Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bad, Bad and More Bad

I have been getting my ass kicked this week! I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 over the past 3 days playing a mix of $10/$20 and $15/$30 6-max limit cash games. You'd think after 6 years of playing and having runs like this 50 times It wouldn't bother me anymore. But it does! It sucks!

Everything had been going so well for past few months in the cash games. Sure I had a bad WSOP and a bad WCOOP this year, but they weren't terrible and I could always count on my bread and butter. It felt like my opponents were powerless to stop me. I didn't win every day, but I banged out a bunch of $1,000 and $2,000 days in August and September. The more I played the more I won which, of course, is how it's supposed to work!

In fact things were so steady that I fell into a bit of a trap. I didn't push it when things were going well. I made enough to pay the bills and cover my tournament disappointments, but I didn't top off the reserves. I had WAY to many days where I put in 1,000 hands and called it a day. I took too many breaks that lasted too long. I played in bigger games sometimes that weren't good, because I was bored only making $500 or $1,000 in a few hours! What the hell is wrong with me!?!

Having a good, positive, confident mindset is key to playing poker well and there's no way to fake it. If you're stressed or upset or just feel like you're going to lose, there's no switch to flip or magical tactic that you can use to take yourself back to feeling the way you need to.

So now I'm pissed! Pissed that the games have been super tough these last few days. Pissed that I'm getting bad cards or running into tough situations. And pissed that I'm pissed, because it means I'm not in the right mindset. I'm worried about losing instead of expecting to win.

Today was the last day that I get the benefits of being Supernova Elite. In 3 hours I go back to being regular Supernova. :(

I'm going to take the next day and a half off, spend some time with family and friends and then get back on the horse Friday night. Hopefully when I come back I'll be at least feel neutral instead of negative.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to the Oaks Club

I got my start playing poker at the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville, CA. I know now that it's a medium to small poker room (it has about 25 tables), but when I was 21 it seemed enormous and intimidating to say the least.

The games there are a little small for me now, and playing one game at a time is more than a little slow from my perspective. But about every six months my friend Jake and I go in to have a few drinks and have a good time. Yesterday, was one of those days.

The main reason I started going to the Oaks was they were the only place in town that had a $1/$2 hold'em game (at all of the other clubs the smallest game was $3/$6). We're not talking $1/$2 blinds no limit here. This was 2001, two years before Chris Moneymaker and the poker boom, so everything was fixed limit. This was a game where you could get in for $10 and most people had $20-$30 in front of them. It still terrified me because I didn't have any money.

In those days the big game was $15/$30 and it was tough. By the time I'd moved my way up to $3/$6 I knew all of the $15/$30 regulars. They didn't know me, but I watched with envy and awe as they swapped massive piles of yellow $5 chips back on table 18. I thought someday I'd somehow come up with $500 I could afford to lose and take a shot against those guys. Of course I eventually made it into that game, took my lumps at first, but eventually beat it to death for a little while and then moved on.

While I might be a little bored $15/$30 somewhere else, I get a kick out of playing at the Oaks. The place looks exactly the same, the game is played at the same table in the same spot, and while there are plenty of new faces, there are still many of the same employees and players. The difference is instead of standing on the rail in awe, I'm in the game and I'm far and away the best player. It's like going back to high school and all of a sudden being the most popular person or the stud quarterback or the valedictorian.

While a 10 handed $15/$30 doesn't have the pace, risk or stakes of some of the games I play in, it's not chump change. Everyone at the table had between $500 and $1,000 in front of them when I sat down and there was a lot of action. After 5 hours I won $900, 4 snifters of Grand Mariner, 4 beers, one Redbull and Vodka (I was buying drinks for my self and Jake out of my stack), an order of Chicken Satay and a grilled cheese sandwich (I'll call your Bud draft and raise you a grilled cheese!).

Even though Jake didn't do as well I did, we still had a great time and I always enjoy taking the walk down memory lane that I go on whenever I go to the Oaks.

Today it's back to Pokerstars. I'm going to take my stadard shot at a few $215 buy-in tournaments and do my best to beatdown the weekend warriors in the cash games.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Team Pokerstars Pro Online

Sponsorship is the dream of any serious poker pro. When I logged on to Pokerstars today I got a pop up message about "Team Pokerstars Pro Online." I'm guessing everyone who is Supernova Elite got this message.

In the message was a link to a very brief online application. Essentially I had 200 words to make a case for myself. I mentioned my WCOOP, SCOOP, and WSOP cashes and the fact that I've been playing poker for a living since 2003. I spent the other 175 words talking about how I'm really, really, really ridiculously good looking and much taller than average.

In all seriousness what I wish I could convey is that above and beyond my poker playing I would be a perfect person to promote pokerstars! I don't want to disparage my online brethren, but let's just say some of them are perhaps not as personable as I am. If I make it to the next stage and there is any sort of interview process I expect that I will kill compared to other players with equal poker qualifications. Hopefully I'll make it to the next stage.

The message said to not mention the terms of a potential contract publicly, so I'll have to leave you wondering, but I will say that it looks very interesting to me!

My biggest hurdle is going to be the fact that I'm an American man and pokerstars is looking for a diverse group of people from all over the world. My only hope is that they are looking for 100 people or 200 people instead of 10 or 20. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 WCOOP Recap and Totals

I'm going to make this brief since I like much more to go into detail about good news rather than bad.

I ended up playing 24 WCOOP events and had 4 cashes: $215 PLO 6 max, $320 8-game, $1,050 limit hold'em and $215 NL Omaha-8. Sadly these cashes were not enough to overcome the 20 bricks. My best finish was 18th of 999 in the 8-game which paid $2,520. The damage or the main tournaments was -$9,085.

I played 15 satellites and while I hit the money is a few, I came up short in the two 50,000 FPP tournaments I played. In the first I was in 1st place with 6 players to go and the top 4 getting $10,300 prizes. I finished 6th. In the second I was even with my two opponents playing 3 handed with the top 2 getting $10,300 prizes. I finished 3rd (at least I got my 50,000 FPPS back in that one!). These were two of the most heartbreaking shortcomings of my career. I lost $758 on satellites.

At the start of the series I planned on playing a slew of second chance tournaments. By the time they rolled around I'd often been playing for 5 or 6 hours and wasn't in the mood to commit to another long tournament. Also most of them had short fields stacked with strong players. In the end I played 3 of the second chance tournaments and lost $955.

One thing I'm taking away from this WCOOP is I'm really down on no limit hold'em tournaments. I'm tired of playing for hours and hours and having one hand decide my fate. Also the level of play at the stakes that are worth while seems to be getting better all the time. I still have an edge, but it's not what it used to be. Maybe I'm not so much down on no limit as up on other games. Along those lines I'm more and more convinced that I need to search out every HORSE or mixed games tournament with decent stakes that I can find.

In the end I lost more than half of my $20,000 starting bankroll and finshed with a net loss of $10,803. BOOOOOOOO! Thanks to all my backers, I'll e-mail you soon.

Now it's back to the cash games! There are 100 days left in 2009. I have 3 week long vacations planned during that time and since I don't have any point pressure I'm sure I'm going to be working less. But my plan is to play 100,000 hands of $10/$20 in 100 days (I'll call it my 100 in 100 Challenge!), keep tight records and see what I think I can expect to make going into 2010.

A standard convention these days is to talk about profit in terms of "big bet's per 100 hands" or BB/100. 1 BB/100 is probably the edge of what's possible at the stakes I'm playing. That would be $100 an hour. Since I'm going to be making $40 an hour (or every 500 hands to be more specific) in FPPs (not counting milestone bonus considerations) even after my supernova elite expires at the end of the month, I don't need to make that much to show a strong profit. I think my goal is to make .5 BB/100 (or ten cents a hand is the way I like to think about it), but I'll be OK with anything over .25 BB/100. I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two Tough Spots Lead to My Demise

I'm out in 1397th. Not sure if I did the right thing or not on the two hands that did me in. I like the way I played them, but there was certainly more than one way to go.

On the first with blinds of 150/300 I raised to 900 with 88 from early middle position. I got one caller and then the button made it 3,600 to go. This looked like a squeeze play to me. I didn't think calling was as option here. It was either reraise or fold. Since I had the button covered by about 14,000 I thought I was time to make a strong move.

I made it 9,000 to go thinking I'd clear out the caller and my other opponent would fold any hand that wasn't AA, KK, QQ or AK. I even thought there was some non zero chance AK or QQ might go in the muck given the size of this tournament. Instead my opponent moved all in for 15K or so. At this point I was getting the right odds to call no matter what she had putting in 6K to win 24K. I was hoping to see AK, but it was QQ and I was all of a sudden in bad shape.

By the time the next hand came along the blinds were 200/400 and a player 3 off the button made it 1,000 to go. I had AQ and reraised to 3,200. He thought for a minute and went all in. I guess I could have folded the hand and left myself with 9,000 chips, but I was getting almost 2 to 1 on my money so I called. Turns out he had 99, I missed and that was it. You have to win some of those races to do well in a tournament and I came up short the first time I got all my chips in the pot.

Of course I'm unhappy with the result, but I'd always rather go out guns blazing making strong moves, trying to win rather than just trying to survive.

I got my entry to this tournament for hitting supernova elite last year and I sold about half my action so even though this tournament was a big deal and I took it very seriously, it doesn't hurt as much as if I'd shelled out $5K from my pocket. Also I won $1,500 in the cash games today so it's not the end of the world.

