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3. Short/Long Run

1. Intermediate Mistakes
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2011 WSOP Main Event Day One

I played day 1D of the Main Event yesterday. Things went fairly well and I was able to bag up 43,950 chips from a starting stack of 30,000 by the end of the day. It was about as smooth of a day as you can hope for; I was never below 23,000 (and never above 50,000).

I had a really, really great table draw. The three players to my immediate left were all that middle-aged, married-types who were just happy to be there and waiting for Aces before getting involved. That allowed me to open up lots of pots knowing I was basically going to get three quick snap folds basically every time. Anytime you can play a lot of hands is a good thing. It widens your range so much in your opponents’ minds that it makes it easier to get paid off when you actually have the goods.

Rather than blab about a bunch of banal hands, I’ll just share what I thought were the two most interesting hands of the day.

Hand #1: With a stack of ~35k during 150/300/25, I opened to 750 in middle position with 76hh. One of the middle-aged dudes called. The only opponent I had really been at all concerned about popped it up to 2,050 on the button. Normally I might just give it up there, but I had just won the last few pots and felt like playing the rush, so I called. The middle-aged dude came along as well. The flop was 652 with one heart. Two checks to the aggro 3-bettor who bet 2,300. I called and the middle-aged dude got out of our way. The turn was the 9h giving me a flush draw. I check-called a bet of 5,200. The river was the Ten of hearts giving me a flush.

At this point, I can either lead out or check and hope my opponent bets. I felt like he was screwing around with air so often here that I decided to check and hope he’d fire a third barrel trying to buy the pot. Another reason I like the check is that I’m in a really tough spot for probably all my chips if he raises after I lead out. I didn’t think it was impossible that he sprung to life on the turn with an Ace high flush draw or something. So I checked. He checked behind and showed 65! I was really sick when I saw that hand because a.) he could have easily value-bet the river big there and b.) he was probably never folding to my ~9,000 bet on the river.

So it was nice to win that hand and get up to close to 50,000, but pretty frustrating that he was able to make that great check-behind with two pair.

Hand #2: Near the very end of the day, I got moved to a new table. On my immediate right was an Italian guy with 4,000 chips, but he won two all-ins (both times showing a solid hand) and had 15,000 when the following occurred.

During 200/400/50, it folded to the Italian guy in the small blind who moved all-in for his 15,000 into my big blind. That’s definitely a peculiar play. I squeezed my hand slowly. The first card was an Ace so I started to get excited. The second was an offsuit Ten. Ugh… brutal. It couldn’t get much closer.

I tank for a while trying to pick up a read on him or something. He was mostly just staring stone-faced at the center of the table. It was going to be about a third of my stack to call. I felt like I was probably ahead a fair amount of the time, but figured it was a flip against small pairs and stuff like KQ a lot of the time too. I also thought it was totally possible that he had a better Ace than me (like AK) and didn’t feel comfortable playing the pot out of position so just decided to shove instead.

After thinking for a few moments, I decided 80% of me wanted to call. So to give myself a chance to fold, I asked someone at the table to pull out their cell phone. I said that if the minute-digit on the time is an 8 or 9, I’ll fold, but otherwise I’m calling. A lady pulled out her phone and revealed that the clock ended in an 8. I shrugged and said, “well, I guess I have to fold,” and did so face-up. He mucked, but in the banter that ensued later, claimed he had A9 and I believed him.

He said he couldn’t understand why I didn’t snap-call with ATo to his “short stack” shove. I tried to explain to him that he wasn’t a short stack, but he wouldn’t listen. Forty big blinds is definitely not a short stack in any tournament, especially one with a ridiculous structure like the WSOP Main Event.

I was 80% wanting to call there. I’m curious how much more or less other players would have been interested in calling in that spot because it’s such an unusual one to find yourself in.


Today is a day off before going back for day two. I’m switching hotels over to the Palms which I’m pretty excited about. The place I’ve been staying (Tuscany Suites) has been pretty dusty and it’s messed with my allergies. I haven’t slept as well the past few nights as I would prefer. The WSOP Main Event is definitely not the time or place for not feeling your sharpest. Thankfully someone invented Benadryl so I’m not too worried.

Finally, the Main Event drew a great field-size of 6,865 players this year. Not bad considering there’s $150 million+ trapped on Full Tilt! I think it’s time for all the wizards out there who were making extreme predictions like 2,500 players in this year’s tournament to put their tail between their legs. I’m kicking myself for not pounding over 5,250 players (I adamantly refused a friend’s request to book his over bet saying I loved that side of it, but never actually got around to betting it myself).

Alright, I’m going to go check into the Palms and maybe go take a yoga class today to relax. If you want to follow along the action in the Main Event tomorrow, follow me on Twitter. And follow PokerTips while you’re at it!


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