Interesting hand from the Unibet NL800 streets

To give some context for the hand in question, we are playing at an NL800 cash game at Unibet Poker. The hand is played at a fairly soft table, but the villain in this particular hand is one of the toughest regs in the game (although I did not know that at the time, and this is not the real Jakeeeeeeee fwiw). To explain how we should be constructing a defending range against villains line, I will use the concept of “minimum defence frequency”.

The hand begins with me looking down at KQo in the small blind, and I open for 3x the BB to €24. I’ve got close to €2000 at the table and the big blind covers me. He 3-bets to €80 and now we have a decision. We could turn this hand into a bluff by 4-betting, as our hand has very strong blocker effects, blocking many of his value hands (QQ/KK/AQ/AK). However, our hand plays fairly well post flop and I think our hand is just too strong to turn into a 4-bet bluff here.

So I click call and the flop comes AdTc7h. I check (as I would with my entire range in this spot), and he bets 1/3 pot for €52 into the pot of now €157. I like this bet size by him, as it is a cheap way for him to put pressure on my range. KQ is not a super strong holding at this point, but we have a gutshot to the nuts as well as some showdown value with our KQ high cards.

I call and the turn brings the gin card, a jack. So we turn the nuts, but there is now also a flush draw on board with two hearts. I check again and he makes a slight overbet for €300 into €261. At this point we have two choices: we can either flat call and let him keep barreling his bluffs, or we can raise to get value from his value hands (AA, JJ, TT, AJ, AT etc) and to prevent him from drawing cheaply to a heart flush.

I ultimately decide to flat call, as I strongly suspected he would keep firing the river with a lot of his bluffs, thinking that my range would be somewhat capped just flatting the turn. The river brings the 4 of hearts, completing a possible flush. This is not a great card as we no longer hold the nuts, and a heart flush is definitely possible for our villain here. I check a third time and he overbet-jams for €1537 into the pot of €861 for slightly less than 2x pot. Sigh…

What now?

What we need to do in a spot like this, is to think about our range, and what hands we get to the river with. Then we need to decide what pot odds we are getting, and how often we need to call. To figure out how much we need to call this bet, I will use the concept of minimum defence frequency (MDF). MDF is basically the minimum we need to call to avoid that our opponent automatically profits with his bets.

Villain is here risking €1537 to win €861. So:
B (ratio of what he is risking to what he can win (bet size/potsize) = 1537/861 = 1,79
A = B/(B+1) = 1,79/2,79 = 0,644
MDF: (1-A)% = 1 – 0,644 = 35,6%.

This means we need to be at least calling 35,6% of our range. This should basically be the top of our range, but blocker effects to his possible value-jams need to be taken into consideration. If we assume his value-jamming range on the river is KQ straights and all flushes, then holding a king, a queen or a heart in our range is naturally good, as it reduces the number of combinations he can have of those holdings.

Let’s assume we get to the river with all suited aces, A9o+, KJ, KQ, JT, 98s, 77, TT and JJ, and some heart flushes (all Axhh, KThh, QThh, T9hh, T8hh and 89hh). The total amount of combinations we reach the river with is then 127. If we want to reach our MDF of 35,6% we then need to call 45 of these combinations. If we call all straights and flushes, that totals to 33 combinations, meaning we need to find 12 more combinations to reach our MDF. The remaining 12 combinations should be strong hands that also blocks our opponents value jams. So for example, calling a hand like AxQh would be better than calling TT, even though AxQh is weaker in terms of absolute hand strength. This is because AxQh blocks both the KQ straights and his Qxhh flushes, lowering the frequency our opponent will have these holdings.

Breaking down the hand we can see in this example that KQ definitely is a call. In real time I was not super confident though, as I suspected that my average opponents at Unibet were underbluffing this line. Anyways we ended up pressing the call button, and villain showed Kh5x for king high. I remember my Twitch chat going off the rails when he showed his hand here, but in reality, this is a really good bluffing hand on this runout. The Kh is obviously a very good card, as it blocks all Kxhh flushes as well as the KQ straight. The Kh is probably the best blocker card to take this line with, as the Ah has enough showdown value to check back at some point. Also by not holding the ace, he unblocks a lot of the hands he wants to put pressure on (all the Ax hands). The 5 in his hand doesn’t mean all that much, but it unblocks a lot of the hands I will call twice with and fold river, like AQo/A7s/JTs.

The hand in question was streamed live on my Twitch channel, and I exported the clip to YouTube after. Check it out here: YouTube

Twitch partnership celebration marathon stream!

It took a while to get there, but we have finally received that elusive Twitch partnership. Along with it comes a flashy subscriber button, custom chat badges and emoticons and a bunch of other cool stuff. To celebrate this great piece of news I am going to do a 24-hour poker stream this coming Sunday! During these 24 hours, I will play a variety of different games (poker games that is). I will play cash games (anything from NL4 to NL800), SNG’s both 5-max and HU, and tournaments. The main event for the evening will be the €50,000 guaranteed on Unibet, a tournament they are hosting to celebrate the 500,000,000th hand being dealt on their poker platform. It’s gonna be a €100 buy-in tournament with unlimited re-entries and one add-on available. Not only will this tournament have a €50,000 prize pool, it will also have 3x €3000 packages added for a poker trip to Las Vegas!

There will also be a number of giveaways and freerolls during the stream, totalling a total value of €1000! There will be five €100 freerolls in total. They will be starting at 12.00, 18.00, 21.00, 00.00 and 08.00, all times CET. In these freerolls there will also be a bounty for €25 on my head. I will also give away 3x €100 tickets to the €50,000 Guaranteed tournament that evening, as well as €200 worth of different satellite tickets. These will be given out at random, or to people I feel deserve it! I’m sure I’ll come up with a competition or two by then as well.

So yeah, hope to see you guys on Sunday! Feel free to reach out to me if you got ideas for competitions we can arrange during the stream, or if you have any other suggestions!

