Growing up, sports was a staple of my childhood, as often is the case in small town life throughout the Midwest. Many summer days were spent playing basketball with my buds, and on the days when we were too tired to play an actual pickup game, we’d play HORSE for hours on end.
If you’re not familiar with HORSE (in the basketball sense), it’s played with two (sometimes more, but usually two) people. Person A would attempt a shot…any shot, a three pointer, layup, bounce-off-the-cement bank shot, anything goes in this game. If person A made their shot, person B would have to make the same exact shot. Failure to do so gives you an H. Your second fail on different shot gives you an O…and so on.
The first person to fail five times has spelled out the word HORSE, and would be the loser…except for one thing. The final shot must always be “Proven”, meaning the first person has to make the shot again to seal the victory. Of course, if you’re on the losing end of the game, and you miss that final shot, you have to yell “Prove it!!!” to the potential winner in order to invoke the rule.
Event #17 of the 2011 World Series of Poker was my “Prove it!!!” moment. I’ve enjoyed success playing HORSE (the poker variation) online and live, winning tournaments often, and posting a great ROI in the game.
Living in Las Vegas this year affords me the opportunity to play live HORSE tournaments for the first time, and I was a bit nervous when I first started playing the weekly $75 HORSE tourney at the Orleans late last year, but after winning it three times in probably around 10 attempts or so, I was beginning to think that maybe I could play the game well. It’s one thing to consistently win and run deep in $5 and $26 tournaments on Full Tilt, it’s a different ballgame transitioning that into success on actual felt.
June 10th was my day to Prove It…to see if I could play on a bigger stage, with a bigger buy-in and with a bigger field.
Don’t get me wrong, I know one tournament performance doesn’t always tell the story. Its simply too small of a sample size, and given the nature of the game of poker, anything can happen in one tournament, and one tournament isn’t an indicator of a players strength (or weakness for that matter) in the game. So it’s not like I felt that if I failed to finish well I’d have doubts as to my skill in mixed games.
But it certainly felt like I had to prove to myself that I was not only a capable HORSE player, but an exceptional one.
I don’t like to set goals when entering a tournament other than winning, which is why my friends always get on my case when I talk about a second place finish in a tournament like it’s a failure. Is this a bad thing, feeling like anything but a victory is a failure? The answer is different for many people, but if I ever lose that burning desire to win, I’ll stop playing poker. That’s how I’m wired, and if you’re playing poker and not thinking a similar thought, then you’re going to lose money.
So that’s why I’m not completely pleased with a 56/963 finish and a WSOP cash in Event #17. I want more, I want to final table it…I want to win it…Is this unrealistic? Absolutely not, but for now I can sleep at night knowing I’m 1/1 in WSOP cashes.
More to come…
I now have a WSOP Profile…more later…
Just found out my table draw for Day 2. Amazon Room Table 285
Seat 1 – Jean-Daniel Pessina – 10,000
Seat 2 – Jorge Walker = 26,500
Seat 3 – Sokcheka Pho – 21,600
Seat 4 – NumbBono – 7,000
Seat 5 – Svetlana Gromenkova – 56,800
Seat 6 – Mikal Blomlie – 6,000
Seat 7 – Owais Ahmed – 42,400
Seat 8 – William Smith – 16,600
Looks like there’s 185 players left. Top 96 cash. I’m 160/185 and I’ll need to find some chips at some point quickly, but I can roach with the best of them.
I sat with Svetlana for the first half of day one. Had one memorable hand with her where I won a sizable Razz pot with just a 10-low. I don’t recognize any of the the other names at my table though.
Follow me on Twitter – @numbbono
This will be short, as I just got home and it’s late and I’m tired…blah blah blah…
I made day two, but with scraps. I’ll be at the Amazon Room tomorrow with my 7,000 chips looking to find some chips quickly. It’ll be level 11 with blinds at 500/1000 starting with Hold’em.
