Thursday, January 03, 2013

On to 2013!

First of all, happy new year to all my loyal readers! 2012 was a great year for me, and it's going to be hard to top, at least in terms of poker results, in 2013. But I'll for damn sure be trying my hardest anyways! The year ended more quietly for me results-wise, as trips to Macau, Montreal, and Prague resulted in some big stacks and deep runs but no final tables. Two 12th place finishes and a 14th make me feel good that I was giving myself chances, and if I hadn't run into aces so much deep in these events I may well have added another nice score or two to cap the year. I was lucky to have some swaps come through so I probably still made some money overall, and of course those three cities are an awful lot of fun.

After so much travel for live events in the latter part of 2012 I was planning to cut back a little in 2013, but the schedule is just too good and winter in Toronto so bad that I just feel compelled to play everything for the next month. I'll be flying to Bahamas for the PCA on Friday for the $100k super high-roller event and the rest of the schedule there that follows. I've never been a huge fan of PCA, but I can't find an excuse to skip it this year as Fallsview has finally done the obvious thing and moved their series back a week so as not to compete. After PCA it's back to Canada for Fallsview and then I make my annual trek to Melbourne, Australia for Aussie Millions. It's going to be a crazy month whatever happens, and hopefully lucrative as well!

Mike

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

€50K Specialist

The WSOP happened again this summer, and while my HendonMob page wouldn't indicate I was there I can assure you I was. My plan to play less events didn't really happen either. What that means in real words is that I played a whole lot of poker tournaments in Las Vegas this summer and lost 100% of the money I invested into them. I took a month off before heading to Barcelona for the first event of this year's EPT schedule. Barcelona is an amazing city but this trip was mostly business. The one amazing thing I got to experience was watching the first leg of El Clasico, the huge soccer match between Barca and Real Madrid. The first event I played was the €50k high roller, and as the title would indicate, it went well.

After building a big stack on Day 1 I fought my way to the final table on the 2nd day as one of the short stacks. It was all I could do to sit back and watch my roommate Dan Smith decimate player after player. Coming into the final table, three of my friends had the vast majority of the chips: Dan, timex, and JC Alvarado. The other five players including myself were relatively close in chip count, but all the money was in the top three places so it didn't make much sense to just sit around and try to wait people out. Unfortunately, my cards dictated that was my only choice for the first few hours of play, and no one was busting. As I was so short nothing interesting happened at the final table, I just managed to win a few preflop all-ins in a row. I was briefly in contention to make a run at the title but I lost my next all-in and was eliminated by JC in 3rd place for €400k. Dan went on to win again (obviously)! I also ended up finishing 10th in the 2k side event, which didn't pay much but at least broke my streak of three consecutive live cashes where Dan had finished higher than me.

I went home after Barca and grinded WCOOP online, and while I managed to win a 2nd chance event for around $35k it was still easily a net-negative series for me. It was immediately back on the road after WCOOP as I took my talents to the southern beach town of Cannes, France for WSOP Europe. My more loyal fans (hi mom and dad) would recall that I very nearly won a bracelet there last year, and then followed that up with a win in the turbo side event, cashing around a quarter million euros combined. It was the beginning of the great run I've been on in European tournaments, so I was feeling confident. This confidence showed as I screwed up my French less often in my brief interactions with taxi drivers and at restaurants.

I also played fine on the felt and I min-cashed the €10k mix-max event, but had no luck in any of the other bracelet events. I was planning to leave early and go to Sanremo for the €5k IPT high-roller event, but then I heard that the €50k side event in Cannes was actually going to attract a lot of more casual players than I would have expected. I was able to get the money together to play, and you should have a pretty good idea how this turns out. I doubled up with aces the first hand I played and it was smooth sailing from there. Actually the first half of that sentence is true but the rest is anything but. I struggled to get anything going again on day 2, and by the time we reached the final table of 9 players with 8 spots paying I was the short stack. Much to my dismay we ended play for the night still on the bubble and I got to stew all night on the fact that I was probably going to be the bubble boy.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Once again I went on an incredible heater after folding all the way down to starting stack for the tournament! I won a series of coin flips, doubled when I flopped top pair with a weak hand out of the big blind, and then decided coin flips were too easy and won AJ vs AK all-in preflop twice in a row to take the majority of Richard Yong and John Juanda's chips 3-handed. The win was good for €1 million, my second ever 7-figure score and first in over four years!

