Daniel - Poker Journal
I won!24 Nov 2008
It might have been a relatively inexperienced final table, but they were all god players. It amazes me how much better players are getting and I love it. Sure it makes it harder to win, but I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of playing high level poker in the late stages of a tournament.
This final table went very well for me. Here is a brief synopsis of how it all went down:
Hand #1: Literally the first hand dealt at the final table I pick up KK in the cut off. Since there was no small blind I decided to min-raise to 120k instead of my standard 136k at the 30k-60k level with a 6k ante. The player on the button had a bit over a million and shipped it with 10-10. He had no choice I don't think, and he did the right thing as I'd usually fold there unless I had a big hand.
Hand #2: The kid Warren had me confused and outplayed me on back to back hands where I paid him off. The first went like this: He raised from the button and I called with Q-10. Flop K-8-4... check-check. Turn a 4... check-check. river a 10 and I check-called a bet of 310k. He showed KJ.
Hand #3: I raised the kid Warren's blind with KJ and he called. The flop came Q-5-3 with two clubs. check-check. Turn the Qc... check-check. River came a 2 and he bet 350k this time. I called him with the King high and he showed Q-9... oops!
Hand #4: We were three handed at this point and I was behind in chips until I made it 178k from the button with 88, blinds at 40k-80k with an 8k ante. Warren called. The flop came A 8 6 with two clubs. He checked and I fired out a pretty quick bet of 210k. He called. The turn was an Ace and he fired 350k. I called pretty quickly trying to represent a hand like 10-10 and hope he might try to push me off of it on the river. That, plus if he's drawing, I'd like him to hit! Most importantly, though, if a 6 hit the river I might be able to get away from the hand if he has an Ace and figure I'll get paid on the river anyway. The river was a Jack and he moved me in for my last 1.3 million. I called, and he showed 4-5 off.
The heads up match started dead even with 5 million a piece and blinds of 50k-100k. I planned on using my standard approach heads up and would make any adjustments necessary. Based on the way he was playing me heads up, I quickly felt like I had the right strategy and should be able to grind him down with better fundamentals.
He later told me he'd never actually played heads up before, which gives me an even bigger advantage. I think I played perfectly against him. I laid down a pair twice to him on the river and he later told me I was right both times. I never let him win a big pot until he got really short. I raised to 20k with A-10 on the button and he went all in for a million more with Kd Qd. The flop came 9-6-5 and it looked good. The turn was a 7d putting a backdoor flush draw out there, and the Jd hit the river! He doubled up, and bizarre as this is going to sound I think I was genuinely happy for him and cheered for him. He's a really nice kid and I was happy to see him get a bit psyched up, but I still felt strongly that I'd beat him.
The FINAL HAND: I min-raised to 200k with 10h 7h and he called. The flop came 8s 7s 3h. He checked and I bet 200k- he called. The turn was a Qd and he checked again. I felt like he was drawing so I bet 400k. He went all i for 1.6 million more. I didn't think he would play Q-3 based on the heads up action thus far so I ruled that out. If he had a Queen high flush draw, I think he would have gambled with his hand on the flop. If he had the 8, a check-raise had to be his move.
I finally felt like it was a move with a hand like J-9 or something like that. I called and he showed: 9-7! I had him out kicked and it held up for the win. It's the first tournament I've ever actually won with my favorite hand. That was pretty cool so I decided to keep the two cards and will put them somewhere.
690 players showed up for the tournament, the biggest field I'd ever beaten. To do it in Canada was legitimately special and I think it's going to make for great TV when it airs. I'm really hoping that this might help spark an even bigger buy in event at the River Rock next year. I genuinely believe they could hold a 10k buy in and get 300 players easy, especially if they have online qualifiers. I'm looking forward to returning next year. They treated me very well and I had a great time.
After it was over a bunch of all went to dinner. I noticed that Adam, the second place finisher was having dinner with five of his friends. I invited them all to join us and picked up the tab. After dinner we changed and a large group of us, including Adam and his friends went to a club called Republic. Brad Booth hooked us up with a huge area to chill and we hung out there till pretty late. With dinner, and paying the bar tab, the night ended up being pretty expensive for me but it was all worth it.
Now I plan on... sleeping. I just finished doing some TV stuff and really need to catch up on some R and R and am already looking forward to the $15,000 Bellagio event. That event has been very good to me in the past and I'm coming in on a roll feeling very confident. With the Bellagio structure being so deep on the first three days I always feel great about my chances to do well there.