How to Play Poker Basics
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Texas Holdem Rules
Texas Hold'em Games
Omaha Poker Scooping
World Poker Tour
Official Poker Rankings
I was able to squeeze in two days of poker this week and they both were fantastic sessions. I am looking forward to playing live
action poker full-time again. At the start of the year, I will be playing in the casinos at least four days a week which is something
I haven't done in more than five years.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I will be starting a new website which will still talk about poker, so if you are interested in
finding out how I am doing at the tables, there should be mentions in the new blog. In addition to talking about poker, I will be
talking about my family, friends, travel, and fitness. Those four things contribute greatly to who I am and I look forward to sharing
those things on the new blog like I have shared my poker life on here.
I will be writing a final journal entry on the 1st of January which will be on the main journal page. All other entries can still be
found in the archives linked above.
It has been a pleasure writing for eight full years. Thanks to all who have been faithful readers since the beginning and thanks to
the new readers who have joined along the way!
I have been so busy with the holiday season that I haven't had a chance to play very much poker. I intend to get back to the games
after Christmas, but I have a feeling that I won't be able to play as much as I would like until after the New Year.
As I stated in the last journal entry, I will be leaving PokerStars in a few months which means that I will be leaving Poker-Babes.
Many of you who follow my journal on a regular basis know that I sold this website to PokerStars in early 2010. I was fortunate that
they asked me to continue to work with them for two years, but that time has come to an end. I will be launching a new website within
the month and I intend to start a new journal of some sorts. Since poker is such a huge part of my life, I am certain that I will
continue to write about poker, but I am not going to limit myself to that subject.
As far as Poker-Babes, I will post a couple more journal entries by the end of the year, but I won't be posting any in 2012. By the
time, I make my last post here, I will have kept this journal updated for 8 full years. I can't believe that it has been so long!
I only played twice this week, but still made a small profit. Transitioning back to live action poker has been rewarding both
financially and socially and I think it is going to be interesting to see how things go when I start doing it full time again. My
consulting job with Stars is scheduled to end in four months and I am going to have to put in a lot more hours at the tables if I want
my income to be consistent.
Leaving Stars is going to be hard. During the last ten years, they have been a MAJOR part of my life and happiness. Because of them, I
was able to quit my job, travel all over the world, meet all sorts of new people (many of which are still my closest friends), work
flexible hours so I could spend more time with my family and friends, and last but not least...I have been able to play poker. Lots
and lots of poker.
Fortunately all that poker has paid off. I am now able to consistently beat the games I am playing in and if everything continues as
it has, I will be able to live a comfortable life strictly from putting the hours in at the table.
Of course, my game is not perfect and I am constantly learning. This week I learned that I need to work on my mindset a little more. I
am having a little trouble with remembering that poker is one never ending session and it's all about the bottom line.
My first session last week went well. I sat down and went on a major rush. I won a little more than $2,000 in the first hour and for a
brief moment, I was tempted to just pack it in and call it a day. That thought quickly left my mind when I thought some of the things
Steve has taught me.
1. Play longer sessions when you are winning and shorter ones when you are losing because generally speaking (and it certainly rings
true for me), people play better when they are winning and worse when they are losing.
2. Let the game dictate what time you leave. If the game is a good game, then stay. If the game is not so great, then leave even if
you are losing.
Because the game was so great, I decided to stay and I ended up going home an $800 winner.
The next session was the opposite. I started out losing about $1200 in a very short time and was kind of struggling to win pots. I
considered leaving, but then one of my favorite players joined the game. I stayed for 2 hours and left a $180 loser. The following
day, I called Steve and told him how messed up my thinking was regarding my two sessions. I told him the day after I won the $800, I
woke up really disappointed that I had so much more on the table at one time and only left with $800 and the day after I lost $180, I
felt like a million bucks because I recovered so much of my loss. He said it was no surprise that I felt like that since my sessions
ended like they did. I felt bad when my session ended on a horrible note ($1200 downswing) and felt good when my session ended up on a
good note ($1100 upswing). He reminded me that it is all about the bottom line. For the week, I was up. For the month, I was up. For
the year, I am up. Even though he has taught me this already, I need to be reminded every once in awhile.
Yesterday, the final six players of the Omaha Hi/Low tournament played until we had a winner. That winner was me.
As mentioned in my previous journal entry, I had a lot to overcome because the chip leader had 4x the amount of chips all of the rest
of us had. I was the first person to knock somebody out and it helped build my stack a little. I also knocked out the person who came
in fourth. Once it got down to three of us, we briefly discussed a deal. At this point, I was second in chips only trailing the chip
leader by about 20k. He asked if we were interested in doing a chip count deal and I replied with, "I am in it for the win." The other
guy said he felt the same way and the person who offered the chip count deal (the one who would have been declared the winner if we
did the deal) said he was in it for the same reason. It was then decided that we would play it all the way out.
Both players had their strengths and their weaknesses. The younger player who had gone into the day with the chip lead played pretty
solid poker. Almost all of the hands he turned over were legitimate and he played very straight forward. I felt like if I got heads-up
with him, I would have an easier time winning than I would with the other guy. The reason why I felt like this was because he plays
pretty straight forward. He checked his hands when he didn't hit the flop and he hardly ever check-raised me. Unfortunately, he was
eliminated in third place and I had to face the older gentleman.
