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My second trip
to the 2005 World Series of Poker didn't start out like I hoped. I wanted to leave early and get there with enough time to have dinner, play a
couple of satellites, and get to bed early. I left my house a lot later than I wanted and hit some horrible traffic on the way up there. A drive
that normally would take 4 hours took me about 6. I decided it was best for me to go directly to the Rio and buy into the next day's event and then
go to my hotel and get the rest I needed. I registered for the $5000 No Limit Holdem event and ran into Mike Paulle on the way out. I told him to
make sure to mention me from time to time on his blog because I said he would in my journal entry. He questioned me about playing the $5000 event.
He asked why I would want to play in a small field with the best players in it. I told him I was ready for the challenge. I went to my hotel,
checked in, and went to bed early.
I woke up the next day ready to play. I wasn't going to let anybody throw me off my game. I sat down in my assigned seat and
was happy to see the other players at my table. I had no big name players and most of the players were really young. It
didn't take me long to realize the person sitting directly on my left knew what he was doing. He ended up being the well
known PokerStars player, NeverWin. I knew he wasn't the person I really wanted to play with unless I had the goods. I pegged
another player as the table fish. I think
all of the other players thought the same thing. I wanted to get in there and mix it up with him anytime I could. I
called a few raises from him hoping to hit
just a pair, but I couldn't make a pair. I did pick up a few pots, but they were all fairly small. One time, I flopped a set
and got no action even though I checked on the flop and the turn. On another hand, I flopped a
gutshot straight draw and a king high
flush draw and called a bet from my opponent. When I
made my flush on the turn, he checked, I bet, and he folded. I played a lot of hands in my first round, but I still only had the same amount of
chips we started with.
In the next round, I lost a couple bets here and there and then lost a pretty big
pot against the
live one. I
raised with QJ and he called me. The flop
was A98. I bet, he hemmed and hawed and then called. I didn't really think he liked his hand, so I planned on making another
bet on the turn. The turn was a blank. I
bet again and he moved in. I wanted to kick myself for playing the hand that way. I had a strategy to play against him and
get my chips into the pot if I ever hit a pair. I had no pair on this hand and still put my chips into the pot. I folded my
hand and vowed to not make that mistake again.
I doubled up through the live one just a short time later when I called preflop with 98 of clubs. I flopped
second pair and a flush draw. I bet and he called.
The turn brought no help, but I still moved in. I thought I might have the best hand and if I didn't, I had outs. He called and turned
up A7 of clubs. He said, "I need a club" and I said, "No club". I didn't want to hit my flush. The river was not
a club and I doubled up. I managed to double up again just a couple hands later, but this time it was against another opponent. I raised preflop with
AK and got called by one player. The flop was AJ8 with two
hearts. I made a pot size bet and my opponent called. The turn was a heart. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I knew if I checked, he would bet
representing the flush. I decided my best bet was to move all-in.
He thought about for a long time and then called me with AQ (no hearts). I was a little surprised by his call, but happy that I had some chips now.
Sometime in the middle of all of this, Brett Jungblutt (Gank) sat down and took the empty seat. He is a friend of mine, but
he is not somebody I really want at my table. He immediately made himself table captain. He called the floor staff on the "fish"
because he kept acting out of turn. The "fish" got a time out and the table was pissed. All of them were giving Brett
a hard time because they wanted the fish at the table. Brett let them know that the player would be back soon enough. He
stood behind his actions because the player broke a rule. I had to agree with him on that point.
Bobby Bellande joined the table right after
that. Bobby harassed one of the players to his right. He told the player, "You have to be the best
No Limit player in the world." Of
course he was being sarcastic. About three hands later, Brett told Bobby: "You have to be the worst No Limit player in the
world." Brett was getting under most of the player's skin, but I was totally amused.
James Van Alstine was the next big name player to join our table and I managed to bust him. I took my AK against his AQ on
an ace high flop. He bet, I moved in, and he thought about it for a long time. Brett asked for a
clock on him and then James
called. James looked pretty mad at Brett. When he got up from the table, Brett made sure to get the last word in.
After all of those hands, I was the chip leader at the table. It looked like things were going to finally go my way, but
then I lost a huge hand. One player limped
in for $200 and I called with 98 of spades. Brett called behind me, the next player made it $900, the next player called,
the original limper called, I called, and Brett called behind me. There were five of us in the pot for $900 each plus the
blind money. The flop was KJ4 of spades. The first person checked, I bet $4500, Brett folded, the next player moved all-in
for about $8600 the next player moved all-in for $6500, the next player folded, and I called. I knew I had the first person
beat and I thought it was likely that I had the next person beat as well. I knew if I my hand held up, I would win at least
the side pot, but most likely the whole
pot. We turned our hands up and I was ecstatic. The first player had a
set of jacks and the second player had a set of kings.
They had five outs between them (or a runner runner) and if
my hand held up, I would win a pot worth almost $30,000. I would have been the chip leader in the tournament. The turn was the four giving both players a
full house and I was left with hardly any chips.
