Monday, May 18, 2009

I need a break from poker!

Every once in a while, I'll get burnt out mentally from the rigors of online poker. Miracle cards seem to hit a lot on me.. You know what they say, when it rains it pours. Well, I think things go well for me, and then I'll take a bad beat that just keeps snow-balling. The frustration builds and builds and builds. No matter what I do, my hand never wins. For example, yesterday I raise with KK utg and the BB calls with J-10. Guess what two cards hit on the flop?!! Yep, J-10 and my Cowboys are busted. I have Pocket 5s and hit a set on the flop... Guy calls me all the way down with K4 of spades and rivers his flush. This is the kind of crap that drives me absolutely crazy. If the best hand always held up, I'd be a millionaire. But, that's online poker and my heart and desire lessens as the snow ball continues to accumulate. Last night after taking another tough loss, a whole day without cashing, I decided I was going to take a couple of days break away from poker. My body, emotions, and everything else that has been tested the past couple of days need a rest from the game. Hopefully, I'll come back stronger than ever as I gear up for June 21st.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Second gets paid too!

My ego and my tournament life were all busted last night when I lost $9K on QQ and button had 8-9s that filled a straight. That's twice now where I've got busted because I didn't play QQ right. Is it just me or is that the hardest pocket pair to play pre- and post-flop?

Event #1
I played in a $5+.50 18-person and came in second. I was very tight playing and my biggest hand of the tournament put my chip count at $7K (chip leader at that point) when my 3-6s rivered a full boat. I overbet the pot with $1000 bet into a 600 pot. The guy to my left went all-in and showed that he flopped a straight. I got runner-runner 6's to give me the boat.

I played really really tight, being very cautious about my hands when it was five-handed on the bubble. After a couple shortstacks went out, 3rd place went all-in with 77 and was called by a strong Ace and the A hit to make it heads up. I had 7000 chips to 20K.

The first hand of heads up, I went all-in with A2 and was called by J-10o. Coast looked clear as nothing higher than a 7 was on the board after the turn. Of course, my optimistic thinking let me down when a 10 rivered me.

2nd place ain't too shabby.. won me $27 bones.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frustration is setting in...

It's definitely been a couple of weird nights on Full Tilt the last two nights.

Everytime I have a pocket pair, I am up against a smaller pocket pair that hits a set.

Last night, I had AA utg and raised 4x, YES! 4 TIMES the Big Blind only to be beat by someone who called my raise with 57s and the flop was 747. Lost all my chips.

Tonight, what do I have? 10-10 vs. 9-9, yep, he spiked a 9.

A8 in BB vs. 44. Yes, I hit top pair on the flop, but unfortunately the board looked like 8-2-4.

I have QKs on a board that looks like this after the turn: Q-2-4-Q. Yep, you guessed it! A set of 2's.

It's very frustrating to say the least. I better have better luck on June 21st or its going to be an early departure from the 150 SEAT.

At least SlingBox released their player for the iPhone. Something to brighten my day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So-So Daily Dollar

After a bad Sunday, I decided I needed a nap after work and then I went over to my brother n law and sisters for dinner and my only event of the evening: The Daily Dollar (D$).

I found myself with a lot of starting hands that were mediocre, but playable. And can I tell you enough that I hate these type of starting hands. A-J, A-Q, K-Q, A-10, A-5s, A-2s, A-3s. Some hands that if you hit top pair, you could be in some big kicker problems. Also, suited cards that if you chase and don't hit, it could cost you a lot of chips. I hate those hands.

The best hand of the tournament was when I had AA

A-K-6 rainbow

2 for all four suits on the board

River: 6

I didn't get many chips out of it, maybe about 400 or so, but that was my best hand of the day.

My biggest hand of the day was when I raised UTG, short-stacked with AJo.


I went all-in with three people in the pot post-flop and all of them came along for the ride.

One turned over AK, another turned over 10-8 for open ends. I got lucky and got a third jack on the turn, to which a guy that folded told me he also had AJ. I tripled up, but gave my chips away three hands later by not being aggressive.

