Our free seat winner, David (mddroege on the site), and Chicago Poker Club faithful Gary Carr went head's up for bragging rights and a seat in the $395 MECG Deep Stack event, with Day 1 Flights being running between now and November 19th.  David parlayed his CPC forum post and an add-on into a victory in the event, and will try to turn that seat into a five-figure score, starting with his seat in the November 19th televised Day 1 flight.

David also won a silent auction and a raffle, while Chicago Poker Club and Windy City Poker Championship helped to raise additional money for Rimland RFP.

For more information on the Main Event Charity Games Deep Stack Event, follow this link.

First-Ever Nationally Televised Regional a Huge Success

Hammond, IN – The winner of the first-ever World Series of Poker Circuit Regional Championship is Jim Anderson, from Wooster, Ohio.

Anderson collected $525,449 in prize money, plus the coveted gold ring, presented to all WSOP Circuit champions.  This marked Anderson's first major tournament victory.  He is a former bartender who has been playing poker seriously for only about a year.  This is his first season to play on the WSOP Circuit.  He cashed 242nd in this year's WSOP Main Event, held in Las Vegas.  In fact, Anderson acknowledged that his experience at the WSOP and deep run in the Main Event helped him considerably in this tournament.

“I definitely think my deep run in the Main Event this year helped me here,” Anderson said in a post-tournament interview.  “The $10K is always intimidating if you are new.  But having played in it before, it allowed me to focus more.  The atmosphere was kind of similar with all the lights and the television cameras around.  So, I think I was used to the pressure somewhat.”

Anderson got into the tournament somewhat by accident.  He won a preliminary (non-Gold Ring) event held three days earlier.  When Anderson won the smaller tournament at the Horseshoe Casino, he had no idea that a paid $10,000 seat into the Regional Championship came with the victory.

“I won one of the tournaments that took place earlier this week,” he explained.  “First place gave away a free seat.  I did not even know it at the time.  So, I got into this event and didn’t even expect to get a seat.”

Hammond, IN – The final table is now set!

Players have reached the most thrilling stage of the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit Regional Championship, currently taking place at the Horseshoe Casino, near Chicago.  There are only nine players remaining with their hopes still alive of a half-million dollar top prize, from an initial starting field of 226 entries.

When the final table begins on Thursday, October 28th at 2 pm, the nine competitors will be:

Bernard LeeSEAT 1:  Bernard Lee (Wayland, MA) – Starting with 401,000 in chips
Bernard Lee is one of poker’s most highly-accomplished all-around personalities.  He finished 13th in the 2005 WSOP Main Event and earned three major poker titles during three consecutive years between 2006 and 2008.  To date, he has won nearly $1.5 million in tournament poker during his career.  Lee is widely recognized as “the voice of poker in New England,” since he hosts ESPN’s weekly show called “Inside Edge” and has written a regular poker column for the Boston Herald newspaper.  He also represents the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.  Lee is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.  He is seeking his first WSOP-related victory.

SEAT 2:  David Sands (Las Vegas, NV) – 1,360,000 in chips
David Sands is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV.  He formally worked in internet marketing before taking up poker for a living.  At one time, Sands was the number one ranked online tournament player in the world, according to one major ranking site.  He also was afforded the prestigious opportunity to become one of the “Brunson Ten,” which is a small elite group of poker players led by the legendary Doyle Brunson.  Sands cashed five times at the 2010 WSOP.

SEAT 3:  Jim Anderson (Wooster, OH) – 345,000 in chips
Jim Anderson is a 24-year-old former bartender who now plays poker.  He only began playing poker seriously this year, and has already won a $1,000 buy-in Mixed Event.  This is the second year Anderson has played on the WSOP Circuit and is his first appearance ever at a televised final table -- which he hopes will be the first success of many more to come, in the years ahead.

SEAT 4:  Tony Hartman (Skakopee, MN) – 194,000 in chips
Tony Hartman is a 43-year-old professional poker player from the Minneapolis, MN area.  He has been playing in major poker tournaments for more than a decade and has numerous cashes and final table appearances all over the country.  He has also made five final tables at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  Hartman credits much of his success to two people -- a very supportive and loving wife, and great mother.  He did not reveal if they have a piece of his action at this final table. 

