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Archive for August, 2009

GG Swine Flu

August 27th, 2009 Entertainment, Poker, Travel No Comments »

I’ve now found my way to Macau for the start of the Asian season. I arrived after a chilly, but mostly safe flight with discount airline Viva Macau. I didn’t have to flap my arms out the window and the most dangerous thing about the flight was pretending not to cry during Marley and Me. Since when did Jennifer Aniston movies become more than a mindless perve?

One good thing about Viva Macau was that we landed right in the heart of Macau, and after a ten minute cab we were at our hotel. No transfers, no ferries, no fuss! Unfortunately some of our friends and colleagues on the same flight two days later wouldn’t have the same fortune as their flight was delayed, then cancelled and they were forced to pay $900 to get on another flight. They kindly get their refund in 6-8 weeks. WP Viva Macau. Please get me home in one piece. One time.

So we spent the first three days at the beautiful Galaxy StarWorld Hotel. Our view was spectacular from the 30th floor, across downtown Macau and across to the lake. We spent the first few days busily working on finishing the third edition of the PokerNews AU magazine, and sorting out details for the newly announced merger between PokerNews, PokerNetwork and our closest competitor Bluff Australasia. It’s a pretty exciting time as we now have a mega-super power in poker in Australia.

We then had the APT event which ran pretty smoothly, which David Steicke pwned to finish 4th, and of course the infamous APT player party. Held in the Presidential Suite of the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel, it was an incredible night. Before we’d even had time to grab our first beer, we witness two of the most stunning APT models, dressed in nothing but body paint, posing for photos. The suite was awesome and although there were no spa antics this time around (apparently due to the carnage imparted on the room last year), there was still plenty of fun to be had. One memorable moment was being introduced to John Juanda in the queue for the gents and then watch him stagger in, and stumble back out, pissed as a fart.

After an unexpected tiff which left Garry making an early exit, the rest of us ventured over to the infamous D2 nightclub. Not being a fan of nightclubs, I was reluctant to go, but was half interested to see what all the fuss was about. We arrived at the overly-crowded, overly-loud club and I bumped into APPT President Jeffrey Haas within about five minutes who invited me to his VIP booth with 4 bottle of scotch, beers and more sitting on the table. Unable to talk over the fkn loud as hell music, he poured me a scotch…neat. I battled away for a swig or two before grabbing a coke to make the scotch drinking somewhat more enjoyable. It became a whole lot more enjoyable when I found out Saab was paying the tab. Bottoms up! Fruity test tubes of some unknown cocktail followed by shots that resembled chocolate milkshakes and the rest of the evening became a whole lot more blurry. There were rumours of yours truly “carving up the dancefloor”, “shakin what yo mamma gave you”, “work it, work it, oh yeh” but they are unsubstantiated gossip. I recall an overly-aggressive Chinese promo girl wanting to get me up onto the dance floor. When I politely declined, (girlfriend is in the bathroom, got lost in translation) her response was to aggressively grab my wrist and attempt to drag my sorry ass out there herself. This was no flirtatious grab. She was one strong chick (read lady boy). It felt more like she was grabbing me to throw me out, such was her aggression. Short of slapping her in a sleeper hold to get her to calm the fuck down, I held onto the bar with my other hand and rode out the pulling affect until she got bored about five minutes later and left. The good news is that my wing span is now three metres.

The next night I played my first live cash session in god knows how long. Maybe six months. Maybe more. I played 10/20 with Tim and first hand picked up AKo UTG. I raised to 70 and got onehundredandseventyfivemilliontybillion callers, so I check folded on the baby flop. I stacked a guy with pocket kings, and won another nice pot with trip sevens where I got three streets of value town. There are two hands were somewhat interesting. The first was in a seven-way limped pot, I had pocket fives in the small blind and caught a set on a 573 flop. I checked, expecting one of the many limpers to toss something into the middle, allowing me to check-raise. A mistake I guess, but life is never easy OOP right? Everyone checked around of course. Turn was an innocent looking 2. I led out for 100 into 140 and got one caller on the button. River A. The board is rainbow, so I only fear a four. I can’t really put a button limper on many fours, but I can certainly get value from a two pair, esp if he has an ace. So I put out a part blocking, part value bet of 150. If I’m raised, I have to fold, but 150 is cheaper than me check-calling, and allows me to get value from a worse hand that might check behind. He tanked and tanked and muttered something about me having four-six before making a crying call. I assumed I win, and flip my cards. He then turns over Q4. WP. This same guy tanked with a flopped set earlier in the evening against Ducky who had shoved with a straight+flush draw. So sick.

