The Miscellaneous Rantings of Marie-Lizette
Last Friday (April 20th) I made another appearance on Live at the Bike. I've always admitted to my LAGish style and this was evident during the show (VPIP 41%/PFR 25%). What wasn't obvious was that I had a plan every time I played a hand. Sadly, I didn't get any credit for my plays or thought processes - Dave Tuckman didn't expect me to last an hour...I guess he doesn't remember that I've now played on the show five times, and have only been stuck once when he just so happen to flop perfect against me (see my PokerProWannabe.com blog posts dated Sept. 16, 2011; Sept 27, 2011; Dec. 3, 2011; and, Feb. 27, 2012). I will be posting video clips and address some of the comments on the show later in the week.
Anywho... my kids went with my Aunt to U.C. Davis to visit my cousin for the weekend, leaving me with plenty of free time. While a could have done some work, I thought, "Nahhhhh...I'll go play a tournament." I'm actually not supposed to be playing any tourneys right now, I'm supposed to be grinding up cash and rebuilding my bankroll but, while trolling the local casinos' websites, I stumbled upon Hollywood Park's $400K event structure. I can't say that I thought it was a great structure...but it seemed to me that with well timed aggression and a whole lot of luck, it might be worth the $220 investment for a shot at $100K for first place. I know I still have leaks in my game, but I feel as though I played fairly well on Friday, with 80% of my plays working out the way I wanted them to. So, I thought that I could afford to reward myself with a small buy-in tourney...just because it's so much fun to imagine what I would do with $100K.
I doubled up early in the event, had a few big hands hold up, and took a couple of pretty sick bad beats. I managed to keep an even temper (for once in my life) and just stayed the course. I was actually the tournament chip leader during Level 16 (1.5K/3K+500 ante). I didn't want tell anyone (text, twitter or facebook) that I was playing because I wanted to focus on my game. It wasn't until I had already made it into the money that I posted my first tweet.
Even with over 175K, I grew concerned that I had gone card dead just as the blinds were going into the nose bleed structure. I had been whittled down to just over 15 BBs by Level 21 (5K/10K+1K) and the shortstacks were pretty much open shoving with any ace or pair, so I had to really pick my spots carefully because every chip matters at that stage of the game. I quite literally only played 3 hands in the last 4 levels of play.
Feeling a bit desperate, I open raised under-the-gun +1 with because the Big Blind was playing super tight and 3 of the 4 players in between were fairly soft. The Big Blind had been at a prior table with me and he knew I picked on him quite a bit so he gave me some action. The flop was , and my opponent had checked in the dark. His range was no where near that flop so I bet and he folded, increasing my stack back up to 140K but leaving me at just under 10 BBs just as the blinds went up to 10K/20K+3K ante (Level 24).
The button moved a couple of times and I found myself on the Big Blind with . The only aggressive player was in the cut-off and picked that time to raise to 45K. The table was 6-handed and the Small Blind had folded, so I was heads-up with the pre-flop raiser. I weighed my options and since it was only costing me 15K more to see the flop and potentially win 90K+, I made the call. I know that based on my effective chip stack I'm supposed to shove or fold there, but I didn't want to just surrender my chips without a fight and I thought I could out play him on the flop, and oh what a flop it was! ..GIN! I had about 94K in front of me, exactly a pot-sized bet so I checked, knowing my opponent was going to c-bet. He only bet 50K but I didn't think he had any fold equity so I shoved. Unfortunately, he had air and folded...but I was happy for the win. I elected to show my hand, knowing that the next play I was going to make would have to be a shove situation and I wanted to be sure that I got action because only 10 people advanced to Day 2 in that flight and we were down to 11. I was not willing to make the 44 mile drive (88 round trip) just to come back without chips...I wanted to double up or go home.
A few minutes later I had the button and American Airlines baby! That's right, . Of course, just my luck, it folds around to me. Well, I certainly wasn't going to limp and given my hand history, I figured I'd get looked up if I raised on the button, so I made it 45K to go. The small blind, who had been with me at at least two other tables, counted and re-stacked his chips (about 120K give or take) and then pushed them forward, announcing, "All-In." (Yay me! ) The Big Blind folded and I made the call. He turned over . (Yay me! ) The flop was all paint and he was drawing dead on the turn.
With that knockout, the flight was down to 10 qualifiers and we bagged and tagged for Day 2. I found myself with 375K which, given that my flight was the largest field of the 18 flight event, is one of the larger stacks in play. I'll be starting Day 2 with just under 40 big blinds since the levels roll back to Level 21 (5K/10K+1K).
I'm going to do my best to stay focused and play my best game. I'll try not to be overly aggressive and pick my spots well. Wish me luck!
A year ago today, I woke up at 10:00 a.m., reached for my phone that had been charging on my bedside table and began reading through my emails. I was struck by an email I received from PokerStars. I had been accused of collusion and had 48 hours to write a formal response in order to keep my account active. Enraged, I hopped out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee, then sat down at my laptop to gather evidence in my defense and prepare my response.
You see, on April 13th, I had won a seat into the weekly PokerStars Sunday Women's Tournament through a satellite.