Dave "Doc" Sands just busted in fifth place.  There are four players left.  Bernard Lee is the short stack with 765,000.  Gabe Patgorski continues to lead the pack with 3.825MM.  Blinds 15,000/30,000/4,000.  Our man Kirk Fallah is on the scene.


Shannon Shorr just busted in 6th place.  Follow our Twitter feed (@chicagojason) for updates.

Here are some live shots from the TV table:


Event #8

Main Event Championship

No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-In:  1,500 (+100)

Total Entries:  872

Total Prize Pool:  $1,245,680

Hammond, IN – The record-shattering World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event in Chicago has finally ended.  After playing three consecutive 12-plus hour days, only one player remained seated at the final table, thus becoming Chicago’s 2010 World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event Champion.

The victor was Kurt Jewell, a professional poker player from Frankfort, KY.  He officially collected $242,909 in prize money.  Jewell also received his first-ever WSOP Circuit Gold Ring.  Jewell won two pre-paid seats – first into the $10,000 buy-in Regional Championship (which began the following day) as well as an automatic bid to the $1 million freeroll National Championship, which will take place in Las Vegas, next May.

Jewell is a 25-year-old graduate of Eastern Kentucky University.  He holds a degree in sports management.  Jewell eventually hopes to work in sports at some point when the "right opportunity comes along," he says.  But until then, Jewell is content with grinding out a living by playing poker professionally.  He says his ideal job would be to work for Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, his favorite team.

Jewell's previous poker accomplishments include six WSOP Circuit cashes, including a runner up finish at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in July and a third-place finish earlier this month at Southern Indiana.  He is now among the leaders in points accumulated on this year's WSOP Circuit, which now includes the first three stops of the season.

Jewell put on a masterful performance.  Focused and determined from start to finish, he was the chip leader from the middle of Day Two until the late stages of the tournament.  Jewell lost the lead temporarily when a few of the shorter stacks managed to double up.  But he was able to regain his advantage and eventually won his first major poker title.

Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

Kaseem “Freddy” Deeb wandered the halls of the Rio eating a banana during his dinner break of Day 1 of the main event. Ante Up’s Chris Cosenza stopped him for a quick chat about everything from his crowning achievement to his poker dream.

What’s your favorite poker game and why?

I really like all of the poker games as along as there’s some dead money in there. That’s what I look for.

What’s the biggest pot you’ve won?

The largest pot I ever won? I would say close to half a million dollars at the Bellagio a couple of years ago in PLO.

Your greatest poker moment?

Definitely winning the (WSOP $50K) H.O.R.S.E. title. It’s almost all the games and when you win a title like that it means you’re good at all the games.

Who’s the best poker player in the world?

There is no such thing as the best player in the world. Every day it changes. Whoever is more fresh, more rested, more relaxed that day will play the best. I don’t care if it’s Doyle (Brunson) Howard (Lederer) or Daniel (Negreanu). If they aren’t well-rested and in the right frame of mind and physically rested they aren’t going to play their best poker.

So really there’s no such thing as a best player. There are a lot of good players, but who’s the best player that day? It all depends on those factors.

What’s the best poker advice you’ve received?

I’ve always been told things I already know. So it’s just about whether you discipline yourself or not. I mean, we all make mistakes and sometimes we know for sure we are wrong, that we’re not supposed to do it but we still do it because we are not in the right frame of mind. Or maybe we’re not smart enough to avoid it. Then you look around and say, “Where did I f*ck up?” Excuse my language. I already know that I’m not supposed to do that but I still do it.

What does poker need?

There is nothing that poker needs. All you need is two guys to play and that’s a poker game. There’s nothing that can stop a poker game from going on, because people will still play.

If you weren’t a poker player you’d be a …

I came here to study as a mechanical engineer and I went broke and started looking for a job, and I’m still looking for one (laughs). So I can be a mechanical engineer or maybe a businessman.

Who’s is your hero?