After Cannes was Sanremo where I tried to go back-to-back with a deepish run in the main event but ended up 59th. I also cashed another €5k turbo event, just to make sure people know those are still my domain too. Next up is ACOP Macau, followed by WPT Montreal and EPT Prague most likely. I'm really enjoying traveling and playing live right now so for the time being I'm going to keep playing the rush!

Mike

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Europe, SCOOP, meh WSOP

Poker has continued to go well lately. My most recent trip began in Dublin where I min-cashed the Irish Open. I also went to the Guinness brewery and maybe a pub or two. Next up was Vienna. Vienna is a really nice city, but after Dublin the night life mostly disappointed. I had no luck in the tournaments there, but my boy Scott Seiver won the premiere league for half a million so we made some party after that. My last night there I had a great night out with my Aussie mates at an Australian backpacker type of pub that had a great laid back vibe and was a ton of fun. Next up was Berlin. Berlin seemed awesome and while I again didn't do as much of the touristy stuff as I probably should have I did go to two excellent restaurants, a steakhouse I forget the name of and Hartmann's, which was more of the typical Michelin star French fare. My biggest complaint about Berlin was that there was none of the great German beer I'm used to drinking! Everywhere they drank Pilsner Urquell and Radeberger - Czech pilsners, and not much in the way of the amazing Oktoberfest style lagers and Weissbier German beer is typically more famous for. I guess that's more Munich style but I found it strange. I won the 5k turbo, my last event there, for 70k euro, which covered most of the buyins for the trip!

 The final leg was Monte Carlo. I've been there several times before for the grand final and it has to be one of the most overrated destinations on the poker circuit. Don't get me wrong, it's unbelievably beautiful there and definitely worth seeing. But don't spend any time there. Everything is way too expensive, and while the food is of course excellent there's nothing great in terms of night life. Fortunately, I was pretty much just there to play poker so that wasn't of great concern. The problem was that so too was my roommate "Truck" Dan Smith. I finished 11th and 8th or something in the 5k full ring and 6-max side events respectively after having a lot of chips deep in both. Dan just decided to win both of them as well as the 5k turbo though, so I never really had a chance. Easily one of the most insane weeks ever. I cashed for enough that I booked a decent win on my own play, and while I didn't swap with Dan in any of his wins I did have another swap come through to make it a very profitable trip. The trip ended with the Pokerstars party and me making some quality 4am decisions and not getting home til 8am. Believe me, I wish that was actually what it sounds like.

Upon returning to Toronto SCOOP started almost immediately and I decided to go get that internet money. In the first week I ended up finishing second in the 1k +1k bounty event for $81k plus a handful of bounties. Once again I wasn't satisfied just to cover my buy-ins, and I final tabled the 1k triple draw for $8k and finally I had my first truly huge Sunday score! Technically it was a Monday score I guess since it was a 2-day event, but regardless, finishing 2nd in the $2k 6-max SCOOP for $221k was a great feeling!

 So now I'm rich again and I'm off to Vegas to dump it all back at the World Series. If I can have a winning SCOOP though anything seems possible. Maybe even a winning World Series! If only Tony wasn't still drawing stone dead. I'm planning to play a lot less events this summer for several reasons and hopefully a little more cash, a lot more golf and basketball, and maybe a little more party. Also, more 51s games to watch the Jays top prospects hit moonshots in the desert air while pounding dollar beers. Alright that should get you about caught up. As always, updates on @SirWatts, and drunken profanity-laced rants and witty/brilliant observations on my other secret Twitter account so I can keep my respectable nice guy public image because I want my mom to keep loving me.

 Mike

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oops

Alright I'll skip the apologies and get to writing there's obviously a lot to catch up on. Prague went pretty well except for the part where I was grinding everyday and didn't see any of the city. I played a lot of poker to end up 9th in the WPT, so close to that big score I haven't had in so long! In the EPT I made it into the money and lost a decent sized pot with the best hand for a min-cash. Prague seemed like an amazing city, hopefully the next time I'm there I'll bust everything on day 1.

My string of winning poker trips continued at Epic as I shipped the $2k turbo side event for $40k. I also got 2nd in the charity event. Good thing I played that one so I could keep my card for the second season which is totally going to happen. I said it'd be 50/50 before Epic started that there was ever a second season but I figured they probably at least have the funding in place for the entire first season. Oh well.

After the holidays I took off to Australia for a week of golfing and Portsea pubbing before Aussie Millions. I had no luck down under this year but as always I very much enjoyed myself. I played the $100k event for the first time and lost a lot of my and my friends money. Honestly I could have won but I just decided to let Dan have one.



