Bodog Ari

I'm Ari Engel and am also known as BodogAri online. I've played poker for a living for virtually my entire post-college life. In the last few years I have started teaching people my style and philosophy on poker tournaments. Many of them have done very well. If you are interested in getting my help, email:

Friday, March 31, 2006


Nsxt2 had a post the other day joking that the rankings should just be alphabetical.

This led me to thinking, and although I don't really think that alphabetical is a good idea, clearly, there is not much difference between the top ranked players and the bottom ones. All are extremely sick at MTT play. Having players like LXIXME17 (74), lovekayloo(65), adamoos (70), PMJackson21(68) at your table, is just absolutely not something that is +ev, and clearly something that u wanna avoid if you're plans involve going deep in that tourney. In my mind any of those players could also be ranked top 10, and it'd be preety hard to argue. That basically goes for the whole list. Of course, Bax has put up better numbers than all, but the issue here, is that everyone is very good, and be wary of em all. The # next to a person in the ranking really does not say much about their quality of play.

Thursday Recap

Had a solid night last night at the omaha hi lo tables, playing 10-20 pot limit, and 75-150 fixed. I've tweaked my limit game a little, and so far liking the results.

Tourney results yesterday were weak, but if u read this often, u'll hear me say alot, tourney play is a game of failure. If u gonna be a full time tourney player (for that matter, any poker, but more so in tourneys) get used to everything. I'm not saying I try to get knocked out, or that I don't care at all if I do, but those seem to me to be good goals. If u look at the top pro's in the world, most of them (certain helmouth's excluded) don't mind losing.

Then move "up" one level, and u get to the pokerho's of the world. PokerHo is someone u just don't want at your table. He'll play anything and everything, and is more than willing to bust. Basically, if u don't see him in the bottom left of your screen on UB (the part that indicates top 3 in chips) he is out of the tourney. If he is there, GG field. He will take huge risks to build up a stack, and then when he gets there, he doesn't stop, always going for 1st, and many times making it. (Of course, many times busting early too, and that is my point.)

Let's say i play 20 tourneys a day, if i tried to "cash" in half of them, I probably could on average, I'd have better "in the money" stats, but less money. Basically one first equals about 25 tenth's. So take those risks, embrace getting knocked out, and then when u finally make it, you'll be in great position to take first. (or at least a top 3 spot)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Night Session

Bubbled in the early 10R, and busted out early in the UB 100 at 740 when my ak failed to hold against Poker Ho's 99. (I'm more than willing to gamble)

Doing alright in the Dise 30R, stars 50 Fixed Omaha h/l.

On the deathbed in the Stars 150. Edit: just went all in with ak when it got folded to me, with blinds at 75-150 and me having 1500. Got called by 1010 and turned a king to double up.

Late Start

An old friend from high school came into NY today from Chicago, so i skipped poker to hang out with him.

I'm starting off the day with some 5-10 pot limit omaha h/l and the 10R on Stars.

Wow, as I'm writing this, I just doubled up. I get dealt Ac 4c 3c 8d in the small blind playing 5 handed, under the gun bets pot, and there are 2 callers to me, so i throw in an extra $30 to see a flop, as does the big blind. Flop comes out, 5d 8s 4s, giving me top and bottom pair for high, and the 2nd best low with a3. I check, BB checks, the original raiser, who was tiny stacked, goes all in for less than the pot, one of the late position players calls, and i do too, even though i don't love my hand. The turn is GREAT, 2c, giving me a straight (although not the nut straight, or even close) and the nut low. I figure, there is no side pot, i'll check and hope he bets, and if he doesn't there aren't really that many cards that can hurt me. The river is 8c, giving me now a full house for high, along with my nut low. I make a healthy bet now, hoping he might call with anything decent for either high or low. He proceeds to raise me allin, and I happily quick call, to see his 22xx, for a lower full house than me. I scoop the $2536 pot. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Bubbled in the Horse sat. Finished 20 in the Dise 30R, when it got folded to me on the button. Blinds are crazy then, but i had a very nice stack. Had been top 3 in chips for a quite a bit and just dropped to maybe 8 or 9 out of 20, so i go all in and the SB who is preety loose anyways, calls with aj, i don't get lucky.

I'm now now 5/12 in the Stars 100. GL me.

