Day 8 – three way action

Posted: September 25, 2007 in Las Vegas 2007, Tournaments

Our last day in Las Vegas, but having spent sooo many hours at the poker table during the week I just couldn’t stomach another full on session. Instead we hooked-up with Duns and Taij for a goodbye lunch, then hit the strip for a bit of shopping. After almost clearing out a branch of Guess, Hing Albert and I left Mike to the mercy of the Mirage 10/20 game and wandered over to Ceasars for a last stab at the $150 freezeout.

Hing (the tournament Master) had cashed in fifth place the night before, a great result and an inspiration to the other two of us, especially after my exceptionally poor showing going out on the first hand previously. At 90:1 odds Albert drew exactly the same seat as the night before, however Hing and I ended-up on the same table, him in seat 1, me in 3. The rest of the table was fairly non-descript other than seat 4, containing Michael, a professional cash game player who frequented the Bellagio. I have to admit that he was a slightly sinister fellow, however sitting in a seat with such a tough opponent to my immediate left really proved to be quite instructional.

With blinds of 25/50 for the first 40 minutes and starting stacks of 4000 chips, the play started fairly tame, with initial raises being of the sensible 3x to 5x the big blind variety. Michael I noted would be in a lot of pots, always coming in for a raise, and always being the aggressor on the flop. Hing was the first of us to fight back at this approach, raising pre-flop and successfully check-raising Michael post-flop and inducing a fold. I noted that Michael would frequently fold to raises of his tester bets, so it wasn’t long before I got my own shot in playing 78s for a mid-position limp and call of his raise. There was a very intense moment that solicited a laugh from the other end of the table as we stared into each other’s eyes, both of us unwilling to inspect the flop. However out of position it was me to act first, and so having established that I was unintimidated by his play I broke his gaze to note a flop of TJQ with two diamonds. I didn’t have the diamonds, but I did have the ignorent end of a gutshot straight. Normally not playable on such a connected board, however I checked to allow him to step into the trap. His bet was met with an immediate and planned raise of half the pot. He deliberated for a few seconds before backing down and folding. Another home-run for the London boys!

Several levels later and the tournament had been reduced from 90 to about 60 players. With a run of rather nice cards I busted three guys in quick succession, to take my starting stack up to an intimidating 20k.

Around 10pm I had an opportunity to get one last quality play in. Had been scrutinising the player in seat 1 for most of the tournament, as he was playing tight but quite aggressively. I felt there had to be an element of continuation betting to his flop play, so was looking for a chance to pick him off with a well timed bluff. My opportunity came when I pinned him as someone with a reliable gaze pattern. He tended to study the flop when he had nothing searching for some sort of draw, when he had a big hand he’d look at the flop and then quickly away. I caught him on a big slowplay with top-pair top-kicker against another player, and knew that I just had to get heads-up with him to have a shot at taking down a worthwhile pot. Sometime later he made a move pre-flop, raising the 200 blind to 700 from early position. A glance to the left suggested a general lack of interest from the players still to enter the pot, so I called with something horrific, may have been 74s. My insta-read proved to be slightly off as one other player limped behind me, and the three of us saw a flop of 9TK. As I’d hoped, he stared and stared at the flop for what seemed like an eternity before popping out 1000 for a pot sized bet. I gave it a little deliberation for show, and pushed all-in, with enough of a stack to cover both him and the player behind me. I’m gambling that the third guy doesn’t have enough to call a huge raise, and am paid off when he folds. The original bettor considers the action for a while, asks me if I’m “playing the man rather than the cards” (yes I am buddy), and finally throws his cards into the muck as well. I’m pleased to see Hing tip me a wink as I rake in a pot that took quite a bit of setup and preparation.

My only really serious mistake of the whole tournament came up just before they broke our table at 11pm. I’m in the big-blind and it’s folded around to the small blind who raises 3x the blind. I look down to see my tenth and last pair of beautiful aces of the week, and elect to limp rather than push or re-raise. It proves to be a terrible error, and I let him in for free to flop a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. All the money goes in on the flop, and my opponent makes his flush to double-up against me with 86s, whittling my final stack down to a still impressive 17K.

Our table is broken third from last, and Hing moves over to join Albert on the one of the last two tables, while I take a seat at the other. My new table has one or two huge stacks to rival my own, the biggest being held by a Chinese guy with Triad look sunglasses and a rather hot albeit medically enhanced young lady sitting behind him. This guy clearly has the measure of the table, and is fairly ruthlessly raising most pots. It’s getting close to the bubble, so with a chance of all three of us making the final table I really don’t want to get in his way. Allow my chips to be stolen for a few rounds (which is expensive now that we’re playing with a 50 ante every hand on top the 300/600 blinds), and only play premium hands to try to stay afloat.

Sometime later Hing is moved over to join me once again, as the tables are being kept level as players are eliminated.

Later still Michael rejoins, now holding a huge stack of about 40,000. He immediately takes charge in a way that I felt unable to, staking a claim over the Chinese guy’s action by simply getting his frequent raises in first. I know his style, but don’t feel the latitude in my play to get too involved against such a big stack. I do however continue to study the table hard and to try to exploit the weakness of the middle sized stacks. “Too focused. You concentrate too much.” I overhear Michael whisper down the table at me after being forced to show a semi-bluff move at one point. A high complement indeed, but I definitely felt on this occasion it was justified. I’d been playing A1 poker for several hours by this point and still felt extremely sharp.

[and so onwards to the final table…]

  1. Shane says:

    What happened in the end of this tourney?

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