A shortstack was all-in, not covering the blinds and a guy that had me covered in chip count raised to 1200. I was trying to see if a Ace hit on the flop before I put the remaining 3.6K in chips in the middle with Q-Q, so I elected to call.

The problem was the BB also called.

Flop: 4d-5d-6d on the flop and BB goes all-in immediately.

Seeing as I had an over pair and I also had the Qd in my hand, I put all my chips in the middle.

BB turns over 6-6 for a set and I didn't get that diamond. I busted out somewhere between 2000 and 2300 out of 7000 some players. Not a great showing, but not bad considering the cards I was getting. A little disappointed in my lack of aggression with QQ there. I think if I went over-the-top of the raise, all-in, that 6-6 would have likely folded. I really need to tie up some loose ends in my game, I am really disappointed in how I am playing right now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

First a disclaimer.. Happy Mother's Day to my wife (who is carrying our child until the first part of October) and also to my mom, who formed me into the Poker Player I am today... Or something like that.

Event #1: $69+6 (40K guaranteed)
Limp UTG with AA on 15-30 blinds.. I have 15 to call with 67o, of course I am calling that. The flop is 5-7-9, two clubs. I think I have the best hand, so I bet out pot which is 120. UTG raises me to 240. Sure, I'll stay for another card. The turn is a 7 and I checkraise him to 940 and he calls. On the river, a blank comes and I bet half his stack, he goes all-in. I double up!

Had two nice laydowns in a row... 55 to a preflop raise, would have been up against 77 or QQ. Next hand, I laid down AK nicely... 99 hit a set on the flop.

It was the hand I couldn't get away from though that busted my balls. I had KQo and raised, one limper to my right called. The flop was K-6-4 rainbow, I bet 450, he raises me to 1900 (he was the guy that showed J9s in an all-in earlier so naturally I didn't believe him.) I called and he goes all in. I think about it and call 2/3 of my remaining stack with KQo! Ugh! Come on, you're better than that! How did I just basically go broke on one of my least favorite hands! He turned over a set of 6s and I'm left with 750.

I went all with AJo, another small stack pushes over top for 150 more, and original raiser calls. Orig Raiser shows 10-10, I show AJo, and other short stack shows JQs. Of course the worst hand wins, he hit a queen on the river for a virtual triple-up.

Finished in 575 of 800+, not a good showing! Very disappointed in myself to let me go broke with a single pair and not even an ace kicker.

The good news is, I finished just before the late registration for the Daily Dollar was done.

Event #2: Daily Dollar (D$)
Scratch that, I just got busted out in another awful showing in the D$. The board was 772 and I bet out with my 66 and the guy raised me with A7 and of course I overplayed that hand. I'm taking the rest of the night off, really upset with myself for going broke in hands when I'm behind.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Satur-Day, in the Park! So far, so good!

EVENT #1: $8+.80
After not playing a single tournament on Friday (I know, the shock! Disclaimer: I was driving to Cleveland), I played in a 8+.80 18-person for another $26 token.

Early in the tournament, I had AA and the guy hit his K on the flop with KJo and I doubled up early.

Later on, playing tight, I made a big raise on the BB with As Ks and got a guy in the cutoff to go along for the ride. The flop showed 10c Js Qs, so I flopped a straight with the Royal draw! Trying to play it like 7-7 or 8-8, I checked the flop. The other guy virtually went all-in and I pushed him the final few yards and I had all his chips with a KJo call.

I limped UTG and the guy to my left raised me to 600, leaving me 440 to call and I smooth called with 10-10. The flop was 9-7-2 rainbow and I pushed all-in and the original raiser folded.

I got tight from here on out, only playing a few hands as I waited for other players to bust out since I was comfortably in the chip lead.

I ended up losing about 2k of my stack on 10-10 when the board was AA987 and second play had AQ. Owell, I was still comfortably in the money, imo.