I skipped LAPC this year and went back to Fallsview to defend my 2nd place from last year. I failed, and then have mostly been in Toronto since then. Online has not been going terribly well this year either when I've played. My PLO results have been mediocre and tournaments have been going very poorly as of late. I had my first chance of the year for a big score three days ago in the Ongame Grand Slam $5k event however. Unfortunately I could only manage another 9th as luck again was not on my side at the final table. I'm very happy with the amount of chances I've been giving myself lately though and eventually I'll convert a big one. I definitely think I'm playing better than ever, even if the learning curve has resulted in me making some big mistakes I would never have made before.

Next up is another big Europe trip! I will be touring around the continent again in April to play the Irish Open in Dublin, WPT Vienna, EPT Berlin, and finally the EPT Grand Final which has returned to Monte Carlo. There are almost no breaks in the schedule so I will be grinding like crazy again. Honestly, I'm a shitty tourist anyways so it's probably for the best.

Mike

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vancouver and Onwards: Prague, Epic #3, etc

Two blogs in a week?! Crazy, I know. Really it's just because I was tired and got carried away making fun of my friends and forgot to write about some stuff, but I'm going to say it counts. Between rolling around in my purple euros and grinding online I also went to Vancouver for a week after my Eurotrip to visit friends and play the BC Poker Classic. I busted the main very quickly but final tabled the $5k high roller event. I ended up placing 7th when I got AQ in vs KK, but given I won 99 vs KK all-in on the exact bubble I can't complain.

Tonight I leave for Prague where I'll be playing the WPT as well as the EPT and side events. Unfortunately I connect in Heathrow tomorrow morning where apparently there is a 24 hour border control strike. Heathrow is brutal at the best of times and with amateurs working the passport control it's likely to be a shit show. I only have an hour-forty to make my connection to Prague and I'm pretty concerned this going to turn into one of those travel horror stories. If you awake to find a ranting series of rage tweets from me you'll know why. I'm very excited for the trip though as I've heard so many amazing things about Prague and of course the tournaments should be great value.

After Prague I fly straight to Vegas for the 3rd Epic main event as well as the charity event. Not a lot to say here other than if timex can win one I like my chances. After that I'm home to Newfoundland for Xmas, and while I haven't quite finalized my plans for the new year yet I'm probably going to go straight to Australia for a month skipping PCA then come back for the events at Fallsview which are now in February. This is subject to change if I do well in Epic and qualify for the freeroll which is at the same time. The first 10 days or so in Australia a bunch of us are renting a house down the Mornington Peninsula and spending our days golfing the various courses in the area and then hitting the Portsea pub for a couple jugs of beer and some fresh seafood. It is unlikely to suck.

Mike

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Upswing!

I've been even lazier than usual about blogging lately despite the fact that there's actually been quite a bit to write about. It seems my attention span has continued to shrink to the point I have a hard time explaining what's on my mind using more than 140 characters at a time. Nonetheless I shall do my best to crank out a blog entry that isn't entirely the regurgitation of my last 100 tweets and actually goes into some small amount of meaningful detail on at least two occasions or something. I'm losing focus already so let's get onto it.

Last time I left you just as I was heading to Vegas for the 2nd Epic event. Things were going well for me and with three tables left I won AA vs KK all-in preflop for 10 times starting stack and I must have been top 3 in chips. Unfortunately, after that things stopped going so smoothly and then timex got moved to my left and I punted him a bunch of chips with top pair against an overpair when I played it kinda bad. He subsequently busted me in a standard spot. Here is a picture of me all-in with my 96s against his AK after I wished him terrible luck in the hand. Hopefully that made the TV broadcast.

Don't you still just hate him?

Anyways we'd swapped 10% and he ended up winning so I still got pretty paid and crashed his party and drank all his kegs and told all his friends how awful a human being he is, so I'd say I got the last laugh.

[Ed Note: a certain 4-letter noun has been removed from the last two paragraphs in 4 different locations and the adjective formed with the suffix "y" an additional six. I'm told I'm too vulgar]

Next up was a super awesome Eurotrip that began in Munich for Oktoberfest. Yes, it was incredibly amazing, and yes I am a better person than you because I was there and you weren't. The four us surprisingly survived the three days with merely minor battle scars. No one fell off a table and broke their head or anything. Outside of winning stuffed animals at the carnival games and bringing them to the beer hall with us where we force fed them alcohol no crimes were committed. Our stuffed turtle developed a serious drinking problem he may never recover from. Some drunk bitch grabbed our stuffed tiger and tossed him across the hall. I have never seen Scott angrier I thought he might pimp slap a ho. An extensive search was eventually called off. It is presumed he was trampled to death. We poured one out for our dead homie and soldiered on.

