The Conclusion of the $100k Super High Roller at PCA

So in my last blog I covered a few key hands I played on day one and figured I would share some more that I jotted down to look at for review later. During the final table I didn’t really record any hands as I was focused on getting the job done, but on day two there were a few interesting spots I found myself in:


Blinds 6k-12k
Stack depth 150 bbs

Ivan Luca raises middle position to 26k I call with 22 from the next seat and it’s heads up to a flop: 3h 5s 6d

Luca bets 30k I raise to 95k he calls

Turn: 3s check check

River: 8c he checks, I bet 400k and he folds 99

Thoughts- This flop gives me 6 outs against an over pair other than 77, but most importantly, there aren’t a lot of hands Luca will have that can 3-bet me on the flop. My raise also protects against free equity for him if he has a hand like QJ. When he calls, I think he’s either hit a piece of that flop or has an over pair.
I pretty much gave up on the turn and hoped I could catch one of my 6 outs. The river 8 was a good card for me, especially after he checks. I am quite sure at this point that I’m beat, but that 8 could help me actually represent 79 suited or even 88 which both could play the flop this way occasionally. In addition to those hands, if I did in fact flop a set I may often check back the turn (feigning weakness) to induce a river bet.
A standard sized, or small sized bet is going to get called a high percentage of the time. To get him to fold an over pair I’d have to size up my bet so I over bet the pot. It’s important to note, and also as a practice, that I also take this line and use this sizing with nutted hands like 7-9 and full houses. Otherwise my opponents will read into the fact that my bigger sized bets are bluffs, where my value bets are smaller.
There are pros and cons to that sizing. Cons are you don’t get called quite as often when you have a nutted hand, pros are your bluffs should work a higher percentage of the time. This one worked and put me in good position.



Blinds 10k-20k
Stack Depth 100 bbs

I raise to 75k from the small blind with Js 8s vs Justin Bonomo who calls in the big blind.

Flop: 7s 6c 2s
I bet 45k, Justin makes it 175k I call

Turn: 7c check check

River: Jc I bet 175k, Justin makes it a million, I fold. Justin had Ks Qc

Thoughts- This is a hand I could easily limp in with, but I want to have some kind of raising range from the small blind playing this deep stacked and J8 suited is a good one to throw in there. Notice my raise sizing is bigger than normal in this situation due to the positional disadvantage post flop. I don’t want to make it cheap for the player in position to take a flop.
My flop bet sizing is roughly 1/4 pot which I’ll do quite often with a wide range of hands. Its a lot smaller than I used to c-bet, but I put in a couple months of work with this sizing and I like what it opens up for me as a whole.
By the river, my dilemma is to check or bet for value. Then if I am betting, is this a good candidate to size up and bet big? Is this a spot where I want to bet 1/4 pot and maybe get called by a weak hand or even induce a raise? Ultimately I chose to bet 175k into 500k.
When Justin raised the river I didn’t think he had a flush very often. It’s possible, of course, but this hand either felt like 67 or air. In hindsight, despite the large size of his river raise I think if I’m going to bet I also need to follow that up with a call. There is only one really legitimate combination of hands he does this for value with, and it’s basically just 67. Nothing else. The issue is, there are A LOT more combinations of hands he could have that are total bluffs. The “math” alone makes this a clear call for me, but I chickened out and folded after using just one time bank.
I asked several people about the hand and it seems everyone liked my river bet, but I really don’t. I think I have a better chance to snap off a bluff with a check then I would get a call from a worse hand. The line I ended up choosing was the worst of all of them, the bet/fold.
There is another key factor that led me to fold related to “ICM.” Essentially, the value of my stack after folding was worth a lot of equity. If I call and lose my stack would be worth significantly less. Of course, had I call and won my stack would be worth even more, but overall it felt like my stack was already big enough to avoid this risk.
If I had a mulligan, I would have chose to check call a river bet, even a rather large one.


The final table was one of the strangest I’ve played in 20 years. No one ever went broke when they were all in. I think it may have surpassed 10 straight all ins surviving. I went on a roller coaster after taking a beat against Bonomo on the river where I was down to 2 big blinds! I was able to run that up to 30 big blinds in the span of 10 minutes!

Unfortunately it did me no good as even with that lucky spin up, I still finished 4th. The final table for me came down to three key pots against Justin Bonomo:

My As Js vs his A-9 clean to the river and he hit a 9 to stay alive
My A-Q vs his 66 flop came J-T-4 turn 9, and I missed that one
My KK vs his AJ with Bryn folding an Ace, flop came A-4-3 and that was it

Three key big pots for me that made the ultimate difference and I ended up in 4th place for $521,140. Since I had to re-enter this one, that starts off the year with a $321,140 profit in event one, and I look to make a run in the $10k main event tomorrow.

I haven’t played a main event from the start in quite a while, usually going to the gym or doing interviews during the early levels, but with a torn ACL I plan to skip the gym and get there on time to try and build up a nice stack to end day one. Most of the super high roller players will skip day one entirely and play day 2 with a 30 big blind stack, but I’m inspired to play right now and feel like a good favorite to build some chips against a weaker field.

I’m certainly disappointed right now after that roller coaster ride at the final table, but in the end, it’s a good result and for the most part I thought I played well. I made a mistake against Bryn Kenney in one spot betting the turn and folding to a bluff, but aside from that I think I made good decisions throughout.

You are going to make mistakes in a tournament. Lots of them. The goal, much like a pro PGA golfer is to make the least number of mistakes you can, and make sure that your mistakes aren’t drastic errors. I think I accomplished that and have to be happy with a 4th in event #1 of 2018. More to come.

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