Friends or Foes

29 03 2012

In the world of poker you will come across many people who will be your friends and many that will not like you and be foes.  Here are some strategies in making friends at the poker table.

  • Come in with a smile- when you sit down, greet your neighbors and have a friendly vibe about you.
  • Never berate someones play-  If a fish does something dumb support him and be on his side.
  • Stay neutral when an argument breaks out- Always side with a good friend if he is arguing against someone who is going to be your foe anyways.  Besides that stay neutral and try and make friends on both sides of the argument
  • Go out to dinner with them- During the break don’t eat by yourself, take a player with you to dinner and other events outside of the poker room.
  • Be a connector- Introduce players to other players.  Be the guy who knows everyone and is friendly and outgoing.
  • Don’t be a smarty pants- It gets annoying hearing the guy who starts telling you odds and percentages and what the correct play is.  If an interesting hand comes up a common response is (that was an interesting hand).  If you want to talk strategy later do it with your top pro buddies.
  • A hoody,glasses, and headphones is an invitation to stay away-  Most people who wear these items come across as not very friendly.  Don’t hide your self.  Be outgoing!  Your trying to be their friend while they don’t realize your taking their money.
  • Support your friends-  If you have a friend who is doing well go support him.  If you cheer him on he is more likely to cheer you on when you are doing well
  • Don’t have money come in between friendship- prop bets, loaning and borrowing are a part of a friendship relationship but don’t make the stakes to high that the money is more important than the friendship.  Friends can help you with money but don’t take/borrow more than your willing to lose but keep the friendship

There are a lot more reasons but you get the idea that being a friend is important.  Now yes playing the villain wins fans and friends such as the poker brat Phil Hellmuth but they have branded that name already.  It is a lot easier to play the hero and the friend that everyone is rooting for.  When you have friends you always have people in your section cheering you on.  You get to travel and see your friends and they can help you out in times of needs.  Personally I have gained a lot of information by being friendly to my neighbor players.  they will constantly show me there hands and/or tell me who the fish are and what type of person they are.  So the moral is be a friend not a foe!


2012 mock National Heads Up Poker Championship

28 03 2012

Bernard lee created a mock bracket for the 2012 national championships due to the fact that there will not be an event this year.  I looked over his bracket and decide to create one of my own.  I created through better bracket maker and you can find my bracket here.  There are many interesing things about the bracket and I will discuss some of the players and match up and go into find who I think would be the 2012 national champion.

1st round

The clubs bracket is the toughest bracket of them all.  They have The most epic matchup in the history of time.  Considered 1 and 2 of the best players in the world Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey are in the same portion of the draw. Theres also Bertrard Grospelliar , Patrick Antonious, and Doyle Brunson.  The best matchup in the first round is Pius Hienz vs. Elio Fox.  Hienz was the 2011 WSOP main event champion and Fox was the 2011 WSOP Europe main event champion.  I decided that the true Main event winner will move on with Pius Hienz.  One thing to look at in the first round is how many woman advanced. Out of the 7 woman in the draw 5 advanced to the second round.

2nd round

Some good match ups include: Joe Hachem vs. Chris Moneymaker.  They are both world champions and they both have fairly good success in the Heads up tournament.  However Moneymaker was a runner up last year and rides the wave to the sweet 16.  Another surprise pick is Steve O’Dywer beats Daniel Negraneu.  In Lee’s Bracket he has Negraneu going to the final four but I feel that O’Dywer is a very good player and running hot right now.  Also the Champion last year Pius Hienz goes up against third place finisher Ben Lamb.  Lamb had a chance to go heads up last year against Hienz and now that he does he is going to use the opportunity to take Hienz down and quickly.  This goes to show that maybe Lamb should have been the 2011 WSOP champion.

3rd round

Tom Dwan vs. Phil Ivey.  The epic battle has come into fruition.  This is a sick battle and spectators will be glued to the T.V.  Phil Ivey will continue his dominance and defeat his new rival.  The last two woman battle it out with Annie Duke and Vanessa Selbst where Selbst success of late is to strong for former champion Annie Duke.


Patrick Antonious vs. Phil Ivey: This was the heads up battle at the super high roller event at the Aussie Millions.  Phil Ivey won that won and it would be no different this time as he battles his way to the final four

Steve O’Dwyer vs. Sam Stien: Sam Stien is one of the leaders for player of the year and he cannot be stopped in Heads up battles.  He destroys O’Dwyer and advances as the second final four finalist

Mike Matasow vs. Jason Mercier:  This is a classic battle between young gun versus veteran pro.  Mercier is considered the best young gun and his aggressive style is too strong for Matasow’s tight strategy.  Mercier advances.

