Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It's been a while since my last update, no excuses really, just been lazy/nothing exciting to write about/no deep finishes. And it's not because I've been away from poker, it's quite the opposite actually. I've been putting in a lot of time online and live in the past 3 months and I feel like I'm back in full stride and my confidence is as high as ever. It feels really good to be excited about poker again. I haven't cashed in the last few tourneys I've played in, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything different, that's just the nature of tournament poker.

Actually, I did win a major tournament recently, WNP. For some reason it's not recognized by CardPlayer yet, but we are working on that. For those people who have never heard of it, it's kind of like PAD but without the TVs and the players are much better. ;)

In the past couple of months I played in the Caesars Palace Classic, the B.C. Poker Championships, a small tourney in Turning Stone, NY and the LAPT event in Mexico. I'm taking this month off from traveling but I'll be back on the road after Christmas.

Our local casino (Casino du Lac Leamy) recently added live poker tables to their poker room to replace the electronic ones. I must say, the action has been amazing! The rake is a little high, but it's so good to have a real poker room so close to home. If you live close to Ottawa be sure to check it out!

I'll be playing the PCA in the Bahamas from January 5th - 10th. It will be nice to get away from the cold and snow! After that, there is an EPT event in Deauville, France on January 20th. I'm not 100% sure I'm going to that one because I'm also thinking of spending about a month in L.A. to play in the LAPC, where they're holding around 35 events, starting on January 22nd.

My CardPlayer articles should be back for the new year, I haven't written any in the past few months but I have some good new material to work with now. Also, Season 3 of the Myst Poker Tour is scheduled to start around March. Once again, we will be sending someone to play in the World Series of Poker for free! Stay tuned for details...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WPT North American Championship - 5th place - $196,851.00

One day I am going to win a major tournament. I might be 75 years old, but I will do it. As I write this report, I'm sitting in the Philadelphia airport waiting for my flight to Vegas. My flight leaves in one hour, so I'm going to recap the last few days of the tournament fairly quickly.

If you were following the tournament, you probably read about my call on Day 2 with Kigh high in a $100k+ pot. Instead of writing out my thought process, there's an interview I did with Amanda Leatherman about the hand on, I'll try to embed it into this post later.

On Day 3, it was a rollercoaster with me going up to $650k, made an ill-timed bluff, then down under $100k when my KK got cracked by AQ, then back up to $424k before the end of the day.

On Day 4, my stack quickly grew as I knocked out Vivek Rajkumar when I flopped a flush against his aces and he shoved for 2.5x the pot. The turn was an Ace but he didn't fill up on the river and I was up to $1.7 million. I proceeded to go on a tear, and won a race against Erik Seidel with AK against his QQ. I was at $3.2 million at dinner break with 9 people left and chipleader. After dinner, we played for another 2 hours before we got down to the final six, and I don't think I even picked up the blinds once. I would raise and get re-raised and have to fold, or I would raise, and my c-bet would get raised and I would have to fold. It was all small pots but I dropped down to $1.85 million by the time we went to the final table.

At the final table, I had so many opportunities to double up but nothing went my way. I had Gavin Smith on my right, and at $15k/$30k blinds he would make it $85k. I called on the button twice, with 88 and QhTh, and both times was re-raised by an amateur player in the BB to an even $200k. So both times it was $115k more to me into a $250k pot and it was almost 100% that the BB was shoving for over $1 million on the flop. With the 88, the flop came J97 and he shoved, I thought forever and folded, I can't wait to see it on TV. I think he had QQ or KK, but I could be wrong and he might have got a little happy with AK. With the QhTh, the door card was a Q, but the flop came out KQ7 and he pushed all in again. I put him on AK or AA and folded. I thought he was a pretty tight player, but he played his last hand against Gavin so badly, putting in $1.7 million with 77, that I'm starting to rethink my folds.

