The Playboy Mansion

GOOD TIMES! Saturday night a ton of us hopped on a shuttle at 5:15pm to head up to the Celebrity Poker tournament at the Playboy mansion. Mikey and I talked about how stupid poker is, and the bus was full of excitement as we pulled into a parking lot for an abandoned Robinsons May off of Santa Monica Blvd.

Huh? “Hey! We just took a shuttle to the shuttle!” I said. Everybody laughed. Then we got pretty annoyed as we saw the huge line that we were supposed to stand in.

Poker players don’t stand in line. After some great speeching by Lara we were registered and on our way within 20 minutes and we finally arrived at the Playboy Mansion.

The place is incredible.

We did some red carpet stuff, some interviews, and we were off to the bar.

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Jon Friedberg and I in the Grotto

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Touring the grounds

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Mikey feeding Spider Monkeys

The grounds were incredible! There were over 300 species of animals on the grounds. I got a call during the evening asking where I was. I then returned the question and she said, “Jon and I are following a peacock around the lawn.” Nice. Quote of the day. We could not go into the mansion as Hugh lives on the property and was hope. That’s pretty sweet that he lets people throw awesome parties at his awesome residence. Eventually everybody made their way under the tent and the poker tournament got underway.

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The fabulous Shannon Elizabeth, who took second in this event

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Steve Dannenman, who took first in the event

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Marcel Luske, always the gentleman

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Jennifer Tilley and my friend Greg

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Don Cheadle. It’ll be nice working with proper villians again.

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Devilfish

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David Singer

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Mark Newhouse

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Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh

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“Neverwin”

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That blue thing was sticking out from between my legs

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Annie Duke and Steve

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Thomas Walhroos and Joy Miller

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After the fiasco of getting there I was nothing but impressed. They sure know how to throw a party there! From there we took a shuttle back the shuttle, got sick of waiting for a shuttle, took a cab, and we closed down the hotel bar. Awesome night!

Sunday morning Lara and I woke up in time to head to Bel Air Presbyterian Church where I worked for two years during college. It was a great experience seeing some old friends and some of the kids that I used to work with, and they’re not kids anymore! Most of them are finishing their first year of college! So neat seeing the bonds that we formed so many years ago still running deep. I really miss working with kids, and I am going to make an effort to volunteer with a youth ministry somewhere around here in the near future.

Tomorrow is the $5k main event at Caesars, and I’m looking forward to a good run!

Peace and good luck,

Devo

WSOP Circuit at Caesar’s Palace, event #5 $2000+80 NLHE

Devo = Amir’s Donkey In 35 minutes I will be leaving the Sheraton with everybody to head up to the Playboy mansion, so I’m gonna have to make this a quick one.

Yesterday at first break I was feeling great about my chances to final table the 2k event. I had 10,300 in chips from our 4k starting point. I had picked up aces for the first time in four days, I flopped a set and busted a guy, I turned the nut straight and got a guy all-in on the river… with the same hand… and I was playing excellent poker.

Coming back from break I continued to play well and built my stack up slowly to somewhere around 14k and my game was wide open. Then, as usual, the wheels fell off. I lost a pot worth a little more than 6k with AA vs. JJ all-in pre-flop when he turned a jack. Then my small-ball game was simply not working as I missed every flop while my opponents hit hard.

In the fourth level, blinds 100-200, I played a hand pretty poorly with Amir Vahedi. I opened early to 550 with A Q and got called in three spots, all behind me. With 2750 in the pot the flop came 8 7 2 . My first mistake was when I decided to continue for 1400, although it is a marginal mistake. I should have simply checked since I was out of position to three players and just given up on the hand, because it was going to be impossible to play a small pot with that board and three opponents and an already large pot. Amir was the only one who called me, and I convinced myself that he was weak/drawing/floating. Thus, I fired 2600 at the 9 turn and was quickly called.

Dumb thinking and here’s why: First, no need to bet the flop. Nobody’s screwing around in this pot. There is an arguement to be made for betting, but when we’re talking about more than 10% of my already well above average stack, it’s an overall losing play on that decently coordinated board. At least I didn’t bet more than half the pot. Second, betting the turn is just plain retarded for the same reason. This pot has gotten unnecessairly large and nobody is screwing around in it. Amir’s call represents a huge draw or huge strength and he is not going anywhere. Once you lose control of the size of the pot you really need to back down, especially when out of position, and I failed to do that in this hand and cost myself a third of my stack unnecessairly.

