Monday, July 25, 2011

My Main Event - Day Two

The second hand of the day, a big stack named Jeff Becker who would ultimately finish 134th, raised from the cutoff and I called from the big blind with 65 of diamonds. The flop came Jd9d4 and I elected to check-call. The turn was a 4d and now I bet out; Becker called. The river wasn’t really what I wanted to see, a nine, but I decided betting was better than checking and fired out what I thought to be a bet of uninterpretable size, 6350 into a pot of about 11,000. To my disgust Becker raised to 15k and though he looked like a player capable of bluffing in this spot I ultimately decided to fold. His bet size didn’t appear bluffy. I didn’t think he would launch a bluff like this against an unknown the second hand of the day, and on the turn I thought he had either a nine or a jack, the latter which probably would call my river bet or fold to it. After the table broke Becker told me had a nine with a diamond, though you never know for sure.

The new table was not what I was hoping for. Right away it was pretty clear there weren’t any real weak players, and most were obvious pros. David Fox (four to my right), Valdemar Kwaysser (two to my right) and Frank Rusnak (on my right) were the ones I recognized. It seemed like everyone at the table was riding a short to medium stack, so it looked to be a total grindfest.

And that’s exactly what it was. I bided my time, keeping things close to the vest. I watched a wild hand go down where Fox raised, Kwaysser reraised, Fox called, Fox check-called the Th7d3h flop, then check-shoved the Ad turn. I was about 75% that Kwaysser was bluffing, and 70% that Fox had a big draw based on the speed of his turn check-shove which appeared to me that he was feigning confidence looking for a fold. Kwaysser ended up calling with 86hh while Fox turned over 98dd.

I got involved on the button with the 74 of clubs, calling Kwaysser’s hijack raise after Rusnak had done likewise. The blinds folded and the three of us took a J22 rainbow flop. Kwaysser threw out a bet that looked weak to me, and Rusnak called. I wasn’t convinced Rusnak had much either, probably a pair of sevens or something. The problem was that I couldn’t represent anything. Finally I decided to call, thinking they would put me on a jack or better and check-fold the turn. The plan seemed to be working perfectly when we saw a 9 on the turn and they checked it to me, but to my surprise, Rusnak called my bet. The river was a six and I thought I was gonna shut it down, but I knew Rusnak to be a somewhat cautious (for a younger guy), thinking player. He cannot put me on a hand worse than ace-jack if I am still value betting. Though there are very few hands he can put me on worthy of a value bet, there are no hands he can put me on that would call a flop bet and continue to bet later in the hand – except for those unlikely powerhouses. I threw out a bet of 10k into roughly 14k, and Rusnak folded after a minute in the tank. I later saw something about a “big laydown” in his twitter feed.

A while later I raised with 65s in middle position and the English player two to my left called. The flop came something paired like 7-7-2 and I made a small continuation bet which was quickly called. The turn was an ace. Continuing to bet here is a common bluff, and I knew my opponent knew that. At the same time, I felt this player would credit me with a highish pair or even the ace itself if I checked, so I did so. He quickly checked behind. The river was a blank and I threw out a bet of 40% pot, which he folded to after thirty seconds. Later he announced that he held pocket nines and should have reraised me preflop.

After Kwaysser was eliminated, a loose Latin-American player filled his seat. The first time I played a pot with this fellow came when he raised in mid position and I called from the cutoff with ace-jack offsuit. The flop came KQx rainbow and he continuation-bet. This player had c-bet every time after raising and appeared relatively straightforward postflop (though I couldn’t see him making many big laydowns), so I quickly called. Stunningly the next card off was a ten, turning me the not straight for the second time in the tournament. To my delight, my opponent continued betting, 4300. I raised to 10,200 leaving myself with 21k behind. To my surprise, my opponent just called the bet without eyeing my stack. I figured he had to have a nice hand to keep betting on that turn card, and could never put me on a straight. I thought the money was going in right there, but I had left myself with a nice bet-size to shove the blank on the river with after he checked. I forced myself to count down from 100 to 0 before moving in, having decided that would look weaker than an immediate shove. My opponent thought for just a moment, and folded.

Shortly after dinner the table broke and packed up for the Amazon Room. Though I recognized two solid pros, Frank Sinopoli and Kristy Gazes, at my new table, I was pretty happy with the rest of what I saw at first glance. Right away it felt softer. The biggest stack was an older man across the table who appeared a bit fishy at first glance, as did the gentleman to my left, an older foreigner of about 50 years. Just as I walked up he was locked in a pot with Sinopoli, the former having called a raise out of the big blind. The flop was A94 with two diamonds, and he check-called Sinopoli’s bet. The turn was the Qd, and the big blind checked again. Sinopoli now turned up the heat with a substantial turn bet. The older fellow appeared uncomfortable with the bet, and was thinking about what to do for quite a while. As we waited, I stood up to fit my hoodie onto my seat. As I was doing so, the big blind rechecked his cards, and I caught sight of the ace of clubs in his hand. To my surprise, the older fellow then tossed in a raise. Sinopoli immediately started chuckling, disgusted with the “Hollywood” the older fellow had just put on. Sinopoli folded snappily, stating it was obvious the big blind had a monster and he did not appreciate the Hollywood the whole table had waited through before his raise on the turn. The BB then showed the six of diamonds, which was a pointless show for the rest of the table but one of great significance for me.

That show only reaffirmed Sinopoli’s insistences that the guy had the nuts, and he continued to reference the hand for the next several minutes. It was a hilarious dynamic – the big blind must have been cracking up inside knowing how he had duped Sinopoli. And it was even funnier for me, knowing the old man was laughing inside, laughing inside myself at the situation, all the while unable to tell anyone I was in on the joke.

