Kind of a sucky table draw having Miami John Cernuto at your table, considering he’s one of the best stud players in the world.


'Miami' John Cernuto

'Miami' John Cernuto, courtesy

The @LAPokerClassic $1,065 8-Game Mix is easily the toughest line-up I’ve ever faced at any poker table, ever. It was a six-max tournament, let’s go over a few of the players at my table. Stats and pics are all provided by

The One Seat:  Miami John Cernuto.  3 WSOP Braceletes, over $3.95M in total winnings across 224 cashes (35 of which were 1st place).  The man’s a living legend.  To my credit, he did go out before me.

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I took a few chips off Miami John in a Stud/8 hand by making a 65 lo at the same time another player was showing lo, but made an 8-Straight to go with it.  We were also in a heads-up blind battle during a 25/25 NLHE hand.  I raised pf, he 3b, I just called.  I chk/called 350->750 heads-up on the flop.  Turn went check/check.  He folded for my 1K->1,450 on the river.  Board was Qd9h3d 8h Td.

Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman, courtesy

The two:  Adam Friedman, chip leader going into day two.  Over $750K in tournament winnings, spread across 14 cashes (4 wins).  The one that put him on the map was 43rd in WSOP ME in 2005.

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I knew I was aspota recognize him, but didn’t know why.  It was racking my brain to try to put a (last) name to his face.  When I saw this tweet:

LA Poker Classic Event #35 End of Day 1 Results:


I followed the link, did some Googling, and got my information.  Adam was aggressive to the point of insanity.  He was 3-betting 87o on the button in LHE in the first level, 3-b me in a 100/200 Hold ‘Em round, I surrendered the turn after the blind bet out and the board was 654 5 hh, I had Only AJ, no frush cards, and Adam behind me.  He calls the turn, then loses to Jh9h on a blankety-blank-blank river, J-high, nuts.

So, when I later decided to take a stand in NLHE w/ AJ against his btn 3-bet, I hope you can understand why.  He made a good call w/ AhKh, of course it’s the one time the bastard has a hand, but I knew his 3-b’ing range was huge, and even if he did have AK/AQ, he might not want to gamble half his stack against a fish like me.  #Wrong #DoubleWrong.

Mimi Tran

Mimi Tran, courtesy

The Three:  Mimi Tran.  Almost $1.5M spread across 46 tournament cashes.  Yeah, THAT Mimi Tran.  @BarryGreenstein‘s former girlfriend.

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I played the @CommerceCasino $30/$60 Stud with Mimi on a previous trip.  She’s hilarious and very polite to out-of-towners (Read: Fish, like me).  She actually signed up for the tournament a few moments before I did.  When I saw that she and I got the same table, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.

She was card-dead most of the tournament.  I got into a heads-up Omaha/8 hand with position on her small blind.  I made two small pair and a frush draw vs her Aces.  Top card paired on the river, I had an emergency lo to chop it up.  Would’ve been a nice 1K in chips to pad my stack if the river doesn’t brick-off like that.

After a VP$IP right around zero in 2-7 TD, I finally raised Mimi’s blind holding three to the wheel.  She was dealt QJT98, folded it face-up, I took down the blinds.  Nothing very exciting.

Sorel 'Imper1um' Mizzi

Sorel 'Imper1um' Mizzi, courtesy

The four:  I’m not sure about this one, I can’t quite tell from the pictures, but this may or may not have been Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi.  Almost $2.3M in tournament winnings spread across 32 cashes, including 2 wins.

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Mimi and Adam both knew the character in the four seat, and I’m pretty sure Adam kept calling him Sorel, but I may be wrong on this one.  You know any other Sorel’s in the poker world?  He fell prey to Adam’s 87o button 3-betting in the Hold ‘Em round.  Board was 873 Qr going to the river, Sorel had a somewhat obvious AA/KK based on the action.

Second hand Sorel plays, not only does he have an obvious AA, but he flops a set, and Mimi gets there w/ KQ by capping the flop and taking off a free card on the turn.  Sorel bets the TxA Q J river, Mimi just calls because there’s three clubs on board.  Sorel tables his flopped top set, puts in the muck cleanly after she shows the bad news.  He was down below 3K before we even got to PLO.

The hand that crippled me early on, Board is Q86r after I raise to 125 from UTG in a hand of 25/50 PLO.  Turn is Q86 2hh.  I have Kh4hQs2s, two checks to me, only Miami John behind me.  I bet 325 into 500, John flats, Sorel chk/pots.  The dealer had no clue how much pot was, I we argued over it.  It was one of “those moments” that really kills the mood at the table.  I min-raised w/ top-and-bottom/2nd-heart draw.  Sorel barely had 300 in chips behind his 1800 check-pot bet.  I had both of them well covered.