I was quickly down to 1 million at the first break and in rough shape with the blinds going up to $20k/$40k. I knew I had to pick up some chips, and I was just hoping my timing would be right. A few hands in, the online pro Ryan makes it $110k to go, and Gavin flat calls from the SB. I look down at 64 in the BB. There is now $280k in the pot, and I decide to move in. I know Gavin calls with any two cards preflop, so I'm really only worried about Ryan. He folds, and Gavin quickly folds. The very next hand, Kathy Liebert opens to $110k from the cutoff, and she hasn't played a hand in a long time and has been blinding out. I know she desperately needs to pick up some chips, Gavin flat calls again from the button. Now there's $300k in the pot and I look down at 9d5d. I quickly move in, before I can talk myself out of it. :) Another thing is, Gavin and Kathy probably thought I was full of it last hand, but they must be thinking "Ok, he may be crazy, but not crazy enough to do that twice in a row with air."

Now I'm up to $1.6 million and I have some momentum behind me. A few hands later, Gavin makes it $110k, and I look down at JJ. I bump it up to $400k and it folds back to Gavin and he quickly folds. I show my hand, knowing that when someone shows a good hand, it looks like they are setting up a bluff. I'm just praying for a big hand, and 3 hands later, I get it! QQ in the big blind, here we go! An older gentleman, who has been playing super tight, but usually opening for 3x the blinds, makes it $200k to go utg (5x the blinds). From playing with him the previous day, I knew he had the tendency to entice action with a monster, and overbet to protect vulnerable hands. So now his range in my head is pocket 55-JJ, AK, and AQ (mayyybe AJ at the very low end of his range). It folds to me and I instantly push all-in, knowing there's a very likely chance I'm getting called, especially with the image I've set up. He thinks for about 5-10 seconds, in my head I'm saying "call call call", and he calls! I confidently flip up my QQ and he shows AK! Nooooooo, the only hand he could have that I did not want to see! :( I turned around to my friends with a disgusted look on my face, and they all thought he had Aces because they couldn't see the hand. I yelled over to them that he had AK and they breathed a sigh of relief and started yelling for a Queen. Unfortunately, the door card was an Ace, and no matter how hard they yelled, the Queen wouldn't come. Just like that it was all over yet again. The first time in the whole tournament that I was all in and called for all of my chips, but it was not meant to be.

I want to thank everyone who made the trip to Niagara to cheer me on at the final table. We had around 20 people, family and friends from Ottawa, Toronto, and Cleveland. I was trying so hard for that elusive win, but I still had a great time none the less. Next time, next time...

A few fun facts from my five final table appearances:

- the player who knocked me out at the final table went on to win the tournament every time

- I've never won a single race or an all in when I was behind since the one time when I beat Marcel Luske's 88 with Jd7d at my first final table

- in the first four final tables, my placing was always an even number: 4th, 6th, 6th, 2nd. When we were down to 5 people in Niagara, I said to Gavin, "Well, I can't be the next one out because I always finish in the even numbers. He replied "Well, I guess that means you can't finish first then!" LOL! Well, at least I broke the even number curse. :)

I'm on my way to Vegas for the 2008 Caesars Palace Classic. This update is getting too long as it is... I'll try to do another update this weekend. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WPT North American Championship - Day 1

I came to Niagara on Friday night for the second time in less than a week, after spending last weekend out here playing the cash games. It went pretty well. They were spreading $5/$10 PLO and apparently they just started playing it here. There were a couple of solid young players, but as for the rest, you know how that goes; calling pot bets with top pair on a draw heavy board, playing for their whole stack with dry Aces no matter what the board was, calling pot bets on the turn with a Q high flush draw on a paired board, etc etc. Good times.

Yesterday was the second of three starting days, and even though I was a bit tired from arriving here late the night before, I decided it would be better to play on the second day than the third. My reasoning for this is pretty simple; most of the big name pros play lots of events, so they don't have the time to travel to a tournament a few days in advance. They usually want to be in and out of there as soon as possible. Therefore most of them would want to play on the third starting day, that way they wouldn't have to waste any time with days off in between. Of course the first day would have been the best to play on.

I arrived at my table about five minutes late after some registration issues, and I was pleased to not recognize any of the faces at my table. A couple of guys seemed like online pros just from their demeanor, but nothing too crazy. The structure was great as always, the blinds started at $50/$100 with a $30,000 starting stack, and 90 minute levels.