The other interesting spot was in one of the last hands of my night. After two limpers, I’d decided I didn’t want any customers when I looked at AK, so I made it 140. A guy in the small blind then raised to 420. This was a sick spot as this guy had only shown AA and QQ all evening. We were both at around 3,000 deep, so part of me thinks a call is ok. Online I definitely call or four-bet, but I guess live, I had enough of a read on this guy to realise I was either dead or drawing to an three/six outs. I folded and he showed pocket kings.

I ended up HK$940 in front, and then proceeded to lose $1,000 the next night on a fun but retardedly rigged game of three-card Baccarat. GG and I had so many opportunities to crush this game when the dealer would tease us with a 3, 2, 1 or even a 0, but we would show our utter naivety for the supreme skill of this game, and we continually failed to better the dealer’s score. Time, and time, and time, and time again. On our final hand, with it all on the line the dealer pulled a 1. GG pulled 6,3, muthfkn A. I squeezed monkey, monkey, monkey. WP three-card Baccarat dealer. We then jumped over to regular Baccarat, and although I wasn’t playing I was thoroughly entertained by GG taking on random Asian guy in an epic heads-up Baccarat duel. The Asian dude had a tell, he was angry when he had a good hand, and happy when he had a bad hand. So when he looked really upset one time we knew we were in trouble (since GG was always betting on the opposite to this guy). The Asian dude looked down, then looked at us and said “Bye bye!” and flipped natural nine. Slowrolling mutha fucka! From there it was game on, and GG was steaming after losing around 4k but he got back to square and we moved on.

We’ve now jumped over to the Sofitel Hotel and are working at the Grand Lisboa Casino for the APPT Macau event. I guess you are wondering why I have actually updated this blog. Well it’s simple. Swine flu. A few days ago I picked up some nasty virus, origins unknown, and have been in quarantine. From states of eyeball-rolling hazes, to supreme sweats, to earth-shattering chills, the last three days have had it all, but it’s given me a chance to finally update this blog! The bad news for readers is that I’ve shaken off the worst of it, and expect to be back at work again tomorrow. Unfortunately I don’t get sick often, so stay tuned for the next update!

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August 20th, 2009 Poker No Comments »

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Six-Handed Is The Nuts

August 15th, 2009 Poker No Comments »

The next day was the 6-handed event which I was very excited about. 6-handed is the most enjoyable poker to play as I can open up my game. Most people think I’m a nit, which you really have to be on a ten-handed table sometimes, so it’s great to bring that image to a 6-handed table where I can LAG it up. I had a perfect table draw full of local regs and old school nits. I pounded on these guys relentlessly but just couldn’t win the big pots. I raised and re-raised Tim English all day and he just had no response. Unfortunately I was priced in to call a shove from short-stacked David Gorr when I had QJs and he flipped AQ so I doubled him up. I misplayed a hand pretty badly against him where I 3-bet with pocket kings on an 8-high flop against David, when I should’ve just called the flop and let him hang himself on the turn. He got away from his hand, so I was annoyed with myself there.

A little later Jacob Chen and Andrew Demetriou got moved to the table so things got a little tougher. I bluffed away a good portion of my chips against Andrew, and I’m determined to find out what he had when I see him next. I raised the button with K7o and Andrew called in the big blind and then donked a bet at a 543 flop. I decided to test his donk bet with a raise but he quickly called. The turn was a repeat 5 and he donked out big once again. If I was to raise again I’d have to commit most of my stack, so I had to give it up. If he had a 5 then it was pretty sick, but maybe he already had a set.

