Monday, August 23, 2010

Detox Cures the Thursday Blues

At the end of the day the Detox Series was a fun and profitable endeavor. I netted $32.50 an hour and the amount I learned was priceless. My biggest disappointment was that the event I cashed did not meet criteria for player of the year points...and I guess that is what I am looking for in all this. Interesting.

More interesting is that I made my money on Thursday, ultimately breaking my curse.

I feel the cash I made was at the most challenging event and therefore I hope it is safe to take some pride in of delusion.

My best strength? Playing from the short stack.
My worst weakness? Bluffing.


I placed 3rd in event #12. It was a Thursday afternoon in a small field of 50. To qualify for Player of the Year points the field must be >60.

That given this was a tough field, but I think I play better when up against better players. Judging by their play I found them to be much a tougher group than average...judging by the talk it sounded as if the majority did this primarily for a living. Again...assuming I am not delusional.

Here is a list of what I did right:

1. Extracted Maximum Value when I knew I had the best hand.
2. Bluffed and stole effectively for a freakin' change.
3. Was effective playing a loose aggressive grind as a means to maintain my leading chip position (that I enjoyed through much of the tourney).
4. Effectively used my image to give me an edge.
5. Effective at playing a short stack ( I did this very well in all 3 events, lasting for very long periods of time when short stacked

Don't get me wrong it was not without error. Of course my biggest error was my last. I broke my most cardinal rule. I busted out 3rd calling with my old friend AJ. Yes...that Ace-Jack. The one that I bring up as a reminder to myself, highlighting it's weakness in every blog.

Notable Hand #1: Blinds 800/1600 200 Antes

I am 3 handed and on the small blind with about 40,000 in chips. The BB has about 65k and the button has about 150k.

I have AJ off. The button raises to 4500.

The button has been raising every hand. Thanks to Ylon Schwartz that is. At one point, with 6 players left this guy had close to 200k, and he was playing far too tight with his stack. Ylon was sitting behind the table and occasionally the chip leader would go to him and ask for advice. That really pissed me off and I called him on it. Sure would be nice to have 80% of the chips and Ylon Schwartz as your personal coach between hands.

Regardless Ylon is a very loose aggressive player. As usual I did not know who he was. As usual I was happy to find out after I busted him. For those of you who follow this blog closely you would know that I am in the middle of watching the 2008 WSOP.

I could tell Ylon was a solid player, but was terribly impatient. Earlier that day Ylon was on my left when I raised with AQ. He shoved a short stack on me with small unpaired cards. I knew his range was super wide and I called. Although I didn't need it the board gave me a full house.

Eugene Castro, the chip leader, after talking to Ylon was now raising almost every pot. Against his Ylon range AJ was a very strong hand and so I re-raised to 12k.

The BB jams all-in.

Matt Klein was the BB. Matt Klein brought a special gift that I rarely have the luxury of in poker. We have a history of playing together in previous tournaments. The last DSE that I made 6th place in Matt Klein busted #10, the first of the victims to my rush of cards. Matt busted after he ran his 66 into my JJ. He had played with me a bunch that tourney and never had a chance to see me make any stupid plays. During this particular detox event he talked me up a storm and without question put the whole table on guard against me, having them all believe I was a superior player. I am sure I did well with small ball bluffs because of this.

Being the chip leader for most of the event felt a little like fact poker often feels similar to medical school. Do I belong here? When are they gonna figure me out and discover I'm just good at pretending to be smart?

The true value of Matt Klein was one that I did not exploit. Even though I hope I turned Matt on to my blog I am going to say this anyway. He was the easiest to bluff since he feared me the most. A lot of other guys AJ was a snap call against their range to do this. For him to come over my top after I three bet was a sign of dramatic strength. AJ was crushed. Hell I would have almost guessed that QQ was crushed too. Words of suicide in poker usually are kept in my head, but this time I stood up and said "I can't believe I am going to make this call. What a bad call." I hemmed internally for a while working on convincing myself he was going for squeeze play. "I guess I really want to got home and sleep," I said right before I called.

He turned up Aces and knocks me out.

I was happy for him though. I liked him and he played well.

They did not play one heads-up hand. They chopped the remaining money instantly and Matt gave Eugene Castro the trophy since he stated earlier his kids would like it. Both of these guys make a living with poker.

When our field hit 7 players the feature table opened up when event #10, 200k NLHE, was won by Ari "BodogAri" Engel (who I have talked about before). The final table of this event also included Joseph "Subiime" Cheong who was privileged to sit to the left of Ari, his former mentor.

So anyway, after this game broke we were moved to the feature table. The table was rigged with a web cam that had a live feed. It was fun having family and friends watch live.

