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Daniel - Poker Journal

Two Key Hands from Day 1 at Bellagio

21 Oct 2008


I came into the tournament trying to do my best to focus hard and pick up some patterns on my opponents. I struggled with it, and felt distracted by all kinds of random stuff for most of the day. Yet still, I kept reminding myself, over and over, to pay attention and was at least able to come up with some rough profiles on my opponents. Unfortunately, I simply wasn't able to pick up any physical tells at all for the entire day.

I played two key hands and they actually happened back to back, in between a fifteen minute break between levels 3 and 4:

Hand 1: With blinds at 100-200 and a 25 ante I raised to 500 and got three callers, all of whom had position on me. My hand was Ks 10s and the flop came Kc Jc 3s. I did a bit of "Hollywood" and checked the flop. The others all checked as well.
The turn was a 5 and I decided to be 1200 hoping to get called by a pair of Jacks or something like that, while at the same time protecting my hand. A loose player called, and then an extremely aggressive player raised an additional 7100. Up to this point I picked up on the fact that this guy re-raised before the flop and also seemed to continuation bet the flop in most cases. Since my hand was somewhat disguised by my flop check, I decided to make the call, looking as though I was very weak when I did it.
The other player folded and the river was a 6. I checked pretty quickly and my opponent went into the tank. Finally, he fired out 23,400. At this point I noticed a tell that I normally rely on pretty heavily, and genuinely believed that this guy was going to have to show me a set of 55's or I had him beat. I felt like he was more than capable of running a big bluff, but the bet represented a huge percentage of my stack. If I call and lose, I have only 14,000 left. I called, and he tapped the table.

Hand 2: After coming back from break I pick up KK with blinds at 200-400 with a 50 ante from under the gun. I make a pretty sloppy, nonchalant raise to 1000 and it's called by the same loose player. Matt Keikwon, a player I know and am friends with, re-raised the bet to 3700, 2700 more. He didn't have a ton of chips, so I decided to just go ahead and make my claim for the pot right there. I re-raised another 6000 investing 9700 into the pot at that point.
The other guy folds and it's back to Matt. He goes all in for an additional 20,100 more. I kind of hoped to get re-raised and go all in with this hand, but my guy was telling me Matt had to have AA here. Problem is, the pot is laying me a sick price to call. There is already over 20,000 in there so I'm getting over 2 to 1 odds with a pretty good hand! Besides that, after winning previous pot I was in decent chip position. I agonized for ages and then finally dumped the KK. Matt, being a bit of a smart ass, showed me one card, the Ace. Considering I had two of the KK that pretty much confirmed for me that he had AA. I doubt that he would do that with AK, so lifetime, I've folded KK pre-flop twice and believe that I'm one for two. The last time I did it years ago at Boragata the guy showed me QQ! Uh oh.

Anyway, tomorrow is a day off, but I'll be busy. I have some interviews scheduled relating to The Real Deal show and then Phil Hellmuth and I will take center stage along with some other celebrities for the grand opening of the show. I have no idea what to expect, and I like that sort of feeling. I find pressure to be exhilarating and enjoy the challenge of rising to the occasion, whether it be at the poker table or on stage.

I've had a lot of loose ends to take care of in my life and have been working hard at getting them taken care of. Wrote my newspaper column for the week, put in some hours at PokerStars, did two online videos for PokerVT, and even wrote the outline and introduction of a new book I'm working on. Don't expect to see that out anytime soon, though, it's another big boy!

Speaking of books, I've now penned three books. The very first, a compilation called Hold'em Wisdom for all players and then the "Big Boy" Power Hold'em, and finally, a sequel to my first compilation book entitled More Hold'em Wisdom for all players. You can find them all here: www.cardsharkmedia.com/books.htm

On that note, time for some sleep and I hope I don't waste all of my luck at the Real Deal show and hope I can save it for the WPT event! If I'm going to take a bad beat, I'd much rather it be at the hands of the "PokerBrat" Phil Hellmuth who is no longer in the tournament.


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