Poker Strategy Articles
Poker Player Bios
Poker Tournaments 2005-2011 Reports
My Tournament Poker Results
No Limit Hold'em Shootout
I made the money in this one, so there is a separate page for this report.
$5000 Omaha High Low
See separate WSOP Omaha report page.
The $5,000 HORSE tournament was the fifth tournament of the 2007 World Series of Poker that I planned to play. I
managed to hold my own in the $2500 HORSE (nine out of the money), so I was feeling good about playing in it.
I arrived in the Amazon Room about thirty minutes early. I normally donít get there so early, but I didnít get a chance to
buy-in for the event the night before.
There wasn't a long line, so I wandered the hall while waiting for the tournament to start.
My table had a few familiar faces including Cyndy Violette. I knew I would have to watch out for Cyndy in the Stud rounds,
but other than that I was very comfortable with my table draw.
The floor staff took one of our players and moved him to a new table that they were starting (the big name pros have a
tendency to register for the tournaments late), so we were left with only seven players for a short time. It seemed that the
players were still rolling in and they eventually filled the empty seat with a new player. They placed 10k in
chips in front
of the guy and then walked away. I said "How sweet is that? You come in over an hour late and you donít have to pay any
blinds." I thought to myself, "That isnít going
to work for me", but before I could say anything Marco Traniello called the floor staff back over and they pulled some chips out of his stack to
post as blind money. Three minutes later, they started
another table behind us that included Chris Ferguson, Doyle Brunson, and John Juanda (remember they like to register late)
and they gave all those players the full 10k in chips. Cyndi called the floor staff over and told them that it wasnít right
that all of them got 10k in chips when we had already been playing for over an hour and the
floorman said that it was okay
because all of the players had the same amount. My argument was that the guy on our table got penalized because he
registered three minutes too early. If the guy on my table had registered just a few minutes later, he would not have had to
post blind money. They did nothing to correct the situation.
The floor staff does a decent job overall, but I have seen some pretty bad mistakes in the five events I have played. In the $2,500 HORSE,
we arrived to the tournament on day 2, played 30 minutes and then they sent us on a twenty minute break. The decision didnít go over well with
Andy Bloch and he sat there screaming, "Why?, Why?, Why?, Why?, Why?"
His rants didnít change anything and we still got the ridiculous break. Another mistake was when we were about 13 players out of the money in
the event, our table played 6-handed while most of them played 8-handed. I asked the staff to balance out the tables and
they said they would when we were 1 table out of the money. I was at a huge disadvantage because of that rule (I was short
stacked) and it had a lot to do with the fact that I was eliminated from the tournament 9 out of the money.
Anyway, I played very well during the tournament, but had some problems with the Razz. Of all five games, Razz is my second
best game (behind Omaha). A lot of players donít understand basic rules of the game, but that doesnít mean that they wonít
make better hands than you on certain occasions. I played two hands during the thirty minute period and on both of them, I
lost. One hand I had 7642A, and my opponent made a six low on seventh street. The other hand was really close like that too.
I was able to pick up some nice pots in Stud and when break rolled around, I had about 12k in chips.
The game continued to move as it had been. I would lose a couple hands in one of the rounds and then win a few in the next
round or two. Usually, I would end up with a little more than I started with during every break.
in the evening, I had about 15k in chips, but the blinds were a lot bigger. Once again, the Razz got me when a guy
raised my bet when he showed a J86 and I showed a T87.
I looked at Cyndy and she gave me a puzzled look. I just
flat called him and made my eight low on sixth.
He ended up making a seven low on seventh street and took down a pretty decent
pot. Cyndy said "I guess he just knew" and I nodded my head.
I kept my chips in the same spot during the Stud and 8 O/B rounds. I basically would lose a few
antes and then pick up some
antes and when the final Holdem round came around at 2:30 in the morning I had almost 6k in chips. The blinds were 300-600
and I had already taken two rounds of blinds when we were dealt the last hand of the night. It was folded to me and I looked
down at AK. I raised to $1200 and was called by the guy in the small blind. I was pretty sure he had a weak holding because
of the way he was looking at my chips. He was giving it the look, "I can play this hand because there is no way you are
going to damage me too bad." To sum it all up, his K9 beat my
AK and I was eliminated on the last hand of Day 1.
I walked away from the tournament with my head held high. In my opinion, I played even better than I did in the $2500 and I
am looking to improve next time too. Hopefully, I will improve to first place in no time.
I had the best feeling about playing in the $1,500 Razz tournament at the W.S.O.P. Even though I am better at Omaha Hi/Low,
I think the skill difference (between the good and bad players) in Razz is even greater. If the cards cooperated with me, I
thought there was a good chance that I could make it down even farther than I did in the
No Limit Shootout (38th place).
