Seasons change and so do I, by Victor Ramdin
I was really looking forward to the month of September. You've got the WCOOP on PokerStars, and things usually tend to finally cool off just a bit here in New York City. I was all set to take all the things I had learned about online poker this year, and apply them to the WCOOP, when a bit of tragedy struck.
For many years I worked with a fellow named George who was in charge of a lot of my building construction for the various properties I own and manage in New York. We eventually became very good friends. Within the past few years, George took what money he had and decided to move to Florida to try to make a better life for himself and try some real estate speculation of his own. To make a long story short, he lost everything in the recent real estate failure in Florida, got frustrated, and last month he took his own life.
Not only was I upset to hear the news, and for the loss of my friends, I was also very upset I wasn't there for him in the end to talk to him. I was out of the country at the time, and I don't know that my input would have made any difference, but I can't help but feel awful about the fact that I wasn't there.
This led to me being a bit distracted at the WCOOP began just after I heard the news. I would say I'm ok with my performance, especially given the circumstances. I lost about $12k overall, which I consider to be a victory considering my mental state and the fact that I spent way more than that amount in buy-ins. I only had two cashes, but I was lucky enough to satellite into a lot of events, and that kept my overhead low as well. Considering I played some of the bigger events, and especially the re-buy events, I'm totally ok with this figure. I played 18 events total including the Main Event, several second chances, and the $2200 HORSE.
I found a particular hand from the WCOOP Main Event to be pretty interesting, and I'd like to share it with you.
For the Main Event, you get a lot of chips. So I was playing in what I like to call my "Deepstack Mode." For me, this means I try not to go broke in the early levels in marginal spots. I will still push my edges, but before I do, I want to make sure I've given myself the biggest edge possible. I broke away from that strategy in the hand crippled me.
Blinds were at 250/500 and I had about 60,000 in chips. 40,000 was about average, and I had over 100 big blinds. As you know, this is a glorious sized stack to have, and something I should have been working hard to protect. I was in middle position with pocket kings. My standard raise had been to 1200. It was folded to me, so that's what I made it. I had three callers so already I was a bit on edge.
The flop came K-5-4 with two spades. I led out into the three opponents. One player called, and the player on the button raised. A big raise. There was about 4k in the pot, and I had led out for 3100, so with the caller, there was about 10k in the pot. The player on the button made it 13k to go. There's no way I can be beat in this spot (yet), so the only conclusion I can come to is that he's on a flush draw. This is where "deepstack mode" comes into play. A lot of players would love to push their edges here and let the guy stack off on a flush draw, but for me, I prefer to let the turn come off. If it's not a spade, I'll then push an edge twice as big, and if it is, I can decide to either get away from it, or try to get a cheap river and maybe boat up.
I didn't follow my own strategy, and I ended up jamming there on the flop. Well, as it turns out, I really didn't have much of an edge at all, as he was holding 8s-7s, and we were basically a coinflip considering he had so many outs. This is not my style of play, and of course the turn came a blank and the river came a spade. If I had followed my original strategy, I would have been able to get him off his hand (probably) when the blank hit the turn. If I had shipped the turn instead, the pot would have been laying him for worse odds. I'm not beating myself up too bad, since I got it in with a set, but I'm just upset that I didn't listen to myself. Good poker players correct their own mistakes and this is the second blog in as many months where I went against my own style and I regretted it.
On a personal note, I started going to Bikram Yoga. For those of you who don't know, Bikram Yoga is yoga done in a room where the keep the temperate at well over a hundred degrees. You sweat your ____ off, and it brings all the toxins out of your body. I'm not going to lie - some of the views in the room ain't bad either. It sounds crazy, but the whole thing makes you feel really good and energized. I'll probably start doing it twice a week soon. Here's a word of advice though: if you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, do not close your eyes. Let's just say I may know this from experience. And let's just say that I also know from experience that being revived by a yoga instructor, while pleasant, is somewhat embarrassing.
Other than that, I'm really looking forward to NAPT Los Angeles in November, and thoroughly enjoying the PokerStars.net Big Game on FOX. It comes on around 2am, but if you don't get it in your neighborhood, you can always watch it online. Really great cash game action. If you can't make it out for the NAPT, I'll be playing on PokerStars every Sunday from now until the foreseeable future. I play at least four tourneys a week on there - The Sunday Million, The Quarter Million, The Daily Nightly Grand, and the $100 Rebuy. Come say hello!
Talk to you soon!