Had an up and down Day 1. First two levels saw me chip up from 4,500 to 8,000. Over the next two levels I was down around 2K at one point and pulled it back up to about 18K over levels 5-6. Bumped it up to around 22K with two levels left and then hit some rough spots to drop to 7K over the last two levels of the day.
Sat with Lyle Berman and Victor Ramden over the last few levels.
Sat a table away from Jimmy Fricke for much of the day. He’s bigger in person than he appears on TV. Mix in a salad dude.
More later, off to bed now though.
This summer I plan on playing WSOP Event #17 – HORSE.
The tournament begins Friday, June 10th at Noon PST, and is a three day event.
I’m selling shares at $30 per share, which represents exactly 2% of the entry fee of $1500. For every share purchased, the purchaser will be entitled 2% of my gross winnings (pre-tax/pre-tokes).
I will not be marking up these shares, so you’ll be getting a bargain from me.
In the event that I’m unable to play in the event, purchasers will receive a full refund of the share price, to be paid by the method of my choosing.
If you’re interested in purchasing shares, email me at numbbono(at)donkeysdraw(dot)com before 1:00 pm PST on Thursday, June 9th. In your email, you’ll need to tell me how many shares you would like to purchase. Sending me this email does not guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase any or all of the shares you request. I will contact all people via email who make inquiries by 9:00 am PST on Friday, June 10th. When I reply, I’ll let you know if the shares you wish to purchase are available. You are not entitled to purchase any shares until I have indicated as such in the response email.
I’m out of town right now, but I’ll flying back home to Las Vegas the night of Thursday, June 9th, so I’ll be be out of touch that evening until approximately midnight PST
I will accept PayPal or in-person cash payments for the price of the shares purchased. Please DO NOT make any payments until I have responded to your email and notify you that you are entitled to. All payments must be made by . If payment is not received by that time, you will forfeit the right to purchase any shares.
Payment on shares by me (if any) will be made via PayPal or in-person cash payment as agreed by the purchaser and myself. Taxes on any payment on shares are the purchasers responsibility. The purchaser must agree to provide taxpayer identification numbers and other relevant personal information at my request so that I may comply with tax regulations regarding any gross winnings/payment on shares. If the purchaser does not provide requested information, payment on shares will be delayed until I’ve received the needed information.
I reserve the right to make any deals regarding the allocation of the tournament prize pool. If a deal is made, I will advise you via email as to how the deal affected the published payouts. Payment on shares will be based upon the actual payouts, not any published payouts, regardless of the source.
I have so much floating around in my head right now, it’s time to get some of it down before it gets lost in the deep recesses of my brain.
First off, a little about Black Friday. There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said before about it. For me personally, I really hadn’t been playing too much in 2011. Mostly just the blogger tournaments, a few HORSE tournaments, and a little bit of bonus chasing.
I don’t miss playing too much, but I do miss The Dank (formerly The Mookie). This was our home game. Our weekly bring-your-beer gathering. It was so much fun to chat on BuddyDank Radio, sling some chips, make fun of people, get drunk, and just have a great time. Someday we’ll have our online poker again in the United States, but it probably will never be the same.
I miss playing HORSE online (and 8-game and 10-game). HORSE became my bread-and-butter game online. I managed to post a tremendous ROI playing HORSE online which more than made up for my sloppy NLHE play.
Live Poker – HORSE Wins
Since moving to Las Vegas, I’ve been playing some live HORSE tournaments, and the ROI continues to spike the more I play mixed games. It doesn’t seem to matter if its live play, or online play either.
I wrote about my second win in The weekly Orleans HORSE tournament last month, and I’ve played a couple of times since.
Yesterday, I posted another victory in the tournament. Only this time the victory was much sweeter. Rather than a three-way chop at the end, I won the thing outright. There was brief talk of a chop when we were four handed, but one gentleman made it clear that he had no interest in a chop. He insisted on playing it out, which was fine by me.
