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Daniel - Poker Journal

The Room was Buzzing

14 May 2005

I walked into the Wynn at about 5:30pm for a meeting and there was already lots of action. $300-$600 mixed, $50-$100 blind no limit hold’em, a couple $10-$20 no limit hold’em games, some $40-$80 hold’em games and several others. After the meeting was over I headed to the poker room to play in my first heads up match against David Oppenheim in limit hold'em.

David is a limit hold'em specialist and he is one of the best in the world when it comes to his bread and butter game. The plan was to play for $250,000 at $3000-$6000 limit. When David finally arrived at about 8:00pm he chose to play for $200,000 at $2000-$4000 limit and I obliged.

I was off to a good start up around $60,000 but that lead would be short lived. After a few flushes on the river David took the lead. In fact, during the entire session David ended up winning several monster pots where I'd flopped either top pair, two pair, or trips, by making a flush on the end. Oh well, "That's poker."

After all that, I was down about $70,000. Then in a pot where I had K-6 of diamonds and he had Q-10 of diamonds we played another big pot. I raised from the button and he re-raised.

The flop came K-9-6 and he lead out. I raised and he called. The turn came a 2 and he checked and called. The river came a J and he got yet another check raise in on the river.

That had me down to half my stack but it got worse from there for me. I flopped top set of nines and he cracked it with a straight. I flopped three eights and he rivered a flush. Then the back breaking combo went like this:

David raised on the button and I re-raised with 77. The flop came 9-7-3 and I bet,- David called. The turn came a 5 and I bet again. This time David raised and I re-raised. The river came a 6 and David scooped the pot with 44.

Three hands later I raised from the button with 6-6 and David re-raised me. I re-raised him back and he called. The flop came A-K-6 with one club. David checked and called.

The turn card came the 9 of clubs and again David checked and called. The river was the 5 of clubs and David took down another one with the 8-10 of clubs.

By that point I was down big time. I fought hard with just $20,000 left to his $380,000. I went all in a few times and actually got myself back to close to $60,000.

Then the final back breaker: David raised from the button and I called with 6-7. The flop came 6-7-9 and I check-raised him. The turn card was an off jack and I bet, while David raised.

Since I was short on chips I decided to proceed cautiously and see what developed on the river. Another jack hit the river and David won with Q-J.

On the final hand I raised with 10-10 and David called. The flop was K-6-6 and I lost to David's K-5.

All in all the match was pretty brutal. David is a great limit hold'em player and there was no way I could fade him hitting flushes and miracles. I left the match thinking, "I'm glad it was 'only' $200,000." I ran pretty ugly for most of the way. Coming into the match I’d actually posted in my forum that I felt like he was the favorite. Switch the cards though and he wouldn’t have had a chance.

I put two beats on him too of course, hitting a two outer twice, but overall I think it was pretty obvious that David ran lucky throughout. Not to say I played better, in fact I think he probably did. Yet his drawing power was too much too handle for anybody, even if they were outplaying him.

I like David, and if I was going to lose a match it really didn't hurt too bad losing to him. He was a gentleman throughout and I think both of us enjoyed the match. He is an easy guy to root for.

As for a rematch, that will likely happen, but before it does I have some softer opponents to attend to for even larger stakes. I’ll be showing up at the Wynn again tonight to take on all comers. If no one shows up to play me heads up, then I’ll probably sit in the 50-100 blind no limit hold’em game till morning when I fly out to Ohio.

While losing the match sucks, I was really pumped up about how busy the room was tonight. There was an electric buzz in the room that is hard to explain. I’ve played in lots of card rooms since I started playing about 13 years ago and there is either a vibe about a room, or there isn’t. Tonight the room had monster mojo and it was good to see. Having Steve Wynn and his friend Peter Gabriel sweating the match certainly didn’t hurt the buzz factor!