(LAS VEGAS)- I think I’ve decided on the move: I need to hang out in my room during the day, play online, and then dine/booze at night. Because whereas my online ROI in 2012 is now up to 70% after another four-figure cash Tuesday night, my live play in Las Vegas continues to end in horrific bad beats.
Upon arriving Tuesday, I shot over to the Rio, which is the site of the World Series of Poker. Each day, they have a $235 tournament at 2 p.m. It gets ridiculously huge fields, so it’s a great value.
I hadn’t played it before, but upon sitting down at my table, I could see another reason why it was a great value: bad players.
This table was juicy, and with the exception of two players, it was there for the taking.
One of the two good players had gotten shortstacked. He was at around $2,400 from our starting stacks of $15,000.
I picked up 88 under the gun and raised it to $500. He was in late position and shoved over the top. Action folded back to me. Easy call of another $1,900 from the shortstack shove.
He had Ac9c.
Everything was good…until he hit the Ace on the river.
So it goes…not a huge hit to my stack. I’ve still got around $12,000.
About 10 hands later, an older gentleman raised it to $600 from under the gun. Action folded to me in the cutoff. I picked up 33. I called. We went to the flop heads-up.
The flop came off Ks9s7c.
He led out for $1,000 into the $1,500 chip pot.
I called the continuation bet.
The turn was the jackpot card. 3d. I turned a set.
Interestingly, he checked.
With the board showing a spade draw and a potential gutshot straight draw, I didn’t dick around. There was already $3,500 out there.
I bet $2,000.
At this point, I figured he would be going away.
Except, he said, “I’m all-in.”
Not that I need to break this down for anyone, but if he had KK, 99, or 77, he’s not giving me a free card on the turn.
There’s no question I’m ahead.
It’s an easy call.
The question is why the big bet…because the only thing that’s going to call him there is a set. There was $5,500 in the pot now. He just bet $15,000, which had me covered.
He turns over pocket Aces.
At this point, he’s drawing to two outs, and I’m a 95% favorite to win and double up to around $22,000 to $23,000.
The Death Spiral is alive and well in July.
I say “nice hand,” and get up and go on my way. He’s quite kind and apologetic saying I outplayed him, but that’s the game. It’s just that I’ve been on that side of these beats so many damn times live dating back to Harrah’s WSOP-C in April that I’m actually getting used to it.
Hell, at least it happened on the third level as opposed to nine hours later.
I’ll just keep getting it in good. This run really is something else.
On the other side of things, however, my run online is really something else…to the other extreme.
After getting KO’d, I returned to the room. Anna-Marie wasn’t feeling really well, and I had been up since 5 a.m. St. Louis time, so we were going to take it easy.
I wanted to watch the final table of the One Drop Tournament, which was live on ESPN, so for the hell of it, I bought into the nightly $60 buy-in on Carbon. It has a guaranteed prize pool of $5,000.
Five hours later, I’m at the final table.
And, about 90 minutes after that, I’m heads-up for the tournament. I was at a 5:1 chip disadvantage in heads-up play at the start, but I was able to grind it and actually take a small lead. But, I ran into his KK with second pair, and that crippled me. He called my all-in shove with 44. I had As9s. Board didn’t help me, and that was that. But, it still was a $1,070 cash.
So, I can cash in Las Vegas in 2012…just as long as it’s online.
Yesterday I played in the $400 Venetian/Palazzo DeepStacks and once again, I liked my table draw. There was one younger British player who was pretty good, and there was one World Series of Poker Main Event Champion who wasn’t really that good, but he was a World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.
I was in Seat 3. Jerry Yang was in Seat 10.
Many poker nerds regard Yang as one of the worst players---along with Jamie Gold---to win the Main Event.
The fact that he was over at the Palazzo playing a $400 buy-in when the World Series of Poker is about a mile away with a tiny little $1,000 buy-in going off at the same time speaks to a theory that he hasn’t exactly been killing it playing poker since winning the WSOP ME in 2007.
Most poker nerds would say two things about Jerry Yang: Very nice man. Got very lucky in 2007.
But, you don’t win a huge tournament without some luck, and if it’s going to happen to a guy…might as well happen to a guy who seemed as kind as Yang…albeit rather annoying with the kissing of his kids’ pictures before every all-in.
Whatever the hell went on five years ago, the man won 8.25 million.
But, Wednesday, he was at the Palazzo and at my table. And, quite honestly, whereas the guys who have recently won it…like Heinz, Duhamel, Cada, and Eastgate…all play the lag style (loose aggressive), Yang most definitely did not. My guess is that he played no more than 12% of the hands he was dealt.
