Sunday, November 29, 2009

Texas Trip

I was debating what all I should say in this because it could either be long or short. I decided to go with somewhere in the middle, as some of the details are very blurry. About 3 months ago me and my closest group of poker friends decided to go to Texas, where Adam Geyer lives, for a belated bachelor party for Cody Slabaugh. It just so happened that the dates fell perfectly before the Bellagio prelims. After we scheduled, Commerce and Taj in AC decided to add decently big mtts, which wasn�t too nice, as I would have liked to play one of them.

Ohh well. It should also be noted that I was convinced to pack very light for this trip, taking only one carry on and no computer, which is something I have never done in my life. Justin Young and Cody picked me up from my house fairly early on Friday to head to Austin, where Adam lives. We flew on South West and they couldn�t save me a seat, so I ended up sitting by myself. Apparently some 50 year old drunk lady kept trying to hit on Cody. It was a bit sad. Once we landed, we took a cab to the Omni Hotel, which is apparently the nicest hotel in Austin. We found some of our friends, Mike Katz and Jesse Nagamua (sorry, don�t know how to spell at all) at the lobby bar already getting their drinking shoes laced up.

We ran up to our room to put our luggage away then headed back down to join in. We were later joined by our other friends, Shannon Shorr, Zach Clark, and Adam, and then headed out on the town. Apparently they are bars everywhere in downtown Austin. Our first stop was this place called Buffalo Billiards, which was basically a bar with lots of games like pool, darts, and shuffle board. Having never played, I was quick to get into the action. Shannon and Mike had played before, while myself and Justin had not, so I teamed with Shannon and Justin with Mike. I must have ran hot because I pwned, as did Shannon.

We switched for me to be with Mike and Mike played quite bad, giving our team the loss. I ended up winning something like $1000 on the transaction though, so it was all good. From there, we headed to an upscale Mexican place, which was delicious. It wasn�t so good though when I ended up losing a flip + $100 to each player +$600 to one other guy when we flipped for dinner. Baaad beat. We drank lots and eventually some bartender told me I was too drunk so I made my way back to the hotel and fell asleep around 3am. Everyone else decided to come wake me up around 4am when they decided to call it a night. I don�t remember much of what happened and fell back asleep.

The next day, Adam made plans for us to go to some famous BBQ place. I was thinking it would be a 5 minute car ride. We ended up driving around 30 minutes into the middle of nowhere to this place called �Salt Lick BBQ.� Since it was a BYOB place, we decided to stop at Bubba�s Country Store to get some drinks. Seeing as I was feeling quite sick, I decided to try to throw up while everyone else was inside. I have never thrown up from drinking and that didn�t change that day. I ended up feeling pretty sick for the rest of the day. There were tons of cars parked in a giant pit of mud.

All our clothes got quite dirty just trying to get to the check in area, which was basically a covered shed outside of the actual restaurant. It was BYOB (which I didn�t plan on having any of anyways) and some guy came up and offered to buy 2 of our beers for $10. I bet if someone set up a little underground shop there, they would make a killing. Since we had reservations, we got to skip the multihour wait. We entered the actual building where you eat and were surprised to find a giant pit full of numerous types of meat.

They had a �family style� meal where they brought us lots of ribs, sausage, beef, potato salad, baked beans, and a few other things I forget. It was basically the nuts. We left there and went to Adams house to chill. I wish I could trade my 3 houses for one like his. It was super balla. We hung out there for a while before heading to the Texas vs Kansas football game. The line on the game was -21. I think they ended up winning by 28 or something silly. We all bet the game against one of our friends that was too busy playing mtts to come on the trip. Skill game. Apparently Kansas is only good at basketball. I also lost quite a few other prop bets to break even on the day.

Everyone wanted to go out to some clubs so I was forced to tag along. We went to a few trendy places, which I hate with all my heart. It was much too loud to actually do anything, so we decided to head to some Irish pub type place. I eventually got bored of sitting around so walked 15 blocks back to the room in the middle of the night. It probably wasn�t a very +ev decision, but it didn�t cost me that time. We had to be up and on a party bus to Dallas by 6:30am. I think I was the only person who actually felt ok, as I had no drinks on the previous day. We drove for a while before stopping at some weird place to get gas and food. They had all kinds of weird foreign foods.