After only a few hands, I was convinced I made a good decision when deciding to play this game. Every time I turned around,
somebody was making a mistake. The problem is that Razz is a drawing game and sometimes, you get
There was a lot of chat going on at my table and it was interesting stuff. Two big name pros were discussing the 50k HORSE
event and how it was too much money. They seemed to think that 20k was enough and that ego had a lot to do with the fact that the
buy-in was so big. One of them said that a lot
of people had asked him to stake them in that event. There was also talk about the
structures of the events, the buy-ins,
how people playing more than ten events would almost certainly come out a loser in the series, prop bets between the big name guys,
and how a lot of older pros just don't have the ability to play for days at a time anymore.
In between listening to the conversation and paying attention to the game, my mind was going 100 miles an hour. I noticed
that most of the players would not fold if they bricked on fourth street and one guy in particular was a huge gambler. This
guy came into a pot with a king up and then said "I gotta try when I have these cards underneath" (he later showed 34).
I just nodded and said, "yep".
The early stages of the tournament were very slow paced because of the limits. We started out with $3k in chips and had a $5
ante w/ a $5
bring-in and $20-40 limits. Even though the
limits were very low, one of the players wasn't having a difficult time throwing his chips around. I believe the guy was the first
person out of the tournament. I wasn't able to get any of his chips, but the worst player at the table did, so I had a good chance
at getting some of those chips eventually.
On break, I called Steve and told him how great my table was. He asked how many chips I had and I said, "2,800." He thought
that was amusing. He said, "Don't call me and tell me how great your table is and then tell me you have less chips than what
you started with." We laughed and I told him there was plenty of opportunity for me to get some chips.
Two hours later, I had about $4,500 and it was time to take a dinner break. There were still a lot of players left in the
tournament and I knew that the next two hours of play should cut the field in half.
Our table broke shortly after dinner break and I was moved to a new table with
Jeff Lisandro. My new table had its fair share
of clowns and Jeff was amusing the way he pointed it out. On one hand, I had the bring in and the guy immediately to my left
completed the bet showing a QUEEN. Jeff said, "Now that's what I like to see. A guy with an imagination." I have
played with Jeff one time before, but I don't remember him having such a great accent and I remember him being a lot more
serious. This side of him was a lot more fun.
I knew about half the field was going to be eliminated before the night ended. I just didn't think I was going to be one of
the casualties. During the last two hours, the limits played a lot higher. If a player had average chips, he couldn't afford
to lose two consecutive hands. That is exactly what happened to me. On one hand, I knew that my opponent
outdrew me on fifth
(I had a nine low), but I had a better drawing hand. I called hoping to improve on sixth, but I had no luck. He bet again
and I called. On seventh, he checked because he knew I was drawing to the eight. I paired my three and he turned over a
97xxx which beat my 98xxx. On the next hand, all of my chips got in on fifth with a T654A against my opponents J654A. Even
though I technically had the better hand, I wasn't in great shape. We both
blanked on sixth and on seventh I got an eight
and he turned over a deuce. My Razz adventure was over.
The $2,500 HORSE tournament was probably one of the toughest events I have played to date. I knew there were going to be
some of the best players in the game, but I didn't realize that each table would be stacked with them. I arrived at the
tournament feeling confident that this event would be my best finish in the WSOP to date.
I sat down at my table about 5-10 minutes early and was joined by Dewey Tomko. I know he is a good player, but I was feeling
ok about having him at my table because there were plenty of seats left for weaker players. Two minutes later, Chip Reese
sat down at my table. I was not pleased. I called Steve and told him of the news and he said that it should be ok because they
aren't going to play like idiots. They are not "out of line players." He asked who else was at my table and I told him
that I wasn't familiar with the other players. One minute before the tournament started, David Sklansky took the last seat.
The event started out with a very slow structure. During the Holdem and Omaha rounds, we played with blinds of $25-25.
During the three Stud rounds (Razz, Stud, and 8 or Better), we played with $100 ante on the
button and $50-100 limits. I liked the fact
that the limits didn't move up on every round. Instead they moved up when the
flop games switched to stud games and
vice versa. The only problem with that was that there wasn't a lot of chip moving. When I went on my first break, I had about
$5k in chips which is what we started with. On the second break, I still had $5k in chips and on dinner break, it was no different.
Sitting with Chip was an absolute pleasure and I made sure to ask him a few questions including what Stuey Ungar was like.
He said that Stuey's gin rummy game was unbelievable and made a few comments about his poker game including how wild he
played. Even though I was not happy to be seated at the same table as Chip, I was very happy that I had a chance to meet him
and talk with him. I can see why all the big name pros have nothing but good things to say about him. He played incredible
and was extremely down to earth.
dinner break, our table broke up and I was moved to another table that wasn't any better. I didn't have a player that
mastered all the games like Chip Reese, but I had a table full of Omaha Hi/Low players and that wasn't a good thing for me
because that is where my edge was. On my new table, I was seated with Chip Jett, Randy Holland, Rafi Amit, and Robert
Varkonyi. Rafi was hilarious and had the whole table talking.
He asked us how many cards you use from your hand in Holdem and the debate was on. The players that were engaged in the conversation
said you could use zero,1 or 2 and he argued that it is impossible to use "zero". He said it is kind of like depositing zero
into the bank. It can't be done. Robert joked that he made the mistake of asking Rafi his name and once he did that, the guy never stopped
talking. I enjoyed his banter. I found his humor and intellect to be refreshing. He was one of those guys that made clever comments and
you actually had to think to understand what he was trying to say. An example of that was when he told Robert to "Be True to Yourself".
