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Tahoe: Nov 2010

Note: This report is pretty long…if you’d like just the summary scroll down to the very bottom.]

I had really been looking forward to the World Series of Poker Circuit Events in Lake Tahoe.  My game seems like it has been improving over the last 6 months (…or perhaps I was just getting luckier?).  On top of that, I knew we were going to have several people coming along and playing in several events so the odds of someone going deep was increased.

I arrived in Tahoe on Thursday 11/11 at about 3pm.  I met Val Conzet (ID: Sandosbaby), Ed Stacy (ID: estacy1373), Scott Morris (ID: Motowne13) and Paul Turner (ID: melomarcus).  Over the course of the next several days we would also run into several other poker friends joining in the WSOP excitement.  


Here is Val’s recap:

Event #1 - I was at table 36 - seat 3. I started thinking I was going to do all right. I won 3 of the 4 hands I played and had doubled my chip count to about $6700.  Then I got a little cocky - I'm in 1st position dealt Kd,Ks I raised $400, big blind calls, flop 2d,2h,6s, I raise $800, big blind calls, turn 7c, I put him all in for $1100 he calls and showed me pocket 7h,7d, river was Jc. That hurt but I still had chips. I played about six hands trying to make a hand on the flop, back to back raises kept me from playing and continued to muck hands. With blinds now $100-$200 I'm the big blind and catch 8d,8c I bet $600, seat 5 raised to $1200 I called. Flop was Jd,Qd,7c, seat 5 checked I bet $800 he went all in I called. He had Ac,As, turn was 2d all I needed was another diamond… it was my night and then the river 9s. History. 

Event #2 - I was at table 44 - seat 3. Again started off well. With blinds at $100-$200 and me in big blind I catch Qc-8c four others in hand I raised to $475, 1st position calls every else folds, flop is Qs,As,8d, player 1 bets $1300 I call, turn is 8s, he bets $2800 I go all in, he calls $9875. He has pocket Qd,Qh, river is 3c. I didn't see that coming I thought for sure he hit his flush, again I was wrong. It went down hill from there. I have less than three blinds left, three hands later flop is 7d,8s,10c I have Jd,9c seat 9 when all in, I called. He had 9d,Qh, turn was Ad, river was Js. See Ya.

Event #3 - I was at table 26 - seat 6. I was card dead from the start. This table was different than others I played. My best hand was a set of 4's won enough to play a couple of hours. We played eight handed for seemed like a long time. When seat 1 and 2 finally got there seat 1 announced that he would probably go all in. With blinds at $150-$300 and ante at $25 true to his word seat 1 went all in, seat 2 called. I had jacks and mucked them. Seat 1 turned over Qd,Qs and seat 2 had pocket aces Ac,As, flop was K,J,4 (don't remember suits), turn was 4 and river was 2. See ya big spender. I chopped an AK pot and then had to go all in with nothing.  The good news is my wife Sandi hit $1250 on slots later that night. That helped ease the pain.

Event #5 - I was at table 41 -seat 9. For a while I was the chips leader. I had over $60k in chips at one time. I lost a couple of big pots of $18k and $16k and still had chips to play. I reached level 16  with blinds at $800-$1600 with $200 ante. We had played about 10 hours and I had a little less than $40k in chips. I was big blind and called a $4200 bet from seat 4. I had KJ, the flop was K,9,4. Seat 4 checked I bet  $7000 he went all in I called. He had K10.  I had him, the turn was 8 and the river was another 10 (his 3-outer!). Turn out the lights. That was a tough loss. I went out in 71st place out of 419 and was just 26 places from the money.  Maybe next time!


Here is Ed’s summary of Event #5:

I got a few good hands early in the tournament and was able to double up by the first break. This allowed me to play a bit more aggressive and steal some pots when a player appeared to be weak.  I doubled up again by the dinner break when I won a decent sized pot with AK off on the button.  I got a couple of callers from the blinds with my 3x raise.  When the flop had a bit of color and my two opponents checked, my continuation bet won me the hand and put me over $40K with about 90 players left (started with 419).  It was going to be a grind.
After the break I went card dead and just grinded away for a couple of hours as the blinds and antes went up.  I was down to $16,300 and ready to push as the blinds were at $1,000/$2000 and $400 ante.  I was the small blind and woke up to AJ of diamonds.  Before I could push, the big stack raised it to $6000.  I just called hoping to build the pot a bit.  The big blind called and the rest of the table folded.   Flop came  JJ7, I was feeling pretty good so I checked.  It was checked around.  Turn came an ace to give me a boat. I checked to let the other two catch up or bluff.   The big blind bluffed on the river, I got paid off and was off life support, but not out of critical care as there were still 55 players and only 45 got paid.  About an hour later the bubble boy went out and I was in the money.  Two hands later, I was in the big blind short stacked with AJ off and the blinds at $3K/$6K.  I put the rest of my $20K in chips into the middle and was called by A6c.  He flopped a six and I walked away with my first WSOP cash in 45th place!


