Back on the Right Track - WSOP Week 2 Cont...

Aaron MasseyThis summer I have been off to a slow start, failing to cash my first 6 tournaments.  I haven’t been in panic mode whatsoever, but I am pretty frustrated with the way I have been running.  Still, I have been very happy with my play and    that is really all I should be focused on.  If you are results oriented in this business it will make for a miserable existence (that kinda rhymed).  The key is to stay on an even keel, and stay focused on the next hand and playing as well as you can as you move forward.  This was my mindset going into yesterday’s tournament.  I was looking to get to off to a fast start here…

Venetian $1600

Well…. I planned on getting off to a fast start… not so much.   I start off raising the first hand of the tourney w A7ss and some young wizard on my left 3bets me in position. I call and the flop comes out with an Ace and 3 hearts.  I check call him all the way down and he flips over the 97 of hearts for a flopped flush… sigh.  A short time later I raise w 1010 from the cutoff, the small blind (middle aged dorky looking guy) 3 bets me and I call in position.  The flop is Queen high 3 clubs with the turn and river being irrelevant non club low cards… once again he bets all 3 streets and I call all 3 streets.  This hand was a lot different that the first hand I played though.  The bet that he made on the river was different than his first 3 bets.  Not only was the bet size way bigger than the previous streets (he bet 8k on the river into an 8k pot when his previous bets were all half pot sized), but his body language, the way he put chips into the pot, and his behavior gave me a strong tell that he didn’t want a call.  After like 2 full minutes I call and he says “you’re good, AQ is good” as he flips over his hand…. He has JJ.  He was bluffing with the best hand.  If I didn’t pick up the tell that he didn’t want a call I wouldn’t have but he really didn’t want a call.  This is the problem with playing against bad players… he turned his hand into a bluff which is terrible, and because he thought he had to bluff to win, and because I picked up on this, I made the call and lost…. SUPER SIGH..

WSOP Week 2 - Frustration at Bay

Aaron MasseySo far I am 0/6 in tournaments this series and am down $8100 plus expenses.  Not very glamorous but I am not discouraged.  I will continue to take beats like a professional and continue to learn, grow, and play my best everyday moving forward.  I still feel good about the way I have played and look forward to my next shot.  Here’s a wrap up of the last 3 tournaments I have played…

Tourney #4- Venetian 1600

This was easily the toughest field of players I have played with this summer.  The reason is that the larger buy in Venetian tourneys usually draw a smaller field, which is made up of more talented players than my WSOP events are.  This tourney had 300 players, 80% which were good.  My WSOP events have fields of 3000 and 20% are good.  That’s the distinction. 

Anyways here’s what happened…  I played really good, and really tight the entire day.  I grinded out a 20-30 big blind stack for roughly 7 hours, making disciplined decisions the whole night.  Around midnight and with 90 players left , my fate was sealed… With blinds at 500-1000, the hj raises to 2200, I go all in for 9700 all day, every one else folds and he calls.  I have A7…. He has A6… the flop comes out…. 6 in the window.  I played a very annoying and unrewarding 12hrs of poker.   Good game.

Tourney#5- WSOP 1500

Seth Green WannabeI was very happy to see my table when I sat down for this tournament. 

Outside of myself, there was not another player at my table who knew anything about poker.  I mean these players were terrible.  Two guys on my direct right took the cake.  These idiots were the guys that think they know what they are doing, talk (a lot) like they know what they’re doing, talk about strategy and past hands like they know what they’re doing…. But in reality they just plain suck.  The more they talk the clearer the picture is of how their feeble minds work. 

To top it off, the guy on my right is wearing rainbow socks w sandals, ski goggles, Bose headphones, and a backpack full of novelty items and snacks.  He reminds me of Seth Green from the movie “Can’t hardly wait”. 

Week 1 - Massey WSOP - Here's to Slow Starts!

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.

Aaron MasseyTourney #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. 

2011 WSOP - The Beginning

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.

Aaron MasseySo 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...]

The not so calm before the storm

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.

The Calm Before the Storm

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…

Laundry, Part 1: Hindsight Is 20/20

Jeff FreemanI'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!