Daniel - Poker Journal
Let's do it all over Again26 Jan 2007
I'm very pleased with my finish in Tunica. At one point in the tournament it looked like anyone could finish first or sixth. It was a very strange final table. In fact, we broke a record for the longest final table without losing even one player.
While that's an interesting fact, when that happens, it absolutely destroys the tournament and makes it really, really, boring. With average stacks being about a million, and six players close to a million with blinds at 40,000-80,000 and a 10,000 ante, there is no room at all for great play as most of the plays are fairly automatic.
After the first limit we just didn't see any flops at all and there was no "poker" left due to the rapidly rising blind increases. I took my first shot when I was down to 735,000 in chips. On the button, with 25,000-50,000 blinds and a 5000 ante I raised from the button to 120,000. The small blind re-raised me to 350,000 and I didn't think about it for even a second before moving all in for another 385,000 with AQ. In the same situation, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
In fact, after putting in 120,000 with my raise I was already committed to the pot since only AA, KK, QQ, or AK would have me in bad shape. If he had any other hand it would be a horrendously bad lay down with all that money out there. Well, he had AK and I sucked out, flopping the Queen.
Even after winning that pot, though, I never felt safe at all. I remember looking around the table thinking that anyone could finish anywhere from first to sixth. Skill certainly wouldn't determine that, so I never really got emotionally involved in this final table. It was like, "Whatever," for most of the way. In fact, finishing anywhere in the top three spots would have been a score, at least that's the way I looked at it.
I'm not complaining about the structure. The way I see it, the skill in these WPT events is in getting to that final table. As a good player, I'll get more opportunities to role the dice than other players, and I'm ok with the fact that it becomes a total all in fest at the final table. It's silly poker, sure, but it is what it is.
I was lucky to get heads up with a chance to win it all. I didn't have a lot of time or chips to maneuver with, however, so I knew that I'd need to double up in a hurry. The heads up match lasted for maybe four hands. Actually, here they were:
Hand #1: He limps on button, I check with 10-7. I thought about going all in since I felt he was weak, but checked instead, hoping to play as many flops as possible. Flop 8-6-6. I checked, he bet 200,000 and I called. Turn 6, I bet out 200,000 figuring that if he didn't have an 8 I'd pick it up. He called. River 9, giving me a straight. I checked, and he checked behind me with Q-8. That was pretty unlucky I felt, since I'd win that pot a high percentage of the time when he doesn't have an 8.
Hand #2: He makes it 300,000 on the button, I go all in with Ah 9h. He folded. Pretty standard there.
Hand #3: I limped on the button with Ac-10d hoping he'd fire it all at me and I'd call him. He checked. Flop Qc 8s 2c. Check, check. Turn 6, check, check. River 8, check, check. I figured I had the best hand there and did when he turned over J-4.
Hand #4. I was on the button with A-3 and moved all in. He called from the BB with 88. Flop 8-4-5.... 3... Q. That was that, lol. There was so little play by that point that I was left with no choice but to put my gambling shoes.
It was a shame the way the final table turned out as it had the potential to make for great television with players like Kido and JC at the table. It turned to be a real bore, though, and will make for some pretty weak television in my opinion.
Strangely, the blinds being so high actually makes it LESS likely that players will go broke quickly. With high blinds like these, the only time a pot is going to be played is when two players are dealt good hands and it's all in pre-flop. With smaller blinds, more flops are seen, more bets are make, which in turn makes it more likely that people will go broke. I can't even think of an interesting hand from that final table to share with you. I was bored out of my mind throughout most of it. I seriously think that nothing would have changed had I had my wife show up to play for me while I'm on the phone with here from AC telling her what plays to make. I'm not kidding either.
Speaking of Atlantic City, I have never been this excited to arrive here in my whole life! Kido, JC, Nam Le, and I each split the cost to charter a plane to AC so that we could make the 11:00am start time form the next WPT stop. We got to the hotel at about 5:00am. I checked into my room quickly and then headed down to the poker room to buy in for the tournament.
With an 11:00am start time, and 25-50 blinds with 30,000 in starting chips, it's a safe bet that I won't be arriving on time, instead looking to get some much needed rest. It won't cost me many chips at all and if I'm going to make another run at it, I'll need to get some rest.
I headed over to the new poker room and... oh...my... word! It is the single most beautiful poker room I have ever seen in my life. A sea of tables, but they are all so far apart. Super high ceilings, a great color scheme, and just wowie, wowie. I'm in total shock.
After buying in, I headed to my room to unpack. I put away all my stuff as I plan on being here for several days. Then, I called room service.... ooh baby! I just finished chowing down on a Portobello and roasted pepper vegetarian burger with a baked potato. It... tastes... awesome! I am, so, so, happy right now I'm giddy!
Anyway, it's 6:30am here now and I'll need to get some sleep if I'm going to continue the streak. I broke some records with this finish, but there are more records to be broken! Off the top of my head, here are the WPT records I currently hold:
All-Time Money Winner
Most Cashes 14 (tied with Juanda)
Most Final Tables 7
Most top 3 finishes 7
Most WPT Player Points
Most consecutive cashes (4 and counting)
Season 5 WPT POY points 1300 (second place right now)
Biggest Chip Lead in an open WPT tournament coming into the final table (Bellagio 2004)
With the Borgata tournament, I'll be looking to break the tie with Juanda, extend the consecutive cash streak, and also look to catch Jamie Gold as the all-time money winner in tournament poker. Fun, fun, fun!