There’s a lot of heroes that I got and nobody’s special, nobody’s different from the other. I try to pick up all the good qualities the good poker players have.

What’s your poker dream?

Win the main event of the World Series of Poker.

How much money do you have on you right now?

How much money do I have on me? I think I have about six or seven thousand.

Events #1 - #7 are in the books at the 2010 WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond, outside of Chicago.

Event #1, the $350 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament was the largest poker event ever held in the seven-year history of the WSOP Circuits. In fact, this was the biggest poker turnout ever in the Chicago area. There were officially 1,611 entrants, including 261 alternates.  This author was one, finally sitting down at 4pm for the noon event.

The event winners are:

EVENT 1 - Brett Schwertley, a 27-year-old semi-pro poker player from Omaha, NE. His win was his first, and paid $77,438 in prize money.
EVENT 2 - Chad Graves of Greenfield, WI took down $59,539. This was Chad's first cash.
EVENT 3 - John Nguyen, a 26-year-old poker pro from Fairview Heights, IL was dealt 5d 4c on the last hand of the tournament. He managed to shove all in on the turn with a straight draw, against his opponents two pair. He caught the miracle card on the river to take it down.
EVENT 4 - Cheech Barbaro, from Chicago, IL a 36-year-old bartender and semi-professional player, beat a field of 225 in this H.O.R.S.E. event.
EVENT 5 - Juan Rodriguez bested a field of 608 players and won his first major tournament, collecting $36,439. No word on what happened to his elbows.
EVENT 6 - Ian Wiley of Las Vegas, NV beat out 322 players in the 6-Handed NL Event to take down $152,960 and the coveted gold ring.
EVENT 7 - Brent Keller of Horsham, PA took down the Limit Omaha 8 event and pocketed $13,255.

Thank you to Nolan Dalla and the WSOP press team for sharing pictures and event results.

The World Series of Poker Circuit Events began this past Friday, October 15.  So far 5 events are in the books, three more are underway, with 16 on the schedule in total.  We'll have pictures and results.  Here are some faces of the WSOP-C, and a big picture dump after the break (click "read more" below).

Faces of the WSOP-C, Chicago 2010

Event #1 drew more than 1600 entrants, a Circuit record.

Jeff FreemanUndoubtedly, you'll be nervous about your first game of poker. On the flipside, there's an undeniable excitement about it, too.

Get used to it.

No, no. Seriously. Get used to it. You'll get the feeling each and every time you pull up a chair and sit behind your fresh stack of chips, when you find yourself with pocket aces, or when you're hoping to pull off a bluff for a giant pot with nothing more than 2-7 offsuit.

Consistency is key in poker, and that stands true in your body language as much as it does your betting habits (another article for another time). Your mannerisms are constantly under observation. Just because it's not your turn to act doesn't mean someone isn't watching.

So when I say "get used to it," I mean it. In my poker-playing opinion, nerves are the most basic and most common emotion. Learn to control them -- or at least keep them under wraps. Good poker players use their opponents' weaknesses to their advantage. It won't be long before an observant player realizes your hands are even slightly trembling.

Personally, I like to work on my poker mannerisms during online play with free chips. I'll readily admit, it sounds silly -- but would you rather develop your mannerisms during a live money game? That can get pretty expensive pretty fast.

When you finally get a hand you want to play, treat your mouse like your stack of chips. Don't touch it unless you absolutely have to. Take some mental notes of your movements. Even during online play, you might find yourself a little jittery or shaky. You might breathe a bit heavier while hoping someone buys your bluff. I noticed that I bounced my right leg when I got impatient!

The next step, of course, is to eliminate those problematic mannerisms.

Stick with me on this one: I've found that "plotting a course" for your hands and arms helps reduce shakiness during any kind of play. Once you've decided to bet, call, check, or fold, plot your movement from start to finish.

Finally, when you're prepared to take action, remember two important words: "fluid" and "deliberate." Reaching for, manipulating, and acting with your chips without hesitation shows strength and confidence. On most online poker sites, you're given at least ten seconds to decide what you want to do. Make the most of that time.