I got myself up to over 25k with 50 players left but was then out in two hands. Joe Cabret limped the button for 600 and Jacob made it 2,300 from the SB. Jacob was the most aggressive player at the table, and had re-raised my UTG raise (when I had 52o, so gross) out of the SB with AJ earlier, so when I looked down at AQs in the BB, I felt that I had the best hand. Jacob could very easily be punishing the limp of Cabret. Jacob had 14,000 behind, so I decided to raise enough to ensure I was committed to calling if he shoved. I made it 6,300, he shoved, I called, he had AA, and I was down to 10k. In hindsight I guess I could’ve made it like 5k-ish which shows as much strength but then I can fold to his shove. The other option is to just flat call, but an ace arrived on the flop so I would’ve stacked off there also.

Next hand I picked up T8s in the SB and complete with 4 limpers. Flop was T72 and I check-call the bet from Joe Cabret. The turn was a 9, giving me top pair with an open-ender so I decide to try and take down the pot by moving all in for my last 7k or so. He insta-called with just about the worst hand I could see – T9. The river bricked a king and I was out. Just like that.

I was extremely disappointed with this result, as I felt in control of the table for 6 hours and had just got my stack to its highest point, only to be eliminated two hands later. If I can continue to chip up and aggressively pound opponents and pick spots as well as this tournament then I’ll be in good shape for the big clashes in future tournaments. More six-handed please!

Mate vs Mate, State vs State

August 11th, 2009 Poker No Comments »

Someone asked me the other day which tournament I get most excited about. To be honest, once you’ve worked or played at enough events, they all become pretty similar. That may sound a little unappreciative, but the fact of the matter is that most casinos in the world look the same on the inside.

However I was able to come up with an answer to the question posed at me.  The event I actually get most excited about is the State of Origin event at the Vic Champs. This may sound like a strange choice, but this is a unique event which I am very passionate about. I’m proud to be representing my state, I’m honoured to get the opportunity to play against the best in the country, and I love the friendly rivalries that have formed in the event’s short history.

After numerous emails with team captain George Mamacas, we were both somewhat concerned about getting together a strong team. Finding eight solid Tasmanian poker players is a harder task than it may sound. Fortunately I came in contact with a couple of guys online and George knew a couple of other locals, and we were very content with the team we were able to put on the park. We played a home game together as a little training session and I knew we were in good shape after a hand that went down within the first 10 minutes. I opened from UTG, there was a 3-bet, then a 4-bet. I folded my A9, the 3-bettor folded (what he said was weaker than A9) and the 4-bettor showed QJo. Nice!

I was very happy with my table draw as there were plenty of sharks to avoid in this field. I drew Tino Lechich and Eric Assadourian and was happy that they were both two to my right. I’ve seen Tino play a lot and expected him to be very aggressive, while I always seem to draw Eric in any major tournament I play, and while he talks big, he plays very snug. Two to my left was James Honeybone who I knew as being a solid player, but I’d only played with him once online. From the early going he appeared to be happy to sit tight which was good. It quickly emerged that the two players to watch out for were Stevan Lackovic from WA on my direct left and Dominic Olm-Milligan from QLD who was three to my left. These two guys were young and aggressive and I quickly thought they were the threats on the table. The value was definitely NT/ACT and SA. The SA guy was on my direct right, and quickly proved to the room why SA are A) the worst players and B) the worst blokes of any team in the event.

In the first level I picked up pocket aces under the gun and made a standard raise 3x raise. Both NT/ACT and SA called. The flop was JT5 rainbow and I fired a c-bet. NT/ACT called in position before SA put in a decent check-raise. At this stage I didn’t know much about SA but check-raising over two players felt very strong. I was worried about JT or a set as there weren’t too many other draws other than KQ that would c/r, and I had two of the aces that KQ would need. I could reraise here, and in hindsight if I realised he was such value or we’d started with shorter stacks I would have, but since we had 20k start banks and we were on the first level, I didn’t particularly want to stack off here, so I flat-called. NT/ACT called behind. The turn was another brick, like a deuce, and SA fired out a bet of 1,500. Not a huge bet, but it felt strong into two opponents when out of position. I wasn’t about to fold yet, so I called and again NT/ACT called behind. The river was a 9 and if SA would’ve fired a standard bet of 3-4k or so here then I would’ve folded my aces, but SA fired a weak 1,000-chip bet. I’m not folding for 1k so I call, and NT/ACT raised his eyebrows and gave up his hand. SA genius tabled J-9 for rivered two pair and started celebrating with his idiot SA buddies like he’d just discovered the cure for cancer. WP sir.