Vanessa Selbst vs. Brian Rast: Brian rast is the $50,000 players championship winner at the WSOP he is too good for the only woman left.  Selbst is good but not ready for the final four for the heads up championships.


Phil Ivey vs. Sam Stien: Ivey has been playing well but Stien is running to hot and in a battle of top players Sam Stien has a young perspective and moves to the finals

Brian Rast vs. Jason Mericer:  This may be the most aggressive match of the tournament.  Mercier has tons of skills but Brian Rast beat him with luck alone.


Brian Rast vs. Sam Stien

In this 2 out of 3 match It takes all three round to decide the champion.  and in another great battle of young guns the best player and 2012 main event heads up champ is…………………..Brian Rast

The pros I love to hate!

27 03 2012

Last time I wrote about my top 5 favorite poker players.  These were people that are recognized for their ability, their personality, or thier ability to make news.  Now I will give you my least favorite poker players and why I love to hate them so much.

Number 5… Mike Matusow

Mike “the mouth” Matasow is one of the most hated players in the game.  He is known for talking to much.  He is annoying and a cry baby.  He does have great tournament success but has yet to find a voice in the cash game scene.  There are many videos showing him mocking people or yelling at them.  He drinks probably to much and does not seem to be an approachable guy.  But I like to think of him as the villian but he is not the worst, he is only number 5.


Number 4… Jamie Gold

  Jamie Gold was the winner of the 2006 WSOP main event.  He won the largest prize so far in the history of poker at over $12 million.  Now you would think he would do great things with money like that.  But this part time hollywood director spends a lot of it at high stakes cash games such as the GSN show High Stakes Poker.  Now the thing that bugs me about Jamie is that when he won the main event he own 50% to a partner and some other portion to Jonny Chan.  None of his partners got any money.  So Jamie is a thief and not honest.  They had to take him to court to get the money that Jamie owed them.  And of course Jamie Gold is a terrible player who has not made any headlines since he won the main event.

Number 3… Tony G

 Although Tony G is a good player some will say wreckless.  He is a complete jerk at the table.  If you play bad you will get him in your ear telling you how bad a player you are.  It is a suprise to see him have a lot of friends.  Of course i do not know him that well but his youtube video says it all.  He is easy to go on tilt and his crazy style makes him take to big of swings.


Number 2…Joe Cada

 Joe cada is a very nice guy and I have nothing against his personality.  But the way he played the 2009 main event was awful.  I heard he was not a very good poker player but watching the televised final table was abtrocious.  He not once but twice got all his money in with a weaker pocket pair then flopped a set.  He was a complete luck box and went from being short stacked to the winner of the event.  Him and Darvin Moon were the two worst players at the table and I was shocked out he could go ahead and risk all his money with a measily pocket 22 and pocket 33.  But as the Moneymaker era shows luckboxes win tournaments.

and number 1… Chris Ferguson

 Chris “Jesus” Ferguson is probably the most hated poker player right now.  Not only is he a luck box and a bad player.  He has very little personality and with his glasses and stoned faced impressions is not fun to play with either.  The biggest reason of all is that he was one of the main guys at full tilt poker.  When blcak friday hit he stole millions from players and fled.  We have no idea where he is.  If he is found he probably has multiple death threats.  He was dishonest and helped full tilt with their ponzi scheme.  Many people lost money on the site including me and a lot of it might be in this mans hands.

So that was my list of my least favorite poker players.  Some DIS honorable mentions would be: John robert bellande, Barry Greenstien, Howard Lederer, and anyone on the full tilt poker team(lol). 

Next time I will take Bernard Lee’s mock 2012 national heads up tournament and decide who the best of the best really is.

Favorite living poker players

18 03 2012

Here is the list of my top 5 favorite poker pros.  This is in likability and not so much in results.  See if you like my list and let me know if you would have others that you like or dislike!

My favorite pros

Number 5… Antonio Esfandiari

He is awesome!  He got me into saying the famous expression weeeee!  He is a great player and super entertaining to watch.  Him and Phil Laak use to put on probably the best show on T.V. called I Bet you.  He is a big partier and like seems to come natural for him.  I don’t think anyone can say they dislike this guy.

Number 4… Phil Hellmuth

He is an ambassador for the game.  Whether you like him or hate him he gets people attracted to the T.V.  The poker brat rants are classic and easily quotable.  I like him only because he is fun to watch and laugh at.  And you got to give him credit this year for his 3 second place finishes at the WSOP.

