December 24, 2005

Goodbye, Mr. Chip: $10,000 UPC main event at the Plaza

play online poker 

Set straight

I skipped the final $500 event because if I made the final table I wouldn't be able to play in the main event today. With only 55 entrants, it was an excellent chance to make my fourth UPC show and possibly win my first $10k event. I drew table 16, seat three. John Phan was in seat seven; Ted Forrest in seat eight, and Renee Wexler in seat two. I got a great read on Ted early on and called bluffs on the turn and river with Ace-Ten on a low board. Ted showed Ace-Nine and I was up to 33,875. Then Matt Keikoan took seat four and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, seat five. Ted raised The Grinder's big blind and I called on the button with Ace-Queen suited. The flop came Ace-Jack-Deuce and I called his continuation bet. The turn was a Deuce and he bet 3000. I decided to raise here both to define my hand and to avoid calling a larger bet on the river if he had me beat. I raised 6000 and he called. The river was a King, which I didn't mind, since when he called my raise I figured I was probably beat with Ace-Jack or Jack-Jack. He decided to check but there was no way I was betting and I checked right behind. He turned over – ready? – Six-Deuce offsuit! His trip Deuces won the pot and I was down to 22,500. I snapped off a couple of Grinder bluffs and chipped back up to 32,275 at the end of level two.


When I returned from the break they had moved me for balance to table seven, seat two. On my left was Allen Cunningham in seat three; Martin "The Knife" Deknijff had seat five; Men "The Master" Nguyen, seat eight; Amir Vahedi, seat nine, and "Gentleman" Bill Edler, seat one. I dribbled down to near my starting stack at 30,075 when they broke the table.


My new assignment was table 14, seat nine. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori had seat three; Chip Jett, seat five; and Layne "Back to Back" Flack, seat six. I was down to 27,100 at the end of level four. I won a couple small pots and got up to 32,500 when I decided to jam with King-Jack offsuit over the top of Max's reraise. He turned over the Cowboys but I made a miracle straight to double through. It had been a long time since I had had a major suckout in a big tournament and I had hopes that my luck might take me all the way. I had 46,150 at the dinner break.


When we returned I limped under the gun with pocket Tens. Chip limped on the button and the big blind rapped. The flop came Jack-Ten-Eight and it checked to me. I bet 2400 and Chip called. The big blind then jammed for 16,000. I jammed and was surprised that Chip quickly called. I was hoping he had Eight-Eight but he had the dreaded Nine-Seven offsuit for the dummy straight. The big blind had Queen-Jack, taking one of my outs to improve but I still had a decent chance to more than double up. My luck ran out, though, and I was out in 34th place. "One of these days, Mr. Jett," I said. He nodded and rapped the table respectfully.


The anticlimax in busting out of a big event was always unsettling. I no longer had plans for the next few days, but it was never dull in Sin City. I knew I'd be back soon.


December 17, 2005

Plazable Denial: Televised $500 UPC event at the Plaza

play online poker 

Chip up!

The joint was packed for the second televised $500 event at the Plaza and the entries were almost double at 152. I drew table 19, seat eight, which turned out to be inside the dealer break room. My buddy Clint Baird was in seat three. I got lucky and doubled up early with Ace-Ace versus King-King and had 2825 when David "Chico" Levi moved into seat one. I caught a nice rush and won pot after pot, bringing me up to 3475 when with the blinds still 25-50, Chico made an enormous raise to 425 under the gun and got a smooth call from the solid player two to his left. I knew the guy knew Chico and was pretty sure that smooth call meant Queens or Aces. I had pocket Fours on the button but decided not to put over 10% of my stack in to hope to catch a set and win a big pot. Well, not only did a Four flop, but another one turned, and my quads would have busted both of them, who were all in before it got to me.


They broke the table and moved me to 17, seat nine, with tax accountant Marissa Chien, one of the nicest people in poker and author of theFrugal Tax Guide for Gamblers, in seat four. "Brooklyn" Dan Pugliese had seat six. I got in a coinflip with pocket Tens against Ace-King offsuit and lost, bringing me back to starting level with 1525. I got frisky and had 1975 when they broke the table.