Guess who happened to be the next player to bust out? Mr. NoChop of course. Funny how that works.
Before I get into some details on my play in the tournament, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the tournament structure, and how my chipstack went from 2 big blinds four-handed, to eventually winning the tournament.
* $75 buy-in
* 44 players
* 330,000 total chips in play (7,500 starting stacks)
* Top five places cashed
* Can’t remember the exact payouts, but it was something like this.
1 – $900
2 – $600
3 – $350
4 – $220
5 – $100
* When we were 7-handed at the final table, we agreed to a save for 6th and 7th place of $100 each.
FuckIt (Pushmonkey) Mode
Late registration runs for the first five levels of the tournament, which means if you bust out before that time, you can buy back in if you wish. With about 6 minutes left before late registration ended, I had dug myself a pretty deep hole, and found myself with about 3K in chips. The game was Stud8, and I made the decision to start ramming and jamming like mad with the idea that I would either bust out, and buy back in with a fresh stack, or pick up a few chips so as not to be so short once we returned from the break.
I picked up a pair of buried 8’s, with a Jack up top, and raised it up every street. I missed everything, and ended up with nothing more than my 8’s by seventh street. I did have four clubs showing, but I thought I was dead, and had most of my stack in the middle.
I fired out on 7th, cause I’m a donkey like that, and to my surprise, the two other people in the hand folded. I didn’t even have a low, and I quietly mucked my hand after the pot was pushed to me, even though I was elated to have over 8K back in front of me.
So it was apparent that a rebuy wouldn’t be necessary at this point, and I turned off my FuckIt mode and went back to normal play.
Rise, Fall, and Rise Again
Just two hands later, I had (3-6) 7, and raised it up with only one other low card showing for anyone at the table. 4 people called me, and I picked up a 5 and an 8 on the next two streets, giving me what I felt was about an 85% chance at the low based on everyone’s boards. Time to ram and jam with 3 people in the hand still.
Useless Jack on sixth street, and one of the other players picked up a low card, making me a little less confident about my low chances. Wasn’t crazy about the fact that two fours were already dead, giving me 2 outs for a straight.
Down and dirty on 7th Street, and lo and behold, I pick up one of the two remaining 4’s, and scoop a nice sized pot, giving me over 18K as we went to break. The average stack was about 9K at this point. Go me.
My table broke before we even started up after the break, and I drew the 8 seat again at another table. My favorite seats (8 handed) are the 1 and 8. Not much happened during the HE level, but I managed to decimate my 18K stack during Omaha8, and once again found myself extremely short, with about 6K left as we hit Razz.
Oh Razz, I love you so. After the 20 minute Razz level, and midway though the next level (Stud High) I managed to chip up to about 28K. That my friends, is a nice run. I played 30 minutes of perfect poker, and caught some key cards. Just a beautiful site to behold.
Another table break, and I end up in the 4 seat, and we’re down to two tables (16 players).
Stretch Run and the Final Table
On my right was a 21 year old that I sat with at my first table. Nice kid who’s name was also Ian. He was rocking a pretty large stack, and had a pretty good grasp of all the games. He claimed to have final tabled the 2-7 lowball event during last years SCOOP series on PokerStars. I didn’t ask him if it was the low, medium, or high event though. He missed playing online mixed games, much like myself.
My stack stayed between 25K and 35K until we hit the final table. They always take 9 people to the final table in this tournament, even though everything else is 8 handed up to that point. The idea is to avoid any table that is 4-handed.
I had the 1 seat at the Final Table, and about 40K in chips I think. Didn’t get involved in too many pots, and watched the field get thinned a bit. Once we were seven handed, and the save deal was made, it wasn’t long before we were 4 handed. I had about 40K in chips still, another guy had a little less than me, and the two other stacks were considerably larger, with over 100K each.