About 20 minutes later, I was handed a $26 token. It's not bad when you hit a couple of hands in a non-turbo tournament. Then you can be picky about your starting hands, steal a few pots here and there.

EVENT #2: $24+2 Token
AQ doubled me up with AAJ on the board, two spades. After SB bets out 240, I double to 480. The turn is a blank and I raise all in after a 1/2 the pot bet from SB and I avoid a nut-flush draw on the river to double up.

99 on the button got me about 450 more when I went all-in with 10-8-4 showing.

AQ let me down when 8 people limped in the pot and BB goes all-in (the guy I doubled up through a few hands ago with AAJ showing on the flop.) I knew he had nothing, but he turned over 9-10 and got two pair. I had open ends after the turn, but didn't get anything.

I had AKo called 4x raise (JQ5 on the flop, he bets 500, i fold.)

I completed the BB bet with QJs to see a flop of Q-10-2 i check in SB, BB bets 180, cutoff calls, I raise to 900 they both fold.

Chip Leader raises my BB with 10-3o I reraise with AA and the flop is 2-4-5 and I went all in.. Naturally the donkey calls. I avoid the dramatic turn and river and double up to 5k. Thanks donk. Update: The donk went from chip leader to busted out in three hands!

The button moved all-in on my big blind and I quickly called to show my AA vs. his JJ. My chip count went to 7500 after I spiked an A on the flop.

Next hand, 3rd place in chips makes a raise to 360 and I go all-in with QQ and he folds after calling time.

Next hand I raise 2.5x BB on the button and BB called. The flop was 10-high and I laid down my KQ. Still at 7K with a 2500 chip lead on second place.

Just folded 10-10 with 2K going all-in on my BB on the bubble. No racing at this point!

Raised on the button with 99 3x the BB. The flop was 3-9-10 and SB bets half the pot and I go all-in. He calls and turns over a similar hand to what he had earlier (KJs) when he just had two overs. Luckily this time, I had more than a pair and he was pretty much drawing dead. He did get an Ace on the turn to give him 4 queens to draw to. My hand held up and my chip count went to over 10K.

Two hands later, I got my $75 token.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Bad Beats.. Same Book, Different Page

May 7, 2009

(Columbus, OH)-- Why does Full Tilt have such a flare for the dramatic? I've taken more bad beats in the last 3 days on FTP than my entire live career. Had a guy go all in on my aces yesterday with 6-8o and hit a 7 on the river to fill his straight :(

I played in 4 tournaments yesterday, cashing just once-- a $26 token. The Daily Dollar I went out at 1470 with JJ only to be called by KQ and AK.. Of course an A and a Q both hit.

The first 8+.80 I played in, I hit K with KQs and of course they gave the BB AKo.

I tried the stimulus tournament, but that Turbo is just not for me.

I'm hoping to play in the 40k on Sunday with my token.. More updates to come.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ugh, I hate FTP today

Ugh, I hate Full Tilt today.. I've already built up frustration as I've failed to reach the money in a 24+2 and two 8+.80 so far today. I had time to kill before I left for the airport and all it has done was piss me off.

Here's four examples of hands I've already had today, the first hand listed is what I have:

Hand 1:
QQ vs. Q9s -- The Flop: 992

Hand 2:
10-10 vs. JJ -- The Flop: 782

Hand 3:
9-9 vs. 10-10 -- The Flop: 637

Hand 4:
Qc-Js vs. Ac-2d -- The Community: Jd 4d 3d Qh 10d

This is enough to drive me crazy. I know, I know, accuse me all you want of over-playing an over pair. Wouldn't it be easier though for FTP to put a K or an A on the flop and scare me off that way????

Ugh. Luckily the bus is coming to pick me up and take me to the airport in 20 minutes, otherwise I'd be throwing my computer some more as I am setup for failure by the almighty FTP. Getting ready to head back to Columbus... So long Narlins, see you hopefully never again!

UPDATE: More Bad Beats!!