The mannerisms you work on behind the screen of a computer won't make you any less nervous when time comes to sit down at your next game. However, I believe the ideas I've outlined and practiced myself can help you attain a level of confidence that you wouldn't have without practicing your mannerisms.

As you become more experienced, the nerves-to-excitement ratio will fluctuate. No matter how many games you play, though, it'll always be there. Making yourself less predictable is key in poker. Shutting out others' ability to pick up on your nerves is a step in the right direction.

There are some common misunderstandings when it comes to Charity Poker Events.

Poker players believe that the play is horrible…the prizes are sub par…and that the events are not worth their time.

While that was true a few years ago...it’s not the case these days as there are great charity poker events happening all across Chicago. These events help raise a lot of money for those in need, while offering to it’s players entertainment, high quality prizes, and the opportunity to meet celebrities, and even professional poker players. Let me take you through some recent events I attended as a player, and as a dealer.

Charity Event #1:

The 2010 Marklund Casino Night and Poker Tournament charity event organized by Impact365 at McGrath Lexus in downtown Chicago was an amazing success. The event featured casino games, raffle prizes, and a re-buy charity poker event organized by Ron Slucker. This high class event had the atmosphere of a Las Vegas casino, and offered such games as Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, and a re-buy poker tournament that I was excited to play in.

Ron Slucker of Impact365 at the Marklund Casino Night

Chicago Poker Club.net held a contest and gave away one free seat into this charity event valued at $150. The winner was Chicago’s own Dave “The Fish” Backstrom who was seen recently on the WSOP Main Event broadcasts being eliminated by 2009 November 9’er Billy Kopp. So I told Dave when he arrived that he would have to redeem himself tonight and leave there with the first place prize which was a brand new Lexus! At the start of the poker tournament players were able to do an initial re-buy of $50 and increase their stack to 7,500 in starting chips. Not bad for a charity event!

Unfortunately Dave did not leave the event with a brand new Lexus as he was eliminated after lasting more than half the field…however the night wasn’t over for this Chicago Poker Club.net contest winner as his raffle ticket was selected as the recipient of a brand new snowboard, which he then immediately turned into some greenbacks as a “Random Dude” offered him $100 cash money for the snowboard valued at $400. I witnessed in person this negotiation which went something like this.

Friday kicks off another chapter with poker’s amazing journey to Chicago. Back in 1970 nobody expected the World Series of Poker to ever leave Fremont Street. When the cards hit air in 1971 Texas Holdem was only legal in the state of Nevada. It would have been beyond any poker player’s wildest dreams that someday the Horseshoe would be next door neighbors to the city of Chicago. I have always said “Chicago is a poker town”. Friday at high noon when the cards hit the air the Horseshoe will prove me right again.

Since 8/8/08 poker has only gotten bigger and better in the Chicago Area. On Monday 10/25 the Horseshoe will raise the bar again with Chicago’s first nationally televised Regional Championship. Now the big name pros have a reason to flock to Hammond Indiana. This tournament along with other tournaments will be part of the $1,000,000 WSOPC National Championship.

Event# - - Tournament - - Date - Buy-In

Event 1 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 15 $300+50

Event 2 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 16 $500+60

Event 3 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 17 $1,000+100

Event 4 - H.O.R.S.E. Oct 17 2 $300+50

Event 5 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 18 $300 + $50

Event 6 - Pot-Limit Omaha With $100 Re-buys Oct 18 $200+50

Event 7 - No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed Oct 19 2 $500+60

Event 8 - Omaha 8 or Better Oct 19 2 $300+50

Event 9 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 20 1 $180+20

Event 10 - NLH/PLO Oct 20 $1,000+100

Horseshoe Hammond $1,500 Main Event Oct 22 $1,500+100

Event 12 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 23 $500+60

Event 13 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 24 2 $300+50

Horseshoe Hammond $10,000 Regional Championship Oct 25 $10,000

Event 15 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 26 1 $200+50

Event 16 - No-Limit Hold'em Oct 27 $200+50

For more information http://www.wsop.com/

Flight 1e of the MECG $100,000 Deep Stack event, planned to be the flagship tournament of Season 2 of the Windy City Poker Championship was this past Saturday, October 2, at the City Tavern in Kankakee.

