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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 

The 2nd ACF5000 Tournament

Great game at the ACF5000 last saturday! Although the field wasn't as big as expected (57 came to play) it was nonetheless one fine tournament, with a nice big chunk of change of around P95,000 to the winner plus the Silver bracelet and a pair of Ray-Ban Shades courtesy of Lal Gopwani, Ray-Ban Honcho and a good poker buddy of ours.

Final table action was solid, with several bad beats and race to the river situations. Hommi made waves when he beat the chip leader two hands in a row with his trip 2's against K-5 two pair (i think). What are the odds of that? Same hand twice in a row wth the same people! Mark, a poker regular and solid player, eventually took the chip lead for good in a decisive hand that literally won the tournament for him. Small stack French guy Jean (sorry i cant remember all the names) goes all in for about 70K, then Mark also goes all in for about 95K total, leaving the chip leader with a tough decision to call or just fold and let them eliminate each other. After a few minutes of thinking really hard, he decides to call and flips over K-K! Wow..i couldnt believe he realy thought about it that long, i dont know anyone who would have folded that hand anyway. But his worst fears came true when Mark flipped over his A-A! Jean Showed 7-7 and then t was down to 3 players. Chip leader never recovered and busted out at 3rd place for about P43,000, leaving Vince and Mark to slug it out. Mark has about a 3-1 chip advantage, and when Vnce pushed all-in on the first hand of heads up action when he hit his middle pair, Mark quickly called with an open-ended straight draw, which he hit on the River! Great Game for Vince who took home P62,000 plus bragging right to his poker buddies who will surey play the next tournaments from now on. Congratulaton to Mark on a job well done on the final table. As usual the ACF guys did another awesome job on the tournament!

I'm looking forward to the next one already! Hope we fill more seats next month for more exciting poker action. Make it a habit!

Friday, June 23, 2006 

Updates, News, etc, etc.

It's been ten days since my last post. I was just too lazy to go out and check my email and update the blog since the PLDT guys have been delaying my DSL reconnection for the longest time. What's new?

So what happened to the WBCOOP on Pokerstars? Well, i managed to win a few pots early on, stayed on average stack for the first hour, which by around that time around 700 players have already busted out of the 2244 registered participants. The first 20 minutes was a breeze since in my entire table, only one other guy was playing, and everyone else was sitting out! Then, i got moved to another table where about six other guys were also sitting out, but i was sandwiched between two bigger stacks, the one on my left being very aggressive and playing every pot with me. I decided to make my move when i had Q-9 on a flop of Q-8-8, betting the flop, raising the turn, all of which was just called by aggressive guy on my left. I figured if he had an 8 he would have raised me to see where he's at. So on the river, i checked to him, hoping he would make a move (i wasn't putting him on an 8 at all, since the last hand he flopped trip 9's and i though it was unlikely he flopped trips again) and sure enough, after about 30 seconds, he bet enough to put me all in, which i called. Yes he had A-8, bye bye for me!
The other guys like JJ, Marco, Nick, and Jaz were also playing while chatting with us, and congrats to Jaz for outlasting all of us and busting out at 183rd in such a big field. She would have gone deeper had she not been rivered by an Ace when she pushed with pocket nines. Good Game guys!

What else has been happening? Havent been playing much, mostly due to bankroll considerations. Played a fun 3-6 home game in makati, which i bought in for 300 and cashed out 2,000! I need more nights like that hehe! Looking forward to the ACF5K tomorrow, which i'll be helping run with NickG again. Hope we break the 100 player mark for a nice fat pot. Hopefully, the new rules will prevent any of the previous events that marred the last tourney and make for a clean and fun tournament this time around.

NBA news! Miami wins in 6! Wohoo! I never lost faith hehe. Go Wade! A nice little gift for Championship hungry Payton and Mourning. If anybody deserves a championship ring, it's the Zo. Battling kidney disease and going through a transplant then still playing at the level he played, wow, that guy is made of something tough! FIVE blocks in game six. That's heart right there.

Hmmm... well that's about it for now. See you tomorrow at the ACF5K!