One of those large stacks was Mr. NoChop (see above), and it took him about 15 minutes of shitty Stud play to dust off his 120K stack.
This left three of us, and here’s the stacks.
Seat 1 – 50K – Me
Seat 2 – 210K – Ian, the 21 year old
Seat 3 – 40K – Middle aged regular in the tournament
Blinds are at 7K/15K and we just started a HE level. I’m just looking to outlast Seat 3 and move up a spot on the pay ladder (about a $250 difference).
Me and the other shorty tried our best to stack off against each other and the big stack…eventually I felted him when my A-10 held against his Q-J.
This left me heads-up with Ian. How about that, two Ians in the final two.
I had about 70K to his 260K when we started heads up, and he ground me down to a low of about 30K, which was just two BB’s.
Let’s pause here, and take a look at the chipcounts.
Me – 30K
Him – 300K
I’ve already spoiled it by telling you earlier that I won the thing, but coming back from a 10-1 deficit heads-up is one of the more impressive things I’ve done at the poker table. I know a comeback like that, with the blinds as high as they are, is more of a function of luck than anything else, but dammit, it felt NICE!!!!
I honestly don’t recall many of the hands that got me back into good shape. I remember jamming A-J offsuit with just 2 BB and having it hold up against 2 undercards.
I had A-10 flop a 10 against pocket 8’s.
I killed the guy in Omaha8 though, scooping a couple of consecutive pots, And all of a sudden he was down to about 100K to my 230K.
Blinds were 10K/20K at this point, and we both limped. I had 6-9-9-8, the flop came 6-7-K, and we both checked. Fourth street brought me a 10 and I turned a straight. I bet and got called, and we got it all in the middle on 5th street, which was a 2. I showed my cards, and he stood up, looked at his cards for about 20 seconds, and mucked them facedown. Guess he didn’t have a low. Not sure what he had there. I’m thinking a set of nines that didn’t fill up with no low, maybe with a flush draw mixed in there, but I can’t remember the suits on board right now.
He wasn’t mad or anything, I think he was just shocked that he couldn’t close the deal after having a 10-1 chip lead. We shook hands, Marlon (the TD) came over and paid us off, I left a nice tip for the dealers and TD, and headed for the doors so I could get a whiff of that lovely sewer odor that lingers in the part of town that The Orleans is in.
There was considerable crowd around the table watching us at the end, and I got a few handshakes on the way out, and one guy who I sat with for a good portion of the tournament even told me that he was very impressed with my play.
I made three mistakes that I could have avoided during the course of the tournament, two were for minimal losses that didn’t hurt me too bad. The third was bluffing in Stud HL with only a pair of kings, and the other Ian making a hero call with a weak two-pair and no low. He had shown a pretty impressive bluff with total air a few hands before and I thought I could push him off a weak two=pair, but he made a nice call and set me back early on. Of course, I recovered nicely from the deficit though.
To say I’m happy with this win would be a major understatement. I’ve proven I can win at HORSE in online play, but I’m glad that I’ve extended that success to live play. I’m looking at a few HORSE tourneys that take place around town during the Series (Binions and the Golden Nugget), and quite possibly playing the $1500 HORSE event at the Series.
I created a Home Game club on PokerStars way back when they introduced the feature in January.
Figured I’d share it with everyone and maybe I’ll set up a few tournaments for fun.
Had fun playing in Heffmike’s home game tonight. Was nice to chat with people and sling some play chips around. I miss the fun of playing with friends more than I miss just simply playing online poker.
Anyway, please join my group, and I’ll get a HORSE or other mixed game tourney set up soon.
Here’s the info
- Open the main poker lobby, then click on the Home Games tab
- Click the ‘Join a Poker Club’ button
- Enter my Club ID number: 5333
- Enter my Invitation Code: numbpoker
When I first moved to Las Vegas, I looked around to see where I could find a regular HORSE tourney, and as it turns out, only two casinos offer it on a regular basis.