Getting Close

In the Dise 30R 11/42 and Stars 100 after very lucky q when i have qq against kk, 4/35. In the Horse Satellite, I'm at the Final table but short.

A Win and alot of suckouts

I won the Bodog $50 tourney, which had about 50 people in it. Not a huge win, but still it's first.

I happily embrace my name of "lucksakari" but tonight its not working out that way. In the stars 150, i got bad beat a few times, (which i don't care to elaborate on) before putting in my money with ak against 77 and 88, 77 made a very questionable call of my re-reraise all in of the short stack.

Sitting alright in the UB 200, but also took quite a few beats there and just had my jj run into aa of a shortstack.

Just started a satellite to the Full Tilt 500 satellite to the Wsop 50K Horse. Mouthful. Andy Bloch is sitting at my table.

Lastly, getting close to the bubble, with a slightly above average stack in the fixed omaha h/l $50 on stars.

Tourneys, Tourneys, and a few more

In the next 2 hours:
Stars: 300 and 150
Dise: 300, 100 Pot Limit Omaha 8/B, 30Rebuy
UB: 100, 200
Bodog: 50

A win and a huge error

I took down the UB 100, when I won about 5 races at the Final Table. It was a great feeling, as I have been doing real poor at UB recently.

In the 100R on Stars, I was 4/13 in chips, when Premier (a very very good player) raises when it gets folded to him in mid position. I decide to reraise with a 10, and then while thinking what to raise, I just say, why not, lets just end the hand now, all in. BIG MISTAKE. He actually thinks a while, but calls with ak, the flop gave me a chance at a monster bad beat, but alas, my mistake was not rewarded. I was really mad at myself, but at the same time, glad that I still managed to go onto to win the UB tourney. (I got knocked out of stars, with 8 left in UB.)

Nearing the bubble of the 50R now, ave =28K and i got 18K, so i need to do some work.

Final Tables

Finally, got some first in a 90 person $50 where i finished 4. Now I'm at a Sun Poker FT, but very small person 40 pound tourney. Also, Chip Leader in the UB 100 with 16 to go. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Afternoon Rebuys

Stars 109, Dise 30 and Stars 50. Also a couple of non-rebuys, UB 100 and 50 pot limit holdem on Stars. Also got a pot limit omaha hi lo cash game going, heads up at 10-20, 2k max buyin, couple of 200 sit and go's too.

Cash Games

I now remember why I left them to begin with, besides the glow of tourney wins. The swings are just crazy. In my session last night, I was down 4K, before coming back to finish up about 7k. These are not even big swings for the game. But compared to losing 1K in tourney buyins for about 15 hours of play, it was crazy for me.

This morning's session has not been good. I have lost about 3K at a 50-100 and 3 30-60 tables, again not much for the stakes, but i was down about 5 or 6 earlier. I think i'm gonna start playing more of these. The swings are def something that will take getting used to, but my mental frame is much better than it was when i was playing cash games all the time. (And doing very well, but also having many huge losses.) The EV of these games for me just seem too great to pass up on.

In other news, Laguna ($200 tourney on Dise) starts soon and back to tourney's I go.


Had a great late night session at the new 50-100 Fixed tables on Bodog. I had 2 shorthanded tables going, and my opponents were playing way too tight. Sweeeeeeet.

Starting off the day with a 200 Sit and go on Stars and a 1020 NL table on Bodog.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

$100 Stars 11PM

Had k7 in BB on 2nd or 3rd hand, 2 limpers see a flop comes of k74, i check, and raise the last guy to act's bet of 60 to 180. Turn of 8, I bet, he raises and i go all in, only to see 56. GG.

This blog sure is bringing out the best in my game.)

Wow, Bubble's Cont.

Bubbled in the 100 satellite on UB for a 500 seat, and in the 740pm UB 100. Busted out in a bunch of others. In the UB satellite, I was 14 of 22 with 15 seats paying. I get ak, and decide to go all in rather than risk seeing a flop and missing. It folds around to the BB he thinks for a while and calls with qq. GG

In the UB 740 tourney, there are 25 left with 20 paying, the cutoff (rreeves on stars, forgot his UB name) raises triple the blinds, and I go all with a9 sooted, he quick calls with qq. GG

Won the 100 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo on Dise earlier, but it only had 33 people so not a big win.