I was the only person who understood what he meant because I had a necklace on that said exactly that. Robert said that he tries to be true
and Rafi insisted that he couldn't because he was approaching it from the wrong angle (Varkoni was seated directly on my left).
Our table broke up and I was moved to another table with my magic number in chips (5k). My new table included Brent Carter, Justin
Bonomo, and Brian Nadell. I enjoyed sitting with Brent because he took a lot of time to make decisions during the Holdem round.
There were so many more hands played during the 30 minutes of Holdem, I was happy to have Brent slow down the action a little.
The night concluded with me sitting at a new table with Dutch Boyd, Blair Rodman and Andy Bloch and having $4800 in chips.
There were still a lot of players going into day 2 and I was happy to be one of them. I was even happier that we would be
starting day 2 going into my best two games, Omaha and Razz.
I started the day out good when I won a huge pot in Omaha with A24K of diamonds. I ended up making the nut flush with a live
four and I scooped. That gave me a little momentum and I was finally out of the 5k barrier. During the Razz portion, I only
picked up a couple pots including one against Dutch. After that, I was having a hard time picking up any pots because I
wasn't getting dealt any hands. On the times that I had stealing opportunities, Blair (who was seated directly to my right)
stole them from me. The hands were getting more expensive as time went on and if you went for a period without winning one,
you would find yourself in some trouble. Every time I was approaching that "trouble" zone, I would pick up a big pot
and be back in the hunt again. Some of the hands I won included two Stud hands. On one of them, I ended up making a
full house on the end (my hand was disguised
well with only one pair showing) and I got full value for it. On another hand I had a six showing with 88 in the hole against my
opponents seven. I put him on a pair of sevens and was pretty sure he would continue to pay me as long as blank cards hit. We both
checked sixth and seventh street and my pair of eights held up against his pair of sevens.
I ended up getting eliminated once I got crippled in one hand of Razz. On that hand, I made a 76542 against my opponents 76432.
I stuck around for a full round of Stud and only picked up one pot on third street. I was knocked out on the next round while holding
a very decent hand against Blair Rodman. We were playing Stud 8 or Better and he had high with a pair of jacks and I had A8755 on
fifth street. I needed a
second pair or a low card to keep me in the game.
On sixth we both blanked and on seventh, he made two pair (jacks and fours) and I paired my seven giving me two pair (sevens and fives).
I was eliminated 9 out of the money.
$1500 Six-handed No Limit Holdem
Yesterday was the $1,500 six-handed No Limit tournament at the World Series of Poker. I have been making it a regular habit to sign
up for any event I want to play in the night prior so I don't have to deal with any lines or headaches before the tournament starts.
My table only had one person that I was familiar with, Tom McEvoy and I felt reasonably comfortable playing with him. I thought
that 6-handed structure was suited for my style of play and that I would be able to accumulate chips at a slow and steady pace.
During the first two rounds, I sat there and played a fairly
tight game. I played most aces and any two
picture cards if I was the first person
to enter the pot. Most of my pots were uncontested, but I also didn't challenge the players if they were trying to go after the pot.
For most of the level, I sat there with the same amount of chips that I started with (give or take $200), but towards the end of
the level, I picked up a decent size pot and a reraise steal. One player raised and I raised from the button with AJ. I really
didn't think anybody would play with me because I hadn't put in a reraise up to that point. At break, I had $3800.
As soon as we got back from break the levels were $100-$200 and I figured that many players were going to end up getting eliminated
during that hour. I just hoped that it wouldn't be me. Unfortunately, if you play two hands and lose them both, you are out of the tournament.
On one of the hands, it got folded to me and I raised on the button to $600 with 55 and the player in the big blind called.
The flop was 876 and it was checked to me. I thought about taking the
free card, but then decided that I didn't want
to give my opponent a free card if my fives were good in that spot. I made a bet of $1200 and my opponent moved in. I wanted to kick
myself because I couldn't really beat anything unless I got lucky and I would have loved to see that
turn card. I folded my hand and hoped to see at least
one premium hand before the next level.
My spot came a short time later when I was dealt pocket jacks. It wasn't exactly a premium hand, but it was definitely a hand worth playing.
The player in second position (remember we were playing
6-handed) raised to $600 and I counted out my chips. I had $2025 total and I was on the button. I wanted to reraise, but I didn't have enough
chips to not be pot committed so I pushed in. Both blinds folded and my opponent asked me how much more. I told him $1425 and he instantly
called. Because he called so quickly, I thought I was in deep trouble, but he only showed KQ. The flop was AQQ and I had almost no hope.
No Jack came on the turn or river and I was out of the tournament.
$1500 Omaha Hi Lo
See separate WSOP Omaha report page.
Also see: World Series of Poker 2008,
World Series of Poker 2009,
2011 WSOP Events report