From there I simply kept losing small pots, got short, and re-raised all-in with AQo and ran into aces. Oh well…

Tonight! Party at the Playboy Mansion. A full blog is sure to follow.

Monday! $5k Circuit Main Event. We’re going deep in that one.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

WSOP Circuit at Caesar’s Palace, $1500+70 NLHE

Stupid ace high calldowns. Not too much to report today. I never had a big hand, never flopped anything good, and played a huge pot for most of my chips when I called off my stack with A6 on a 347 board knowing my opponent had nothing. He tabled K9o no draw and spiked the same 9 on the turn. Oh well. That crippled my stack, and then I moved all on on the K Q T with J T and was called by KJ… pretty rough shape there :-).

Tomorrow is the $2000+80 NLHE event that hopefully will go a little better!

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Bellagio WPT $25k World Championship: MY End of Day 3

That sure was fun while it lasted… Well, I’m obviously very disappointed that I did not go further, especially when I found myself top 15 in chips with 570k when the bubble burst and then busto 60 minutes later. I played incredibly though and am very happy with how I played and honestly believe that I did not make a single mistake day three. I saw that most of the hands that got me to 570k were covered on some reporting site or another, but nobody caught how the wheels fell off from there.

First big hand I played was on the button. Blinds were 3k-6k/500, UTG goes all-in for $35k, Can Kim Hua flat calls, and I make it 100k to go with Q Q . CK thinks for a while, makes it 300k total, and after some thought I throw my queens into the muck. UTG had KJ and CK had AA. I felt very good about that, and was thrilled that I only lost 20% of my stack on the hand.

Six hands later I opened to 22k UTG with A Q and was called only by the button. 67k in the pot, flop is 3 3 5 . I continue for 42k, and he goes all-in for somewhere between 70-80k more. I think for a long time, finally pick up a read, make the call and turn up my ace high first.

“I’m pretty sure this is good.” It was. He turned over A 9 . I stood up and said, “Yeah! What a sick call!” My emotions were quickly deflated though when the 9 peeled off on the turn, and I was dropped to well below average, somewhere around 330k. So sick that the biggest pot I play of the tournament is with ace high on the flop when all the money goes in, and I’m still an 86% favorite. Gawd I was playing well.

After that I lost a few small pots, and then about two orbits later with 260k in my stack, blinds 4k-8k/1k, I open in middle position with 9 T and am called by my opponent to my left. Flop 9 7 3 , and I make my usual 42k bet, and I get called. Turn 8 , and I bet 80k, leaving myself with 120k, and get called. I would have put it all-in if my opponent shoved there. River 5 , I checked, he shoved, I mucked, and he showed me his flopped set. Won the minimum and almost lost the maximum there buddy… thanks!

I played through my blinds, and then found myself on the button with 103k holding the A 2 , folded to me, so I stuffed it all-in. The BB woke up with kings, I got no help, and GG me.

That night as I was unwinding with Katie Porrello and John Friedberg we talked about how few hands I really had. In the entire three days I never saw aces, only saw kings twice, and queens three times… once they had to go into the muck pre-flop! I never made a flush or better, I made two straights, and then got no further action on the flopped one when it turned a four-straight. I made trips three times, once in the first level and twice day 2. I only made one set. I had less than ten two pairs. My biggest pot of the tournament was with Ace high and I was an 86% favorite when all the money went in. I sucked out once when I called a small all-in bet with ATo and beat KK. The pot was less than 50k.

So… I’m thrilled with my performance. It was very fun while it lasted. But, I’m back on the horse tomorrow as I am playing the $1500 NLHE circuit event at Caesars!

Thank you all so much for the phone calls, texts, e-mails, and comments of support. They have meant so much to me!

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Bellagio WPT $25k World Championship: End of Day 2

Much better… now it’s time to run good.

Pheeeeewww… what a roller coaster ride! Yesterday was something along the lines of a slow bleed, today’s first three levels were like a stressful roller coaster ride. I doubled up in the 30th minute on the first hand I played, calling a raise in position with T9, and on the TT8 flop the BB bet 6k, the original raiser shoved having me covered, and I went all-in as well and cracked his aces. I was thinking, sweet! But, by the end of the level I was back down to 64k after having to fold flopped top two on the river on the last hand of the level. I was up and down the next two levels, dropping as low as 48k and being as high as 88k, and by the time the fourth level, 800-1600/200 came around, I was ready to roll.