I'll wrap up the 2009 WCOOP (including a recap on the 8-game tournament) tomorrow and give all the final numbers. Sorry there wasn't more good news this year. :(

At My Table

At my table right now there are players from New York, L.A., Rio, St. Petersburg Russia, Budapst, and Portugal (two other players from unknow cities and myself). Every now and then I like to take a step back and think about how amazing it is that we're all connected and playing a game in real time from locations all over the world.

M.E. Update

I've been very careful in this tournament so far. First I folded AK before the flop which I almost never do. Under the gun make it 180, got one caller and I made it 780 from the button. UTG quickly made it 2,000 and it just looked like a big pair. In a smaller tournament I would have called, but it was too early in this marathon to get involved with a player who I know has a very big hand.

Second I flopped an ace with AJ and when I bet the flop and got called I checked the turn and the river. I thought it was possible my opponent smooth called my preflop raise with AK or AQ and was waiting to pop me on the turn. After he checked the turn I figured he had a hand that either couldn't call a bet on the river (so why bet?) like a missed draw or had a monster. Also if he had nothing I thought he might bet as a bluff which I could then snap off.

Third, I just called a raise with AJs preflop and when the flop came AQ2 I called my opponent's flop bet and folded to his pot sized turn bet when a K showed up.

I got a little less careful with AQs. I was on the button and the cutoff made it 270 with blinds of 50/100 and a 10 chip ante. I popped him to 800 and he made it 2,070. I could have folded here, but I thought it was a good time to take a flop in position. The flop came down A 8 4 and after a hesitation my opponent bet out 2,680 into the 4,400 pot. This all screamed a hand like KK or JJ, so I made it 6,500 with plans of folding to an all in which would have left me with 9,000. Instead my opponent folded and I took down a nice pot. That one took me from 18K or so to about 23K.

Just gave back a few grand so now I'm at 20,600 after 180 hands and 2.5 hours.

$5,200 WCOOP Main Event Underway!

I skipped out on the $215 tournament that started at ten this morning. I had the realization that I didn't want to play a $200 tournament for four hours before starting a $5,000 tournament that's going to go for 12 hours today!

I'm feeling much better today. I had a great steak last night, drank a nice bottle of Shiraz and slept for 12 hours. I'm going to recap yesterday's action tomorrow.

2,144 players plunked down the five grand to play the main event. We all started with 20,000 chips, blinds of 25/50 and 30 minute levels. And the blinds aren't exactly doubling every 30 minutes either - they go from 25/50 to 30/60 to 40/80 to 50/100 etc. Not sure if I've ever played a tournament where they start you with 400 big blinds (normally it's 50 or 60 and even in other WCOOP tournaments they start you with 200 or so)! This tournament is going to be looooong!

In the first hour we only lost 30 players which is totally unprecedented in my experience for a no limit tournament with 2,000 players.

The prizes are pretty astounding. The edge of the money is 306th which pays $8,040. 126th pays about $15,000. 45th is $25,000 or so. To make $50,000 I need to get to 15th which pays $58,000. Any spot at the final table is worth $100,000. 3rd is where you get to about a million dollar prize and first place pays $1,715,200!!!

After 100 hands or so I have 19,000 chips. I'll try to post frequent updates.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Interesting Blog Post from a Great Player

Matt Hawrilenko is considered by some people to be the best short handed limit player in the world. I wouldn't argue. If I had to put my money on anyone in a heads up match it would be him. His only problem is no one will play him anymore!

He goes by the name Hoss_TBF at pokerstars and I've often seen him sitting waiting at the $500/$100 table. He won a bracelet in the $5,000 6 max NLH event at this years WSOP and I played with him for a while after we were in the money in the $3,000 HORSE event.

I hadn't heard of him before this year, but in a previous event someone sitting next to me said "there goes the best limit player in the world." When I heard his screen name it made sense.

He seems like a very quiet and shockingly modest guy. When we were coming back from break in the HORSE I introduced myself, shook his hand and said "I heard you are the best limit player in the world." He smiled like I'd said something outrageous and said "I wouldn't go that far, but I've done alright."

Anyway he has a blog. It doesn't look like he posts much, but there is one post that is a transcript of the chat between him, Phil Helmuth, and another player. It's pretty interesting and includes some massive burns.

It's clear from the text that Phil doesn't know shit about playing 3 handed limit hold'em which I found surprising. The stakes aren't mentioned, but I'm almost positive that it was $500/$1000.

Here is the blog http://hoss-tbf.livejournal.com/

If you scroll down to the march 11th post about 40% of the way down you'll see what I'm talking about. Also I heard about this post in cardplayer and can tell you for sure that it's legit.

Out of the 8-game.

The final hand of the 8-game mixed sums up the way my day went. We were playing Razz and I was almost out of chips after getting screwed on what felt like 97 hands in a row. I had about 500 left and the up cards were all 9 or higher except one player who had a 2 up. He completed the bring in to 160. Shaundeeb (who is going to get totally blasted when I write my full recap - he is supposed to be one of the best tournament players online and playing like a total fool - A TOTAL FOOL!) calls with a ten up (this is like calling a raise with 85 in hold'em - maybe worse) and I raise to 320 with 2 5 9. My other opponent makes it 480 and I go all in for my last few chips.

I catch a 9 and then and J. And then a 9 and then a J. We're trying to make the lowest hand possible and I make a God damn full house! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow, but I am livid right now.

If I can make the money in the main event all of today's ridiculousness will be forgotten. Let's hope that happens.

Time for a drink.

The Universe is Torturing Me!

I finished 3rd in the 50,000 FPP HORSE. How the hell do you bubble two tournaments in two weeks where you either get $10,000 or nothing?

We were all about even on the first hand of 3 handed play. We were playing stud hi-lo and my opponent with a ten up brought it in for 800 with QQ in the hole. This guy was a total clown.

I had TT in the hole and a J up and I made it 1,600. He just called! Amazing! I hit a ten on 4th street! The perfect card. He catches a J.

I bet and he calls. On 5th street I don't improve and he caches an 8. Again, bet call. On 6th street he catches a 9 making him the straight. I check call 6th street and the river. After that pot I was down to 13K and he was up to 30K. If I pair or he just misses I'm solidly in first.

A few hands later we go to limit hold'em and I miss everything. I see 4 or 5 flops and don't make a pair. On the final hand I get it all in with AJ vs KQ. KQJ on the flop, ten on the turn (just to make it as painful as possible), king on the river.

This tournament was just so, so sick.

Also I'm in no state of mind to play poker, but I'm in this very important 8 game tournament which is going to take from now until the end of time to complete so I've got to find some way to pull it together.

50,000 FPP HORSE!

It's underway with 24 players. Pokerstars added a $10,300 seat to the prize pool so we're looking at an overlay of $429 per person! That means if you were the average player in this tournament (the 12th best) and you played this tournament 1,000 times you'd expect to be ahead $429,000. An overlay like this almost never comes along.

In other good news if we'd have gotten one more player, the tournament would have paid 3 $10,300 entries with everyone else getting nothing. Instead it pays 2 entries and 3rd through 13th get their 50,000 FPPs back (14th gets 25,000 FPPs). This kind of payout structure is greatly preferable when you're playing a little outside of what your bankroll can support long term.

An hour in we've lost one player and I'm up from 3,000 chips to 4,400 which puts me in 5th. This tournament has 10 minute limits so it's not going to take too long.

In other FPP satellite news I don't have enough FPPs to play the 25,000 FPP satellite to the main event later today. I had enough time to earn them when I saw that tournament on the schedule, but got a little lazy. It starts at 1:40 so there is some chance that I'll finish in the top 14 in this one between now and then and then I'll play.

$1,050 Limit and $215 No Limit Omaha-8 Recaps

I have a new hero. This fellow "unassigned" who won BOTH the $530 and $5,200 SCOOP 6 max limit events simultaneously in the spring also won the $1,050 yesterday. That guy can play!

I got off to a great start in Event #39. We started with 10,000 chips playing 60/120 and I ran off a string of hands in the first half hour that netted me 5,000 chips and put me in the top ten of the 437 players who entered the tournament.

For the next four hours or so I bounced around between 10,000 and 20,000, never fining myself in real trouble, but unable to put a run together. As the field got smaller and smaller and the stakes got bigger and bigger all of a sudden 15,000 wasn't really very much.

I was lucky that my opponents weren't better because they could have done a much better job of applying pressure. Instead, even though I wasn't getting strong cards I was able to steal the blinds a bunch of times to keep my head above water.

The tournament paid 66 spots and when we were down to 100 or so I was in the bottom 5 or 6. It looked like it was going to be a good showing without a pay day.

Then I went on a huge rush. The player to my right had been raising every hand where it was folded to him on the button. When I got dealt A8 of hearts in the small blind it was an easy reraise. I missed the flop but bet anyway and got called. On the turn I picked up a flush draw and bet again. On the river I hit and ace and put all but a a thousand or so of my chips in the pot. I got called, but my ace was good and now I had some chips.

The next hand didn't get to showdown, but I think I won with a bet on the river and it was still a major pot. The very next hand I got dealt AA and thought "this is nuts!" Nobody called my preflop raise with the AA, but I was up to 50,000 chips which was about average and put me in the top 40.

Almost right away I slipped back down to 35,000 and I had to sweat it a little, but I still had enough chips that they only way I wasn't going to make the money was if I got a few strong hands and lost.

