Over the last few days I have entered, and busted, 3 WSOP bracelet events. No big deal… it’s a long summer. I have played well throughout and have made very few mistakes so I’m happy with that, but tournament poker is a bitch, so I’m just gonna have to ride it out. Here is a quick recap of what has happened on the felt.
Tourney #1 - WSOP $1000
I got off to a really good start. I was up to over 10,000 from the original 3000 starting stack. I was playing very well and had already correctly folded KK on a JJ10- 2 club flop, and correctly triple barrel bluffed all in within the first hour. By the 2nd break over half the field was gone and many more were soon to follow with blinds going to 100-200 (funny I know but you only start with 3k). I am at an active table with several good young players. One of them raises utg+1 to 400, utg+2 calls, I call on the button (8c8s), and the big blind calls. Flop is 763- 2 hearts. BB checks, the original raiser tanks and bets 900 leaving 4200 behind and it folds to me.. I tank and jam for over 10k, having him covered, BB folds and he calls with AJ hearts and rivers 3h for a flush. I lose the hand and am left with roughly 22 big blinds and end up busting soon after, shipping it in and losing a race. The question here is did I play the hand wrong? Do I flat on flop? Do I fold? What am I beating? I don’t know, it’s tricky and I did have the best hand at the time but maybe I should have found a better spot.
Tourney #2- WSOP $1500 6max
I had a horrible table to start this one. I am sandwiched in between Chris DeMaci and Justin Bonomo, 2 top pros, with 2 other very good young players and 1 fish.
There is no turning back now. I have started this blog and now I have to follow through. I’ve had some feelings of apprehension since my first post. This is because I know that there is a much better chance of me having a losing trip than a winning trip, as is normal in poker. Also, because I have kinda handcuffed myself here. Not only do I have to have a winning trip, but based on my goals that I stated in my first blog, I will have to win big or it will seem like a failure (I would have to have a couple top 10 finishes, which is a huge task when every tourney has over 1000 players). Whatever it’s too late now, so we may as well move forward.
I still have to wait until Saturday to play my first tourney and my poker itch is in full effect. I haven’t played in 10 days, which is the longest span I have gone in a year and a half. It’s my fault though, I am a complete moron but I guess that is standard. When I put my tournament schedule together, I left myself a 6-7 day span after arriving in Vegas where I don’t play poker, and I could just party and chill. I wanted to get a lot of it out of my system so I can focus on poker for the rest of the trip. The problem is that I misjudged the time frame by 6-7 days like an idiot. I could be playing tournaments right now, but my bankroll and schedule is already set so I’m stuck going out drinking and spending money everyday instead of getting to work. Tough life I know but whatever. Some funny stuff has happened in the last few days though as a result of being out and about.
In most Vegas hotels (at least all the good ones), to enter the pool you need to have a room key from that specific hotel or you can’t get in. Well, I just happen to like a lot of different pools and so do my friends…
Professional poker player, and Chicagoan, Aaron Massey is in Las Vegas for the summer - the World Series of Poker, the Venetian Deep Stack, and all of the debauchery that goes with it. This is the first of, hopefully, many contributions from Aaron.
So this was spur of the moment…. I’m sitting at breakfast in the original Blnion’s Horseshoe Casino on Fremont Street in Vegas. Ralph, George and I walked over there from the Golden Nugget to get hangover burgers cuz we got wrecked till dawn on the strip last night. We are all discussing our hypothetical life plans after I “win big”. We all feel that my time is coming soon and we are discussing the importance of promoting my “brand” so that I can be in a favorable position to market myself. There is a lot of value away from the poker table, and we understand this all too well. Many poker players in the past have become big stars because of their personality, presence and talent. An “it” factor that draws people’s attention. These are generally the people that get the contracts, website sponsors, reality shows, internet and magazine interviews, exposure, etc. All of these things have something in common… MONEY.