A few minutes later I tangled with Stevan Lackovic in a blind battle. I limped with A2 and he raised in the big blind. Usually I avoid calling OOP in marginal spots like this, but it was early and we were deep, so I called and flopped big on the A26 flop. I checked, planning to check-raise but he checked behind. I didn’t know what to make of that, but sensed it was strong rather than weak. The turn was a ten and I again planned to check-raise but he fired a big pot-sized bet. I decided against letting the pot get out of control and just called, figuring I’m either way in front or way behind. The river was a brick and I check-called his half pot bet. He showed AT and raked in the pot. Again if I was shorter I would’ve probably lost my stack, but since we were deep I was able to lose minimum. I probably didn’t play any street of this particularly well, but I guess I should give myself some credit for making a good read.

Soon after we tangled in another blind battle where I raised K4o and then checked a 679 flop. A king fell on the turn and I fired turn and river for value and he called and turned over KQ. Sigh.

It just seemed like nothing was going right. I was down to about 12,000 and needed to pull something to recover some chips, when a really interesting hand went down. I believe the blinds were 100/200 when James Honeybone raised in early position to 600. Eric Assadourian called on the button and I had 5c4c which is a nice hand to call in a multi-way pot in the big blind. The flop was 923 rainbow which again looked like an innocent flop. I checked, Honeybone fired 1,500 and Assadourian called. I had an open-ender and plenty of options as to how to play this hand. I put Eric on a middle pair like sevens or eights, while Honeybone could’ve had a similar hand or maybe he was c-betting with overcards on a dry flop. The flop was so dry without any real draws, so I felt like I could take down this pot with a raise as I’m really only representing a set since my image is tight, and if called I’ve always got eight clean outs unless they have aces. So I decided to raise. With about 11k or so behind, I could raise a standard amount to 5-6k, but since that committed over half my stack and since there was already around 5k of valuable chips in the pot, I decided that a shove was my best play to take it down there and then. James cringed, tanked and folded what he later said was pocket sevens, and then Eric went into the tank. This really had me worried. If Eric is tanking then he must have a real hand. Suddenly the sevens I put him on started to feel more like tens or jacks. I really felt like he was going to call, but after a good few minutes he folded and I scooped a nice pot with my draw. Eric then started talking about how he was laying a trap for James, and later told me that he’d folded pocket kings. I couldn’t believe that I’d forced him to fold kings. In his spot I don’t mind the flat on the button, but since he under-represented his hand so much, he probably has to make a crying call here. I dunno, it’s a tough spot he put himself in.

Unfortunately that hand was about my highlight of the evening. I couldn’t find too many good spots, and after a few raise/c-bet/folds I was back down to 10,000. I doubled up with KQs versus Tino’s pocket sixes, but after that the blinds snuck up and I found myself back down to 10BB’s. I stole the blinds once, but when I tried again with 98ss I was called by Stevan’s AK and it was all over. I was out in 5th on my table.

The other boys also didn’t have much luck, and although only one guy failed to score points for his 7th place, most of the others finished either 5th or 6th for minimum points. Andrew Scott was going pretty well before busting out in 4th, so our lone hope was captain George who played really well to win his heat and book us a spot in the final. By that stage the Kiwis had dominated the events to win three of their heats to have a virtual lock on the trophy and team prize. George battled valiantly in the final to finish 4th, as the Kiwis teamed up to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Once again this was a great event to be a part of, and while I landed another sick pot against Eric for the 2nd year in a row, I was disappointed not to finish stronger and cash. All the boys are looking forward to next year where we will definitely be more than competitive once again.