I had won some small pots in some key places, picked up the blinds here and there, and it seemed like every time Hoyt opened from late position I found a big hand in the blinds and either flat called his raise and won the pot post flop or re-raised him off the pot pre-flop. Unfortunately for me though he never had a big enough hand to give me a ton of chips as I would have insta called his 4 bet all-in’s with my KK, QQ, JJ, or AKs, all hands that he mucked pre-flop.

This hand was quite interesting though that ended up propelling me to where I am at right now. Hoyt opened for a very large raise pre-flop in the same level, somewhere around 8k or 8500, and I decided to flat call with my 99 as I felt there was a good chance that he would shove on me after re-raising him again , and I didn’t want to call off all my chips with 99.

The flop came 6 6 3 . Could be a good flop, could be the end of me flop. I decided to check and see what happened. Hoyt fired 20k, a slightly larger than pot sized bet.

Boy, what a spot I was in. I had about 80k left while facing the 20k bet and Hoyt had me covered. He either had me crushed, had nothing, or had a flush draw, which would put me ahead, behind, or coin-flipping depending on if he had 0, 2, or 1 over-cards. I couldn’t just give up, but I hated just calling, but I hated shoving, but I didn’t have the wiggle room to make a small raise. Or did I?

After thinking for about three minutes, I raised to 50k, leaving myself with slightly over 30k. I was fully prepared to muck if he shoved over the top of me, and if he insta shoved I probably would have.

Hoyt said, “Your nines are good,” and threw his cards in the muck.

Sick read. Nice bet.

Two hands later I flat called his normal raise from the button with AQo, flopped Axx, and he check folded. I then raised 5 of the next 6 hands winning three of them pre-flop and the other two post after a continuation bet.

I went into level 10, 1k-2k/300, with about 140k. Things started off more slowly than usual, picking up a small pot, losing a small pot, stealing the blinds, etc. Then in the last ten hands things started running good. I stole the blinds twice, and then with four hands to go, I opened UTG+2 to 6500 with A T and was flat called by the button who had about 90k. I flopped huge, J T T , and continued for 12k. The button decided to raise it to 26k. After some thought I asked, “How much are you playing?” He had a little over 60k, and I just called. We both checked the 2 river, and I had him squarely on AJ, KJ, or QJ. The river was the 7 and I figured 30k was a good bet into the 70k pot. I didn’t want it to look like a “call-me” bet, nor did I want it to look like a big hand. I wanted it to look like a busted draw that would fit with my flop speech. After a ton of thought he folded KJ suited. Nice laydown.

Two hands later I limped UTG with 22. I was torturing the table so much at this point that I could get away with this :-). Folded to the button who limped, Hoyt in the SB completed, and Erik Sandstrom knuckled from the BB. Flop Q 8 2 . Sweet! First set of the tournament with only one more hand to play! Both blinds check, I bet 7k into the 11k pot and the button raised to 20k. He only had about 60k left and had been talking about how he wanted to come back tomorrow with chips, so I stuffed a bunch of blue 10k chips in the pot putting him all-in. He picked up on the read that I was giving off.

“I know that you have a flush draw and I know that you know that I’m going to lay this down. Damnit.” He thought, and thought, and thought, and finally mucked. Damnit! Stack off to me one time!

It’s been driving me nuts in this tournament. Everybody knows what they’re doing!

So, I thus ended day two with 217,800, good for somewhere in the top 50 of less than 220 remaining and a well above average stack.

Sick thing about today is that I honestly did not run good. I ran good to not get going broke hands, but I never had any set-up hands, never had AA, had KK, QQ, and JJ once, all that won small pots. AK twice, one won a small one, other lost a medium one. I never made a straight or better, nor did I ever flop a draw that I could do anything with. I flopped that one set of deuces. I did flop trips twice, once to double up early which was key, and the AT hand that won me a bunch of chips.

Day one: Play good, run cold
Day two: Play great, run okay
Day three plan: Play world class, run like God.

