Alioto Wins Second Event In WSOPE

Dario Alioto Picture

Dario Alioto Takes Pot Limit Omaha Title at WSOP Europe

The second event at the World Series of Poker Europe is over. Dario Alioto emerged victorious from the fray to win the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. It is Alioto’s first WSOP bracelet, although he did come very close earlier in 2007 when he finished sixth at the $1500 Omaha Hi/Lo event.

Alioto is also the third Italian in WSOP history to win a WSOP bracelet.

The event turned into a grueling marathon, especially on the second day of the event when players strove to survive long enough to make the money.

Day 2 started with 48 players left in the fray, and Alioto was second in chips behind Jon Persson. Alioto spent most of the day near the top, but still had to play consistently good poker throughout the battle. The players dropped in waves, a few here, a few there, until after three hours of play Will Hayden was eliminated as the bubble boy, and everyone who had survived up until that point made the money.

Play continued, but it would be a long day of players dropping out and moving up in the money as the final table would not be set until four hours after everyone had made the money. Jon Persson, who led the tournament at the beginning of the day, was eliminated in 10th place, the final table bubble boy. His stack was shortened until he only had a lone, solitary chip left. Jon Persson was granted a temporary reprieve when he quadrupled up thanks to four aces, but the reprieve did not last as Persson was eliminated on the very next hand.

Dario Alioto began the final table in third place, but he played in a dominating fashion, eliminating 7 of his 8 opponents at the table, beginning with the short stack almost as soon as final table play had commenced. Alioto wore his opponents down, including Sherkhan Farnood, who held the chip lead to start off the final table. Alioto was nearly unstoppable as he rolled over everyone who opposed him. There was a long three-way battle, but it ended with Alioto eliminating Tony G in third place.

The heads-up battle was between Dario Alioto and Istvan Novak.Heads-Up play was destined to not last long, as Alioto held 87.5% of the chips in play, a 7-1 chip lead. Novak fell after six hands, and Dario Alioto won his first WSOP bracelet and £234,390.


Bill Edler Wins Gulf Coast Poker Championship After Miracle Comeback

Bill Edler Picture

Chip and a Chair Comebacks

Down in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Gulf Coast Poker Championship, Bill Edler had one foot out the door with 17 players left, as his chip stack consisted of 2 measly $1,000 chips. The blinds were $4000-$8000, and there was an ante of $1000. After posting his ante and using his last $1,000 chip for the big blind, Bill Edler was forced all-in. He survived that all-in and many more all-ins in quick succession to build a respectable chip stack.

Heading into the six-person final table, the chip stacks were “Captain” Tom Franklin with $1,040,000, Bill Davidson with $1,011,000, Bill Edler with $1,005,00, Hank Sitton with $846,000, David Robbins with $727,000, and Tim Frazin with $499,00. Tom Franklin, ran into trouble at the beginning of the final table and was eliminated four hands in. He lost nearly a quarter of his stack on the first hand and was busted three hands later when his pocket queens ran into David Robbins’s pocket aces. Robbins would very quickly eliminate the shortstack, Tom Frazin, bring the final table down to four.

Success is fickle in poker, and Robbins would soon face hard times. He doubled up John Davidson and Bill Edler in short order, Davidson’s pocket jacks cracking Robbins’s pocket queens, and Edler’s pocket sevens winning a race against Robbins’s hand of KJ offsuit.

John Davidson’s stack would soon be decimated, as Bill Edler would hit a flush draw to take most of Davidson’s chips. Davidson would throw his remaining $35,000 into the pot with Edler and Robbins both calling. The two players checked it down and Edler’s pocket fours knocked Davidson out of the tournament. And then there were three.

Hank Sitton, who had kept his own existence at the final table a secret, made his move, going all in with pocket fours against Edler’s A8 offsuit. Hank Sitton would win the race and temporarily take the chip lead. The action quieted down, until Hank Sitton, who had lost his chip lead in the intervening hands, went all-in against David Robbins with A7 after a flop of AKJ rainbow. Robbins turned over A9, with a kicker advantage. However, Sitton could still win the hand with a 7 and would split the pot if anything higher than a nine appeared on the board. A split pot appeared likely, but a 4 on the turn and a 2 on the river spelled Sitton’s doom. Heads-Up play could now commence between David Robbins and Bill Edler.