I played in the Daily Dollar and seemed poised to double up when I laid a nice trap to the BB who went over the top of my "continuation" bet of my pre-flop raise.

My Hole Cards: Ac Ks

The Flop: Kc, 5h, 8c

I raised to 200 on 40-80 blinds, and I bet out 275 post-flop with that board.

I was check raised by the BB to All-in, and I quickly called.

BB's Hold Cards: Kh Qh

Turn: 9h (Yep, they did it to me...)
River: 10h

My perfect trap turned into a nightmare as they gave the BB running hearts when I was an 83% favorite when our chips were put in the middle. No juctice, no heart.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Greetings from Narlins

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

(New Orleans, Louisiana)-- I had the opportunity to play in three tournaments after I got out of my training session today at around 4:45 PM local time.

Event #1
The first one I played in was the $24+2 buy-in event that would win me a $75 token if I finish high enough in the tournament.

I doubled up the first hand of the game. Limped UTG with KQ of clubs and the button limped and the blinds were in the hand too. The flop was Qs 6c 8c and I bet out 120 (pot) and the button called. The turn was a 6s so there was two flush draws on there to be weary about and possibly open ends. The button raised me to 600 and I went all-in, knowing full well he didn't have a six unless he had quad sixes. With the flush draw, I was just hoping for a fold and I'd pick up about 800 of his chips. He had about 750 remaining to call the all-in and for some reason, he decided to go with it.

He flipped over 10h 9h, giving him no flush draw but he did have a double belly-buster straight drawing, needing a 7 or a J to fill it. The river brought the 2d, doubling me up for the first hand of the game. I got into a little bit of an argument with one of the other players because I said he could have got away from the straight draw and still had 750 remaining to play with. He said that I could have got away from it too.. I said no way he had 66 unless he had quads and frankly, I had the K high flush draw with top pair, good kicker. If he had AQ, a set, two pair, I still had outs.

Later in the tournament, I got into a big hand with the guy I was arguing with about the previously noted hand. He limped UTG, I limped on the button, and the flop came AJ3 rainbow. He checked and I bet 120, he called. The turn was a blank and I bet 500, which was slightly over the pot. He raised me double to 1,000 and I raised all-in. He quickly called and turned over AJ for top two pair. I turned over 33 for a set of three's giving me a commanding 91-to-9% chance of winning. Guess what... we're talking miracle time. He hit one of the two remaining jacks to give him a bigger boat. UGH! I set the perfect trap, and it goes all for not. Even worse was it was against the guy that I had the disagreement with earlier :(

I made a promise that if I was to go heads up for my tournament life and get called, I wanted to make sure I had the best hand going in.. If they suck out on me, there's nothing I can do. Well I fell victim in that being impatient with 10 people remaining. I moved all-in for my remaining 900 chips with 8-9, only to be called by 8-10.

Event #2
Well, I had to get another token. I was shortstacked the entire way in this 8+.80 token tournament... I may have had over 2,000 one time this entire tournament. I was shortstacked with two more people duking it out with me for the final spot in the money... I had UTG make a significant raise that had me covered, I called with K9s. They turned over 55 and I hit a 9 on the flop and it doubled me up to about 1800 and I was able to fold hands until I ended up getting the token!

Event #3
I played in the Daily Dollar tournament that kicks off every 8:15 PM EST. I had a commanding chip count early as I had a set of Jacks against A-10 with a board of A-J-5. It brought me all the way up to 30K in chips. I was folding hands left and right after that as I was easily in the money-- hell I was thinking about being patient, waiting for AA or KK and being able to be one of the chip leaders and possibly win the darn event.

Well, here came my hand!!!! UTG raises ALL-IN!!! $25K in chips, a cutoff and the chipleader at our table goes All-in for $53K-- WOW!!! I have pocket aces on the button!!! I have 28K remaining and chips.. I quickly call, to see UTG have 88, Chip Leader with KK, and my aces. I am a 65% favorite here to win a HUGE pot.