Day 1e saw the following four players advance:

The current prize pool is at $20,636 and growing, with 20 players currently advancing to Day 2.

Day 1f will be Oct 9 at The Golden Bear in Alsip on Saturday, October 9.  All of the future flights can be found here, and this site continues to be updated regularly.

Verbal tells are just as important

Re-printed courtesy of Joe Navarro and our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

How do you loosen up someone who is using techniques to hide tells, for example, the Navarro Perch? — Zorag, asked on the Ante Up PokerCast

The best way is to say things to them. To question them. Ask them what they have. “Are you going to hurt me if I call you?”

I think we miss a lot of opportunities by not challenging players. Just by asking them, “Is this going to hurt me? Do you want me to call?” Just to get them to react or talking about a subject that maybe arouses their interest in conversation. We know that when we lack confidence our voice has more hesitation and we even speak louder and have a higher pitch. Mike Matusow uses this quite a bit.

— Ex-FBI counterintelligence officer Joe Navarro of Tampa specialized in behavioral analysis for 25 years. He’s a star lecturer with the WSOP Academy. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

At Chicago Poker Club, we're big fans of studying verbal, betting, and physical tells.  We're also big fans of Joe Navarro.  In case you missed it, check out ChicagoJason's interview with Joe Navarro from last fall.

What tells have you observed?  Share with our community.

Recently our friends at Ante Up Magazine had a mailbag question from one of their PokerCast listeners, Captain Phil, setting the criteria for considering a specified activity a  Sport or a Game.  Captain Phil put himself out there, and sustained the criticisms, however constructive, of the show's hosts Chris and Scott.  If you want to hear Captain Phil's criteria and the show's response, you should head to their site and listen to the September 17 show.  Here, we will take our own look.

First, I believe "Sport versus Game" is a false distinction.  The question is, "Is Poker a Sport"?  There are plenty of sports which are games - I enjoy the game of baseball, which few would question is a sport.  Chess is a game, not a sport.  Boxing is a sport, though arguably not a game. Football is a sport, and is a game.  How do we define the criteria by which an activity is evaluated as a sport?

  1. The activity must be a competition between two or more opponents, and have a clear outcome - winner, loser, or tying opponents.  (I will save my rant on ending games in a tie for another time.  I'm looking at you soccer.)   Foursquare (the playground game, not the social networking tool) has a hierarchy of participants, and an objective of climbing the hierarchy, but no winner (unless it is defined in-game, e.g. the "first square when the school bell rings").  The game is, theoretically, unending.

  2. The outcome must be able to be determined solely by the primary participants (i.e. the "players").  If it is occasionally determined by a judge, referee, or other official (e.g. TKO in Boxing), it does not disqualify the activity from being a sport, so long as the competitors can derive a victor without the official as a part of the activity's rules (e.g. Knock Out).  Competitive figure skating is a competitive activity, waged between highly trained athletes, and the outcome is always determined by the judges.  It is, therefore, not a sport (nor a game).

  3. The outcome of the event is determined by the skilled, physical movements of the participants, be it the movement of balls, sticks, clubs, or machines, and not the mental or vocal movements.  Chess could be played purely verbally, and is not a sport.  ("Bishop to Queen 4.")

It would seem that, given these criteria, poker is not a sport.

By these rules, activities like race car driving (Indy, NASCAR) are sports, as are golf and bowling.  Figure skating, cheerleading, and diving are not. A hunting competition, by this criteria, is a sport.

Do you agree, or disagree?  What criteria am I missing?

Re-printed courtesy of Doc Bloomfield and our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

I didn’t come here to fold; I came to play. … This is boring; the pros play lots of hands, why shouldn’t I? … Folding is cowardice and is for wimps; I ain’t no nit. … I’ve been playing this tournament for six hours, haven’t caught a hand. I’m card dead; I’ll just go all-in next time I get anything. … I never get a hand.