Now I was back out in the main room at table six, seat seven. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori had seat one; Jeff Rine, seat two, and David Singer, seat five. I continued my winning ways and, with an uncalled all-in the last hand of level three, was back up to 2975 at the break.


I kept steamrolling and was up to 4850 when they broke the table, moving me to 16, seat nine. Mike Laing was on my left in seat one; Craig Gray, seat three; David Singer, seat five, and Hoyt "All In" Corkins, seat six. This was a tough table but I had played with all these guys before and I was ready to gamble with them. I called David's short-stack all in with King-Queen on the big blind and he turned over Ten-Five of Diamonds and won the race, bringing me down to 2400. I shoved it in several times without a call and was back up to 4050 when they thankfully broke the table.


Now I was at table 11, seat two, but Hoyt followed me in seat nine and Mike Laing soon arrived in seat five. I picked a few spots and had 3925 at the end of level six. I came back from the break and picked up a ton of chips from seat four, who wouldn't call me when I jammed repeatedly. I was up to 9025 at the dinner break with 22 left.


I went over to Binion's with "Gentleman" Bill Edler and had a nice bowl of chili at the snack bar to tide me over, still planning to have dinner with Shortstack when we broke for the day. When I returned, I jammed with King-Nine offsuit and got called by pocket Fours. I won the race and was up to 16,200. With 18 left, we were in the money! We still had to play down to seven tonight for the TV table tomorrow. I got moved to table 14, seat eight. Craig Gray was in seat one and Mike Laing in seat four. I continued picking up chips and was up to 28,900 when I busted a short stack on the blinds with my Ace-King versus his Ace-Jack. I was up to 32,300 with 10 players left when a nice lady who hadn't been playing many hands raised under the gun. I saw pocket Queens, considered my options, and decided to move in. Mike Laing moved in as well and the original raiser folded. Mike turned over Ace-King offsuit, spiked an Ace on the flop, and I was out of the contest in 10th place.


Shortstack and I had a nice quiet dinner at Al Dente in Bally's, a virtually unknown but excellent Italian restaurant.


December 16, 2005

Ultimate Ultimate on this week

Lion on TV again

According to their web site, my third and final UPC episode will air this week. My second episode should have aired last week on local stations with a rerun tonight on WGN. The last episode, where I did the best, should air on WGN next Friday. However, they may scramble it up somehow. Enjoy!

December 13, 2005

Turkey of a Tourney: Thanksgiving Day $500 UPC event at the Plaza

play online poker

Play Online Poker

Tiny edge

With the 30 Internet qualifiers, the Plaza got a respectable 79 entrants for the first televised event of this brief Ultimate Poker Challenge series. They needed five more shows to fulfill their contractual obligation to the Plaza so they scheduled three $500 events and a $10,000 event. The fifth show would be a compilation of action from all the untelevised events.


I drew table seven, seat one, and Jenny Kang was two to my left in seat three. My arch-nemesis Can Kim Hua was in seat seven and Marc Aubin in seat nine. Hua busted early and Charlie Shoten took his spot. I had chipped up to 1850 when they moved me to table six, seat nine, for balance. I got up to 2050 there and then they broke the table and moved me to table 12, seat five, with Kevin "The Man" Chan in seat seven and Charlie Shoten in seat two. I had 2400 at the end of level three and got up to 2900 when they moved Men "The Master" Nguyen into seat six. The blinds and antes were going up and I was down to 1875 when we redrew for seats at 18 remaining. I got table 14, seat three. Men followed me to the table and made a late-position raise. A loose-passive player called in the next seat and I jammed with Ace-Queen offsuit on the button. Men jammed, which I liked because it protected me and meant he didn't have a monster, and the third player folded. Men showed Ace-Queen offsuit. He had the Ace of Clubs and I had the Queen of Clubs, meaning his hand was a 50.4% favorite because of the rare situation that four of the remaining 11 Clubs came on the board. You can guess the rest. I was out 18th.


I invited Clint and Full Tilt's JDN, along with wife Heather and a friend, for Thanksgiving dinner at Les Artistes steakhouse at Paris. They had a yummy pumpkin soup special but rather than turkey I had my usual bone-in filet. The 2002 Justin Isosceles meritage was an excellent way to wash it down.


