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TassieDevilPoker.com - Travelling as a poker reporter and occasional player, this poker blog features stories from the tournament circuit as well as the online poker grind.

The Tasmanian Devil is a ferocious carnivore, rarely seen, but a survivor who loves nothing more than devouring anything that stands in its way.


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Winding down and grinding away
June 15th, 2012 Poker, Travel No Comments »

I’ve been part of the poker/casino industry for close to six years now, and during that time I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing destinations.  I’ve covered events in Monte Carlo, Las Vegas and all corners of the Asia Pacific.  I’ve enjoyed the experiences, the people I’ve met and the fun times I’ve had.  It’s rare to be able to find a job that you genuinely have a passion for.

That’s why it’s very hard to step back from such a job.  But unfortunately it’s not the kind of gig one can do forever.  I’m at a different stage of my life to where I was five years ago, and I’m now looking to finally settle down.  We’re moving back to Melbourne, with a little chicklet due in October, so life priorities will change.  I won’t be travelling so much that’s for sure.  I will probably stay involved, but try to pick and choose which events I travel to.  I’ll also still be involved with Poker Asia Pacific to ensure that remains the #1 poker news and information website in the region.

Spending more time at home has allowed me to get back into the grind of online poker.  For a while I’d totally removed myself from my usual heads-up grinding as it was so hard to get any action at decent stakes.  I tried Zoom Poker for a while but that was pretty disastrous, so now I think I’ve found a routine that I’m comfortable with.  I’ll play MTTs on Mondays and Thursdays which is when the bigger tournaments run, and then if I feel like playing poker on the other days then I’ll grind heads-up cash.  Hopefully that will only be in the mornings, because when I get the itch to play cash at night it usually ends with me being unable to turn the laptop off when I’m stuck!

The MTT grinding has had some mixed results.  I’ve been playing across PokerStars, 888poker and Party Poker.  I had a deep run in the Sunday Million a little while ago for a top 50 place, and have picked up a couple of small FTs here and there.  I’m definitely due for a big online score, and it frustrates me that I’ve been unable to achieve that.  I’ve never really taken MTTs seriously, and I envy the guys that can handle the brutal variance that comes with them.  I think it’s much better for me to grind cash, and take shots at MTTs as mentally I handle that a lot better.  Hopefully the big online score is just around the corner.

The game has changed…
October 21st, 2011 Poker No Comments »

Poker Asia PacificI haven’t had a chance to update this blog in a while.  Unfortunately life has been pretty busy and my free time has been spent on new projects, most notably Poker Asia Pacific.

Frustrated by the lack of quality Australian poker content - news, results and articles - we decided it was time to make a stand and build the best damn poker website possible.  The feedback and support we’ve had so far has been fantastic.  We’re pumping our regular news columns and have an awesome collection of some of the best players in the region to write strategy, blogs and all sorts of content and the site looks slick.

We’re going to blow everyone else out of the water.

Check out the site at www.pokerasiapacific.com and Like our Facebook Page to show your support for what we’re trying to achieve, and that is, bringing the best poker content possible for the Australian, New Zealand and Asian poker community.

GG WSOP
July 6th, 2011 Poker, Travel, WSOP No Comments »


Ok so it’s taken Las Vegas all of two days to crush my poker spirit.  Thank God I’m not here for two months.  The good news is that the sickness that I’m currently feeling in my stomach is being harnessed into a massive positive.  I’m tilting real hard as I write this, probably more tilted than ever before in live poker.  Steeling yourself with the pain can only make you stronger, and I’m happy that it all takes me one step closer to things turning around.

It started two days ago when I ventured into the murky depths of WSOP Event#54: $1,000 No Limit Lolament.  These tournaments require huge amounts of luck with such massive fields and relatively short stacks.  However I think as long as you get off to a good start, the structure isn’t too bad.  If you slide back in that first level, then things are going to be tough.  Fortunately I found pocket aces on the very first hand of the tournament.  I only won a small pot, but I was able to chip up early with some small ball and stay out of trouble.  The table was soft enough but I didn’t get to sit still for long, as I played four different tables in eight levels.

On my second table I went on a bit of a heater.   I knocked out one guy with AK vs KK, and then three-bet squeezed QQ to win a nice pot.  Shortly after I hit a set with QQ and got three streets of value against AQ.  As this hand finished, a strange scenario happened as our table broke.  The other players racked up their chips and followed the TD from the Amazon Room to…somewhere.  I was left raking in the chips from the previous hand, and when I turned around, everyone was gone!  I was like a lost kid in a department store. I wandered around aimlessly for a few minutes before I wimpered to a TD that I was lost and couldn’t find my mummy.  He escorted me to the Pavillion room, I got a new seating card, and then walked over to the other side of the Pavillion Room to find my seat.  All of this took a good ten minutes.  I should’ve just wandered around for ten hours, as I had over 18k at that point which would’ve been an acceptable end-of-day count.

