July 5th, 2006

WSOP Event #9 -- $5000 NLHE

First off, congratulations to Bill Chen on winning the $3000 limit hold'em!

Math is hard ... but worth doing, evidently.


I was a little under the weather for the $5000 NLHE. Not terribly sick, but had I been more sick, I would have stayed home. As it was I was obsessively-compulsively washing and sanitizing my hands, I ordered lots of honey and lemon tea, on breaks I went outside and stayed many yards away from the smokers, etc.

I started off well enough. My cards were such in the first two levels that I must have been viewed by anyone watching (and making premature conclusions) as very tight. Nevertheless on one hand I raised to 150 in the 25-50 round and got 4 callers. One of the callers in the blind, bet out the 863 flop, I raised, and everyone folded.

A little while later in the same level, a very loose player who had pretty much given away a bunch of chips on stupid shit limped utg. I made it 200 with KK, and got called by the guy immediately behind, who seemed to me to be also loose but a much better player. Folded around to the limper who made it 1100, leaving himself 2150 behind. This becomes an interesting decision for me. The way I figured it there were a few possibilities. The first is that he has aces and was setting a trap. The second is that he is making a move with a fairly weak hand (strong enough for him to limp in with but not strong enough for him to open-raise), trying to buy the pot. The third is that he has a decent hand, say a 88/AJ/KQs kind of hand, that he would rather just get most of the money in with. Against aces well, who cares, it's going in anyway. Raising him all-in is better if he has the third type of hand, and calling is better if he has the second type. But even if he has the third type, all is not lost if I call because he'll act first on the flop and probably push in anyway. So I decide to just call. Guy behind me gives it a think and folds. The flop comes down K-Q-5. He bets 1150 of his 2150. I call. The turn is an A (!), he checks, I put him in, and he immediately folds.

So I get to the first break pretty happy, having increased my stack about 50%. But then I go on a bit of a downswing. Alan Goerhing is moved to my table. Alan is very tough to have at your table, although as a reader you probably think I mean something different than what I do. It's not that I'm worried that Alan will intimidate or confuse or outplay me. But his effect on the rest of the table can certainly take your normal perception of what a regular table is like and knock it out of whack. He's the only guy in the room who will raise to 2.5x BB after two limpers, or consistently flat-call raises. There are lots of fish who make really dumb preflop plays, but they follow it up with really dumb postflop plays as well. Alan makes really dumb preflop plays and follows it up with very good postflop play. It is very difficult to predict how a table reacts to such unorthodox play. Anyway, a little while into the 100-200 level, Alan makes it 400 from the cutoff. I am in the SB and make it 1200 with KJ. The BB moves in for 2400 more. Getting over 2:1 it's probably not a mandatory call, but probably a correct one. He has AK though and it holds up. That takes me down to 4000.

Goerhing, btw, busts on a hand which I thought he made a rather poor decision. He limps for 200 early, another player limps, and the button raises to 1100. Alan calls (leaving himself with only about 2500) and the other player folds. The flop comes like Q72 with two diamonds. Alan bets ~1200 and the other player calls after a think. The turn is a J. Alan checks, the button shrugs his shoulders and puts him in, and Alan calls. The button shows 66 and Alan shows 9d8d! No help comes for Alan, and he busts.

I win just enough blinds and antes to keep pace during the 100-200/25 level, but don't gain much. In the 150-300/25 level I get to limp on the button with 9s6s. The SB bets the Ts7sx flop, I get to move in, and the SB says "flush draw, huh?" before folding. I like it when they read me right but make the wrong play.

Our table breaks and I play 200-400/50 at a new table. I continue to play no sizeable pots; not a single hand involves more than one called raise. I have ~7500, which was fine at the first break, but not so hot as we approach the dinner break.

But the level goes up to 300-600/75, and I still only have about 7000. I get to make a cute play in this level. A middle-position player open-limps (open-limping was very common at this table despite the large ante in this level) and I complete in the SB with 63o. The flop comes 954. I check and it is checked around. The turn is a 6, I check, the BB bets 1500, the limper thinks about it and calls, and I move in. The BB thinks for a while and gives it up; the limper folds immediately.

I get picked off once on a blind steal so I'm back to about 8500 when 3-off the button raises to 1800. This is the same guy that crippled me in the shorthanded event, a seemingly good, aggressive player. I have 88 on the button and I move in. He calls, shows KK, and busts me. I am starting to get good at busting out just before the dinner break, rather than having to play a very small stack after it.


Today I'm cheering for thomaskoo, who has made it to the second day of this event, in 45th place of 60 remaining. He has actually final tabled in both of the last two events in which I bought a piece of him. And I have a piece of him in this one.


Finally, Pokerworks.com has an interview with me up on their site.