Monday, August 20, 2007

Recap from Fowler Memorial Tournament

Once again, I forgot a notebook (surprise, surprise). Thankfully, Ken has a much better memory than I do. I hope he doesn't mind that I'm stealing his recap!!

Fowler Memorial Poker Tourney
Saturday, August 18th

Fourteen players participated in the Brandon Fowler Memorial poker tournament on Saturday. That started the prize pool off at a respecatble $350, but after the rebuy period was over that had almost tripled to $1035! After $235 was taken off the top for the charity, the remaining players squared off for an $800 prize pool.

There were many interesting hands and decisions throughout the night, but perhaps two of the more exciting hands that would have made the "ESPN coverage" happened after the rebuys were over. Ed flopped quad nines in the BB and got some all-in action from JJ. This wasn't the first time the Engstrom Poker Room has seen quads, as we did actually have a quads over quads hand back in December of 2005, but we did have our first royal flush ever last night. A severely short-stacked Joe had just enough to post his big blind and got four way action. Ken hit a set of fives on a 5dJcAc flop and bet out. After everyone folded, Joe tables the Kc4s and at this point was a 93:7 underdog. Everyone called out for a club or straight card to make the river interesting, and we weren't disappointed when the Qc came off the deck. The last card was the miraculous Tc to complete the royal and the room went nuts!

Here are the final table finishers.

9th Marc D.
8th Fran E.
7th Pete E. (ran JJ into AA on the bubble)
6th Joe D. ($40 and 37.89 WSOP points)
5th Scott B. ($60 and 41.51 WSOP points)
4th Ed M. ($95 and 46.41 WSOP poitns)
3rd Ned C. ($140)
2nd Ken E. ($215** and 65.63 WSOP points)
1st Jim Z. ($250** and 92.82 WSOP points)

**Jim and Ken cut a deal before playing a single hand head's up giving Ken an extra $30 and Jim first place WSOP points. The totals reflect the post-deal pay-outs.

A huge pot between big stacks Ned and Jim had Ned holding top pair and Jim holding top two pair when all the money went in on the turn. Jim went into heads up holding a 77300 to 9700 chip advantage over Ken when they cut the deal which gave Jim the title and Ken an extra $30.

With $235 already going towards the charity, donations from the top three finishers brought that number up to $400 (almost 40% of the total prize pool), which is an even $200 each for Lindsey and Griffin. The way college tuition is rising, that'll probably be enough to pay for about one day of school in 2023!

Thanks again to everyone who played!


Thank you for the recap, Ken!! Also, thank you to Ken and his wife, Fran, for hosting. It was a great time!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Humans 1...Computers 0

Congrats to Phl Laak and Ali Eslami for taking one for the mortal world over the computer age in the first-ever man versus machine poker challenge. Click the link below for he full story as reported by The Associated Press.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yay!!! I got a new toy!!!

Yesterday, I finally broke down and picked up an MP3 player. I went with the 30G Microsoft Zune. I had a couple Best Buy gift cards laying around and one of those wonderful discount coupons they send to their Reward Zone members. I couldn't decide between the Zune and the 30G IPod. The Zune has the FM transmitter, the ability to send songs, pics, and videoes wirelessly to other Zunes (anyone out there with a Zune want to see a picture of my dog or perhaps my wife posing with the Chick-Fil-A Cow???) and a bigger screen which were huge perks but the IPod was much lighter and had way more attachments and toys, also huge perks. The kicker came in when the sales guy told me that I couldn't use my 12% off coupon on the IPod (thanks, Apple) but I could use it on the Zune (which was already on sale this week for $229...$20 less than the IPod). So, all in all, I was able to get the 30G Zune for $50 less than the 30G IPod. Can you say no brainer???

I spent all day yesterday adding music and pictures to it. The thing is super easy to use. It takes approximately three minutes to rip a full length CD to the Zune software and upload it to the Zune, about two minutes faster than an IPod. And WOW!!! Does that thing have great sound!?!?!? I never imagined getting such great surround sound quality from two little earbuds! I may have to splurge and get a real nice pair of Bose headphones to go with it. That would have to be the closest thing to hearing it in person!

