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Daniel - Poker Journal

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Real Poker

20 Mar 2006

Yesterday I played a little more online poker and continued to run poorly. I started out ahead about $20,000, but that quickly turned. Some highlight stats:

I had AA seven times, losing five, my opponent folded on the button once, and I won the other one.

My opponent showed AA four times. On each occasion I had: JJ QQ JJ KK! I lost all four.

I lost with top set three times:

AA vs 9-10... board: A K J/ 4/ Q
99 vs Kd-3s... board 9s 3c 4s/ 10s/ Qs
JJ vs K-8... board J 7 5/ 6/ 8

The hand that finally made me give it up after being $70,000 loser was:

A9 vs Qc Jc... flop Ac 6s 2d/ 10c/ 8c

In every one of these pots we jammed it up on every street.


So this "morning" when I got up at about 1:30pm I decided to head down to the Bellagio to play some live action poker.

When I got there the game was three handed, $4000-$8000 mixed. The games were:

Limit Hold'em
No Limit Hold'em (1k-2k blinds, 1k ante with a 100k cap)
Omaha H/L
Pot Limit Omaha (1k-2k blinds, with a 100k cap
7 Card Stud
7 Card Stud 8 or better
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Regular
2-7 Triple Draw
2-7 No Limit Single Draw (1k-2k blinds with a 100k cap)

I probably enjoy this mix of games more than any other. It gives you a wide variety to say the least and also tests overall poker skill. To be on "TV" you wouldn't need any of these skills, but if you want to be a REAL poker player this is the ONLY place to do it. You canít be the best if you donít play with the best- and win. It is the pinnacle of poker. No, you wonít get ďfamousĒ by playing in this game, but you will earn the respect of your peers and get a taste for what poker is really all about.

I sat down in the game with $300,000, more than willing to reload if necessary. Early on, it looked like I'd have to reload quicker than I expected.

The first key pot I played was in Pot Limit Omaha. I was dealt Ah Ad 5h 5d and raised from early position to $6000. David Benyamine, who just re-raised on the previous hand declared that he was "steaming" and re-raised me to $21,000. That's music to my ears with such a monster hand.

I went ahead and re-raised the pot, and we each threw in $100,000 a piece. "I've got two pair and double suited aces," I said to David.

"No, you really have that," he asked? Then promptly turned over virtually the same hand with As Ac 7s 7c. Obviously I was hoping for a better situation that that, but I got my money in as the favorite.

Don't believe me? Try running the two hands heads up. Sure the 77 will beat the 55 if they BOTH flop a set, but I have the added win of the 2-3-4 straight. That is MUCH more likely to happen than set over set.

Unfortunately, the flop came K-8-7. We ran it twice from there as I had two back door flush draws, but I missed both and was stuck $200,000 right off the bat.

I started a comeback in Omaha H/L with the following hand:

David Benyamine raised and was called from the button and the small blind. I was dealt 8-8-9-9 in the big blind and took a flop. The flop came 9-6-3 rainbow.

I bet $4000, David raised, the button called, I re-raised, David re-raised, and I capped it three ways.

The turn came the Kc presenting a back door flush draw. Once again I bet, David raised, the button called, I re-raised, and they both called.

Now I'm thinking to myself, what does a safe card look like? The river came.... a 9! That's pretty safe I'd say! I bet out and David called with a smaller full house. As it turned out, nobody had the back door flush draw so my only threat was a straight card.

I continued the comeback in limit hold'em with the following hand:

I raised on the button with 6d 9d and the big blind called. The flop came Jd 6s 9h. The big blind checked and called. The turn came the 7d giving me a flush draw to go along with my two pair.

This time, my opponent led out and I raised it to $16,000. He made it $24,000, and I made it $32,000.

The river came a 9 and I got called by the big blind. As it turned out, I was beat! My opponent had 5d 8d for a straight on the turn with a smaller flush draw.

I lost a few pots after that and struggled between $100,000 to $150,000 stuck. The next interesting hand came in No Limit 2-7.

Chau raised to $13,000 from late position and Eli called. Eli was only playing another $30,000 or so, which meant that he most certainly didn't have a pat hand.

I assumed he'd be committed to the pot, but I was also pretty sure that if he was pat he would have went all in pre-flop to protect his hand.