Green Valley Ranch has a weekly $45 HORSE tourney on Wednesday nights that has a structure that looks pretty much like a super-turbo to me. Plus GVR is a pretty long drive across town for me, so I didn’t like that option too much.
The Orleans is the only other casino that I know of in Vegas that spreads a regular HORSE tourney. They offer it on Sunday nights and Fridays at noon and it sports a $75 buy-in. Both days offer the same structure, which is pretty decent, although it gets pretty fast in the middle levels, but what do you expect, they want to get that sucker over with as soon as they can. I’ve played this one six times. Five times on Fridays, and once on a Sunday night. When I’ve played this tournament, the number of players ranged from 30-50 or so.
Old Grizzled Guys With Sausage Fingers
I can now chalk up two wins in this tourney, but more on that later. First lets talk a little bit about the players in this tournament.
If I could pick one word to describe the typical player in this tournament, it would be Crusty. Most of these guys are old guys who like Stud, are somewhat familiar with hold’em, and need Razz explained to then every time it comes up in the rotation.
Oh yeah, and I’m sure I’ll be there someday, but these old guys have these huge fat sausage-fingers. Hell, some of these guys can barely pick their cards up off the felt with those nubs attached to the end of their arms. This of course begs the question…How do they pick their noses with those fat things on their hands?
The skill level of the players in this tourney is average to low. Lots and lots of bad habits are seen here, and these guys don’t care to correct them, or adapt their game to dynamic situations. It’s pretty easy to spot the weaknesses of these old guys, of course getting an opportunity to exploit it is another story, as you’ll only see a very small range of situations where you’ll find yourself heads-up with someone who you can exploit.
There’s always the guy who has to ask what the bring-in is every time the action is on him. This doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is a bad player, but it tells me that all they care about is their own cards, and really aren’t paying attention to much of anything else.
Of course, there’s always the guy that plays nearly every single hand. Sometimes they get lucky, but more often than not they have garbage, especially in the Stud levels. They’ve been playing Stud for over 50 years dammit, and they know the game, and nothing will get them off of two pair on fifth street because by God, they won a huge pot with tens-up way back in 1963, and there’s no way it can lose.
Occasionally there’s a young guy or two in the field, and they’re generally pretty strong players. Let’s face it, those who play online have the distinct advantage of simply seeing more hands over a short amount of time.
My Image – The Resident Geek
When I sit down in this tournament, I generally get no respect from these old-timers. I’m in my late thirties, but I look younger than that, so usually they assume that I’m a young gun who likes to ram-and-jam and play a wild, loose, aggressive style.
Of course those of you who know me, know that that’s not my game, especially in HORSE. I’m pretty calculated and deliberate, and I change my game up often enough that people don’t know what to expect.
Now there’s a few of the regulars who know me in this tourney, and they give me respect, because they’ve seen me win this thing, and run deep on the occasions when I don’t win.
The Bread-and-Butter – Smart Middle Aged Guys
My favorite opponents in this tournament are the 45-60 years old guys, who also play online. These guys look at me, and know I play online, and they know I’m not just some NLHE kid who decided to take a stab at HORSE. I carry a fairly intellectual look, I wear glasses, and don’t talk and act like a jerkoff at the table, yelling “Boom!!!” when I hit my boat on seventh street.
These guys give me respect, and I thoroughly abuse that fact, raising light against them whenever I sense weakness, regardless of what I’m holding. Nine times out of ten they’re folding, and there’s not enough time in the tourney for them to realize what I’m doing.
There’s Always a Crazian
Of course, there’s the resident Crazian in the game. I’ve sat with him 2-3 times, the latest being yesterday when I won.
His name is Dennis, and he’s about 60 or so, constantly talking, and nearly always in a hand. The first time I played with him, he was intentionally miscalling his hands when he was in showdown, and eventually another player called the floor on him, and he got a warning.