Unibet Open package giveaway

Hey there, long time no see! I haven’t been blogging for a while, for a number of reasons (the main one being laziness obv). Another reason is that I have been spending some time vlogging instead, as I believe the vlog format is more interesting for and better received by a 2017 audience. I am still not sure if I will be vlogging AND blogging, but for the time being, that’s the plan. So expect some of those vlogs to show up on YouTube very soon!

ANYWAYS, I wanted to make a quick post here to tell you guys about this new promotion I am running through my stream. As most of you probably are aware, Unibet has a live poker series called the Unibet Open. There are four Unibet Opens every year, and they are held at various locations around the world. The first two this year were held in London and Copenhagen, while the next two will be Bucharest and a mystery location! Anyhow, Unibet has satellites running for these Unibet Open events on their online poker client. They begin at €2 and €4, and you need to win your way through 3-4 steps before reaching the €250 finals, which are held on Wednesdays and Sundays. In the €250 finals you can win packages to the live events. These packages are usually valued at €2000, but for the mystery event, it’s €3000. This includes buy-in to the tournament (€1100), hotel and travel/spending money.

Since I am now a Unibet Poker Ambassador, I receive packages to all these events anyways. I do however enjoy playing the satellites for them, so I got this idea… What if I could grind my way up from the lowest tickets (€2 and €4), up to actually winning a package, and then donating it to a viewer of the stream? Sounds good? Alright! So that’s essentially the plan. Unibet will provide me with 10x €2 tickets and 10x €4 tickets every week (surely I can get more if I run out and ask nicely). I will then try to grind these tickets up through the different levels and hopefully manage to win a Unibet Open package (or five). The way I will choose a winner (or more winners), is that I have created a competition through Gleam, where you can collect points for a raffle. To check out the Gleam competition and give yourself a chance to win a €3000 package and go to the next Unibet Open for free, follow this link:

That’s it for now guys. Hope you like the idea of the promotion, and good luck to everyone participating! Expect a new blog post in just a couple of days, where I give some details on the 24-hour stream I have planned for this Sunday. Teaser: There will be giveaways and freerolls with a value of €1000!

Unibet Open London 2017 winner Gerret Van Lancker qualified for the event online (photo by Tambet Kask).

Edit: It has been pointed out that by doing this promotion I was taking EV away from the people grinding these satellites, and that giving away packages was against Unibet’s T&C. I had, of course, arranged this through Unibet, but I guess we did not think it through properly. However, since the promotion already has been launched, it will be completed as planned (almost). To make up for the EV I am (presumably) taking out of these satellites, Unibet came up with a way to recompensate the other players. So if I happen to win a €250 satellite, Unibet will add another €2000/€3000 package, which will be given away to the bubble boy of that given satellite. The plan was to keep this promotion going throughout the rest of the year, but this will now simply be too expensive. So, as soon as I win a package and raffle it away, this promotion will come to an end.

New surroundings and Malta life!

Since I left Hungary about two months ago, I have basically been living out of my suitcase. As much as I love traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people, I am now super happy about finally getting to unpack my bags and stay in one place for a bit more than two weeks. Since I left Budapest I have spent 1 week in London, 2 weeks in Steinkjer/Trondheim, 1 week in Brighton, 1 week in Belgium, 2 weeks in Dublin and now I have finally arrived at my destination. I have now been in Malta for one week, and I am already in love with Malta life.

My accommodation for the first couple of weeks.

Temporary housing solution

Arriving in Malta I did not yet have my own place to live. I figured the best way to find one was to get down here, and then go to house viewings etc in person. This way I could get a better feel for the different areas on the island and the apartments themselves. I spoke to Marco and Stubbe from the Unibet Community about my plan, and they were kind enough to offer me shelter until I got settled in my own place here. So for the past week, I have been staying at their crib (which is basically the perfect bachelor lounge). It has a backyard swimming pool and BBQ, a poker table, a dart board, some gaming consoles and a sweet projector set-up to watch movies/sports/play games on.

Marco crushing me at some darts.

First few days

I arrived late on Sunday evening and spent the night just getting settled in, unpacking a bit and relaxing. The next couple of days was mostly spent sightseeing Malta, hanging by the pool, playing darts and enjoying some cold ones with the guys. I obviously managed to get sunburned the second day, convincing myself that the sun was not that strong early in the day, and it’s only April, right? Well, I spent the next two days looking like a lobster. Next time I plan on spending a full day in the sun, I might just apply some sunscreen.

No need for sunscreen, right?

Saturday home game

On my first Saturday here we hosted a home game, with me, Marco, Stubbe, Søren (who lives with Marco and Stubbe) and Jami aka ReCorpH from the Unibet community/Twitch. We only had two webcams available, and not the best upload speed of the internet, so the production value was not as great as we had planned. The stream was super fun though, and the feedback from chat/forums was great. We played a €25 rebuy turbo SNG first, and some small stakes cash games after. I ended up winning the SNG after rebuying with 2.5BB’s at 2000/4000/500. SeemsGood. We had different extra rules, to literally spice the game up. I.e. “whoever loses this Omaha flip gets to choose between eating a raw chili or taking two shots of this horrible pepper candy liqueur”. Other examples included that if you got bluffed on the river, you had to wear a poop-hat until the next time someone got bluffed on the river. And if you got bluffed by 72 on the river, you had to jump in the pool. Or whoever folds preflop next hand needs to drink, and so on and so on… We sure had a lot of fun, and I am sure we will do a similar stream in the near future. Hopefully with some hole card webcams and some better lighting!

Very high tech streaming setup.

In an attempt to make these blog posts a bit shorter, I will cut it here and throw in some random pics from Malta to compensate. Next blog is probably gonna be in a week or two when I’ve (hopefully) settled in to my own place!

Sightseeing Sliema.
Sightseeing some more.
Strike a pose.
Awkward smile is the best smile.

Irish Open + Norwegian Championship of Poker 2017

Alright, a slightly delayed blog post coming up! I just spent two weeks in Dublin, playing the Irish Open and the Norwegian Championship. I was planning to write this in two parts, with the first part getting posted during my first week in Dublin. The schedule in Dublin was however so packed, that I simply did not find the time. The first week especially I was going hard on the tourney grind, basically registering for a new tournament as soon as I busted the previous one.