If you just want to have fun, love the gamble and the adrenaline and don’t mind losing then forget patience and discipline. But if you don’t like losing and part of your pleasure is winning you will need patience and discipline.

If you read last month’s column you know why you play poker (purpose). Now we move on to some of the other more important aspects of the game.

Who would have thought patience would become controversial? But poker is changing. Loose, aggressive players look impatient. The key word there is “look.” The better ones are patient and disciplined, but they have a wider range of hands, are willing to take more risk and put more money at stake. But when I interviewed a range of successful players they all thought patience and discipline were essential. Is the future of poker “rush poker” or a more patient way of playing? Don’t be fooled. All good players are patient and have discipline. Styles change.

The 2009 WSOP Circuit Season is underway, its 6th season, kicked off with the 13-Event schedule at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN.

Despite a so-called down economy, the Chicago market showed strong, featuring 1,412 entrants, breaking the previous WSOP Circuit attendance record.

Event #1 saw 23-year-old poker pro Josh Schmerl, or "Schmu" as he's know at the table, take down an approximately $60,000 first prize, after arranging a three-way chop with our own CJ "Seeej" Sullivan (okay, I call him that) taking 3rd, and Windy City Poker Championship final table-finisher Aaron Massey taking 2nd. (From left to right, Massey, Schmerl, Sullivan featured above.) Event #1 was $345 buy-in NLHE event.

Third-place finisher CJ Sullivan is a professional comic, co-host of The Visitor's Locker Room, and the 11th best player in my home game.

Schmerl finished 2nd in his first official WSOP cash, last February in Council Bluffs, IA, and finished one spot better this year to win this, his first WSOP Circuit ring. Schmu also finished 2nd in a Venetian Deep Stack event last year in Las Vegas.

Event #2 was a $555 event, featuring 550 entrants, and a total prize pool of $261,550. Marvin Thompson of Fowler, IN won the $60,156 first-prize and WSOP Circuit ring, featured below:

More results as we have them, and as time allows. WSOP official results are found here.

Special thanks to Nolan Dalla, media relations at WSOP/Harrah's for the results and photographs.
If you caught last night's Windy City Poker Championship, you heard me comment on a few hands of a recent televised final table. In one particular hand, we witnessed Kevin Thanonsinh make a big bluff with half of his chips out of the small blind, holding 9-4 off-suit. Brian White, in the big blind, wakes up with a big hand for this stage in the tournament an Ace-9 off-suit, having Kevin dominated. Kevin has committed half of his chips, and if Brian raises he'll either fold. getting 3:1 on his money, or will call completely dominated for his tournament life.

Brian Folded.

What happened here? How did Kevin make this bluff, and why did Brian fold?

The key to long-term success in poker is understanding your opponents' playing styles and tendencies, and looking for opportunities to exploit them.

If your opponent plays too loosely, making calls out of position with mediocre holdings, you need to punish him/her by making big raises with premium holdings. If you flop your hand, bet for value on every street. There's no sense getting tricky with an opponent if they'll call you all the way down with one pair and no kicker.

If your opponent is too tight, don't let them limp. Your tight opponent limps in middle position, you know he or she doesn't have a premium holding. If they can't call a raise, you'll pick up the extra chips, which add up quickly. If they do call the raise, they will fold to a continuation bet unless they flop a strong hand. Finding out which is which generally won't be too expensive.

In the prior hand, Brian demonstrated that he was playing the tournament for survival, and that he was playing extremely tight poker. When the players folded all the way around to Kevin in the small blind, he knew he only had one player to beat, and that player was playing way too tight. He exploited this flaw in Brian's game, and Brian demonstrated a tightness in excess of what Kevin likely suspected.

In the prior hand, Brian found himself in early position with a suited AQ. He made a minimum raise to 20k chips. Another player, David Marcus, sitting in middle position also found AQ suited, and decided to make the call. Getting almost 6:1 on his call, Kevin makes the call of one additional big blind to see a flop with two suited cards. He checks dark.

