Thursday, April 29, 2004

$1500 Stud WSOP Event--Part III

Please check out some of the excellent stories on this event. If I could write like some of these people, I would be a billionaire!


Jesse May

Jesse's Pictures

Maureen Feduniak
Barry Greenstein got moved to our table and had a medium stack. He tried to be the most aggressive player there, and was having good success until he ran up against me.

He was the bring-in. One thing I noticed about most of the players, even the more experienced, is that they never checked their hole cards when they were the bring-in. They just chucked the lowest amount into the pot. Barry was no exception.

I had jacks in the hole with a low doorcard. I completed the bet. Barry decided to check his hole cards when the action got back to him, and found kings in the hole. Not that I knew this at the time, but there ya go. He raised me.

Barry was the type who would raise about 50% of the people who completed when he was the bring-in. So I reraised and he instantly capped. Now my radar went up, because I didn't think Barry would cap it without the goods.

If I folded, it would have left me crippled, so I figured that even if I was beat, I had to take a chance to draw out on him. I wasn't going to just get anted out of the tourney.

I caught a third jack immediately on fourth, and bet until I was all-in. Barry didn't improve. This left him a bit short, and he never won a hand again. He was out in about 45 minutes.

I have spoken to some WCP since this tournament, and tried to find out the reasoning behind NOT checking hole cards first when one is the bring-in. The general consensus seemed to be that WCP feel that they can outplay everyone else, so there is no real reason to check the hole cards first.

Now maybe this is true in a tourney with lots of chips and an excellent structure, but in a tournament when the structure and starting chips indicate that at least 66% of the players can't get through more than a hand or two with raises, in the mid to late section of the tourney, I cannot accept this reasoning. Had Barry come in raising, he would never have been crippled in the first place. Instead, he gave me more than half of his chips.

And yes, Ted usually checked his hole cards first.

By the time we broke for dinner, I was back up to about 3800.

Like I said earlier, Ted and I built a bit of a rapport during the tournament, as more and more of our original table was eliminated. He held on with a medium stack for hours, until one key hand, which either would have crippled him, or given him a lead over our table. He won it, and never looked back. He changed his play after that to include many more steals and play a few speculative hands.

In the meantime, we went from 258 to 150 in short order. Lots of the WCP were complaining that the structure had been sped up. They didn't like the new structure. Since I had no experience with the old one, I wasn't sure just how much worse it was. It did seem to add a bit of a crapshoot element into the tourney, as most of the participants could only lose one very big hand in order to be short.

Not long after we came back from dinner, the field went from 73 to about 50 in record time. Even the medium stacks didn't have more than one or two hands that could be played (with raises) all the way through. Only the largest stacks were relatively safe. I had 3800, Ted had about 10k. They filled our table with more WCP, including Men Nguyen.

The antes were up to 50, and I got nothing for about an hour. Every pot was completed and raised before it even got to me. Play had become very aggressive, players taking chances with three high cards, three suited, three straights, any pair. Most of them were only one or two hands from elimination, so they took shots and were either eliminated, or more than doubled through. I was caught in the middle of all of this, and just folded for almost an hour. I couldn't steal a pot with a gun, lol.

I kept looking at the clock, and knew I was going to have to go with a hand soon. My kings finally came and I completed with K3/K. Ted was behind me, and raised with an ace. Ted didn't need a pair of aces to make it three, but was a pretty tight player, overall, and knew how tight I was, so we had mainly stayed out of each other's way. I knew he probably had me, but figured I was in deep enough to call one more bet, then if I absolutely blanked out, I could either fold on fourth, or commit myself with the hand if I felt I was too short to survive much longer. It was very close, either way.

I caught a trey on fourth, giving me king's up immediately. Ted blanked. I bet the whole way. Ted caught a second pair on sixth, and I knew I was dead, but I was in by that time, with no escape. He had exactly what I thought he had, aces to start.

I got up to leave, and Ted told me, "You are a tough player! You played great!" I thanked him and told him it was great playing against him.

They hadn't updated the clock in about 45 minutes, so I just stood and counted the remaining players. I was out at 49th.

After we got home, I noticed Ted's lead kept growing and when they broke at 2am he was 2nd chip lead of the tourney. They played the final table on Sunday at 2pm. Ted was outchipped almost 2:1 when they got head's up, but still overcame his opponent in a four hour match to take the title. Go Ted!!!