When we got to heads-up play, he asked if I wanted to make any sort of save deal. We were pretty even in chips at this time (I had him
by a small margin) and I agreed to take $1k off first place and give it to second place, but wanted to play it out. It was strictly a
deal to flatten the pay schedule down a bit. We resumed play and he slowly took the lead from me. I knew I couldn't give him too many
chips because he would be relentless. Just as he started to go on a roll, we took a ten minute break. I used that time to call Steve
and fill him on how things were going. He said that he had been watching the live stream on the internet. He said that if I could gain
a little momentum, then it seemed like the guy would become frustrated and easier to beat. I told him that is exactly what I thought.
Throughout the day, when he lost a hand (especially when he had the best of it), he would become so upset that it would affect his
play for a few hands after that. If I could win a few in a row, then I knew I could win. After the break, he offered me $500 to "just
go away." That would mean that each of us were getting almost the same amount. I replied with "No way. Maybe if you get me down to one
chip, then I'll do it." That comment alone might have frustrated him, but when you factor in the couple of hands in a row that I won,
he was done. I won the tournament shortly after that.
A big thanks to Tricia and Jesse for coming out to rail me in person and for all of my friends who railed me via the internet and
I played in the Omaha Hi/Low tournament yesterday at Commerce and I made the final six. We will go back to today at 4:30 to resume
play and hopefully I can win this event as a birthday present to myself (my bday was on the 12th).
The tournament started out better than usual because I called Steve on my first break and had more chips than what I started with. It
is kind of a joke with us how I always call with news that my stack is less than what I started with on first break. It seems that is
how I run in tournaments even when I win them.
In this case, I got chips fairly early, but then I went completely card dead and my stack dwindled. I sat there patiently folding hand
after hand and then finally scooped a really nice three way pot when I made the nut low and a straight. I think the fact that I always
seem to be short stacked seems to help me in one way because I have learned to play very patiently. I don't have a problem playing
with very few chips and I can fold hand after hand rather than get involved when I shouldn't.
When we were at two tables, I was still very short, but my table was incredible and I knew there would be an opportunity for me to
take one or more of the players down. I sat there in amazement as one guy literally played 90% of the pots and won the majority of
them. Most of the hands he was playing were complete garbage and some of the plays he was making made me shake my head in disbelief
(shaking my head mentally of course because I didn't want him to know that I thought he was out of his mind). I tried to sit there
quietly, but one time I actually muttered, "Wow, he even value bet that" and the guy next to me glanced at me.
I did manage to win a pot or two off the guy and so did a couple other players. He is still one of the six remaining players and has
about the same amount of chips as me (he has 48,500 and I have 44,000). The chip leader is way in the lead with 177,000. The three
other players have between 20-35k). Hopefully, I can eliminate a couple of the short stacks and then work on destroying the guy with
the huge chip lead. I am hoping he will come back today without the horseshoe.
PokerStars is celebrating their ten year anniversary and as usual, they are celebrating BIG! So far they have announced that they
will be holding a $10mil guaranteed Sunday Million tournament on December 18th with a first prize of $2mil and they will also be
giving away packages to their PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament.
I have been experiencing a wide range of emotions when the ten year celebration was announced. At first, I was really sad and
disappointed that I couldn't participate and be part of the celebration. I would love to take a shot at the Sunday Million even though
I don't usually like to play NL tournaments. I would also love to win a seat to the PCA. The PCA is one of the best tournaments of the
year and I had a blast the two years I attended.
Once I got over my sadness (ok, I still haven't completely gotten over it), I started feeling happy about being part of the PokerStars
team for over ten years. Even though I can't play on the site, I still work with Stars on the business side and that has been more
rewarding than anything I could've ever imagined. I love working with the largest and greatest online company out there and I have a
great sense of satisfaction that I have been around since the beginning. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned on my journal that I was one
of the original beta testers for the site. A little more than ten years ago, I was playing on the site and giving my feedback to help
improve the site for it's official launch date. Since that date, I have worked with them on a wide variety of projects. The most
rewarding part for me was traveling to spectacular destinations playing in tournaments. Thanks to PokerStars, I have travelled to
Italy, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Mexico, and New Zealand. Ten years with PokerStars has been so rewarding that it is
impossible for me to be too sad about not being able to play.
I played in the mix game today and it didn't go so hot. I basically had one of those days where nothing went my way. There was one
hand toward the end of my session that summarized how things went with me.
I was in the cutoff position with A4KK suited. All players folded around to the guy directly in front of me. He raised, I reraised and
the guy on the button folded. I accomplished one of my missions and got the only player out who had position on me. The guy in the
small blind hesitated for a moment and then decided to play and the big blind folded. The guy in the small blind is an extremely loose
player and is one of the reasons why I love this particular game so much.
The flop came J82 and both players checked to me. I bet and only the player in the small blind called. The turn was another jack. He
checked to me and I bet again. I think there is a small possibility that he is going to check raise me here, but his range of hands is
so great that I have to get a value bet in. He only called me which convinced me that he did not have a jack in his hand. The
river is a queen. He checks to me, I think for a moment and know there is no way he has three jacks in this spot and he certainly
isn't going to check a full house. I decide to bet again and surprisingly, he raises me. As I am throwing my chips into the pot, I
ask, "Do you really have QQ?" and he replies with, "Do you really have jacks full?" He turns over 9TTT for a straight. Once I see his
hand, I am pissed, but also amused. I wouldn't play that hand for one chip when I am in the small blind let alone playing for three
bets like he did. I couldn't help myself and said "Are you serious?" He played his button and then left. He is not only great for the
game because of his terrible hand selection, but also because he will play all night if he is losing and will get up almost
immediately once he is winning. At this particular time, it was a little frustrating that he got up after winning that pot from me,
but overall I LOVE that he does that. When he left, I told the guy next to me, "I shouldn't have said anything to him" and his
response was, "Are you kidding? I wouldn't have handled it nearly as good as you."
