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Skalie’s Diary …- By Jon “Skalie” Kalmar (UK Sponsored Pro)

Day 4

Saturday 6th of June

Late start today, needed to be at the Venetian at 4pm. Got there a little early and saw Big TR (Trev Reardon) going quite well in today’s event. He’d already doubled up and I shamed him into letting me buy 20% for $250 ($560 buy in). After all, I was trying hard to win him a chunk in my event so I was unable play in his. We’d normally swap a piece. He reluctantly agreed but said it was only fair. It also meant he’d have half his buy in back. I said if I win today it will be hard to cheer you on tomorrow without a piece. He grunted as if to say he thought that was unlikely.

With the blinds at 5k/10k I am sat with 200k. Early on I find pocket nines. I raise to 30k and have pretty much made my mind up that I‘m making a stand with this. I almost change it when a lady in the cut off re-raises all in but hey lets gamble and hope she has AK. Even better she had pocket 7’s and I double to 400k. An added bonus I was moved immediately moved posting a big blind – result!

Players start dropping like flies and before we know it we are down to 19. My stack had dwindled after a move or two and I was down to 280k when the blinds went up to 6k/12k. The chip leader is on my table and raised a pot to 31k. I elect to call with AQ on the button. I’d often re-raise here but no need to take a race and I have position. Besides, I wanted to win a big pot, stealing blinds was not going to get me far. The flop came 8 10 J rainbow. I hoped to re-raise all in on his continuation bet but he checked to me and I pondered what to do. If I bet now, I am committed, besides if the turn slaps me in the face I may get the double up, I check. The turn is a 2 and he again checks. Enough is enough, time to bet, and I push in 80k. He pauses then re-raises. I have around 160k left, and although there is only one card to come I must have a few outs although maybe not the odds. However, what has puzzled me is how he could check twice then re-raise? Why the pause? Had he has decided I am buying it? It dawned on me I could still be ahead, if not, then I have some outs – so I call. Ahead I was. He turned ace 9 and when the river was a blank I was now up to 570k.

Players continued to fall fast and I found myself on the final table with around 800k. Below average, but by no means last. Eventually when the blinds were 15k/30k someone suggested a deal. It was a “Deepstack” crapshoot after all. The chip leader was happy with this and everyone seemed eager. They counted the chips and worked a deal on chip counts. These counts may seem fair but they always favour the big stacks and punish the small. If you’re above average you will get more than your share, below then the opposite is obviously true. My share was 22,400 for my meagre 755k stack. I said I wanted 26k, then I will deal. The rest can sort it out. A guy called Maurice was as sharp as a tack. He was already looking at 35k but knew the rest were desperate to deal and I wasn’t gonna move, he demanded 39k. Eventually they all haggled it out and I was getting my 26k. Not bad, the trip was shaping up nicely.

Considering I had no intention of playing this event it was quite a coup in retrospect.

It took forever to sort out the paper work so I go for some food with Trev who was now on a dinner break. When I returned I was the last to be paid. After everyone else had got their share there was only $25k left. I can’t write what I was thinking at that point.

Trev convinced me to play some 2/5 Omaha.
“They are awful mate, you gotta play it … you can’t lose much” he was right they were bloody awful, however it didn’t stop them getting lucky and I did $2k. Sigh!

One example of an Omaha hand.

A straddle to $10 and I am in the big blind and make up the 5 bucks after 5 people limp in. The straddler checks and the flop comes 2c 3s 7c. I am holding Ac 4s 5c Js. It’s hard to get more of this flop with a mini wrap and nut flush draw so I bet the pot. Three people call. The turn is the Jack of hearts. Now I have top pair too. I bet the pot again and the guy to my immediate left re-raises all in. Of course I call and of course I miss everything. He then proudly flips his J 7 with no draws for a winning 2 pair.
“Well Played”
“Hey I have top 2 pair, how can I pass that”
“Well you can’t mate, that’s kinda my point”

With my new found readies I decide to cut my losses and to return to the Rio and register for a few WSOP events next week. While passing the satellite room I try my luck at a $1030 sit and go. If I win it outright I may play the $10k pot limit Hold em (Not Omaha, never!)