My goal for the end of the day is 600k, and with the table draw that I have I think I have a very good shot of doing it. Here it is:

48 1 Eric Deregt 154,800
48 2 James Patton 83,200
48 3 Bryan Devonshire 217,800
48 4 Martin De Knijff 160,500
48 5 Melissa Hayden 66,400
48 6 Paul Snead 40,000
48 7 Carlos Mortensen 220,900
48 8 Allen Kessler 52,400
48 9 Jani Sointula 91,500

Weird fact of the day: Last night my backer had a dream about buying a class ring. He’s never bought nor worn a class ring. Today on the poker table he saw a class ring on some dudes right ring finger and thought of his dream and was like, “Weird.”

It was a USC class ring. I went to USC. My backer met me Friday.

Good mojo, JoBu.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Bellagio WPT $25k World Championship: End of Day 1B

Not exactly what I had in mind…

Today at the end of level five I wrote my name and chip count on my bag and then dropped eight chips into that bag.

That’s the bad news though. Four of them are 10k chips and the other four are 100 chips.

Today pretty much felt like going to class for nine hours straight. Long, boring, nothing too exciting, and plenty of annoyances. I only voluntarily saw one flop in the entire fifth and final level, and never saw beyond the flop nor was I pushed a chip the entire level. Here’s a little tally of my made hands today:

Straight or better: 0
Sets: 0
Trips: 1, first level, got paid off on river.
Two pair: 1, Mark Seif folded turn when I made 2 pair.
Flush or straight draws: 0
Blinds stolen: 1
AA, KK: 0
QQ: once in level 2, had to re-raise a raiser+3 callers big to protect myself, no flop seen.
JJ, TT: 0
99: 1
88: 2
77: 2
66-22: a bunch.
AK: 0
AQ: 2, one won my biggest pot of day.
AJ: 2

Needless to say, I’m pretty thrilled to still have 40,400 of my original 50k. I played very well all day and only made one mistake which may or may not have made me an additional 7k, which we will talk about later. My table was pretty tough, but I had position on the two worst players on the table and was in prime position to take all their chips… if I ever made a hand!

I got 5 outed in a 10k pot on the river, but it came with the 2 out side that cost me an additional 2500 when I could have escaped if the 3 outs came. This was the other interesting hand that I got rivered on:

I see a flop from the button for 1200 each in the 200-400/50 level with the T 9 behind the fish (original raiser) and Ian Johns in the cutoff. We checked the 7 4 3 flop. The 9 peeled off on the turn and the fish checked, Ian bet 3k. I was 98% sure that Ian was on a flush draw with over(s), T9, or 98. I popped it to 7k for several reasons, mostly because I wanted to goad Ian into a mistake. He knew his bet on the turn looked suspect, and he knew that I knew that, and he knew that I was capable of a bluff raise, and I knew that a small raise would looked suspect, and I knew that he knew that I could very likely be full of it, and I knew that Ian was capable of bluff/semi-bluff re-raising.

Catch all that?

If Ian re-raised I was calling for sure and possibly stuffing depending on how much he re-raised. Anyways he just called.

The 2 peeled off on the river, Ian checked, and I didn’t even think for a second of betting. If we were chopping we were chopping, but I kinda thought that I was getting shipped the pot because he did not bet the river (meaning no completed flush). After I checked he snapped his fingers, said “Awwww…” and rolled over A T . It actually started a pretty interesting discussion after I said, “You’re nuts if you think I’m going to bet that card!” Ian knew that I knew he would lead the river with a made flush 98% of the time to try and get value and thus there was more value in going to “value-check-town” cause he knew I could not call a river bet unless I also made a flush, in which case I would be betting the river also! Good thinking Ian!

The other interesting hand was reported on pokerpages. Here’s the entry:

With two limpers, Bryan Devonshire popped it from the button to 1K. Both limpers called. The flop came A 5 7 . Seat 6 checked, Seat 7 bet 1.5K, Bryan raised to 4.5K, Seat 6 folded, Seat 7 called. The turn was the K and Seat 6 led out again, this time for 7K. Bryan raised again to 14K and got called again. Both players checked the 9 river. Seat 6 showed A T but Bryan had A Q for the better kicker and scooped the pot.
Interesting hand here. Wanna hear a little secret? I screwed up on the turn. I wanted to put in 21k, but when firing one of the 10k chips slipped out of my hand and I only fired 11k into the pot, committing myself to a 14k raise. My opponent quickly called as I expected because I had him read for exactly where he was at: a pair and a flush draw, most likely with the A , but also possibly the 6 8 . He was making a blocking bet on the turn and I wanted to charge him the maximum. He said he would’ve folded for 14k more but not for 7k more, but I’m not really sure if I believe that or not. If so, my mistake made me an additional 7k in the short turm, but could’ve cost me quite a large pot.