Despite the fact that today went terribly, my loss wasn't huge. I will be back tomorrow.
I have been playing a lot of live action over the past couple of weeks and it has been going extremely well. The mix game seems like a
really good fit for me, but I have been also eyeballing the $40-80 Omaha Hi-Low game.
When I first started playing at Hollywood Park after Black Friday, I actually jumped in the Omaha game on one occasion and after
losing a couple of pots, the game broke around me. When I talked to some of the players, they informed me that the game centers around
a couple of players and when those players get up, the rest usually follow. Because I lost several hundred dollars and never had the
opportunity to try to recover my losses, my desire to jump into the game kind of soured. Over the past month, the game has seemed to
steady up a bit and I am really debating on giving it another shot.
For now, I am going to continue to play in the mix game and track my hourly rate. I am hoping that when my consulting contract with
PokerStars expires next year that I will be making enough additional income from poker that I won't actually have to get a traditional
job. The thought of going back to punching a time clock is soooooo NOT appealing.
PokerStars is running two Sunday Millions this weekend, both with a guarantee of a million dollars. I miss playing the Sunday
tournaments and when I hear news like this, it makes me miss it more.
Instead of playing online in the comfort of my own home, I have had to drive to the nearby casinos. It is fortunate that I live in Los
Angeles because I have several options to choose from and I can get to them within an hour from my home.
I went to Hollywood Park only once last week, but I had a good session. I spent about 8 hours in the game and enjoyed myself for the
most part (especially because I won), but there was one incident that almost tilted me. On this night, I had been playing a lot of
hands in the Omaha portion of the mix game. That's not too unusual for me because I have played the game for so long that I usually
know where my weaker hands hold up against my opponents. I also know which weaker hands to play and when I should be playing them. For
example, if I get dealt A59T suited, with one person posting, I will sometimes come in raising depending on my position. Often times,
I end up playing against the three random hands (the blinds and the poster) and my hand (suited aces, wheel cards, and broadway cards)
play pretty well against them. If I don't connect, I am pretty good at getting away from my hands cheaply. Obviously there is a lot
more to it than that, but the bottom line is in Omaha, I play a lot of hands because I feel comfortable doing so.
On this particular day, I won several pots in a short amount of time with my cheesy hands and I was frustrating a couple of players. I
got up to use the restroom and when I came back, I caught two of the players off guard. I heard one of them say "Have you seen the
hands she is turning over?" I was the only "she" at the table so they were definitely talking about me and I verified that by saying,
"You're talking about my crappy hands?" and the one player said "yes." For some reason, I let it get to me and said "Believe it or
not, I know what I am doing" and the guy said, "Yeah. I know. I know who you are." I didn't really know what to make about that. It
kind of sounded like a compliment, but at that same time, he had just been bashing me. I didn't say anything else to him, but I was
sitting there kind of steaming when my friend Jennifer walked up. She asked me how it was going and I quietly told her. She replied,
"Don't ever let ego get in the way of a poker game. Who cares what they think. Just take their money." She said a few words, but at
the same time, she said sooo much. Why was I even letting these guys get to me? I refocused and took a little more money off of them
before leaving for the day.
I played in the 20/40 Mix game yesterday and it started out pretty horribly. I was immediately seated in the must-move game and lost
two of the first hands I played in. I was down $600 and my day had barely even started. To make matters worse, several players in the
main game left which made our game extremely short. I don't mind playing short because I have had a lot of practice from playing
online for years. However, many live players (especially the older ones) get scared and will choose to sit out rather than play. That
is exactly what happened and our game broke.
I sat around for awhile, but was able to get in to the main game within the hour. The game was one of the best games I have played in
for years. I immediately scooped a pot in a Stud 08 hand where I had a seven low and aces up for high. That pot pretty much got me
even and then I won another hand soon after to put me in the profit zone. There was also lots of potential for me to win A LOT of
money because the guys had so much gamble in them. There was one guy who had about $2k dollars in front of him and I knew if he sat
there long enough, he would end up with none of it.
About two hours into my session, my game got even better! There is an older man (about 70) who I play tournaments with on a regular
basis. He likes to play EVERY single hand and will donate chips way too often. His strong suit is that he gets value out of his hands
because he has no problem getting chips into the pot and people have no choice but to pay him off because he is nearly impossible to
put on a hand. I haven't played cash games with him, but I was pretty confident he would be an asset to the game. I love playing with
the older gentleman, but it sure seems like I run bad when he is at my table. There has been several tournaments where I have a giant
chip stack and then lose most/all of my chips when he gets moved to my table (or I get moved to his). Because of this, I refer to him
as "Schleprock" when I talk to Steve. Schleprock is an old character from the Pebbles and Bam Bam show who was the most unlucky,
pathetic person and he was always shown with a dark rain cloud hovering above him. The old man isn't unlucky or pathetic, but he
certainly brings a rain cloud to the tables and it seems to hover over me. Regardless of how I perceive myself to run when he is at my
table, I will always keep my arms wide open for him if he wants to join in my game.
Several hours into Schleprock's session, he was winning about $1800 and I was still only winning $100. The other guy who had
about $2k in chips did manage to lose all of them and was playing with a big wad of $100 bills. At this point, I had been sitting
there for about 8-9 hour and had decided that I wouldn't leave until they did. They left about an hour later as did I and I only took
home a very small profit.
