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No. of Recommendations: 29
Record of Events Played:

EVENT #2 - $1,500 BUY-IN NO LIMIT HOLDEM, June 3, 2005

2,200 Players initially seated, 108 alternates (approx.) eventually get seated.

$1,500 buy-in, received $1,500 in tournament chips.

Starts out 11 handed, 200 tables.

1 hour levels

No faces at my table.

Level #1 - Blinds $25/$25

Tight table. No action at all. Table next to us had lots of action and lost 6 players on first level. Stole/won a few blinds - I finished level #1 with $1,300 chips.

Level #2 - Blinds $25/$50

Played no hands, won blinds twice on a walk, finished level with $1,225.

Players per table reduced to 10. I'm seat 10

Level #3 - Blinds $50/$100

First hand, I'm BB. UTG +2 goes all in with $325, I call with 99 and win. I have $1,650.

On another hand I'm on button, Seat 8 goes all in with short stack. The very next hand, I'm in CO and Seat 8 goes all in again with $525. I call with TT. Seat 8 shows 88 and I win. I have $2,125 chips.

In late middle position I have AA. UTG raises to $300. UTG + 1 goes all in with $1,650. I call, leaving me with $475. UTG folds. Villain shows 77. He spikes 7 on river and wins. Damn!!!

I steal blinds with AJ from middle position. I have $625.

Later, on the SB, I have $350 remaining after posting the $50 SB, with A off suit. UTG limps, UTG + 3 limps, CO limps, I complete SB to $100. Flop is Jxx - I bet all in. Everyone calls !!! Turn is 2c. UTG checks, UTG+3 bets $600, no one calls. He shows KJ and I win. I Now have $1,600 chips.

First in, I raise to $300 from middle position with QJ. BB raises $800 to $1,100, all-in. I think for awhile and decide I have pot odds to call (I'm getting 2 to 1 to call.) He shows AT. Flop QJx, no K on turn or river and I win and now have $2,800 chips.

Level #4 - Blinds $100 / $200

I'm in late position with 55. Middle position raises$500. Everyone folds to me. I think and fold. (I'm not getting pot odds to draw to a set since I only have $2,600 after BB.) Also, I have no confidence that I'm not dominated by a larger pair and don't want to take the risk of winning a race at this point.

Few hands later, same guy limps from early position for $200. I have KK on BB. I raise $500, making it$700 to go. Limper calls. Flop is Qh-5h-2x. I don't want to give limper opportunity and I bet all in. He calls with set of 5's and I walk.

Damn!!! He wasn't getting implied odds to call, since I only had $2,500 to start with and after making the raise I only have $1,800 remaining. His actual odds were 2.4 to 1 on the call, looking to flop a set, and only 5.7 to 1 implied odds on my whole stack. Villain didn't have much of a stack left after the call, but nonetheless, he called and hit the set and won.


EVENT #9 - $2,000 BUY-IN NO LIMIT HOLDEM, June 10, 2005

1,403 Players initially seated, at 10 per table.

$2,000 buy-in, received $2,000 in tournament chips.

1 hour levels

Level #1 - Blinds $25 / $25

I am half an hour late arriving as I had played a couple of $225 satellites the night before (winning both: chopping the first one and winning the second outright for the buy-in for today's event,) and didn't finish up till 3:00 a.m. It was 4:00 a.m. by the time I got to bed. Consequently, I was a little late getting up, checking out of the hotel, and getting over to the Rio.

The only “face” I knew at the table was Freddy Deeb. Freddy was late also, arriving 10 minutes after I did. Almost immediately after I arrived, the player in seat 3 was knocked out and he was replaced by Joe Cassidy, (one of the guys who played a Dan Negreanu challenge - in limit hold-em I think. We had some action, losing 4 players in the first level. I finished the first level with $3,225 due to catching an aggressive player when I had AA.

Level #2 - Blinds $25 / $50

Nothing remarkable occurred to me at this level. I finished the level with $2,875. 983 players remained at the conclusion of the level.