I'm just so happy that I get to look like the rest of you cool cats at the table. I really think that this is going to help improve my game in the sense that it will be a diversion. I've noticed that the last few times I've played I've gotten rather impatient. I've really loosened up my starting hand requirement and I've become almost maniacal when it comes to protecting my BB. I am definitely going to put a few smooth jazz CD's on it and label in the "Anti-Tilt Playlist" to calm me down any time I start feeling the need to play pot after pot.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Advice Column...looking for some, not offering any

Ed and I went to Potawanomi Casino in Milwaukee for the first time Frinday night. It was part of a sporadic trip to go see the Brewers play the Giants (and watch Barry Bonds do absolutely nothing). The casino portion of the trip was an interesting one, however, in no way was it profitable. I was involved in two hands, both of which I lost, that stuck out in my head and I'm curious to see what some of you have to say about them.

Hand #1

This is my fourth hand at the table. I have not been able to observe much, but in the first three the dealer has been saying things like "Six to the flop". There has been a lot of limping and a lot of people who are calling small raises after limping in. I'm in the SB ($3/$5 NL) and I'm doing my best to pay attention to two players specifically, a young kid who has almost $1,800 in front of him and the player to his left who has been very talkative. The UTG player limps, my monster stack limps, then something really catches my attention and sirens go off. My talkative guy, losing track of the action due to his conversation, bolts up in his seat and, very intently, asks the dealer, "Is the action on me?" He seemed way to eager to enter the pot, however, he only limped. I found this action extremely peculiar. We pick up two more limpers. I look down and see QcJc and I complete the bet from the SB and the BB checks. Seven to the flop.

The flop comes J-9-3 rainbow. With top pair and a decent kicker, I bet out $10 into a $35 pot to get a better feel for where I stand. The player two seats to my right calls, monster stack folds, then my talker bumps it to $40. Action fold around to me. I think for a second and my mind goes back to the pre-flop sirens. I have to call another $30 in a $95 pot. I'm struggling to put him on a hand, but for some reason, I pick AK as the strongest hand he can have and that there's a reasonable chance I'm ahead plus I'm gettin better than 3 to 1 and unless he's holding 33, 99, JJ, QQ, KJ or AJ, the odds dictate a call. After deciding that he's not on one of those six hands, I call. The other player who called my $10 bet folds.

A 10d hits the turn. I now have an open ended straight draw to go along with my top pair. However, I can't get those sirens out of my hand so I check to the aggressor who checks it as well. I'm lost. At this point, I'm not even sure what my name is.

The 4d hit the river, putting a diamond flush draw on the board leaving me with top pair and Q kicker. I check again and he checks. His check makes me feels pretty safe that the $125 pot is coming my way and I announce top pair. The talker flips over AA! A fricking A!!!!!! He then admits to playing that hand terribly to which the old man sitting to my left quickly replies, "You sure did!"

What the hell just happened? Was it a mistake to call his post-flop raise? The only thing I'm thankful for is that he didn't value bet the river because I don't see how I could have folded to another $25 - $30. Plese tell me if you think I made a mistake in the hand and what you would have done differently.

Hand #2

This hand comes about an hour or so into my session. There is a player at our table who moved in just after hand #1 and has been stuck on mega-tilt ever since joining our game (who will be referred to as Tiltboy for the purposes of this post). From overhearing a conversation he had with a floorperson, he had an interesting situation occur at his previous table that really, really upset him. From what I've been able to piece together, this is his story.

Tiltboy is at another no limit table and raises a hand pre-flop and gets a couple callers. He makes a strong bet after the flop and gets one caller. After the turn, he bets out enough to put the other guy all in. This is where the fun begins.

The other player is torn on what to do in this situation. So what does he do? He shows his hand to the player sitting next to him and asks him what he would do. This gets Tiltboy all bent out of shape and he tells the dealer to kill his hand because it should be one player to a hand. The floorperson I saw Tiltboy have the conversation with was called to the table for a ruling. According to the floorperson, since the person he showed his hand to did not give a response, verbally anyways, the player's hand was still live and the hand will continue. The guy calls and eventually wins the hand. That was the last hand Tiltboy played at that table and after telling the floorperson how big his mistake was and how at "real casinos" (I loved that line...I almost laughed when I overheard that part of the conversation) that decision was a "no-brainer" and that guy's hand would have been ruled dead.