Someone snapped this candid pic of me and posted it on his website. I am in the one seat, Ted is in the six seat with the tan shirt on and long hair.

Hope you enjoyed the story!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

$1500 Stud WSOP Event--Part II

The guy in the eight seat was trying to raise virtually every hand. Anytime he had a face doorcard. Anytime he was the first in, anytime he was the last in. Guess he just wanted to play. He was the first of us who was all-in, and that chain continued until he was all-out.

The handlebar mustache guy didn't seem to like women. He criticized all of the female dealers, both in their presence, and behind their backs. He was overly critical of anything "female." He never said "boo" to me, but it was clear that if there was anyone at the table he wanted to "take out," it was me. One time I raised in LP with nines, king kicker. He called and/or raised me the whole way, only to sigh exasperatingly when I called his final bet and tell me he only had Ace-king high. I never improved, but I had a hunch that he was bluffing. The old Mike Caro giveaways; throwing chips into the pot forcefully, not paying any attention to my cards, nor his own cards, virtually screaming for me to get out of "his" pot.

I wasn't sad to see him busted.

The seven seat was mad, like I said in the beginning. He griped about almost every dealer. He griped about almost every player. Most of it was under his breath. He didn't seem to like anything, or anyone. No one seemed upset when he got busted.

The Frenchman in the two seat was very pleasant. He had a nice accent, but didn't talk much, and decided to listen to his Mp3 player instead. He wasn't a good player, played draws almost every time, for any amount of money, but he was super sweet, and I shook his hand when he went out.

It didn't take Ted long to realize who could play at our table, and who could NOT. Quickly he and I started in on a series of nods and smiles. I appreciated his style and ability, which was probably quite clear to him, so he humored me with a bit of attention when I acknowledged his world class play.

Ted was playing so casually. He was almost flirting with us, just testing the waters. He completed, then folded to a raise. He bet to the river, just to fold for one more bet. He mostly looked at his hole cards when he was the bring-in, yet sometimes failed to look, chucked some chips into the pot, only to raise when the bet was completed and action got back to him. I guess for him the early levels were "fun." He played around with us, never in danger of being eliminated, yet always aware and on top of the table.

One strange play happened when I was a severely short stack. This was hours into the tournament, and I had just taken a big beat. I was lucky enough to be the bring-in on the following hand, lol. Ted limped in, my only competitor. On fourth I immediately caught a second nine, to go with my nine in the hole. Ted also had a nine doorcard. Ted bet out. I figured it wasn't going to get any better than this, so I immediately raised. Ted studied me for quite a while. I'm not easily intimidated, so I just watched him, as well. He knew how short I was, he knew I couldn't even get through this hand.

Finally he said, "I don't want to try to eliminate you with the worst hand. I want you to stay right here. All I have is a draw."

I have no idea if he was serious. It seems that he might say the exact same thing if he had me beat. He is tough to read.

Some of the yahoo's at the table started criticizing his play. He refused to even engage in their conversation, much less defend himself. Like me, he pretty much had no use for what anyone else might think of him.

I asked him why he wanted me here. He said he enjoyed having me at the table. I dropped the subject.

Later, Glenn asked me why I thought Ted said that. Sure, Ted could have been bluffing with his hand, or betting on a draw, or betting to get the bring-in to fold with nothing. Yes, all of those things could be true, but it would have cost him virtually nothing to try to knock me out. So why didn't he?

Well, naturally I could be wrong, but my opinion of why Ted kept me in is that I was no threat to him. I was shortstacked, very tight, and playing predictably. When I completed his bring-in, I almost always had something. Even if I was on a steal, my steal hand was usually better than his bring-in hand. If he completed and I raised, he knew I had him beat. I would fold my bring-in's to him if I had nothing. I would raise if I had him beat. He had good control over me, he knew where I was at all times. So why eliminate the predictable person at the table? Who knows what kind of opponent might take my place? Another WCP? A loose cannon? Surely not many players would be more welcome than me!

We still had about 150 participants left, so we weren't anywhere near the money. Having me around was safe. I used to do it all the time at the Belle. At the final table, I wasn't gunning for the safe, predictable opponent whom I had outchipped 5:1. Why would I want to eliminate someone who was no threat to me?