I started off fast as usual, playing lots of small pots and establishing a loose table image. I was up to $40,000 after about half an hour after winning a few small pots. Then came my first big pot of the day, which probably ended up being one of the best calls I've made in a major tournament. Three people limped at $50/$100, and I bumped it up to $450 with KdQd on the button, two players called. Flop was Jc9c4d. First player checked, second led out for $600, which was weird because he normally check called with a piece of the board. I made it $1,900, first player folded, and the other called. Turn 7d, giving me a flush draw to go with my gutshot and two overs. He checks, I bet $3,500, and he calls. River is the 2h, and he instantly leads for $6,000. His line was odd, if he had a big hand it seemed like a check raise was in order with such a draw heavy board on the turn. It just smelled like a missed draw to me. I was almost sure of this, but then I thought, what if he missed with an Ace high flush draw? I can't beat that! I kept asking him if he had QT, and he didn't answer. Eventually I threw in the $6000, and he says "Good call." I'm still not that comfortable in case he has Ace high. After a few seconds he flips up QT! Phew! I say "King high baby!" in a miserably failed attempt to mimick Scotty Nguyen.

That put me at over $50,000 chips and in really good shape still in the first level. We had one really bad player at our table who was pretty much playing every pot. He would limp and then cold call a 3 bet regularly. Or 3 bet every time there was a raise in front of him. He was really unpredictable and his stack was fluctuating a lot. Of course I had to get in a big hand with him. Second level, blinds $100/$200, it folds to me in the cutoff and I look down at AcJc and bump it up to $550. Folds to previously mentioned player and he 3 bets to $1,500. I call. Flop comes JT3r. He bets $2,000, I call. Turn 8. He bets $4,000 with another $8,000 behind. I put him all in and he calls and shows AA. Ouch. Back down to ~$40,000 I go.

The next big pot I played was during the same level, against the toughest player at the table. He has read my blog before so I won't reveal my holecards in this hand until later on. I promised him I would tell him but only after one of us was eliminated from the tournament, and we're both still in so... He raised in MP to $600, I called on the button, and the BB called. Flop was KdQd3d. BB checked, he led out for $1,350, I made it $4,350, BB folds, he calls. Turn 4x, he checks, I bet $8,000, he calls. River 7x. He checks, I push all in. He tanks forever and after five minutes he folds. He goes, "I know you have the Ace of diamonds but what was your other card?" ;)

I stayed between $50,000 and $55,000 for the rest of the level and then I was dealt AsQd on the button with blinds $100/$200 with a $25 ante. Cutoff limps for $200, I make it $1,200, he is the only caller. Flop comes JT3. He checks, I bet $2,500, he calls. Turn K, bink! He leads out for $2,500, I make it $6,500, he tanks and then pushes for around $14,000 more. I insta call and he shows QJ. He gets up out of his seat, and the river is a 9, he sits back down and says, "Chop pot!" Umm, not quite, gg sir.

That put me at around $80,000 which would be my peak for the day. Then the worst thing happened, I got moved to a table full of solid young online players. There was one guy with over $140,000 when I sat down, and he was literally opening preflop every single hand. I was two to his right, so I was calling almost every single hand, and nobody was 3 betting very often, because big stack would never fold pre. At $100/$200/$25, he called a 3 bet to $5,400 preflop with Ah9h and won a $70,000 pot calling down every street on a T88AQ board.

The only time I got a hand against him was in the last level of the day with blinds at $300/$600/$75. I had AK on the button, and he opened to $1,600, I made it $7,000, he called. Flop was J64r. He checked, I bet $11,000 and he pushed all in. I just couldn't get him, but I have to admit, he played the big stack really well, pushing everyone around and being fearless. He finished with almost $200,000, insane! I grinded back up to ~$75,000, when I was dealt my least favourite hand in Niagara, JJ. I raised it up to $1,600 and a young French player pushed all in for ~$9,000. I called and he showed AK. Door card on the flop was a K, just like I went out last year. I should just fold it pre! I won the last two pots of the day to finish with $69,100 with the average around $45,000. Play resumes on Monday.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I almost forgot what that word meant. As I have done for the past 3 years, I played very little poker this summer outside of the WSOP in Las Vegas. I have mostly been enjoying the summer; visiting my family down south, going to my first NFL game, renting a cottage for a few weekends with my buddies, basically getting out of the house as much as possible. I've also been working on a couple of little projects.