**Just a side note, I agree with Tiltboy completely in this situation and because of this situation, I may think twice before going to their poker room in the future. I do not agree with how that hand was ruled. I think the only reason Tiltboy wasn't escorted out of the poker room was because the floorperson knew he goofed up.

So, thanks to a little drama, we have a new player at our game. Yay.

Our tilting maniac held true to form, raised hand after hand in the vicinity of 5x - 12x the BB (7 hands straight at one point). He continued his ruthless (and brainless) aggression post-flop as well. He showed down several miserable hands like betting out $100 on Q high and getting all ticked off when someone calls him with top pair to take the pot. I had the "pleasure" of tangling with him in the next hand.

We're now 10 handed. I'm third to act pre-flop. The two players in front of me both limp in. I look down and see Kd9d. Not a killer hand by any stretch but I decide it's worth $5 to try and see a flop with it. Two more players limp before the SB also limps. Tiltboy announces, "I'm on tilt guys, come get it" and makes it $25 straight. Normally, I'd see that as a sign of true strength and run for the hills, but, this guy was just telling us the truth. The two players in front of me both call. There's now $95 in the pot. I figure, "eh, what the hell" and I join the fun as my odds improved with the two calls in front of my and they got even better with two calls after me (SB was the only player to fold to the raise) $155 in the pot.

The flop come 9c-8d-3d. I'm extremely happy with that flop. I'm assuming that nobody with a hand worth 5x the BB hit any of the rags on board plus I have the second nut flush draw. Tiltboy is first to act and he does exactly what I want him to do...bets out $50. The next player to act folds and the second guy calls. The action is to me with a $255 pot and I have $160 remaining. Calling pretty much commits me to the pot and really doesn't offer a power move on the turn or river. If I want to play this hand, I decide that the remaining chips in my stack have to go in the pot. The bestt possible scenario for me is to get heads up with Tiltboy. Action folds around to him. He calls (was that even a question?). The original caller is torn. He has to call $110 more in a pot that's already hit $525. He folds and claims to have held 89 for top two pair. Heads up...mission accomplished

The Ah hits the turn. I think that by now I have to be behind because I could see him making this play with A high but Tiltboy looks up at me and says, "Don't worry, you're good". The 7h hits the river and Tiltboy jumps out of his seat and turns over J10o for the rivered nut straight. One of the players who folded to my re-raise laughs and says, "Wow, I folded that." I'm beyond pissed and get up from the table while I listen to Tiltboy praise his play and that it was the "perfect play". Does anyone else find fault in how he played this hand or am I just crying over spilled milk?

So that's the tale of my Potawanomi adventure. Buy-in bye-bye. I did, however, feel slightly better when he lost a $700 pot a few hands later when he pushed with 10-10 on a board of 9-8-7 and his opponent's KK held up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Brandon Fowler Memorial Charity Poker Tournament

My friend, Kenny, is hosting a charity tournament on Saturday, August 18th at his home in Mundelein. The tournament is in loving honor of a close family friend of his whose time came far too soon. The following is a note from Kenny regarding Brandon and the game he is hosting.

Brandon Fowler was born February 2, 1975, in Palo Alto, California. He and his family moved to Tigard, Oregon in 1977. Brandon's scholastic achievements include earning his high school diploma from Tigard High School and a bachelor's degree from Bradley University. In 2000, he was married to Holly Rusch. Unfortunately, Brandon has recently passed away and leaves behind his loving wife and two wonderful children, his two-year old daughter, Lindsey, and his nine-month old son, Griffin.

The tournament will be a $30 NL Hold'em Re-Buy Event. 25% of the prize pool will be used to create a college fund for Lindsey and Griffin. Pizza, beer and soda will be provided at the event.