I stuck with a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant. It was pretty good. Zach ordered 4 things and ate one bite of each. That�s fairly balla imo. We were almost to the stadium when Cody decided he had to get off the bus and throw up. Bat beat. We arrived at the new stadium at Dallas, only to find tons of traffic. We decided to wait in the bus though and let him drop us off at the front door. We had one extra ticket because Marco Johnson pulled out at the last minute so we scalped it for � price. The Cowboys played awful but ended up lucksacking their way to a win by 1 point at the end of the game, which wasn�t nearly the spread, costing us the entire amount we won from our friend the previous night. We also bet on the checkerboard squares like people do on the superbowl.

I ended up winning the last one for a nice $3000 profit. Seeing as everyone was hung over except me, we went back to the hotel. We found a nice little food place next door and watched the afternoon NFL games. Everyone is super into fantasy sports except me, so they were all super interested. I just like watching football. Our hotel, W, was right next to where the Dallas Stars NHL team plays. I decided to look them up to see if they were playing that night. I announced to everyone they were and everyone got excited. I checked to make sure and it turns out they played on Monday, not Sunday. Everyone was mad at me. I had a club sandwich with mac n� cheese.

It was just ok at best. After that, we all decided to go take a nap. We woke up a while later and decided to just chill and watch football and movies. Around midnight, we all got hungry to we ordered room service. Katz lost the flip and had to fork out $400 for numerous plates of food and smoothies. It was good. We also had to figure out who had to pay for all the expenses. I decided it would be fun for someone to name a card and we peel cards from a deck until someone pulls the card. That person would have to pay. We had to pay for the W ($700) the Omni ($1500) the party bus ($1000) the Texas tickets ($1800) and the Cowboy tickets ($3000.) I suggested we just do one round for everyone, that way, as Shannon says; someone would get stung on the trip.

There were only 51 cards in the deck, so there was a chance we could pull all the way to the end and still not find the card. On the first round for the W, we got around 40 cards into the pile before Justin, who was already the biggest loser on the trip, found the bad card. On the 2nd round for the bus, we pulled down to the last 2 cards. It was between me and Shannon. I pulled the safe card then it was up to Shannon to see if the one card left was the one that made him pay.

Lucky for us, it was and he got feel a little pain. I don�t remember who lost the next round. Just as I thought I was going to run hot and stay clean, I lost the $1800 round for the Texas tickets. On the last round, poor Justin lost again for another $3000. I think I ended up losing $500 on the trip, which is a value, considering we probably spent $2000 each. Justin, Cody, and I boarded a flight back to Vegas the next day around 2pm. We had an uneventful flight back home. All in all, it was a pretty great trip. I think we all agreed to go to someone�s home town every year around this time. Sadly, I�m not too sure there would be enough in Pensacola to keep them all entertained.

I guess I will find out at some point. Since I�ve gotten back, I have been taking care of Float The Turn and playing a bit at Bellagio. I am going skiing on Thursday for the first time in my life, which will either be super fun or just kinda fun. On Friday, the Bellagio tournaments start. I haven�t played a tournament in quite some time now. I am really looking forward to them. Hopefully I can improve on my 2 2nds last time and maybe take down a title.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coaching a November 9 Player

I think we did a fairly good job keeping it quite that myself and Ylon Schwartz had been coaching November 9er, Steve Begleiter. I guess I will start this 3 month journey together when we first got in contact. Steve played in a poker league in his home town and won his seat through that. One of the members just happened to be a 2+2er and knew me from doing well in sngs as well as big mtts.

Steve knew he wanted to hire a coach, as he didn�t see how it could hurt and he would hate himself if he simply did nothing then showed up at the final table then busted early. Anyways, Steve interviewed around 20 people and it came down to me and Ylon. I didn�t know Ylon at all but after talking to him, he seems to have a solid grasp of the game. He also happened to live in the same area as Steve whereas I live in Vegas.

I thiiiink he was going to go on Ylon (I guess only Steve know this) but I did some hard bargaining at the end to get the job split between the two of us.

I ended up flying out to New York 3 times, once for an initial interview and two other times to have weekend long coaching sessions where we talked about and played poker constantly. Steve is a super busy guy with a very full life. Despite that, he always worked hard and took in everything I said very quickly. Most people, especially when it comes to poker, are simply stuck in their ways and refuse to believe they might be bad. Steve was basically the opposite, realizing I am one of the best mtt players in the game and that he could learn a lot.

After our first meeting in NY, we decided it would be good for him to fly to Vegas and then drive together to play the WPT event in LA. I ended up basically bubbling the event but Steve took 9th, which was really good, considering it was a tough field and we were still working hard on his game. He claimed the advice I gave him prevented him from getting broke twice in the tournament, so that�s good. I feel a lot of my game is simply controlling the pot and letting my opponents stack off to me in spots where the only way to maximize value is to bluff catch.