I was in the small blind with 5-6-7-9-J. Not a great hand, but there was a lot of money out there. I knew that Eli would call if I went all in, but that wasn't so bad. My Jack low would be a favorite over his draw anyway, plus I'd have some dead money in there if Chau didn't call.

I capped it, betting $100,000. Chau went into the tank for quite a while. I did NOT want him to call. If he calls, I might be totally dead. I wasn't about to draw to a 5-6-7-9, so if he had my Jack beat it was all over for me.

Chau finally called with a draw to 2-4-5-7. Eli was drawing to 2-5-6-8. For the main pot, Eli quickly turned over a 10 which beat me, but the more important pot for me was the side pot with Chau. He squeezed his cards and let me know, "50-50." He looked at the side of his card and knew that it was either the Ac or the 3c.

The 3c, and I'm out $100,000. If it's the Ace, I'll pick up $60,000 from Chau, but have to pay off $40,000 to Eli. It was an Ace, and I made a small profit in a sticky situation.

The last hand I want to share happened in Omaha H/L and Eli is going to hate me for this one!

A couple players limped, Chau raised from the button, Eli called from the small blind, and I defended my big blind with Ad 10d 5s Jc.

The flop came Qc 2c 7d. We all checked to Chau who bet the flop. Eli called, as did I with an A-5 low draw, and a couple back door draws (nut flush and straight draws.)

The turn came the 9s and Eli bet out. Now I had an interesting dilemma. I wasn't going to fold now that I had an open ended straight draw, but I also wondered whether or not I could "make my low draw good" by knocking out Chau.

Also, I could represent Queens and Nines and if the river comes a blank card I may be able to bluff a big pot. I raised, and Chau quickly called. That told me that he must have a club draw as well as a better low draw.

Eli called, and I was kind of screwed at this point. The river came another 9, and Eli bet out. Hmm... that seemed odd? "I" was the one representing Queens and Nines here, so why is Eli betting?

I figured he could easily have a 9, but if he did, he certainly didn't have Queens and Nines. If he had top two pairs, I would have heard from him on the turn.

With $100,000 in the pot after Eli's bet, I decided to invest another $16,000 and try to continue my bluff, representing the Q-9. Chau moaned as he folded, confirming that he missed a big draw, and Eli thought about the call.

I didn't look at him, I just started blankly at the flop trying to not give anything away. Eventually, he mucked a pair of kings and I stole a $100,000 pot!

There was a lot more to this hand, but I can't go into too much detail since I KNOW Eli will be reading this blog... hi Eli! :-) Good lay down buddy, lol.

I can needle Eli because he is a good sport. Normally I wouldn't do that, but he is a big boy and he can handle it, right Eli?

Frankly, I think he made a good lay down 90% of the time, but there was something else he did in this hand that lost him the pot before the lay down.

After an 8.5 hour session the game broke down and I "escaped" with a tiny win of $25,000. Hey, it's better than losing right?

Overall I think I played very well, but I did leave a $13,000 pot out there for Jennifer that I should have won. What was my excuse? An untimely text message made me lose my train of thought. Doh!

After the session Jennifer and I headed to the bar to catch up a little bit since we hadn't see each other much recently.

About 8 years ago, that was a nightly event. We'd play poker all day, and then talk about poker and other random stuff over at the bar. Back then, the hot spot in Vegas was the Mirage before the Bellagio opened and took away all of the high limit action.

All in all, it was a day well spent. The time just flew by and I could have played for another 12-16 hours easy.


Aside from that, I'm currently watching Survivor All-Stars. I met Boston Rob in LA last month and he suggested that I watch it. I explained to him that I loved the "poker" behind the show, so he said to me, "If you like that part of the game than you are going to love this one. Just watch it, trust me. Then tell me what you think."

Dude, so far, you da man big time Boston Rob. Wow, so far he's been kicking butt in the challenges and has set up alliances with, like, everybody! Two person alliance, five person, tribe alliance, etc. He's got all of his bases covered.

Of course I've only watched the first six episodes (watched them all last night), but so far I'm loving this season of Survivor. The fact that all these guys have played the game before adds a totally new dynamic to the show. It's pure psychological warfare all the way.

I havenít decided yet what my plan is for tomorrow. I have to catch up on some writing, but frankly, Iím just not in the mood. I might head down to Bellagio again tomorrow, or if not, but go bang my head against the wall playing heads up online ARRRRGGGHHH!!!


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