It is not easy to earn your living by playing poker. There’s huge opportunity to win mind blowing amounts of money, but nothing is guaranteed and you never know when ur next paycheck is coming in. In poker you lose a lot of the time too, which always sucks. Although we basically live off the money we win in cash games while waiting for the tournament cashes, which is what we’ve done the last few years, IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. The point is that it would be ideal to bring in a steady stream of income to help offset the downswings and periods between big wins. Oh yea.. almost forgot.. there’s also the fact that we want very much to live a fantasy lifestyle of fame and luxury. A life my brother and I have dreamed about for the last 2 decades. Is it probable that this is going to happen…. No. Is it possible……….. YES.
I’m gonna take a shot and start writing this blog. Hopefully I draw a following and people start reading it regularly. If I can get a little exposure, make a little noise and a name for myself, then I’ll be in a good spot to get paid away from the poker table when I finally do win something significant. However, winning is not easy and there is no guarantee that I will even succeed let alone win the kinds of tournaments needed to become a star... But I’m gonna try my ass off. [More...]
I've been struggling with a label for you. I settled on "Laundry." That is to say: "Laundry doesn't fold itself." If I sound a little bitter in these next few installments, it's because I've lost a few hefty loads of chips to Laundry players in my casual poker playing career.
One point needs to be made clear: Laundry is not a Call Station. Laundry continues to call bets even if the hole cards they're holding are dead in the water. Call Stations at least have the common sense to fold a hand that isn't getting them anywhere.
Laundry players develop in a number of different ways. The simplest, of course, is the Laundry that just doesn't know that much about the game of poker.
Some beginner players, however, turn into Laundry by fixating on a few unimportant developments in the game.
It's impossible to consider an infinite number of possibilities and characters playing out in a hand of poker, so we'll keep it simple. Let's say you find yourself with hole cards. Someone else throws out a bet you're not comfortable with. You fold your hand. You sit back, joke with a friend, and pick up your beer.
The flop comes down: . Two pair! The knife of what-could-have-been stabs at your gut.
The turn card hits: ! Damn it -- a full house! The knife turns, and the cold beer you just swallowed suddenly has a sickly warm feel to it.
The only scenario you play out in your head is what may have transpired had you called a potentially lethal bet from a player somewhere higher up on the rail: "I should've stayed in! I would've had that gigantic pot, and I'd be chip leader. I probably would've even ended up winning the tournament!"
In other words, your fixation on your garbage folded cards blinds you to the action that developed at the table and caused you to fold in the first place.
What you're failing to realize is the disaster that could've befallen you. Dedicating a portion of your chips to a set of hole cards that are better off balancing out a rickety restaurant table is a slippery slope. You really, really want a hand to develop, but other players are forcing you to contribute more chips to the pot for the minuscule chance that your hope is actually realized.
So, you end up playing crap cards for a slim chance of striking it rich. You remain completely oblivious to the bets coming your way. You remain entirely ignorant to hands other players may be betting on. You fail to draw even the simplest correlations between the big bets and a developing table. All you want is a 6 to at least pair your hand on the river (while ignoring the size of the bets and the flush draw already on the table)!
As developing your playing style goes, it's very dangerous to ignore what you did right in order to fixate on what could have been. You may pull down a monster pot or two (and it will likely be at my expense), but the reality is that you're eventually going to make a very charitable contribution to your opponents' stacks.
Instead, consider the big picture. Was your fold really a bad decision? What hand could you have hoped for in holding ? There was a very slim chance your hole cards were going to develop into the monster that eventually played out. The correct decision shouldn't be second-guessed when you're faced with another two unimportant hole cards.
Don't dig yourself into a hole. You don't have to know poker odds to understand the sinking feeling in your gut every time you make a call means you should've folded a long time ago!
There’s no doubt that ESPN’s coverage of “World Series of Poker” is fast-paced and exciting. The series punctuates big pots, big hands, and big money. Some of the best players in the world sit flanked by monster stacks of hard-earned chips.
Players looking to up their skills may not realize that a highlights-based show set to the soundtrack of thousands of chips is a dangerous place to look for poker advice.
A more in-depth show is usually the better bet (and certainly easier on the wallet).