Citywest Hotel outside of Dublin. Host of the Irish Open and the Norwegian Championship of Poker.

Arriving in Dublin

I arrived in Dublin on Thursday the 27th of March, and took a taxi to fellow ambassador Dara O’Kearneys crib. He was naturally out on his weekly 52 km run, but I was kindly greeted and let in by his lovely wife Mireille. I had never met her before, but after talking to her for 15 minutes I felt like I had known her for ages. I stayed at their place for the first night only, as I had a hotel room booked at the Citywest hotel for the rest of my stay, courtesy of Unibet (thanks)! I shared that hotel room with Bulgarian pro Daniel Chutrov, who I met back in 2015 at Unibet Open Glasgow (an event he ended up winning, the luckbox ;-)).

Well, thank you!

I had two amazing two weeks in Dublin, meeting many many people I have known through poker for 10 years+, as well as making some new acquaintances. I have been attending the Norwegian Championship most years since I turned 18 (in 2006), and it’s grown alot since then. For the main event this year there was 1250 people entering, which is amazing! It’s always a very friendly atmosphere, and I think most of the Norwegians who go there treat it more like a social vacation, than strictly a poker event.

Playing some cards

Since we played 7 events, I can’t really go through all of them in detail. I will however spare a few lines of the blog, to sum up the results we had in the tournaments. We had a lot of deep runs in te Irish Open events and came close to pretty big scores a couple of times. We played the following events:

Irish Open 6-max €350 – finished 23rd with 17 paid
Irish Open HU €350 – finished 2nd for €1750 (but no trophy FeelsBadMan)
Irish Open main event €1150 – finished 160th with 135 paid
Irish Open JP masters €550 – finished 13th for €1800 (€27k up top)
Irish Open high roller €2000 – finished 13th with 7 paid (€35k uptop)
Irish Open 8-max €350 – finished 27th with 25 paid

Besides the Irish Open tournaments, I only managed to play 1 event at the Norwegian Championship this year, and that was the main event. I was planning on playing the main and the HU event, but the HU collided with day 2 of the Irish Open main event. The main event of the Norwegian Championship was basically the only tournament of the trip where I didn’t make a good run for it.

Hand discussions

As I try to do in all of the live event blogs, I will discuss a few interesting hands from the Irish Open and Norwegian Championship main events here. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you think about these segments. I realize that some of my readers don’t care too much about poker, while the bulk of my readers probably are poker players themselves.

Hand #1 (Irish Open main event):

I open AJs from the HJ to 925 at 200/400/50. An aggressive good player 3bets me from the SB to 2800, and I call. Effective stacks being around 25k, with me covering him. Flop is J85r with a backdoor flush draw for us. He bets 2400 and I call. Turn is a 4, which gives us a flush draw to go with our TPTK. He bets again, this time for 6k. I call. The river is another 4 and he jams for 14500. Pretty messed up spot, where I think his value range is something like QQ/KK/AA/67s/possibly AJ. His bluffing range is probably 9Ts/QTs/Q9s/some turned flush draws which we block. He could also possibly be just firing 3 barrels with a hand like AK/AQ here trying to fold out Jx/TT/99 etc. I ended up folding my hand, figuring there would be better spots to pick up chips in a tournament like this. I asked him in a cash game the day after what he had, and he said KK. He seemed like an honest guy, so that gives me some comfort!

Norwegian Championship main event table.

Hand #2 (Norwegian Championship main event): 

I had a pretty soft table, with one guy being very drunk (at 13:00 in the afternoon, SeemsGood). The drunk guy opens UTG for 300 at BB100. MP calls and I call QJss on the button. 3-ways to a flop of Q83ss. Amazing flop for us, flopping top pair and a flush draw vs the soft spot at the table. He cbets for 375, and we have a choice to make. Do we flatcall to keep variance as low as possible, or do we go for value against someone drunk and spewy? Probably in a soft tournament like this, I should just have got for the low variance route of calling, but I decided to raise and made it 925. He thinks for about 1 second and throws in 3500. I now kinda hate my life, as I really don’t wanna bust this early in this super soft tournament. If this was a re-entry I would be super happy getting it in here, but in a freezeout I think it’s not amazing. We can’t fold however, holding top pair and FD. So I make the call, and the turn is the 3c, pretty bad card for us… He bets 4500, and again I think we need to make a call here. We still have a decent holding, given that he could be drunk spewing with any two cards, and we still got 11 outs against aces or kings. So I call again and river is 7h. He checks quickly and I figure that he gave up, and that I could be winning. I check back and he flips over KK. Mehhh.

Hand #3 (Norwegian Championship main event):

This hand I open 99 to 275 from the HJ, still at 50/100 blinds. Both blinds call (drunk guy in SB). Flop comes 36Kss, and they both check. I throw out a small cbet of 300 and they both call. Turn is the 9 of spades, giving me trips but also completing a possible flush. They both check again, and I think we have a pretty close spot. I thought it was fairly likely for one of them to have a flush now, as they both called flop, so I decided to check back. The river is an offsuit 5, and the drunk guys leads for 625, a fairly small bet. As in the previous hand, I get greedy, figuring he is probably just making a small value bet with a king here. I raise to 1825 and he snap-3bets to 3600. I hate life and put my cards in the muck. He told me he had a small flush.
I feel like the two last hands here was slight misplays. I should probably try to take the lowest variance route possible in tournaments as soft as this one, at least when there is no re-entry.

Action packed poker room.

