Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mighty deuce-four strikes again

Above: The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is the venue for the Tampa Poker Classic now being played.

If you read poker blogs or are an experienced player, you probably know that the deuce-four is the strongest starting hand in poker. Cyber-friend Bob Wooley, also known as The Poker Grump, has espoused its magical powers for many years, so we affectionately call the deuce-four The Grump.

Yesterday, I played in Day 1E of the Tampa Poker Classic. Out of 1128 runners, 179 of us advanced to Day 2, being played later today. First place pays $58,835, so worth shooting for. I have 124,000 chips where the big blind is about to go to 2000/4000 with 4000 big-blind ante, so sitting in the middle of the field.

I won my largest pot during the qualification yesterday with, you guessed it, The Grump. The big blind was 1000 and there were three limpers to me on the button. I looked down to see 4 2. I could have raised, but decided to slow play and just called. Both blinds came along and the pot was 7000 (big blind was 1000).

The flop was 3 3 5. A player bet 4000, one player called and I just called. The turn was the A -- was there ever any doubt? The same player bet 6000, the second player folded and I sprang my trap by raising to 13,500. The villain called and the river was the 10. Villain checked and I bet 15,500. The villain went into the tank. This was the last hand before the break, so others left the table. Finally he called and I tabled my hand.

Besides winning a huge pot, the look on his face was priceless. Obviously, he hasn't heard about the power the The Grump. I went to the bathroom, and came back to the table. The villain was sitting there with a dazed look on his face, like he'd just been run over by a Mack truck that he didn't see coming. Maybe he'll learn, but perhaps not.

Info on the tournament can be found here. Prize pool info here. Chip stack sizes here.

UPDATE: Finished 20th for $2593, See here. I had hopes for better. Why does winning money not feel good?

New event starts today (Monday and Tuesday are four Day 1s, reconvene Wednesday at 12 noon if you bag chips).

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Main Event wrap-up

Above: The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino is the venue for the World Series of Poker.

Now that I'm home, it's time to look back at the WSOP Main Event. Most tournaments are ho-hum, but there's something about the Main that gets your blood pumping. I'm hoping to play again next year to atone for some of this year's sins.

Do you have a fitness band? I wear a Fitbit Charge 2, a toy/gizmos I enjoy. It displays my pulse, and I have a low one (in the 62-66 range). While playing in the main, I noticed it was often 72ish. After one big hand where the villain (unsuccessfully) bluffed me, I noticed it was 85.

My fitness band also records my sleep. I noticed the three nights before I played, I only slept 6+ hours. The nights in-between, I slept 8 hours. Sleep is important. What can I do next year to improve on this? I also noticed late in Day 1 and Day 2, I lost chips. Was I tired and not playing as well?

I did eat properly. When I play, I see guys on their dinner break with plates piled high. You will find me eating a salad.

What else can I do to maximize my chances next time?

Above: Bring money. There are plenty of things to buy if you have coin of the realm.

Above: The Masquerade Tower is part of the Rio. I think it's for the high rollers. Guess what? I've never stayed there.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Main Event run ends

Above: You have to climb a lot of steps to survive in the WSOP Main Event.

I'm sitting in my room watching poker on TV. An hour or so ago, I was playing in the event. Playing is more fun than watching.

I started with 14 big blinds. Early I shoved with 9-9 and everyone folded. The blinds and antes ground me down and I shoved with A-K and again with A-J. It's tough with a short stack. You basically have to shove or fold. Raising and then having to fold to a three-bet is a recipe for disaster. I shoved one last time from the cut-off on a steal and the BB called with A-J. I whiffed the board and was gone.

I've got to come back and play again next year. Even though I don't like my result, I enjoyed playing and the excitement.

Above: The shot clock when I busted.

Above: The Gold Coast was my headquarters for the past eight days.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Limped into Day 3

Above: The Rio Casino is the home of the WSOP.

I've advanced to Day 3 (Saturday), but played terribly. Having some bad luck didn't help either. My stack moved up above 100,000 chips, then slowly went down. I bagged 28,300 which is 14 big blinds, so I'll need some luck tomorrow. I guess the good news is that I'm used to having a short stack, but there's no room for error here.

Some days it goes like that, and I know it. Was good to have today (Friday) off to recover and rebuild my confidence. Some encouraging tweets by friends -- thanks.

Something you seldom see: A guy at my table raised. Guy 2 three bet. Guy 1 shoved. Guy 2 went into the tank and finally asked if he folded would Guy 1 show. He said yes. Guy 2 folded K-K face up. Guy 2 showed A-A. I don't think I've ever folded kings preflop. If they have it, they have it. Have you seen this at the table?

Above: The mascot's name is Chippy. Read more here:

Above: Up close at the Rio.

Above: A lady waits for her Uber driver at the WSOP.