New Orleans in a Nutshell

I will circle back and add more depth later but here is a quick summary of my New Orleans poker trip. I started with the $250 Senior’s Event and I managed to bust out, rebuy and bust again. Lots of second best hands was the problem. I also played the $135 nightly and though I went pretty deep, I missed the money. I capped off the night with a little PLO cash but that also went south and so I managed to blast off just under $1K for the day. It happens.

On Day 2 I started with some NLHE 1/3 cash while I waited for the PLO tournament. I generally hate NLHE cash but there were no other choices at that time. This time I managed to book a double up and that was quite welcome. The PLO tournament went pretty well and I managed to get into a spot where I had the nut straight all in after the turn against two players. Any black card would give me the pot and a huge chip stack but a red card would give one or the other of my opponent a flush. It came red and I was out. After some down time I was ready to rebuy and this time things went better. I managed to cash and, as is my pattern for Omaha tournaments, went out in a blaze of glory with good equity in a huge pot. Again it was not to be but at least the cash was good enough for my first Hendon Mob score of 2018.

The next day I burned off some chips in a NLHE cash game and then played the $250 bounty tournament. That went extremely well. I cracked aces twice in the course of winning 9.5 bounties (worth $50 each) and also taking 6th place overall. With one day of action left I was only down about $250.

With no other options available I sat down with $250 at a NLHE cash game. My AQ lost to a runner runner flush after a Q high rainbow flop and that was that. I decided to try once more for $200 and managed to win a few hands to run it up to $320 or so when I got KK under the gun. I bet $15 and got 3 callers before the button raised it to $105. I went all in and it folded back to the button who did not snap call. After a long think contemplating my $215 reraise he called with AQ suited. The flop was rainbow KT6 and it looked like I had a hammer lock on the hand and had thereby salvaged my trip. However my joy was premature as runner runner hearts gave my opponent a winning flush.

Losing $700 for the trip stung a bit considering the way things ended however my play overall was pretty decent and I had fun despite the bad breaks here and there. I also earned the Hendon Mob listing I needed for 2018 and so that won’t be hanging over my head when I hit Las Vegas in June. I will try to go over a few more hands from this trip in a later blog including my exclusive tips for playing bounty tournaments correctly.

A Man. A Plan. No Panama.

I have decided on my poker plan for May and June. The plane flights and hotel rooms are booked. The only thing left is to decide whether or not I will sell any action or accept any swaps. That is an even tougher decision than deciding what to play. More on that later.

The first plan is to play this weekend’s $1,000 NLHE tournament. This one will be a “how do I feel on the day of the event” thing since it is here in Austin. I also have a chance to win my way into the tournament with a satellite. I played the last $1,000 tournament after I won a satellite ticket. I played a satellite for this one last Friday but it did not go well. I can try again tonight or tomorrow night if I am feeling lucky.

Next on the calendar is the WSOP Circuit Event in New Orleans. Here I will play the first Senior’s Event and the PLO Ring Event. I have played both of these before and final tabled the Senior’s the last time I played it. Of course the cash games can be juicy during the WSOP and so I will be looking at the PLO and various limit games as well.

Finally there is the WSOP in Las Vegas. This year’s trip will be on the brief side but it could be epic. The action will center around 2 or 3 tournaments. First up is the one day $1,100 Big O tournament at Planet Hollywood. I cashed in my only other Big O tournament and this is my favorite game to play (cash or tournament) and so this should be a hoot. Next up is Event 35 Mixed Omaha at the WSOP. This is the tournament where I took 9th place last year. It would be fantastic to improve on that this time around. Just in case I fall short of that, I can jump into Event 36 which is the SuperSenior’s NLHE Event. This year they lowered the age for this to 60 and so I qualify. I expect to have a significant edge in this one if I happen to play it.

So that is the plan. Now I need to decide on whether or not to sell action. It is a tough call. On the one hand I have had a number of people ask me for some of my action and I would like to oblige them. On the other side I don’t really need the money as well as the hassle of dealing with lots of additional tax forms if I win. On the other other hand it would be nice to build up a staking track record so that I would be in position to sell some action for the main event either later this year or, more likely, in 2019 or 2020. On the other other other hand I think that I play better when I don’t have to consider my backers when playing. I am more likely to go with my gut in a big spot and, in my experience, that is usually the right way to proceed.

I will leave it there as I ponder my options.

Three scores in 2015

In 2015 I once again followed my recent script of spending a few days in New Orleans for the WSOP circuit event followed by a week or so in Las Vegas for the WSOP. This time my wife tagged along as we added the New Orleans Jazz Festival to the agenda. My first tournament was a $365 PLO ring event and while I made it to 36th place out of 92, I never really got anything going despite a couple of successful bluffs and good reads. The cash tables were not friendly this time and neither was the Senior’s event when I couldn’t get away from a pocket pair of Jacks as an overpair when I was up against Kings. I took the walk of shame back to the cash tables but didn’t see a table that looked enticing enough to join.