Making a straight flush in the cash games

I will also include a hand from the cash game tables, which was pretty interesting/enjoyable. We are playing €2/€5 hold’em and we are 8 handed. UTG who is a good Romanian player opens UTG for 15, and MP calls. I look down at 9Thh in the BB and I defend. I am sitting at around €1200 and the UTG player covers me. Flop brings 5x7h8h, aka the dream. As I think the UTG player is gonna check back a flop like this a fair bit, I decide to lead out. So I lead for €40 and the UTG makes it €150. At this point I believe he is pretty strong, either holding an overpair, a set or a big flush draw. He could also just be bullying sometimes, as many players perceive leads (donkbets) to be weak. MP folds and I think for a while. I’m certainly not afraid of getting it in here, as the only hands we really don’t wanna see are hands like AJhh. I also believe that by 3betting the flop we can fold out overpairs very successfully. So I make it €380 and he tank-calls. When he calls on this board I believe his range is pretty much only big flush draws or combo draws like 67s/56s. I’m not sure he would raise those on the flop though. Turn brings the Jh, giving us the straight-flush and locking up the hand. As I think most of his hands at this point are big flushes, I decided to go for a check-raise. It doesn’t really matter what we do if he has a big flush, as the money is going in anyways. But at least this way we give him a chance to bluff if he for some reason doesn’t have the flush. So I check and he bets small, like €280. I put him in for the rest and he snap calls. I tell him he is drawing dead and he just gives me a funny look, like I am joking. I flip over my hand, and he turns over his A2hh in disbelief over what just happened. Shipppp ittttttttt!

I approve of this turn card.

As I will try to keep these blog posts fairly short, I will wrap it up here. Next blog post will be from Malta, where I just moved. I am currently staying at Unibet Community guys Marco and Stubbe, until I find my own place down here. Having an amazing time so far, and I am sure the next year is gonna bring a lot of excitement and fun!

See you next year, Citywest!

Roadtripping Belgium!

So for the past week, I have been staying with fellow ambassador and Twitch streamer David Vanderheyden and his girlfriend Satu in Belgium. David’s house is located in Leuven, which is 15-20 minutes east of Brussels. From there we made day trips to see Brussels, Brugge, and Gent – all of which were beautiful cities. We filmed a lot of stuff from Brussels and Brugge, so expect that to show up in a vlog, pretty soon!

The iconic Grand Place in the middle of Brussels.

Leuven nightlife

Having played the Unibet UK Poker Tour in Brighton the week before, me, David and Satu took the Eurostar train from London to Brussels. After arriving that evening, we grabbed some food before heading out to check out Leuven. Satu was in a dancing mood and we went to a Salsa-place in the middle of Leuven’s bar district. It’s not a place I would ever go to by myself, so it was cool to see something else than the typical beer bars I usually frequent. We went from there to a couple of more bars, before calling it a night, seeing how we were all fairly tired after traveling.

Beer for me and chocolate milk for David.

Duo-streams with DaVitsche

The day after we woke up pretty late, and went straight to the gym. I knew the week was gonna be filled with Belgian beers, waffles, chocolate and so on, so it felt good to get in a gym session straight off the bat. After our gym session, we decided to do a duo-stream on David’s Twitch channel (go follow!). We hooked up a couple of webcams, put the microphone between us, and used the share screen feature on Skype, to include tables from both of us. Shortly after beginning the session, eSports legends Craig “onscreenlol” Shannon and Alan “hotted89” Widmann showed up in chat. Onscreen said something about “I’m gonna hop in the NL800 game with Uhlen soon”, and hotted asked “really?”. I thought he was just joking as well, but a few moments later he was sitting in my NL800 game, with his awesome custom made avatar. It didn’t take long before hotted decided to hop in there as well, and suddenly we had 3 custom avatars on the same NL800 table (prob a history first right there)! We had some pretty interesting spots during our session, and we ended up profiting around €3000 in the end. I’ll post a couple of video clips at the end of this blog post, showing two of the more fun/interesting hands we played.

Battling it out with the eSports boys!

Visiting 3 Fonteinen

Being a huge beer geek, I had two big goals for my week in Belgium. Visiting “3 Fonteinen” and “Cantillon”, two of most infamous breweries in the world. People (huge beer geeks like myself) travel from all across the globe to visit these two breweries. Being good hosts, David and Satu took me to see both of these breweries, even though none of them are big beer drinkers themselves (David doesn’t drink alcohol at all). Our first trip was to 3 Fonteinen. 3 Fonteinen is located right south of Brussels, out on the countryside. They have two facilities, one being the brewery and the other one being the barrel aging facility and visitors center.

Pretty epic barreling facility at 3 Fonteinen.

We visited the latter, where we got a tour of the barreling room, blending facility and bottling plant, before buying some drinks and relaxing in their cafe/tasting room. There was one more group there, and they were from the US, probably traveling to Belgium for the sole purpose of visiting 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon. They had a bunch of board games there, and we stayed for 4-5 hours playing “Settlers of Catan”, a very strategical GTO resource management game. David of course out-GTO’ed me, despite me having a decent lead, and took home the victory. After the devastating loss, I got myself a fanboy t-shirt, a few semi-rare beers and we headed home.

Visiting Cantillon

A couple of days later we decided to make the trip to Cantillon as well. Cantillon is located in a pretty worn down neighborhood in the middle of Brussels. A place you would never expect to find one of the world’s most renowned breweries.

The entrance at Cantillon brewery.

We spent a good 30 minutes or so touring the brewing facilities. Cantillon (as well as 3 Fonteinen) makes so-called “sour beers”, of the styles Lambic, Gueuze, Kriek and Faro. These are beers that are fermented using natural bioflora from the environment, meaning no laboratory propagated yeast strains are added to the beers. They simply put the wort (soon to be beer) in a so-called “koelschip” to cool down over night, and let yeast and bacteria from the air enter the beers and ferment them naturally. Cantillon has been using this method since 1900, and the brewery looks pretty much the same today as it did back then. Alright… Enough geeking out over beer, this is a poker blog, goddamnit!

The koelschip at Cantillon brewery.

I’ll wrap up this post talking a bit about what’s up going forward. I left Belgium the day before yesterday, and I now find myself in Dublin, at the lovely Citywest hotel. I am here in Dublin to play a bunch of events at the festival going on at the hotel. It’s a pretty cool poker festival, where they have combined the Irish Open with the Norwegian Championships, as well as some Party Poker Millions stuff. I’ll probably be playing around 8-10 tournaments in total there, with the highlights being the €1150 Irish Open Main Event, the €800 Norwegian Championship Main Event and the €1100 Norwegian Championship HU event. I’m sure it’s gonna be an amazing festval, and I’m super looking forward! I’m gonna stay in Dublin for two weeks, so feel free to hit me up if you are in Dublin and want to grab a beer. Cheers!

Unibet UK Poker Tour Brighton

Last week was spent in Brighton, surrounded by Unibet poker players, ambassadors, and employees. I arrived in Brighton early on the monday, a few hours before check-in at the hotel opened. We were staying at the Malmaison Brighton, which was located in the middle of the Brighton Marina. The interior was beautiful and the room’s view was also decent.

Decent view from the hotel balcony.

Content creation

I got picked up at the hotel by Marc and James, and we went sightseeing a bit in Brighton. Amazing city, with a super chill vibe! The first few days were mostly filled with content creation. We took a ton of pictures, filmed some strategy video content and we recorded a podcast. You would think I would be comfortable with all these things now, having streamed on Twitch for half a year. That was however not the case. Especially filming the strategy video content I was out of my comfort zone. It was very different sitting in a studio with professional lighting set up, camera right in front of you and a bunch of people watching and analyzing every word you say. It was good to get that training however, and it’s just a thing I will have to do as much as possible going forward to get comfortable with it.

Being uncomfortable in the strategy video shoot.

The tournament

The poker event was super fun, despite firing 3 bullets without cashing the event. It was a £220 buyin event, with two starting days. You were allowed to reenter the tournament once each day so four bullets in total. First bullet we busted with KK in a 3-way allin vs AA and JJ. It was a pretty huge pot at that point, and it would be nice to be on the other side of the setup obv. Next bullet we managed to build a decent stack, as we had a very soft table. There was 3-4 people who did nothing but limp-call preflop, and you could grind up a stack with very low variance. There was so much going on this week, so my memory has failed me on most hands. I remember two hands we played in our second bullet though, so I will go through those. The first one I think we played well, and the second one I think we butchered pretty hard. It might not be super-bad in a vacuum or in chip EV terms, but it is wayyy to high variance for a table this soft, where I could just comfortably grind up a stack.

Hand #1:

Elderly man limps from the CO at 200/400 pre ante, and I isolate to 1500 with A5ss on the button. BB (young guy in hoodie) calls and the limper comes along aswell. Flop 45Tdd and they both check. I cbet for 1250 into 4700 and the BB check raises to 3500. At this point I figure his value-raising range is like 44/55/45s/maybe AT. There is 3 combos of 44 left, 1 combo of 55, 2 combos of 45s and 9 combos of AT. Let’s say he only check raises half of his AT’s, and leave him with 4 combos of those. In total that leaves us with 10 value combos in total. Compared to the amount of bluffs he can have on this board, and we obviously have a very easy flop call. I was already planning to call check raises when I bet the flop, so we follow our plan and call. Turn is the 4 of hearts, removing even more of his value range. He bets 4600 and again we make the call. At this point I am thinking “this is a really bad spot for him to bluff, so he probably is not bluffing THAT much.” However, you never know what level people are thinking at, and given how many bluffs vs value combos he has here, I think it’s still a super easy call. River is an offsuit queen, and he bets 9k after some deliberation. Still same logic applies as on the turn. Bad spot for him to bluff (but does he know that?), and his value range is very thin. I call and he mucks. He told me after he had A9cc for a backdoor flushdraw on the flop, and just didn’t feel like giving up.

Hand #2:

We open QTcc UTG on 600/1200/200 level. Normally I hand I would just pitch UTG, but we had a pretty big stack (60k) and the table was very soft. UTG+1, who is a drunk and very talkative guy calls. I was at his table earlier aswell and I know he likes to battle for pots. He has like 55k and I figure his range is fairly wide here aswell, given the fact that practically noone 3bets at this table. Flop comes Q98 with 98 of spades. I checked the flop. Reasoning being we are gonna be check folding this board quite a bit, as it hits his range very well. Therefore we also need to have some pretty strong hands in our checking range, so we don’t always fold when we face bets after checking. I think QT makes a perfect hand to do it with, as it is less vurnerable than AQ for example, given that we also have the gutshot. He quickly bets 4000 into the pot of 6500. We make a very standard call, and the turn brings another 8. I check again and he quickly throws in 3 yellow chips for a 15k bet into the pot of 14,500. At this point I am getting worried, but I am having trouble assigning him a value range. I did not believe he would do this with a full house, as we only have like 34k left behind. I did not think he would do this for value with a weaker hand than KQ, but then again who knows, right? I ended up calling though, planning to call all rivers that did not contain a spade or a ten. River comes an offsuit ten. Awful card for me, as it makes a fourstraight on the board and all he needs now is a jack. I check and he quickly moves it in. I had previously decided I was gonna fold ten rivers, but now I started doubting. I figured he would rarely have a full house with his sizing, and that he would only valuejam full houses or Jx on the river. So I started to think about what Jx he could have. I found it reasonably likely he would take a line like this with KJs/JTs/AJ, and pot control his QJs. Worse Qx I believe he would just fold pre. This in total amounts to 22 combos with AJ being 16 of them. I also found it likely he would take this line with alot of his missed flushdraws and straightdraws (76s, KTs, ATs). If we assume that he takes this line with 50% of his missed fd/sd’s, that amounts to 9 combos in total. This is ofcourse alot of guesstimation, and it’s hard to know if any of these assumptions are true. Bottom line is I think this would be an OK thought process in a cash game setting, but that in a tournament it’s pretty much just spewing. Reasoning being that our tournament life is valuable, and especially on a soft table like this. He ended up having QJss for flopped top pair + straightflush draw. Weird hand for him to bet huge on the turn IMO, but seems like it worked out well for him! Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Seems I got rekt.

I think that will be it for the trip report from Brighton. There will probably be some vlog coming up in the near future, once I have gathered all the content we filmed etc.

Next blog post

This week I am in Belgium, visiting fellow Unibet ambassador and streamer David Vanderheyden. Belgium has not disappointed on any fronts, and Davids hospitality is exceptional. So far we have visited two of my favourite breweries (3 Fonteinen and Cantillon), streamed some poker and had a couple of nice workout sessions at the gym. Tomorrow (Saturday) we are having a meetup with some guys from the Unibet Community forums, so feel free to join that if you find yourself nearby (it will likely go down in Gent). Next blog will be a trip report from here, so stay tuned for that! (Also check out this hilarious clip from our first stream here in Belgium:

Streaming from David Vanderheyden’s crib in Belgium.

Unibet Open London 2017 (Part 2)

In my previous post I recapped some interesting hands from the ambassadors SNG at Unibet Open in London. In this post I’ll wrap up the London trip, discussing the main event, the deepstack event and the community freeroll. As I am still very new to blogging I’ll appreciate any tips/feedback, so feel free to leave any comments here in the blog or reach me through social media!

The main event

In the first hand of the tournament UTG limps for 100 and it folds to the SB who minraises to 200. I fold my J3o in the BB and somehow the UTG limper manages to find a fold as well, only having to call 100 more… This looks like a fun table, I thought to myself. Two hands later, HJ opens to 300, I flat the button with Ad8d and both blinds come along. We see a flop of KJ5 with two spades, and SB decides to lead out for 10000 (yes, four zeros) into the pot of 1200. This was the same player who limped UTG and folded to the minraise btw. BB folds and the HJ opener announces “good luck” and puts in his whole starting stack of 30k. SB snapcalls and flips over… ace… queen… offsuit. Everyone at the table kinda looks at each other and noone knows really how to react. Opener shows pocket jacks for middle set, and miraculously he holds against the AQ gutshot. The guy who busts looks kinda flustered and announces “I really thought I was good”. I have no clue if he was just trolling hard, or if he really thought ace high would be good there… It should be mentioned that he was a semi celebrity, and it could be that he just had some other stuff to attend. Oh well, decent start for the guy holding jacks atleast!

Main event 30,000 starting stack.

I basically didn’t play any big hands for the whole day, as I was absolutely card dead. During the first 5 hours of play we picked up AQ once and 99 once. I lost a small pot with the 9’s and won a small pot with the AQ. I picked up some small pots with button steals, cbets etc, but played no sizable pots all day. In lack of interesting hands to discuss, I’ll jump straight to the bustout hand. We are playing 300/600/50 and we are in the big blind with a stack of 19500. Button, who is capable and aggressive opens to 1200 and I look down at 99. We have a pretty decent re-shove spot, but I like inducing with a 3bet better. Especially against someone aggressive, who probably assumes that I have a pretty polarized 3b-call range here. So I 3bet to 3600, and he takes a minute or so before he jams. I snap call and he sheepishly turns over A5s. I don’t mind his play, and he has one of the best bluffing hands in this spot. He has an ace blocker, which makes it less likely I have AK/AQ, and his hand has decent equity against even the tightest of value-ranges (31.5% against 99+ and AQ+). Anyways, board runs out Axxxx and we are finito. Some days there is just not too much you can do.

Deepstack side event

Next day we decide to hop into the deepstack side event. It was a £330 buyin, with a re-entry for the first 6 levels. We have a pretty cool first table, including a bunch of ambassadors and familiar faces. David Lappin, Daiva Barauskaite, Dara O’Kearney and Dan Murariu. I definitely got some ambassador SNG flashbacks.

Not the softest table in the room, with Dara O’Kearney, Daiva Barauskaite and David Lappin to my left.

So in the first interesting hand we play, it folds around to the button who opens for a minraise. I’m in the SB and I look down at ace-ten, playing effectively for 25bb with the button, with me covering him. I already had a note that he was very aggro/spazzy after a hand early in the tournament, where he jammed JJ for alooot of BBs and got two people to fold queens. I’m sure that hand will get mentioned in David or Daiva’s blog, as they were the two who (claimed) to fold QQ. So I decide that since he probably opens 70-80% of his range here, and has shown the propensity to jam light pre, that I would 3bet and call it off. So I 3bet small-ish and he takes a few seconds before jamming. I snap call and he flips over AJs to have me notched. He holds, so we are now down to 20 bigs approximately. A few hands later the same guy opens to 3,2x from the HJ and I look down at AJo with my 20 bigs in the CO. Pretty easy decision and I wager all of my betting discs. It folds to our friend Dara O’Kearney who looks down at AQ in the BB. He rejams and busts me. Confirmed bad friend.

I decide to buy in for another bullet, as the field seems pretty soft overall. I get a new table, and this one is a lot better than the previous one (better meaning easier in this context). I was playing very tight, as the table was super splashy and I was not picking up any hands. There was a lot of limping and calling in general, so I did not want to “force the action” with my weak hands. Also when I reentered the tournament the blinds were at 300/600/50, so the starting stack of 20k only gave me 31 bigs to work with. I did play one interesting hand though, which is the one following. I open for 2,4x with Ah8h UTG+2. Button (who is a very straight forward Asian middle-aged woman) flatcalls and the BB (who is a super splashy recreational player) also calls. Flop comes QT6ss and the big blind checks. I decide that the flop hits the button range too hard so I also check, preparing to just check/fold if she bets. She decides to check behind though, and the turn brings the Jx. Big blind checks quickly again, and he looks pretty uninterested in the pot/hand. Since I am basically the only one in the hand that can hold AK at this point, I decide I will try to take it down. I also felt that since I had been playing so tight, my solid image would get me more folds. So I bet pretty big (like 70% of the pot) and the Asian woman calls after a little hesitation. BB quickly folds. River is another Q and after thinking for a bit, I put in the rest of my stack for approx. a pot sized shove. Since she was playing very straight forward, I did not think she would have too many Q’s in her range at this point, as I think she would bet most Qx on the flop. The woman tanks for like 1 minute before she calls it off with K9s for a straight, and says “I thought you had ace king”… I was not sure about my play as I was making it, but if she considers folding a hand as strong as a straight here, then it’s probably pretty good. Feel free however to berate me in the comments below if you disagree! This was after the re-entry period had ended, so we did not get the option to punt off another stack.

Action packed saturday

The next day was saturday, and it was full of activities and options. There was a £2000 highroller side event, a Unibet community freeroll, a dinnerparty with the Norwegians and the Unibet players party. I had to prioritize, as I was concerned that if I played and went deep in the highroller, I would miss out on both the dinner and the players party. I decided to skip the highroller and just play the community freeroll instead, to make sure I would make it to the dinner+party. Preben Stokkan, a Norwegian tournament end boss and friend of mine ended up shipping the highroller. Crushers gonna crush.

The freeroll had a really good atmosphere. It had an open bar, bounties on some people (including myself) and €500 worth of Unibet Open qualifier tickets for the top 3 spots. I actually ended up taking it down, after god-moding pretty hard, getting alot of good spots and not really losing flips. I’m sure glad we saved up all that rungood during the main event/deepstack, Kappa. By shipping it we collected some Unibet tourney tickets and a poo-hat for eliminating MoreTBC, aaaawh yeeeeah! I’m sure that poo-hat will make it’s appearance on the stream some time in the future.

Wonder how much a poo-hat goes for on eBay.
Unibet Open players party (photo by Tambet Kask).

I am currently spending some time with family and friends back in Norway. I’ll be traveling from Norway to Brighton in a week or so, to play the Unibet UK tour over there. It’s gonna be my first Unibet UK tour stop and my first time visiting Brighton. I’m sure it’ll be a blast!

Will I see you there?

Unibet Open London 2017 (Part 1)

What’s up, good people of the internets!

I just came home from a pretty insane week in London, playing the first Unibet Open event of 2017. It was action packed from start to finish, but the clear highlight of the trip was getting signed as one of the new (insert drum roll)… Unibet brand ambassadors! I’ve been playing almost exclusively at Unibet for over a year, and now getting signed as one of their ambassadors feels pretty unreal! I absolutely love what Unibet is doing and they have some absolutely crazy cool stuff planned for 2017. Can’t wait to be part of it, and to share it with you guys! More on that later, now let’s get into the trip!

The whole week in London was super fun, and I got to know a lot of interesting people. First and foremost I got to know the other Unibet ambassadors, as well as the good people working for Unibet. We have a really awesome team there, and I am truly looking forward to building those relationships into stronger ones! We also got to hang out with some legends from the eSports world which was cool, being a old school video game nerd myself. Especially getting to know Forsen and Thijs was awesome, having watched shitloads of their Twitch streams back when I was playing Hearthstone. The eSports guys (picture below) was invited there to play an invitation only eSports SNG, which had £10k prizepool.

From top left to bottom right: Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey, Scott “Sco” McMillan, “Craig “onscreen” Shannon, Sebastian “Forsen” Fors, Thijs “Thijs” Molendijk, James “JZFB” Bardolph, Alan “Hotted89” Widmann, Sophia “Djarii” White and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (Unibet Open London 2017 photo by Tambet Kask).

The eSports SNG was won by Alan “Hotted89” Widmann, with Craig “Onscreen” Shannon taking 2nd and Sebastian “Forsen” Fors taking 3rd, for £5k, £3k and £2k respectively. Onscreen also scored some extra dough by eliminating Viktor “Isildur1” Blom for the £1k bounty. Overall some impressive plays from these guys, considering they are all pretty new to the game of poker. No doubt that some of the logical problemsolving skills they have aquired playing video games are transferrable to poker.

There was also a second invitational SNG, and this was the ambassadors SNG. It had the same prizepool and structure as the eSports SNG, so £5k, £3k and £2k for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I played a few interesting hands in it, and I will discuss some of them below this lovely picture.

From top left to bottom right: David Lappin, Ian Simpson, Dara O’Kearney, Dan Murariu, Charlotte Van Brabander, Me, David Shallow, David Vanderheyden and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (Unibet Open London 2017 photo by Tambet Kask).

First up is hand #3 of the SNG. Charlotte opens UTG to 300 at BB100. I’m sitting UTG+1 and look down at KQs and I make the call. David Shallow sits UTG+2 and 3-bets to 1300 from a starting stack of 25k. Everyone folds back to Charlotte who makes the call, and we naturally have a pretty easy call as well with the KQs, even though it’s a hand that’s gonna be dominated quite a bit in that spot. Flop comes Kc9h2c and both I an Charlotte check to Shallow, who puts out a cbet of 1525 into a pot of 4050. Charlotte folds and there is only one play for me here I think, which is to call. I did not have any prior experience playing with Shallow, but he was chatting a lot and from what I could gather he would not be nitting it up in this SNG. Turn comes the 6h which brings a second flushdraw on board. I have KQ of spades so no FD for me. I check again and he makes a pretty big bet of 5250 into the pot of 7100. After calling preflop and the flop here, I imagine my range looks something like: KJs, KQs, AK, 22, 99, TT, JJ and maybe 89s/9Ts. Holding a K however, we block a lot of his value-range, which I estimated to be pretty narrow, like AK/KK/AA. I did not think he would 3-bets 99/22/K9s preflop. Given that we block a big portion of his value range, and that there are two flushdraws on board, I think we have a pretty straight forward call on the turn as well. Also his sizing on the turn made me suspicious. River is 7d, meaning both flushdraws missed. Shallow reaches for his chips after a few seconds, holding slightly less than a pot sized bet behind. He collects his chips, stacks them neatly and prepares to move them in. He then fumbles, drops them, changes his mind and checks behind with his A3hh for missed flushdraw. I show my hand and rake in a pretty nice pot.

Next interesting hand is against Charlotte. We are playing 150/300/50 and I raise JTdd to 700 UTG. Charlotte calls in the BB and we see a flop of T98 with one diamond. At this point I feel like we have a fairly easy cbet. On a board like this I feel we should be checking back a lot of strong hands, since our opponent can check-raise us with a lot of semi-bluffs etc. But considering we have an OESD to go with our top pair (and we block the nuts) I prefer cbetting this over AA/KK for example. I cbet 625 into a 1775 pot, and Charlotte check raises to 2000. Super easy call and we see a turn of 3h. Charlotte bets 3100 into 5775 and again I feel like we have a pretty easy call. She could be bluffing here with pretty much any draw, and if she has a hand like 9T/98 we have soo much equity. Even if she has 76 we are drawing to 7 outs. Only hand we are truly worried about is QJ. So we call and the river brings an off suit ace, and she bets 5000. Considering how she had been playing, I did not feel like she was barreling off some missed draw here, and I decided to lay it down. I commented to her that it felt like she had a hand like 76, in which she replied “something like that”. Felt good seeing on stream after that she had exactly 76, for a flopped straight.

Next up we have a hand at 200/400/50 where David Lappin opens in the HJ to 900. I’m in the SB and I look down at 65 of clubs. I think the hand is a bit too weak to flatcall from the SB here, so I elect to 3bet. I make it 3100 with 24000 behind and Lappin covers me. He flats and we take a flop of Q83 with two spades. Three things makes me not want to cbet here. First of all, Lappin is fairly tight/solid, so he is not gonna be flatcalling 3bets with a very wide range here I think. Second of all, the flop texture hits his 3bet-flatcalling range fairly well. Third, we don’t have as much as a gutshot/backdoor flushdraw here, so basically bricked it as hard as we could. Turn is a offsuit 10, and this is also a card that is gonna improve his range more than mine, so I continue with my plan of check-folding. River is an offsuit jack, so the board is now Q83TJ. It felt like David had some showdown value, since he was not bluffing at the pot. However, since I should have way more AK in my range than him (I would expect him to 4bet AK a fair bit pre in these positions), I decided to take a stab. Not sure how much I like this bet, but in the moment, I felt like I could fold out some pretty strong hands, since I can rep AK pretty well here. He raises however, at this point he pretty much always just has AK, and we fold our 6 high…

Next interesting hand is definitely the biggest mistake I made throughout the tournament. I have QTo in the BB, and it folds to Charlotte in the SB. She is the chipleader, while I am the shortstack sitting at like 7 bigs at 800/1600/200.. In this spot, I figured she would shove pretty much any two cards if it folded to her, but to my surprise she makes it 3400 instead. Long story short, I ended up leveling myself (basically applying my own logic to her game, which obviously is a mistake). I ended up just flatcalling, thinking that she was just inducing here, since she should be jamming soooo wide. My logic is obviously flawed though, as I saw in the replay after that she had Q3o… Anyways, flop comes 499, she cbets fairly big and I fold. Mehhhh

Next orbit I am in the BB again, and now I have 6 BB left. Dan opens from the HJ to 3500 and Charlotte flats in the SB. I end up jamming my 6 BBs, assuming Dan is gonna pretty much isolate-shove any two cards he opens in this spot. I understand there is no fold equity here, but risking 10k to win 28k seems pretty good. We only need 35% equity, and I am pretty certain we’ve got 40%+ against his opening range. So anyways, he rejams as we were hoping for and we get it HU against his AJ. A on the flop, and no runner runner to save us. Gee Gee!

In the end Charlotte ended up taking it down (props to her for winning 3 of these in a row). Viktor came second, David Lappin came third and Ian Simpson bubbled it.

Back to back to back champion, Charlotte Van Brabander (Unibet Open London 2017 photo by Tambet Kask).

Alright this post is already hella long, so I think we’ll wrap it up here! I’ll get part two up and running in a few days, where I’ll talk about the main event, the deepstack side event and the Unibet community freeroll. We won one of these events, and unfortunately it was neither the main event or the deepstack… FeelsBadMan!

Oh, and as a bonus – here is a picture of fellow ambassador Ian Simpson eating a banana:

Totally standard (Unibet Open London 2017 photo by Tambet Kask).

Time to step it up!

Todays blog is gonna be a peek into my past and my future plans as a poker player. Also gonna finish it up with a quick recap of the previous weeks results from ze online grinds.

When I first got into poker my thirst for knowledge and improvement was unquenchable. I consumed books, training video’s, articles and discussed poker hands with my friends. As my game improved over the years – poker became more of a grind for me, and that thirst disappeared. For many years I was just playing my own game, improving very little and seeing my winrates decline. It didn’t bother me too much. I was still making money playing online without having to put too much effort into it. It financed trips to cool destinations, and supplemented my student loans to pay for beer and other essentials.

In the “About” section of this blog, I described how I refound the joy of poker through Twitch streaming. I’ve also rediscovered a passion for getting better at the game (mostly because I want to win more monies, but also because I don’t want to look stupid on the stream). So, to make an effort towards getting better at this game, I’ve done what all the other cool kids are doing these days… I’ve bought and downloaded PioSOLVER! At first glance, PioSOLVER looked kinda daunting. Initially I thought the minimum price you paid was $475, but you can buy a basic version with pretty much same functions for $250. Also it seemed super complicated and I suspected that the learning curve would be very steep. I think I was right about the last part, but with focused effort each day I think it’s gonna be fine. So I’ve just begun playing around with it, and starting to learn the basics. I think in the beginning it will probably lead to me making a fair bit of mistakes, trying to implement concepts I don’t fully understand. I will probably try to make way to many “GTO” plays, something I find myself doing already before doing Pio-work. For example bluffing in spots where people never fold, just because “I should have a bluffing range here to be balanced”. SO, I’ll try to keep my eyes out for those spots. I am sure that when I get enough Pio-work under my belt, my game is overall gonna be a fair bit stronger.

Last weeks grind was not great. In total we lost €3200 – and much of that was due to wednesday, where we lost €2700 in one session. I felt my game was not up to par, and my mind was definitely not where it needed to be, which brings me to my next point… There has been some developments in my personal life and as a result I will not be streaming this week. Too much stuff that needs taking care of etc. I will come back to this later, but for now there is probably not gonna be a stream until early/mid march. I will try to be a good boy and update as much as possible from Unibet Open London though, which is in a week. So hit that follow button on the social medias if you wanna keep track of that stuff!

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