Assuming all the details are worked out in time, this event will also double as our first "WSOP League Tournament". Kenny has helped me out quite a bit over the last couple of days to create a points system that really lends itself to our needs. Remember, any player who would like to participate in our league will pay a $10 fee that will be completely separate from the prize pool. That money will be used to award our league winner a seat in a 2008 WSOP Bracelet Event of his or her choosing. I will be e-mailing more information regarding the league as it becomes available. If you are available on August 18th and you are interested in playing, please e-mail me at I will send you all the information including the breakdown of levels and the re-buy/add-on format that will be used at this event. Kenny, Kim and I hope to see you all there!

OH!!!!! CANA--HUH?!?!?!

Just when it looked like Tuan Lam was going to double up for the second time off chip leader, Jerry Yang, the unthinkable happened.

Tuan pushed all in (22.2 million all day) and was called rather quickly (Yang had been very deliberate with his actions all day a la Chris Ferguson) after a pre-flop raise from Yang. The players turn 'em over and Yang's 88 is in a neck and neck race with Lam's AdQd. The flop comes 5-Q-9 and Lam takes control of the hand and the 44.4 million chip pot that was seconds away from bringing him to within a 2 to 1 chip deficit. Lam thinks things are wrapped up and has wrapped himself in the Canadian flag and began celebrating with his railbirds, which didn't really go over well with many of those in attendance (it prompted a smattering of USA! USA! chants that would continue throughout the hand). The turn, as always, makes things a little more interesting as the 7 gives Yang four extra outs in the form of a gutshot straight. Jerry Yang completes his straight with a miracle 6 on the river to take down the pot and the 2007 WSOP Main Event Championship Bracelet.

Before the bracelet presentation, Yang has the traditional interview with Norman Chad where he gives us some background as to who he is and how he got to where he is today. He talked about Communists invading his native country of Laos and how his family, after being threatened with death by the regime, successfully escaped the country on their second attempt. This was a truly moving moment. After being asked if coming to America was still the best day of his life, Yang, humbly agrees but that today ranks pretty high as he is now sitting between Norman Chad and $8.25 million dollars. Yang has pledged 10% of his to three charitable organizations including The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Feed the Children in Oklahoma City, and the Ronald McDonald House. I felt bad for him as I felt Norman Chad took a bit of an unwarranted jab at him when he asked, "Do you believe that the Lord has watched more poker today than any other day?" For those, who did not watch, Yang was literally praying during every hand where he was involved in an all in situation while kissing a picture of his six children. Upon winning, he credited God with his win countless times in one of the most memorable bracelet presentations ever. Phil Gordon later commented that he has never seen a more humble champion and that there were even a couple moments during Yang's interview where he found himself tearing up.

Congratulations, Jerry Yang, on capturing the 2007 WSOP Main Event Championship!

The Bracelet Will Stay in North America

The last of our overseas competitors has been eliminated.

Raymond Rahme is in the BB facing a raise to 2.6 million from Jerry Yang. Rahme re-raises an additional 6 million which Yang calls. The flop comes Ad-Jh-8h. Rahme checks. Yang bets out 10 million and Rahme immediately moves all in, pushing his remaining 27.4 million chips into the pot. Yang tanks hard and talks himself into thinking that Raymond is on a draw. Rahme then starts talking, telling Yang, "It's your decision". Yang asks, "Do you want me to call?" which Rahme replies, "It's your decision, not mine" while giving a slight shake of the head. This triggers Yang to call and he shows A5o and asks Rahme if he has him beat. Rahme says no, asks the dealer for a king and flips over KK (one heart). Rahme can catch runners for a straight or flush but those draws disappear when the 4s comes down fourth street leaving Rahme drawing to a K which doesn't come on the river. Rahme earns slightly more than $3 million for his 3rd place finish while Yang takes more than 100 million chips heads up against Tuan Lam for the title.

The J-Train Gets Back on Track After Doubling Up Two Opponents

After a string of misfortunate hands where he found himself all in with the best of it against Rahme and Lam in separate hands only to get outflopped each time (QQ vs Lam's Ah5h and QQ vs. Rahme's AQ...both players flopped Aces and Yang couldn't catch up), Yang gets himself straightened out at Alex Kravchenko's expense.