Number 3…Lauren Kling

Basically she’s the hottest player on tour.  I don’t know much about her playing ability besides remembering she came to my 1-2nl table at the Bellagio and tried to sit down with 300k.  She seems like she likes the high roller status and I hope to get to officially meet her one day.

Number 2…Jonathon Duhamel

Winner of the 2010 World Series of poker, this is a truly honorable guy.  I got to meet him last summer and he was nothing but down to earth and friendly.  He had one of the worst things happen to him in December.  His championship gold bracelet was stolen from him and he was beaten up.  That would be enough for most to quit poker or be completely upset.  But the next month he turns around and smashes the PCA in the Caribbean for over 1 million dollars.  He is a fantastic player and he is going to be a threat on the tour for a while.

… And of course Number 1…

Tom Dwan

Tom durrrr Dwan may go down as the craziest player of all time.  He defies math and odds and beats the professionals on a consistent basis.  He takes swings that are unimaginable and he dates some super hot chicks.  He may have one of the best poker minds ever.  Just watch some of his play on YouTube and you can see some unorthodox moves but he tends to always win.  His body language and snoody attitude are awesome to watch and he is the ideal player!

There are definitely a few honorable mentions… Phil Ivey of course is one of the greatest of all time.  Jason Mercier is also on fire and winning every tournament he seems to play.  I also like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak, Doyle Bronson, and Ben Lamb.  There are plenty others but these five are the top in wanting to play or meet in the future.  Next time I will give you my list of least favorite player.  And I think the list will surprise a few of you.

World Poker Challenge Main Event

13 03 2012

So the WPC at the Grand Sierra resort just finished and the main event played on Saturday was a whopping $1000 buy-in.   One of the bigger buy ins for my bankroll.  I wanted to do really well in this event because of the high risk as well as the good run I have had in the tournament.  I had been playing my best poker all week and was well prepared to try and take down the $41 grand first prize.

I sat down and just like all the other tournaments in this series I started accumulating chips right away.  By the third level I already had 26k as we started with 15k.  Then this hand came up.  I was feeling frisky when a guy limped and I looked down at 6 7 off suit in middle-late position.  I raised it to 700 and the aggressive kid in the small blind made it 1700.  It folds to me and I decide to give it a go and try to flop a monster to take his entire stack.  The flop comes A 6 8 with 2 diamonds.  He checks it.  This kind of makes me think he has kings or ace king.  I decide that if I check he is for sure going to bet the next card and if it doesn’t come a  6 7 9 or 5 I would have to give up for sure.  So I put in about a half pot size bet.  This would allow me to probably get a free card on the turn.  Sure enough the turn is a 7.  Giving me two pair!  Now he checks again.  I now have to get maximum value.  I bet 3500 hoping he has an ace.  He ships it in for 11k total and I snap him off.  Sure enough he had ace king and by the third level I had already tripled up to 45,000!

Then my level 6 I got involved in another hand right before break.  The UTG raised it to 1600 with blinds at 300-600 50 ante.  It folds to me in the BB holding 99.  I know he is trying to steal the last hand so I reraise him to 4000 total.  He calls rather quickly.  The flop is A 6 3 two clubs.  He only has 7,000 chips left.  I decide that it is unlikely he has an ace the way he played the hand so I go ahead and bet him all in.  He calls turning over K 9 of clubs.  He had a flush draw.  So I had to avoid a king or a club.  But of course the 5 of clubs comes on the turn.  Knocking me down to 29,000.  What a luckbox.  The guy called 1/3 his stack pre with K9; that’s a terrible play.

Then I get moved to a new table.  Probably the toughest table in the tournament where 3 pros reside.  I got nothing going and kept getting pushed around without much choice to do anything.  I get down to 16,000 by dinner break.  When we come back I look down at 77 on the button and a raiser and a caller in front of me.  I figure my equity if they fold and the likelihood of a coin flip warranted a ship.  I went all in and the raiser decides to call about half his stack with A10 suited.  So if you don’t know I am about 20% in coin flips so of course an ace falls on the flop ending my tournament and my hard fought series.

I can’t complain too much I got it in good and maybe I don’t need to ship with 77 but the guy definitely did not need to risk half his stack with what I believe is a marginal holding.  The next tournament in Reno starts Thursday but I am going to spring break in Lake Havasu.  So no tournaments for a while but I will probably come back and play cash and start looking forward to the WSOP.  I want to thank the Grand Sierra for an awesome tournament and the new location that they held the tournament in which was at Extreme bar.  Until next time!

