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Daniel - Poker Journal

$1500 WSOPE No Limit Event Day One

19 Sep 2008

I'm feeling like it's that time of year for me. That time of the year where I kick it into high gear and play some amazing poker. It's all been a steady progression from the WPT event at the Bike where I had zero focus, but my fundamentals were able to get me deep into the event without doing anything spectacular. On day one of the EPT Barcelona and the heads up events on the WCOOP, I had it all working, most importantly of all- I was paying attention.

I put in an almost flawless day of poker today, better yet, it was better than that in some ways because I really trusted my gut and won some extra chips trusting tells that I'd picked up throughout the day. I only made one minor boo boo that actually helped me confirm a rock solid tell that I would exploit in a more meaningful hand later. Here are the highlights of my day- four key hands that will be laid out a little differently than normal.

Hand #1: I raised from early position to 500 (blinds 100-200 25 ante) with QJ the button called, the small blind called. The flop came 8-8-9 rainbow and I bet 950. Folds to sb who makes it 2600. I call. Turn a Queen, it goes check-check. River a 3 the guy puts me all in for 4300 and I call. He shows A-10.

So here's why I played it that way. The sb had been overplaying a lot of hands and I could tell he was making moves. He was overweight, with a scruffy looking beard and a hairstyle that seemed a bit messy.
When he check-raised the flop I thought he was testing me. After all, I ruled out any chance of an over pair (he would have re-raised pre-flop) and thought it was unlikely for him to call with an 8 in his hand. I put him on a hand like 55 and making a small raise to see if they were good. I thought for a REALLY long time before calling. By calling the 1600 that only left me with 4300 after all, a very risky call.
He checked the turn and I felt like I had him now. I figured he had a hand with two outs and was happy to give him a free card there. The river was a 5 and he says, "How much you got left there Danny?" I thought to myself, not 55 that's so sick! He looked right at me, and then said, "All in."
I started talking, saying that I didn't think I could get away from this hand, and he says something like, "Then you'll have to call, Danny." I called and he tapped the table showing A-10 off

Hand #2: I limped for 300 from the small blind heads up against the bb with Q-3 off. She raised 500 more and I called. The flop came 3-4-5 with two clubs. I check called 1000. The turn was a 9c I check called 1000. The river was an Ace and I check called 2000. She turned over K-6.

This woman had never raised before the flop even once. She limped into a lot of pots and looked like she was loose passive and didn't really know what she was doing. She was an older lady, French, and a French pro at the table knew who she was. I also saw a man sweating her and brought her food. That was important too, it let me know that he thinks she can play, so that would in turn mean that she probably thinks she can play and likely has had some success somewhere.
She didn't seem like a total idiot, and I felt like SHE felt that she could get away with bluffs if she just kept betting. Based on hands she'd shown down already I noticed that she wasn't a value bettor and checked in almost every marginal situation. Her betting the turn led me to believe she either had an over pair with a club or Ace high with a club. When the ace hit on the river, I could no longer beat either... but she bet 2000. With a four card straight on board and three clubs I didn't think she'd bet JJ, for example, and I also didn't think she'd bet an ace.
I then looked over at her and she gave off a monster tell, one so strong I won't share it because when I see it it's pure gold and I don't want any blog readers using it as a false tell against me.
The problem I faced was deciding whether she would raise with a hand pre-flop that didn't beat my small pair. I didn't have an answer to that question, but there was more than enough evidence to warrant a call.

Hand #3: Crazy Davood limped from the cutoff for 400, I raised to 1300 from the sb with JJ and he called. The flop came 9-7-4 with two spades. I bet 1600 and he raised me 6000 with just 5000 behind. I folded, he showed QQ.

This was a tough decision but he made it easy by opening his mouth. Actually he never shuts his mouth but in this case he gave me exactly the information I needed to make the right decision. I simply asked him questions and he answered them:

"You have a big draw Davood?" I said. "No, I don't have draw, I have made hand. No draw for me maybe you, LOL HAHAHA BWAHAHAHA. LALA HEE HEE." His tone was legit and I knew that he wasn't lying. He did not have a draw so I could literally eliminate all draws from his range- just like that.
"You have set Davood?" I continued, "Maybe, I don't know about that one." It didn't feel like a set so I had to use some other logic to make a decision, but then he helped me further by saying, "I know you have hand to raise in small blind. You have hand to raise, I know. Maybe something JJ or QQ."
"Can you beat that Davood, you have AA?"
"No, I no have aces I'm telling you no aces."

Here is the thing: he correctly had me on the hand I had and his reasoning for thinking it was legit and I knew he believed in his read of the situation. So how could he raise me? He would never do that with a 9. He had to have slow played QQ or KK. I folded and he showed it telling me, "I like you. You are friend of me."

Hand #4: With blinds at 300-600 with a 75 ante a late position player makes it 2400. I call from the sb with AK. The flop is 8-6-3 it goes check-check. The turn is a Q I check call 2400. The river is a Q and I check-call 6000. He taps the table and shows a K.

This was a pretty big pot at the time and the call was totally based on me paying attention to all the hands dealt. When I sat at this table I was watching him make a button bet after everyone checked to him. It was a big bet, and he got called. As he was being studied he did some weird thing with his tongue and mouth, gulped, looked straight ahead right at the guy. When the guy asked to see his chips he almost jumped to show him. He was bluffing.
I continued to watch and noticed that when he had a hand he didn't do that at all. One hand I raised him on a flop because I thought I sensed a bit of the tell, but it was very subtle. It proved to be wrong.

On this particular hand, he did the exact same thing he did in the first hand I watched, almost biting his tongue without opening his mouth. He was a younger Italian player. He reminded me a bit of Marco in terms of his approach. I thought about whether Marco would play a hand like this and the answer was an emphatic yes. Italians speak with their hands, but they also speak with their face and their whole body. This guy couldn't help it.

I ended the first heat with the chip lead at 74,900 and we resume play on Sunday with blinds at 500-1000 and a 100 ante. I expect to go deep in this one as well as every tournament I enter for the rest of the year. When I put together fundamentals, discipline, and observation, that's a pretty deadly combo and I play great when I do that. I'm doing that now...

Unfortunately, due to me being in this event I have to withdraw from the 10K HORSE event on Stars tomorrow night. I wanted to play it, but that's just not possible now. One tournament at a time...

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