The blinds are 300k - 600k with a 75k ante. Kravchenko, fourth in chips with just under 20 million, gets them all in the middle with AKo. Yang looks him up with pocket 8's. It's all but over when the flop comes Q-8-9 leaving the Russian looking for running cards to make Broadway. The 4d hits the turn and that will do it for Kravchenko who takes home over $1.8 million for his efforts.

Here are the current chip counts.

Jerry Yang (USA) -- 67.3 million chips
Raymond Rahme (South Africa) -- 36.1 million chips
Tuan Lam (Canada) -- 24.075 million chips

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Has Yang lost his touch???

The magic carpet ride Jerry Yang has been on seems to be coming to an end thanks to Alex Kravchenko. Yang has just doubled the Russian up for the second time since taking his massive chip lead. Both times, Jerry has made extremely suspect calls.

The first hand saw Alex move for 4+ million from the blinds and Yang called his all in with J10o. Yes, J10o. Kravchenko shows A10 and his hand holds. The second double up saw Yang raise to 1.5 million in the cut off. Kravchenko comes over the top for just under 10 million. Yang stands up, kisses a photograph of his six children (as he regularly does when calling an all in) and show KQo. KQo for close to 10 million!!! Yang has married himself to almost every two cards given to him by the dealer. Kravchenko shows 33 and the race is on. the flop comes 8-3-2 and the hand is over before it's begun. Yang finds himself drawing dead and is now down to 67 million (that sounds odd doesn't it?). He still has almost a 40 million chip lead on 2nd place but the next time he doubles someone up, he could find himself in serious trouble.

Phil Gordon has been praising Alex Kravchenko's patient play on the short stack and has predicted that this second double up could propel him to the bracelet. Alex has undeniably been the strongest player at the table. He has been the short stack ever since play began. It will be interesting to see how he changes gears now that he has amassed 18 million chips.


Jerry Yang just folded to a re-raise!!! That's the first hand he has released after raising all day!

Yang's not the only one who can bust a player...

Raymond Rahme raises the action to 2.7 million (blinds still 150k-300k -- 5 handed) in early position. Action folds around to Jon Kalmar who immediately pushes all in and has around 13 million all day. Rahme says, "If I have more than you, I'll call. So you better hope you have less." After the chip counting was done, Rahme found that he had Kalmar covered by about 3 million and makes the call. Jon shows AKo while the 62 year old from South Africa, Rahme, shows JJ. Gentlemen, start your engines! It's a race. The board avoids Jon completely and Raymond's JJ hold up. Kalmar takes down a little more that $1.25 million for his 5th place finish and Rahme moves into 2nd place with more than 29 million in chips....still 40 million behind our chip leader, Jerry Yang.

The J-Train Keeps Chuggin' Along

Another level, another victim for Jerry Yang.

Things slowed down a bit at the beginning of the second level of the day (150k-300k, 40k ante), but the level ended with a bang. Yang raises in early position to 1.5 million. Hevad "Rain" Khan of PokerStars fame (not the best endorsement Stars could have hoped for...the guy is an idiot at the table...Ali Nejad made the comment that he thought Rain was playing with a "49 card deck" after seeing one of the stupidest celebratory dances ever seen at a poker table) re-raised to 6 million, conspicuously leaving only 3.4 million behind. Jerry tanked and kept saying "I don't think I can lay this down. He finally acted, mistakenly calling the bet when he thought he had Khan all in. After realizing the mistake, Jerry measured out 4.5 million chips to complete Khan's bet. Before the flop is dealt, Khan announces that he's all in blind and pushes out his remaining 3.4 million. After a flop of K-2-4 with two clubs comes out, Jerry calls and flips over JJ. Khan shows AsQs and needs help. The 3 on the turn offers a bit giving Khan a wheel draw, but the board pairs on the river (3 or 4) and Jerry Yang has busted out his fourth opponent while collecting the 19.8 million chip pot and has pushed his stack to 73 million. The other four players only comine to 53 million. Can you say Jamie Gold Part Deux??? Jamie Gold...Jerry Yang...hmm. Let the conspiracy theories begin!!!

BTW, you have to see the footage of Hellmuth wrecking the race car. Classic!

More after the next break!

Who the F@$* is Jerry Yang???

The guy who has gone from 8th place to having half the chips in play (while knocking out three players) by the end of the second hour of play, that's who!