However my new table wasn’t so smooth as I went card dead for four levels.  I won one small pot with 88, I raise-folded AT and A4 to three-bets, and my two steal attempts from the button/cutoff with T7 and K6 were both met with re-raises.  I slowly slipped back to just over 10k which was still around 25BB when I finally found KK under the gun.  I raised, and UTG+1 shipped all in, I called and he showed JJ.  He skillfully hit a jack on the flop to rake in the 18k pot.  If I win that pot, I have nearly 20k and would be a strong chance to reach my first WSOP cash.

Next hand, I find QQ in the big blind.  The cutoff opened to 850, button called and I shoved my last 1,800 in my best “don’t give a fuck” splash of the pot.  Cutoff shoved to isolate and button folded.  Cutoff showed A6, and I’m in great shape to triple up on the QJ5 flop.  K turn. T river.  Are you kidding me? I consider flipping the table upside-down and smash people over the head with my chair WWE-style, but instead I stand and leave the Rio quietly.

Today was a chance at redemption in WSOP Event #56: $1,500 No Limit Spazzament.  My starting table had one guy wearing a Full Tilt patch, and then Hai Bo Chu joined the table a little later.  The rest weren’t too concerning.  I won the first hand of the day (again), then lost a fair chunk on the second hand when I raised QJ on a T93 flop.  My opponent re-raised for half his stack and I wished I just called.  Many would gamble here, but I don’t think he’s doing it with AT, and he’s not folding, so it was overpairs or better.  I didn’t want to gamble on 8 outs at best so I let it go.  It proved a good decision as he played pretty tight for the rest of the day.

I chipped up and won a nice pot when I three-bet JJ from the small blind and flopped a set.  I bet flop, and then check-shoved turn.  Then my favourite hand came up again.  With the blinds at 75/150, FT pro raised to 325 UTG, and MP called.  I had KK and made it 900 from LP.  UTG shoved QQ and I snap it off.  Q in the window and once again I get two-outered in a massive pot.  If I win that, I’m up to 10k in level 4.  Instead I head to the second break with 2,125.

Hai Bo was travelling well and I hope he goes deep, as our table breaks. I get moved to join Simon Watt who has a bazillion chips and making things look easy.  I’m looking for a spot to double and get it with ATs holding against KJ.  I then get moved again and it’s a tough table with four or five American Internet kids who all appear to know each other.  Sigh.  The only one I recognize is Jason Potter, famous for getting robbed in Melbourne after the Aussie Millions.  I cold, four-bet jam AK to get myself up to around 6,500 before raising KJs and folding to resistance on a dry board.  Next orbit I try again with KJs in MP.  I raise and get flat called by a kid on the button.  The flop was a dry 852 and I c-bet small.  He flat-called, and I guess alarm bells should’ve been going off since the flop was so dry, but you never know with these guys.  The turn was the Jc and I have about 4k left (20BBs).  My first instinct was to check-raise shove, and its a good spot for it I think, but I decide that there’s no value in turning my hand into a bluff when I have a good chance of having the best hand, there are few draws and he’s likely to be an aggro-tard at me.  So I decide to check-call, and again call on most rivers.  Once I call the turn, I don’t think I can really fold the river, so I stuck with the plan.  The river was 9h, I checked, he shoved and I made a quick call.  He turned over pocket aces.  Obviously I didn’t put him on that, and I guess he played it well.  I neither love nor hate my play.  I’m sure a case could be made to play it differently, but once I hit top pair on the turn with a pretty short stack, I think I have to go with it.

So it gets better from there…

After I bust, I grab some dinner with Tim, Ben and Dave and Tim talks me into playing some $1/$3 cash with him.  It was mostly good fun with some light raising against limpers without really making any hands.  Tim doubled up with a nice flush over flush, but I was hovering around even, until a drunken American douchebag sat down and caused havoc.