Here is a recording of the last 2 and a half hours.

What was kind of funny, is here we are, 7 of us, final table, feature table....not in the money. Not until #5.

I had just seen the Long Island Super Guido, Kevin Luscala, go from a super short stack to chip leader in one hand. The prize pool was $14,600 and the table started talking about a chop. There was no dominant chip leader, I was in 3rd with 45k. Although I had a good shot at some decent money I had to get all the way to third place ($2200 prize) to make a solid profit on this series. No matter how well you play lady luck can be cruel and frightening. So bargaining at $1800 a piece, with first taking an additional $1200 and second taking $800 seemed like a good deal to everyone...except Luscala, who eventually agreed. Ironically he was the first to bust out to Eugene Castro's Royal Flush. That was after Castro hit Quads. Quad Jacks believe it or not. Castro's rush of giant hands put him in a dominating position.

After I busted out Marco Valerio from was waiting to interview me. I have been watching this guys interviews for a long time and he fits into the "Howard Stern-Like Fungus" bin. He is ADD, annoying and pushes the boundary of inappropriate in interviews with world famous poker players. To me it's pure entertainment and I truly believe this guy could get big. I had nothing but fun answering his questions. See here.

I will post another blog about event #1, where my fate was sealed after I bluffed over half my stack away and was unable to get a guy off an Ace high hand. I hung in there for a while with a short stack and then lost several hours later with 88 to A4.

The main event was almost a repeat where I could not bluff a guy with pocket 6s off a flop with 3 over cards. AT one point I was down to 1,000 chips in the main event...and with some hard work I was able to get it up to 38k. Unfortunately I took 3 short stack hits where I lost twice with AQ to baby pairs and got knocked out with AQ against pocket 8's. I busted out in 45th place out of around 230. 27 to the money, and some POY points. Needless to say I was disappointed.

I was introduced to David "The Maven" Chicotsky who was also in the main event and busted in the twenties somewhere. He was friendly but came off to me as stand-offish and I'm too busy for you-ish. Who knows after just meeting him. I did find it cool that he was following me on facebook and watched me from 1,000k when there were 180 players.

Overall I had a great experience and made money. Still wish I got POY points.

I will try and blog about Matt Savage and how I felt he ran the tournament. The main thing I want to blog about is my failed bluffing and the amount of chips I risked doing so. These are the big leaks that need to be plugged!


  1. Good job on the tournament placing and nice interview.

    Bluffing frequency is such a nebulous thing really. I know that now that my young opponents perceive me as being old because I am over 40 and thus assuming that I must be very nitty that my bluffing success rate has increased dramatically (albeit in cash games which of course are somewhat different than bluffing in tournaments)

  2. Thanks Laoch. Not sure exactly what my issue is. The big bluffs I have lost alot of chips in the last 6 weeks were good spots as I lost bluffing at
    1. Someone with complete air and two unpaired hole cards who hit one of his cards on the turn
    2. Against someone with AK with no A or K on the board called me all the way tp the river
    3. A pair of pocket 6's with 3 overcards on the board

    I am not sure if I am giving away a tell, or if I am just trying to bluff weak players or if I come across as a young internet punk. It may seem like I bluff alot based on my blog but in reality I bluff maybe 10% of the time I am in a pot (not including standard continue bets). Maybe I should dye my hair nit grey.

  3. I guess on one hand it is good if your bluffs are being called a lot because it gives you a commensurate opportunity to increase the size of your value bets and also to consider at times value betting more thinly. Thinking about your image in these situations based on table flow is probably a worthy thing to do.

    Of course some of this just could be small sample size issues too.

  4. Hey Dr Dom got 1st at the WPT event 3 550 buy in for 49k bro. Can't wait to get HU or 3 ways with the great Dr. Dom again.-Matt Klein

  5. Matt! Nice to hear from you! Congrats on the win! Thats a big one!

    I hope your buddies are pulling their weight and cashing some big ones too. You might need to fly solo you keep performing this well.

    We will be seeing eachother in Oct/Nov at the Venetian DSE! Looking forward to playing with you again!

  6. Dom how many DSE events do you intend on playing in? I am playing the first one of course and then prolly as many as i can. Are you playing the main? I think this is a great chance at a big main event if you can play in it.

  7. is my tentative schedule, if my finances, time and wife permit:

    Thursday 10/28/2010 NL $340
    Saturday 11/06/2010 NL $550
    Thursday 11/18/2010 NL $340
    Sunday 11/21/2010 NL $2500

    If I cannot afford the main event I will probably do Sat 11/13 NL $550; and ideally I would like to do all 5 of these.

    Which events do you plan on playing? Looking forward to seeing you...send me an email at