Does this mean he's a great player? Um...I'll let you decide.

Wang, who has played poker for just two years and won a $225 satellite for his seat in this event, started the day firing at almost half of the pots with completely random raises (2.5x the BB to 10.5x the BB) and had doubled his stack without showing a hand. After putting Lee Childs all in on a 7-2-4 flop (two clubs), Lee folds QQ face up and Jerry rakes a pot putting him in the top three.

Then Jerry picks on chip leader Philip Hilm. Jerry raises to 2.5 million pre-flop (blinds are 120k-240k with a 30k ante) and Phil calls out of the BB. Flop comes A-10-8. Phil checks. Jerry pushes out 3 million. Phil calls...trapping??? Turn comes out (I forget). Phil checks again. Jerry pushes all in and get Phil off his hand. Jerry takes the chip lead and is close to 24 million.

Very next hand...

Jerry raises to 1 million pre-flop and Phil calls in the SB. The flop comes Kd-Jd-5c. Phil checks. Jerry pushes 3 million (could be 5...not writing things down) and Phil comes over the top all in!!! Jerry makes the call and turns over AKo for top pair and Phil shows 8d5d for bottom pair and the flush draw. The board bricks out and our opening chip leader has just busted out in 9th place while Jerry is up to 44 million, more than twice the 2nd place stack.

A few hands later, Jerry is in the SB and raises to 1 million. Lee Watkinson in the BB goes all in for 9.715 all day (I remember this because they took FOREVER to agree on a total count). Jerry calls of another 8.715 million with A9o!!! Ya know what's sick? Lee flips over A7o and is in sad shape. The board misses everyone and Jerry's 9 plays. Wow!

Fast forward 6-7 hands. Jerry's at 55 million. Second place is only 20 million. Action folds around to Lee Childs in the SB who raises 3x the BB to 720k. Jerry, in the BB, moves all in. Lee, still showing the effects of laying down the ladies to Jerry over an hour ago talks himself into a call saying, "7th's not bad...I call" and puts his last 7 million or so in the pot with KhJc and Jerry sheepishly turns over Js8s. The flop comes 4d-4c-6c. Lee is still way ahead...until the 8c peels off the turn. Lee looks like some just shot his puppy but has a shot as he need a K or a club on the river.'t happen as the 9d floats down the river and we have just lost our third player in the first two hours of play. Jerry's run has already been compared to jamie Gold's dominance at last year's final table where he knocked out 7 of the 8 other players in route to the bracelet. At the beginning of the PPV, Phil Gordon was commenting that with all the chips in play and how bunched the field was, he didn't expcet the first bust out to take place until the 3rd or even the 4th hour and has set the over/under for the last hand to take place at 5am PST, 17 hours after the first hand was dealt. Ummm....way to go Phil???

Break's over. More updates during the next break!

WSOP Final Table Tonight!!!

Somebody's gonna make a boatload of cash tonight!!!

Actually, nine somebodies are gonna make a boatload of cash tonight. One of them, however, has a little more to play for.

According to the blog on, Lee Watkinson is the only player left in the field who qualified for the WSOP via Full Tilt. Full Tilt has an agreement with any of the players who qualified through that states if they win the main event, FT will drop an extra ten million in cash on them (just to see that in zeros...$10,000,000!!!). Maybe the first prize award is only $8.25 million (yeah, chump change), but Lee's playing for $18.25 million. Good luck, Lee!

Don't forget, ESPN is offering the event live on PPV starting at 2pm CST. The cost is $19.95 and worth every penny!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Results for the AWL Charity Event

Freddy the Poker Dog would like to thank the twelve generous poker superstars who made it out for this special event. Freddy would also like to congratulate our winners Randy for his first place finish, Ed for his second place finish and Shelly for her third place finish. He also offers each of our money finishers a super slobbery puppy kiss for being extra generous and donating an extra $20 from their winnings to the Animal Welfare League! By the end of the evening, $200 was raised and will be donated to the shelter in the form of dog food, treats, cat food and kitty litter. Thank you again to all who attended! I hope to play with you again in the very near future! For details regarding this event, please visit and read Shelly's post from the evening.