The flop comes Q-high (Qs 8d 7h), exactly what Brian had hoped for, and he leads out for a bet of 40k chips into a pot of 71k. David also hits his top-pair top-kicker, and reraises for the rest of his chips, an additional 36k in chips, ballooning the pot to 187k. Kevin quickly folds, and Brian goes into the tank, facing a reraise that will pay him over 5-to-1 on a call.

Brian did much of his thinking out loud, and was concerned that David might have flopped a set of 7s or 8s. This is certainly a possibility, as I commented on the show, but when you're 6-handed, late in a tournament, you raise with a premium hand, you're short on chips, and you hit your flop, you are going to commit yourself to the hand. If your opponent flopped a monster, like a set, you simply got unlucky, and you're going to go broke.

The rest of the table notices how slowly Brian acted in making the call, and how tightly he's playing. The good players at the table put this in their memory banks for future exploitation. The players at the table, and the viewers at home don't have to wait long, as Kevin takes advantage on the very next hand.

When Kevin bets 30k into Brian, Brian doesn't even think for more than 15-20 seconds before folding his relative monster. Kevin then turns his hand face up to show it (incidentally, I'm not a fan of this sort of advertising). Brian realizes that not only was he ahead, he had Kevin dominated, as they were sharing a 9. (Brian was better than a 3:1 favorite.) Brian comments to Kevin what he had, "I had an Ace Nine off".

Kevin's only response is "Wow." And so was mine.

Tune in to Windy City Poker Championship to see what happens next!

On tonight's Windy City Poker Championship, down to 6-handed, the two chip leaders get into a heads up hand in which the chip leader perceives weakness from his opponent, and takes advantage to take down a good pot without a fight.

Brent is in early position with a medium-strength A9 off. He looks at his cards, and then contemplates his action, showing his opponents his diffidence while considering his options. He engages in what WCPC-friend and interviewee Joe Navarro would refer to as "pacifying behavior", holding his torso, lowering his head, and rubbing his opposite shoulder with his palm.

He makes a small raise to 25,000 chips, and the action folds to Chris on the button, who has 88.

Normally, I believe Chris would probably just call here with 88, after some thought, but in this case I believe he has two strong indicators to make a raise.
  1. Brent's early position raise was smallish, and seemed tenuous. I believe Chris observed his behavior and did not read him for strength.
  2. Chris and Brent are the two big stacks at the table; Chris is the only player that can eliminate Brent from the tournament, and Brent has been playing survival.
Chris makes a small re-raise to 60,000 chips. At this point, there's 106,000 in the pot, and it would only cost Brent 35,000 to call. However, he started the hand with just 129,000 chips, so the call would reflect about half of that starting stack. Chris is effectively testing Brent's resolve by re-raising small, rather than pushing all-in. This move shows great strength, and is quietly putting Brent to the "All In" test.
Lately, some of the players I've talked to have discussed 'setting goals' in their play. Some examples include:
  • I'd like to increase my bankroll to $XXX by the end of the year,
  • I'd like to be able to move up from $2/5 NL to $5/10 NL by the holidays (very similar to the first),
  • I'd like to play 30 hours a week,
  • I'd like to increase my win rate to $XX per hour.
How do you set your goals? Personally, I'm always trying to eliminate leaks my game, including focus issues. I have a tendency to lose focus on the game, but to continue to play as though I have a good read on all of my opponents. This can be an expensive mistake!

I like to set mini in-session goals, things like making some sort of mental note each time a hand completes, who won, and what did they show (if they did). This exercise seems, and is, quite fundamental, but can be more difficult than you'd assume.

Another goal, update this blog more than once a month! :)

How about you? What are you poker goals?
A few of you have asked me when Windy City Poker Championship next airs on Comcast SportsNet. To the best of my knowledge, the next broadcast is next Sunday at 7pm. You can find their broadcast schedule here, though it is subject to change.

The next broadcast is a replay of the most recent episode (ep. 9), part 1 of the Chieff O'neills event. Part 2 will be broadcast near the end of the month, including my interview with Joe Navarro (teaser below), Kirk's interview with Annie Duke, and a hand analysis involving the lowly 7-2!

Find Comcast SportsNet on your local provider here.