against Paul Maxfield).

On a side note, those cameras they installed in the middle of the tables look weird. I do think its a good addition as now you get an even better chance to study the players on TV better than before. I did pick up some tells on Tuan Le so I'll put it to good use if I see the 3-Time WPT Champ at my table.

Also, I missed Shana Hiatt. I don't think anybody can replace her charisma, hotness, and awesomeness that she brought to the table. Let's all hope we get to see her on the big screen or something soon cuz its killing me (ok maybe not killing but it still hurts). :-D

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