Oh, check out for some awesome pics!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 

Sun, Sand, and Sea

Just came back yesterday from a much needed vacation from the daily grind. Nothing like the sun, sand, and sea to refresh the senses and make you feel as if you just got out of a washer and dryer all squeaky clean and stripped of all the grime and dirt of city living. And i got a nice dark tan to boot!

A few of the poker regulars have gotten somewhat tired of the NLHE game we ALWAYS play, so they decided to have a weekly low-stakes mixed game to introduce other forms of poker like Omaha, Deuce to Seven Lowball, Pineapple, and the like. We tried it last week and everyone felt like little kids playing a game for the first time! Man, everyone was a fish. You can see them smile wide when they make good hand, or there were some who coudnt stop giggling when they made a great draw. Everyone chased their draws, overbet, over-estimated the strength of their hands, and made stupid moves and donkey plays! It was one fun night. It was like playing poker for the first time again. I love it.

It's time we learned how to play poker games other than NLHE. I've been playing mixed games even before i learned how to play NLHE, but mostly it was dealers' rules and played with wild cards. It was fun, but it was mostly a showdown game, with straight flushes, quads and "quintas" going head-to-head most of the time. It wont hurt to learn how to play other poker games right, with proper rules and the like.

I bet it's easier to win a WSOP bracelet playing Kansas City Lowball since only a few hundred join those events as opposed to the NLHE events where thousands of players join.


In other news, there has been a lot of talk abot upcoming tournaments and man, we wont be disappointed! There's supposedly a P2.0M guaranteed with a 5K+1 buy-in, then there's the 10K buy-in WSOP format 400K guaranteed, and of course the big kahuna year-ender, a rumored 5M (to 10M!)guaranteed with a 10K buy-in WSOP format 3-day event!

I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 


All my life, i have never made any enemies. I'm a very peaceful person, and every untoward situation i have been involved in has always been handled in a civilized and non-conforntational manner. Although i've taken up martial arts and boxing, i've never been in a fistfight, except maybe with my brother when we were kids. I was taught to value honesty and integrity, and was always aware even at a young age that i was born into a family with a last name that i cannot just tarnish by doing anything stupid or dangerous.

So imagine my surprise when i heard that someone was spreading rumors that I, along with Jaz and even Kath, cheated last monday during the tournament where i placed second. The story goes that, when it was down to three players, Jaz and I were colluding to beat Rosh, plus, they even made up a story that during the crucial all-in hand where i called with my nut flush draw/ pair on the flop hand and it turned out he was bluffing, kath was behind them and miraculously saw his hole cards and signaled for me to call the all-in. Duh.

First of all, i was chip leader most of the time. When he went all-in, i had him covered by more than 30,000. Anybody who knew how to read a board knew that it was an automatic call on my part, after i had led out betting 11,000 before he went all in for 30,000 more or something. D.Ice cream was there, and so were several other notable and respected players who will attest that nothing of the sort happened.

The person telling these stories is someone insignificant in the poker community. He was actually the railbird who was disturbing and sitting at the table giving unsolicited advice to Rosh the whole time at the final table. Maybe he was embarassed when i asked bryan to please make him leave the table since he was really getting on our nerves, so he decided to make up some story to get even. i dont know, but he looked pretty drunk that night, and he isnt really the sort of person with a nice clean track record in the community. When his sister, a good friend of ours, confronted him with the story, he said "it's true,other people saw it." When she told him that other people who were there will attest otherwise, he said "Of course, those are your friends, theyll side with you!" Then he said, "Pikon lang kayo!" It turns out he had some interest in rosh because of some staking deal they had or something, im not really sure.

Honestly, if we did cheat the kid, how stupid can we be if he still won right? It's really absurd. I can't think of any reason for me, kath, and jaz to destroy our reputation and the respect of our peers by cheating at a measly 800 buy-in tournament. I admit i was really pissed when i heard about it, but i soon calmed down and realized that nobody who knows us in the poker community will even believe the allegations, and coupled by the fact that the source isnt someone of good moral character anyways. If anybody we dont know does believe them, we dont really care. If you have to accuse us, dont do it behind our backs, and confront us about it.