My last longer in stars 150 didn't go too well. I got about 90'th and 54 paid. At this stage RReeves and BelowAbOve are fighting the $1500.

Night Session to begin soon

Starting out slow, with 100 Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo on Dise and UB 100.
In an hour, gonna play Dise 30R and then stars 150. I got a Last Longer bet running for the 150 on pocketfives for that. I've been bubbling the 150 a fair amount, (notice a pattern?) but I'm "feeling" it tonight. Well, GL to all playing tonight.


I bubbled the 50R and bubbled the ft of the 10R PLO. Sweeeeeeeeeet.

Afternoon Update

Got out early in the 100R, bubbled the SunPoker tourney and the 100 on UB. Going strong in the 50R and the 10R Pot Limit Omaha.


I just moved up on the pocketfives rankings to #2. Goes to show quantity is much > than quality.

Weak Table

I have for to start the 109R on Stars. Stevestar, redsoxsox, 800-Gambler, me, karecon, isac, shmuly, leemur1. I recognize almost all, not a good sign.

Just busted out of 20R, when my k5 failed to hold against the SB's AA, I was desperately low on chips, and my only hope was to double up a number of times.

Sun Poker is running a promo through pocketfives, where they hold a 10 person sit and go for 10K worth of seats at the WSOP. I hope to go to the main event through Bodog, but this would be allow me to play in some of the other events too. So I signed up for SunPoker, and played a sit and go the other day on my old laptop. The combo was not good, and the game ran very slow, and I timed out of hands a whole bunch. I ended up bubbling. I just got a new laptop couple of days ago, so im playing 50 pound 15K pound guar. tourney. They don't seem to great so far.

Everything going average early in the other tourneys.

Bad Fold

It's way at the beg. of the UB 100, and i get dealt aj sooted (spades) in mid-position. I triple the 5-10 blinds to 30, and get 3-4 callers. Flop comes out aqj two hearts. One of the blinds leads out for 30, and i raise to 120, and get min re-raised back by a player after me, it gets folded back to me and i call. The turn is a blank, i check and he bets pot. On the flop I felt I was no longer good, and now i am "sure" of it. I fold, and get shown jq. Bad Fold, live and learn.

afternoon session

About to begin, I'm doing alright in the 20R, edit. was, just lost half my stack when i limped from the sb with 2 other limpers with qk, k of clubs, the flop came a107 all clubs, and i planned to check raise all in my 2/3 average stack. However, it got folded around. Turn comes an 8, and i lead out for 1200 into a 1600 pot hoping to take it down. Unfortunately, a huge stack raises all in, and i simply do not have the pot odds to call. UB 100 and Stars 100R about to start soon, with dise 30R and Stars 55R to follow.

200 Sit and Go Cont. 2

I am big blind, and it gets folded to Sheets in the Small Blind. He has 1230 and goes all in to get the 100-200 blinds. I call with a5 and he shows a3, a board of axx3 scares me but a riv of 5 bails me out. I'm up to 3450 in chips and i get a5 on the button, it gets folded to the chip leader (who acts right before me) and he raises the 100-200 blinds to 400 (a minimum raise). I reraise him to 1200 with a5 and it folds back to him, and he reluctantly folds.

The next hand, it again gets folded to him, once again he min raise, and once again i reraise this time to 1400 with jj, it gets folded around to him, and he thinks for a bit and goes all in. In sit and go's unlike MTT's it is a much bigger sin not to cash, but i think i'm ahead, and there's already ton's of dough in the pot, so I call and he shows 1010. Unfortunately the turn brings a 10, and i am down to 635 in chips. Blinds are 100-200, so I'm def not in a good situation.

I get kj the next hand, and quickly go all in. It gets folded around to the Big Blind, who is also very short stacked (but has me covered). The BB, DCJ311, a top player, thinks for a bit, realizes that I am so short and could be doing this with anything, and calls with qj sooted diamonds. A k5310 board with 2 diamonds leaves feeling a little sick, but a blank on the riv and I have now doubled up and sitting with 1370.

I fold a few hands, and am now on the button, 5 handed, when it gets folded to me, I immediately go all in for 1220 into the 100-200-25(ante) with 99, and both the SB and BB fold.