But, he does factor into this story…indirectly.
We started with $12,000 in chips.
In a hand during the second level, I had a hell of a spot. Sitting at around $11,000 chips and in the cutoff, I picked up Kh2h. An early position player limped. And, that set the stage for another limper before me. So, with that stack size and that hand, I threw in $150 just to see what would come of it. Obviously, the button, small blind, and big blind come along.
The flop comes off 7d2d2s.
Very nice. I have trip deuces with the second-best possible kicker.
The first limper---a pretty good player…but quite loose---bets $350 into the $900 pot. The other limper calls. I want to cloak my hand and capitalize on its strength and my position…plus create a big pot if the situation allows for it based on the turn…and so I just call.
The button folds.
There’s now $1,950 in the pot.
The small blind pulls off the big surprise move.
He had only been there for about 15 hands, and I didn’t have a read on him…except that he hadn’t played but maybe one pot.
He comes over the top with a check raise for $2,100.
The big blind folds. The two guys who limped/bet/called ahead of me fold.
Now, I have a bit of a spot.
I’m heads-up with trip deuces and a King kicker.
The only hands that can beat me at that moment are A2, 77, and 72. A diamond draw is possible, but I’m ahead of that as well.
The issue is that A2 is definitely in his range. Hell, everything is in his range. He was the small blind in a limp pot with four limpers before his preflop action. Seriously…if I had 72 there, I’m calling. You’re calling anything in that spot.
Do I fold, call, or shove?
I have 50 big blinds left, and this is a DeepStacks tournament with 40 minute levels. There’s no need to go batshit here.
Furthermore, I don’t have a read on him.
So, as opposed to risking my tournament life and shoving…and as opposed to folding…I call the extra $1,750 and figure I’ll assess the situation on the turn.
If a diamond comes off, I’ll gauge the activity.
The turn is Jh.
He has about $7,500 left. He picks up about $2,500 of it and leads out.
Now is the shove or fold moment.
Can’t call here. Fold or shove.
I see if I can pick up a read on this gentleman.
There’s no question he’s confident. He’s quite relaxed. Now, he could have Q2, which would mean I’m ahead…except he doesn’t realize it…and therefore he’s quite comfortable. Or he could just flat out have a monster like 72 (ever see that sentence before?) or A2 or 77. At this point, J2 now beats me.
He sees me looking at him and laughs. “Got a big hand, do you?”
I don’t say anything and just keep observing.
Based on the action and his behavior, I think there’s a better than 50% chance he’s somehow ahead of me. I lay it down.
He says, “Did you have diamonds?”
Did he say that because he had a big hand and was trying to push me off the diamond draw…or did he say that because he had diamonds and was trying to level me?
But, by folding, I still have 40 big blinds. I can live with that. I can’t live with going against my reads and making a bad call, getting it in bad, and losing not playing my game.
Now, this is where Jerry Yang comes into play.
With blinds at 100/200, I pick up AKo. The gentleman who won the big 722 pot from me calls in early position. Action folds to Yang who calls in the small blind. The big blind at this point is getting the right price, so he calls.
The flop comes off Q98 rainbow.
AQ is definitely in 722’s range. TJ is definitely in the range of the blinds. And, I’m not going to win this pot with a continuation bet with that board.
Check. Check. I check. 722 bets.
Yang, who would take forever everytime he wanted to play a hand, takes forever---meaning he’s going to play---and calls. The big blind folds. I fold.
The turn is another 9…and now there are two hearts on the board.
Both players---722 and Yang---have big chipstacks.
Yang checks. 722 bets.
Yang check-raises with a large reraise.
At this point, I’m pretty sure Jerry Yang flopped the straight…but at the same time…if he did…and the board paired on the turn….he may lead out on the turn and try and gauge the situation with a bet.
But, he check raises…and 722, with his right leg bouncing up and down rapidly…shoves all-in.
Jerry Yang turned trip 9’s.
And, my nemesis had…
He had King high…and a flush draw.
Yang looks over at him and says, “You gamble too much.”
The irony of that being said by a man who won the World Series of Poker while he’s sitting in a poker room is not lost on me. But, I’m more focused on the stupidity of 722.
He knows Yang is coming along after that check raise and the size of the raise.
But, there he is trying to push him off his hand with a board like that.
The river is a blank, and 722 loses damn near all of what was a monster stack.
Yang is now sitting pretty with a huge stack.
A British guy, who was a legitimate player and a nice enough guy says, “Wow. That was the worst played hand I’ve ever seen.”
It was fucking terrible.
Had the heart come off, we may have actually seen Jerry Yang go Phil Hellmuth.