I was planning on going to the casino to play today, but the news regarding the DOJ and their amended civil complaint has kept me
glued to the computer screen. I have literally spent 8 hours on the computer and most of that time has been spent reading the poker
forums and reading/watching various news stories. I am interested in seeing how things play out.
I should be back in the casinos within a day or two.
I played the mix game at Hollywood Park yesterday and it was pretty uneventful. I was up about $300 for most of the afternoon until I
got involved in an Omaha hand where I had the nut flush draw and a
broadway draw for a scooper pot. Unfortunately I
missed my draw and lost almost all of my profits for the day. It was time for me to go. I was tired.
I decided to play one more round of Stud Eight or Better. On the final hand, I was dealt 642 with two hearts. I caught a three of
hearts, then a ten of hearts giving me the low draw, gutshot draw and flush draw. I caught an offsuit jack and on the final card, I
caught an offsuit nine. My friend Jennifer was sitting behind me and asked, "How do you miss that?" I just shrugged, but I really kind
of thinking that it was totally standard. Of course, I don't miss hands like that all the time and it is definitely NOT standard, but
it sure felt like it at that moment. I was bummed that on two hands, I lost my profits (and then some) and I decided to play one more
round of Omaha.
During that one round, I managed to get half of a pot when I turned the nut flush draw, the nut low draw and the wrap straight draw. I
caught the low card on the river, but it didn't complete my flush or straight. I was happy to take my half and walk away from the game
a $50 loser. On the last hand of the round, I folded and picked up a rack to start putting my chips away when the floorstaff announced
on the mic that the lucky table of the hour was table 7. That was my table. We decided to split the $400 prize instead of having them
draw the seat number and I took my $50 share and walked away totally even.
I only played one day this week which is a lot less than I had intended. I love the mix game at Hollywood Park because they only play
two games and they are the ones I am most comfortable playing; Omaha Hi-Low and Stud 08 or Better. It also helps that the games are
normally juicy and I like most of the players (emphasize most because there are a couple of players who really irritate me). It looks
like my schedule will become a lot more open later next week, so I will have a lot more time to play in the near future. I am hoping
to get to the casino at least three times a week.
Even though I would have liked to get to the casino more often, I have been having a blast over the last couple of weeks. I went to
see Sade in concert three times and I loved it EVERY single time. I am actually a little disappointed that it is all over and I won't
be seeing her for awhile. I hope that it doesn't take her another ten years to perform in concert. Regardless of how long it takes, I
will buy tickets to see her at least three times the next time she comes around.
I have also been spending a lot of time in Santa Barbara which is always nice. Steve bought a beautiful house up there and I have
spent several days each week visiting with him and/or helping him with things like removing wallpaper. Of course, I make sure there is
plenty of time to hang out on State Street where I can do a little outdoor shopping and dine at some of their great restaurants. I
will be heading up there again for a couple of days to finish the wallpaper removal (the lady he bought it from was wallpaper happy)
and then things should be pretty much back to normal for me which means back to poker.
The WCOOP event on PokerStars is only one week away and the schedule looks great! When Black Friday hit, many of my friends set up
residency in other countries. One person went to Asia, one went to Australia, a few to Canada, and three of my close friends went to
Mexico. All of them get to enjoy the WCOOP tournaments while I sit in the U.S. rooting for them. I am still considering setting up a
second home in another country so I can play online poker and seeing the schedule for the WCOOP makes me take one step closer to
actually doing so. I sooooo miss online poker.
I final tabled the Omaha event last night, but am still disappointed. I played really well and also ran well to get me to that final
table, but once I got there, I was coolered! I played four of the first six hands dealt and I didn't win any single hand. On the first
hand, I had the nut low draw, a wheel draw and a pair of deuces and got counterfeited on the river to give me bottom two pair and no
low. On another hand, I had a set with third low and my opponent scooped me. On another hand, I had A23K and bet my nut low and pair
of threes the whole way against one player who kept checking to me. He showed A2QQ for nut low and a pair of queens and took 3/4 of
the pot. My final hand, I had aces up with a weak low and my opponent made a small straight scooping me. I couldn't believe my
horrible luck and I am still shaking my head.
The Legends of Poker is now over for me because I have decided to skip the main event. I will hitting the cash game tables again which
have been very profitable for me.
I didn't make the money in either event last week. As a matter of fact, I never stood a chance in the E.O.. It seemed that I was
eliminated before the tournament ever really got started. I did a little better in the HORSE tournament and finished in about 38th
place. They only paid 16 players so it doesn't really make much of a difference that I lasted longer. I still got $0 for my efforts.
One of my friends, Carol ended up winning the event so that makes my defeat a little easier to swallow.
The next event I will be playing is the Omaha Hi/Low tournament on Wednesday. I will probably go play a little live action tomorrow to
pass the time. I hate that this series has so many NL events and that I have to wait so long to play the next mixed event.
The Legends of Poker has started and my first event will be the E.O. event tomorrow. The following day is the HORSE event so this week
looks like it will be filled with poker action because I have also been trying to squeeze in a little
live action at least once a week.
Even though I have been playing at the local casinos lately, I miss playing poker. I miss online poker and being able to play on a
more regular basis. I also miss traveling to play poker. It seems like forever since I have gone away on a nice trip even though in
reality, it has only been a few months. I was looking at the EPT schedule and saw that Barcelona is only a couple of weeks away. Most
likely, I won't be going, especially because it is last minute, but I am going to consider working something out. I will update my
journal later this week on how I did in the tournaments. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter for regular updates throughout the
My trip to Reno was a bust, but the trip was fantastic. We left a few days early so we could enjoy some other cities on our way. We
drove along the coast and stopped at Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo before heading towards the mountains where we spent a full day in
Lake Tahoe. I have been to Tahoe a few times before, but it has been about 6 years since my last visit. It is so beautiful there and I
made a mental note to not make it another six years before returning again.