I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Ted wanted me around. Shoot, I'd rather have Ted at the table than all of those other yahoo's we had at first. It makes sense, it's logical, and I'll go with that theory.

Monday, April 26, 2004

$1500 Stud WSOP Event--Part I

Sorry, but I am going to have to post this in pieces. It is just very overwhelming for me, and I feel that I would do my best writing if I pondered a bit over each sentence, versus the chop job I did yesterday for my Friday wrap-up. Please enjoy!


On Saturday we got to the tournament area about 45 minutes early. There was no line, and I bought my seat with lammers quickly. The woman doing the entries said there were just a little over 100 signed up so far. Bingo, exactly what I was hoping for. I knew there would be tons of late arrivals, but I was certain there wouldn't be more than 400 entries total.

I was disappointed to draw the one seat. Ick, what can I see from the one seat? Nothing, that is what! Fortunately, the tables are big, so I felt I would be able to scoot way over to the left, in between the one and two seat.

A crowd started to enter the tournament room and buy into the Stud event. Finally an announcement was made that we had exceeded last year's high of 177 participants.

It was time to start the tourney, yet there were still at least 50 people buying in. The final tally was 258.

Boy, was I a dummy. I thought that the biggest names would stay away from this tourney. I thought they would be taking a breather from the month-long play at Bellagio, or perhaps playing in the 2k event. I had no idea that these guys are really playing all the time. They don't seem to take breathers, they don't need to sleep, eat or rest, lol. They were all there, en masse, the biggest names, the players with the most bracelets, the who's who. And here I sit like some dummy, knowing I've been duped. Oh, well, at least it was a virtual freeroll.

I took my seat, to find a lineup of unknown faces. The two seat was a Frenchman with long hair. The three was a guy with one of those huge, waxed mustaches that it twisted into a point about 3" out from the side of his head (making each side at least 6" long). Glenn was afraid he was going to lean to the side and poke someone's eye out. The four seat was a youngish (for Stud), serious looking cleancut guy with glasses. The five was originally supposed to be empty, but later sold to a middle aged guy. The six was vacant when we sat down, but a few minutes into the tourney, Ted Forrest took the seat; the only WCP at our starting table. The seven was an older, grumpy guy. The perfect 1-5 player. He wore sunglasses, and acted strange. He certainly wasn't in a good mood during the whole time he was there. The eight seat was an older, heavy guy who wanted to play every hand, and paid for his looseness in such a tight-oriented game.

I took Ray Zee's advice and stole lots of pots during the first hour or two. Once Ted sat down, the dynamics changed a bit, but I was still stealing a lot of pots, due to Ted's tightness during the first few levels. I made it to about 2000 in chips before I took my first bad beat. I ended up taking two river beats during the second level, but still clawed my way back to a medium-short stack with frequent steals and simply showing down the best hand at the river.

I am such a tight player that it is hard to get me to bite, if I even have the slightest feeling that I am being roped into a trap. I usually can get myself out of situations that will cripple me, instead of blindly calling all the way to the river with a second best hand. This is not because I'm a WCP, but because I am super-tight and suspicious by nature. When a player catches a seemingly brick-looking card, innocently sitting there on his board, which doesn't match anything, yet stiffens up and comes alive, I feel trips SCREAM in my head, and get OUT. A lot of players just don't see the obvious. I am fortunate that I am so tight and cautious.

Ted outplayed everyone at the table, without them even knowing it. He made some truly world class moves, and realized quickly that I was the only one who even saw or realized what he was doing. He often smiled at me after a hand, or nodded. He was fast to pick up on the fact that I was no WCP, but that I was aware enough to know that HE was. We built up kind of a body language rapport that I didn't see him engaging with the other players in. I certainly wasn't either, as they just weren't aware of much of anything.

I never thought there would be so much dead money in a Stud tourney, but there surely was. I'm not positive if these guys won a sat to get in, if they were just rich and bored, or what. I have truly seen better 1-5 Stud players. Heck, even 1-3 Stud players in AC!

I started to need protein after a couple of hours. Glenn brought me a shake. Ted asked what I was drinking. I told him it was protein. He asked if it was good. I smiled an almost-grimace, and told him I'd had to drink them for five years, so I probably wasn't the best judge of whether or not they were "good" anymore, because even if they were fantastic, to me they were just medicine. He understood immediately and said something like, "After five years of the same thing every day, it can't taste good, huh?" I answered in the affirmative.