We went down to the new Paris poker room and somehow convinced them to spread $3/6 HORSET for us. Mixed poker games, usually played for high stakes, are identified by initials: H for Hold 'Em, O for Omaha Eight or Better, R for Razz (Seven Card Stud Lowball), S for Seven Card Stud, E for Stud Eight or Better, and T for Triple Draw Deuce to Seven Lowball. We were having a grand old time, especially when a couple of tourists sat down with us and had no idea what was going on, when top tournament pro John Pham walked by and decided to join us. John is one of the most pleasant guys in poker, always smiling and enjoying himself. We played till about two then called it a night. I was up $4 and gave it to the dealer.


December 12, 2005

Another Day, another Nickel: $500 UPCs at the Plaza

play online poker

Play Online Poker

Brooklyn Dan

There were 55 entrants in the next Plaza $500, and I had a lovely starting table, seven, seat five, with only "Brooklyn" Dan Pugliese a recognized opponent. They immediately broke the table and put me at table 11, seat four, with Internet pro "Viffer" in seat seven, Craig Gray, an up-and-comer along with his twin brother Jason, in seat one, and Men "The Master" Nguyen, who showed up thinking this tournament was televised, in seat two. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori then came into seat three. I was just above even at 1575 at the end of level three, then got it in with Ace-Jack suited against Ace-King offsuit and was out of the contest.


I drew table eight, seat nine for the next Plaza $500 event, which drew 68 entrants, and got Jenny Kang in seat three, David "Chico" Levi in seat four, and Rick Fuller in seat seven. I dribbled my starting 1500 down to 1250 when they broke the table and moved me to table seven, seat six. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori had seat four but otherwise I knew no one at the table. Max busted right away, leaving me to chip up to 2625 thanks to my pocket Queens holding up against Ace-Jack suited. Then they broke that table and moved me to  table 16, seat eight, where Renee Wexler had seat one. I lost a couple small pots and was down to 1825 at the end of level three.


When we returned I got nowhere and had 1425 when they broke yet another table. This time I was at 15, seat four. I jammed with King-Queen and ran into Cowboys, putting me out of the contest in 34th place. I bought in for tomorrow and enjoyed the beautiful desert winter.


Clint Baird and I had an exact repeat of out steak dinner at the Luxor and then walked over to MGM to play a little $2-5 no-limit Hold 'Em. I made a great call with pocket Tens against an opponent who put me in preflop with Nines but he sucked out on me. I rebought and bluffed a flush draw against a tight player who happened to have flopped a set of Cowboys. I hit the flush and got back almost to even before we called it a night.


December 7, 2005

Back at the Plaza again: Televised $500 events for Ultimate Poker Challenge

play online poker

Play Online Poker

Genius and donkey

I rented my lucky Cadillac Sedan de Ville with XM Satellite Radio from Avis and returned to the fabulous Plaza in downtown Las Vegas with the radio set to Frank's Place. The first televised event was on Thanksgiving Day and I was hoping for a small field: the 59 who showed up was more than I expected until someone told me there were 30 online qualifiers for each of the three $500 events.


I drew table 16, seat four, and had Allen "Knish" Kessler in seat two and Mike Laing, arriving late, in seat seven. I got a great read and got away from pocket Queens against a flopped set of Eights but then I raised on the button with Queen-Seven offsuit and made a donkey call of the big blind's jam getting only three-to-two. He had Ace-Jack offsuit, which held up, and I was out in 43rd place.


Dinner was with aspiring pro Clint Baird at the Luxor Steakhouse. The food and service were great as usual and I convinced him to try the yummy black bean soup. There was no reason to order anything but the 2001 Stags Leap "Fay" to wash it down.


December 5, 2005

Making the Circuit: 2005 WSOP Circuit $10k at Bally's Las Vegas

play online poker

Play Online Poker

Oh say can you sing?

One hundred thirty-four players showed up at Bally's for the main event, which conflicted with a bigger tournament in Monte Carlo. In addition to the traditional Harrah's $10 food comp, our hosts spread out a nice selection of complimentary soft drinks in front of the cash bar. I asked the bartender if the soft drinks were free and he said yes, but suggested a tip. I said I'd tip myself as I grabbed a Diet Coke from the ice bucket. Everybody's hustling in Vegas.