As far as the the tournament goes, I only made it through half the field in the Omaha tournament and in the HORSE, I was eliminated in
15th place and they paid 9. I don't think I will be going back to Reno anytime soon and I am now considering going to Tahoe for their
WSOP Circuit Event in November.
The PokerStars WCOOP schedule has been announced and it looks great. It is so disappointing that I won't be able to play it in this
year due being a resident of the US. JoeUgly obviously agrees because he posted on Twitter, "As an American this seriously feels like
I am being mocked" in response to Liv Boeree's post, "Woohoo WCOOP schedule has been released!"
Another WSOP is in the books and the November 9 is set. I have enjoyed watching the coverage on ESPN 2 this year which is saying a lot
because I typically don't like watching poker on television. I thought that
Phil Hellmuth and
Antonio Esfandiari did a fantastic job at
commentating and I learned a great deal about their thought process and how I might improve mine in No-Limit Hold'em. I know many
people aren't a huge fan of Hellmuth, but I have always thought he was a decent person despite his crybaby antics and that he is a
talented tournament poker player. During this coverage, I liked him even more because he wasn't emotionally involved in the hands
being played so he was able to communicate his thoughts in a rational manner that made a lot of sense to me.
I am not too sure if I am going to use this newfound knowledge in any No-Limit tournament coming up. I am still not a huge fan of the
game and would much rather spend my time sitting in a mixed game. There are four mixed-game tournaments at the Legends and two in Reno
that I will be playing in for sure and if I get a wild hair, I might play in one or two No-Limit events as well.
I have been home from the WSOP for a little over a week now. I finally feel like I have recovered from the long hours I put in while
playing and decided to buckle down and write my 2011 World Series of
Poker Events Report.
Overall the series was good despite cashing in none of them. I freerolled into almost all of them by playing the cash games,
satellites, and smaller tournaments at other casinos. I plan on taking the same approach next year. I always heard the cash games were
good and now I know for certain that they are too good to pass up.
I will probably spend another day or two taking care of some business around the house before I head out to the casinos again.
Hollywood Park has a great mix game that I like to play in and then The Bicycle Casino will be having their Legends of Poker
series at the end of the month. As of now, there are four events that I plan on playing. I also have to go to Reno on some business
and might play a tournament or two while there. They have an Omaha tournament on one day and a HORSE event on the other day that I am
going to be in town... talk about great timing.
It's WSOP time and I am ready to kick some ass. I drove up early so I could have a night out on the town before buckling down and
taking care of business. I met a bunch of the media people for some bowling which meant very little of the bowling and a whole hell of
a lot of drinking. Today I will be playing my first event, $1500 Omaha Hi-Low. The rest of my schedule has yet to be determined.
I ended up finishing in fourth place in the HORSE event which is very disappointing. Overall, I have had a great month (two fourth
place finishes out of two events played), but I sooooo wanted to 3-peat.
It's early morning and I just got home from the HORSE tournament at Commerce. There are nine of us left and we resume in the afternoon
at 4pm. I won the title in 2009 and 2010 so I am going for my 3-peat. I will write more after it's over. For now, I gotta get some
I played in the Omaha tournament at the California State Poker Championship at the Commerce Casino. I ended up finishing fourth out of
149 players. Tournaments are so discouraging sometimes because rather than being proud of that fourth place finish, I feel
disappointed that it wasn't good enough. The funny thing is that even though I feel like that, I am ready to do it again today. Am I a
masochist of some sort?
Although there were some interesting hands, my favorite moment of the tournament was when
Jim Meehan asked the five
railbirds watching our table if they had an extra
buffet ticket. They fled like cockroaches in a well-lit room. I guess they realized they were drawing dead at our table.
I cashed out my PokerStars account the other day and literally got choked up about it. I have played on the site since its inception
in 2001 (actually before that because I was a beta tester) and I feel like a small part of me is missing.
I absolutely, wholeheartedly love PokerStars (you would think it was my company) and even more so I love the opportunities that it has
provided me. I am going to miss playing online poker and look forward to the day when our government comes to its senses.
I posted my complete trip report about my adventures in the 2011
LAPT Peru event. The two entries below (April 15 and April 14) discuss the poker portion of my trip.
Today has to be one of the worst days of my life and that is saying a lot since I have battled cancer and been divorced. Being
eliminated from the tournament was only a very very very tiny portion of how bad my day has been.
I went to the tournament feeling positive about my chances especially because I was finally over the hump of the strep throat mess. I
sat there patiently and played only a few small pots, but never getting too involved. I felt like I had a good read on most of the
players and was about ready to start making my move when Dave Behr, one of the reporters from PokerNews, came over and whispered in my
ear, ďDid you hear what happened? The DOJ put out arrest warrants for Isai, Ray Bitar, Scott Tom and eight other individuals who are
all probably payment processors. They have also seized the bank accounts of the processors.Ē I didnít know what to say, I think I
muttered, ďAre you fucking kidding me?Ē but I canít recall my exact words. My life as I knew it was officially over.