Seven of us have a $500 last longer and a few of us play a 200 bounty, this became quite a juicy prize. I get down to the last 4 and with three of us on around 10k and the other on 20k we chop it up. With 13,500 up for grabs we give the chip leader 4.5k and the rest of us got 3k. A $1500 profit may not be a seat but at least it made up for the Omaha loss. I think I’m starting to spot a pattern in where my winnings are coming from…

As for Trev, he has made day 2 with 173k and 31 left. Not much different to where I was, lets hope its his turn for a nice little cash tomorrow, be nice to get that 5k back for my share. :o)

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I don’t ever intend to get deep on my blog but while writing this a news story has just come on the TV regarding a fire in a Mexican nursery. At least 38 kids all under the age of 5 are dead. Makes you realise there are worse things in the world than running bad at poker.

Day 5

Sunday 7th of June

I had said on this trip I was not drinking or gambling till the 25th of June. Barring a few bucks in a poker machine while waiting for my supper I have stuck to this. However due to Trev’s imminent departure and James Aikenhead’s birthday I decided to make an exception. I’d had a little result so I think I deserved it anyway.

We booked a bungalow at the MGM’s Wet Republic Pool (Basically a fancy Kebana) and about thirteen of us were in attendance. Kebanas and bungalows are basically free but you must commit to a minimum spend, and on a weekend this was $3000 plus tips and tax. We all chipped in $300 that easily covered it.

The Wet Republic pool is one of the grooviest and ‘Hip’ places to be in Vegas on a weekend afternoon. I have been before and frankly its very loud and crap ravey davey gravey music just doesn’t do it for me, however, the good company and the scenery meant I would put up with it for one day.

The group attending were in the main young successful poker players – most of whom were single. With a pool full of nubile young ladies you’d expect them all to be steaming in with their best chat up lines. No, they joined the volleyball game.

With about an hour to go we checked out the bill to see what the current spend was. $1100 bucks, hmmmmmm better start drinking boys. We order several bottles of champagne and a bottle of vodka and we were soon over the required $3k. The champagne was basically used to re-enact a winning formula 1 drive. It was at this moment that the girls began to flock round our bungalow. It then dawned on the lads that the girls by the pool were not in attendance with their boyfriends but mostly were on the lookout for free drinks and attention from young men with money to splash about. Most were probably strippers there to drum up business for their club that night. Had they bought the champagne on arrival then maybe volleyball would have been the last thing on their mind.

Day 6

Monday 8th of June

Tomorrow will be my 1st 2009 WSOP event, the $1500 Pot Limit – Event 20. To not make the same mistake as last time, I decided I will definitely just play the Bellagio $1000 today. I’m not getting stuck in a 2 day event again. On my table were Karl and Sunny from the Hit Squad along with Joe Grech.

I never really got into things. Hit a full house and got my stack up to 15k from 10k but I could tell this would not be my day. With the blinds at 200/400 Sunny raises to 1200 and gets one caller, I have AQ on the big blind and elect to re-raise to 3600. Sunny re-re-raises me back another 6k. I think about gambling but lay it down anyway. A few hands later I pick up A 10 in the cut off, one guy limps and I raise to 1200. Sunny re-pops me again. Sod it! I’m all in. Marginal I know but I needed to gamble sooner or later. Sunny flips JJ and no ace comes to my rescue.

With a slight hangover and my back giving me some severe gip I was not overly disappointed to return to my hotel room for a movie and a lie down. I didn’t want to play cash today, not after the way my cash game was running. Best not to be playing a big event harbouring thoughts from the previous day’s session.

After a few hours and a Chinese for dinner I go to the satellite room for a $500 SNG satellite. With only 2000 chips there is not much room for error. With 5 left I have 4500 and the blinds are on 150/300. I raise with A 8 of hearts. The old guy who hit everything early on re-raises to 1800 and he has me covered. With only 1 prize in these you have to gamble at times. I call and the flop comes queen high with 2 hearts. Not bad! I move all in and he calls flipping his pocket queens for top set, oh dear. However a 4 of hearts on the turn gave me the nuts, wahooooooo! Though a 4 of spades on the river gave him Queens full of fours.

It’s a game of mixed emotions……