March 01, 2008 - Back Playing High Limit Cash Games...And Still Loving It!
For the last few weeks, I've stayed off of planes and spent more time playing cash games than I have in probably a year. Playing high-stakes limit hold-em brought me back to my roots in poker, back to a time where I was constantly working on my game amid marathon sessions at the Commerce. The players were familiar, including Kenny, Cathleen, Max, Lee, Sam, Hansu, Tommy, Shawn, Joe, Jun, Ted Forest, Tony Van, JC Tran, and Jimmy. I booked some nice wins over the first three weeks at the Commerce before we moved to the Bike a few days before the LAPC Main Event started. We were playing $400/800 or $500/1000 LHE most of the time, with players crossbooking each other up to 100%.
Unfortunately, I also got sick a few days before the Main Event. Nothing too severe, but it knocked me into bed for several days. I felt better but still a bit fatigued when the Main Event started. I don't think it affected my play at all, but the deck must have caught the same flu bug that I had. After my aces got cracked to send me to the rail vs. K-9, I couldn't do anything much but to laugh about it. These things seem to run in cycles for me, running good in tournaments then running bad. I avoided almost all of the tournaments at the LAPC and did much, much better sticking to cash games.
I didn't ignore the Main Event, and it ended with one of the best Final Tables the World Poker Tour has had in quite awhile. One of my good friends in poker, Quinn Do, made the Final Table in 5th chip position with 1.45mil in chips. He was sitting with some very tough players, including Nam Le (1.18mil), Phil Hellmuth (2.38mil), and Phil Ivey (4.10mil). Ivey has been pretty quiet in tournaments over the last year, with a runner-up finish in the $5k WSOP 7-card stud event his only significant cash in the last eighteen months outside of Poker After Dark on NBC. I was in the crowd cheering on Quinn, who I'd played and worked with a couple years ago. He may not be a household name, but he didn't win his WSOP Bracelet by accident.
By the time the dust settled, he sat across from Ivey heads-up to battle for an extra $687k, the difference between the top prize of $1.596mil and the runner-up money of $909k. Quinn was outchipped 10.8mil to 2.5mil, and the first hand quickly got rough. Ivey bet 700k on a spade flop of A-8-6, leaving him with only 1mil behind. The other black ace, A(c), hit the turn, and Ivey moved all-in. Quinn held 9(h)-8(h), and he took about five minutes to decide what to do, and he ultimately put Ivey on a spade draw and made the call. Had he been right, he would have doubled up and been within striking distance of Ivey. It was a bold play with second pair, and it was sick to see Ivey flip over A(h)-8(d) for the full house and the title. We all waited for Quinn to cash out after the tournament was over, and it took him over an hour. Figuring out how to cash out $909k is a good problem to have, believe me! A dozen of us joined him to celebrate at a Chinese restaurant. We were all starving! None of us fought for the check as we stuck Quinn with it. :)
So after a month in LA, I'm headed to Malta next week. I'll be working with the ChiliPoker team for about a month as we work on everything from the site to a new DVD series, as well as marketing ideas. I will also be playing three EPT events while I'm in Europe - Polish Open, San Remo, and Grand Final Monte Carlo. I've recently also launched a new project with a business partner of mine, iPokerCal. This new site is a one-stop shop for any and every poker event going. Whether it's an online tourney, big tournaments in poker rooms all over the world, even televised poker, you can have one place to quickly find what's going on in poker any day of the year.
It's all a bit strange in some ways. I was happy to head back to LA, glad to stay away from planes for awhile, thankful to be with friends, and really excited to be spending a lot of time at the poker table.
And now, I'm ready to leave LA and get to Malta. It will be my second time in Malta, and the team at Chilipoker is just terrific. I'm sure I'll be playing on Chilipoker while I'm on the road, so jump onto the site and sign up to play. Lots of different sign-up bonuses depending on how much you play, up to $600 and even an iPod on top of that. Remember, the only thing better than dead money is free money! Have a great weekend, and I'll talk to you next from Malta.