I worked my butt off to build those chips back up. I made two great
laydowns and doubled up a couple times,
but I was still struggling. We took a break and I had $2800 in chips. The big blind was going to be $300 so I knew I had to
get some chips soon. The first hand at that level, I was dealt pocket queens and I was in
position. All of the players folded to me and I raised to $900. The
button folded, the small blind called, and the big blind called.
I wanted to play for all of my chips (hence the small raise), but I would have preferred to play against one opponent. The flop was K6x of diamonds.
The first player moved in, the second player folded, and I was forced to make a decision. I decided preflop that I was going to play for all of my
chips and I was holding the queen of diamonds. I felt I couldn't fold my hand. I called and he showed a set of sixes. I asked for a diamond, but it
never got there. I finished in about 180th place.
I walked away from that tournament feeling great. I wasn't disappointed because I played my best game possible. I knew if I played like this in
my next event, I had a great shot. I would have been more disappointed if I would have played great all day and gone out on the bubble like
My next event was the $1500 No Limit Shootout, but I had two days off in between. During my two days off, I played a few
satellites. I chopped a couple, but profited
only a little bit overall. I did a little PR work for my website and I watched my good friend,
Mark Seif when he got heads up on his first table of the Limit
Shootout event. He eventually won, but not without
a lot of controversy. He called the floor staff on his opponent when he dropped the f-bomb. The player denied it, and then Mark said,
"You are a f-ing liar." Neither player got a penalty, but both players were warned. Mark battled about an hour and a half
after that and finally won. I left for my hotel because I wanted to eat dinner and relax for the next day.
I woke up ready to play! Shootouts are my strongest event and I wasn't going to take any prisoners. I got to my table and I
didn't recognize anybody. When the tournament started, there was only one empty seat at my table. It was soon occupied by
Barry Greenstein. He was the first person
eliminated at our table, but not before he gave me a copy of his new book. The toughest opponent (at least in my mind) was
eliminated and I only had to beat eight other guys. I had a hard time doing anything, but I knew if I hung in there and got
down to short handed play, I would be able to take these guys on. On our break, we were down to five players and I was short
on chips. I doubled up on the first hand after our break when my pocket fours held up against one opponent. After that hand,
I just terrorized the guys. I made every move possible and before long, I was three handed and was the chip leader. I knew
which opponent I wanted to play against and it ended up working out that way.
The person I wanted to play against had been very passive in the early round of play. If he had a hand, he bet it. If he
didn't, he folded. It seemed simple enough. When we got to heads up play, I don't know what the hell happened to him. His
style of play totally changed and I was not happy about it. He was much more aggressive and I knew I had to pick some spots
with him. We still had a lot of chips, but we were playing some big pots. On one hand, he raised on the button to $500 (the
blinds were $100-200) and I called with
pocket jacks. I wanted to trap him with this hand unless an ace or king flopped. If one those cards happened to flop, then I
could get away from the hand cheaply. The flop was 633 with two spades. I checked, he bet $600 and I raised to $1400. He
immediately moved in and I was put to the test. He kept doing this to me and I knew I had to take a stand on one of the
hands. I needed to figure out if this was the one. There were too many hands that I could beat. I had already ruled out
pocket Aces, kings or queens.
That meant I could not beat a 3 or sixes full. If he had sixes full, he would have
slowplayed it a little more, so the only
thing I couldn't beat was a 3. I could beat flush draws, I could beat pocket tens, nines, eights, and sevens. I could beat A6.
I called and he turned up K3. The jack didn't get there on the turn or the river and when we counted out our chips, he had me covered by a hair.
I was out!
I walked away in shock. I worked my ass off to get to heads up play and it was over in a flash. I ran the play over and over
in my head, but I always came up with the same conclusion. I could beat too many hands for me to fold in that spot. One of
my friends got knocked out about the same time as I did and we went to the bar to have a couple drinks.
After the bar, I headed for the tournament room to check on Mark. He made the final table along with
Kathy Liebert (the winner from the previous year).
I stayed and watched most of the event, but left before it was over. I was so tired! Vegas is so draining and I was glad that
I was going to go home the next day. When I tell people that I go home for a day and half between events, they think I am crazy.
But I really think it is important for me to go home and get the rest I need.
When I woke up, I checked on the prior night's event. I learned that Mark won his first bracelet. I am hoping that I can join him
in winning one of those soon. I played my heart out in both events on this trip and I am ready for the next one. It could be the one.
2005 WSOP reports: $10,000 No Limit Championship
$1000 Ladies World Championship and $2500 No Limit Holdem
$5000 Omaha High Low,
$2500 Omaha High Low,
$1500 Omaha HiLo Split
$5000 No Limit Hold'em and $1500 No Limit Shootout,
WSOP 2005 Parties
Also see: WSOP 2006, WSOP 2007,
World Series of Poker 2008,
World Series of Poker 2009, WSOP 2010and
2011 WSOP Events report