With the summer now over, it's back to business. I know, I know, I still haven't made that announcement that I've been talking about for the past couple of months, but there are still a couple of things that need to be sorted out. I promise, this is the last time I mention it before it's ready.

As for my next major tournament, I will be playing in the $10,000 WPT event in Niagara Falls for the 3rd year. As you may recall, in 2006 I made the final table and finished in 6th for ~$170,000, and in 2007 I almost repeated, but was eliminated in 25th place for ~$50,000. This is the only major tournament of the year where I'm playing at "home", so I hope I can make the most of it and do my country proud.

I might go a little early and play some of the side events, if there are any. My updates are few and far between at the moment, but after I start playing regularly again they should be back to normal. Either that, or I got lazy, I'm hoping it's the former. ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Long Time No Blog

It's been a while since my last update, where do I begin? I guess I'll try to recap most of the WSOP. I know I said I planned on playing in at least 10 events this year, but that didn't happen. I ended up playing in 4 events, and cashing in a whopping zero of them. I played the $1500 H.O.R.S.E., $1500 PLO, $1500 Limit Shootout, and of course the $10,000 Main Event.

I also played a couple of tourneys at other casinos, and did well in one of them. I was chip leader in one of the $500 Venetian Deep Stack tourneys with 45 people left out of 500. Then I went on to lose two huge pots to 98 suited to blow out and cash for a measly $951.

In the Main Event, I played on Day 1b and I was actually chip leader a couple of times late in the day. I finished the day with $86,725. On Day 2 I got off to an amazing start and quickly found myself at $170,000 and top 5 in chips. At $300/$600 blinds, UTG made it $1600, one caller, and I called another $1000 in the BB with 87. The flop came Q54r. I checked, UTG bet $3000, other player folded. UTG had another $90,000 behind and he was the type of player to never fold a hand like AA or even AQ. I called for the gutter, and the turn was a 6, giving my the nut straight! I check, he bets $6000, I think and make it $25,000 and he insta-calls. I'm laughing in my head, his chips are already in my stack and he's drawing dead for sure. River pairs the 6, which I didn't mind because now it's even easier for him to call with an overpair. I bet $50,000 to make it look like a bluff, and he insta-pushes for $16,000 more. I almost puked on the table. I obv can never fold here, I called and he flipped over 44, for the rivered boat. Not that I want my opponents to play good, but he almost has to pray I have a straight on the turn, because otherwise he has 1 out!

After that I tilted off some of my stack, and then check-raised Tony Hachem all-in on a 643 flop with 85, and he called with QQ and I missed. I had raised in the cutoff and he 3-bet me from the button and I called. After the flop, I was hoping he had AK or AQ but even if he called I was drawing live.

I would have probably folded pre if I wasn't steaming, especially against a decent player like Tony. I used to always laugh at people like Hellmuth when they leave the table to walk off a bad beat or any big loss for that matter. In my head I used to say "why would you walk away, what if you get Aces?" Now I'm thinking a walk would have definitely helped me out, after the big hand I still had an average stack and lots of play. You live and you learn.

I played a bunch of cash games, mostly $25/$50 PLO with a $100 straddle on the button at the Rio. The game was always very soft. The very first hand I stacked an older guy on the flop for like 200 BBs when he was already drawing dead. I think the funniest part of my trip was the fact that I spent almost a month and a half in Vegas, and I never once played NL Hold'em until the Main Event!