Of course, the best hand doesn't hold up. Not one, but two kings come on the flop to eliminate any chance of winning the tournament :( UGH!!!! I was so pissed, but what can I do? I got my money in with the best hand.

Fold AA preflop, are you crazy?!!!
It leads me to thinking, is there a time that you should fold AA preflop? My answer is Yes! When someone that has you covered goes all-in and you're at or close to the bubble with a comfortable chip count, there's one other condition that will allow you to fold these. When the prize is the same for all the winners-- a token tournament is a perfect example. If there's seven players left, top 5 get tokens and 6th gets a little cash. If you're chip count will allow you to fold hand after hand after hand until you're a token winner, go ahead and throw those aces away on an All-in battle vs. someone that has you covered. But the important part is everyone receives the same prize in the pool. If it's not in that structure, you need to beat the guy in front of you into the pot.. you have a tournament to win!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Columbus, OH-- What a day it was. My wife and I returned home on Saturday from our family vacation. Twice during our vacation last week, I set my alarm to wake me up at 2 am to play in Full Tilt's 2:05 AM 24+2 tournament where it usually got about 27 people and the winner was assured a seat in Full Tilt's 150 SEAT GUARANTEED qualifier.

We got home on Saturday and went over to my sister's house and had dinner and played in the daily dollar tournament. I took two or three bad beats in the tournaments that I played in there, so I decided to pack up the computer and head home in frustration.

I had a $26 token, so I told my brother n law to call me at 2:00 and I would play again in the 2:05 if he wanted to. Well, when the alarm went off at 1:55, the dogs went crazy barking and I saw that my wife and brother n law were still in the $1 rebuy tournament they started a few hours prior. She asked me to take out the dogs and have them go potty, so by the time I got back upstairs, it was already 2:07 and I couldn't play in the tournament. So I just finished watching my wife and brother n law in their tournaments.

Today's Event #1
At about 3:00, I decided that I couldn't sleep so I opened the laptop and played in a $8+.80 to try and stockpile my $26 tokens. After about an hour and a half (4:30 a.m.), I added a second token to my account. I noticed there was a $69+6 non-turbo event that you could play in to get qualify for the Main Event 150 Seat Guaranteed sometime after 4 pm. I went to bed shortly after the tournament and had the plans to sleep in.

I woke up around 9:30 after my wife brought us home Burger King breakfast, and I had the duty of mowing the lawn since we just got back and their were weeds higher than my shins. So I went to Kroger and filled up the gas can and came back and mowed the lawn. While I was mowing, I thought about that $69+6 tournament that I saw the previous night online and thought if I finished the lawn in time, I could try and get a $75 token in an 18-person $24+2 tournament.

Today's Event #2
I signed up for the tournament as the 11th person of 18 with the hopes it would quickly fill up while I was in the shower. Just as I was finishing up the shower, the table popped up on my laptop for the first hand of the tournament. I quickly rinsed the hair and hopped out to fold the first hand and play the AK I got dealt in hand #2.

A few hands later, everyone limped to me in the big blind. I checked my option as I only had 6-3o. The flop was 2h-5d-6h, I bet out the flop and got everyone but one guy to fold and I bet slightly more than the pot and got one guy to call. Very suspicious with this guy as he just called the BB in the cutoff.

The turn came a 3c, giving me two pair, but filled a straight if someone was holding a 4. Deciding to play it aggressively, I went All-in only to have the cut-off surprisingly call me and he turned over a flush draw with Qh 10h. The river was a blank and I doubled up on the 5th or 6th hand. VERY CRUCIAL double-up as I like to have chips early on so I can be selective with my starting hands and be patient.

As the tournament went on, I had enough chips that I was comfortable folding hand after hand after hand-- not bad when I am watching other players be aggressive and dispose of other players. When it got down to the final five-- only four got $75 tokens, I decided I was going to fold every hand possible.