So, my low point was 36k today, my high point was 58k, and I could just never get anything going. Oh well… I still have 18 m’s ready to rock tomorrow and plenty of run good stored up from today! I’m still in high spirits and stoked to be a part of the most prestigeous NLHE tournament of the year.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Devo’s Is Playing the WPT Championship!

Blogging is way more fun when things are going well! How do I go from feeling like the unluckiest bastard on the face of the planet to feeling like everything is going just the way I want it in four days?

A formerly submerged cell phone works perfectly the next day that’s how.

Tomorrow I am about to embark on a possibly life changing journey in the Bellagio WPT World Championship $25k NLHE event.

Yes, you read that right. Devo is playing the $25k.

Yesterday after an awesome night at Light playing high stakes rock paper scissors I found myself playing 15-30 at the Wynn when I noticed a 100-200 mix game going that looked extremely good. I called my good friend John Fruitkin and let him know about it. After 90 minutes I found myself sitting in the game with John taking the majority of my action. We played four handed for a long period of time when two new guys sat in the game that neither John nor myself recognized. John, myself, and four guys we had never seen before playing 100-200 mix. It was a very good game.

One of the new guys kept proposing different ways of how to put one of us into the $25k event but nothing ever panned out. The game finally broke around 11pm with me up almost $2k, a marginal win for me and a decent win for John. On the way to the cage the new guy said to me, “How much will you play for if I put you in tomorrow?”

Wow. I thought I had a good reputation but… WOW! I quickly said, “I’ll play for 20%.”

He finally decided that he only wanted to put up half and that we would both try and raise the additional 12.5k to put me in.

It really was weird calling so many people at 11pm asking to be staked for $10k. Funny part is that it kinda felt normal.

So, Saturday rolls around, I still haven’t raised more than 2.5k, and I meed my backer at the Bellagio. We finally came to an agreement that he would put me in two single table satellites and the mega satellite. If I was able to win a seat then I would get 30%, and if not then oh well.

I just knew that this was going to be my day. My confidence level is super high and I have learned so much over the past six months that I was sure that I was going to find my way into a seat.

The first satellite started off well. I built my stack to 36k from a starting point of 25k playing my usual small ball. Then I took a stinker in a medium pot, made a really bad play that cost me 15k, and then busted on a stinker, first one to hit the rail.

My confidence was not rattled one bit.

The second satellite stared with Kevin Sung sitting across from me, Paul Darden to my right, and an excellent high limit player to my left. First hand: Paul busts to the village idiot when the other guy calls Paul’s all-in on the flop of 886 rainbow with AJo vs. Paul’s 99 and spikes an ace on the river.

My equity sure just went up.

By the time we were seven handed I was a marginal chip leader once again playing my classic style of small ball. At six handed I was slightly behind first and second and looked down at the ever so sexy A A . I had 41.5k in my stack with blinds of 1k-2k. I opened to 6k and all folded to the chip leader who called out of the big blind. Flop came 8 4 3 . He checked and I bet 12k, hoping to get called and then move in on the turn. He exceeded my expectations. After asking for my count he finally decided to move all-in.

I insta-called. My favorite part is that I knew he had a pair at best and at worst I had to dodge five outs. It was just so stinking obvious that he had nothing good. He said, “Oops. Bad read,” and rolled over the J T . OMG. I have him drawing so thin! The 7 turn had me seeing images of Devo falling off the top of the Stratosphere if a 9 happened to come on the river, but it blanked out and I doubled up and was now the huge chip leader.

From there I cruised, busting two players along the way, and found myself heads up with Kevin Sung with 155k in chips vs his 95k in chips, blinds 2k-4k. My backer and Kevin eventually reached a very fair deal, and I went to the cage and registered for the tournament! I will be sitting at table 25 in seat 5 and cannot wait for the cards to get in the air tomorrow! I would love your sweat right here at pokerpages.com in the live updates.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention. Friday I got invited to a party at the playboy mansion this coming weekend! Lara hooked that one up using her PR skills. It’s a celebrity charity poker tournament. Are you freaking kidding me?!? I will be posting another blog about that later this week, but for now I need to go get some sleep!

Peace and good luck!

Devo