Anyone interested in winning a seat for a 2008 WSOP Bracelet event???

Got your attention, didn't I? Keep reading!! I'm not joking.

I had an idea...which is scary...

I am considering putting together a WSOP league. I've been following the various blogs (mostly which has been great) regarding the main event and I'm amazed at how many people are playing as part of home game leagues. Either they had a big tourney where 1st place was a seat in the WSOP or they set up elaborate points systems and held events for a year very similar to NASCAR and the point leader at the end went to the WSOP on behalf of the group. I am interested in tryin something like this. Here was my idea...

At every tournament hosted by one of our poker locals where the buy in is $40 or more ($20 or more in case of re-buys), we set up an optional system where players who want to be rated and earn points toward a WSOP seat pay an addition $10 per tourney (which does not go towards the prize pool for that evening). Each player who chooses to be a part of this then earns points based upon their finish. At the end of the year, the player with the most points gets to play in the WSOP event of their choice (assuming we won't have enough people and events to get someone in the main event). Everybody who has earned points during the "season" gets a small stake in that person's finish in the even. So, if there is 10,000 total points (all players combined) in a season and the player with the most has 4,000 (40% of the total points available), he or she gets to play in the event of their choice and gets to keep 40% of whatever they win while the other 60% is divided among the rest of the players who have earned points over the last year. Then a player who may have finished with 1,500 points would then get 15% of the action. The reason for splitting the pot is because there will be a number of people who (hopefully) will contribute to this pot and it's only fair that everyone have a chance to earn a return on their investment. I ran the idea across a few people who were at my last event and they all loved the idea and would be for it.

The biggest benefit to this is that I think we'd get better turn outs for our games because the more events a person plays in, the more points he or she can earn, the better chance he or she has of playing in a WSOP event. I'd like to try to get a game every three weeks if at all possible at random locations (whoever feels like hosting). This would give us over 15 events between now and the next WSOP and even if we just have 10 players at each event get rated, that's enough to get a player in one of the $1,500 events!

I haven't thought about a points system yet. PokerStars has a Tournament Leaderboard points system that they use for various things including the players who gets the most TLB points in a given week gets to play a PokerStars sponsored pro head-up every Sunday for $1,000. Their points system takes several things into consideration including buy-in, size of field and a player's finish. They have a sick formula that figures everything out.


I just found their formula! They offer it in an excel download where you can see how they determine their TLB points. I doctored the formula to offer points to player who finish in the top half of a field (PokerStars only gives TLB points to players who finish in the top 15%). You can plug in any values you want! This could really work. Wow! So, um, points system has been established.

Think about it. Discuss it with some of your crew and let me know if you think this can work. I'd love to give it a try. I encourage anyone who is interested in this to e-mail me at and give me your input on this!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

ESPN Announces WSOP Final Table PPV

ESPN has announced that they will once again offer live coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event's Final Table live on Pay-Per-View on Tuesday, July 17th. From what I have gathered, the broadcast will be similar to last year's with Ali Nejad and Phil Gordon giving us the play by play and color commentary. Added to the broadcast this year is a "sideline" reporter who will be dropping in from time to time with interviews of the players' family, friends and fans. This year's broadcast will also be more interactive than last year's show as ESPN will also include surveys via text message and Q and A sessions where viewers from home will be able to e-mail questions to Ali and Phil to have them answered live on the air. According to, the event is being offered for $19.95 (I would assume the other cable providers will be offering the PPV at the same price) and will start at 3:00PM EST...that's 2:00PM CST for us Chicago folk.

I watched the PPV from beginning to end last year and really enjoyed it. No, you don't get to see hole cards. No, you don't see all in's every third hand. Heck, sometimes the chip counts aren't 100% accurate because they haven't had three months to comb over the video to make sure their figures are right. What you see is a classic poker tournament from hand #1 to the handing out of the bracelet. You get to see the deliberation and thought process players go through each hand. You get to listen in on all the table talk. It's the next best thing to seeing it live...which is the next best thing to playing in it.