I also learned that most amateur players simply do not pay attention to stack sizes. You have to play hands totally different if a guy has 10, 20, 30, 50, or 100bbs. We worked hard on these things and many more and I think he became a better player because of it. He was sad to take 9th but at the same time, realized it was a great accomplishment.

We worked hard in NY, running numerous simulation games where we would set up the same chip stacks as the final table and try to fit players that had similar playing styles as the actual November 9 guys to the correct stacks. Steve did fairly well in most of these, so that was good. Steve later went on to play WSOP Europe and was one of the chip leaders early in the day before getting cold decked twice to bust.

I think Steve was already taking care of this, but I wanted to make sure he was in good shape. There is nothing worse than being technically good at the game but crashing late because you are simply out of shape. He worked out much harder than I ever hope to, so I was happy with that. I also made sure he got on a good sleeping schedule so he could go late into the night if it came to it. Enough with the preparation. On to the final table.

Steve had one of the worst seats at the table, having Eric Buchman, the only other good deepstacked player on his left, followed by Cada, who we assumed would push well. We assumed Saout, Schulman, Schaffel, and Moon would play tight. We assumed Akenhead, Ivey, and Cada would look to mix it up and try to double their short stacks. We assume Buchman would try to go after Steve with numerous calls and reraises. We were right about all of these except Saout wasn�t too tight and Ivey was super tight.

Early in the day, it looked like Schaffel was going to double through Buchman, which would have made the table much better for us but sadly, his AA couldn�t beat KK. That was the first crushing blow to our day that no one seemed to even realize. It really is bad when a spewtard on your left gets chips that he will use to constantly try to outplay you, unless of course, you make a hand, which is tough to do sometimes.

As for the hands at the final table, I liked every play Steve made except two that came near the end of his day. On one hand, he raised with 87c and Saout, who was for sure playing the best out of anyone else at the table reraised from the big blind. Saout had been going after Steve a little, although not too much. I don�t remember the exact stacks but I think Steve had 50M and Saout had 25M. The blinds must have been 250/500, so it probably went 1.25M, 4M preflop. The flop came 9h8h3c. Saout checked and Steve bet 7M. I reeeallly hated this bet, as if you get pushed on, you are getting decent odds to call. The only problem is the only thing you are happy for him to turn over is a flush draw and even then, you are usually a small dog.

That�s just what happened. Steve bet, Saout pushed and Steve made the crying call with the middle pair. The turn was another heart. If you watched the WSOP, you know Steve loves calling reraises with hands like 87s. I worked hard on cutting this out of his game, especially against good players that won�t stack off when you hit but he still decided to do it against Saout here. We talked the hand over a bit and both agreed it was bad on many levels.

Even though he got it in �good� here, it was still bad. However, if he holds here, he would have been up to 70M, which would have been a pretty large chip lead. This was the 2nd bad thing that happened.

The next hand Steve lost was fairly minor, although still a leak that he didn�t learn from me. Cada raised to around 2.5bbs out of his 20bb stack utg and Steve called from the sb with A3s. It came AJ5 and Steve lead into him, which I hate. I would have much rather seen a checkpush. Cada just called. The turn and river were blanks and they checked it down, giving Steve the pot.

The final bad thing that happened to him was actually a pretty standard hand. Steve raised with QQ to 2.5bbs out of his 35bb stack and Moon pushed from the big blind with AQ. Steve snap called and it came xxxxA to bust him and end our pretty cool trip together.

Steve was an absolute joy to work with. I don�t think anyone else at the final table could have been a better student. Even though he made a few mistakes, I firmly believe he made many less than he would have. I also think he is a much better poker player now than when I first started working with him. If I had to rate him 1-10, 1 being the same as when we started and 10 playing like I would play, I would give him an 8, simply because he still likes to splash around a bit too much with semiweak hands. I am sure he will see this leak and plug it in the future. If Steve chooses, I am confident he could make it on the poker circuit, not that he would need or want to, as he has a great life at home.

To sum it up, I was happy at first to just get the job but now I am happy to know I have a friend for life.

As for the rest of the final table, I will tell you how I think everyone played. I think Moon played awful up until Steve busted. There was one hand where Saout raised J2 from the button into Moons big blind, which was fine, considering how tight Moon had been. Moon called and it came KJ2. Moon checked and Saout bet around 2/5 (I think) of his stack. Moon instapushed with A4. Wow..that is all.

