WSOP Part 4 – A cruel game I can’t help but love

Away from the huge fields for every no limit hold ‘em tournaments at the World Series, there are some fantastic mixed game and other variant tournies, the like of which you can’t find anywhere else.

The $1500 pot limit Omaha hi-lo tournament drew a field of 946 runners….almost 950 runners for a hi-lo comp, where else could you get that?!

While I would never profess to being as proficient at hi-lo as at straight PLO, I felt I knew enough about the game to have a chance. Within 20 minutes of kick-off, the random play at my table had convinced me I may be a PLO8 genius without knowing it.

The most erratic player at the table, who playing nearly every hand, admitted as he got knocked out within the first level he’d thought this was PLO not PLO8 and had only just realised.

I ran my 4500 stack up to about 7000 when I called a raised with AA2x and when the short stack behind me moved all in, the original raiser called, giving me the chance to get more than a third of my stack in preflop.

With a pot-sized bet left, I moved in on the flop, the original raiser called, having trapped me with just top pair, and his revered trips sent me packing.

With renewed vigour, I decided to play the $5000 PLO8 comp later in the week

And as hoped, there was still plenty of value, and with a much deeper structure, a lot more room for manoeuvre.

I had a couple of decent players on my table, but avoiding them and playing tight, progress was smooth. However, I chose the wrong moment to run a bluff against a stubborn guy who had a pair of aces and no low, but still wanted to call, but still finished the day with an average stack.

My day two table looked a little scarier, with Ram Vaswani, Bruno Fitoussi, Chris Bjorin and Kevin MacPhee all present

The guy to my right put a beat on Kevin playing a horrible 10-high bag of spanners, so I decided he was a player I’d like to mix it with, and sure enough, I found A2xx double suited to one of his raisers and re-potted him, knowing he would call.

I flopped a pair, a flush draw and back door low, and made the nut flush to get a full double up and with the bubble approaching I was well above average. Having knocked out the value, I was looking forward to my table breaking.

I got sent to what looked a far easier table, but as ever, this is where the wheels came off

I repotted a big stack’s open with AA34 double suited and the big blind cold four-bet allin with A2xx and scooped me, then the same guy re-potted me with bare kings when I’d raised with A234 and his one pair held.

All of a sudden I was struggling. I doubled up a couple of times and was close to average again with the bubble imminent, but Allen Kessler got me soon after, raising the button with AJ82 all diamonds and calling my re-pot.

The flop of 88x looked okay for my aces, but I soon got the bad news that I was drawing to one out when I moved in on the flop and that was another one in the books.

With just the Main Event left to play, I thought It prudent to try some satellites

In the $1k I went from chip leader to out in about 10 hands, calling an allin with aces against 55, seeing him spike a five, then losing a huge pot with JJ v AQ cutoff v button, then JJ v AQ again for the rest.

I entered the $2k last chance sat and started in super quick fashion. Though I managed to hit the buffers close to the end, going down to two big blinds before moving all in a number of times to pick up the monstrous blinds and eventually secure a seat at 5am on the Sunday, with play in the big one due to start at midday.

Despite my late night, I was as excited as ever to be playing the Main Event

I’d swapped a few percentages, with Karl Mahrenholz, Praz Bansi, Chris Moorman and JP Kelly, and was ready for battle.

Second hand I flopped a set, and though I didn’t win a huge pot, it felt like it was going to be a good day.

At 100-200, UTG made it 600 and I flatted with AK on the button. The big blind, who had already done half his stack, squeezed to 2100, and the original raiser folded. I resqueezed to 7400 and picked up a decent pot, just as our table broke.

My new table looked pretty ideal, with the lively looking Scandi-boy sat in seat 10, plenty away from me in seat four.

I settled in and started playing a lot of pots, and as my stack grew I played more and more.

I made some pretty ridiculous hands that had I been called no one would have believed

Such as raising with J6 off for example, and seeing a J66 flop, raising with 67 off and flopping 345.

While I didn’t get paid off with these hands, I was winning every hand and running over the table, getting plenty of bluffs through too.

The girl two to my left had played back at me twice when I’d button raised, and I’d peeled and won the pots on the flop both times. She looked a half decent player but couldn’t win a hand against me. It turns out she was Erika Moutinho, Doc Sands’ girlfriend who ended up finished 29th in the whole thing.

I decided winning so many pots without showdown would start to count against me, just after the guy to my right said ‘you love this table don’t you?’ as I raked in another.

The rest of the table were getting tired of me so I tightened up and in the last level I literally played one hand in the first hour, sitting on my well above average stack of 65,000. I knew the average from the other day ones was around 40,000 so I was in no hurry….a fact I should have perhaps reminded myself before the following hand.

The cut-off, a young, decent Irish player, raised and I called from the big blind with 78

I’d played a few pots with this guy, especially from the blinds, and won just about every one, so I was happy to play this hand.

The flop of 996 looked good for two reasons – it gave me an up and down straight draw, and it was unlikely it matched a raiser’s hand. I checked, he c-bet and I raised, hoping to win the pot there and then. After a bit of a thought, my opponent called.

The turn was a jack and I bet three-quarters of the pot, 4100. Again he called.

The river paired the jack, not a great card to continue my bluff, with the board now reading 669JJ, but with eight high I had to bet, sending in the third barrel of 10,500.

After 30 seconds thinking, my opponent raised and I quickly folded. He showed me QT off for a complete airball, albeit with the best hand.

I was cross after this hand for many reasons

I didn’t need to bluff, but also his rebluff didn’t make much sense. Unless he had quad sixes, quad jacks, possibley J9 or 99, then I don’t see how he could raise. I should have thought through the hand, though whether I could pull the trigger to bluff again for a full 65,000 stack, I’m not sure.

I was a bit steamy, but I knew my opponents would know this, so I regrouped and thought I’ll remain steamy looking but play tight, and if I can find a hand I’ll have no problem looking like I’m just steaming off my stack.

With about 20 minutes of play left, I had the perfect opportunity

The Scandi-boy raised in early position and I found two kings close to the button. I re-raised him and as expected he called.

With about 5000 in the pot, I bet 3700 on the queen high flop, which my opponent called. The ace on the turn brought two checks, and I decided to check behind on the river too, and had to give up the pot to his beautifully played A6! Grrrr.

I finished the day with just 25,000 chips, and needed to regroup on day two

I started the new day well, getting up to 30,000, but I raise-called it off with two tens against the big blind’s AJ and lost that race to go back to around 16,000 and never recovered.

Eventually on a new table I shoved my 12,000 in with AJ over the top of a raise, only for the big blind to wake up with two aces and send me on my bike.

Tournaments have been cruel to me this year in Vegas, and I haven’t won what I should

But I played well in the sit n gos, making at least 10k profit there, and also did well in cash games too.

It’s a long and lonely trip when you can’t win a race, but I really feel I played well throughout the six weeks, and genuinely didn’t get the breaks I needed to make a big score.

My % swap with JP gave a little pick-me-up to the end of the trip, though I was gutted for him to go out in 26th for $302,000 when he was so close, but he doesn’t need me to tell him this can be a cruel game, but maybe that’s why we love it!









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