After several hands, I began to get a bit anxious as I noticed that the break was approaching in one minute... Here I am 2 minutes for leaving to my niece's third birthday party and we're getting ready to go on a four minute break.

After the "After this hand, we'll be going on break" message appeared, I peered down to find AA in the big blind for me. The short stack that was UTG went All-in and I had to play this hand. He turned over JJ and my aces held up to win the $75 token and get to my sister's in time for the party!

Today's Event #3
I had my focus on this tournament since I first looked it up the night before. This was the $69+6 buy-in that would guarantee at least two people seats in the 150 SEAT GUARANTEED Main Event Qualifier.

I had a strategy to play tight and go with big hands. 27 ended up registering for the event so the prize package included four spots with the top 3 getting the $500+35 buy-in for the 150 Seat tournament and fourth place taking home $258.

In the third hand of the game, I was on the button with KK. With the blinds at 15-30, a guy in the cutoff accidently fat-fingered his raise amount and keyed in 1053 instead of 105. I raised him All-in to my delight to see he had QQ. My kings held up and I doubled up.

A couple hands later, I made a 200 raise with AA and only the BB came along for the ride. After the flop, I made a 200 follow-up bet and the BB folded. Another hand I lucked out on.. the guy to my right raised to 200, and I reraised to 600 with QQ. One guy called near the button and this guy reraised me to 1000, both me and the other caller came along for the ride.
Yes, I was worried about AA, AK, KK, but I figured I'd see a flop. Well, the flop was 8 high and the original getter went all-in for his remaining 600 in chips.. There was 3,000 in the pot!!! I had 1,000 leftover and had both guys covered if I made the call. I called and so did the guy behind me. When a 6 paired the board on the turn, I checked and so did the other guy who had 453 chips remaining. To my delight, the river gave me a full board with another Q! I bet 453 and the other guy went away. When I looked up the last hand, it showed the guy to my right had AA and I cracked him on the river. What a lucky river, but I'll take it.

The next hour or so was not very fun. I literally folded 97 of my next 100 hands-- and that is including my BB hands that people raised pre-flop on them and I tossed away my 2-9o with no hesitation. Two of the three hands I did play were pocket 7s and got no callers. The other hand I played was a limp from the small blind and I had J4s. The board was J36 and he bet out 135 and I raised him to 270 and he quickly folded.

As the blinds were going up, my starting hands remained questionable so my stack began dwindling. I went from chipleader at one point early on to last place with six people go. The good news was one double-up when my stack was at about 1800 and I'd be in fourth place again because the two players above me were 3200 and 3400. The chipleader made a 1200 raise UTG on the 200-400 blinds and I went all-in for the other 600 with my KK. The chipleader turned over A8o and my Kings held up, which was the second of a continuing trend (You'll see why in a couple minutes).

So here I was in fourth place again with just over 4700 chips, but I still needed to pick up some hands. This was probably the hand of the tournament for me when you think about it. After a time around the table, I picked up JQo on the button and made a raise on the chip-leader to 1000, 2.5x the BB. The chipleader called and the flop was a bunch of blanks with 7 high showing on the board. The chipleader in the BB acted first and placed out what I deemed a feeler/stab bet at 1200 into my 3700 stack. Without hesistation, I moved all-in. I big time gamble at this stage of the tournament, but I felt like the chipleader didn't want that much damage done to his stack and I would be showing great strength with such a move and would have possibly two overs if he or she hit that ugly flop. Quickly, the chipleader folded and here I was with 6800 chips!!! Breathing room. Now lets fold unless we pick up a huge hand.

After 3/4 of the way around the table, one person was eliminated leading us to our bubble. Here I was with 5 people remaining wanting to stay clear and let people duke it out and I'll have time to continue the tight play while other aggressors eliminate themselves. At this time, the second highest stack raised UTG and I decided to get out of the way with my QQ, so I didn't repeat last week's bubble disaster where they gave me QQ in the BB and a guy that had me covered AA in the SB-- Totally rude.