Talk about being in a bad spot, he’s got a better two pair, and the nut heart draw.  I needed a deuce or King on the river.  Jack of hearts.  I’m left with around 3K going into the next hand.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea who the quiet gentleman in the five seat was.  He made a 76542 on the first hand on the tournament, after the first draw.  He got paid the maximum.  He had AQ vs my AT vs Miami John’s (i’m guessing AK) when the flop came out AQx.  I got away on the turn.  This guy never sucked-out, but he never got unlucky, either.  Shortly before I busted, he had almost triple the average stack in front of him.

Then, there’s this fish in the six seat.  I’m not even cool enough to have a profile.  Best I can do is a little over 400 followers on twitter, and 500 friends on facebook, some of whom are awesome enough to help me free-roll this event.  You all know my story.  One really nice cash in the @BorgataPoker $335 Stud for almost $10K, a few small wins here and there, but nothing to put me on the map, not just yet.

I held my own and damned-near dominated in the Stud and Stud/8 hands, but that’s only 25% of the tournament.  I know I can do better, and next year, I’m gonna try.  Hey, at least I outlasted Miami John?  Thanx again to all of you who threw $20 or $40 or $100-$500 at the cause.  We’ll get ’em next time.  Sorry you only get a little blog post, and not some prize money in return.

Today’s blog post was brought to you by:

  • Scotty Altizer (25%) – We’ve been playing on the MD circuit together since the way-back days when I first got that Pentagon job.  Last I heard, he’s doing private-sector work over in Afghanistan.  Now, I guess I owe him a bunch of beers the next time I see him at the Greene Turtle.
  • Marcus aka @Swanny88 (10%) – Swanny’s been sweating my antics on twitter for the past year or so, even tried to get me into a PA game while I was home for the holidays.  He’s got a blog, too:
  • Walker (10%) – I’ve known this guy for a good for or five years now.  Back before we ever knew each other’s last name, he gave me and Nelly a ride home from AC, no questions asked.  Guess I gotta hop in the box at his $2/$5 NL game when I get back to Maryland.  Anybody looking for a seat?
  • Peter Secor (10%) – Met Peter down in Biloxi for MARGE 2008.  He gave me the nickname Travasaur.  I guess it was the way I dominated the TOC tournament down there with my incredibly LAGgy style?  Anyone familiar with ARGe events, esp BARGE, probably has met Peter at one time or another.
  • @BMoreBilly (5%) – “The Confucius of Baltimore.”  Ask him, he’ll tell ya I taught him everything he knows about dealing and running a poker game.  He may tell it to you under his breath, with a grumble from time to time, but doesn’t change the fact that he’s the man.
  • @Ohm2k (4%) – Christian has been throwing around chips and cards with us for years.  He’s always been the guy who was willing to travel so far to our games that he had to pay the Harbor Tunnel Toll to do so.  He got the ball rolling and was the first one to buy a piece of this tournament, thanx again!
  • @RavensFutbal (2%) – Brian’s always the first one to say, “Trav’s tweets make me want to take off from work and head to AC!”  Sorry I’m such a bad influence, sir.  Meh, not really.  Happy to entertain!  Thank you for the support.  Been playing with Brian for years now, he was always a bigger fan of the Limit games than the NL.  You’ll catch him playing the HORSE tourneys online all the time.
  • @SgtKyle (1%) – A bunch of people from @TwoPlusTwoForum got together and put Kyle into the 2009 WSOP ME.  I had a small piece, and he had us sweating real good.  Who the duck goes four days deep and DOES NOT cash?  Kyle, that’s who.  He repaid me handsomely with a deep run in a @HarrahsResort event during the WSOP-C, late last year, so I ain’t mad at him.  He’s a sick, sick man when it comes to online bankroll swings.  Makes me feel not so bad about my life decisions.  Thanx, boss!
  • @PrinceOrson (1%) – Stu recently went deep in the @BorgataPoker HOSE during the 2010 Winter Open.  I was there to tweet/sweat the hands leading up to bursting the bubble.  He also preferes limit mixed games over two-card chicken.  (h/t @TaoPauly)
  • @CynSKim/@UrbanAzian (1%) – Cynthia and her husband Ryan have been playing on the circuit for years.  I am a cocky and arrogant dealer, but I bow down and step aside when it comes to Ryan’s skills, speed, and experience.  Cynthia never hesitates to tell me when I need to go on a diet, or I look like I’ve been too broke to eat lately.  Thanks.
  • Don “Mighty Mouth” Plummer (1%) – I knew Mighty Mouth back when I was a hasher in OKC and Wichita Falls, TX.  He’s easily my biggest fan on facebook.  He doesn’t know it yet, but he owes me $20.  Thanks for the support.

Thanks for reading!