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Daniel - Poker Journal

Good Day/Night Playing Online

17 Feb 2008

I woke up at 7:30pm local time. Was out drinking in the casino last night after doing an appearance for I-Play, the company that produced my cell phone game/video tips.

It was a fun group of people, a wide variety of countries and cultures represented. After the day of teaching/playing the group headed to the bar and we talked about a wide variety of topics: including politics. About 10 people there from Austria, England, France, Sweden, Norway, etc. and ithe conversation went well. Every single one of them had much love for Barack Obama and are rooting for him. Makes for an easy conversation when everyone agrees on such a hot topic.

When I woke up I decided to check out what was going on at PokerStars. I missed the 20 man, $5000 buy in winner take all tournament as it sells out at 20. I bought into the Sunday Million and also noticed 4 people in the $10,000 High Stakes Showdown. I've played it twice, winning it once in an 8 man field, so I decided to give it a try. We were able to fill the tourney out at 8 players.

My first opponent I'd never seen before: fluffygrl. I handled that match in record time winning in the first level, close to an hour ahead of anyone else. I held some hands, and when I did, I got paid pretty good on them. The match took a total of 89 hands. On the last hand he raised to 150 from the button and I re-raised to 450 and he called. The flop came 9-7-2 and I put him all in, he only had 1750 left at that point and made a call with 66. Next match:

Genius28 was up next and despite playing less hands total in that match, we actually made it to the second level, playing a total of 79 hands. I've played a lot of heads up poker with Genius28 in the 5k sit n' gos online at PokerStars.
We also met in the previous High Stakes Showdown that I won. In sit n' gos he's ahead 7-6 but I was up 1-0 in the HSS. I enjoy playing him, he's very good heads up and it makes me try harder than I normally might. To win I have to play my best against him, anything less and he would pwn me.
I hit some hands in that match too until the final hand when he raised from the button to 200 (blinds 100-200). I min raise heads up, but Genius28 normally makes it 3x the blinds. I suspected it may have a bit to do with me having a 3-1 chip lead before the hand started (14605-5395).
I called in the BB with AJ. The flop came 5-6-9 rainbow and I check-called 250. The turn brought a J so I led out for 500- he called. The river was a 10 and I wanted to value bet what I felt was the best hand, so I fired out 1100. Genius28 moved all in for 4445 and I went into the tank. Finally I made the call and he showed QJ.

That got me to the final against philivey2694 who some railbirds explained to me was Isaac Haxton, the kid who chewed out Joe Sebok on Poker Road radio. It actually helped to know who he was because I could then expect a more aggressive approach. He is, by far, the most aggressive heads up player I've ever faced in these things. His aggression level is like 10 times that of Genius28 so playing him is a bit different.

This match lasted 132 hands and ended in level 2. I was chip leader in the early going before losing a pot when I made the nuts straight on the river, only to see him turn over a rivered flush. That had be down to about 7200 to his 12,800 but that's as bad as it would get for me.

The key pre-flop all in pot we played had him starting the hand with 12100 to my 7900. He raised from the button to 300 (3x) as he did 100% of the time. Even with 7-2 off suit, he would raise from the button. As I said, he's the most aggressive player I'd ever faced heads up. Playing a guy like that can be difficult sometimes because it forces you to do some uncomfortable guesswork.

So on this hand I had JJ and re-raised to 1100. He comes over the top again and I call for 6800 more. I normally wouldn't play the hand like this heads up, but I'd already picked up on the fact that he would be willing to re-raise me pre-flop with marginal hands. Against another player I might not re-raise before the flop, but if I did, I could probably fold to a push. Not this guy though. I called and he showed 44.

That gave me the lead and I was able to grind him down a bit more before the final hand that we started: Me 14550- 5450. He raised from the button to 300 and I called from the BB with 2h 3h. Flop comes Qs 6s 5h. It goes check-check.

Turn is the 4h giving me the bottom end straight, but also a flush draw to boot. I bet 300, he makes it 1200 and I decide to shove all in and he calls me quickly. He shows 4-5 and the river is the Jh and I make the flush too.

It was a fun event as I got a chance to play against three completely different opponents as far as strategy is concerned. I think I played excellently in every match. I never played a big pot from behind and was in control of every match, despite allowing Haxton to take the role of aggressive player.

Ideally you want to be the aggressor heads up, but if your opponent pushes the envelope to the point where they are uber-aggressive, you can actually beat them by sitting back a little bit and playing a more solid game- hoping they'll make a big mistake.

My approach is pretty simple. I min raise on the button a high percentage of the time and I rarely re-raise from the big blind. On the flop, I bet 50% of the pot a high percentage of the time. There is one other strategy adjustment that I do make, but it's not something I can share as it gives away too much info.

I can understand why people make it 3x on the button, but I think it's a mistake against most good players. I think 2x on the button is more profitable heads up. At the NBC Heads Up this year, I'll be making it 2x until the blinds get up there and I'm forced to either limp or push.

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All the while I was still in the Sunday Million although not paying any attention to it really. There were over 7000 players and I found myself in the money again, down to 734th. I got super lucky late in that thing, pushing short stacked with Qd 10d and cracking AA. A few hands later the button raised and I pushed with A-2. He called with A-10 and I cracked that too!

I then dumped back half my stack with AJ and QJ in back to back hands. My final push was with Q-10 and I got called by KJ.

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Poker feels "easy" to me right now and that's a great sign going into the EPT Copenhagen. Monday I'm hosting the Scandinavian Poker Awards and then tomorrow, I start on Day 1A. In the meantime I'm going to veg, sweat the hockey games, and maybe watch a movie... that, and have breakfast. It's 4:30am here now and breakfast starts at 6:30am.

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