I didn’t realise he was a douche until, after he raised four hands in a row, I decide to three-bet him with AJ.  He made it like $13 and I made it $29.  He insta-shipped all in for over $350.  WTF?  I’m confused but he’d been raising so much and he started staring me down so I was leaning towards calling his ass.  Then he started giving me the speech.  You know, the “I don’t care, I have more money in my pocket, etc, etc” speech.  He didn’t stop with the verbal barrage, and I couldn’t really figure out what he wanted me to do.  After the speech I was now leaning towards a fold, when he gets all pissy and calls the clock on me!  I’d thought for all of 60-90 seconds, and far less than many, many other smaller decisions at the table during the night.  ”Whatever fuckface, I’ll now sit here until the floor is called and I time out,” I thought in my head.  And so I did.  Meanwhile douchebag has time to order two Caronas from the waitress as the floorstaff earns his money counting from ten to zero. I time out and he shows queens.  MBN and WP.

I slip two Benjamins on the table, and raise pocket queens, and of course douchebag decides this is the one hand this lifetime he will fold.  I flop a set and everyone else folds. Unreal.

A few hands later I have jacks on the button.  Douchebag opens to $18 and I raise to $60 on the button.  I know he’s always calling.  Flop 8c3c2s.  He checks and I bet $100.  He insta-ships and I call it off.  He shows 6c5c!  Fuck off!  This guy is verbally intimidating the table, playing every hand, raising junk, drinking two beers and calling three-bets OOP, only to flop a fkn straight and flush draw!  FFS.  Ok well, I’m in front but practically flipping.  Turn is the Qh as I fade the first card.  I’m now a favourite and I need to fade the river to ship to $800 pot and end my day on a high note.  River….4c.  Fuck off! The wanker calls out “Straight!” not realizing his flush is good as I quietly walk out of the Pavillion in slient rage for the second time in the day.

GG WSOP.

Here’s your bloody order
June 18th, 2011 Poker, WSOP No Comments »

cards.jpg
While I’ve tried to avoid following any WSOP coverage this year, I found it quite amusing to read on Twitter the arguments from various poker bloggers about one particularly useless topic.

Should bloggers “order” flops when reporting hands? That is, order the cards from largest to smallest, and in some cases, even by suit, in order to improve “readability”.

What a bunch of bullshit.

What gives you, the humble, independent poker reporter, the right to decide the order of cards? You have no right! Your job is to accurately report what happens. Not manipulate it to suit you. The flop is the flop - it’s the way it lands. The dealer doesn’t move the cards around to make it easier for players to read. And neither should you.

If you, or your readers cannot read a flop, then perhaps you should stop fucking ordering them!

I’m quite astounded that some well known bloggers openly admit to ordering cards when they blog. Even defending the practice. You should be embarrassed. You are most definitely in the minority, and if you were working for me, I’d tell you to stop doing it. It’s not up for debate. It shouldn’t be done. Period.

To think you are above reporting action accurately just illustrates your inflated ego. You are not bigger than the game. It’s not about you. It’s not even about your readers. It’s about the game. Start respecting it.

I also read that some bloggers order hands so that they can identify if their work has been plagiarized. Again LOL. If it’s on the Internet, it will get copied. I would’ve thought you all would’ve been in the industry long enough to just accept that. It again emphasizes that some people are just too self-obsessed in this industry. I understand you wanting credit for your work, you must need it.

The State of PokerNetwork
June 16th, 2011 Poker No Comments »

I wanted to post something in regards to the ending of my involvement with PokerNetwork so that people are aware of what’s going on, as I’ve had too many people ask why things aren’t being updated. I was going to do a bit of a “tell all”, but I’ll save that in the drafts for now. It may come out on my blog one day, but the timing today doesn’t seem appropriate while there are still changes afoot.

I just want to make it clear that as of about a month ago, following “Black Friday”, I am no longer managing PokerNetwork. This wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t happy about it. The current stagnant site is not of my doing. It makes me cringe to see plagiarized press releases, banners that are likely to induce an epileptic fit and spam filtering through the forums. I also am crushed to see the tournament database, players of the month awards and points rankings not being updated. I’m not surprised. It was a labour-intensive task that was unappreciated. Now, the history and tradition that was built up from 2003 will probably die.

I have more to write, and may do soon. But for now, I just want people to know that I have nothing to do with the poor condition of the site and it hurts me to see it more than anyone.

JHDSS Main Event
March 21st, 2011 Poker No Comments »

The Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series Main Event is one of my favourite events of the year.  For a $550 buy-in you get a 3 day event, a decent enough structure, a pretty soft field and a pretty good prize pool.  I’ve played it twice for a 25th and a bubble, so I was pretty keen to get an opportunity to play again this time around.

I played Day 1b, with the mindset that I had a second shell to fire with the repechage on Saturday should I feel like playing again.