Tournament Strategy Episode 2

8 03 2012

How to effectively play a short stack late in a tournament

Playing in the tournament last week I found myself a short stack with 18 people left.  9 people get paid and I feel like I play an excellent short stack.  There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you are a short stack deep into a tournament.

Now a short stack in a tournament I was playing is anything less than 20 big blinds.  If you have 10 big blinds you are a super short stack.  And if you get down to 5 BB you are a mega short stack.  Now People have argued at what BB it is correct to push the emergency button and have to go all in.  I believe in a bigger tournament like this 5BB is usually correct.  Sometimes up to 20bb is pushing range but I usually do that with really good hands.  Now big blinds are only part of the equation.  For example I had 20,000 with the blinds at 1000-2000 and a 300 ante.  Now this would mean I would have 10 bb.  But actually I have fewer chips than that.  I like to consider how much it will cost me per orbit.  So if there are 9 players at the table then I have to add up the pot.  Which is (1000+2000+300×9) = 5700.  So this means that if I fold for an entire orbit, which are only 9 hands I will lose 5700 and be down to 14300 which would be less than 7 big blinds.  Hypothetically I have less than about 30 hands before I would be officially broke due to folding.  So obviously you have to play a wider range of hands because if your waiting for a top 10% hand it is unlikely to come and even if you do double up you are still short stacked.

Now saying all this you don’t necessarily need to play the first hand with a face card in it.  Position and previous action is huge.  I probably play a lot tighter than most with a short stack.  Usually in early position I don’t play a super short stack with anything less than pocket pair and AJ or better.  Now in late position I will open it up with two high cards and suited connectors if on the button.  The problem with being super short stack is you will get called with bigger stacks and you will have to gamble.

The last thing I will say is my new golden rule.  If someone raises in early position you have to tighten your range completely.   I will probably throw away smaller pocket pairs if I am a super short stack (not a mega short stack because that is too short).  You’re almost always going to be at best a 51%.  The goal is not to get short stacked but a lot of people start dumping chips and the goal is to be the first into the pot.  Anytime you are to call an all-in you lose any power that you had and it’s more like gambling then being an aggressor pusher.  So just be wise and pick your spots correctly.  I made some great decisions and got my short stacked in good every time to get back into the tournament and finish in the money!

World Poker Challenge

6 03 2012

Well I just finished the weekend playing in several tournaments at the World Poker Challenge at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.  What a weekend it was?  First off I started on Friday by playing in a $350 buy in event at noon.  Now prior to this event I had bubbled 3 straight tournaments and 2012 has been a little rough for me with regards to cash game and tournament success. 

Not going too deep into analysis a hand that came up that was interesting was at level 4 I held pocket 33’s in early position.  I decided to make a small min raise to 400.  I don’t really even like playing 33’s.  Then I got a few callers and then the cut off raised to 1400.  Turns out only one of the blinds called, and figuring that at least one another would call so I figured that the opportunity to spike a 3 and win a big pot would be huge.  I called and smashed the flop coming J 4 3.  We checked to the raiser who bet 3000.  Now I know he has a monster due to the fact that he made a big raise and now came with a good size bet on the flop.  So the question is raise or flat call.  I decided to raise hoping he has AA or KK and ships it.  I decide to raise to 8000.  Now he thinks for a long time and folds QQ face up.  What a strong fold.  But he turned out to finish 2nd in the tournament so can’t blame him.  Now obviously wish I would have just flatted.  During a break he asked if I had a set and I told him AJ (I am a compulsive lair when telling my hands…hehe) So long story short I manage to take a short stack all the way to the final table and Get it in AQ vs. A6 and he spikes a straight on the turn.  So finally cashed and won $2197 for 5th place out of 93. 

But the story gets better.  On Sunday I was out really late like 4 in the morning having drinks with a girl and goofing around on a 25 cent machine and hit a Royal flush for $1644.  I was so happy I got a room at the GSR even though I live 5 minutes away. (See how happy I am).

Then I played a $230 noon event on Monday and took 10th place for a min cash of $500.  So all in all it was a great weekend.  I am playing a small event tonight and might play the $1000 main on Saturday.  Look forward to playing again and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @jessejcapps and leave some comments on here so I look like a balla.

Recap of this weekend

Number of tournaments played: 4

Number of tournaments cashed: 2

Total profit this weekend: $3381 (plus about $100 for BJ and video poker)

Hours playing tournament poker: 32 hours in 3 days

Hours of sleep total: At best 5 in 10 days

New pros I befriended: 3

Overall satisfaction of weekend: 100.1%