Friday in Vegas

On Friday we got up early and decided to eat at the Nugget. Their cafe was always good, and this was no exception.

We entered the poker room, but nothing much was going on, so we decided to head over to Binion's.

Luckily, the Golden Gate had the same room become available, due to cancellations, so we were able to keep it overnight.

Binion's was a madhouse again. The 2k NLHE event was getting ready to start, and it was like the main event. Over 800 people, fighting to get a seat. I wasn't in the slightest bit interested, as I always try to get some kind of edge, or at least not be a huge underdog in a gigantic field.

Glenn parked his butt as always in a NLHE cash game. I decided to try to some more $50 one table satellites. I won my first one, but never won after that, lol.

I met up with Michael and Mas. Michael and I even played in one of the $50 sats together. He was out at 4th, I believe. In one hand, both myself and another woman were dealt AA at the same time. A short stack went for a steal on the button, not thinking that the two blind hands would both have AA. Later, Michael was short and went for a steal UTG with Q3o, I believe. I called with something like KJo and got his chips. I was fortunate, because both of the big stacks got into a war. One had KK the other AQo and the kings knocked out the other stack, so I got the seat.

I wanted to sell it, because they weren't giving out lammers anymore, and the certificate was non-transferrable, but almost everyone was playing for the rebuy, or they just didn't want the seat.

Now I had to commit to playing the super at 7:45, ugh. Oh well, a free seat is a free seat. I decided to try a couple more sats to win rebuys. That didn't work, and I ended up with just the free entry instead.

I talked to some of the crew at ESPN, only to find out that they were definitely taping the Stud event, both random shots the first day, and the whole final table on Sunday. Rats! Why me? Who wants to see some piddly little $1500 Stud event? I had to decide if I should go ahead and play or not. Glenn and I both agreed that ESPN might tape it, but would probably just show clips. I decided to go ahead and play.

At 7:45pm, I entered the NLHE super. My table was absolutely the softest table I've seen in a long time. In seat two was a bracelet winner, I don't know who he is, but he was the closest thing to a good player there. The other guys all talked about how they had won their entry on the Internet and had never played live poker, etc. One guy was so nervous and upset that he could barely play.

They were rebuying like mad, whereas I had no intention of rebuying, so once I got used to the table dynamics, I just started going all-in constantly. During the first hour, I must have gone all-in 15-20 times. Any pair, any suited ace, any ace with an eight or better, KQ, QJ. We just didn't have any chips to start with, and I thought this was my best strategy when no one else seemed to want the pot.

I mostly stole pots, but sometimes I got called, and usually had the best of it, even with my stinky hands. I just sat and ran over the table, the only resistance being the bracelet in seat two. Once he went over the top of me in the BB. I raised in LP with KQs and he had pocket sixes. He was so shortstacked (as was almost everyone), that he chose this hand to make a stand. I got no help, and he doubled through me.

I kept up my strategy into the second hour. The blinds were just ridiculous given the number of chips on the table. One poor Internet guy had never even won a hand, never really played a hand, and got blinded out.

A player to my right went all-in and I looked down to see KK. I went over the top and we were HU. He had AKo and started to gather his stuff to leave. He got an ace, and I was crippled yet again. I went all-in in the BB just a couple of hands later. I didn't even look at my cards, just called with my last two chips to a LP raiser. I flipped over 83o to his A5o and went out. I was about 75 in a field of 185.

Glenn and I decided to go back to the hotel and get some good sleep for the noon Stud event on Saturday.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Ted Forrest Wins Stud Event

Ted Forrest Ted Forrest won the Stud WSOP event today after playing HU for over four hours, and starting out as a big chip dog.

How awesome! I am glad he was able to put my chips to use, lol. My original table-mate, with his fourth WSOP win!

Thursday in Vegas

Binion's is a madhouse. We arrived on Thursday, April 22, 2004 at about 5pm. It seemed like everyone in the world was there. I groaned when I saw that most of the WCP were already en masse at the Horseshoe from Bellagio. I was hoping that they would stick around for the juicy Bellagio side games and/or watch the wrap-up of the WPT. That was not to be, as they all decided to go play satellites for the series. What a blunder I made, assuming they wouldn't care about some rinky-dink $1500 Stud event.

