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Daniel - Poker Journal

The Battle of the Champions

28 May 2005

The Battle of the Champions paid just one spot and it was a seat for the $25,000. It was all about the bragging rights really and I just wanted to make sure I put in a good showing.

We started at one 11 handed table with $500,000 each in chips (Doyle Brunson and Erik Brenes didn't show.) The blinds started out at a whopping 5000-10,000.

I knew right away that playing at an 11 handed table it was important to play very conservatively especially in early position. When you are up against top competition you have to make some adjustments.

Tuan Le took a totally different approach. He played basically every hand trying to take an early advantage. He started off stuck, but then won a few pots and got ahead.

I got crippled on one hand against Tuan: I limped in for 20,000 in the small blind with 10-8 after Carlos Mortenson and Tuan Le limped in. The flop came 10-9-6 and I checked.

All checked to Tuan and he bet 80,000. I decided to take control of the hand and made it 180,000 leaving myself with 296,000. Carlos thought for a long time and then finally folded Q-J.

When it got back to Tuan he moved me all in. After a very long deliberation (I was getting 2.5 to 1) I finally decided to muck it. The dealer, for some bizarre reason decided to look at the next two cards... a 7 and a 3. Doh! I didn't need to see that.

I took comfort in the fact that Tuan had flopped a set of sixes though making my lay down correct.

I struggled to hang in there, but was able to make the final six 4th in chips with 673,000- Tuan lead the way with 1.5 million.

The whole way I felt like I was playing excellent. Making few if any mistakes. I made one risky play against Tuan, but had a good read on the hand. After Tuan busted a player he clumsily raised my blind from first position and I put him on absolute junk. I moved all in with J-6 of spades and he mucked his 5-3 off suit.

With four players left Tuan had a big lead and the rest of the pack was just hovering. On the button, with blinds at 15,000-30,000 I made it 80,000 with Q-9 of hearts. Tuan from the small blind made it 180,000 to go. I called.

The flop came Q-8-5 rainbow and Tuan bet 100,000. I genuinely felt like my pair of queens where good, but deliberated nonetheless. It was half legitimate thought/half Hollywood. Finally I moved all in for a over 400,000 and Tuan called me with 7-8. 6 on the turn... 4 on the river and I was done for.

All and all I was stoked about the way I played. If I would have won that pot I would have been a serious contender... oh well, Tuan escaped!

Since then I've been hanging out with Lori. Yesterday she convinced me and Travis to do a mud mask. Both of us reluctantly agreed. I looked over at Travis and he looked so ridiculous- I'm sure I looked equally strange to him though.

Once the mask dried and we took it off my skin felt great. Who knew, that stuff really works!

It's been down time again today. We watched Phantom of the Opera, played with the dog, basically nothing serious. Tonight I'm headed over to E-DOG's house for an interview with the New Yorker, then we will probably meet up with Carlos, Cece, and the rest of the gang for dinner and drinks.