Akenhead got it in a few times, once with KQ against AK and peeled, and if he didn�t run KK into AA, he would have had a decent shot to win.

Ivey�s play shocked me the most. Simply put, he played like a super nit and I have no clue why. It was clear most of the table feared him, as they folded to basically all of his raises. He ended up blinding off before getting 3 outered by Moon.
Schaffel got beat around a quite a bit, raisefolding a ton. He eventually got AA vs KK back to back bout couldn�t fade the 2nd one.

Buchman played well up until Steve busted, I thought. He raised basically every hand that was folded to him and reraised quite a bit too. All in all, I thought he played well, although he did hit a 2 outer early for most of his chips.

Cada played pretty well I thought too. He got down to 3bbs at one point then pushbotted the table to death. Currently he is 2nd in chips with 5 people left. I was shocked at how Schulman and Moon simply let him get back in the game and if he wins, it is because these guys gave it to him.

Saout shocked me the most, but in a good way. I assumed he would play tight and eventually get it in with a decent hand and lose. He actually mixed it up very well and I think he played the best of anyone at the table, at least while I was there. It would not surprise me at all if he won, which is why he is my pick to win at this point.

Schulman was apparently coached by Hellmuth and it showed, in very bad ways. He was raising to 3.5x-5x preflop, which is awful. He also reraised to 1/3 his stack then folded a few times, which is never really good. All in all, he seemed to play as if he was trying to give it away. I would be a bit surprised if he won unless he totally changes his game.

Well, that�s it. It has been a great 3 months. Hopefully someone decides they want my help next year and I can take the ride again. Better yet, I will just final table it myself.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Went on a family vacation

The last week has been filled with no poker at all. After the Bellagio WPT, where I dont even remember how I busted, I flew to Orlando to watch my brother compete in weight lifting at the special olympics. He did well and got a gold medal, so that was good.I did have a few complaints about the set up though. First off, Disney World didnt even comp the athletes a day at Disney World.

Most of the guys had little or no money, so they couldnt pay to get in. Because of this, they got to go to Disney World to play but they didnt actually get to go to Disney World. The food situation was fairly brutal as well. They fed most of us in a giant tent that took about 15 minutes to walk to. Some of the guys cant walk too well and some where in wheelchairs, which made getting to the tent fairly tough. I have a few more complaints that I cant remember now. I just wish they thought about who was going to be coming to the games. Hopefully they will get their act together next time.

My fav part of the trip was going to the food and wine festival at Epcot. For those that dont know me, there isnt much I love more than good food and fine wine, both of which were scattered around the park to enjoy. I bought my family food as well for my dad's birthday, so we all enjoyed the goods. My fav was some delicious steak skewer with some great sauce and then some shrimp gumbo.

Once I got back to Vegas, I hopped right back into the $10/20 games that I have been playing lately. I recently had a nice 6 buyin downswing, which sucks but most of the money was lost to fairly bad beats so I didnt really care. On the first hand, there were 2 limps, a raise to $200, a call, then I picked up QQ. I shipped me whole $2000 stack and got called by the caller. It ran out AJT83 and I assumed I lost. He turned over QQ though and we chopped it up.

The next hand, I somehow got it in with AK vs QJ on a AJ board and he peeled a Q to stack me. Around 30 minutes later, a pretty cool hand came up. I had rebought for $2000 when I picked up 86s on the button. There were 4 limps then a raise from the same guy in the first hand to $100. I called on the button and everyone else called. The flop came 962. We all checked to the bettor who made it $320. I was just going to fold when I saw the person to my left fold out of turn, followed by all the other players in the hand pick up their cards as if to muck. Because of this, I decided to ship it in. The raiser snap called me, so I assumed I needed to get lucky this time. The board ran of 4Q and I turned over my bad pair. He turned over 44 to bust me again. I decided to just pack it up and go home.

I have noticed I get a little annoyed when I get stacked back to back to dumb situations and because of this, I have decided that when I lose 2 buyins, I just quit for the day. This goes against basically everything I have ever done in online poker or live, as I dont think I really tilt, so I should be +ev to play whether or not I am winning or losing. After going off for 6 buyins a week earlier, I decided losing $12000 didnt make me feel good, so I was going to make sure it didnt happen. I reeallly hate quitting a good game though. I am going to try this quitting after 2 losses thing for a while but if I see that variance makes for tons of short sessions, I will probably give it up.

Besides all of that, life is grand. Everything I am trying to do is coming together to hopefully create a nice living situation for me. Hopefully I can run hot at the cash games and win all the dollars.