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Shirley Rosario
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No Limit Hold'em Shootout

2007 World Series of Poker

by Shirley Rosario


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Texas Holdem Shootout$1500 No Limit Holdem Shootout
The 2007 World Series of Poker $1500 No Limit Shootout was the fourth event that I was scheduled to play. I had come close in the tournament prior (the $2500 HORSE) and was making it my goal to finish better this time around. The last time I played a shootout at the WSOP (2005), I finished second at my table so I was not able to move on. I was feeling good about my chances this time around because I have been playing more Sit N Go's and have been playing a lot of heads up matches for practice.

My table was a mix of old and young and for some reason the youngest guy at the table was the one I pegged as the one to watch out for. The guy in the ten seat was also young and must have won a bracelet in years past because he was wearing one while playing.

I approached my table in the same manner as I would any Sit n Go. I was looking to play tight until we got down to six players. Once we got down to six, I would open my game up and start using my tight image to my advantage. The strategy seemed to work out alright because I was holding my own while the first few players got eliminated.

We took our first break and we still had seven players on our table. I had about $3200 in chips (we started with $3000), so I was perfectly happy that I was able to follow my plan. I knocked out one of the guys when he raised all-in for about $450 with AQ and I called from the blind with AK. Before I knew it we were three handed and I was left with the young kid and the bracelet holder wild card. The great thing was that it seemed the guy with the bracelet was running really bad against the kid and the kid was running bad against me. On one hand, I came over the top of the young kid with K6 on a king high flop and beat his pocket Aces when I turned a king. He was not a happy camper, but he still had a lot more chips than I did because he kept beating the other guy.

We went on break and I had about 6k to each of their 12k. I have been the short stack many times in tournaments and sit n gos and was very comfortable playing from one. I knew that if they managed to take each other out, I still had a great chance to win my table. At the end of the break, I saw the kid talking to his friend and sent one of my friends (Terry) to spy on their conversation. The kid walked back to the table before Terry was able to listen so he struck up a conversation with the friend. Terry congratulated him for winning his table and then asked how his friend (the young kid) was doing. According to him, the kid was very nervous, but thought his two opponents were idiots. I knew this could help me during the next round. He had the most chips at the table and since he was nervous, I knew that a big hit to his chips would cause him to lose focus.

He ended up beating the bracelet winner when both players got their money in on the turn with a 5544 board. Both players had a five, but the kid hit his kicker (Ten) on the river and sent the guy home. The guy was not happy and bitched, "You just don't realize how lucky you ran against me today."

One of the hands that turned the tournament around for me was when the guy just limped (which was something he never really did) and I had 97. I said "Get Out!" when he just called my big blind. The flop was Q9x and I led out with my second pair and got called by him. The turn was a seven giving me two pair. I bet again and he called. The river was a blank and I asked myself, "how much of a value bet can I get here from him if he has top pair weak kicker?". I must have determined the right amount because he called my bet on the end and mucked when I showed two pair. He still had a lot more chips than I did and I was perfectly happy folding to his raise when I had garbage. I don't mind losing the unimportant pots as long as I win the important ones. A few hands later in the heads up match, I raised with KJ. While he was thinking and playing with his chips, I made the decision that I was coming over the top of him this time around if he raised me. I had not reraised during the whole tournament and figured that he would have to fold most of his hands based on that. He did raise me and I moved all-in. He only thought for half a second and called with AQ. I was in decent shape considering I had two live cards. The flop came AK5 and I started chanting "king or jack, king or jack". The turn was a queen and I changed my chant to, "king or ten, king or ten". At that moment, Marcel Luske walked over and stood behind the table with Terry and he threw out his arms like he was doing a spell and said "TEN!" Sure enough the ten came on the end. The young kid was crushed and I knew I took the wind out of his sails.

On the next hand, he moved in and I instantly called with A3. He showed Q5 and caught a five on the turn and stayed alive for a few hands more. I ended up winning my table with 42 in a limped pot. The flop was AJ5 with two diamonds. The turn was a three of diamonds and the kid moved all-in. I instantly called and said "straight!" He showed Q3 for a pair of threes and the queen of diamonds for a diamond draw. I begged, "black card please" and the dealer obliged.

We were told to come back at 9:00 pm for our second match, so I had two hours to kill before it was time to do it again. I relaxed and had dinner and made my way to the tournament room with only five minutes to spare. I got the worse draw in the room. I was seated with Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein. Not only was it going to be difficult playing with two of the best players in the world, I knew that the other players were not going to be as willing to donkey off their chips in front of those guys.

It happened exactly as I predicted. The action was very slow on my table including my play. In hindsight, I am very mad at myself for this. My normal strategy is to play conservatively until I get down to six handed, but I needed to adjust that strategy based on my opponents. I certainly wasn't going to outplay those two with a short stack if we were six handed. I should have been in there trying to accumulate chips. Instead I bled them off. On one hand, the guy from first position raised to 2k (we all started with 30k) and he got one caller before it was my turn to act. I had pocket nines and figured a nice reraise would do the trick. I raised to 7k and the original raiser moved all-in. Since I had played a very tight game, I assumed I was in really bad shape, so I mucked my hand after the other player folded. The guy showed AK and I was a little disturbed that I folded that hand and left myself with only 14k.

We went on break and I tried to figure out a new game plan. I needed to get in and mix it up and hoped the cards would cooperate with me. When the action started, I got the worst run of cards. I consistently was dealt 83, 84 and 53. It is sick when you know you have to play a hand and you get 83 three hands in a row. I told myself that king high was good enough, but I couldn't even get that. Eventually it moved down to queen high and then jack high and I finally took a stand with J8 (those eights haunted me). The guy in the big blind said "I have to call and he showed J8 as well. I had spades and he had hearts and he was freerolling me on the flop. I escaped that hand and split the pot with him. I moved in on the next hand too with 87 suited because they worked well together and I really needed chips. I managed to double up on that hand and stay alive for a short time later. When it was my small blind, I was dealt AQ of hearts. The guy raised on the button and I moved in. He thought about it for a second and said "I have to call here." (from my calculations, it wasn't that cut and dry and he probably should have folded). He showed 87 of hearts. By the turn he had an open end straight draw, no pair. There were two hearts on the board and I had him covered in that area. The river brought a black nine and I was eliminated in 38th place. I am happy that I cashed for the first time at the WSOP and I am looking forward to many more.

See also: 2007 WSOP Omaha tournaments, WSOP 2010