I immediately hopped into a satellite to try to win a few more lammers. To my surprise, when I tried to pay, they said they weren't accepting lammers for payment anymore!!! So, um, they pay OUT in lammers, but they won't take them back??? They said it was too much hassle for the satellites. I opted out, since I didn't want more lammers, I was trying to get rid of them! I wanted CASH!

Glenn was feening the NLHE cash games. I told him the field has drastically gotten tougher since we were there last weekend. There were several WCP in the NLHE games. More than I could count. He didn't want to take my advice, and jumped right into a game. He is so tight that he actually held his own. I'm sure he got outplayed, but he didn't get hurt badly, since it is so tough to trap someone who only plays top hands.

I told him that the Nugget had reopened their poker room, and that one of our croanies from Laughlin was in management there. We decided to check it out.

It was very nice; spacious, clean, warm. Odd for a room. I found Frank and talked to him a bit. Glenn jumped in an O8 game right away. The high limit section was taking an interest list for a $1/2 blind NLHE game. I put my name on that, and before long, we got a game going. It was extremely slow to start, as no one seemed to know what they were doing. Some of the crew wanted to make it 2/5 blinds. Some wanted to make it a min/max buy-in. Every floorperson who came over had a different idea of how OUR game was going to be structured. Ugh. Finally it was decided that we would play the 1/2 blind NLHE, posting was a must and it was a min/max $100 buy-in with reloads when one was under $50. I wasn't crazy about this game, but I was bored with nothing else going on.

Luckily, there were several soft spots in our game. Three guys said right off the bat that they had never played live poker, or something. They were scared out of their minds.

One young WPT kid was in the three seat. He insisted on the $100 min/max, which told me quite a bit right there. I was in the nine, Howard Burroughs was in the ten.

I raised about $10 on the second hand with AJo. I got way too many callers and no help. Everyone kept checking to me, no one would bet. The WPT kid had pocket tens and never bet! He just check-called me, then checked the turn and river.

Later, in LP, I limped in with K9s. I flopped a king and bet the pot when it was checked to me. The WPT kid in the SB called. He likewise called on the turn, then check-raised me on the river when he hit his kicker, a trey, lol.

A new tournament director approached our table to take an interest list for a one table "satellite" to the 2k NLHE event the next day at Binion's. I asked her how they were going to pay. She said they would pay cash, winner-take-all for $2150. We each would buy in for $225, start with 1500 in chips, and play until one was left. Immediately about seven people at my table raised their hands for the sat. They were the worst players at our table, so naturally I raised my hand, too. The WPT kid was in, as well as all of the players who had said they'd never played poker before.

I was in the eight seat. A German guy was in the nine. He was constantly speaking German to himself and seemed very angry. He didn't seem to like women playing poker, and kept cutting down my play and the play of the woman in the ten seat. He wasn't talking "to" us, but "about" us, right at the table! I said it was bad form to sit and talk about a player, and their play, at the table, during hands! It didn't stop him in the slightest. He kept saying how stupid I was for going all-in early in a satellite. I tried, in vain, to find the TD, but she was nowhere to be seen.

Glenn came over, seeing I was distressed and said, "Just do what you normally do and knock him out!"

Sure enough, he was out in no time, although I wasn't given the honor of kicking him to the curb.

The young WPT kid was the first to be knocked out. He played the sat just as badly as he'd played in the cash game.

When we got down to five, the best player at the table, the cardroom manager of the Grand in Tunica, raised my BB on the button as a steal attempt. I saw AJ and moved in. He was the chip lead, so he didn't have to think too hard about calling me with AT. He got his ten, and I was through. He told me the next day that he won it, which is exactly what I expected.

We went back over to Binion's and I played in a couple of these little $50 satellites. The competition was absolutely atrocious, most of them had never played poker before. I went out fourth when my AQ met 44 and he flopped a set.

We were able to get in last minute at the cheapo Golden Gate. The rooms are very clean, but small, European style hotel rooms. They were sold out for Friday night, but we put ourselves on the holdover list and just crossed our fingers. Almost everywhere is sold out in Vegas due to the series.

Next to come...Friday at Binion's!