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Daniel - Poker Journal

E-mails and a little poker

22 Dec 2004

When I woke up I decided to start tackling me e-mail box. I had no time all week to answer any e-mails with the tournament and all. I got through a few hundred in the afternoon and then decided to take a little break and watch some Tivo. My usual slate of 60 Minutes, Dateline, and 20/20 mixed in with a little Real World/Road Rules action. By about 6:00pm I was sick of being in the house and didn’t have any energy to get back on the computer.

So I decided to jump in the shower and head down to the Bellagio. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to play or just hang out with the guys. When I got there, there was one seat left in the $4000-$8000 mixed game and I decided to take it. The game looked like:

Seat One: Doyle Brunson
Seat Two: Phil Ivey
Seat Three: Gus Hansen
Seat Four: Me
Seat Five: Chau Gang
Seat Six: Chip Reese
Seat Seven: Lyle Berman
Seat Eight: Ming Ly

Basically this looked like your typical $4000-$8000 lineup. The mix of games was pretty typical, although for some reason we were missing the 2-7 triple draw and the stud hi-lo. The mix was:

Omaha H/L
Pot Limit Omaha (100K cap)
No Limit Hold’em (100K cap)
No Limit 2-7 Single Draw(100K cap)

For the first three rounds I played precisely zero hands. Nothing worth playing and I was stuck $40,000 in antes. Then I picked up a big hand in the 2-7 No Limit. With blinds at 1000-2000 with a 1000 ante, Phil Ivey opened the pot for 10,000. Gus Hansen to my right caps the pot, making it 100,000 straight.

On the button I look down at a monster 3-4-5-7-8. I throw out four “pancakes” ($25,000 chips) and make the call- Ivey folds. Gus asks, “You want to run it twice?” By running it twice he means, draw the one card two times. If you win both times you win the whole pot, if you win one and lose one you’d split the pot. All this does is lower your variance, it doesn’t give anybody an edge at all.

“No, once is fine Gus.” I then see that Gus is drawing to 3-4-7-8. In other words, the only card he can win with is a 2. Gus squeezes his card and knows it’s either a 4 or a 2. Gus squeezes his card differently than most, but with that being true he’d now be a 2-1 favorite since there are two 4’s out already. Gus tries once again, “Ok I’m a 2-1 favorite now, I’ll take two thirds of the pot?” I trust Gus wholeheartedly but still I didn’t want to chop it at this point. If he makes it, he makes it.

Oops, maybe I should have run it twice, it was a deuce! Yuk. So now I was stuck over 200,000. I get involved in another pot limit Omaha pot where I flopped middle set. This time, I had exactly one out in the deck as Gus had top set and Chau flopped a straight. Oops.

At my negative peak I was stuck about $375,000. The game started to break down a little bit as it was just four handed: Doyle, Ivey, Myself, and Gus. I started to make a little comeback then Doyle quit. One more fun hand I’d like to share happened in pot limit Omaha:

Just three handed now, Phil made it 7000 to go on the button. In the small blind I found A-K-K-8 double suited, with nut diamonds and second nut spades. I re-raised the pot, to a total of 23,000. Both Gus and Phil called.

The flop came Q-J-7 with two diamonds. With 69,000 in the pot I committed to the hand and bet the whole thing. Gus raised the remaining 8,000 for a capped pot and Phil called. Phil flopped Queens and Jacks, Gus had a straight draw and a flush draw, and of course I had Kings with the nut flush draw and a gutshot straight draw.

The turn was a blank, and the river hit the six of diamonds…sweet! That pot put me out in front about 50,000 or so. I lost one smallish pot to Phil and was up exactly 7000 when the dealer change came. “I’m done guys, you guys go ahead.”
“I was going to quit soon anyway.” replied Gus and the game was down.

I can already see what types of responses this blog will get in the forum, “Why would those guys play against each other? Doesn’t the money just get circulated? Who is the sucker in that game?”

Well there is no “sucker” in the traditional sense obviously, but not all great players are created equal. Some are better than others as is true with anything in life. So why do I play in those games? Well for one I’m confident that I can win, and two that’s part of who I am. If I don’t challenge myself at the highest levels I simply can’t be at my best. A sad truth, but a truth nonetheless.