David Robbins held the chip lead, but it was Bill Edler who made the moves at the final table, playing very aggressive and taking down a lot of pots preflop. Edler inched closer to Robbins, but in the second to last hand Edler annihilated most of Robbins’s stack. In this hand the flop came A102 and both players checked to see the 6 on the turn. Edler bet, Robbins raised all-in, and Edler called the bet to go all-in. Edler turned over A10 to Robbins’s A7, which was drawing dead. A 10 came on the river to give Edler an unnecessary full house. In the final hand, Robbins pushed his remaining $230,000 into the pot blind, and Edler called. Edler had A9 and Robbins had Q7. No help came for Robbins, but a meaningless A came on the river to give Edler a pair. David Robbins was eliminated, and Bill Edler was the champion.

Bill Edler performed the greatest comeback since Jack “Treetop” Straus won the 1982 WSOP Main Event after believing he was eliminated, only to find a single poker chip under the rail. Because Straus had made a precise bet with the number of chips he saw in front of him, the single chip was still his. Straus’s one chip launched him to the title after a great series of wins.


Tax Court Ruling Deems Tournament Poker "Gambling Activity"

Tournament Poker: Gambling or Skill?

Playing tournament poker has just gotten more expensive. A recent tax court ruling has decreed that tournament poker is not a game reliant on skill, but instead a gambling activity. This ruling means that beginning in March 8, 2008, Casinos will be required to withhold 25% of tournament winnings when the amount exceeds $5000.

The tax court’s decision was based on the facts that bets are made on each hand, that the bets have value, the bets are made in the hope that the bettor will win, and that there are consequences for making a bet. The case came before the tax court when a professional poker player said that she should be able to claim a net loss when playing tournament poker, as tournament poker should be looked upon as a professional sporting event like golf or tennis. The tax court disagreed, and the poker player was only allowed to claim losses equaling her winnings.

This ruling does not affect online poker sites or foreign-based casinos, so the new taxes on tournament poker gambling will not apply there. This will likely cause a surge of poker players spending even more time in online poker rooms, as there are no regulations set in place for them.

Beginning on the 8th of March, 2008, taxes will be even more of a bane for tournament poker players. As an example, if a player wins $5000 in a poker tournament, $1250 will be withheld for taxes and the player will take home $3750. In an interesting comparison, Canada only taxes professional poker players, so amateur players can keep all of their winnings. Don’t head to Canada just yet though, as swirling rumors indicate the Canadians are looking at changing their tax codes as well.


World Series of Poker Europe Kicks Off in London

WSOPE Starting To Heat Up in London

For the first time in World Series of Poker history, a gold bracelet will be awarded outside the casinos of Las Vegas. Taking place at The Casino at the Empire, the first WSOPE event is £2,500 HORSE. The player field is much smaller than those at the casinos in Las Vegas, with only 105 entrants for the tournament.

The action began with a press conference at a movie theater next door, and after the press conference, the poker began. The player field is predominantly professional players, making for a very difficult and highly skilled tournament.

The WSOPE HORSE tournament is different from the HORSE tournaments in the Las Vegas WSOP events, as each game runs for eight hands before switching to the next game, following the cycle of Holdem, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.

After the first day of competition, the field of 105 had been narrowed down to 51. Among the first day casualties were Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Marcel Lüske, and Michael Mizrachi.

Kirk Morrison was the chip leader at 55,900 chips. Rounding out the top five were Jan Sorenson, Gary Jones, Jennifer Harman, and Pascal Perrault.

It will be fun to see who emerges from the tournament as the victor and dons the first WSOP bracelet won in an event outside of Las Vegas.


The Unpredictable Game of Pot Limit Omaha

An Experience in Pot Limit Omaha

The best way to learn is by doing, and that’s what happened to me in one of my first times playing Pot Limit Omaha. With Pot Limit Omaha the pots will start small, and be restrained by the pot limit rules, but once the flop hits the pot can explode in size as players bet thinking that they’ve got great hands. This is natural as players want to maximize their winnings, but it can also be dangerous as the nuts can rapidly change. I discovered this lesson the hard way.

