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Arizona State Poker Trip Report

by Matt Affleck |  Published: Aug 17, '12


Got back yesterday after 5 days at the Arizona State Poker Championships at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Traveled there with my friend Noah and stayed at the hotel there. All I have to say is wow. The hotel is super nice, the poker room is amazing, and this tournament is absolutely insane. The poker room is nicknamed “The Arena” and rightfully so. The poker room is surrounded by TV's everywhere and a giant jumbo-tron hangs in the middle with 4 more giant screens visible from everywhere in the room. Hotel rooms were nice, as well as cheap.
This tournament has to be one of the highest value tournaments of the year. $1070 3 starting days with re-entry. If i'm not mistaken that is the largest $1000 tournament outside of the WSOP? The play as one would expect was laughable. Felt like I was back in 2007 as most pots were 5-6 ways limped around. Structure was pretty good as well with 45 min levels and a very healthy starting stack. Shortly into day 2 levels went to 60 minutes. I needed all 3 days to qualify for day 2. On day 3 I built a monster stack and had 400k from 25k starting with 2 hours left in the day. Unfortunately I lost a few pots that I feel I played well, but didn’t go my way and I bagged 255k at days end, Good for 28th place out of the 210 returning to day 2.

Day two got off to a pretty rough start for me. During the 2nd orbit of play I got in a pretty tight spot where an older gentleman (no reads) opened to t15,000 at 2500/5000 with 115,000 total chips in middle position. David Pham flats the cutoff (he flats fairly wide here and never really has a big hand). I am on the button with 88. This is one of those weird spots where I feel that I am crushed by this older gentleman getting it in range (JJ+ AK+ in my opinion at the time). There is so much $$ in the pot though that he does not have to fold often for me to show an immediate profit here. With 42K of dead money in the pot I am risking $115K to win 42k. Lets assume for a second that I have 0 equity when I get all in with this guy than he has to fold (we will assume 40 -120 for easier math) 75% of the time. Which he might be doing as people in these tournaments just value their tournament life so much. Lets remember though that I do have a decent hand and vs what I think his all in range of JJ/AK+ I would guess that I have around 30% equity. Now the villain only needs to fold 50% of the time for me to break even and I would very safely assume your average random in this tournament is folding 50% of the time here. Unfortunately the villain had KK and I quickly lost half of my stack but still had 25 bb or so.

I was super card dead for a while before having a decent spot where it folded to me in the SB. I had 100k at 3000/6000 and had a pretty standard shove with K5o vs an unknown. He called with A8 off and I spiked a K on the turn for a big double up. I again folded for 2-3 more orbits with my new shit image until the bubble hit. This was the one mistake of the tournament that I felt I made. I had 150k at 4000/8000 and it folded to me in the Hi-Jack + 1 with 5 to act behind me. We were at this time 5 from the money. Everyone behind me was playing super tight and was calling it off with prob JJ+ AK+. For some reason unknown to me I just ripped all in since they were calling so tight. Shoving here is definitely +Cev but it is close with ICM factors if it is +$ev or not. A complete brain fart for me as raise fold here is a billion times better vs these players. Guy tanked for 2 minutes with JJ and finally called and I lost to bubble the tournament. I beat myself up for a little while after this one cause it was a pretty big mistake for how soft this tournament was. After a couple of hours though I realized that it was in the past though and I just need to learn from the mistake and not make it again.

As for cash games I did put in quite a few hours down there. The first day down there I played 3/5 which is nice cause it is a $1000 cap buyin instead of $500. Had some success and ended up making a $1000. The next night I found myself in the best 20/40 limit holdem game I have ever played in. Words could not describe how good this game was. People limping calling J4o and C/r any flop. It was insane. Unfortunately I probably ran about $3000 below EV and lost $2300 in the game. Still having problems figuring out how I lost $ in the game. The final day that I got to play cash I was super excited cause they got a 20/40 mix game. The game started as O8 / Triple Draw / Badugi for the first 4-5 hours and eventually Stud 8 and Badacey were added. I swear I would just love to play this game every single day. Playing mix is just so much more entertaining and relaxing. No bet sizing, tanking, hollywooding. Hoping they get these games legalized in Washington soon. Ran pretty bad in triple draw throughout the night and came out a $850 loser. Played for 12-14 hours in the game and did not get bored once. That is how much I love the mix games.

Overall I enjoyed this trip a ton. I wish I could of won some $$ on the trip, but sometimes that is not going to happen. Ill try to get another blog up on Sunday night with Stats for the first week of the grind.

Until then talk to everyone later.

Matt Affleck is a 24-year-old professional poker player living in Seattle, Washington. Follow his full blog and updates at You can also follow him on Twitter @McmattoPoker where he constantly updates about tournaments, motivation and being hustled by Matt Savage at golf.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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