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Daniel - Poker Journal

$200,000 Challenge Match vs. Joe Cassidy

24 May 2005

I didn't get much sleep last night and almost decided to skip the Mirage tournament. Travis woke me up in time though and I made it there early actually.

I played well in the first limit and increased my stack over 50%. In the second level there was only one player that had me covered. I think his name is like Jean Robert, but I know him as simply "Bobby."

Well Bobby played a $65,000 pot with me in a limped pot where he had a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw. I flopped top two pair on a J-10-8 board, and against a more careful player I could have folded. Not against Bobby. When his money went in I would have laid a price that he had a flush draw and a pair or a flush draw/straight draw.

Bobby hit the spade and that was that. I headed home and took a nap as I knew I'd be playing Joe Cassidy later if he was out as well. Joe called me at about 4:00pm and we scheduled a 9:00pm start time for our match.

Joe got there a little bit late and we ended up getting the cards in the air at about 9:30pm. Joe let me know that he was tired and couldn't play too long and I was ok with that.

In the first 30 minutes I hung on to a slim lead. It looked like our chips weren't going to move at all until Joe caught a little fire and went on a rush. In fact at one point he had me down 370,000 to 30,000, but I battled back.

At about 1:15am Joe said that he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore and that we'd have to continue tomorrow. I asked him if we could just play out the dealer and quit at 1:30am and he agreed. Then he went on a mini rush during the last fifteen minutes.

He was back up about $75,000 when the following hand came down: Joe raised on the button and I called with Q-9 off suit. The flop cam 10d 6d 2s and I check called.

The turn was the Js and I decided to check-raise Joe with my draw- he called. The river brought no help so I took one last stab at the pot hoping he was on a draw and would fold.

When he called I said, "Not me." He didn't budge. I figured he just wanted to see my hand, so I said again, "You got it. I have nothing." Still, Joe didn't say anything.

Finally, I turned my hand face up and Joe looked at it blankly... "It's good" he said. Wow, that was found money! Joe ended up calling me with Q-4 of diamonds saying, "I knew you were bluffing. I figured you had a draw."

That was a great read by Joe, but the result just wasn't there for him. At 1:30am we packed up our chips with me being down $50,000. I then gave Joe a ride over to the Bellagio as that's where he was staying. We don't as of yet have a set time for tomorrow's continuation, but I would guess that it will start at around 4:00pm at the Wynn.

I felt a little bit like I let Joe off the hook as he was clearly getting tired and I was fresh as a daisy, but I did agree to play a short session. Hey, it could have been real short if I didn't mount that comeback! So I can't complain.

As for Joe's "style", I swear I feel like I'm playing against myself. We have a very similar approach to the game and he mixes it up very well. While Joe is only 24 years old he has tons of experience playing both online and in high limit cash games over the last few years.

If I wasn't doing these challenge matches there is no way I would waste my time playing Joe. I wouldn't lay him 1.05, but I'd take 1.05. I feel like we are that evenly matched in limit hold'em. He may diagree, but that's how I feel about the match.

He stays aggressive and fights for every pot, while at the same time making good reads and sharp laydowns in spots where he knows he's beat. Tough man, really tough to play against. Of the three matches I've played, I can easily state that I find Joe to be my toughest yet.

David played very well too, but it was hard to tell since the cards were so clearly in his favor. In this match against Joe I have no idea if I'm being outplayed, outcarded, or a combination of both. He's playing very well.

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