Grand Falls
Kimo Sabe
Running Aces
Golden Gates Casino
Grand Casino, Mille Lacs
Tropicana Evansville

PHOTOS: Midwest Poker Classic Event 4

PHOTOS: Midwest Poker Classic Event 2

Andy Sjolund Midwest Poker Classic Event 1

img_0768Congratulations to Andrew Sjolund from Bloomington, MN for winning event #1 of the Midwest Poker Classic at Running Aces Harness Park.

The $300 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event drew 98 players, including a handful of the state’s most recognizable names. Click here to view a full photo gallery.

Full Results:

Event #1 – $300 NLHE – 98 entrants
PlaceNameCity Cash
1Andrew SjolundBloomington, MN$7,675
2Todd BreyfogleHopkins, MN$5,210
3Naser AlkhatibMankato, MN$3,838
4Tuan PhamMaple Grove, MN$3,015
5Kevin ReichelIsanti, MN$2,195
6Tim PetersBloomington, MN$1,645
7Bob VansyckleSt. Paul, MN$1,370
8Tyler AndersonOakdale, MN$1,095
9Phillip NesburgSt. Louis Park, MN$825

Midwest Poker Classic: Dlugosch Wins Event 2

img_0838James Dlugosch from Hopkins, MN went from short stack to chip leader to winner in the final 10 hands of event #2 of the Midwest Poker Classic on Thursday night.

Dlugosch took home $3,930 for his first place finish, outlasting fourth place finisher Tim Peters, who also reached the final table of event #1.

Photo Gallery

Complete Coverage of MPC


Event #2 – $200 NLHE – 78 entrants
1James DlugoschHopkins, MN$3,939
2Bulut OzturkBloomington, MN$2,670
3Mark DunbarChamplin, MN$1,965
4Tim PetersBloomington, MN$1,545
5Wayne MartinsonRamsey, MN$1,125
6Dan HendricksonFairibault, MN$840
7Peter SullivanRoscoe, IL$700
8Kevin RayWhite Pine, MI$562
9Roy RockvamWebster, WI$420
10Vitaliy VavilovMaple Grove, MN$275

PokerStars, $5,200 buy-in, WCOOP Main Event, I have AA

Where: PokerStars, $5,200 buy-in, WCOOP Main Event.

The Main Event is a 2-day tourney, 2,144 entrants and a $1.7 million 1st place prize.

Here is a fun little situation that happened early in this event:

8 hands in: Interesting situation came up and here’s how I played it. Some of you might disagree but I love this move. I was in the BB with AA. Blinds were 25-50. There was a raise to $150 and 3 callers by the time it got to me. Since we are only 8 hands in, everyone has about their starting stack or $20K.

Now, most people would probably raise here to $450 or $600, maybe an oversize raise to $800 to hope for a heads up isolation. The problem with that raise in this position is that if the first player behind me calls, the other 3 players are priced in and now I’m playing against 4 players all acting behind me. Yes I have AA but its likely one or more of them will hit the flop hard.

Not to mention, no matter what I raise here I’m pretty much giving away the strength of my hand anyways….even more so if I make a raise that looks like I want a caller.

So that option sucks. Here’s the other thing, I don’t really care at this point about picking up a few extra chips this early with $20K stacks. Whoop Dee Doo.

There’s really no scenario in this spot that can play out to me winning more than another $800 or so in chips.

Here’s what I did: I launched my whole stack. That’s right, I launched $20K. You might say WTF? And that’s fine.

Like I said, I don’t care about picking up a few hundred, maybe $1,000 extra chips. I’m hoping initial raiser (and/or a possible slow-playing caller behind him) has QQ or KK and calls so I can double up right out of the gate.

Plus, they are currently thinking to themselves, WTF? Does he not want me to call? Why so much? Is this man crazy? Some people will be so annoyed they will attempt to call my bluff with AK or AQ.

So the best case scenario here is that someone thinks I’m full of it or has a big hand and calls. I double up early and work the table over with endless aggression.

The worst case scenario is that everyone folds, I pick up $600 in chips and nobody raises my blind the rest of the night because they think I’m crazy and willing to put my whole stack in the pot.

Yes everyone folded but they were afraid of me…..for a little while anyways.

2009 Trent Tucker Celebrity Tournament

The 2009 Trent Tucker Celebrity Tournament at Running Aces Harness Park brought several local and national sports/poker figures to the felt. Michael Jordan was unable to attend this year, but Kenny Lofton, Ron Harper, Al Jefferson, Corey Brewer, Marcel Luske, and others had a blast.

My Epiphany

I had Ah-10c, and the flop was 2h-7h-8s. There were five players in the hand, and one pre-flop raiser, a man who, based on the limited evidence I had gathered, was very reasonable and intelligent. I was in the small-blind, and the raiser was in middle position. The table had been an absolute gathering of nut-jobs, and every pot was a monster.