A short time later in that same tournament, I had just taken a sick beat in HE when KK called my AA all the way down on an unconnected, unpaired board, and spiked a King on fifth street. I was down to about 2500, and the blinds were 200-400 I think, or something in that range, and I’m dealt A-K suited the very next hand in MP. It folds to me, and I’m ready to get as much in as early as possible in this hand. I grab a 1K chip, and toss it in front of me at the same time I say raise. All of a sudden, Dennis, is complaining because he didn’t think I said “raise” soon enough. Of course the dealer, and the rest of the table didn’t have a problem, but he starts making a fuss and wants the TD to come over. The TD wasn’t putting up with his shit though, and essentially told him to shut the hell up and play.
I win that hand btw, and come back and final table the thing, but bubbled the money in 6th place though.
I’ve come to know Dennis a bit now though, and he’s alright, but he’ll shoot any angle he can, and I know this.
A Few Notes About Yesterday’s Win
Back to yesterday’s tournament. I guess technically I didn’t win, but I was the chip leader when we did a three-way chop at the end. Whatever, I call it a win.
One awesome aspect of this tournament is the fact that you can enter late. Levels are 20 minutes, and you can enter anytime through the first five levels, which of course is one complete rotation of all five games. This means if you happen to bust out before the first five levels are up, you can buy back in with a fresh stack of 7500 chips.
Yesterday on my left was a guy who didn’t even know how to play Omaha, let alone Omaha8. He didn’t realize that it was 8 or better for the low in Stud8 and Omaha8 until much later, after he had bought back in to the tournament.
So he busted out during level five. As he walked away, I turned to the woman next to me, who was just as amazed at how badly he was playing and said, “God, I hope he buys back in.” She smiled and nodded.
Sure enough, two minutes later, he was back on my right with a fresh stack of chips. He didn’t last much longer though, spewing everywhere. It was a gorgeous sight to behold.
I played a solid game, and got value in the middle part of the tourney with a six high straight with a wheel for the low in Omaha8.
Made good money in Razz against guys who can’t fold a draw to an eight when my board is 2-9-7-6.
Chipped up quite well when my table was six-handed and 4 of the others were old dudes who tend to shut down during hold’em.
Very early on I chipped up when I limped from the BB with 4 other players, flopped trip 10s with 10-2 and rivered an unneeded boat to take a nice pot from the previously mentioned donkey on my right when he couldn’t find the obvious fold. He paired his nine on the turn. No shit… he had…K-9.
At the final table I boated up in Stud high on 6th street, and was loving it when we capped 7th street and he didn’t even have a pair on board. This put me in the chip lead with about 100K of the 225K chips in play with five people left.
I always look back at a tournament when I’m done and note my mistakes, and try to analyze them. I sometimes jot notes afterwards, but usually it’s mental inventory of mistakes made.
Of course, when you run good, the mistakes are usually, but not always, fewer. This was one of the rare times when I played a tournament, and could not find a single spot where, with hindsight, I made a mistake.
The only thing I can think of that could possibly be a mistake is a single hand at the final table.
There were 7 left, blinds were at 800-1600, I was sitting on about 40K in the BB and the game was HE. UTG raised, UTG+1 reraised, putting himself all-in for about 4.5K. It folded around to me in the BB and I’ve got 3-3. UTG has about 75K in his stack and looked ready to play. I thought about this one for a good minute, and opted to fold, knowing that AT BEST I’m racing against him. Maybe he checks it down after the flop just to thin the field, but I’m getting the feeling he has a pair, and not 2-2.
Big stack shows A-J suited and all-in boy shows K-10. Flop comes A-3-10, and I’m kicking myself…especially when a J comes on the turn. Would have been an easy double up with bottom set if I played.
But thinking about it, I have no problem with my play in that spot. I feel I made the right play with the information available to me at the time.
As I mentioned before, this is my second win in this tourney. Sometime I’ll sit down and write about the other one.