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Daniel - Poker Journal

Back to Back Cashes with a 35th

08 Nov 2008



Before I went to Europe I told a friend that I was ready to "dominate." That I was ready to play my best and start to crush the tournament scene. Since then, only in the EPT event in Barcelona have I been eliminated on a day one. I also have been chip leader in at least five different tournament late in the game. My best finish was the 5th at the WSOP Europe, but I've also tied the record for most WPT cashes with 17. I'll be looking to extend that to 18 at the Bellagio in December and with the structures as good as they are, I'd be willing to take a decent price that I cash again.
I've just been falling card dead at the worst time ever- the late stages where you really need to pick up some hands. I fought valiantly again today, but couldn't get on a rush after losing a key pot to Jonathan Little. I lost 120,000 in chips on the hand but am extremely happy with the way I played the hand as I felt like I saved the last bet against him where I could have easily moved in pre-flop or on the flop, but chose a different line, call pre-flop, check min raise the flop and fold to the all in move.

The day just started off totally dead for me. At the 1200-2400 level my standard raise is to 5800... and I never had even one opportunity to open a pot! About the fourth hand in I limped from the small blind with AK expecting the big blind to raise it. He was looking to push and I totally knew it. He did, and I called. He showed Q-5 and the board came 5-9-10-K-Q. For the entire 90 minute level I folded A-10 and also Ad 2d, both to big over bets, and never even got one hand like J-10, or even 6c 9c! I played one other hand, 88 from the small blind calling a raise and turning a set to win a decent pot. It was so frustrating, but I showed solid patience and waited it out.

The slow roll guy ran into Mr.Karma. I predicted he would finish 54th, just outside the money and take a terrible beat. Well, he finished 70th and did take an awful beat. Jonathan Little, raised with A-7, a late position player called, and slow roller went all in with A-J. Little moved all in behind him and the other player folded. Aside from Little's play in the hand being absolutely incorrect and bad, the flop came K-10-7... A.... 2. Little should have folded his hand pre-flop, that's not debatable at all really, but he must have been tapped on the shoulder by father Karma and decided to go bonkers with the A-7 and knocked out the slow roller.

Later I ran into the shove guy again, the Q-5 man. I raised the button to 9500 with Ac 10c and he shoved for over 90,000 from the small blind! It was a brutal spot for me, because there is just no way I could give this guy even an ounce of credit for a legitimate hand. He played his short stack crazy aggressive and I felt like he'd shove there with any random two. I called, and he showed A-6. I was almost upset he did that! It was weird, a nice guy, but he certainly wasn't there to wait around, that much is for sure :-)

Yesterday I'd say my patience was at about 61% with my focus at about 68%. My patience number being lower had a lot to do with the table set up. They played a bit tight and weak so I pushed the envelope a little bit.

Today, my patience was high, 97% but I never got that rush I needed. Focus was a bit low, maybe 62% because with a short stack there is little to do but wait and be patient which can take you out of the game a little bit.

Since the WSOP main event where I was eliminated on day 1, my results have been pretty good despite falling short in the late stages:

WPT Bike: 60th place
EPT Barcelona: Day 1 Exit
WSOPE NLH 1500: 24th (cash) $7,985
WSOPE HORSE 2500: 14th (cash) $10,122
WSOPE PLO 5000: Early Exit
WSOPE NLH 10000: 5th (cash) $386,144
EPT London High Roller crap shoot: 15th
WPT Niagara: Day 2 Exit
WPT Bellagio: 50th (cash) $7105
WPT Foxwoods: 35th (cash) $21,3210


My mindset is very solid right now and consistent deep runs does wonders for your confidence. My approach is systematic mostly, using almost exclusively the small ball approach that I teach at www.pokervt.com. It works, and when I have faith in the system results follow. It's only when I veer too far from that fundamental system do I get myself into trouble spots. With deep stacks, a good structure, and long levels, this approach makes it relatively easy to get deep in these tournaments.

I'll now be flying back to Vegas to sweat the final table of the WSOP main event. I'd like to see Kelly Kim double up and become a threat because I like his style. I'd also like to see Demidov do well, he is the real deal. I hear Eastgate is quite the player and he'll be interesting to watch, and of course, the crowd favorite has to be Chino. He better bring his A game because he's got a pretty big rooting section from what I hear. I won't be there in time for the start, but I'll go home, shower, maybe take a quick nap, and be there for most of the evening.

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