Our day began with an embarrassing and inappropriate a capella rendition of the National Anthem in which the amateur singer got the lyrics wrong in five places and the notes wrong in more. There was no flag to gaze at so I remembered my training as a baseball umpire and stood soberly, contemplating what a wonderful country we live in. Finally it was over and the long day began.


I drew table 11, seat seven. It was a tough table with Billy Gazes on my left in seat eight, Steve Hudak in seat nine, Lee Watkinson in seat one, New Orleans circuit event winner Walter Chambers in seat two, Lee Salem in seat five, and Paul "Eskimo" Clark in seat six. Soon seat four busted out and top tournament player David "The Dragon" Pham came in. I was determined to play my game and finished level one up slightly at 10,400 chips. Then early in level two I reraised Lee Watkinson with pocket Jacks and he called. The flop came Nine-Eight-Seven and he moved in for a little more than the pot and about half my stack. With six outs even if I didn't already have the best hand, I called and his Queens held up, bringing me down to 4700. Then "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan took seat three and started ordering Heinekens two at a time alternating with green tea and coffee. What an act that guy had. I finished level two with 5200.


Level three went nowhere for me and I was down to 3550. I won a few small pots in level four, chipping up to 5250, and then lost a coinflip to the short-stacked Billy Gazes when his Ace-King beat my pocket Tens and I was down to the felt at 1475. Then it folded to me in the small blind. I saw Ace-Queen and pushed in. Billy called with the same hand and we chopped. Then I won all-ins with pocket Kings v. Ace-Eight and Ace-Deuce v. Lee Watkinson's Ace-Queen and I was back in business with 5900. I had 5375 when they broke the table.


My new assignment was table two, seat eight. Amnon Filippi was in seat one, Paul "Taker" Phillips in seat three sipping gin and tonics, and Scotty Nguyen in seat seven. I had 5050 at the end of level five. I got it in with pocket Nines against Scotty's Ten-Nine and was up to 7900 and finished level six with 6550. On the last hand of the day it folded to me on Paul Phillips's big blind and I jammed with pocket Fours. He thought awhile and made a big deal of saying what a marginal call this was but finally put it in with Jack-Ten of Diamonds. The flop came Ace-Seven-Five rainbow. The turn was the Five of Diamonds, giving Paul a Flush draw. The river was another Seven and Paul extended his hand thinking he had won before we both realized it was a chop, the Two Pair on the board with Ace kicker beating both our hole cards. Allen "Knish" Kessler did me the favor of busting on another table at the same time and I was headed to day two with my short stack of 6875 and 45 players remaining.


Dig Doug

I headed over to Bally's for what would likely be one hand of poker. I drew table three, seat six. Actually I didn't draw it: tournament director Jimmy Somerfield's philosophy was that instead of a random draw, he would sort the tables by chips so that the short and large stacks would be evenly distributed. I wasn't sure whether or not I liked that but it was an interesting difference from most tournaments. I asked the tournament staff if I could get a second $10 food comp for day two but it was not possible what with the high cost of prices and all.


Billy Gazes was two to my left on seat eight; Lars Bonding, seat nine; Paul "X-22" Magriel, seat one; chip leader Doug Lee, seat three, and Alex Prendes, seat four. In the first orbit the very loose Doug Lee opened under the gun. I saw Ace-Jack and thought that was plenty good enough to push it in against him. It folded around and he called with Ace-Queen. "Doug!" I said, "What are you doing with a real hand?" He shrugged apologetically as Canadians will do. His kicker held up and I was out of the contest in 44th place.


December 3, 2005

Free Xbox 360


You can get a free Xbox 360 by joining a free multi-level marketing scheme: CLICK HERE. This company is legit; I have friends who have received many similar offers from them in the past and they have come through with the goods. You have to do one of their marketing offers, most of which are free trials that you can cancel without cost (I suggest the RealArcade GamePass), and then you have to refer eight friends. Do it fast before everyone you know is taken. No kidding. Go.

Please click on my referral link to sign up: