Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spotlight on Angel "Gijoe" Valdez & His Amazing Time at the WSOP Academy

Angel, thanks so much for sharing this experience! It's a great story and it makes me want to take the WSOP Academy class now and avoid playing poker against you!


Hello my poker peeps,

The WSOP Academy was a great experience. I had previously attended the Advanced Academy which was a two day event. The primer a three day event proved to be that much more. I only been playing poker for one year and am very serious about improving my game. So who better to learn then from the pro’s themselves?

The Academy is a well planned and organized event that consist of lectures followed by hands on activities. The hands on by far is where I had the most fun, and learned them most. It is a simulated 10 handed game where the Pro’s are the dealers. After the cards have been dealt and the hand is finished. All players are asked to turn over their cards. This is where the real learning begins. The instructor will then begin to analyze the cards you played, cards you folded, position you were in, amount of chips you bet, your calls, raises, folds etc Imagine having Greg Raymer tell you face to face your flaws? Would you clean up your game? I know I did.

The Academy starts the day around 9am to about 6pm. They provide you with a great lunch, snacks and drinks. You get about an hour dinner break which they don’t provide. Its on you if you wish to eat.

After dinner we would meet up in the tournament room around 7pm for a FREE tournament where you play against all the other students. Some of the pro’s play in the tournament with a special bounty on whom ever knocks them out. The exception is they must show their cards with their winning hands, explain their moves and thinking process. Again, what a great way to learn from them. During the tournament you can also call some of the instructors that roam the tables to the side and get advice. They will tell help you analyze the hand just played or alternatives. I went deep in all the tournaments played so I was up till 1 or 2 am most nights. Then the next day we did it all over again.

The winner of the nightly tournament earned a seat in the annual Tournament of Champions(TOC). It is held at the end of the year right before the WSOP Main Event. The winner of the TOC received a $10,000 seat in the Main Event.

Its very difficult to try and summarize what I learned without writing a book about it. If I can give one tip about the class that everyone should follow is to pay attention to everything that goes on at the tables. Everything combine is part of the story. Look at the bets, players, cards, chip stacks, etc even when you are not in the hand. You will never read a book then skip the last chapter would you? Then don’t go on a sabbatical when you have folded. Trust me you will miss something that’s very important that could help you the very next hand.

The academy days were so long, and combined with the fact I went deep in the tournaments that I wasn’t able to play any cash games those days. I did see a lot of players from the class playing the cash games and they were cleaning up. All they kept saying is “That stuff works! It really works”.

The day after the academy ended I entered into two tournaments. One was at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where I finished in the money in 6th place.. The other tourney was the 11pm $120 MTT at Caesar’s. This had a field of about 110 players and a lot of online Pokerstars and Fulltilt Main Event Qualifiers. Great structure of 30 min blinds and 6k starting stack. I finished 12th place 3 spots out of the money but was in complete command mowing through the field.

I was second in chips with 60k and the average was 24k when I got knocked out. We were down to 18 players and 9 got paid. By the way players kept talking about making the money no matter what. I took advantage of this and I did what the instructors told us to "Always take advantage of the bubble". I had 24k at the start of the level where the blinds were 1k/2k with 300 ante. I made the decision to start being super aggressive and was going to steal the blinds. It was 9 handed at my table so there was a total 5700 chips to steal in every hand. I stole it 2 o3 times per round all from late position unless I had a big hand. The small blind worked great. Players assumed I had to have big hand. I once re-raised a raiser that was trying to steal =) In 20 minutes I built my chip stack up to 60K chips. Then I got careless and this is how I got knocked out.

I forgot to pay attention to the whole story because I was blinded by my cockiness. It was still the same level but 6 handed. I was on the Button holding AQs. The player on the cutoff raised to 6k. I looked at him and he looked nervous(Joe Navarro tells work) and believed he was trying to steal blinds. So I just smooth called his bet. The Big Blind also called and joined the action. The flop came QJ3 rainbow. I had top pair with top kicker. The Big blind checked. The Cutoff bets 6k. There is 20,800 chips in the pot so I thought his bet was VERY weak and his weak tells also confirmed that. I went all in attempt to isolate this player. The BB insta-calls my bet!! The Cutoff folds and the big bind shows me POCKET ROCKETS!!!!! He played that perfect since I was being so aggressive. The turn and river didn't help me and I was out. I never paid much attention to the big blind since he limped, and then checked. Had I stopped to think I would have noticed he was playing tight the whole round. He was actually loose the previous round but once I took command he stepped back and changed his starting hands.

Its a lesson learned i guess. Next time I will just raise it to 3x the initial raisers. I think at that point the BB would have shoved and I would have been able to focus on him. But his shove would have told me a great deal of info that I didn't give myself a chance to read. A fold at that time leaves me with 40k and still in great shape.

Good luck at the tables and I would gladly appreciate your feedback.

Angel "Gijoe" Valdez

Twitter: RealGiJoeValdez


Mitchell said...


This year when I entered the $550 satellite at the WSOP, there was one player at the table talking up a storm. He had just arrived and was excited just to be at the WSOP.

No one was talking to him, so I decided to chat with the guy as the game began.

Around the 4th hand, I get K-K and raise 3x's the blind. This guy keeps talking until he looks at his hand. He goes silent. He looks at me and says, "I bet you have a big hand." Then he re-raises my raise about 3'x's.

Right then I knew he had pocket Aces.

As the players fold back to me, this guy is totally mum.

Even though I know--or 99.9% sure--he has pocket rockets, I figure there's no way I can get away from this hand.

I move all-in. He insta-calls and reveals those Aces.

I'm out and lose $550 in like 5 minutes.

What would your WSOP Academy teachers say about that hand?

GiJoeValdez said...

Do you really have to attend a WSOP academy to tell what to do on this?

The academy has a session on reading tells thats given by Joe Navarro. When the player got quiet should have raised a flag that he had a monster. His re-raise on you was another sign.

At the Academy they tells us in order to be a great winning player you have to be able to fold the winning hand.

It is earl in the tournament and a fold is ok specially with those tells.

What's Your Poker IQ?