Three hands later, I was in the big blind when a player raised in mid to late position to $4700, the player on the button also called
and I looked down at AQ. The player who had originally raised had been playing a lot of pots and he could have been
holding anything. I decided to shove all of my $37,000 in chips. The guy thought about it for a very long time and finally called and
the other player mucked pocket deuces face up after acting like he was making a huge laydown. The caller turned over pocket sevens and
we were set to race. I saw a queen in the window, but immediately saw there was also a 7 on the flop. I didnít improve and was
eliminated. I walked out of the tournament room and ran into Thomas who knew I had just been eliminated. He said, ďAre you ok?Ē and I
said, ďI am ok regarding being eliminated from the tournament, but my world just came crashing down.Ē Thomas is one of the big guns on
the LAPT and he hadnít heard about the indictments yet. Once I informed him, he didnít seem too concerned, but he also lives in Costa Rica. I live in the
good ole USA, the country that keeps insisting on taking my rights away, the country that I had just paid a fortune to in taxes. Of
course the DOJ indicted the owners of my favorite online poker site on tax day AFTER I had already paid my taxes. It was all a
horrible, well-timed fiasco.
I play online poker and supplement my income by doing so, but I make almost all of my money by working with these online companies and
I didn't know what this was going to mean for me. If the DOJ just made it impossible for the online companies to transfer money to
players from the US, I didn't see how they were going to be able to make transfers to me for work I do. How was I going to be able to
continue working in this industry?
Poker has been my life for the past 8 years. It has provided me with a life that I once only dreamed of. I travel all over the world,
work flexible hours, and have made some of the best friends ever. All of those friendsí lives are also going to be changing. My best
girlfriend, Halli is finally working with PokerStars (a dream job of sorts) and she doesnít know if she has a job anymore, my writing
friends Pauly, Brad, Change 100 (and many many more) make most of their money by reporting on various tournaments and covering poker
news stories, my friends Tricia, Jesse, and Skye make their living strictly by playing online poker. I have so many more friends who
are going to be affected by the recent events, but right now I am kind of focusing on what my plans are going to be. I have somewhat
prepared myself for this day. I sold my site last year for a large sum of money and invested that money in a beautiful house by the
beach, I have stashed away money with a financial planner, and I have started working on projects that could provide alternate sources
of income. Even though I was somewhat prepared for this, I am devastated. Sos sensed my despair and said ďLetís go see the city and
enjoy our time in Lima.Ē
We took off on an adventure and it was exactly what I needed.
I played ten hours of poker today and despite getting cold-decked the last hour of play, I am happy with the way I played. During the
first fifteen minutes of the tournament, I doubled up. The blinds were 50-100 and I raised under the gun to 250 holding pocket eights,
a player in mid position called and the big blind reraised to 750. I called and the other player folded. The flop was T85 with two
spades. The big blind led out for $1500 and I called planning to make a move on the turn. The turn was a deuce of spades and the big
blind bet out 3k. I raised for a total of 9k and he just called. At this point, I was pretty certain that he didnít have the flush and
if a spade didnít hit the river, I would value bet for the remaining of his chips. The river was a 7 of clubs. He checked to me and I
bet $8k which left him about $700 in chips. I didnít want to make an all-in bet because I was thinking that he might release the hand
if he thought he might be eliminated from the tournament. I showed my set of eights and he flipped over two red queens. A few hands
later, I got the last of his chips when he raised to $250 and I reraised from the small blind to $800 holding pocket threes. He called
and turned up Q9 and flopped a nine, but I rivered a three and still sent him home as the first person eliminated from the tournament.
For several hours, I just held my own and then we took our dinner break. I sat with the writers and bitched at Pauly about how bored I
was sitting there playing No-Limit. Itís no secret that NL is my least favorite game, but I am forced to play it when I go on these
poker journeys because that is the game of choice for most people. Anyway, right after dinner break, I doubled up again when I called
a limped 5 way pot with me holding 34 of diamonds. The lady to my left reraised and every person called which gave me nice odds. The
flop was K98 of diamonds. She bet out with a pot size bet and all of the players folded to me and I shoved all-in. She got up from the
table stood behind her chair and was distraught over what to do. The longer she hesitated, the more it became clear to me what she
had. She had aces with no diamonds. She asked in Spanish whether I would show my hand if she folded. I didnít understand her so I just
sat there staring straight ahead. Manuel from Los Angeles was at my table and translated for me, but I pretended not to hear him and
continued to stare straight ahead. I was not even considering making her feel better if she correctly folded her hand. She called and
was drawing dead on the turn. I now had 52k in chips.
My table broke a couple of hours later and I couldnít get anything going on the other table. It was very frustrating for me and I
finished the night with 35k in chips.
In a few hours, I will be flying to Peru for another Latin American Poker Tour adventure. I am not only looking forward to the
tournament (the fields are typically softer on the LAPT events), but am also looking forward to doing a little site-seeing while I am
there. Going to Macchu Picchu has always been a dream of mine and I can't believe that I am finally going to make that happen.
I will try and post a couple of updates on my twitter page, but I won't be posting the full tournament report until I get home.
PokerStars has been having their 60 billionth hand promotion and I have been spending way too much time online hoping to be one of the
lucky winners. During most of the promotion, I behaved myself and only played about three tables which is the maximum amount that I
can actually concentrate on.
When the big hand (the 60 billionth hand) was nearing, I played for several hours and realized that it was going to take a lot longer
than I thought. At our current pace, the big hand was set to take place around 6 or 7 in the morning. I knew that the closer it got to
the actual hand, the quicker the pace was going to be because there were going to be more people playing at that time. I told Steve if
he happened to be awake when the hand was about to hit, then give me a call.
