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Daniel - Poker Journal

I Love Poker

20 Oct 2005

It just wasn't meant to be. Up until the very last hand where I went broke I think this may have been the best tournament I played all year. I made no significant blunders and kept my cool during cold runs.

I lost a coin flip early on in day two that had me down to 10,000. I didn't give up, though, and was able to rebound big time, getting my stack all the way up to 71,000.

Then disaster finally hit. Gus Hansen limped in for 1000, another big stack limped for 1000, as did another player. From the small blind I called with the 7h 4h and the big blind checked.

The flop came 8-6-3 rainbow and I checked the flop. Gus made a very small bet of 2600 and the first limper called as did I. The price was right, and I felt like I could possibly win the pot if I missed.

The one hand I had to worry about was a 7-9 that would have me in big trouble. It's a hand Gus would play in first position, but not one that I felt the other big stacked player would play. He seemed to be a very careful player, only playing solid hands.

Well, the turn came a 5s putting a backdoor flush draw there, and so I felt like I should bet out to protect my hand in case it got checked around. I bet 6000, Gus agonized for a while and finally called.

Now, the first limper raised it 15,000 more and it was decision time for me. I felt like Gus was on a draw, so if I was going to play I'd have to go all in for $28,000 more to put maximum pressure on him.

The dilemma lied in me trying to gauge the range of hands that he could raise with in that spot. It felt like he either had to have top set, or the death hand- 7-9.

I thought for quite some time, and my gut was telling me to be very afraid. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pull the trigger on the monster lay down, and when Gus folded his straight flush draw, I saw that my opponent had me dead. He had the 7-9.

It hurt a bit, because I was playing so well and I know better than to go broke in spots like that. Frankly, I just didn't have the perfect read on the guy and it cost me. I felt like he was strong, but was hoping it was a set. My bad.

Immediately after getting knocked out I headed straight for the poker room to play in the $4000-$8000 mixed game. It was the usual crew, Doyle, Chip, Ivey, Lyle Berman, David Benyamine, Jennifer, and Steve Weiss.

I got stuck about $150,000 right off the bat after missing a few flush draws in Stud and then losing with a 7 in razz. I later made an ace high flush in Stud, but David beat me with a full house on the end.

I did well in the triple draw, Omaha H/L, Stud H/L, and Hi-Lo Regular, but got punished in the Omaha Hi and the Stud Hi.

After a few hours the game got to be short handed, with just David, Doyle, Chip, and myself remaining. They were all playing props which is something I don't usually take part in, but decided, "what the hey."

For those of you unfamiliar with props, they are a staple in the big game. A basic explanation would be something like betting on black or red on the flop.

With props, though, each player participating picks three specific cards and if all three of the flop cards match the prop, you get paid by every player. So for example, if my prop was 4-5-6 (it was) then I would win if the flop came:


Or any combination of cards that contained all of my prop. If trip 5-5-5 flopped, I'd get paid double. If the 4-5-6 hit in all of the same suit, each player would owe me triple, or $30,000 each.

Now that is just a simple version of props. There are tons of other side bets that go on. When they play props, each player takes 7 different props, one of which is a "big boy" that pays double.

There are stiff jacks, activations, on for doubles, triples, pairs, suits, and all kinds of nutty props that get added into the mix.

Along with my 4-5-6 prop, I also played the Jack of clubs prop. That means, that in the stud games if the Jack of clubs was my door card I'd get paid $15,000 from each player.

The props I was playing were very simple, but can you imagine having to remember 20 different props and how much they all pay, while at the same time focusing on the poker game?

Many hands get stalled as the players are figuring out what props they hit, how much they owe, and whether they are on for doubles or triples.

There is one added wrinkle to props that makes what appears to be a totally random game of chance into a skill of sorts. If you "sleep" a prop, meaning that you don't see it, you don't get paid!

Sleeping the props is where some players see added value in the game. With so much money changing hand each street, while at the same time focusing on the poker hands, if you aren't paying full attention you'll be missing out on collecting your props.

I only played the props for the last hour of my 8 hour session, and nobody hit their "big boy" against me, and while I came close to hitting the 4-5-6, I never did.

When my session was over I ended up losing the grand total of $4000! You could basically call that breaking even since I lost just 1/2 of a big bet.

All in all, I feel like I'm playing some good poker right now and plan on playing a lot more in the next few weeks.