For my whole trip I stayed at the Venetian. It's my favourite hotel in Vegas, but that's probably because of Tao. We'd go down to the pool or Tao Beach in the morning for some swimming and tanning in the average 112 degree heat. Then we'd go back to the hotel to have lunch and hang out. Then head to Tao to have the best sushi in the world for dinner. After that, we'd try to get into Tao's nightclub. We got in a few times, but most of the time we had trouble and didn't feel like waiting in line for 2 hours minimum. One time I was with my friend and my cousin and we wanted to skip the line so I talked to the doorman to see what it was going to take. He seemed pretty anal so I figured it was going to take a lot. We offered him $100 a head to go in. He didn't even look at me! I'm like "wow, this guy's serious". Then I told him we also wanted to buy a bottle ($450 for the cheapest bottle). He goes, "oh, you want a table?" In my head I'm like, "sweet, we're in". I tell him, "yeah we want a table." He goes "ok, it's minimum 2 bottles per table". I say, "come on man we're 3 guys and we already had a bunch of drinks in your restaurant". He replies, "ok if you only want 1 bottle, you have to buy a minimum $700 bottle." My casino host couldn't do anything either since the Tao isn't owned by the Venetian. Needless to say, we went elsewhere. I guess we should make reservations next time, considering it's the most profitable restaurant/nightclub in the whole world. :P Last year the Tao itself made more money than the whole Tropicana Casino and Hotel Resort! Crazy.

We saw a bunch of shows, Le RĂªve at the Wynn beats all of the Cirque du Soleil shows, that was pretty amazing. Shopped a bunch, checked out the grand opening of Christian Audigier's Nightclub at Treasure Island, that was cool, lots of celebs. In other parts of Vegas I ran into Lil Jon, Randy Jackson, Armin van Buuren, Paris Hilton, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Ray Romano.

I'm still looking for a condo on the strip. Right now Planet Hollywood, MGM, and CityCentre are my options. CityCentre is my favourite, but the prices are ridic. It's awesome because it's next door to the Bellagio. It will be nice to spend the 3 or 4 winter months in Vegas and the month for the WSOP every year. The other months I'd rent it out. It's nice because the top half of the building is condos, and the bottom half is hotel. So you have access to room service, housekeeping, concierge, valet, pool, fitness, spa etc even though you own your condo. When you're not there, the hotel will rent your room out for you, and they take a cut and give you the rest. The hotel changes the sheets and cleans up of course.

After rereading the last few paragraphs I sound like Phil Hellmuth lol. But whatever it was an awesome trip! A bunch of people have messaged me asking what the big news was that I mentioned previously. Sorry for the delay, but I had to talk to a few people about what I can and can't say at the moment, my next update will almost surely reveal it.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

MPT Season 2 Finale and Radio Interview

This past Tuesday was the VIP Finale of the Myst Poker Tour's 2nd Season! We had 11 strong weeks, and we were pushing near 200 players for the last few weeks. A huge congratulations to bigchico10 for winning the championship in a very tough heads up match against DBernardo.

As a result, he will be joining Team Eurolinx in Vegas! We will keep you updated on how he makes out. Also, stay tuned for the announcement of Season 3, which will only be bigger and better! Thanks to Lone Star restaurant for hosting the events, and to Niko and the crew for once again doing an outstanding job running the tournaments.

Also, the interview I did with 103.7 BOB FM while I was in Monaco is now available for listening by clicking here.

Vegas in 2 days!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stupid Laptop

I had a long post written up recapping the Vancouver tournament, but my laptop overheated and shut off, causing me to lose everything I had written. I know, I should have been using Word or another program which would still have saved it, but that would be too convenient.

I really don't feel like writing everything over again, so I will just recap the last hand. I had built up my original $15,000 starting stack to $50,000 with the blinds at $200/$400/$50 and I was in great shape to go deep.

I was playing like a complete maniac and opening at least 4 or 5 pots an orbit, when I pick up AA in mid position. People were starting to play back a bit so I knew some sparks were about to fly. UTG limps, I raise to $1600, folds to the BB who calls, UTG folds. The BB is the only player at the table who has me covered. The flop comes K42. BB checks, I bet $3500, BB calls. Turn is an A, giving me top set and putting 2 diamonds on board. BB checks, I bet $7500, he pushes all in! I pretty much insta call and he flips over 53. I miss my 10 outs on the river and I just leave the table in shock.

The average stack around the time was $28,000 and the pot was over $100,000. Looking back at the hand, I guess you could give him 53 there, but there are too many sets, 2 pairs, combo draw hands to get away from that.

Vegas is getting closer! I'm thinking of pushing my departure date back a few days because I have a bunch of things I'm working on right now. I might leave around June 8th or 9th.