A few hands later, I am now in the SB with 1270 after posting. It gets folded to me, and i go all in with 24 and the BB folds. Next hand on the button, it gets folded to me, i go all in with k8 and it gets folded. Couple hands later, I am BB, and the monster stack limps as the SB, I figure he'd raise with anything decent, and go all in with k10, and he folds.

One guy gets knocked out, and we are now 4 handed, where 3 pay, time to get hyper aggresive.
I am on the button, utg folds and I go all in with a4, both blinds fold. I am now UTG with a10 and go all in, the short stack button immediately calls, and after both blinds folds, flips over aj which holds.

I am now very short stack. Blinds are 200-400-25, and after posting my BB I have 900 left. The guy i just doubled up min raises UTG, and when it gets folded to me, I feel my kj needs to be played and raise all in. He is 100% commited to the pot and calls with 33. Fortunately a river J doubles me up.

A couple of hands later, I am UTG with a2 and go all in, all fold, and i pick up the needed blinds. Chip counts are now 7355, 3275, 2735 and 135. I have 3275. The 135 guy is UTG and all in, and the SB and I (BB) check it down. 135 more than triples up to 430 when his k2 high holds. Next hand he has 5 chips left after posting and it gets folded to me, my 810 goes all in against his j6, but 2 j's double him up again. Next hand, I go all in again with 77, and he calls with k9, this time I hold and we are down to 3. I wind up in 2nd after a whole bunch of not so interesting hands.

200 Sit and Go Cont.

I've been playing very tight, while the blinds are still low. My first hand came at 50-100 blinds (it is a turbo). I have k3 sooooted in the Small Blind, and after 2 limpers, I decide to complete. The BB checks, and we see an aj9 flop with 2 of my suit. I check, and it gets checked around to the last limper, who bets 100 into the 400 pot, i reraise to 300 and after it folds to him, he calls the extra 200. The turn is a heart, and i make the 2nd highest possible flush. I bet 450 and he goes all in. I call ande he flips over a10 no hearts, drawing dead. I've got a nice stack, but still 8 left.

About 10 mins later now, I just raised the 75-150 blinds to 450 from under the gun with 7 players left. The guy who was 2nd to act flat called, and that scared me. On a flop of 743 i check and fold, assuming that he has me beat, down to 1920 now, with 7 left.

200 Sit and Go

Woke up a little early today, and after breakfast, I was browsing around, and notice Sheets registered in a $200 sng. Sheets (for those very few who don't know him) is known as one of the top sit and go (for that matter poker) players in the world.

Game of Failure

Poker is a game of failure much like baseball. If a baseball player bats .400 he would be known as an all time great. Same holds true for Poker: You're gonna fail much more than u succeed. So the goal is to maximize you're money when u finally do succeed. Don't be content to be a singles hitter. That is not enough to overcome the majority of cases where u will bust with 0 money.

Case in Point: Last night's $100 NL tourney on Stars at 11PM EST.

I played 2 hands all tourney.

First Hand: It gets folded to me in the Small Blind, and I complete the 10-20 blinds. The Big Blind raises up to 60 and I call with my 78. Flop comes out 910J, and I check my flopped low straight, he bets 120 and I raise it up to 360, He quickly goes all in with his kj, and my 78 fails to hold to a turn and river of J,Q. Im down to 240 chips, and wait a few hands till I get KK, I go all in and fail to hold against a7.

My point is hardly to complain, I really really don't mind. Just illustrating the nature of the game (notg-nature or name). These are situations that were good for me and I still lost, imagine all the situations that are not so good... Losing is def. part of the game, and to be good, u gotta accept that.

Bodog- All Star's

I was selected as one of the 25 Bodog All Stars who will be voted out in "Survivor" style fashion until there are 5 left. Thank to all who have voted for me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Could have gone much better

Cashed in the 10R, finished about 42-43. Everywhere else went poorly. Here's hoping for a good night session, although I may pull an early one tonight.


Disappointing end to the afternoon session, cashed but didn't go deep in the Dise 30R and Stars 50R. Doing preety well currently in the 10R and 100R (night). Night session starts soon with Dise 30R, stars 162 and maybe Party Super.