Level #3 - Blinds $50 / $100

Joe Cassidy got knocked out when he went all -in with 5-5 and was called by 10-10. I didn't play much and ended the level with $2,675. 800 players remained.

Level #4 - Blinds $100 / $200

On one hand, a short stack went all in for about $1,000. I found 9-9 and called him, and then, much to my surprise, the guy behind me also went all in for another $300 which I called. Both opponents turned up AKo and I was liking it; that is until the flop which contained an A, and a K hit the river. I was down to $1,175.

Not too long later, I raised with KQs and a LAG with A-5 went all in. I was pot committed and called and flopped a K. I now had $2,650.

One of my bigger hands, which gave me chips to compete with, occurred next. I was in the BB with AA. Villain raised pre-flop and it was folded to me. I just smooth called. The flop was Qxx and Villain bet all-in which I happily called. My chips now were $5,300. At the end of this level, 546 players remained, and I had $5,600 chips.

Level #5 - Blinds $100 / $2100 and antes of $25

Having not played many hands, and feeling that my image could support a little rambunctiousness, I made a standard size raise on the button to steal with 68o. Again, to my surprise, I was called by both the SB and BB. The SB was short stacked but the BB had a few chips left over. The flop came 6-5-2 and BB went all in for another $1,100 chips. I called and we all turned up. SB had AQo, and BB had AKo. The turn was a Q giving SB the top pair, but the river was an 8 giving me two pair, and knocking them both out.

During this level, our table was broke and I was transferred to another table. At this table was Miami John Cernuto and Toby Maguire (Spidey). Miami John was short stacked. There were some bigger stacks at this table than the stacks I had faced at my previous table.

At the end of this level, I had $7,650 chips and 386 players remained, according to the official clock.

Level #6 - Blinds $150/$300 and antes of $25

Miami John Cernuto knocked out. Interesting hand. UTG limps, middle position raises to $2,000, Cernuto calls all in, and UTG re-raises all-in, and middle position calls the all-in with chips to spare. Flop is 10-x-x, Miami flops a set of 10's. Turn is a King, UTG turns a set of K's. River is a Q and middle position rivered a set of Q's. Set over set over set. John went from last pre-flop, to first on the flop, to second on the turn, and last on the river.

End of level I had $6,950 chips. 279 Players remaining. Dinner break till 8:00 p.m (1:20 hours).

Level #7 - Blinds $200/$400 and antes of $50

I had an interesting hand. I was on the button and made a steal raise to $1,400. I was called by the BB. I missed the flop, but the BB checked to me and I checked behind him. The turn was a 10 giving me top pair. Again it was checked to me, and I bet $2,000. Villain check-raised all-in (he had me covered) and I called. It looked like a move to me. Villain turns up 84o showing a pair of 8's. He had flopped a pair but checked to me apparently with the intention of raising if I made a continuation bet. He then read my turn bet as an attempt to steal, figuring I had high cards only (apparently based upon my flop check.) The pair of 10's held up and I had $18,000 chips.

I finished level #7 with $17,200. 207 players remained.

Level #8 - Blinds $300/$600 and antes $75

Dennis Waterman joined our table, filling an empty seat. We were still 10 handed. During this round I was completely card dead. I saw a few flops but missed everything.

Tobey Maguire won a big pot with QQ against a KQ, doubling up, and showing some emotion at doing so.

I ended the round with $10,500 chips. 151 players remained. We were informed that the payouts would begin at 140 players and that at 141 players we would be going hand for hand until the 141st player was knocked out. We were told we would play through the 12th level today and survivors would return tomorrow.

Level #9 - Blinds $400/$800 and antes of $100

Don't you just love this structure. Gentle increases in blinds and antes and an hour of play at each level. I think its great!!!