As so many of us do, I had been playing poker at my desk at work, multi-tabling as I was multi-tasking. Probably not optimum behavior for the senior Paralegal at the law firm I worked at, but then again, with seniority comes leeway and it was a slow day at the office. Anyway, long story short, I had accidentally folded my big blind to the Small Blind, who had only a limped. Although the Small Blind did not cash in the satellite, someone at the table reported me for collusion because I folded my Big Blind, allowing the Small Blind to take the pot. Keep in mind, I had personally pealed off a large portion of that Small Blind's stack in many pots prior...I had been the chipleader all the way through the satellite and maintained a very aggressive style to keep that status.
I had actually been chipleader in an earlier satellite on the same day to the same event, but ended up cashing in 5th place (and bursting the satellite bubble) in absentia, after being blinded down when the accounting firm on the same floor caused a power surge and caused a two hour long power outage. As you can imagine, a decade of being a paralegal had armed me with the tools to write a detailed response to the accusation, and, quite frankly, a scathing opinion as to PokerStars' business practice of asserting such a serious allegation based on one sore loser's complaint, when my record of game play spoke for itself. So, I was nose-to-the-grindstone, tapping away at my keyboard the better part of an hour and a half.
I clicked the "Send" button to transmit my email to PokerStars on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 11:46:05 a.m. Pursuant to email@example.com, my email never made it.
Immediately after sending my email, I logged into Twitter...and OMG! It was like watching a stock ticker during a market crash! The stream was moving so fast that I simply couldn't keep up. Post after post, 4 or 5 posts per second about on-line poker. I was confused, so the first thing I did was the first thing that all you did when you heard the news...I tried to log into my on-line poker accounts.
Although the websites were blocked, I was able to access both PokerStars and Full Tilt applications, but neither would not let me access any tables or withdraw funds from the Cashier. (In a fit of rage about three months prior, I had withdrawn all of my funds from UB and uninstalled it. I could not access the UB site or download the software so I didn't know that they were still allowing game play.) Needless to day, I was in shock.
I had such high hopes for Sunday, April 17th, but rather than playing in the Women's Sunday event on PokerStars, I found myself at The Hustler Casino, playing in a live deepstack tournament, along with so many other Los Angeles poker players that would usually be playing in the high guarantee Sunday internet tournaments that had been hurting the brick and mortars since the mid-2000's.
I can't deny that I had heard rumors that it was coming. I had been responsible for The Bicycle Casino's social media accounts since January 2010 and been involved in the relaunch of Live at the Bike since November 2010. I had a large hand to play in the re-marketing of "The Big Event" (also known as the "Fake PokerStars NAPT Series" ), and as you can imagine, it was my job to quell the gossip about the reason(s) for the tournament series name change. However, as a social media independent contractor, I'm the last person that the higher-uppers at the Bike consult regarding matters of law, so I am never "in the know" about their day-to-day business operations. To this day, I have no idea what pressures The Bike and PokerStars were under during the organization process of the second Los Angeles NAPT event, nor do I know what the DOJ had communicated to them.
After the April 15th seizure, PokerStars converted my satellite seat into cash and I was eventually able to withdraw the meager funds I had left on the site. I had won a small tournament on Full Tilt as well as a seat into the FTOPS $2M Guarantee on April 22nd, but... well, that money is stuck in nowhere-land just like your's, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, I woke up at 10:00 a.m., reached for my phone that had been charging on my bedside table and began reading through my emails. I made myself a cup of coffee, scrolled through my multiple twitter feeds and got caught up on my social media games. Later this evening, I'm scheduled to make a guest appearance on QuadJacks.com.
I'm no longer a Paralegal. I'm now scraping by playing live $2-3 NLH and $5-5 NLH ring games and working as the Host of "Live at the Bike." I'm also an independent social media consultant and internet marketing contractor for The Bicycle Casino, Poker Netcast and World Team Poker, among others.
The 2012 World Series of Poker is fast approaching. Last year, there were less media folks covering the Series than in years prior. I've tried to keep up with my fellow poker writers, photographers and bloggers over the past year, and I'm sad to report that lots of good people have either lost their jobs or are changed direction in their careers and will not be returning to the Series this year. In fact, I expect the U.S. media presence at the Series to be just the major publications and less than 10 independents. For those of you who followed my media career, you've probably noticed that I too have all but stopped writing Op-Eds.
I still have high hopes for the industry, I'm still holding on to the faith that it won't be long before internet gaming is back in business in the United States - bigger and better than ever. But for now, I'm just going to continue grinding it up in live games, one chip at a time, and do my best to bring live poker to you on a weekly basis via PokerNetcast.com.
I was going to take a picture of my Tamago Burger... but I inhaled it! Instead, you can see the Teriyaki & Wasabi sauce smeared over my name, scrawled in crayon on my placemat by the server who insisted we do jazz-hands after ordering the Jazz Fries. After eating my first Fükü burger since July 2011, I'm more excited than ever for this year's WSOP!!! (See ya in the bank parking lot at 2am this summer )