What's important for us is that we have a clear conscience. I don't really know if Rosh in involved in this, but i hope not, since he seems to be a nice kid, and he played well that night. I myself will never cheat in any way, shape, or form at a poker game. I love the game to much to do so. Not only that, i have invested too much time and effort in the poker community to just blow it all off on a stupid tournament for 5,000 pesos.

I really felt i didnt need to defend myself given the circumstances, but on since Kath and Jaz are also involved, i just felt i had to say something about it.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006 

A Nice Little Win

Sometimes it's ironic that, when people go to a game where they had no intention of playing, but on the last minute they somehow get to do so, they end up making it deep or even winning it. I've seen it happen many, many times. The last minute sub, the guy who was just there to watch, etc, etc, somehow end up in the money in a tournament. It's like the bread that always falls butter-side down, or the phone that always rings when you're in the shower. Maybe it's just some sort of freaky coincidence, but to the superstitious, it's something to think about.

That's exactly what happened to me last night. I went to the usual North-side monday game, where they were having a mini 800 buy-in tournament. Got there late since i had no intention of playing, and was just there to hang out and watch. When we got there, the game had not started yet, so we decide to join. To our dismay, they returned our buy-ins after saying that the game was already full. At the last minute, they decide to add one more table and accomodate us and several other late-comers. As we were about to begin, another guy really wanted to play and sat down in one of the empty seats being blinded out, asking if he could take the seat. This was where i made the remark that "Oh no, it's usually the guys who weren't really supposed to play that end up winning it." And so the tourny began.

I managed to get a nice rush of cards in the first few levels and maximized each hand into getting as many chips as possible. By the 3rd or 4th level, i was major chip leader. "Ther is no skill in this game!" was my battle cry.LOL! When my little rush ended, it was time for another player, Rosh,(i dunno if i got the spelling right) who will turn out to be my nemesis for the night to get his rush, and wow, what a rush! He managed to win several big showdowns and also took out one of the big stacks at our table, giving him twice as many chips as i had. I decided to cruise my stack to the final table and then get aggressive when i get near the money, which i could really afford with my stack. Although this worked well, i also watched Rosh build an even bigger stack as he took people out left and right.

When it was down to 5 players, we were all ITM. It quickly whittled down to 3 players as the small stacks got busted, and by this time, i had already shifted gears and regained the chip lead, although by only 10,000 or something. Now, it was down to me, Jazminator, and Rosh, and by this time we had already been playing for 5 hours. We were already discussing a deal splitting the remaining 18,000 3-way, leaving about 1,500 more for the eventual winner. Surprisingly, Rosh, who said it was his first time to make it this deep in a tournament, didnt want any part in the deal, saying he wanted to play it. It was fine by me, but another hour and a half into the game, we really wanted to chop it already and get this 6 hour game over with. Still, he didnt want to chop, because i think he misunderstood that it meant ending the game and denying him of a chance to win his first tournament. The chip lead had changed again to his side by this time, and a railbird was giving unsolicited advice to Rosh to "keep playing, youre so good, it's your first win" etc.

I decided to play more aggressively and stop thinking about chopping it, and started to think more about winning the damn thing. I took the chip lead after a few rounds, mostly by playing really aggressive and winning big pots with no showdowns. Jaz got busted out soon, but not before i took a huge hit to my stack. I had A-5 spades on the SB, which Rosh called from the button, i called, and jaz checked. The flop came spade-spade-5c, so i decided to bet around 11,000 or something. Jaz folded, then Rosh looks at me and says "All in!" I took me about a minute to consider it and i decided that the guy probably was making a move, since he would have normally bet if he had a piece of the flop, and not go all-in. So i called, and he shows a 10-8 diamonds, a bluff. i had him covered by this time with about 20,000 left for me, and i was way ahead with my pair and flush draw. But as luck would have it, the 8 hit the river,giving him most of my stack and the major chip lead.