So I currently have 6800 chips and only had one person covered and that was the guy to my left who had 6600 chips. UTG, I picked up KK and made a raise to 1000, which was just another 2.5x the BB raise. The guy I had covered to my left went all-in for his remaining chips. It got back to me after everyone folded up shop and I had a decision to make. Best case scenario is this guys has QQ or below. But I feared the worst case scenario that they actually were holding AA. Either way, I had him covered. Even if he had an Ace high, he had just three outs in the deck if no draws came on the board. After asking the Lord to allow this to hold up, I made the call to see him turn over AQo. The flop of course was A78! NO! NO! NO! NO! The turn was a miracle K!! One of two left in the deck. I screamed like Jerry Yang as he mowed down the final table a couple of years ago. Literally two minutes of yelling "YEA! YEA! YEA! YES! YES! YES!" came out of my mouth. Once again, KK didn't let me down in the tournament and I moved my chip count to just over 13000 and a comfortable chiplead. More importantly, I eliminated the other guy and I was assured of at least $258. My body was in a big sweat as I was full of energy after winning that hand.

I decided I was going to fold from here on out unless I picked up a QQ or above.. Two hands later, I raised to 1000 with QQ and everyone folded and I showed.

That would be the last hand I needed to play in the tournament as I waited for the others to duke it out. The guy that I bluffed out with the JQ took a huge hit to his stack and he went on tilt, putting his chips on the line everytime he played a pot. All-in, All-in-- picking up blinds and antes at will. No one wanted to lose 6000 chips. So a couple hands later, he made the same move and was called by the SB who had him covered by a couple of thousand chips. The SB had him dominated as the blind was given AK against the agressor's KJ. The AK held up and I was on my way to the $500+35 150 SEAT GUARANTEED tournament on June 21st!!!

I was SOOOOOOOOOOOO incredibly happy; I've been waiting for a shot at redemption for three years now!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Allow me to Introduce Myself

Saturday, May 2, 2009

(Columbus, OH) --
My name is Matt Schwade, I am an aspiring poker player looking to conquer the sport. I can't say that I consider myself a great or even good poker player at this time, but I am willing to work my butt off to get there. And I believe if I stay true to my style, that I'll win my share and if I 85% of the time I'll have my money in when I am leading-- now having the hand hold up is a different story.


A little background on myself. I began playing poker about the same time I met my wife, August of 2005-- maybe a little after. In my first live tournament ($100 re-buy), I think I played pretty well, but I was a bit nervous and played a lot of starting hands; I was easily pushed around and intimidated by the much more experienced players that a $100 buy-in drew.

My second live tournament was at a golf course near where I live. My brother n law picked me up that evening and we raced over to the golf course where we played in a $50 buy-in, plus the opportunity for two add-on's for $25 each. I remember calling a big raise in that tournament early on with QJ of spades and flopping a full boat vs. my opponent's AK. That got me a lot of chips early on to where when it came time to do the add-on's, a lady couldn't believe that I chose to do so.

Later in that tournament, I was folding a lot of hands to the point where I was a bit shortstacked with about 15 people to go. I looked down at A6 of clubs on the button and limped in to see if i could hit some fireworks. The big blind, who was also shortstacked raised double the big blind, so I went along for the ride. The flop was AA2, and I checked my trips. The big blind then went All-in and I immediately called (Not sure I would do the same now, but it worked out then). He turned over KK to which my trips held up and gave me a near double-up as I barely had him covered.

I distinctly remember after that hand, saying to myself "I'm going to win this tournament. I am determined to win it." I ended up making the final table, but I was clearly the shortstack when I got there. Once there, one of the first few hands I looked down to find a pleasing AA underneath.