Bottsky is Good

I have Bottsky to my right in the Dise 30 R, we both have nice stacks, and blinds are 75-150. He limps under the gun (UTG), so im 2nd to act, i choose to limp also, with 77. Of course, a bunch of people come along for the ride, and we're 6 or 7 to the flop of aj7. Gets checked to Bottsky, who bets 350 into the 900 or 1050 pot, i raise him to 1100. I raised, bec. I almost always choose to play my strong hand very fast. Enough of the time when I bet hard, I am bluffing that I need to bet hard when i have good hands too, to keep them honest. Of course, here I did raise, like i normally do, but it wasn't as hard as I would have liked in retrospect. My raise gets everyone to fold back to Bottsky who calls. The turn is an 8, and when he checks, i bet 1500. I feel like a fool writing this, but it is true, I violated my weak is strong principle, and he read right through me. He folds, and says 77? Mistakes are good as long as you learn from them.

Last Longer's

Potroast won our 3 man bet in the Bodog $50 this afternoon. Both hatrick8810 and I got knocked out real early, so basically it wasn't much of an accomplishment. Congrats though still. Gboro780 and I had a last longer in the Horse 20$ tourney on full tilt. He knocked me out, but i was shortstacked anyways, when my weak, but best low hand in razz on 5th street, became a worst hand on 7th. GG and GL

exits, exits, and few more

Out of both Bodog tourneys and the Horse on Full tilt. In the Stars 100R i had a decent stack. Probably around 20/100-110, its about half hour after rebuy period is over. A guy in early postion, who i don't know triples the 100-200 blinds to 600. I have jj in the BB, it gets folded to me, and I flat call. The flop comes 665, and I check raise his 600 bet to 1800. He flat calls. I do have bells going off saying that both his 600 bet (same bet as pre, and very small bet for the situation) screamed of him having a pair bigger than me. Nonetheless, when a 10 comes out on the turn, i fire out 2400. He relatively quickly goes all in, and I am left with a decision. Clearly, I am beat, and the call is like 5500-6000. However, somehow in the heat of the moment, i decided to call, only to see him flip over aa. We all make our mistakes.

Day Has Begun...

Playing only MTT now, and a its gonna get busy.

Already started: Bodog 16, Stars 100Rebuy, UB 109, Bodog 16-4k Guar, Full Tilt- 22 Horse

Starting in Next half hour: Stars Pot Limit Holdem 55, Stars 55R, Paradise 33R

Ari's Tunes

Some songs I've listening to recently:

Ben Harper: Burn One Down
James Taylor: T-Bone, Gaia, Riding On a Railroad
Ben Taylor: Rain, A Good Day To Be Alive
Grateful Dead: New Minglewood Blues, Black Muddy River
David Gray: This Years Love, Long Distance Call
John Denver: Annie's Song, Rocky mountain High
King Floyd: Groove Me
Merle Haggard: Okie From Muskogee
Shawn Colvin: Sunny Came Home, Never Saw Blue Like That

Young Guns

Action Jeff and Ozzy 87 are among the best MTT players online right now. Jeff already has 2 50K+ wins in short career, and yesterday won the UB 500 and narrowly missed the Final table of the huge quarterly stars event.

Ozzy recently finished 6 at the WPT event in the Bahamas, and then followed that up with a first place finish for approx 180K in the Pokerroom "Grand" tourney.

Nothing particularly special about 2 poker players being succesful, of course, until u hear that they are both still in school, yes, thats right, still in high school. They both plan on taking off time next year, but then going to College.

Of course, then there is JJProdigy, a name that is quite simply a huge understatement. This 16 year old was dominating the online poker world, until the events of a month ago.

The dominance of these guys is simply amazing. I eagerly await watching as their careers unfold. Any guesses as to who is/ will be the best?

An Army of David's

I started reading Glenn Reynold's book, An Army of David's. It is about the end of the days of control by large govermental and corporate bodies, and how technologies are playing a role in helping the little guy. If any of you have never heard of Glenn, he is known as the "father of the blogosphere" and his blog, is one of the best and well known. It is on my daily reading list, and by that i mean, it gets refreshed about 10-15 times a day.