I didn't receive the call, but woke up on my around 4:30 my time. I went downstairs sat at my desk and jumped on as many games as
possible. I played 11 tables for about an hour when I got the announcement that the hand was hit. I found the table and observed the
action. The hand was dealt at a 6-handed $5-10 Limit Holdem table. One of the guys folded which was totally ridiculous to me
considering he was going to win at least $500 (but more likely would win a couple thousand) and the winner of the hand was going
to win at least $60,000. I was especially surprised he folded because the PokerStars host said (prior to dealing the hand), " "The
winner of the hand will have their prize money doubled. On top of that, they will receive an extra $60,000. And you can't win a hand
by folding." The guy who won it ended up taking home $102,090 and I am sure he was on cloud nine. I, on the other hand felt like a
total idiot. I lost about $300 trying to hit the hand all because I was playing more games than I could actually pay attention to. I
am sure if I had won, I wouldn't be thinking I was an idiot, but I didn't win. I don't know how some of these players can play 25
games at one time and actually pay attention. I do know for a fact that it is possible though. My friend, Andrew Li was the first
person to make Supernova Elite (SNE) this year and he did it by playing about 25 tables at a time. During that time, he only managed
to break even (which is quite a feat in itself) while playing, but earned quite a bit of money by achieving the SNE status which gives
cash rewards and other bonuses for players who actually reach it.
The Omaha event was a total bust. There were a total of 19 of us who made it to the final day, so we started the day with three
tables. Considering there were a couple of really short stacks, I knew we would be losing the one player fairly quickly and
consolidating down to two tables. This could be really good news for me or really bad news depending on where the button was going to
be. The tournament director drew for the button and it was in the worst possible position, two to my right. I was going to be the big
blind on the first hand of the tournament and I was going to lose a substantial amount of my chips if I got involved in a hand.
On our first hand, all of the players folded to the small blind and he just limped (very lucky for me). The flop totally missed me so
when he led out with a bet, I dumped my hand. The next hand I was in the small blind and everybody folded to me. I limped because the
player to my left was pretty passive and I knew he wouldn't create a big pot unless he actually had something. I flopped two pair and
a low draw. I led out and he called and once he did that I wasn't very interested in the hand. The turn was a blank and I hoped he
would check it behind me, but he bet. I reluctantly called hoping to hit low and get at least half of the pot. The river was a blank.
I checked and he checked behind me and showed his set. As he showed his hand, we lost a player at another table which meant our table
was breaking. I hoped that I was going to draw a more favorable position on the new table and have one complete round to find a
playable hand to make a stand with. Even though, I didn't get too involved on the first two hands I played, I lost a lot of my chips
because the limits were so high compared to our stack sizes (especially mine since I was one of the shorter stacks).
My new seat position wasn't too great. I was in middle position which meant I needed to find a hand to play within three hands or I
was going to be forced to take a stand in one of my blinds. The first hand, I got dealt AAKJ and raised. I was called by a player in
the blind. The flop was three connecting low cards and he led out. I mucked because the best case scenario was I was going to get half
the pot, but that was very unlikely considering the flop. The next hand after that, I was dealt A2JJ and raised again. All of the
players folded to the big blind and he looked at my chips stack and said "Ok, I will raise the last of your chips." He had some crap
hand like QJ75 and won when he flopped a queen and I failed to improve. The tournament went about as poorly as possible. I finished
18th and only received a small monetary prize.
The Big Event tournament series is happening at the Bicycle Casino and I just made the finals of the Omaha Hi/Low event. This is a
re-entry event which means that if you are eliminated on the first day, you can buy into the second day or third day. A percentage (7%
in this case) of the field from each starting day comes back to play on Day 2.
I played on Day 1a and made it through. There were eight of us that made it through and I am guessing that there will be 6 from Day 1b
and about 7 people from Day 1c. That means there will be a total of 21 players playing on Day 2. The good news is that I am guaranteed
to cash in this tournament, the bad news is the blinds are really high and I don't have a lot of chips. Anyone that knows me knows
that this is very familiar territory for me. It seems that I never have a lot of chips going into the final table, but somehow I
manage to make it work at times. Let's hope this is one case where I do.
Last week, the Bike had another Omaha Hi-Low tournament. The buy-in was $500 with one optional add-on. There were only 11 players in
the tournament and I won it. When we got down to four players, Jerry Buss was one of them and he said "I sure hope one of you knocks
the other two out." He obviously doesn't need the money, but is always looking for a win. Unfortunately for him, he was eliminated in
fourth place. When it got to the three of us, a deal was suggested. We were all even in chips and the blinds were relatively small to
our stacks. I declined the deal and we continued play. One of the guys eliminated the other and he had me outchipped by quite a bit.
He took a few pots off of me and had me at about a 7-1 chips deficit before I made a comeback and beat him. I hope it goes as well
I just booked my flight for the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) event in mid April. The event will be taking place in Lima, Peru and
I can't wait to go. This will be my third trip to South America but my first trip to Peru.
There are so many reasons why I like the LAPT events the best. One of the reasons is that the fields are way softer than what I am
used to here in Los Angeles. Anyone who knows me or has played with me knows that No Limit is my weakest game. Don't get me wrong, I
have a pretty solid grasp of the game, but I don't play the game often enough to excel at it. The main reason I don't play often is
the fields are so tough in Los Angeles. Even if I did focus a lot of my attention on improving my NL game, there are so many
outstanding, aggressive players, my edge would still be very small. However, when you take my "better than average, aggressive" style
of play and pit it against the players in the LAPT, I have a much better chance. Generally speaking, the play is much weaker and their
skill level is still years behind the players in Los Angeles. Of course, there are players in the LAPT who are incredible, but they
are few and far between.