After that we flew to London for the EPT there. I did not sleep well and played kinda bad in the main event. I did however cash the 2k side event for my first live cash in 9 months or so! Then I played a hand even worse. The short version is after a series of comical mistakes I arrived at the river holding T7o in the small blind on a board of 97675. I checked the BB bet 17k, button called and with the game theory optimal hand to bluff with in this situation I went all-in for 50k total. This would be kinda cool if I had like 100k but obviously it did not work here.

Then I went to France and won all the money in Cannes. The final table of the 3200 shoot-out was incredibly tough but I made it heads-up with the chip lead after getting really lucky against Elky a couple times. Not a lot went right in the heads-up though and I bubbled my first ever bracelet at my first WSOP final table. Still I won like 112k euros for 2nd place. I had a decent run in the main event but lost my first all-in despite having the best hand. This worked out ok though, as the next day I beat 58 people to take down the 5k Euro turbo side event for another 105k. I was told at the bar later that I was allowed to be happy I won a tournament! I, however, stake Tony Dunst in poker tournaments so I knew the winnings would be short-lived.

Next up was EPT San Remo and I fought my way into the top 128 players who made the money yet again! I then busted the next hand to finish exactly 128th. I had a lot of chips in the 2k side event at one point but I kinda got velocitized and spewed them off. Velocitized is some term Driver's Ed people made up for the feeling of when you get off the highway where you were driving real fast onto city streets where the speed limit is lower but you still want to drive fast because you're now accustomed to it and it doesn't feel fast.

I am now coining the term in poker to mean when you've just played a bunch of hands against some euro tards and gotten the money in semi-light and been right a few times in a row because they're idiots and never have anything but still try to win every pot, but then you get in a pot against a solid player and you forget that you can't just 3b/call it off against his early position raise with TT for 40bb. So that happened and I lost a flip and I bubbled. Then I left and went back to Canada because San Remo sucks, especially when you've already been eating pasta and/or pizza for half your meals for the previous two weeks.

Since then I've spent most of my time rolling around in purple euros and playing online a bit. PLO cash has still been going really well overall though I haven't played as many hands as I should have, and I even had a decent Sunday score one week. Tony has a lot more work to do if he's still going to try to bankrupt me.

Mike

Monday, September 05, 2011

PLO, WCOOP, Epic

It's been a really crazy summer since I got back to Toronto. In the recent weeks a lot of my friends from Vegas have moved here to keep playing online poker which has made the city even more fun. While my bankroll may have taken a hit from Black Friday my social life at least has improved.

I've gotten back to grinding a good amount of PLO cash, by my standards anyways, and have run really hot. Unfortunately this has all been at 5/10 and not 25/50+, but nonetheless it's been a good run. I've never been good at grinding a huge amount of cash hands as my game tends to slip after a couple hours and I need to take a break, but my success has definitely made me want to play more. I'm pretty good at 6-tabling and I'm trying to work up to 8-tabling more when I feel relatively focused. This is all 6-handed games.



WCOOP started yesterday and I'm definitely planning to grind as much as possible. I'm going to miss a lot of days for things like Epic (which starts tomorrow), family visiting, etc... but that's really not a big deal. My plan will likely be just to play WCOOP and maybe a couple other bigger tournaments while continuing to grind PLO cash on the side since it's a lot more profitable. Between the waking early(ish) to play some of the events on the new schedule and long days it will be good to have days off anyways to avoid getting burnt out. WCOOP tends to be very frustrating in that the events have really long structures but huge fields. Often you end up playing for a very long time just to bubble an event or get 12th or something that is kinda close but doesn't actually pay much.

Epic Poker League main event #2 begins tomorrow as I mentioned earlier so I'm flying to Vegas tonight. Hopefully I'll still be there on Friday. Other than Sundays I basically haven't been playing any online tournaments. I won an EPT London package which was nice, but other than that just have a 10th and 12th in medium-sized events to show for myself. I've run really hot at building stacks and in the money percentage, but very poorly deep. Oh well, hopefully just saving my luck for all the huge live events in the coming months!

Mike