I was playing in a 10 player $20 home game of Pot Limit Omaha with the top three paying out. Despite this being one of my first times playing Pot Limit Omaha, I was doing well. I was playing tight and won a few hands so that I was sitting third in chips when I got into the hand that knocked me out of the game. In that hand I was holding A-J-10-9, with the Ace and 10 being of the same suit, giving me a large number of draws to a great hand. Suits aren’t important for the rest of this hand, so I have declined to list them. The flop came down almost perfect for me, 7-8-9, giving me the nuts straight. I bet out, and was raised the pot by my opponent who was holding the largest chip stack in the game at the time. I raised pot when the action got back to me, and that forced the few players who called my bet before the raise to drop out of the hand. My opponent called and we went to the turn, which came down a J. Seeing as most of my chips were already in the pot at this time I pushed all-in and my opponent called. He showed Q-J-10-9 for almost the same hand I did, but the jack on the turn gave him a higher straight. The river was a blank and I was eliminated from the game.

This example shows how quick the best hand can change in a game of Omaha and how likely it is to occur. With more cards, there are more ways to make big hands, and more cards that give big hands to the players. While I had the best hand on the flop, I should have been more cautious with that flop as it would have been easy for three consecutive cards to become four to a straight and give somebody a chance for a higher straight. My mistake was pumping up my bet on the flop and creating a big pot I could not get away from. In this hand, that mistake was fatal as my opponent also had the nuts, but he ended up having the only nuts after the turn, when my straight became normal and fell from the lofty position of being the nuts. It is wise to keep the pot size controllable in Omaha, because the board can fell even the mightiest hands with ease.

My play would have been acceptable in a game of Texas Holdem, because with only two cards I would’ve known that my opponent would have to get very lucky to beat me, as I held the nuts and was ahead of my opponent unless he could tie me, in which case it would end up a split pot. But in Omaha, with more cards and more chances for destruction, my hand turned to dust. I have learned from this mistake and make sure to consider all future cards when making my bets and raises, as those future cards can change the fate of your hand even easier than they can in Holdem.


Poker Bloggers Wanted!

Welcome to the poker blog!

This blog will detail the daily play of some high profile pro poker players and also some up and coming rising amateur stars in the world of poker.

Some of these players like myself will be based out of Las Vegas, while many of them live all around the country and will give you the readers an insight into all sorts of games and different styles of poker played around the US along with some strategy and of course bad beat stories.

Some postings will be about high stakes cash games from places like the Bellagio and others will be from players who play at bars and home games in their local areas.

Although we’re still finishing up the site, we would like to still offer our readers something…

If you’re a serious poker player, love writing about poker and would love to get your name out there for the world to see… please feel free to send us an email from our contact page.


How To Properly Adjust Your Poker Game To The Table

Adjust to the Table

In poker a person must pay a lot of attention to their opponents to find out how their opponents are playing and how to take advantage of them. Poker players must find out which players are loose, which players are tight, which players are dangers, and which players are suitable to be targets. I played in a $5 No Limit Texas Holdem Sit and Go on Full Tilt Poker recently which shows just how important knowledge is.

I played very few hands in the first couple of hands so that I could observe my opponents. There were two loose-aggressive players to my immediate left, along with a maniac three seats to my right. I identified the rest of the players as ones who mostly played their cards, but with little regard preflop to what their opponents held. I prefer to play an aggressive style of play in the low blind levels, but with the two loose-aggressive players to my left, I didn’t want to call with hands that gave me chances for a big hand but were far behind the other hands in play, because there was a good chance that a player to my left would raise and force me to fold. This led me to playing a very tight game, but I was able to pick up a few wins here and there and keep a respectable stack in front of me.

Another reason why my stack stayed level with my competitor during this portion of the sit and go was that the maniac on my right seemed to believe that only two buttons existed, fold and all-in. He would frequently pick up the blinds and whatever calls were made before the action reached him, so most of the action ended up taking place in the hands he decided to fold.

My opponents gave me respect for my tight play, but hadn’t yet seen any of my hands as none of my wins ever made it to a showdown. This kept uncertainty in their minds of whether or not I truly had good hands or just had a talent for picking my spots. We were down two players when my patience and tight play paid off. I looked down to find pocket aces in early position. The player before me folded and I raised the pot to my standard of 3x the big blind.

One of the loose-aggressive players reraised and the short stack at this time called the reraise for about half his stack. The action came back to me. Pocket aces aren’t nearly as good against two opponents as they are against one opponent, but I felt that I needn’t worry too much. I was pretty sure that the player to my left had a high pocket pair while the shortstack had a pocket pair or high cards. I decided to push the rest of my stack into the pot, as I had the short stack easily covered while I was pretty sure I was dominating my other opponent, who had about 100 chips more than me. They both called. My instincts were good, as the player to my left held pocket jacks and the short stack held K-Q suited. The board was completely unremarkable, and I won the hand.