At this point I decided to do something that I rarely do. I dusted myself off and went back to the Senior’s event and did a rebuy for another $250 entry. This time I resolved to play my A game and fortunately, that was good enough to get me to the final table. Sadly I bombed out in 9th place, but that finish, when coupled with a small win at the cash tables the next day, got me to my usual net positive result at the tables for the trip.

With my Hendon Mob listing for the year in hand I went for a ten day bender in Las Vegas highlighted by my first appearance in the Senior’s Event. I managed to chip up nicely and take a big stack into the last two levels of Day One only to see it all go up in smoke as the day ended. No cash, no glory. Nuts!

For awhile I stuck to smaller buyin events at venues other than the WSOP. That went well when I managed to snag 2nd place in a 6 way chop at a NLHE Turbo at Planet Hollywood. I actually chopped for $2,800 which is a good bit more than what is shown on Hendon Mob. That score would guarantee me another net win road trip although, once again, I failed to cover all of my travel expenses.

I eventually made it back to the Rio and played in a $185 WSOP Deepstack tournament. I registered at the very last minute and, after a few epic bluffs, managed to cash in a tournament at the Rio for the first time. I also had 2 nice scores at the PLO and Big O cash tables and so I was definitely starting to feel more comfortable playing at the WSOP.

That was it for poker in 2015. A change of jobs kept me away from the tables and I was very concerned about keeping my Hendon Mob streak alive in 2016. I will report on that next time.

I Didn’t Come All this Way to Fold

Between the first place finish in late 2013 and a weekly 2 table $20 rebuy tournament in Austin that I was crushing fairly regularly I was feeling pretty good about my tournament play. Sadly work was intense and so my chances to get my Hendon Mob score would be limited. I tried a couple of events in New Orleans during the WSOP circuit event there but not only did I fail to score in the tournies, but I left a cash table that hit a bad beat jackpot to go join the Senior’s event. Argh! Fortunately the cash games were good to me and I followed my usual pattern of finishing as a net winner at the poker tables, but not enough to cover the travel expenses.

My annual June pilgrimage to Vegas did not fair much better until I entered the Big O tournament at the Grand Poker Series at the Golden Nugget. Back then the Nugget featured lots of mixed game tournaments and so I spent plenty of time there. Finally I got a breakthrough by refusing to fold in an all-in situation with just a draw just a few spots from the money. It was a flush and open ender with 2 cards to come and, as it turns out, I was up against top set. Fortunately I hit and then held to scoop the monster pot and went on to manage a 10th place finish earning my lone Hendon mob listing for the year.


Harrah’s New Orleans 1st Timer

So I went to Louisiana to play poker for the first time last spring. My first session at Harrah’s in NOLA was fun. It started by asking the manager to explain 4-12 Omaha. He started explaining Omaha and I stopped him short. “I know Omaha. What does 4-12 mean?” He explained it was just 4-8 Omaha but with 12 dollar bets on the turn and river. “OK”, I said, “Put me on that list and put me at a 4-8 LHE table for now.”

The 4-8 session went fine. I won $120 in about 90 minutes and certainly would have won more if some of the drunks had just played a little faster. Eventually the 4-8-12 Omaha table started and, after a very quick break, I headed over there to claim my seat. The first 2 hands I folded preflop as my cards weren’t good for LO8. I was amazed how loose the table was and it seemed to me like lot of people must have been chasing lows that didn’t make it when the board did not cooperate.

The third hand I decided to play with a marginal A-5-7-8 in the cutoff since the Ace was suited in clubs. The flop had 2 clubs and two low cards including a 5. Not a great opportunity for a scoop, but I had a shot at the high and with 6 players staying in post flop, I clearly had to raise my draw. The turn card was a low card and the UTG player bet out for the first time. He got 4 callers before it got to me and so this was an easy call. The river was the beautiful jack of clubs and this time the UTG bet and someone raised him before it got back to me for my raise. Wow! I was gonna get 1/2 of a massive pot.

So we turn up the cards and the dealer shoves the whole pot in my direction. I said “No one had a low?” and the table bursts out laughing. ‘Wrong game buddy!’ It was Omaha High only and so this entire monster pot was mine.

So I won this huge pot and the whole table thinks I am an idiot to boot. What they didn’t know was that I played a huge amount of 5-10 and 10-20 limit omaha online about 6 years ago and did quite well against the tourists on 888 poker. In fact even though I have played fewer hours overall, I am sure that I play LO much better than LO8 (which, of course, is a much more complicated game.) I racked up another $600 of profit at that table and it was the easiest money I ever won from a poker game.