Here is Chris' re-cap:

I’ve been getting closer and closer in these WSOP events, but have still yet to cash.  I was determined to break that streak this year!  My goal was to reach a final table, or at the very least I wanted to cash in at least one of the events we were going to play in.  

WSOP Event #1 was a $220 buy-in event with 81 players.  It was a mega-satellite tournament which means the payout for this event was a fixed prize amount that was the same for the top finishers.  In this event, the prize was $2050 to each of the top 8 finishers.  We started with $3000 in tournament chips.  I played pretty conservatively for the first couple of rounds.  I happened to be at the same table as Ed Stacy for the first couple of hours.  We tried to avoid each other, but there was one hand where we got head’s up.  I was holding AJ and Ed was holding KJ.  I can’t remember the preflop betting, but the flop came Jxx.  Ed bet and I raised him.  He thought about it for a bit and put his KJ down.  I’m not sure what was going through Ed’s mind, but I’m really glad he didn’t push that hand!  I was down to ~$2200 in chips when I caught my first break.  I was holding pocket 9s.  I made a 3x raise preflop and got one caller.  The flop came AQ9…I had hit a set.  There was some betting and raising followed by an all-in.  The other player had flopped top 2 pair.  The turn and river were blanks so I doubled up to $4500.  I think I climbed up to about $5200 before taking a few lumps on my way back down to $2100.  The blinds in this event were going up pretty quick and I was quickly becoming a short stack.  After another half hour I tried to all-in steal the blinds from late position with KJ only to run into A,10.  Flop came KJ3.  I felt pretty good about it until I realized that a QUEEN would knock me out of the tourney.  [Ugh!  Would the lady do me in yet another time in the World Series???]  Well, a queen didn’t hit and I managed to double up to $4600!  With some solid poker (and some luck never hurts) I managed to build that up to $9600 with 36 players left in the tournament.  Payday awaited for just the top 8 players.  I managed to hold my own for the next hour or two.  When we were down to 20 players (two tables) the average chip stack was $12k and I was still at $9k…a little short but not desperate.  I remember thinking that all of the practice I’ve been getting over the years playing in 2-3 table tourneys was about to pay off.  I battled for the next hour or so trying to hold my own.  When we were down to 16 I had managed to climb my stack up to the tourney average of ~$14k.  The final table was just 6 spots away…  I was determined to be patient and only move in if I had a really good hand and was able to get my chips in first.  The blinds had gotten pretty high so even an average stack was pretty short.  I stole the blinds once or twice over the next hour and managed to keep my stack even while a few more people got knocked out.  Before long we had reached the magic number….10 players….we merged to the final table!  I was happy to be there, but my work wasn’t over.  In this case, I could make the final table and still walk away with $0 if I was eliminated 10th or 9th!  I had ~$13k in chips and the average stack was ~$24k.  I was probably the short stack at that time, but determined to hang on for as long as possible.  Once at the final table, we immediately started talking about some sort of chop.  After a few minutes of discussion it was apparent we could not reach a consensus so the game continued.  A few hands later one player found himself all-in against another.  Of course at this point we are all rooting against the all-in player so that we can get down to 9…one step closer to the prize.  The all-in player managed to suck out on the river!  This crippled the other guy and now he was a short stack with $8k in chips.  The very next hand, two medium stacks got involved in a hand.  AQ vs A10.  The flop came A93.  There was a bet, a raise, followed by the AQ going all-in.  I was thrilled to see the action because I’m just sitting there hoping someone else gets knocked out.  The player holding A10 had the other guy covered.  The turn came a 6.  The river came a 10!   Another player had been eliminated!!  We were now down to 9.  With one player less to chop with, and everyone probably realizing that THEY could be out just like the last guy, we decided to chop.  The two big chip stacks got $2000 and the rest of us walked away with $1700 each.  My first WSOP final table and my first WSOP cash!  This was a perfect way to start the weekend :-)

