Sunday, June 22, 2008


I guess 4th time is a charm! After playing in the SCCF state championship candidates tournament 4 years in a row and barely missing it each year I finally clinched a spot in the State Championship! I had a great chess tournament as well. My first game I got paired with FM Eugene Yanayt as black but got lucky that he blundered early. Notch me up a win over a 2280. Then, 2nd round I got white vs Gregg Small. If you have been reading my posts religiously, then you may remember I had a couple good games in the past versus him. This one was no exception. He allowed me to setup a nice positional advantage game where he was quite passive. Took me a while to finally break through but I managed to get to a Knight + Bishop + 5 pawns vs Rook + 5 pawns endgame where I ground him down and queened a pawn. Notch me up a win over a 2264.
The next morning I was on board 1 as black vs my friend and sometimes coach IM Jack Peters. I started out with a very poor opening and he was probably beating me in the middle game but then I decided to sacrifice a pawn to get some activity. Jack maybe handled it not the best way and then all of a sudden all my pieces started to fly to good squares and my threats more than made up for my lost pawn. He eventually had to trade off some pieces and let me regain my pawn to stop my threats. We reached a minor piece endgame where I had a Bishop + Knight + 4 pawns vs his 2 Bishops + 4 pawns and objectively I think I was a tad better. We ended up drawing the game though because it was difficult to find a win and I was in time trouble. Notch me up a draw with a 2441. The last round was interesting as it was a logjam at 2.5 points with 7 people and another 6 people at 2 points so it was going to almost certainly come down to tiebreaks to see who snagged the top 4 spots. I got paired as white versus Ron Bruno. We played a very bookish line of the Queens Indian and I obtained a small advantage in space. The downside was that we traded queens and he offered a draw. I went to Randy Hough, the director of the tournament, and asked to see the current tiebreak standings and was delighted to see that I had the 2nd best tie breaks behind only Jack Peters. So I checked out the other games of players in contention and seeing only one decisive looking game, I took the draw. Notch me up a draw with a 2355.
Since our draw was fairly quick at about an hour and half, I stayed and played blitz and just hung out until all games were decided. There ended up being only one decisive games between the 2.5s meaning there was only 1 person with 3.5/4. I was fortunate enough to maintain my second best tie break standing and qualified in the top four spots to go to the SCCF STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Vegas so far: 2008

So I am back in Los Angeles for about a week after spending two weeks in vegas for the beginning of the World Series of Poker. It was pretty hectic as usual and I didn't get off to a good start either. My cash game play was pretty bad at first with a bunch of solid losing sessions then i picked up and got it going in the middle. By the end of the two weeks I was down about 1100 in cash games which isnt as bad as it sounds considering some of the horrible sessions i had. I did not get a chance to play any World Series events yet this year. I did play one Caesar's Palace Mega Stack event. Those tournaments are great, I must say. The structures are incredible. I was doing really well in the mid stages of one mega stack no limit tournament but then i got super over aggressive and decided to bluff 60% of my chips into the nuts. That kind of got me a bit tilty and I was out soon after that. But the tournament has tons of play and I super recommend it. I also played the PLO8 event at the Golden Nugget. Don't really want to talk about that one too much. I started out at a 10 handed table with 1 absolute idiot and probably 7 pro omaha players. It was like pulling teeth to get chips at that table once the idiot promptly busted. I even had to lay down a full house early. It was the blatantly obvious play given the circumstances and I did it but you know you're at a bad table when you have to do things like that. Didn't go very far in that one.

I did get a chance to play one single table satellite for World Series Events. I have kind of a funny story about it, too. We were still 10 handed when 4 people limped in on my BB. The small blind lifted his cards so I could see them, he had J 5 off and called. I had J 8 off and checked my option. The flop came down J 10 6 rainbow. Everyone checked around. The turn was the case J ! Now the SB led out for 300 into the 350 pot. I decided to raise him to 700. Now, I raised because I was possibly afraid of letting in a KQ or 89 for a straight draw as well as trying to get max value off of the J5 while my kicker played. Maybe it was erroneous thinking and I should have just called to try and get more people to call drawing bad. But, of course, he reraises all in and I call in dominant position until the river 5 comes out. Still not sure if I should have just called or raised. The line of thinking that I have more information than my opponent would favor just calling because I can make more profitable decisions than him on further streets (i.e. being able to fold and only lose 300 if/when a 5 comes on the river). That, of course, is only limited to heads up play. But if someone does come in behind me I know they dont have a J so they either have a made boat already, a 10, or a draw. In which, case I could probably fold some scary rivers like a 9, 6, or A if needed. Conversely, there was no rush to get the money in either, as the J5 is not folding to any river. This seemed like an unexperienced player as well as a satellite situation so, like I said, he probably isnt folding even if a straight card does come in. All of these factors probably favor me just calling the turn and hoping a 2,3,4,7, or 8 falls on the river if we are heads up and a non straightening card (i.e. 2 3 4 or 8) falls if we get a straggler behind us to call).

So I am probably going back to vegas in the next week. Most likely going to play the state championships candidates tournament this weekend for chess. Then maybe leave monday or tuesday. There is also a small chance I would skip the chess tournament and leave for vegas tomorrow night. Not quite sure yet.

More updates later.