Heads-up took almost another hour, with me managing to climb back to about 50,000 but still small stack compared to him, who had about 100K. I saw that he wasnt as experienced in heads-up since it was his first time, and true enough, he never called a raise or all-in all throughout our match. I never folded a hand pre-flop on the SB heads-up too, following a few tips from Harrington on Hold'em Vol.2 on heads up play. Eventually, after about 7 hours of playing, I get A-Q on the BB, and he raised 10K, making me go all-in. As soon as i flipped my A-Q over, i saw his eyes light up and i immediately knew he had me beat. He flips over A-K, and that was that, no miracle here. I was just glad it was over. I won P5,200 which wasnt so bad, but first place was P9,500 which would have been sweeter. Great game for Rosh, and everyone who made it ITM. Great Job by the TD, and the dealers who were also really tired. The last three hands were dealt by cream himself, which sealed the deal for me to lose the game LOL!

Finally won something after a looong drought, and it was made a little sweeter by the fact that i wasnt really there to play. Maybe i'll try to "not play" every game and just barely make it to the first deal, and maybe it'll give me better luck and a clearer head for optimal play.

Looking forward to the next one!

Friday, June 02, 2006 

Joy to the Fishes in the Deep Blue Sea

FISH ( P ) (fsh)
n. pl. fish or fish·es
Any of numerous cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates of the superclass Pisces, characteristically having fins, gills, and a streamlined body.

Fish. Poker players, as we all know, have a different definition of the word "Fish". For us, it defines someone who is sitting at the poker table with a lot of money to blow off and not a lot of skills to play and win. They are usually rich kids who watch too much TV poker, then decide to play a live game, unknowingly sitting with a table full of poker veterans. Basically, it is someone who is playing at a table which is way out of their league.

Just this week, i sat at a table with one big fish. This kid , sitting on my left, dug his own grave even before the game started, throwing his Rolex Watch in the middle of the table saying "all-in oh!" thinking it was cute. By doing that, he put a big red bulls-eye on his forehead. He then proceeded to blow off about P9,000 in the 20/40 game in a couple of hours. One time he tried to be cute with his Pocket Aces by not raising and got busted when my Q-J suited hit two-pair on the flop. The next day i bought some new jeans and a couple of shirts. Thanks!

Anyway, everywhere you go, fish abound at the poker tables. But, i believe that, in the ultimate reality of things, we are all fish, in one way or another. We always hear stories from players of how great they are and their mind-blowing plays and wonderful bluffs. But only a few will admit their donkey plays and admit that they sometimes play... like fish. Most poker players have an over-bloated estimation of their so-called "skills", especially new players, thinking that because they won a tournament, they can win the WSOP if given a chance. We have to realize that, although we lord over most of our home games or whatnot, all it takes to be a winning player is not rainman-like poker skills but to just be a little bit better than the players at your table. In a table full of fishes, the smartest fish among the bunch will still win.

Look at it this way, Phill Hellmuth is probably one of the best players out there, but in the Big Game, he is a big fish. Several Poker Pros that we admire are actually considerd to be fish in some of the biggest games out there. No matter how good you are, you can be a fish. I dont think Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, and Barry Greenstein would play with each other over and over again and just pass around their money. They need fish at the table, and even the best players can be fishes at that level.

Being a good player doesnt have to mean you have the best "skills". What's more important is Game Selection and Bankroll Management. Another is to resist that donk in all of us and avoid the mistakes that will cost us in the long run. The winning player is usually the one who makes the least mistakes, since you dont need skills to play the nuts and win big showdowns. I know a lot of us know the feeling of donking off all our chips on a bonehead play, one that we could have avoided easily.
Playing winning poker is about making the right decisions, and taking the right risks.

Sharks are fish too. They just happened to be the fastest, strongest, meanest fish out in the water. But not all sharks are Great White Sharks, the pinnacle of the underwater predators' evolution. Great whites have been known to kill and eat other sharks too.

We are all fish. If we just know what waters to swim in and which other fish to play with, we can be a frickin' fat and happy fish!

Thursday, June 01, 2006 

Recognize the Place?

Just wish we took more pictures in the place.

Here's one of nickg in a heads-up match with the Grouch. Game Face! P100 buy-in yan hahaha!

i miss those brick colored walls.

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Quote of the Day

  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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