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Daniel - Poker Journal

Operation: Destroy Juanda

01 Dec 2004

So it's the night before the "war" starts and I get a phone call from John. The whole day I'd been on a rampage preparing for the fight. Got my haircut, flew my mother in to take care of Mushu, went to Whole Foods and got snacks. I was totally prepared and ready.

Then John tricked me. He invited me to go visit a mutual friend of ours who is serving six months for a really silly crime. I gladly meet John at the jailhouse at 8:00pm sharp.

After we visited for a while John suggested we have dinner. I'd heard of a new tapas place that opened in Fashion Show mall called "Ba-Ba-Reeba" and wanted to check it out.

John and I normally have wine with dinner. Both of us however had previously decided "no drinking before tournament day." Since we were both there though it didn't seem like it could work to anyone's disadvantage if we both had a drink.

So we had dinner, split a bottle of wine and then head over to the Bellagio to buy in. While there we caught up with old friends, etc. All of a sudden John disappeared to bed and left. Leaving me with the gang till 5:30am! Sneaky, sneaky John!


So day one arrives, the $2000 No Limit Hold'em event attracted 300 players. John was two tables over from me so I could keep my eye on him. After several hours he was srtuggling, but still hanging around.

By level 4 my table broke and guess what? That's right they sent a man over to do a boy's job tongue I came over to the table and said, "OK John these guys can't bust you I'll take care of you. Any pot that you are in I'm in too!"

We bantered back and forth, needling each other at every opportunity. By the third hand I'd been there, I decided to limp in with 2-2. It was John's button so I was fully aware that John may move in on my weak limp. In fact, at dinner the night before we discussed this play at great length. I went on to tell him how great he was at reading weakness when people limp.

You know when Phil Hellmuth says "I can see through your soul." Well John Juanda actually can. He is without a doubt the best at reading weakness pre-flop, an absolute master.

So it was no surprise to me when John moved all in on the button. It came back to me and I wanted to call so bad just to bust him. I limped in for 400 and John went all in for a total of 2975. In any normal situation I'd muck the 2-2 quickly. However, I promised myself that I'd go after John and do everything I could to bust him. "Man I just know I'm going to flop a set if I call."
John replied, "You have a pair? Wow."
"Not a big pair, but it's a pair." Finally I decided, 'let's gamble' and called. John turned over A-9 off suit and it was a race.

A deuce hit the flop and John was drawing dead. "YEEEEEEAAAAAAAH" I screamed doing my best Mattias Anderson impression, "I busted John, I busted John!." John looks back at my hand and says, "I hate all these bad players." LOL. I love playing with John because not only can he dish out the trash talk, he can take it too.

"Good Luck tomorrow buddy, the rail is that way." I said. John laughed and now I was in the clear after round one.

Now that I had a few chips I was feeling pretty good about my chances to score some points. Then "this" happened:

Blinds at 200-400 with a 25 ante I made it 1000 to go from late position with KQ of diamonds. The big blind called and the flop came 7c-3s-3d. The big blind checked and I bet 1400.

The big blind check-raised me rather quickly, making it 1600 more to go. At this point I put him on a small pocket pair, like 5-5 or 6-6. With so much money in the pot already I felt like I was getting the right price to see one more card- I called.

The turn was the 8d. My opponent bet 3000 this time. I thought about moving all in right here, but that's not my style. I just called and hoped that I could hit one of my 15 outs on the river.

The river was a 3 for a final board of 7-3-3-8-3. My opponent checked, and now I was pretty certain that he did have a small pair. With 5400 left in chips I figured that there was no way he could call me with 5-5 if I moved all in.

The way I played the hand he would have to have put me on a hand that picked up a draw on the turn and missed on the river. So I moved all in and without too much hesitation he called. "You got it." I said. At that point my opponent turned up... you guessed it, 5-5! I was sick to my stomach. I'd read the hand perfectly but kudos to my opponent for outplaying me on the hand.

His instincts were correct and I did pick up a draw on the turn. Oh well, so round one was a wash as I protected my 428 point lead by busting Juanda.

I plan on updating the race everyday here in my journal, but if you would like to read how things are going from John's persepective you can check out his blog at www.johnjuanda.com.

In round two, we face off at 7 card stud...