I arrived at my table to find Mat Hawker on my left and had to chuckle when I saw Nobbi Tanaka sit down to my right.  After some fun times against Nobbi in the 6-handed event, it would be nice to have position on him today.  I didn’t know anyone else at the table but there were a couple of faces that I’d seen before.

There was one Asian guy who decided he wanted to be table captain as he lagged it up pretty early.  I made a nice call down against him with ace-queen on a scary board, pretty early when he triple barrelled.  A few minutes later I gave some back when I called with KT on an AKx22 board.  It was a limped pot and I was in the small blind. The flop was checked, I check-called turn and river.  I knew he wouldn’t bluff me twice in a row, so I should’ve folded the river.  But I paid him off and he showed 2T - the only way he could win was with running deuces.  Sigh.

Nobbi was continually iso’ing the limptards, so I was trying to find a good spot to punish him for it.  When the cutoff limped, and Nobbi raised the button, I decided I was going to three-bet the small blind with any two cards.  I looked down at Kd7d which seemed reasonable enough.  It was 100/200 and he iso’d to 700.  I made it 2,100 but he came back over the top to 5,100.  My instinct was that he’s so full of shit, so often, that the right play would be to basically shove on him here with my entire range.  But I decided it was early enough to let it go.  It’s disappointing as my instincts were right, but I was just outplayed as Nobbi later told me he had Q7.

I lose a chunk of chips with pocket deuces on a baby board when I fold river, and next hand I find AQ under the gun and raise it up.  Mat Hawker is next to act and he three bets me.  I respect Mat’s game and he had been pretty solid up until this point.  I haven’t played with him before, and I know he grinds solidly online, but I guess I assumed his style was probably similar to my own.  I don’t often raise a full ring table light from UTG, so I wouldn’t normally 3-bet myself pretty light.  I didn’t want to call and play OOP, so I let it go.  He later told me he had As7s.  Owned again.  Sigh.

I didn’t find too many spots over the next few levels with my opens getting three-bet and my c-bets getting check-raised.  It was just one of those days where nothing stuck.  I was down to around 15BBs when Nobbi opened the cutoff and I shoved KdQd from the button.  He called with Ah8d and I spiked a queen on the flop, only for an ace to crush me on the river.

I was pretty frustrated but the next day, decided that it was worth raising some funds to take another shot.  Day 1c was the complete opposite to Day 1b.  I had a super-soft table full of nits, with Julian Cohen the only solid player on the table.  I had a Scandi on my left who was pretty bad, Michael Haddad who was good fun as usual but donked his chips off, and the rest were fish.

I called the Scandi down with ace-high in a blind versus blind and he showed queen-high, and I made a couple of other nice reads/calls to chip up a bit in the early stages.  With the blinds at 100/200, I opened to 525 with pocket kings and the Scandi called before Haddad moved all in (without looking at his cards) for around 5,000.  A nit in the big blind then moved all in for about 13k.  I wasn’t thrilled but I was never folding.  Scandi folded, Haddad showed Q4 and the nit had TT.  40k pot and of course the fkn ten hits the flop.  I was back down to 13k but kept chipping away.  I got a lot of good raising hands like QJ and KT in late position, and they just kept letting me steal their blinds.  Unfortunately the antes hadn’t yet kicked in, but I was happy to chip up and keep the table guessing.

Three times I raised with small pocket pairs, hit baby flops, and got called by fish with nothing but overcards.  Twice they hit their six outer, and the other, I called a guy down who had king-queen-high.  However everytime I’d chip up, I’d have something go wrong and get knocked back down.  I rivered two pair in a pot against a fish who already had a bigger two pair.  I thought for a moment about donk value-betting the river but I checked and for some reason he checked behind to thankfully save me some chips.  I then had pocket queens and had to fold on the river to heavy action on an ace-high board.

A failed bluff attempt against a super-nit put me back down to around 8,000 when I picked up AA in the big blind.  Two limps at 200/400/50 and I made it 1,200.  They both called and the flop was 678.  I bet, got check-raised, shoved and he snapped with 9T.  Game over.

I learnt a lot on Day 1b on a tough table, while there was nothing I could do on Day 1c after having AA, KK and QQ all cracked.  It’s been a tough few months poker wise, so I’ll be taking a little break with a few events coming up that I’ll be working at.  Hopefully a little run-good is around the corner.

However the week wasn’t a lost cause as I was able to rail Josh “procession” Bell onto 3rd place in the Main Event.  Well done mate!

Next stop Perth!