Archive | December, 2012

Poker Stories

7 Dec


1.  My senior year of college, I decided to stake a poster I never met before from the poker forum 2+2 – the contractual agreement had a corporation type setup and I contributed $500 dollars.  After the first year, my $500 dollar share was worth $481 dollars.  So I had lost 19 dollars.  The annual report was short, a few stud eight or better bad beat stories and a hand history of how he busted the WSOP main event.  I remember questioning how anyone could play stud8 or better for a whole year and not be in the black, but I believed the poster was a good player.  Since, I happened to have $1500 laying around in my Neteller account at the time I decided to increase my investment.  I yelled over to my roommate,  “Hey Eddie, I think I’m gonna stake this online guy again, do you want to get in?”  Ed was busy 4-tabling Party Poker at the time and even though he said yes, he never got around to sending the money.  This happened soon after:


2.  I have lost with quads in Texas Hold’em twice.  Both times with four 9’s.  My stakehorse and good buddy Brewer, recently won the bad beat jackpot at a local casino when his four nines lost to a straight flush.

One of my most memorable limit hands hands I ever played was against Layne Flack at 300-600 at UltimateBet, when that limit was just a little higher than I was comfortable playing. We were playing HU Omaha 8 or better and Layne was employing the pre-flop strategy of limping every button.  But he added a twist, every time I raised, he would 3-bet, and when I 4-bet, he would 5-bet, and usually I would 6-bet (UB had a six bet cap, heads up.)

It’s possible that his strategy was not ideal, and Layne was getting murdered.  In the final hand, I raised and six bets went in preflop.  The flop came KK9, six bets went in on the flop.  The turn came a 9 and six bets went in on the turn.  The river was inconsequential, and six bets went in on the river.  He was all in and showed 99xx for four nines, I showed KKxx for four kings.  He left.  I fist-pumped.  Beware the four nines.

3.  The poker hand that still haunts me  today was played in the 2008 WSOP main event.  When I’m driving alone by myself practicing my WSOP victory speech as I often do, I still think about this hand and wonder if I blew my one chance glory.   It was day 7 and the field was down to around 70 people left for the 9 million dollar first prize.  This was my second consecutive run inside the top 100 and while No Limit Hold Em Tournaments wasn’t my primary game, I felt pretty confident.  The opponent in question was from appearances a stereotypical quiet, young, white guy (as was I.)  But, notably, heavily outfitted in PokerStars clothes. Practically head to toe.  The internet is awesome, and I found a picture.


In 2012, being heavily sponsored  would signify a strong player, on a long term contract, a proven player.  But in 2008, it usually meant a player that qualified online via a satellite (a smaller buying tournament.)  Satellite winners were in general usually a lot weaker and more conservative than players that bought in directly.  Most pros on the circuit were turning down the $1000 that PokerStars would pay you to wear PokerStars clothes, because it was “cooler” to be unsponsored.  So, I had this player pegged as conservative.

My opponent and I both started the hand with around 2M chips.  I raised KQ on the button, and he called in the big blind.  The flop came K-T-x with two spades, he checked, and I made a standard continuation bet.  My opponent check-raised 3 times my bet, and I called.  The turn came a the Jh, and now my opponent decided to check.   Usually after check-raising, players keep betting, so his check is a little unusual, but in this instance, I wasn’t too worried and saw it as weakness.  The standard play here would be to also check, with top pair and straight draw, to control the size of the pot.  And possibly induce a bluff or value bet the river.  It’s a play I’d make 90% if not more, especially in a tournament.  But this was day 7 of the World Series of Poker Main Event and the stakes and tension were very high.  I just didn’t think this player would have the cajones to make a big bluff in this spot.  Honestly, I don’t think I would have.  It’s just hard to play 12 hours a day for 7 days and then bluff your stack off in one weird hand.

In light of that assumption, I made a non-standard small value/protection bet.  My opponent thought for a while, then made a big check-raise all in.  This type of out of tempo raise was often a bluff.  I knew that.  The combinations of good hands he would play this way was very low.  I knew that.   Despite all this, I just couldn’t get myself to believe that he was bluffing in this spot.  Its one of those situations, where I had to weigh two very unlikely situations, him bluffing, or him having a very, very strong hand.  Both were very unlikely in my opinion, but it had to be one of the two options.  A few weeks later he told me that he had QJo.  So it was kind of neither of those options.   @#*%

At the time he was just another face to me, but I learned his name after the tournament – Andrew Brokos, online name Focault82 – and he is a very accomplished player, whom I greatly respect.  I wish I knew that then.  He writes writes one of the best strategy blogs on the internet.  If you like poker strategy it’s a must read.  Andrew went on to finish 35th.  I finished 59th.

4.   My wife, Katie, and I had just arrived on a beautiful summer morning to our lake house in Michigan.  Most of our Chicago friends were coming the next day to visit for 3 hearty days of debauchery.  Life was good.  Katie was going to handle most of the tasks to prepare for the party, but she assigned me one job for the entire day – clean the boat.  Like any smart husband, I thought, what’s the hurry?  I’ve got all day.  Let’s just get a few hands in real quick.  So I log on to Full Tilt Poker and next thing you know Gus Hansen sits down with me at 500-1000.


500-1000 was the highest limit I regularly played and I was pretty careful who I played at that limit.  I thought I had an edge on Gus, so I gave it a shot.  40 minutes of torture later, I was down $80,000.  That was my biggest loss ever, so I prudently logged off.  I got my bucket of soap together with my rags and started washing the boat.  I made it about five minutes of scrubbing – and still on super-tilt -I thought to myself, “Screw this, I’m just gonna go hit and run Gus for one small blind and pay some kid down at the market $500 to wash my boat.”  That was my master plan. I logged back on and before I won that $500, I had lost another $27,000.  That’s how I lost $107,000 in one hour.  The boat never got washed.