I strongly encourage everyone to plunk down the $20 and enjoy 8 to 10 hours of some great poker. Kim and I may put a little something together and have people over and order pizzas or something (maybe I can even talk her into making her patented poker cupcakes!). If you're interested, you know what to do!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Polish Pride Poker Party

Last night, I had the opportunity to play in a new game hosted by my friend, Sebastian, and his buddy, Brian. Don't mind the goofy name for the event as nothing better came to mind. The guys had a great turn out for the first of what I hope is many tournaments they host. The game was a $30 NL Hold'em with one re-buy during the first four levels (you had to be knocked out in order to re-buy...only 4 people used their re-buy option). We started with 22 players on three tables and paid the top four finishers.

Here are some quick notes from the final table.

Our bubble boy was the host, Sebastian. I believe the blinds were 800/1600 with a 100 ante. Sebastian was in the BB with less than twice the big blind left. Action folded around to John in the SB who, before looking at his hand, said "I guess I have to, right?" referring to putting Sebastian all-in. Sebastian calls with K3o. John shows Q4o. Sebastian hit a 3 on the flop only to see John catch a 4 on the turn. Sebastian couldn't return the favor on the river and bowed out in 5th place.

Several hands later during the same level, our new short stack, Mike, found himself with less than 2x the BB. Mike pushes all-in from outside the blinds and Ed called (small blind??? didn’t mark that down in my notes). The cards are shown and Mike’s in bad shape as his 9d8s is in a world of hurt against Ed’s Ad8d. Mike goes from three outs to four on a flop of Jh As 7d as he goes into prayer mode hoping to catch a 10 for a nut straight. Ed’s top pair improves to a set when the Ac peels off the turn. The 6c floats down the river ending Mike’s tournament who took down $75 for his fourth place finish.

A side note, Mike was also responsible for taking me out in 7th when I made a button move with Ad4d and Mike woke up with AQo. He flopped a set and diamonds weren’t my best friend as I couldn’t catch a runner-runner flush which left me crippled. A couple hands later, I was UTG and moved blind with slightly more than 2x the BB. Mike, trying to offer some help, makes a huge raise that goes uncalled so we go head’s up. He shows QQ and I’m stuck with Jc10c (could’ve been worse). The flop offers no help and Mike “earns the checkmark” when the turn leaves me drawing dead. Nice playing Mike!

Our third place hand was a classic case of the big stack playing big stack poker and winning with it. The blinds are now 1,000/2,000 with a 200 ante. Ryan who has been the dominant force at the table thus far makes it 7,000 straight on the button. John makes the call in the BB. The flop comes 4h 10h 2s. John bets out 5,000 and Ryan immediately pushes back all in. John count up his remaining stack and finds that he has about 17,000 left before making the call. John flips up Kc10d for top pair with a strong kicker and Ryan show the all-powerful 2d4c for bottom two pair. The turn brings a 5d giving John a couple more outs but Ryan fills up with the 2c on the river. John earns $110 for his 3rd place finish. Nice work!

Our head’s up combatants are Ryan and Ed. At the start, Ryan has almost a 3:1 chip lead on Eddie. They play about a dozen hands before the blinds grow to 1,200/2,400 with 200 antes. Ryan’s lead has grown to almost 4:1 over Ed when we get to our final hand. Ryan limps in from the SB and Ed raises to 7,400. Ryan pushes Ed back and goes all in. Ed makes the call and finds that he fell into the trap set by Ryan. Ryan shows AcKc and Ed, sensing defeat, shows his KsJh. The flop begins construction with three bricks in the form of 5s 2h 5h. The turn shows paint, but the Qd hits nobody. The As comes on the river giving Ryan a pair and Ed is knocked out in 2nd place which earns him $160. Ryan wins $300 for his victory. Congrats to you both!

On behalf of Sebastian and Brian, thanks to everyone who came out. I hope that many of you can make it out to our charity game on the 14th!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Check this place out!

I just stumbled upon a new online poker supply store.

I was really impressed with their selection and prices. They even offered a 5% online coupon right on their site! I picked up yellow poker chips to use as another denomination at home games and tourneys as well as a bunch of chip racks. The last few MTT home games I've played in has required a bunch of table hopping and more often than not, chips have hit the floor.

Check these guys out. I'm sure you'll be impressed!