Another reason why I love the LAPT events is the location. I have always liked the Latin culture and any opportunity for me to visit a
Latin American country, I will try and take advantage of. Over the past couple of years, I have been to Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica
(twice), and Mexico (twice) and almost all of those trips were because of poker. While all those trips were great, Peru is probably
the one I am most excited about because after the tournament is over, I plan on spending 4 days in Machu Picchu which has always been
a dream destination for me.
The last reason (and probably the biggest reason) is that going to an LAPT event is a way for me to hang out with some of my favorite
people in poker. I have made a lot of really great friends in poker, but my favorites are those I have met (or get to see) on the LAPT.
On this trip, I will see Thomas and Mel (he runs the events and she assists, but more importantly she entertains me), and will
most likely see my favorite writers, Brad, Alex, Change 100, and Pauly. Brad, Pauly and Change100 have been on the writing side of
poker since I have. All of us started working in the industry before the poker boom and have continued to be friends over the years.
Even though they work their asses off during the events, we usually find some time to hang out and have dinner and/or beers. Our shared
evenings are some of my favorite memories on the LAPT.
Come on April! Get here quickly!
I finished my report on my win in the
HORSE event at the LA Poker Classic.
As far as the media event, I had a great time. I got there a little early and had a drink in the bar with a group of players. I knew
half of them and met a few more. One of the guys I met, I play with online and has the screen name yuvee04. The other guy's name was
Ryan and he was quite the character. He ended up being seated to my left in the actual tournament and kept me laughing with his
ability to woo the ladies who walked by with his headphones and country music. I was even more amused to see him sharing (although not
quite wooing) his headphones with the guy sitting next to him. Each of them had one bud in their ear listening to country music and I
nearly spit out my drink when the guy across the table said something like, "The last time I saw two men listening to country music
together like that was when I saw Brokeback Mountain."
The guy to my right was a really nice looking black guy. I asked him how he got his seat to the tournament and he said he got it
because he was a celebrity. I asked, "Celebrity in your own mind?" and he smiled shyly and said no. I asked if others would know who
he was and he said "Some people." I asked what he did and he said he used to run relay for the Olympic team. I thought that was
intriguing so I questioned him some more. He said he also won a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears and also played for the
Raiders. I finally asked him his name and he said, "Willie Gault." I said, "Well it is very nice to meet you Willie." I still had no
idea who he was, but I knew he was an attractive man who was very humble and sweet. When I sent a text message to Sos, he said "That
guy is a Stud! He is a great football player and track star." He ended up getting eliminated around 11 pm and I was eliminated a
couple of hours later.
I went home and googled him and found out that he was with Chicago when they did the Superbowl Shuffle. I at least knew what that was.
I also found out that he is considered one of the fastest men alive. How awesome is that? I guess I can see why another man would
refer to him as a Stud. He is without a doubt...A STUD!
I didn't do so hot in the NL Shootout, so I played in the media event in the evening. I was invited to it, but wasn't sure if I was going to play
because of the Shootout.
The media event awarded three seats to the WPT Celebrity Invitational and I won one of them. I will go back tomorrow to play in the
freeroll and mix and mingle with all the celebrities. This of course is going to delay my report about the HORSE event. Will be
writing more soon and will make sure to update my twitter to give the info on who is sitting at my table. Matt Damon possibly? I sure
the hell hope so!
I won the HORSE event at Commerce Casino yesterday and so pleased with my accomplishment. I will write more about it later.
For now, I am off to play in another tournament. This time it is a NL Shootout.
The 2011 LA Poker Classic started a few days ago and will continue until the end of February. They have a lot of mixed events so I
will be very busy over the next month. This week, I am planning on playing in four events. Today is the Omaha Hi/Low tournament and
later this week, they have Seven Card Stud 8 or Better, HORSE, and a 7-game mix.
I am fully prepared to play my heart out and am actually looking forward to it. It seems like forever since I have played in a live
tournament (I think it was actually about a month and a half ago) and I miss it. I will try and update my journal as the week
progresses. If you just can't wait to hear how I am doing, then you can always follow me on twitter @shirleyrosario.
The New Year is my time to reflect on things I have accomplished during the previous year and think about where I want my life to lead in the
Overall, 2010 was a fabulous year for me. One of the biggest events of my year was when I sold my website to PokerStars. I have always
had a longstanding, successful relationship with Stars, but this specific deal allowed me to purchase a new home near the beach AND
continue to work with them for several years. In addition to that, my business life thrived with my other websites
As far as poker goes, I made five final tables in H.O.R.S.E. and won two of them which is a huge accomplishment for me. I have spent
hours on end trying to improve all of my games and I am convinced that I am heading in the right direction. My online game wasn't as
successful. I was only a slight winner for the year which was disappointing, but I did manage to accumulate a lot of fpps which I will
be using on a couple of trips this year.
I have no complaints in my personal life. I have always been fortunate in this area. I have some amazing people in my life and I am
grateful for each and every one of them.
Last and certainly not least, I have my health. 2010 brought one more year of clean check-ups which means I have been cancer free for
In 2011, I hope that things continue to go well. Of course, I would like to improve my online game, maybe lose a few more pounds (I
lost 8 last year), travel a bit more, but I am perfectly content to "settle" for happiness which I have already achieved.