This is a good example of how to adjust to a table. I normally play an aggressive style, but had to scale back because there were a couple of loose-aggressive players to my left. I patiently waited for good hands and made them count. Finally I received a hand with which I broke the back of one of the loose-aggressives and eliminated another player. While my opponent did have what would’ve been a good hand under normal circumstances, the fact that I had been playing tight and raised from early position for the first time the entire game should’ve been a tip off. However, thanks to his nature I knew I could capitalize and I did.

Adjusting to your table is one of the most key aspects of being a good poker player. There are thousands of examples of why this is so. Hopefully this example will give you a little something to ponder and improve your game a little.


Deuce – Seven Triple Draw Poker Common Mistakes

Mistakes to Avoid in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw

Deuce to Seven Triple Draw can seem like a complicated game at times, and it is. Even professional players will spend a lot of time dwelling on hands they played in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw because there are so many options; hence, professional players are constantly critiquing their play.

However, we are not going to get into anything overly complicated in this article. Instead, we are going to focus on three mistakes that beginning Deuce to Seven Triple Draw players should avoid.

Mistake #1: The Straight and Drawing Towards It

Straights are extremely bad hands to have in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, but sometimes players just see five low cards and don’t realize that their hand is a straight and a very bad hand. However, it is fairly easy to avoid holding a straight in your hand unless you drew it on the final draw simply by paying attention. One of the other big mistakes pertaining to straight is drawing one card with a hand such as 3-4-5-6. This is an open-ended straight draw, so the only hand that can reasonably help your hand is an 8. A 2 or a 7 will give you the straight, and you are unlikely to win with a 9 low hand, although it is possible. Watching out for the straight is simple; watching out for the straight draw is a bit more difficult, but if you pay attention, you should be fine.

Mistake #2: The Ace Low Hand

This is another mistake that can be avoided simply by paying proper attention to the game. Aces are ALWAYS high in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, so a hand like A-2-3-4-6 is actually a very bad hand. This mistake is most commonly made by players who also play Ace to Five Lowball, as the games are very similar. To reiterate the point, pay attention and you can avoid embarrassing mistakes like these.

Mistake #3: I’ve Got Three Draws, I Can Play Any Hand I want

Wrong! As in all other poker games, it is essential to play tight in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. The majority of winning hands will be 8-low or 7-low, and that is what you want to be aiming for the whole time. If you’re planning on drawing more than two cards, you should actually be folding. This means that you should have at least three cards with a value of 8 or lower in your hand after the deal if you want to play the hand. By playing a tight game you will improve your odds and also gain the respect of the table, making it a little easier to bluff. Just remember that you should bluff very little, if at all, as players are always watching out for the bluff in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw.

These are a few common mistakes to avoid in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. Sharpen your game, practice a lot, and hopefully you will find yourself a winner.


HORSE Tournament Strategy

Beginning a HORSE Tournament

Players always try to make as many chips in their best games in HORSE, and this usually leads to a lot of early action, especially in Limit Texas Holdem. This is why I recommend laying low in Limit Texas Holdem for the first couple rotations while the players who bump up the action are still in play. Typically these players will be eliminated from the tournament fairly quickly because they will be weak in the other games.

You should play very tight in the first couple rounds of Limit Holdem and in the other games you should build your chip stacks at the expense of the other players, most likely the ones who were playing very aggressively in Limit Holdem. Hopefully you are skilled at a couple games besides Texas Holdem, because if you aren’t you probably shouldn’t be playing in a HORSE tournament.

As the blinds go up and the games rotate, you should begin to see the Holdem players start to fall out of the game, beginning in the second run-through of the HORSE rotation, especially during the Holdem section. There will be some short stacks at this time and with the chip stack you hopefully have built by this time you can easily take some out provided lady luck doesn’t spit in your face.

Once the second rotation is done you should have a very healthy chip stack from sniping at the weak and the short stacked. You can then approach the HORSE tournament as any other tournament, playing your top game and building your chip stack while taking out the weak. This approach should hopefully let you cruise right into the money.

Try this method out the next time you play in a HORSE tournament. With a bit of luck and well-directed skill, you can find yourself placing in the money.