WSOP Event #2 was a $345 buy-in event with 407 players, paying the top 45 finishers.  We all started with $10k in chips.  With a random seat selection and a good size field I was surprised to find that I was seated at the same table as my Dad!  He’s a poker fanatic too (…hey, I must have gotten this bug from somewhere, right?).  This presented itself with a few challenges as we played at that table together for 4-5 hours together.  Strange thoughts cross your mind [….gee, I don’t want to knock out my Dad!  Or….well, I guess if I knocked him out he’d be happy that the chips went to ME, right???  Not sure if similar thoughts crossed his mind!].  I had managed to build my stack up just slightly over the first hour or so.  Then….they arrived…..QQ.  The thought of folding them preflop crossed my mind (….see previous trip reports for my bad history with QQ…).  Alas, I haven’t given up hope on these ladies.  There was a very aggressive player at the table.  I had been watching him closely for a while and I determined he was probably not quite as good a player as he thought he was.  I was in early position and I raised 3x.  He raised it another 4-5x and it folded around to me.  I decided to simply call and see what the flop presented (thinking that if I saw an Ace or King after the flop I’d be able to get away from the hand).  The flop came 993.  I felt this was a pretty safe flop for me as I couldn’t see the guy holding something like an A9.  That narrowed his possible hands to something like A,K or a pocket pair.  I liked my chances, but it was a very stressful hand.  I checked hoping to be able to check-raise him to see where I stood (I really felt like he would bet).  Sure enough, he put out a decent sized bet.  I raised.  He called.  By his calling, and not re-raising, I felt like there was a decent chance I had him beat (…he was probably holding either a middle pocket pair or still holding out with A,K….but if he had KK or AA I would have expected him to re-raise in which case I would have likely let the hand go).  The turn came a 5.  Now I’m thinking I can take this pot with a decent sized bet so I throw out $3100.   Instead of folding as I was expecting/hoping he called.  Yikes!  Now I’m feeling a little less comfortable.  The river comes a 2.  I still liked where I stood so I threw out another $3500 bet.  The other guy goes all-in.  Ugh!  What to do. He had me covered.  I had about $4000 left.  There was ~$18k in the pot.  I took a while and replayed the hand in my head.  I really felt like his play told me that he probably had QQ, JJ, or 10,10.  I still didn’t put him on a 9.  There was always a chance that he might have had pocket 3s and flopped a boat, or that he had slow played KK or AA.  I felt like there was probably a 70% chance that I was right in my mind and since I would only have $4k left in chips if I folded I decided to make the call.  He turned over JJ and I scooped a big pot to double up to ~$22k and become the chip leader at my table!  A few hands later I busted a small stack with AQ when the flop came Q87…now up to $28k.    Having a lot of chips I decided to take a few more chances with some of the “less conservative” hands I like to play.  I called a raise with 9,7 suited and built my stack up to $36k when the flop came A77.  At the end of Level 11 (5.5hrs of poker) my stack was up to $44k which was about twice the average stack.  During Level 13 I peaked at about 60k in chips.  I was in a very good spot with about 140 out of 407 players remaining.  Over the next hour and a half I ran into 5-6 trouble hands that didn’t go my way and I found myself down to about $20k in chips.  In Level 15 (7.5hrs of poker) I was getting a little short.  I decided to try to steal the blinds with A4 suited and ran into KK.  My Ace never came and I was out in ~100th place.  Not bad, but I was hoping for better.

WSOP Event #5 was a $345 buy-in event with 419 players, paying the top 45 finishers.  I had developed a decent read on the table and had decided there was one rookie at the table that I really wanted to play against.  About 3hrs into the event I got my wish.  I flopped top pair top kicker.  We battled back and forth and it turns out he had flopped a set.  Moral of the story…be careful what you wish for!  I was out, but I really enjoyed watching Val and Ed in this event.  Val made it to 71st (and he would have doubled up if his all-in opponent hadn’t hit his 3-outer), and Ed made it into the money with a 45th place finish.

Scott and Paul had a good time in the events.  They had some highs, they had some lows.  A lot of good play, but they couldn’t get the breaks they needed to get deep into the tournaments.

Other memorable events: 

Chris Bioletto (ID: Deliboy) won a $10k jackpot.  Big winner for the weekend!  Congrats.

Sandi Conzet (Val’s wife) hit a $1250 jackpot on Friday night…cha-ching!

Ben Brewer (ID: BenBrewer) made it into the money in WSOP Event #4…Nice job Ben!

Tim Gomes (ID: gomester) continued his WSOP circuit domination by cashing with a final table in Event #7…that’s 3 years in a row!

Several others had successes in the cash games and also in the 1-table sitngos.


Next stop….Vegas WSOP in June of 2011!




Quick Summary:

  • Val had a great time…got robbed/rivered twice and got close to the money.  But don’t worry…his wonderful wife Sandi hit a $1250 jackpot on Friday night!

  • Ed made it to his first WSOP cash with a 45th place finish in Event #5!

  • Chris made it to his first WSOP final table and cash in Event #1!

  • Ben hit WSOP cash for the first time in Event #4!

  • Tim continued his WSOP circuit domination by cashing with a final table in Event #7…that’s 3 years in a row!

  • Lots of cash was won in the side games and sitngos.

  • One of Scott’s friends (Chris) hit a $10,000 jackpot and became the big winner for the weekend!!

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