We crossed into the money about 6 hours after the start of the tournament. I'd played over 600 hands in that time which if you were going to play in person would take about 17 hours. So even though this was a one day tournament it had more play than a 3 day WSOP event.

I lost a fair sized pot or two right away and found myself back at 15,000 chips or so which was now a very small stack. Then I got QQ in the small blind and raised. My opponent 3 bet and I capped it. The flop came down K J 2 and the turn was an ace. By that time all my money was in and I thought I was done. Then my opponent turned over Q9! I thought "Ah ha! I'm back in it! Wait a second, the river is a ten and we split the pot. AHHHHHHHHH! How the hell do I split with QQ vs Q9! AHHHHHH!"

A few hands later I was out in 58th which paid $1,700+. All in all a good finish, but not a great one.

Now on to Event #40. I decided to play the no limit Omaha hi lo split on a whim. I'd had a good day in the cash games and figured what the hell. We started with 1,285 players and by the time we were down to 900 I was in 1st place!

I'd never played NL Omaha-8 before, but I'd played a fair amount of limit Omaha-8 and pot limit Omaha hi and I felt like I could put the two together. I am shocked (SHOCKED!) at how many players in these Omaha tournaments just have no clue how to evaluate a starting hand. I see people all the time getting their whole stack in with hands that are the hold'em equivalent of Q9 or K7. They just don't get it at all.

Of course I caught some nice breaks to build up my stack. I kept getting moster hands like AAK2 or A23J double suited. People were giving me action and when I had the best hand going in it held up.

I found myself with almost 30,000 chips when average was less than 7,000. I pretty much stayed in that range until we were close to the money. I took it up to 40,000, then lost 17,000 in one pot when I got it all in with A24J vs AA39 (or something like that). On that hand the blinds were 400/800 and I raised to 2,400. My opponent instantly moved all in for 17,000 which was a massive overbet and told me that he had AA in his hand for sure.

This is where my inexperience came into play. I wasn't sure if I should call. I was risking about 15,000 to pick up 21,000 or so. I knew he had AAxx, but wasn't really sure how my hand stood up to a hand like that. At the time I decided it was worth a call since I had such a powerful low hand. After doing some research looking at how my hand stacks up to AA with a few other combinations it looks like I'm in terrible shape if my opponent can make a low (even if it's not a good low) and a little behind if he has a hand like AA9T that can't make a low. Putting it all together it was a bad call.

I'm sure I made more mistakes along the way, but many of my opponents were truly clueless. Some poker players who are in the OK to good range in terms of their poker skill level go on and on about how their opponents stink. Not me. I tend to give my opponents more credit than they probably deserve. I assume that everyone knows how to play until I get concrete evidence to the contrary. With that said, some of these guys really sucked!

In the end I finished 143rd which paid $379. Not a huge deal, but good for momentum! It also means I have 4 WCOOP cashes this year so now I don't feel like such a loser!

Today's WCOOP Tournaments

At 11:40 today I have the 50,000 FPP (about $800) HORSE satellite and then at 1:30 I have the $2,100 8-game mixed. The $530 8-game mixed 2nd chance is at 4:30 and I'd say there is a 60% chance that I'll play it. The 2nd chance limit yesterday was loaded with tough players and I'm going to have a look at the field before I commit.

Yesterday's recap will be up shortly.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Event #39 Recap

I finished 58th in the $1,050 6 max limit which paid $1,748. A full recap is coming tomorrow. Still in the Omaha. We're down to 306 players and I'm in 60th with 28,000 chips. 180 spots pay and 1st place is $42,323.

NL Omaha

I guess I'm OK at NL Omaha. I'm in 1st of 909 players! We started with 1,285 players and 5K chips and I have 28K chips after 80 hands. Long way to go still, but the best possible start.

Hanging on in the big one. 94 players left. Average is 47K and i have 21K which puts me in 78th.

Down to 1,000 in the 2nd chance.

Lots of WCOOP action!

Right now I'm in 4 WCOOP tournaments.

First, I'm in a $55 with rebuys turbo satellite to tomorrows $2,100 8-game mixed. They guaranteed 5 seats and there's no way they are going to get $10,500 into this prize pool with the 45 players who are playing.

Second, I'm in the $530 6 max limit second chance. Tough field in that one. Only 38 players with 6 spots paying. 1st $7,030 and 6th $1,045.

Third, I decided to play Event #40 $215 no limit Omaha hi lo. It's kid of goofy playing a split pot game no limit, but I thought I'd give it a shot. It is Friday night and I'm sure a lot of less qualified players are also going for it in this one. Unfortunately I'm down to 3K from 5K after getting quartered in a big pot.

Lastly, of course I'm still in the $1,050 limit. Holding steady with 18K and in 114th of 194.

The Edge of Possibility

I've had two runs in the past two days that have been on the edge of what is possible at the stakes I'm playing.

Yesterday I lost $3,000 in 1,000 hands playing no higher than $10/$20. Things have been going well lately so I'm all but sure I didn't tilt. I just couldn't connect with a flop! And when I did I'd hit it so hard no one could call (If the flop is A 7 3 and you have AA, there aren't to many hands that are going to give you action). Of course I took some bad beats too, but mostly is was just missing flop after flop, and my opponents calling me down with worse and worse hands (not easy to bluff when you keep showing bluffs!). I don't think 1,500,000 hands of limit hold'em I've ever lost 150 big bets in 1,000 hands.

I would bet that I could see 100% of flops regardless of action and not lose $3,000 in 1,000 hands.

Today the dead opposite! $2,300 to the good in 300 hands! I won 29 of 35 hands at showdown (compared to about 35% yesterday). 115 big bets in 45 minutes is unprecedented in my poker career. I just couldn't miss.

I might not see a run like either of these anytime in the next few years and they happened on back to back days!

Still right around 17K in the limit. I might play the $215 No limit Omaha-8 at 5:00.

Update

2 hours in we're down to 410 players. I was up to 15K then down to 8K and now Back up to 16k and in 57th. Some of these guys are hyper aggressive, but it's nothing I haven't seen 100 times before and certainly not going to give me problems.

1st place pays $83,000 and the edge of the money is 66th which pays $1,530.

$10,000 Make it or Break it Weekend!

I have roughly $10,000 in WCOOP tournaments in the next 3 days. Kind of scary when I think about it.

Today I have $1,050 6 handed limit hold'em which is underway. Looks like we'll have 400-450 entrants when late registration is over. The good news is I don't recognize anyone at my table. We started this one with 10,000 chips and stakes of 60/120.

Later today I have the $530 second chance 6 max limit tournament. Not sure how many entrants to expect in that one. Maybe 50?

I'll do my best to at least post some updates on twitter.

I am ready for some good luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A New Project

Brick city in the WCOOP today and nothing on the schedule for tomorrow.

I have been steadily kicking ass in the $10/$20 cash games though. On Friday I lost about $2,000 in $15/$30 and then my opponent in a $30/$60 heads up match was better than I thought and got an insane run of cards. In total I lost something like $5,000. But I got it all back plus and extra few hundred (plus FPPS) over the next 3 days. Then today I put another $1,200 win on the books.

I have a new poker project. My wife and I are going on a cruise next month and between the cost of the cruise, airfare to the L.A. area (we're going to leave our son with my wife's parents for a few nights) and whatever money we spend on the boat we're going to need $1,500-$2,000. My wife is very frugal by nature, and while I'm not a total spendthrift I can sometimes lose track of the value of a dollar (I'm actually much better than most pro poker players).

We were debating the various cost and benefits of certain options for our vacation and I wanted to go the more expensive route and she wanted to make things as difficult as possible logistically (you know like flying at 3 in the morning with a 48 hour layover and levaing on the cruise 147 days afer we get to LA) in order to save a few bucks. Eventually I got fed up and said "honey, don't worry about it. I'll put in some special hours on the lap top in front of the TV and get win enough to cover the cost of all this shit." So I got my way, but now I have to put my money where my mouth is!

I deposited $1,000 into absolute poker and my challenge is to turn it into $3,000 by October 20th. I'm going to treat this playing like a normal person might. Play a little here and there after work and play whatever seems fun at the time. I have a deal where I'm getting 31% of my rake back and they have some sort of other rewards programs on top of that. I've been wanting to explore the benefits as well as the level of play in their games so this seems like a perfect opportunity to do so. Today I played about 100 hands of $5/$10 and won $121. So far so good on the Absolute Poker Challenge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Future of This Blog

More and more I've been getting comments from people I've never met who say they enjoy reading my blog. I also keep finding out that old friends and acquaintances have been reading. These people aren't all extremely poker savvy or aren't so much interested in the pluses and minuses of my daily results, but rather the experiences an emotions of playing poker for a living. So I'm going to make an effort to be a little less results based and a little more colorful in my posts. Not sure if I'll stick to it, but that's my intention.

Now completely contrary to the spirit if this post let me say WCOOP event #34 ($215 NLH with big antes) is underway! 3,650 players to start and an hour in we're down to 3,000 or so. I'm up from 5K all the way to 5,200! Look out! 1st place $114,610.

Now in the spirit of this post let me say I got drunk as a skunk last night and don't really feel like playing today! We had a dinner party for about 10 people and I over did it. One of the biggest benefits of this job is being able to do stuff like stay up until 2 in the morning boozing it up and then be able to sleep in the next day. After 6 years of that kind of freedom I'm not sure I could ever handle a 9 to 5 job.