Raising just double, I got the chipleader to come along for the ride out of the BB. I got a pleasing flop with Ac, 6c, 7h showing on the flop. The BB checked, and I checked as well. The turn brought out a 6h giving me the near nuts; the only thing that could have beat me was if the BB turned over Pocket 6s. I bet out the pot, and the BB called. The river brought out a 9c, what turned out to be the best thing I could have done. The BB checked, and I went all-in with my Full House. I was ecstatic when the chipleader called my move and he flipped over the nut flush with Kc Jc. My pocket aces was by far the biggest hand of the tournament.

I had pocket Queens twice as I raked in pots and put myself in a strong position to win the tournament. When it got to heads up, I had a commanding 4-1 chip lead and I was aggressive and so was the other guy. Every time I picked up an Ace, I went all in. And it seemed as though the other guy did too.

Finally after about 15 hands of heads up, I raised all in with Pocket Queens and the guy called with A9. My queens held up and I won $1100 for first place. The money eventually went towards a portion of my wife's engagement ring, but this is what fueled my poker career. A big win in just my second live tournament.

My next tournament, I ended up chopping 2nd and 3rd place with a guy and it was a part of final table strings.. I made 5 straight final tables before I lost my card protector. It is a University of Dayton basketball coin (my alma mater) that was given out back in 1984 commemorating the 1,000th win and Coach Donoher's 353rd all-time win. I lost it at Argosy (Boat casino) after winning about $150 that night at the 3-6 limit table.

I didn't make a final table in my next five tournaments. Finally, one day while I was at lunch in my car, I spotted a Don Donoher UD coin on eBay!!!! For 99 cents!!! I emailed the guy, and I asked him if he'd be willing to use buy it now and end the auction early. After an email back saying he doesn't want to do that, I fired back an email that said I'd give him $20 for it. He quickly ended the auction and put it up for me as I buy-it-now :) I don't think he realized how much I was willing to pay. The very next live tournament I played in I got to the final table!!!


I started out playing on PokerStars, but really didn't like the setup, look, or the bad beats! Quickly jumped over to Full Tilt Poker, and have been playing that ever since. Within my first year of playing online, I qualified for the $500 buy-in 100 seat guaranteed WSOP qualifier. I had to finish in the top three of a tournament that was I think 87 people. I am not 100% sure, but I think the buy-in was $24+2 token that I won from like a $4+.40 earlier. Either way, I was stoked about my opportunity to appear in the WSOP Main Event by winning my way and finishing in the Top 100. I read a bunch of books, Phil Helmuth, Phil Gordon, Dan Harrington, etc. I played so tight for most of that tournament which was about 2,000 people strong.

One guy that was two positions behind me raised up literally like 20 hands in a row and I was getting absolutely pissed. Finally, when I was in the small blind, I looked down to see that I had A-8 of clubs. Now here I am playing so damn tight, and this guy was frustrating me by stealing blinds every hand, and I said I'm not going to stand for this anymore! He's a maniac as Helmuth puts it and I'm ready to make a stand! So everyone of course folds to him and he's one off the button and makes a big raise.. Here we go!! We're pushing over the top of him! We're going to get him. It came time for me to act and I call an All-in! Whoah, wait! An all-in? Oh Crap! I was so fired up to make a stand that I didn't realize the guy in front of me acting had the same idea I did! CRAP! CRAP! What did I just do? And of course the BB folds and the maniac calls. Of course I had him dominated as my A-8s was up against his 7-8o, but the guy on the button had A-9o. He hit his 9 and unfortunately for me, the maniac hit his 7 :(

To this day, I still think about that hand. I risked my entire tournament life on A-8s against a hefty raise and a re-raise, all because I didn't stop to think when it was my turn to act. :( A-8s!! A tight player went out on that bad of a starting hand!

I finished at about 1100 of 2K and I've been longing to have another shot at qualifying for the WSOP Main Event.

I'm still a pretty active poker player. I host a 20-30 person home game each month on a table my brother n law and I built. A couple summers ago, we built a table that had a race track, cup holders, and get this-- CAMERAS for pocket cam!

I decided recently that I was going to try and qualify for the Main Event again this year. After all, I have to redeem myself... which leads me to my latest objective: