Ultimate Bet's online pro Mark ‘Poker H0' Kroon lets you in his head as he plays the 2007 Aruba Poker Classic.
Day 1b - Before the event
Yesterday I played a bunch of sit-n-go's and just got used to playing with chips, reading people. I didn't want to play in any tournaments. I won two seats yesterday to the main event so I had a nice little profit, $10,000.
I don't like to go to bed too early because I don't sleep past 8 hours and I didn't want to wake up at five in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. I try to stay awake as long as I can. I stayed awake last night till about 1am and I slept till about 10am so it worked out really well.
This morning, before the tournament, I went out for a walk on the beach, tried to get my head focused. I talked to a bunch of the players that played day 1a just to get a feel about how tight the tables were and what kind of action there was. To get an idea of what I was in store for.
These kinds of tournaments are different from regular tournaments because there are so many internet qualifiers compared to the WSOP and things like that. 95% of the people playing in Aruba won their seat online so it's a little different.
Out of all the $1000 or $1500 events that they have at the World Series and other prelims, you don't really get that thing in your stomach like you do for the main event. You really want to make a showing, especially for me being that I work for Ultimate Bet it is kind of important that I do well. There is a little added pressure. The other tournaments you are just playing for money, this is more than money. You want to make the table; you want to make the TV show.
That feeling doesn't go away until you get that first hand out. Once you get that first hand out, once you throw some chips in, it all goes away and you are right back in your normal poker mode.
Day 1b - 1st break
So I sat down and I knew a couple players at my table. There was a real aggressive internet kid to my right and everyone else was really, really tight. I think I have an opportunity to have a really good table. I'm at table 18 so I'm probably not going to get broke all day. I have a real good situation to build up a pretty good image so that when the blinds and antes do kick in, I should be able to pick up a lot of chips.
The first level I didn't have a whole lot of hands, I made one pretty good bluff with a flush draw where the guy folded and I picked up some chips. Two hands before the break I bluffed all them back so I am right back at starting, 10,000 chips.
I really like my table, it's a good set up and hopefully the next few rounds I can accumulate some chips.
I am going to wait another level to really step it up. When the blinds get to be 100/200 people will bring it in for 600 and then there is the opportunity to steal from the stealer. Once they make it 600 you are picking up their 600 plus the blinds and that's a 1000 chips. That's 10% of the average stack and that's worth it. Right now when the blinds are 25/50 it's not worth doing that.
Day 1b - dinner break
Nothing big has happened. I had K-K one hand, a guy raised and instead of trying to get cute with them I reraised and took that pot down. I got a perfect table and have all the good players to my right. I'm not going to start day 2 with eight or nine thousand chips, I'm going to get it going. I've already established an image so I think I will get a lot of respect on my reraises.
Day 1b - end of day
The last time we talked I was just kind of stagnant; I was waiting for things to happen with the blinds going up. I got up to about 25,000 chips and I had A-Q and the flop came queen high. I raised, and he reraised me for about 80% of his chips so I just shoved in. he called and shows A-K so I had him completely dominated. Then he hit runner, runner diamonds which knocked me down to about 8000 chips and that kind of devastated me. I just won my last longer bet with Phil Hellmuth, though, so I have that going.
A guy that was really aggressive raised in first position. The very next guy reraised, I had and I'm thinking that I don't want to start the day short the next day. I figured I could have two live cards so I just shoved all in for my 8000 chips. They both called me. One guy had J-J and the other guy had K-K so I was drawing completely dead. The flop came 8-8-Q then the A came then the 10 on the river to give me a straight so it was a miracle suck out and I tripled up right then.
The last hand before the end of the night everyone was already counting their chips. I was the big blind and everyone folded to the small blind. I was trying to talk him into folding but he raised and made it 600 when the blinds are 100/200. I called with 10-J and the flop came J-J-9. I'm trying to figure out how I want to play it and while I'm doing that he bets out 1200 chips. I just min raise him back 1200, he min-raises me back 1200, I go all in and he flips over his J-Q. I was again dominated and the next two cards come 5-5 so I got a chopped pot. I'm on two freerolls, I couldn't be any happier about the way the whole thing turned out. I have 22,000 right now.
Day 2 - before the event
Last night I went out and had drinks. I feel like I'm on a total freeroll. I can't do anything wrong now and I am excited about that.
Day 2 - just before 1st break
Day 2 was great, just to get to day 2 I was really lucky yesterday with some unbelievable suck outs. The second hand of today I was the small blind. I raised, the big blind moved all in for about half my stack. I had pocket tens but I was pretty sure that with his stack he was thinking he wanted to double up or get out of there, so I called figuring I was in a race. I didn't think he would shove all in with aces or kings. I called and he showed A-K. The flop came really good for me, the turn came good and then the river was an ace and he won the pot. That knocked me down to like 14,000.
Then I lost a race with A-K to A-Q which happened to me the night before which really kind of sucked. Then I kind of got desperate and I got into a situation where a guy who was super aggressive raised, another guy called and I had pocket nines. I was thinking if I moved all in, one would fold and I would be in a race with the other. Well, they didn't. They both called, one had A-K and one had K-K. Nothing came for me and I am done for this tournament.
I was on a total freeroll and out of all the tournaments, I get knocked out of, this is the one that is the least painful. There are beautiful beaches, food, and people. It's just so great to be here, it's almost like a family reunion. I can't complain about anything. I just got offered a great TV deal. It's going to be really cool and I'm really excited about it.