37 Minutes into this round we lost our 141st player and we were all in the money.

They have an interesting procedure when going hand for hand, but I think it is sort of unwieldy. However, I don't know that I have anything better to offer. On each deal, when the hand is complete at a table, the dealer is supposed to stand up. When all the dealers are standing up, and we have lost no player, then the order is given to deal the next hand. The tournament director was having fits trying to see all the dealers as players would get up and wander around to look at other tables. The TD repeatedly told the players to stay in their seats, but that was pretty futile. Only a few players wandering around would mess things up and make it hard for the TD to count the dealers to see if the hand was over.

Nothing much remarkable happened to me except that I made a steal raise from late middle position with Jd-10d. Everyone folded. One hand I picked up the blinds when everyone folded to me in the BB. I finished the round with $10,700 chips. I didn't make a note of it but I think we had about 115 players at the end of the round.

Level #10 - Blinds $600/$1,200 and antes of $200 (One of the bigger jumps we had in antes percentage wise.)

At 97 players remaining, our table was broken, and Joe DeNiro (Robert DeNiro's son and a pretty solid player) and I were transferred to another table. On my immediate right is Eric Seidel, and two to the right of him is Michael (The Grinder) Misrachi. Both of them had HUGE stacks, as well as the player to my left and the 2d player to my left. In addition, nearly everyone else out chipped me.

One hand turned out interesting for me, and doubled me up. I was on the BB with Q4o. UTG+1 limped, Misrachi limped, button limped, SB Seidel folded and we saw the flop. The flop was Q,8,7r, I had flopped top pair. I immediately (quickly) went all in with my approx. $8,000 chips and UTG+1 studied for a minute then he called. Misrachi folded as did the button. When the cards turned up, UTG+1 showed a pocket pair of 9's. My pair of Q's held up and I doubled up. I think my quick move convinced UTG+1 that I had second or third pair and was acting strong (and hence was weaker than his pair of 9's). A pre-flop bet on his part would have won him the pot, but obviously he was looking for a trap, hoping to flop a 9. Because he had a very large stack, approximately 4 -5 times as big as mine, he didn't mind calling my all-in on the flop. That was to be one of my only two hands played at that table.

I have been card dead for a long time now. We ended the level with 88 players remaining and I only had $14,400 chips, with the big stacks at $60,000 plus.

Level #11 - Blinds $800/$1600 and antes of $200. This is $4,400 per round. I am getting short on time in which to build my stack.

Misrachi is raising a lot of blinds. And, every time I have seen a hand, he has shown a hand worth raising with: e.g. Pairs, or A or higher, sometimes KQ. He is raising to $4,400 or a little over 3X the blinds. I am getting a dearth of hands, mostly hands like Hi-Lo off suit (J2, K4, Q2) or just two crummy little cards. Seldom is my turn arriving without the pot having been already raised. With no chips and no high card strength, I am laying down hand after hand. I feel like a target, like the amateur who is afraid to play. But I know that with what I have, playing would likely be suicide.

Half way into this level, I finally wake up with AKo in the BB. Once again Misrachi raises. The pot is folded to me and I go all-in over the top for all my remaining $7,800 chips. Naturally, Misrachi calls and we turn our cards up. Misrachi has AQs and I am liking my chances. I am nearly a 3-1 favorite. That is until the flop which was QQx.

I take the long walk and the floor tells me I'm out at 63rd place. I take the slip to the payout desk and the gal informs me that I am the first out player to get the new level, at $5,165, a $1,000 more than finisher #64.

To cash out, you take the receipt you are given, along with picture ID, and can cash it out at any cage in the casino. I went to the poker cage and the payout was in chips, which I immediately changed to cash, and stuck in my player's safe deposit box.

From here I went to my car and started the drive back to L.A. However, at Primm I was so tired that I stopped there and took a room for the night and came back home Saturday morning. I will be returning to the WSOP on June 21st for several more events, and an effort to win my seat in the big one.

I just found out late last night that Eric Seidel won the event, besting Cyndi Violette heads up, for his 7th bracelet.

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