Out early at Laguna. Soon I'll be starting the daily afternoon rebuys, stars 100 and 50, and paradise 30. I'll probably also be playing the Ultimate Bet 100 afternoon tourney at 2pm, and the stars 50 (either pot limit or no limit holdem, depending on day). Meantime, I'm gonna jump in some 200 sit and go's on stars.

Foxwoods WPT 10K buyin

I am almost entirely an online player. There is not a single aspect of live poker that I like better, however, the bigger buyin tourneys are almost exclusively played live, so therefore, if I ever want to become a world class player, I'm gonna have to start playing live.

With that in mind, I played a $33 Rebuy tourney last week, where the top 2 won a seat to the main event at Foxwoods. Somehow, without even rebuying (I always do the auto rebuy at the beg, and always do the addon) I won my seat: total cost= $100. Sweeeeeet.

I've only played in 2 major 10K buyin tourneys in my life, last years wsop main event, and the last foxwoods tourney. I went to the wsop through Bodog, and they hooked us up with a great room, buyin to the tourney, and one of their famous "Bodog Parties." At the time, I had played in about 10 tournaments total in my life (online inc.) and although I had already made a great deal in poker, I had no tournament strategies. Needless to say, I busted out late day 1.

After the world series, I decided to start focusing on tourney play. After a month of tourney play solely on Bodog, I began wanting to play more and bigger tourneys than Bodog was offering, and I opened accounts on stars, dise, UB etc... BodogAri was thus Born - Ari being both my screen name on Bodog and my actual name.

By the time the last Foxwoods tourney came around, I had significantly developed my tournament strategies, and promised myself one thing: "I'm gonna play this like it's online." I didn't even bother looking at my opponents; what would I learn from them? I had no experience reading the physical actions of others, and therefore I believed (and still do) that the "reads" I'd make from physical actions were just as likely to be correct as incorrect.

All was going well as I came back from the dinner break with a stack of almost double what we had started. Preety soon after a guy came to our table that had triple as much as the previous chip leader at our table. His first pot at the table, he raises from early position and gets 3-4 or callers. To a flop of aaq, one of the blinds leads out for a half pot sized bet, he flat calls, and the other fold. The turn comes out a j, and it goes, bet-raise-allin-call, the blind shows aj, and the chip leader miserably turns over qq, with one card to come he's hoping for the only queen in the deck. No luck, and he loses a large pot.

Next hand he raises again (still in early position), this time almost everyone after him calls. My thinking goes as such. If any of the callers had a big hand they would reraise, so as not to allow others to draw out on them. As the action approaches me, I see the number of chips in the pot, and I decide to regardless of my cards go all in when the action comes to me. I feel that as long as I can get by the original raiser, I will be fine, and everyone will fold. The raiser of course, is probably steaming a little from the last hand, so he is likely to raise with less than premium hands too.

I decide to look at my cards anyway, so as to appear normal, and i see 84, which of course makes no difference, as I am hoping everyone folds. I pull my move, and my brilliant analysis goes up in smoke as the original raiser quickly calls, and after the rest of the table folds, flips over AA, an ace on the flop ends my misery early.

Although this might seem like a bad story, it really isn't. Succesful poker requires making reads and acting upon them. The problem here wasn't that I raised with 84, it was that he had AA.

I mean by that one of two things.
A) My read of the "situation" was correct, everyone else would have folded, and all I had to do was get by the original raiser, if he happens to have anything other than the couple best hands, my "move" works, and I have a much nicer chip stack.
B)Making moves based on reads, is only a good idea if your reads are gonna be right, it is ok to be wrong once in a while, but, one incorrect move is worth much more negatively, than one correct move is positively. Therefore, caution is very important with this extremely reckless move.


I play about 12-18 hours a day of online poker. I love the game, and enjoy thinking about it. I would love for this blog to become a place where people come to discuss poker, so please respond with your thoughts and comments.

This week I plan to play mainly multi table tournaments (mtt's) with buyins from $30-300, (about 70%), some $200 9 person single table sit and go's (10%), some 90 person $50 sit and go's, (5%), and the rest split up between 10-20 pot limit omaha hi lo with a max 2k buyin, and the new 50-100 Fixed Limit Holdem tables at Bodog.

The day will begin with the Laguna tourney on Paradise that has a $200 buyin. It doesn't get a lot of people, so i'm gonna have to top 5 to cash.