NBC’s “Poker After Dark” focuses on a single table tournament. The tournament is broken down into a week-long series of one-hour episodes. Most importantly, the show rolls on every single hand in the tournament. It doesn’t matter if a big pot rests on the river card or if everyone folds around to the big blind.
To a reckless, action-hungry player with unrealistic expectations, it sounds pretty boring – but those are the kinds of players that don’t stick around very long!
To a player that understands patience and discipline are two of the most important attributes of a good poker player, watching a table surrounded by pros mixing it up in big brother style coverage is a great learning tool.
The single table tournament allows you to watch every hand develop throughout the tournament. You’re offered the opportunity to analyze the tournament as a whole, not just the hand.
Why did Daniel Negreanu fold pocket kings? How did Chris “Jesus” Ferguson take down a huge pot with garbage hole cards? What sent “Poker Brat” Phil Helmuth Jr. into another of his infamous tirades?
Poker strategy is a lot easier to figure out when you’ve been watching the tournament hand after hand after hand.
As in “World Series of Poker” coverage, viewers have the advantage of seeing each player’s hole cards. However, they’ve also got the added ability to use previous hand outcomes to help them decipher what happens in hands that follow.
Take enough mental notes (or use the rewind button often on your DVR) and it becomes easier to see why a player decided on one course of action over another.
"Why isn't my chip stack near the size of the guys I see on TV? I'm not playing enough hands!"
(Bet, call, bet, call, bet... bust!)
New players often wonder why they're not pulling in the giant pots they see on television. Before you go blazing through your chip stack betting on cards better suited as beer coasters, it's important to consider what kind of program you're watching.
Though there's a wide range of hold 'em poker broadcasts, we'll concentrate on the differences between two: ESPN's coverage of the "World Series of Poker" and NBC's "Poker After Dark." In this article, we'll talk about the former.
While watching ESPN's coverage, keep in mind that they hire a production company to cover the "World Series of Poker." In a nutshell, a small army of production magicians cover the days-long event. They conjure an exciting series of one-hour shows for ESPN.
As such, a vast array of hands could unfold before you: premium versus premium, a big bluff, a huge lay down, you name it.
You're probably watching a hand in which someone is going to win a huge amount of chips with very strange cards. Is the player with a horrible set of hole cards not known for bluffing? Did he hit two great hands in a row? Does he think he's got everyone at the table scared of his unpredictable play?
Truth is, you'll never know. There's an incredible number of variables that help a player decide if he's going to play a hand or fold it.
Coverage of the Main Event is very fast and masterfully edited. Rather than cover hand after hand at one table, the show focuses on highlights of the event. When the final product comes together, viewers are watching the most entertaining hands of the event.
You can still learn a lot from ESPN's coverage: commentary during the games help you understand what's developing. Segments throughout the series give you a peek into the minds of your favorite pros.
Above all, keep in mind how quickly the show moves. Nothing is worse than obliterating your stack quicker than a commercial break!
Join HFS Chicago Scholars Friday, May 13 at 6:00pm for their 5th annual Poker and Casino Night - "All In for Scholars" which includes a chance to win a seat to the Main Event at World Series of Poker (valued at $10,000) in Las Vegas!
The event is being held at a new venue this year, Galleria Marchetti at 825 W Erie. Your $150 ticket ($150 thru April 16 only, then $200) includes food, drinks and entry into the Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament with $5000 of poker chips to start. Poker chips have no cash value. Casino only players can attend for a discounted $100 ($125 March 15 - April 16, $150 after April 16.)
Attire: Cocktail, Business Casual or Dressy Casual is appropriate.
HFS Chicago Scholars assists economically disadvantaged Chicago inner-city high school students who show academic and leadership promise achieve their educational goals by providing financial assistance and mentoring. They provide the following to their scholars:
- financial assistance to attend top Chicago private high schools;
- Academic Directors dedicated to each high school class and one-on-one mentors;
- four-year written commitment specifying performance expectations;
- college visits, selection and admissions support.