Action checked around to the original raiser, and he fires a bet. Two players call. Though I rarely float flops like these, I decide to peal one, figuring that a combination of the huge pots being built, and my Ace of hearts was just enough to take a card off. The fifth player also calls. I really don’t know what the limpers hold, but I do figure the original raiser for a pair, most likely Jacks or better. It seems silly to bet a flop like this into four players with a hand like A-K. That in mind, I close my eyes, envision that 10 of hearts, and head to the turn.

The turn: 10 of hearts! Wow, that was pretty cool… Either way, however, I don’t love my hand enough to be aggressive with it. It simply means that I’ll be seeing the river. I check. This time, one of the limpers bets into the raiser, and immediately my hand shrinks. Yes, I have the nut flush draw, but my pair seems useless. I will call a bet, but absolutely need that river heart. The original raiser begrudgingly calls. The other two players fold, and I call.

The river is the 8 of diamonds. I check. This time, the player who’d bet the turn also checks. This was significant, as his play during the session indicated he could easily have bet the turn without a flush. So, two players checking in front of him, the original raiser pauses for a moment. He thinks… thinks… thinks… Then he bets, and it’s on me.

Dammit! What a bad spot to be in! I have top-pair, top-kicker, and face a single river bet to win the pot. It seems as if I should call immediately. But hold on… For one, I have already figured my betting opponent for a large picture pair, and everything he’s done in this pot thus far has supported my theory. He bet the flop, simply called the turn when the flush filled, and is attempting a river value bet. Secondly, I am in the squeeze position. If I call, how am I to be sure that the other opponent isn’t check-raising, or even check-calling with a small flush? So… Again, dammit!

I eventually let my hands loosen grip on the cards, and I throw them in the muck. The other player calls, and they each turn over Q-10, no hearts, to chop the pot with a hand I could beat.

What the hell?!? He bet the flop with that? He CALLED the flop with that? He value bet THAT river? He took aggressive turn action?

What an irritating conclusion to a hand during an already irritating session! Frustrated, I put my ipod on, turn it up, and shake it for a random track. Dave Chappelle’s “For What it’s Worth” stand-up special came on, and within minutes, I had a startling realization. I was laughing, and I wasn’t thinking about my horrible fold at all anymore!

Dave Chappelle Video

Bottom line, I’ve found the ultimate tilt-blocker! Now, whenever I have a series of tilt-worthy plays/hands/run-downs/people yammering, I simply put on my ipod, and crank up a comedian.

I’ve since added many new ones, including Louis CK, Daniel Tosh and Mitch Hedberg. Each time I hear them, coupled with genuine audience laughter, my two-outer stresses simply wash away…

Louis CK Video

As odd as it sounds, I genuinely believe this will improve my poker game! As soon as I feel the tilt start to swell up in my soul, I throw on some Greg Giraldo, and all is well in the world.

Greg Giraldo Video

PHOTOS: 2009 Twin Cities Poker Open

PHOTOS: 2009 Diamond Jo $50K Bash

Who was that guy?

As quickly as he came, he was gone…

His attire suggested he could afford the money he was about to lose; yet his demeanor presented a certain confidence that confused my senses.

He settled himself, and before I could even form a coherent opinion, he was posting under-the-gun. I gave him an interested glance, which he noticed, only to smile with nonchalance in return.

“What a dick,” I think to myself, as I am wont to do, without any real evidence supporting my assertion.

The game progresses, and as it turns out, the mystery man proved to be a real sweetheart. He very quickly became friendly with the players surrounding him, congratulating them on their two-outers, while slowly beginning his own financial bleeding. The man may even have won me over, if I weren’t so steadfastly against poker table small talk.

An hour passes, and the gentleman has found every possible way of losing a hand. His aces lost twice, as his kings and queens equally went down in flames. As it turns out, however, the man is not only unlucky, but truly a terrible card player. His plays and mannerisms suggest that he’s never once tried his hand at a competitive poker game.

The man drops one rack, two racks, three racks…

He continues to smile, taking hundred after hundred from his wallet, gently laying it on the felt. He, of course, tips each time the chip runner brings him more ammunition.

Each time another rack is placed in front of him, however, he feels required to play each hand as if another one weren’t coming right behind it. Raise. Raise. Re-raise. Call, king-high. Raise that river, oops, missed my draw, nice hand…

$900 later, even this jovial gentleman has had enough. He gets all-in with his 4-9, loses with two-pair and laughs. He stands up, says his goodbyes and well-wishes, and heads toward the door.

I watch the man exit, as content with himself as when he first entered the card room, charismatic and friendly, boisterous and energetic.

I turn back to my table and inquire of the dealer, “Wow, who was that guy, I wonder?”

The dealer looks puzzled, as if I’d asked an absurdly outrageous question.

“Him? Oh, that was Mitch. He’ll be back tomorrow, I’m sure.”

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