WSOP Part 3 – Premiership footballers play poker too

I’m not saying I’m having an unlucky run, but at the moment I feel like if I was one of Pamela Anderson’s triplets, I’d be the one on the bottle.

Vegas is a place with nowhere to hide when you’re not running great, but rather than get you down you have to remain positive – we’re so lucky to play poker for a living, and if the cards seem against you and you can’t win a race at the moment, just think that when the probabilities even out the number of races you’re gonna win.

What better time to win them than the main event, which is coming up next week?

The most interesting hand I played this week came in my favourite tournament of the series, the $2500 round of each.

In the couple of previous occasions I’ve played this half hold ‘em, half Omaha pot limit event, it’s pretty obvious that people play one of the disciplines better than the other, and never seem to get that without antes, shallow stacks are still playable.

I was going along pretty well and had average chips of around 18,000 from a starting 7,500 towards the end of day one when the following hand came up.

With blinds at 200 400 with 50, I raised the button in the hold ‘em round with KQ and just big blind Joe Hachem, who had me covered, called.

The flop fell KT3 rainbow and I c-bet 1100 when Hachem checked

He check-raised to 3300 and I called. The river was a blank and Hachem asked how much I had left, around 10,000, and set me all in.

I thought for about five minutes, longer than I’ve ever thought about a hand, and though I couldn’t make the hand make sense, I concluded that somehow I must be behind and decided folding was the best option.

The hand really bothered me, and I asked a few of the guys out here what they would have done, and all of them had the same opinion – Hachem is pretty solid, he’s not gonna take off without a hand and he must have had me beat.

What bothered me was that he didn’t seem to be too bothered what I was calling him down with, and the size of his bet on the turn made it pretty unlikely he had the JQ nuts, as his bet didn’t really look like he was trying to get three streets of value.

Any of the value hands he may have had on the flop, such as a set or two pair, may slow down a bit by the river given the action, after all I could well have a set or the nut straight. But having dusted off big stacks earlier in the series, and knowing that I had a far bigger edge in the PLO round, I folded anyway.

Joe later blogged about the hand and told me via twitter he had air, A3 off, and just felt he could get me to fold a king if I had one.

I’d done more than half my stack, and managed to get it in with AKQ8 in the blinds v a raiser’s aces not long after and bow out just before the end of day one.

I popped across to the Wynn to see my friend tikay, Tony Kendall, who was playing the $200 re-buy. I was present shopping nearby and thought I’d look in, but as I was looking for his table, a guy raced past me to use a cash point and ran back into the poker room.

He had the identical hair ‘style’ of Arsenal striker Marouanne Chamakh

So I headed into the cash area and sure enough there was the Premiership star splashing about in a 5 10 hold ‘em game.

There was a free seat one to his left so I sat myself down and set about trying to relieve him of his reported £60,000 a week wages.

Chamakh played okay, it definitely wasn’t the first time he’d played, and while he limped too much, leading me to isolate him a lot and get heads-up, he didn’t really win or lose too much.

I did get one gift that made the visit worthwhile, possibly helped by the aggressive attitude I’d shown since sitting down trying to isolate the footballer I’d doubt any of the other players realised was there.

I called a raise from an early position guy with J9, helped in part by the pot odds offered by Chamakh doing his usual and calling the small blind.

The flop came J99 and now it was a time to try and get maximum value

All three of us checked the flop, and I was kinda resigned to this being one of those flops that’s so big no one else can have anything and you’re just gonna bet and take it.

Chamakh checked the eight on the turn so I fired $50 into the $90 pot and to my surprise both my opponents called.

The river was a small card and Chamakh checked again, I bet $170 and the preflop raiser went into the tank.

He raised to $510 and the action was back on me once the Arsenal man folded

Sat with around $1300 total I didn’t see any better way of getting value than moving all in, so after a moment of Hollywood I did just that and got the call from the QT straight, which had hit the turn when he was already drawing dead!

From trying to sit with a footballer I presumed would be a bit clueless, I’d wiped out one of the old grinders in the game, and once he’d left and I’d played on and won another couple of pots, I left to rail tikay with a nice $3000 profit for my hour’s work.

Tournaments are all about the glory and recognition, but successful cash sessions certainly help to pay the bills and keep you in Grey Goose in between the big scores!








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