My first big blind at this new table saw the old guy with the big stack open 2.4x in early position with Sinopoli calling. I looked down at the 32 of diamonds. I was tempted to jump right in with this marginal holding, but couldn’t quite justify a call with my 55 BB stack. The flop came 4s3sh2h. I would have certainly just check-shoved the pile here if I had called to see the flop. The older guy bet hard and was called by Sinopoli. On the Js turn, the older guy check-called Sinopoli’s bet. On the river, a second four, the older fellow again check-called, only to be shown A4 of clubs and mucking KsKd in disgust. There is little question I would have gone broke in this hand if I had tossed in the chips with the 3-2 before the flop.

From late position I raised KJhh and the older gentleman, the fellow who had falsely Hollywooded Sinopoli, called. The flop came 886 with two hearts and I bet 3000. The older guy made it 7500. With 40k in my stack it seemed a little overaggressive to just put the money in here so I just called. I led 12k on the 5h turn and was called, then another 22k after an offsuit trey hit the river. I had just 15k behind. The old guy appeared at times as if he was going to put me in, which made me sick to my stomach, but he eventually announced call and my hand was good.

I had just finished stacking the chips when Sinopoli raised 3x in midearly position. I wasn’t sure what to make of it but wasn’t folding KQ from the hijack. The flop came QT8 with two diamonds and a club and Sinopoli quickly checked. I checked behind but I think betting here is preferable. The turn was a ten bringing a second flush draw and he now made a fairly large bet which I called. He fired another pretty decent bet when the river bricked completely. I almost folded right away, just feeling like I was beat, but eventually convinced myself to call based on the way the hand had played out. He turned over pocket kings, and would go on to finish in 38th place for $196k, the biggest score in a lengthy live tournament career.

The next major confrontation came when I raised 97hh from the cutoff with both blinds calling. The flop came Ah4s3h and the small blind led out for 5100 with the BB quickly folding. My normal line is to call here as the donk-bettor has a very strong hand or a very weak hand more than a medium strength hand like an ace and you can pick up the pot on the turn with minimal risk if he has the weak one, or hit the flush and win plenty off the strong one. But here I raised to 13.2k having sensed a little weakness in his bet. I also doubted if I could take him off an ace if I just called here, though a turn raise would have looked stronger (but been more committing) should he lead again.

When he raised me back another 17k I felt sick to my stomach. I was now pretty sure he had “the strong hand”, most likely a set though two pair was possible. A higher flush draw wasn’t out of the question though I figured he would have raised harder, and neither was a stone bluff though that was pretty farfetched. I had 49k left in my stack at that moment, facing the 17k bet. There was 200 x 9 = 1800 in antes in the pot + 3 x 3100 = 9300 (my preflop raise and two calls) + 13,200 x = 26,400 (my raise and his match) + 17,100 (his raise) in the pot.

1800 +

9300 +

26,400 +


= 54,600

I did the math rather hastily at the table, seeing that I was getting better than 3:1 on a call knowing he was shoving my last 32,000 on the turn regardless of the card. It would cost 17k to win the 54k in the pot, but then I would win another 32k if I hit, so roughly I’d be spending 17k to win 86k.

17,100 / 86,600 = .197 = odds I need to profitably call the bet assuming he has set and he shoves the turn regardless of what comes

Using an estimation of 8.3 outs (sometimes he will have two pair, sometimes 44 with a heart) and 45.6 cards left in the deck (we can account for the board cards, my cards, and sort of his cards)

8.3 / 45.6 = .182 = rough odds I have of hitting a heart on the turn

As you can see, I wasn’t getting the right odds to call this bet…and that’s not even including the fact (again, if he has the expected set) he has a ten out redraw to win the pot if I turn the flush.

~ 37 / 44 = .84 = odds my turned flush holds

.84 X .182 = odds I turn a flush and it holds = .153

1 / .153 = odds I need to call the bet = 6.54 to 1

86.6 / 17.1 = implied odds I’m getting = 5.06 to 1

So, assuming I calculated all this correctly (which, I must admit, I am not certain of), I wasn’t getting the odds I needed to be getting, and, if I was indeed confident he had a set, I should have folded – without even considering the extra value of tournament life, or how important the 17k would be to my stack at the time, or, on the other side of things, how useful the added chips would be. There is no exact math in these sort of situations as my opponent might have nothing and check-fold the turn, making my call far more profitable, or he might have ace-king and I might turn a pair or gutshot, etc. But this estimation makes it pretty obvious calling 17k more on the flop really just to see one more card wasn’t a wise decision.

It sure felt like a wise decision when a heart hit the turn, he shoved with 33, the river didn’t pair the board, and I doubled up to 134k.

I immediately kicked it up, getting involved in four out of the next five pots. On the fifth, I raised ace-jack from 3rd position to 3k with the older fellow on my left calling. The big blind, who had lost a couple large pots recently, shoved all-in for 20k. The big blind was not a reckless player, but I still quickly called. The other guy got out of the way, the BB flipped over KQ, and the board came five low cards. A few people at the table expressed surprise at the call with AJ asking how I could call, but I felt it was standard.

At some point I raised 65dd under the gun with a young player calling in middle position. The flop came AKQ with two diamonds and I check-called a bet. Most players are c-betting with their flush draw here but I like check-calling as it allows him to take a bluff at it which he will surely give up on the turn if called. At the same time, he will never see the flush coming if does have a hand. The turn was a queen and we both checked; the river was a blank and he was happy to call my third-pot bet with AK.

I lost a few more small pots and ended the day with 145k.


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