But, it didn’t, and that clown was crippled.
So, now it makes me wonder just what the fuck 722 had when we did battle.
He was obviously capable of making a dreadful play on a draw. But, is he sophisticated enough to be chasing diamonds, look that calm, and then bust out a question like he did, asking me if I was chasing diamonds.
Plus, his body language against me was super confident. His body language in the hand with Yang was jumpy as fuck. Usually the leg bouncing is a sign of strength. It obviously wasn’t. He obviously didn’t have anything. And, against me, he was so calm it looked like he was being blown.
I feel like I made a good laydown and dodged a death bullet.
But, either way, I had to now grind a below average stack.
I did get in an all-in preflop pot with the 2007 Main Event champion. Utg raised. Yang three bet…one of the only times I can recall him doing it…and I had about $5,200 in chips left with blinds at 150/300. I shoved my AsKs.
Utg folded. Yang called…obviously. But, he had AKo as well.
I actually had a chance at the spade flush after the turn, but it blanked, and we chopped.
A few hands later, with about $6,000 in chips, I picked up AA. I was thinking about shoving, but instead I was hoping to get some value out of it. I raised it to $1,000.
Got one caller on the button.
I bet it…hoping he was on AQ or something that my bet would look more like a cbet than a representation of any strength…but he folded.
Just couldn’t get anything going.
So, on the last hand before the break, and with about $7,200 chips---and blinds going up to 250/500/50 on the very next hand after the break---I decided to make my stand on a hand I felt quite confident I was ahead on.
The British guy who mocked 722’s hand limped. The older gentleman next to me limped. I had 77. I was thinking if I limped, there was a good chance someone behind me would shove with some junk, and I could get a good chance at a double up.
The button also limped.
And, then I got my wish. The loose player in the small blind shoved.
Yang folded. The limpers ahead of me folded.
And, feeling confident that I was ahead, I called.
Then, the button went into one of the deepest fucking tanks I can recall playing against.
Holy shit. It still pisses me off thinking about it hours later.
He had to have tanked for about three or four minutes.
He moved his cards in like he was going to fold. Then tanked some more.
This went on forever.
It was so fucking annoying.
And…it was so unnecessary.
Finally, he folded.
The small blind turned over A8o.
I was a 57% favorite.
My read was right. He shoved with some crap.
But, he still had some chances to get me.
The flop came off Qs9s5h. I’m in good shape.
The turn comes off with a Ts.
Now, he’s got a spade flush draw and a gutshot straight draw…along with the two overcards.
Despite that, I’m still a 65% favorite.
For whatever reason, the dipshit who tanked like this was the WSOP Main Event is still at the table even though everyone else is on break, and he’s screaming, “Spade! Spade!”
I have no idea why.
I guess he would’ve won against A8o and 77…and if a spade hit…it would’ve made him feel better.
Beats me. But, either way, this guy was a Grade A Fuckstick from his tanking to his behavior now.
Dipshit didn’t get his spade.
But, my opponent did win the pot when he rivered a gutshot on me with the Jack.
End of that one.
So, with the online winnings and the live losings, I’m still up with a few more days to go.
Not 100% sure I’m going to play the Main Event. If I do play it, I’ll play on Day1A Saturday.
Honestly though, I’m running so fucking bad live that I just don’t know if it’s worth it, even if I only have 20% of the buy-in responsibility.
2006 WSOP Main Event final table finisher and St. Louisan Dan Nassif and I were texting yesterday, and I was trying to figure out what the hell I do so well online that I fail to do live.
He asked me how many tournaments I’ve played live this year dating back to the two-outer at the WSOP-C in St. Louis. And, of those, how many times I got a really bad beat (75% favorite or better) to get ko’d from a tournament.
Since I keep track of all of my buy-ins, cash outs, and tournaments for tax purposes, I have all of this stuff saved…including details from each tournament.
So, here’s the knowledge, and the stats shocked Nassif, but they’re true:
-Since April, I’ve played 19 live tournaments. Of those live tournaments, I’ve been KO’d with a deepstack as a 75% favorite six times. When you add in a time where I flopped a straight and got it all-in on the flop against a set…only to lose to him turning quads---a hand I was a 66% favorite when the money went in---I have been KO’d seven times as a 66% favorite or better.
Seven of 19 tournaments live since April.
Like I said, I’m actually now used to it.
Fortunately, the success online is outweighing the mess live.
I’ve had a number of people tell me that I’m going to go on a monster run once this downswing ends.
Ideally, the luck would turn at the Main Event this year.
To be honest with you, I’d be fine with just mincashing a $50 buy-in at Treasure Island.