Anyway, I'm a little foggy this afternoon, but the show must go on! Results (hopefully good ones!) later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Damage and What's Left in the WCOOP

So far I've played 18 WCOOP events with 2 cashes and a net loss of $2,433. Pretty terrible!

I've also played 14 satellites and 2 second chance tournaments with a total net loss of $1,188. Not great.

If I'd been able to convert that 50,000 FPP satellite into the $10,300 prize that was all but in my grasp I'd obviously be in fine shape over all. That was the real disappointment of the 2009 WCOOP so far.

So what's left? Tomorrow at 11:30 I have $215 no limit hold'em with big antes. In that one they start the antes from level 1 and they are 20% of the big blind. It changes the dynamic a little bit to have so much dead money in the pot.

Friday at 1:30 I have the $1,050 6 handed limit tournament. This is my specialty. I play 6 handed limit more than any other game by a wide margin. I can't say why I haven't had more success in the handful of 6 max limit tournaments I've played in the past, but I have high hopes.

Saturday at 1:30 I have $2,100 8-game mixed. My best result by far in this years WCOOP was playing 8-game mixed. I thrive in the mixed games format. I've made the money in 3 of the 6 either HORSE or 8-game mixed tournaments I've played with buy ins over $1,000, never finished out of the top 30%, and had a 2nd out of 32 and a 4th out of 444.

Sunday at 10:00 am $215 NL hold'em.

The last tournament is the $5,200 main event. I got an entry to this tournament for making it to Supernova Elite in 2008, but would have played it anyway even if I didn't have a ticket. They are guaranteeing a $10,000,000 prize pool which will be the biggest in online history and that means a $2,000,000+ first place prize. There is no reason why I can't win this tournament. Sure it would take some strong play and a lot of luck, but it could happen.

Also as a late addition there are a few more FPP buy in satellites with added value in which I'm going to include my backers in the action (if I play other value added FPP satellites not listed below I have all of my own action). There is a pretty simple way to figure out what FPPs are worth. You can buy a $215 tournament entry for 13,500 FPPs so that means 62.8 FPPs are worth $1.

The tournaments I'm going to play are 50,000 FPP satellite to the $10,300 HORSE (Saturday 11:40) where pokerstars is adding one $10,300 seat to the prize pool, and 25,000 FPP buy in to the $5,200 main event (Saturday 1:40) with five $5,200 seats added. The thing about these tournaments that makes them so valuable is they don't attract that many players. There are only so many people that have 75,000 FPPs to use on these. The players that have a lot of FPPs are cash game players who tend not to play tournaments and the tournament players don't have very many FPPs. We'll see but I expect about 25 players or less in the HORSE and maybe 100 in the NLH.

Let's hope I've saved all my luck for the big ones!

Monday, September 14, 2009

What a Terrible WCOOP!

I'm out of the other tournament as well. I was up to 12K or so and got it in on the flop with top pair and a flush draw vs bare aces in the PLO and missed.

Bad so far, but a cash in the main event or even a semi deep finish in the other two $1,000+ events could turn things around.

WCOOP Events #29 and #30 Underway!

Down to 3,500 from 5K in event #29 ($320 half pot limit hold'em hald PLO) and while writing this post I lost a 13K pot and went broke in the other one ($320 NLH) with a set (got it all in vs a flush draw on the turn and he hit). ACK!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No WCOOP Today

I had two tournaments on my schedule today and both were no limit hold'em. The first started at 10 am and I slept through it and the second one has a $1,050 buy in.

The problem is I haven't been feeling well these last two days and it's totally screwed up my sleep schedule. I woke up yesterday about 6 am (4 hours earlier than normal) and for some reason couldn't get back to sleep. I was awake for almost 24 hours before falling asleep around 5 am this morning. And I just woke up at 2 in the afternoon.

So I don't feel very sharp and I'm not really in the mood for a $1,000 NLH tournament where it's going to take 6 or 7 hours to just make the money and 20+ hours to go all the way through. Playing a big tournament in person it's not so tough to handle playing all day. You're getting about 35 hands an hour and there are 20 minute breaks every 2 hours with a 60 or 90 minute dinner break. Online it's 100+ hands an hour, a break of 5 minutes every hour and 15 minute dinner break. Plus I can't just sit here any play one game because it would make me totally insane.

So that's the story. Tomorrow $320 half hold'em, half PLO, and $320 NL hold'em 2X chance (all that means is if you go totally broke in the first hour you can rebuy one time).

Things don't get really serious until next weekend. Friday is $1,050 6 handed limit hold'em, Saturday is $2,100 8-game mixed, and Sunday is the $5,200 main event. There's no backing out of any of these because first of all I wouldn't want to and second of all I have tickets for the second two that aren't good for anything else but these tournaments.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Back to Plan A

I woke up early today, spent a few hours playing with my son and then a few more reading in bed. I feel 90% recovered from yesterday and I really can't pass up a $320 HORSE tournament with 800+ players on a Saturday.

I'm also going to play the $215 HORSE second chance as well as the $215 heads up matches second chance.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update

Today was one of the ten worst days of my poker career. I got totally decimated in the cash games, bricked in the $215 with rebuys and am pretty much dead in the Omaha. Not in the mood for a full update right now. In fact I might take tomorrow off to get myself back in the right mindset.

WCOOP Event #21 underway!

After doing the rebuy and add on, you get 17,500 chips to start in this tournament an hour and a half in the blinds are 50/100. I'll be collecting social security before we make the money in this one. 2,780 players shooting for the $220,000 first place prize!

Friday WCOOP

This is going to be my biggest day yet in the 2009 WCOOP in terms of buy ins. I'm going to play the $215 with rebuys (which should mean $615 investment) event #21 and the $109 with rebuys (which should be $309, $409 or $509 investment) second chance.

Even though it wasn't on my schedule I'm going to play event #21 $530 limit Omaha hi-lo. The more WCOOP events I play the more I realize people are getting out of their comfort zone. Other people are going to play this event who have very little experience with Omaha. This is maybe my 5th or 6th best game when it comes to tournaments, but I'm all but positive I'll still have an edge, I'm coming off a decent win, and I didn't put together a $20,000 bankroll so I could pussy out on a $500 tournament!

Lastly I'll be playing the $320 NL hold'em with 10 minute levels (typical $320 buy in WCOOP events have 30 minute levels). This one isn't going to last until the break of dawn, but they are still starting us with 5,000 chips and 10/20 blinds so it's not going to be too fast.

Let's hope I take one of these to the house!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Go Matt!

My friend Matt is playing WCOOP event #20, $320 2-7 triple draw today. His name is skillet if you want to look him up and root for someone if you're a WCOOPaholic. I have 20% of his action so I'm hoping he goes deep. 4 hours in he has 7K, avg is 8K and they are down to 280 of 470.

Good luck Matt! If you blow this I'm going to kick you in the nuts!

WCOOP Event #18 ($320 8-game mixed) Recap

For those of you following my twitter updates you already know the results, but let me fill in the details. As a reminder we were playing a mix of 8 different games with the game changing every 10 minutes and 6 players at a table.

We started with 5,000 chips and 999 players. Like I mentioned in my last post I almost went down the tubes early. At one point I made a bet on the turn in limit Omaha with a shaky hand and my opponent could have put me all in with a raise. Instead he folded and I had about 2,000 chips.

I slowly built those chips up to 18,000 and then I had a hand that changed the course of the tournament for me. We were playing NL hold'em with blinds of 150/300 and I got dealt QQ on the button. A player raised to 900 in front of me and I thought about reraising. Instead I opted to call and try to trap my opponent. Normally I'm not in favor of smooth calling with QQ like this. In fact I'd argue it's a bad play in most circumstances, but for some reason I just called.

Everyone else folded and the flop came down ten high. As I expected my opponent bet out something like 1,500 and I raised him to 4,500. Without hesitation he moved all in and he had me covered.

Yikes! I'd spent all this time grinding out a nice stack in these limit games and all of a sudden I was facing a decision for all of my chips (I had about 12,000 left behind). You can't make it in poker if you play like a pussy, so I called and my opponent turned over AK. It was actually a strong play on his part, but in this case he fell into my trap and I was up over 35K.

The average stack around this time was around 20K so I was in very good shape.

A few hands later I was faced with some tough decisions in the pot limit Omaha. I got dealt AA97 and came in for a raise. In PLO if you have AA in your hand you're ahead of any hand that doesn't have AA in it (with a few very specific exceptions).

One player behind me called my raise and the flop came down J 8 2. Normally I'd bet the pot here, but for some reason I checked. I was in such good shape, we were down to about 250 players (144 spots paid), my opponent had me covered and I just didn't want to play a big pot out of position. It turns out if I'd bet right there I would have won the pot. Instead my opponent checked and the turn came down a ten.

Now I had the second nut straight. Only a hand with Q9 could beat me. I bet the pot and my opponent just called. The river paired the 2 which meant in addition to Q9 there were a ton of full houses that could beat me too. I checked any my opponent fired out a pot sized bet of 10,000 or so. This was either a bluff or a full house and I thought a bluff was more likely. I decided to call and he showed me AQTT for a full house. Oops! After that hand I was in 93rd of 249.

But I made a comeback in the next round which was triple draw. The goal in triple draw is to make the lowest hand possible, aces are high, and straights and flushes count against you - the best possible hand is 2 3 4 5 7. The blinds were 400/800, a player in early position raised to 1,600, got called, and I called in the big blind with 2 3 8 K K planning to throw away my two kings.

On the first draw I got a 6 and an ace. To my delight the initial raiser drew 3 cards! It is nothing short of a terrible play to come in raising from early position and draw 3 cards. The other player took 2 and feeling like I might be in OK shape I bet out. The 3 card draw raised and the other player called.

On the next draw I chucked my ace and caught a 5. Now I had a strong made hand. Both other players took one card and then the action was back on me. I bet and the 3 card draw raised me again and again got called by the other player. I wasn't going anywhere, but I couldn't reraise.

I stood pat and to my delight they both drew again. This time when I bet they both folded, but by that time the pot was over 20,000 so I was happy to have it!

When we made the money I was in 39th place of 144.

I was really up and down, up and down after that. I was up to 50K then down to 25K. Then, way way up all the way to over 130K. I got there by winning 3 pots in a row and 5 of 10 overall in the limit hold'em. I got good cards connected and made he max on all of them. That put me in 3rd place of 82.

I was steady for a while as other players dropped. With 47 players left I was in 7th place and at some point I was in 2nd overall.

Then I started the slow drain. I was down to 100K and then 70K and then down to 45K with a third of average. I slipped all the way down to 10K and was in last place with 30 players left.

We were playing razz and I doubled up once. Then I doubled up again. We were playing 8,000/16,000 so the 45K in my stack wasn't exactly enough to work with, but it was almost 5 times what I had 3 minutes before so it looked OK to me!

The I got dealt A 5 2 and was up against A 6 2. He caught a K, 4, 6 and an 8 making him an 8 low and I caught an 7, A 4, and an 8 making me a 7 low. I just bet, bet, bet until all the money was in on 6th street and was happy I made the best hand.

Now I had 100K and was in business. I cruised through the first 10 hands or so of the 7-card stud maintaining my stack. Then I went on an insane rush.

In the biggest pot of the whole tournament for me I started with JJ in the hole and a king up. I raised the bring in to 8,000 and the player to my left (who I know from the cash games is a very good 8-game mixed player) raised me to 16,000 with a queen showing. I just called.

In 4th street he caught and ace and as I called out loud for a jack, that is exactly what I got! Little did I know that my opponent had started with A K Q and just made a pair of aces! I just called his bet on 4th street waiting to pop him on 5th street.

Which is just what I did when he bet out again. He bet 16K I made it 32K, he went to 48K and I went all in for 56K. All he had was that pair of aces and even though he made two pair on the end, I took down the 172K pot!

They were all small, but I won the NEXT FOUR pots! Now I was up to 240K and in 8th of 22! Not bad given I'd just been at 10K not long before.

What followed was nothing short of a major collapse. I didn't do anything wrong per se, but I went down the tubes. You don't want to hear about that do you?

I finished 18th which paid $2,520. Obviously my best result of this years WCOOP and while not a final table or an insane payday, still very satisfying.

I was thinking this would get me about even for the WCOOP, but I was wrong! I'm actually still losing $1,193 for the series - $328 in the main events, $215 in second chance tournaments, and $650 in satellites. Not quite even, but better than I was doing before!

No tournaments today. Tomorrow a pair of NL hold'em tournaments - $215 with rebuys, and $320 semi turbo!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Back from the Dead in the 8-game

I was down to 1,500 chips and at one point had all but my last few hundred chips in the pot.

The turnung point that led to these difficulties happened in the limit hold'em. I came in for a raise with QJ and got 3 bet. I called and the flop came down jack high. I check called with the plan of check raising the turn. Which is exactly what I did after a brick came. My opponent 3 bet me which I thought meant I was in big trouble. I almost folded. The river was an ace which was clearly a terrible card for me. But the pot was so big that I check called. My opponent turned up AT! ACK! He three bet me with nothing but ace high on the turn, was a 14 to 1 underdog and hit! If I'd won that pot I would have had an average stack of a little over 6,000. Instead I had 3,000.

But after going to the basement I am now back in the penthouse. When I started this post I had 12,000 chips at least half of which came from scooping 3 pots in the stud-8. Then I picked up 3,000+ when someone moved all in on my AK suited with QJ. And I just picked up another 3,000 after getting a free look in the big blind and snapping off a bluff with 3rd pair.

That means I have 18,000 and I'm in 29th of 582. A long way to go, but things are going well.

8-game update

I got hot right after my last post. I made a queen high straight flush in the stud, picked up a few other nice pots, and find myself with 7,000 chips.

Late registration is over and we got 999 players. 1st place is $50,250 and the edge of the money is 144th which pays $480.

WCOOP Event #18 ($320 8-game mixed) Underway!

I've really been looking forward to this tournament! I feel like I have a huge edge in these HORSE and 8-game tournaments. It looked like we're going to have about 1,000 players. I've gotten off to a poor start losing 800 of my 5,000 starting chips, but it's still early.

Also on the schedule today is the second chance 8-game mixed tournament which starts at 4:30 and features a $215 buy in.

Hyper-Turbo Report

It was pretty interesting playing these 8-game hyper-turbo satellite tournaments. They lasted about 15 minutes our just long enough to play each of the 8 games in the mix for one 2 minute level.

The fact that the first two games were triple draw lowball and limit hold'em worked to my advantage because I'm great at 6 handed limit hold'em, and most of the other players were bad at triple draw.

My friend Matt Lessinger plays A TON of hyperturbo satellite torunaments (they run this style of tournament often) and he is very good at stalling at the right times and playing fast at others to insure that he doesn't get screwed by the blinds. For example in these tournaments the third game in the mix is Omaha-8 and the fourth game is razz. So during the switch between those games you go from a game with blinds to a game with antes. It is very disadvantageous to take the big blind right before you switch to a game where everyone antes the same amount every hand.

I wish I could say I did a great job of "managing the clock," but I didn't.

I played 15 $40.80 tournaments, 20 $51, tournaments, 6 $81.60 tournament, and 1 $116 tournament.

6 times I won the $320 seat (since you can't play the tournament more than once, after the first one you get $W which are dollars you can use for any other WCOOP related tournament), and three times I won a cash prize ($260, $280, and $80).

I should have won two more $320 prizes. On the first I played a hand and lost where I think I probably just could have waited it out. In the second I lost in the NL hold'em with KK vs 34 in a situation where we were playing 3 handed, two spots paid and I had the other guy all in.

In the end I showed a net profit of $176. Not earth shattering, but not nothing.

WCOOP Update

The badugi tournament was fun and if you read my twitter updates you know I was doing well for a while and then collapsed.

I ran my starting stack of 5,000 up to 13,000. I know it seems like I do that every tournament, but that is generating equity. Those 13,000 chips were worth $780.

It's hard for me to say what went wrong, but mostly I think it was running into a few huge hands. I know I lost two big pots with 4 card 8 lows and one where I had 7542 and lost to A235 which is the second best possible hand. I think this is the equivalent of making a bunch of straights and flushes and losing.

This morning I was supposed to play the $530 triple shootout, but it sold out before I was able to register (it has a 1,000 player max). So instead my plan is to play a bunch of hyper turbo satellites to the $320 8-game mixed event that goes off at 1:30.

Hyper turbos are kind of ridiculous. You get 500 chips and there are 2 minute levels, but there is almost no juice (80 cents for a $40 tournament). I'm going to play about 20 of them and see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

WCOOP Event #15 $320 Badugi!

"Badugi? What the hell is Badugi?" Those were the words I was thinking after I asked a floorman at the Bicycle Club in LA what games they played in the $60/$120 mixed games. Actually I was thinking "This guy is the worst floorman ever!"

I said "what games are they playing the the $60/$120 mixed games?" He looked at me like I'd asked him if he'd be willing to drop his pants so I could smack him on his bare ass. It was a simple question. Then I pointed to the table and said "what games are they playing in the mixed games?" After another moment of staring at me blankly he said "uuuuhhhhhhhhhh. Hold'em. Triple draw. Badugi. And sometimes Omaha."

It was the sometimes Omaha that really wowed me. Sometimes Omaha? What they hell does that mean? Tell me what games those ass holes in the corner are playing right now!

Also I'd been a professional poker player for some time and I had never even heard of badugi. Not a whisper from any other players, no websites spread it, and Cardplayer had never mentioned it in the years that I'd been reading it. It sounded like he just made up a word. Saying that Candy Land was one of the games would have made more sense to me.

Later I found out what it was and now I'm going to tell you! Every player gets 4 cards and you get three draws where you can throw away cards from your hand and replace them with new ones. Your goal is to make the lowest hand possible. Aces are low and straights don't count against you. But here is the thing that makes it interesting. If you have two cards of the same suit you can only use one of them!

So the best hand is A 2 3 4 with four different suits. But if 3 and 4 are both the same suit you have a 3 card hand and ANY hand with 4 different suits (and no pairs) will beat you. If you have three cards of the same suit, anyone who has three suits represented will beat you.

It's a really goofy game and it hasn't really caught on. To my knowledge this $320 tournament will have the biggest prize pool of any badugi tournament ever played (unless some rich goofs got together any played one privately for absurd stakes).

I wasn't going to play it, but I won my $320 seat via a $41 satellite. I don't know how much I like my chances, but they can't be that bad. Just based on some of the plays I saw in the satellite and in the first 10 minutes of the main tournament it's clear that a few players have no clue. Regardless it should be fun!

Mixed hold'em not going great so far. Down to 3,000 from 5,000.

Thanks!

Thanks to those of you who have left comments! I hear verbally from people all the time that they've been following my blog. I know my backers are reading it and my website will often get 100 hits from unique users in a day, but it's still nice to get comments even if they are simple.

I'm probably get more comments if I could do something in of these tournaments! The exciting thing is you never know when the day that everything comes together is going to be. Today could be that day.

WCOOP Stud Recap and Today's Plan

Event #13 $320 7-card stud was pretty disappointing. I got off to a slow start, but in the middle stretches of the tournament I made some major progress running my 5,000 chip starting stack up to 25,000. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I was in 16th of 300 or so players (96 spots paid) at that point.

I maintained that stack for a while and then as the stakes increased I got a ton of marginal, but playable hands on 3rd street that never improved. Stud isn't about what you start with it's about what you have at the end. Unless your first three cards are three of a kind (which happens once in every 457 hands), you're never going to be way ahead of your opponents no matter what they have the way you are in hold'em if you have a big pair and they have a smaller one.

For example I would have a hand like T 8 T and someone with a 9 would come in raising. I would catch 4 total bricks and they'd call all the way and hit a second pair on the river. Sometimes I was the one with the smaller pair calling along, but at least 5 or 6 times all I needed to do was make two pair to win and I missed every time. It made me crazy!

The last hand I played was typical of the hands that led to my demise. The bring in was directly to my left and everyone folded to the player on my right who raised. He had an ace showing and I was confident that he would raise here with an ace up no matter what he hand in the hole. I had a A J 9 which I thought was a slightly better than average set of cards to go with my ace. I was in bad shape anyway and I needed to do something before the antes ground me down.

So I raised. I hand enough for that raise, a bet on 4th street, and almost a full bet on 5th street. To go along with my A J 9 I caught a 6, T, 6, 2 making me a lowly pair of 6's. My opponent started with A Q 3 and caught 7, 5, 4 (at this point I was way ahead) and lastly a 6, making him a straight.

I finished 144th which was a very annoying result.

On the bright side, labor day (or the weekday of any 3 day weekend) is a great day to play poker. People who play once a month or less find themselves sitting around with nothing to do and decide to play a little poker. Those are the perfect opponents to face.

To make a long story short I won $2,300 playing a mix if $10/$20 and $15/$30. That makes losing a $320 tournament a lot easier to handle!

Today I have $320 6 handed mixed hold'em. In this format every 10 minutes you switch between limit and no limit hold'em. I should have a slight advantage over my opponents in the no limit portion and a huge advantage in the limit.

On my schedule is the $1,050 NLH tournament that starts at 5 pm. But after some more thought I don't think it's the best decision to play a tournament that's going to take 6 or 7 hours to make the money and 15 hours to go all the way through after already playing for 5 hours. If it was a HORSE tournament or a limit hold'em tournament I would play, but there's really nothing special about this one, so I'm just going to skip it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

WCOOP Event #13 Underway

Event #13, $320 7-card stud, went off with 668 entrants. Four and a half hours into the action we've lost almost exactly half the field and I find myself in 30th of 330 player remaining. Actually while typing I just lost a big pot so now I'm in 51st. Ok now I just won another one and I'm in 16th! HA! That was an action packed 2 minutes!

Anyway at this instant I have 22,000 chips and average is just over 10,000. The edge of the money is 96th which pays $481. I need to make it to 24th to net $1,000+ and first place is $37,575. There is a long way to go, but right now I like my chances to make the money.

In other good news I crushed the labor day crowd and won $2,300 playing cash games no higher than $15/$30.

Today's WCOOP Action

Today I have $215 4 hande NL hold'em and $320 7 card stud.

4 handed NL hold'em is pretty nuts. You have to play a lot more hands than in a full game or even a 6 handed game. Generally the fewer players there are at the table the more the better players dominate, but it's much easier to go broke.

After 1 hand I've lost 20% of my chips! ACK! The good news is I have a bronze star and a sliver star player at my table. Looks like about 3,500 players in this one.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Event #11 Recap

This tournament was really boring. I got AA once and KK twice and stole the blinds all three times. Other than that it was a garbage fest.

Two hands come to mind that did me in. On the first I called a small raise with T9s. Another player called behind me and the flop came down J 9 7 giving me a pair and a gutshot straight draw. The initial raiser checked and I bet 900 into a pot of about 1,000. The player behind me called and the initial raiser folded. The turn was a king giving me a few more outs if I was beat.

I thought about checking but decided to fire again betting 2,000. My opponent raised me to 5,000. Now there was 10,000 in the pot and it would cost me another 3,000 to see if I could make my straight. This is a close situation. If the only thing that's going to give me the pot is a straight and I'm not going to get anything out of my opponent with a bet on the end if I hit, then I should fold. If a 9 or a ten makes me the best hand as well as a straight then it's a clear call. I was thinking that a straight or a 9, but not a ten would make me a winner, and that my opponent would call a small bet on the river if I hit.

The river was a 7 and I checked. My opponent also checked and showed me T8 meaning he flopped a straight!

That hand took me from 14,000+ to 8,000. I've forgotten how I dropped to 4,500, but that's where I was when the hand that did me in came up.

The blinds were 75/150 with an ante and a player in middle position raised to 400. I was in the big blind with 89 and decided to take a flop. When the cards came out I was looking at Q T 8. I didn't exactly knock it out of the park, but that wasn't a total miss either. I checked and my opponent bet out 625 into the pot of about 1,000.

Folding or calling were options I considered here, but in the end I figured it was time to go for it. There was a fair chance I had the best hand (or that my opponent would fold, since I didn't think he'd call me with a worse hand), and if I didn't, an 8, 9 or J should make me a winner. I moved all in and my opponent called me with KQ. I was 32% to win after the flop, but I didn't get there and that was it.

I won $800 in the cash games while I was playing though so I'm not feeling too bad. It's making me wonder why the hell I'm playing these damn tournaments!

WCOOP Event #11 Underway!

Event #11 is $530 NL hold'em. 6,219 of us started with 10,000 chips each, blinds of 25/50 and 30 minute levels.

This tournament is going to take a long time! 5 hours in the blinds will only be 200/400! 2 hours in I'm up to 14,400.

There is some serious money at the end of this rainbow. 1st place is $472,000! Any finish in the top 6 is worth over $100,000! 54th or better will net me $5,000 and the edge of the money is 900th place which pays $808.

The Damage So Far

With 20% of the WCOOP in the rearview mirror my $20,000 bankroll sits at $18,420. Most of these tournament have been sort of warm up and as a result the damage hasn't been to severe. I'm 1 for 6 in WCOOP events and 0 for 7 in satellites (haven't played a second chance tournament yet) which sucks, but it's still early.

WCOOP Multitournament Recap

I'll get to my satellite debachle in a minute. But first other news.

I finished 368th of 844 in the PL 5-card draw. I got my starting stack of 5,000 up to 14,000 and felt pretty good about how I played, but after hours of playing pretty well I think I got a little too aggressive late. I opened for a pot sized raise with AAKK2 got reraised and moved all in. My opponent had a pat straight, I didn't make a full house on the draw and that was it.

In the $215 limit I finished 818th of 1,800. Can't say what went wrong here. I got off to a slow start and was short stacked for a long time, but I ran my 5,000 chip starting stack up to 10,000 at one point before making a quick drop to zero chips.

In today's $215 NLH tournament (event #9) I lasted all of 20 minutes. I signed up late so as to avoid the mind numbing first few levels where the stakes are super low. Again we started with 5,000 chips. With blinds of 25/50 I lost 500 chips when I raised with AQ, got called, missed, bet the flop, got called and check folded the turn.

Shortly after a player with about 1,500 chips made it 150 from the cutoff. I reraised to 450 with AK, he moved all in with AQ, and I called. The turn and river were both queens.

A little while later a player open raised to 150, the next player made it 500, and I moved all in for about 3,000 with TT. This play wasn't crazy, but I probably should have folded. The guy who made it 500 had AA and knocked me out.

Now that that's out of the way let's talk about that satellite yesterday. Top 4 players got $10,300, 5th place got $375, and I finished 6th and got $0.

With 8 players left and blind of 250/500 with some small ante I had 16,000 and was in 2nd place, but the small stack was 8,000 or so and the big stack was less than 20,000. We were all pretty even.

Then I busted the small stack. He (insanely) moved all in from the button for 8,000 with 69 and I called from the big blind with AJs. He flopped a 9, but I turned an ace. That put me in first with 7 players left as the blinds went up to 300/600.

In a normal tournament where each place pays a different amount, it almost always the right thing to do to be active and aggressive and use your big stack to push your opponents around. But in a satellite situation where the top 4 all pay the same amount you have to ask yourself "do I have enough chips that I can just cruise the rest of the way?" Sometimes it feels like you have enough chips that your victory is all but sure and then later you find that you've been ground down to the point that you're back in jeopardy. When that happens you end up thinking "why didn't I make a few small moves when I had some chips?!"

What made this situation difficult was everyone had a solid stack. Nobody was under pressure. Even the shortest stack had 20 big blinds and the structure of the tournament was very slow. I didn't need to do anything crazy, but sitting back completely wasn't an option.

We played that way for a good 45 minutes (the blinds moved up to 350/700 at some point) and I managed to keep my stack close to 25,000 for the whole time. Twice I folded hands I would have called with in a normal tournament. Both times, I raised to 2,100 and someone reraised all in to about 12,000. The first time I folded AJs and the second time I folded 77. I didn't want to be taking significant risks unless I had to.

Then the point came where I had to. A player on the button who was the most active at the table made it something like 2,000 to go. He had maybe 15,000 chips total. I had AQ in the big blind and I can say for sure that the only move here is to go all in. So that's what I did. He thought for a little while and called me with 88. And he flopped an 8.

Now I had less than 10,000 and was the short stack. A few rounds went by and then I got dealt A8 suited in the big blind. The small blind moved all in and I thought this was a good spot to get my money in. After all if he had a really good hand you'd never expect him to just move all in like that. But it turns out he had AK!

The first card I saw on the flop was an 8 which gave me a few milliseconds of joy that lasted until I saw that there was also a king on the flop. And that was it.

I look back on everything I did and it all makes sense. But I'm certainly left playing the what if game. What if I call with those pocket sevens or AJ? What if I folded that A8? What if I'd been more aggressive earlier? What if I'd done anything other than what I did, because the end result was THE ABSOLUTE WORST thing that could have happened.

This was a very, very, very tough loss to take. One of the worst I can remember. It takes a lot for me to still be pissed the next day, and while I certainly feel better than I did yesterday, and I know I won't even care in a week or two, I'm still pissed.

Later today, event #11, $530 no limit with $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. This one is a 2 day event.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

ACK!

I totally blew it in the satellite. I finished 6th. Don't really want to relive it right now so updates will have to wait until tomorrow. In fact I wish I could just get my money back from these stupid tournaments I'm in right now. This is one of those times that this job really sucks!!!!

Event #7 $215 PL 5-card Draw underway

We started with 844 players each with 5,000 chips. Since pokerstars guaranteed a $200,000 prize pool and there weren't enough players to meet that guarantee they had to add $18,500 to the prize pool. That's $22 a person, but since normally they'd be taking $15 a person out of the prize pool it's $37 a person in value that wouldn't be there if we hit 1,000 entrants.

After 2 hours of play I have 4,500 chips. I snapped off a major bluff in the first few hands and was up to 8,500, but thing have been pretty dry since then.

In the 50,000 FPPP satellite we started with 38 players which meant a much more significant $271 per player overlay! We started with 3,000 chips each and with 18 players left I have 3,750. The average stack is 6,400 and I need to finish in the top 4 to win $10,300.

Note to the Backers

Backers I told you that you wouldn't be in on any satellites where pokerstars added seats to the prize pool. I'm going to make and exception becauase there is one with lots of added value, but a hefty price tag as well. It's a 50,000 FPP (worth $750) buy in satellite to the $10,300 event. Pokerstars is adding one seat and there are only 34 people signed up with 1 minute to go. Thats like adding $300 a person to the prize pool. Not something I can pass up, but $750 is a lot for one satellite. Good luck to us all!

WCOOP Small Change of Plans

For some reason I got confused about the start time of event #6 $109 NLH WCOOP event and slept right through the registration period. Who cares about a $109 no limit tournament anyway right?

So it's time for plan B, and plan B is event #7 $215 pot limit 5-card draw! Ask me what I know about 5-card draw...NOTHING!

Well not quite nothing, but I can saw for sure that I haven't played more than a few hundred hands of high draw in my poker career (neglecting my pre-teen and early teen years). But let me tell you why I think I have a chance.

1) Despite what you might think from TV and movies, nobody plays draw.
2) The math is the same as other poker variations so I can figured out on the fly what I should do in many situations.
3) Nobody plays draw.
4) Tournament tactics transfer from game to game
5) Lastly, nobody plays draw.

Nobody plays draw because it's boring as hell. One of the reasons it's so boring is the strategy is fairly simplistic and there are only two betting rounds. So I don't expect to be surrounded by draw experts who ruthlessly stomp me. Instead I should be up against a bunch of other tournament players who are working out the kinks as they go just like me. I like my chances of doing that better.

As an added bonus pokerstars has guaranteed a $200,000 prize pool which means if there are fewer than 930 entrants there will be money added to the prize pool. 4 minutes to start time there are 559 players signed up and I expect there will be between 700 and 800 when the hour long late registration is done.

At 1:30 I have event #8 $215 limit hold'em and I have a few other non WCOOP tournaments on my schedule today. Hopefully I can make some magic happen.

Friday, September 04, 2009

WCOOP Event #5 underway!

Event #5 is $109 8-game mixed. We started with 1,779 players each with 3,000 chips. In this format every five minutes the game changes. Starting with 2-7 triple draw lowball, followed by limit hold'em, limit Omaha hi-lo, razz, 7-card stud, stud hi-lo, PLO and no limit hold'em. So after 40 minutes you will have played a few hands of each game in the mix. This format suit me very well because I play all of the games well if not very well and most of the other players aren't comfortable with all the games (it's usually the triple draw or one of the Omaha's that they have trouble with).

This tournament is meant to go quickly since it has such a small buy in relative to the other WCOOP tournaments and because it has a late start time. After and hour we've lost almost 30% of the field. In contrast, later in the series there is a $320 8-game tournament where we'll start with 5,000 chips and the game will change every ten minutes. Also at the end of the series there is a $2,100 8-game tournament where the game will change every 15 minutes and you get 10,000 chips to start.

Off to a slow start I only have 2,000 of the 3,000 chips I started with left and we're already playing 200/400 stakes so it could be a quick exit.

Event #3 Recap

I finished 248th which paid $361. I was down to about 10,000 and then I got it all in with AA85 vs AKKK which is about as far as you're ever going to be ahead preflop in PLO. That brought me back to 20K which was still only half of average.

I slipped back to 15K or so and then got dealt AQT2 with 2 spades and two diamonds. The blinds were 500/1,000 and I brought it in for 3K. The big blind who was a bronze star and played like it called me with KTT5 which is total garbage. The flop came down AT5 giving me two pair and my opponent a set of tens. He bet 3,000 and I moved all in. No miracles and that was it.

Since I almost didn't put this one on my schedule I feel great about this result.

In the Money!

I made the money in the PLO. Right now I have 29,800 chips. Average is 32,500 and I'm in 194th place of 420. In order to show a $1,000 profit I have to make it all the way to 54th so there is a long way to go before this gets serious. Still it's nice to get a cash upder my belt in this years WCOOP.

Event #3 update

I've posted a few updates on the twitter part of the blog on the right side, but I thought it was time for a more significant update. My table is interesting. There is one guy "annekchillo" who is playing a ton of hands and taking some of them too far. I'm surprised he hasn't gone broke. Instead he's up to 22K.

Another guy is the opposite. If he's betting or in there at all he's got something good. The other players haven't made a strong impression on me, but I don't feel like any of them are great.

I've slipped a little and now have 18,000 chips which puts me in 249th of 937.

I've decided to pass on the $109 second chance PLO. Event #5 starts at 5:00 and if I go broke in Event #3 I want to take a break. If I don't get a break at least I should make the money.

WCOOP Event #3 $215 PLO 6-max underway!

For those of you who don't know what Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) is let me tell you! Everything works just like hold'em except you get 4 cards instead of 2. In hold'em you use the 5 cards on the board and the 2 cards in your hand to make your best 5 card hand. On the other hand in PLO you use TWO cards from your hand and THREE from the board to make your best 5 card hand. So if you get dealt JJJJ you don't have four of a kind, all you have is a pair of jacks. Of if you have AAAK and the board is A 2 3 4 5, you don't have 4 aces and you don't have a 5 high straight, your best hand in 3 aces. Also in no limit hold'em you can bet as many chips as you have in your stack, whereas in PLO you can only bet as much as is in the pot already.

We started with 2,738 players each with 5,000 chips. I signed up about 50 minutes late (there is no penalty for doing so, you just miss the first few levels) because I was busy taking care of e-mails, but won a big hand early.

I got dealt 4567 with the 57 of hearts. Hands where all of your cards are in order are strong because they lend themselves to many straight possibilities. Four players just called to me and I made it 300 to go. Only one player called. The flop came down 6 6 8 with two hearts, meaning I had three of a kind, a straight draw, a flush draw, a full house draw and a straight flush draw. The value of the straight and flush draw were diminished by the fact that there was a pair on the board, but it was still a pretty strong flop.

I bet 750 into the 750 chip pot and my opponent called. The turn was the J of clubs putting two clubs out there. I wasn't really sure what to do here, but I decided to check. When my opponent bet 750 into the 2,250 pot I read him for weakness and moved all in for about 3,500. He thought for a second and then called with AK97 with 3 clubs which was a straight draw and a flush draw, but I had a lot of his cards locked out since some of his outs would make me a full house or a flush. In fact only 8 cards (three 10's and 5 clubs) would make him the best hand. The river was another jack and I took down the 9,000 chip pot.

After a few more small ones I'm up to 10,450 with 1,955 players left. The edge of the money is 420th which pays $296 and 1st place is $86,247.

WCOOP Update

My internet (and TV!) was out for a full 24 hours, but the problem seem to be fixed. This morning my wife Jen spoke to our cable and internet provider Comcast and they said out whole area was having problems. At 11:00 or so we saw a comcast truck pull up near out house and 15 minutes later the TV and internet started working again. 15 minutes after that I went up to my desk looked out a different window and saw FOUR MORE COMCAST TRUCKS! I guess someone in my neighborhood has some clout!

So WCOOP should go according to plan today hopefully. I have 6 handed PLO has already started, but I'm going to register late for, and $109 8-game mixed games at 5:00 PT.

In other news I forgot about the Second Chance tournaments! 3 hours after every WCOOP event they offer a tournament with the same game and format, but smaller buy in and shorter levels. These tournaments are designed to give people who busted out of the main WCOOP events another chance to win some money and get even. Guess who are the best players to play against? The ones who bust out early and are trying to get even. Of course there will be other strong players in these tournaments, but they still should be quite profitable. I'm not going to play them all, but I'm going to play the majority of them.

Note to my backers: The second chance tournaments will be part of the package so you have a piece of that action! If for some reason you do not want a piece of the second chance tournaments let me know ASAP. Your max loss is still the same and I'm still working with a $20,000 bankroll. If for some reason I get totally bamboozled in second chance tournaments, satellites and WCOOP events I will cut out a few of the higher buy in less desirable tournaments on my schedule.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Event #2 Underway!

I never should have registered for this stupid Razz tournament! My internet problems have continued and I'm now playing at "wescafe" (that's really what it's called).

I'm down to 2,845 chips from 5,000. After 150 minutes of play we're down to 1486 players from the 1526 who started. It sure does take a long time for people to get eliminated in these limit tournaments!

The edge of the money is 224th which pays $308. The way today has been going I feel like I have about a 1 in 25,000 chance of making the money. I guess I shouldn't say that. I did win $500 in about 15 minutes playing $15/$30 at Matt's, but running all over the place in the middle of these tournaments is making me nuts!

1st place is $53,410.

Event #1 Recap

I finished 4,323rd. Once the blinds got significant I had a ton of tough decisions.

The first one came when I made a bluff that didn't work out, but could have if I fired one more barrel. With blinds of 50/100 the player in the cutoff made it 300 to go and I called out of the big blind with 97 of hearts. The flop came down K 6 4, I checked and my opponent bet 400. I decided to make a move thinking if my opponent didn't have a king he couldn't call a raise. I made it 1,200 and my opponent called.

The turn brought the 3 of hearts which gave me a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. I bet 2,000 into the 3,000 chip pot and again my opponent called. Now I was pretty sure he had a K and figured I needed to hit to win. The river was a ten, we both checked and he took the pot with 67. After that hand I was down to about 6,000.

A few hands later I got dealt TT. The first player to act made it 300 to go and I reraised to 900. To my surprise the small blind called the 900 which looked like AA or KK to me.

The flop came down 778 and both of my opponents check to me. This was a really tough spot. I had an overpair, but also a read that I was up against an overpair. In retrospect I think I should have trusted my read a little more and just checked. But I bet 1,500 and got called by the small blind. The other player folded, the turn came out another 7 and my opponent moved all in. I wanted to call, but decided to fold. After that hand I was down to about 3,500.

I caught a nice break a few hands later when I reraised a player all in with TT and he called with 99. All of a sudden I was back to 7,000.

Miscellaneous hands here and there took me back down to 3,500 and then I got it all in preflop with AQ suited vs AK. No miracles and that was it.

Event #1 Prizes

Forgot to mention that we started with 8,538 players. The edge of the money is 1,350th place which pays $290. To net $1,000 I have to make it to 114th place. To net $5,000 I have to make it to 36th place. 18th pays $10,245, 6th is $23,940 3rd is $119,532 and 1st is $247,602.

The last time my Internet went out I made the a final table. It could be destiny.

Also I decided to play the Razz which is now underway.

WCOOP Event #1 ($215 NLH 6-max) Underway

The 2009 WCOOP is officially underway! After 2 hours of play in Event #1 my starting stack of 5,000 chips is all the way down to 4,800. While it's been a super boring two hours in terms of the tournament I've been dealing with drama in another area - my Internet connection.

Right at 11:30 as the tournament was starting my Internet went out. I messed with the router and then the modem, but with not results. Eventually I checked the to see if the cable was out and it was. We get our Internet through our cable provider and obviously they are having some problems today.

I managed to log on to an unsecured network that no doubt belongs to one of my neighbors. But the signal was weak and I kept losing my connection. About 12:30 out TV starting working again and my Internet was back! "Ah ha!" I thought. Crisis over!

Wrong! 30 minutes later I was back on my neighbors network and cursing all technology. It was a real F-bomb parade.

I decided to take drastic measures and head over to my friend Matt's house which is where I am now watching a terrible movie where Goldie Hawn is some kind of high school football coach, fighting off a small white dog who seems to think I am the most exciting thing since the invention of canned dog food.

I have 45 minutes to decide if I want to play the Razz tournament, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. Even if things go poorly from the start I can't see going broke for 4 or 5 hours and I'm not sure if I want to intrude on Matt's day any more than necessary.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My 2009 WCOOP Schedule

WCOOP STARTS TOMORROW! This year's World Championship of Online Poker features 45 events with buy ins ranging from $109 to $25,500 and $40,000,000 in guaranteed prize money. I'm going to play about 30 events. Here is my schedule:

Event Date Time (ET) Buy-in Game Guarantee
1 3-Sep 14:30 $215 NL Hold’em [6-max] $1,250,000
2 3-Sep 16:30 $215 Razz $200,000
3 4-Sep 14:30 $215 PL Omaha [6-max] $500,000
5 4-Sep 20:00 $109 8-Game [5-minute levels] $50,000
6 5-Sep 12:45 $109 NL Hold’em $1,000,000
8 5-Sep 16:30 $215 FL Hold’em $400,000
9 6-Sep 12:45 $215 NL Hold’em $1,000,000
11 6-Sep 16:30 $530 NL Hold’em [2-day] $3,000,000
12 7-Sep 14:30 $215 NL Hold'em [4-max] $500,000
13 7-Sep 16:30 $320 7-Card Stud $150,000
14 8-Sep 14:30 $320 Mixed Hold'em [6-max] $300,000
16 8-Sep 20:00 $1,050 NL Hold’em $500,000
17 9-Sep 14:30 $530 NL Hold’em Triple Shootout [10-max] $500,000
18 9-Sep 16:30 $320 8-Game $300,000
20 10-Sep 16:30 $320 FL Triple Draw 2-7 $100,000
21 11-Sep 14:30 $215 NL Hold’em w/rebuys $1,250,000
22 11-Sep 16:30 $530 FL Omaha Hi/Lo $400,000
23 11-Sep 20:00 $320 NL Hold'em [10-minute levels] $300,000
24 12-Sep 14:30 $530 NL Hold’em [Heads-up Match Play] $1,000,000
25 12-Sep 16:30 $320 HORSE $400,000
26 13-Sep 12:45 $215 NL Hold’em $1,000,000
28 13-Sep 16:30 $1,050 NL Hold’em [2-day] $3,000,000
29 14-Sep 14:30 $320 Mixed [PL Hold'em, PL Omaha] $400,000
30 14-Sep 16:30 $320 NL Hold’em [2X Chance] $600,000
33 15-Sep 20:00 $1,050 NL Hold’em $500,000
34 16-Sep 14:30 $215 NL Hold’em [big antes] $500,000
38 18-Sep 14:30 $530 NL Hold’em [1R1A] $1,000,000
39 18-Sep 16:30 $1,050 FL Hold’em [6-max] $400,000
40 18-Sep 20:00 $215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo [10-minute levels] $200,000
42 19-Sep 16:30 $2,100 8-Game $350,000
43 20-Sep 12:45 $215 NL Hold’em $1,000,000
45 20-Sep 16:30 $5,200 NL Hold’em Main Event [2-day] $10,000,000

I'm starting with a $20,000 bankroll which is enough to play all of the tournaments listed. I expect to play some satellites as well. There are one or two other tournaments like $530 6-max NLH with rebuys that I might play if things are going well. Also event #44 is $10,300 HORSE. If I can satellite my way into that one or if I'm ahead $100,000 or more I'll play that one too.

I'll be posting previews, updates, and results daily or a few times a day. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time, I'm sure you know that I'll have great updates at the beginning and then I'll get tired of blogging every day and they'll get shorter and shorter and farther apart. But I'll do my best to keep it interesting.

If you want to watch the action unfold as it happens you can go to pokerstars.com and download the software. Once you've done that you can go to "requests" and then "find a player" and search for ACESEDAI which is my username.

I'm fired up!

A little update

I've been really bad about updating my blog lately so before I get to the WCOOP here is a little summary of recent events. I put my NL hold'em cash game experiment on hold, but I am gong to finish it...someday. 4,000 hands in I'm ahead about $200 which isn't exactly earth shattering.

A week or so ago I made a final table finishing 6th of 750+ entrants in a $109 NL hold'em tournament. That paid $3,150. But I dropped $3,000 playing $30/$60 two days later. Whoops!

Other than that one nasty session, I've been continueing to have strong results in the 6 handed limit cash games. Anytime poekrstars offers a reload deposit bonus the games are very good for a month or so and since they did just that in August, things have been going smoothly.

I decided pretty early on this year to not go for Supernova Elite status again this year. I had a rough January and February and fell pretty far behind. Right now I have about 470,000 VPPs for the year and expect to end the year with 600,000 since I'll pick up a $6,000 bonus for reaching that mark (the next milestone bonus isn't until 800,000 VPPs which would require another 300+ hours of work). So the end of this year should be relaitvly relaxing and nothing like last year where I worked something like 58 of the last 60 days of the year.