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Daniel - Poker Journal

I fought through a Jet lagged Day One

30 Aug 2007

Normally I get pretty irritated with the “little things” associated with a poker tournament, but for some reason, nothing here bothers me at all. Sure there have been a few things that aren’t perfect, but who cares, I’m in Barcelona! Something about the beach is very soothing and my patience is at an all time high, both at the poker tables and with people in general.

Before I give you a rundown of day one, I wanted to give kudos to the EPT for going 8 handed on day 2. From everything I’ve seen so far playing on the EPT, they seem to really “get it.” They are forced to start 10 handed on day one due to venue constraints, but unlike the WSOP and the WPT they go 9 handed as soon as a player gets eliminated and then we play “real poker.” Day two we play “real poker” all day 8 handed.

Now, the only reason I can think of that that keeps other tournaments from doing that is money. You can save a few bucks on paying dealers if you go 10 handed rather than, say, 8 handed. Pretty ridiculous, but what other motive could there be for keeping the tournaments 10 handed all the way through when none of the players want the game 10 handed?

In so many ways, the EPT is positioning themselves to be the leading tour in the world. As of now, countries from all over the world send reporting teams to cover the events and they are given full access to the tournament and are allowed to update the events as they please. With the new deals in place regarding the WSOP and the WPT, I think it’s only a matter of time before other countries just stop sending reporters all together. I mean, why would you if they won’t even allow you to follow and track the players from your own country? I can’t imagine a site like www.pocketfives.com can really afford to send reporters out to events and I think that’s a demographic you’d be foolish to ignore. Pocket Fives solely covers the online superstar players… with them being shutout, who will be doing that now?

I think these deals, while maybe profitable in the short run, are akin to pulling out a revolver and then shooting yourself in the foot… repeatedly. I would challenge anyone involved to look me straight in the face and tell me that these deals were put in place to, “benefit the game of poker and it’s players.’

Enough about that. Let’s talk about my day one:

The tournament starts you off with 10,000 in chips, not the “double” chips that seem to be catching on in the U.S. And here I thought I was done… one more thing: not that it matters at all, but what is the deal with these double chips anyway? The main event at the WSOP exactly doubled everything, the starting chips and the structure at every level. This didn’t add, or take away any play at all. Call it a pet peeve, but nothing annoys me more than hearing poker players say things like, “Oh yeah that’s a good tournament, they give you double chips for your money.” Come on people! Get your head out of the sand and realize you’ve been duped for once! Frankly, I wish all the tournaments would just start you with 10,000 in chips since it’s less messy. That, aside from the fact that there is simply no good reason to double the chips you start with if you are just going to double the structure as well.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, the tournament. Here was my first key hand:

Blinds are 25-50 and I raise to 125 with AA from the middle. Jan Slavik calls on the button as do both blinds. The flop is ugly for me: 5c 6s 7c. The blinds checked so I bet 400, completely committed to dumping the hand if there is any serious action behind me. Everyone folds to the big blind and he makes it 800? Yikes, that’s scary, but I can’t just fold here.

The turn is the Ac giving me a set. Now the guy bets only 700 and I have a seriously interesting dilemma. I don’t put him on a flush at all, but I am slightly worried about a straight. What I really think he has, though, is two pair. If he has two pair then I have him drawing dead and also want him to “get there.” If he gets there I could win a big bet on the river. Unless he has the 6c in his hand there is no risk of giving him a free card really. I decide to just call. The river is the 10s and he checks. Now I want to get paid off and decide on 1800. He thinks for a while and finally calls me. He later told me he had 77 and I believe him. Had the board paired on the river, I likely would have doubled up right there, but I was just happy to win the pot with so many scary cards out there.

Hand 2: Blinds 150-300 25 ante. We were 7 handed at our table and to my immediate left, the tightest player at the table decides to raise under the gun to 900, but not before awkwardly hesitating as though he didn’t really want to play, but felt he had to because it was short handed. All folded to me and I decided to call from the big blind with Ah 8s. The flop came Qc 10c 8c. I checked, and he checked after another hesitation.

At this point I felt like I had the best hand and that he had a hand like AK, likely without a club in his hand. The turn was the 2c and again it went check-check. The river brought the 6s and I checked for the last time hoping to win in a showdown. Then my man decided to fire out 1500? When he did it, it was the most awkward looking bet I’d ever seen! Besides the fact that it made little sense, this 6’ 4” 255 pound German looked like a scared little boy. He was playing with his teeth, almost grinding like a coke head. Still, my worry was that he may have a hand that is bluffing but still beats me. Eventually though, after tapping into my memory bank, I remembered watching several hands he’d played where he “rolled over” on the river with some very powerful hands in last position. He wasn’t the type of guy that seemed to be big on value betting the river with marginal hands. Man, I hate having to make calls like this, but how could I fold with all of that information? I called, and he showed two red threes… sweet!

Hand 3: Last hand of the night, a young, aggressive kid from Holland (good player) made it 1700 to go with blinds at 300-600 and a 75 ante. His raise was from early position and I looked down at 77 from the middle. If I call the 1700 that leaves me with just 8425 left Many players would push it all in here, but still had people left to act behind me, and besides, that’s just not my style at all. I called as did Jan Slavik from the button (did he ever fold a button? I don’t think so).

The flop came 2h 3s 6h and the kid bets out 3500. At this point I really didn’t have much of a read aside from the fact that I’d seen the kid make a continuation bet in every hand that he played, so although I had no other information, I felt like I had no choice but to gamble and hope the 77 were good. Jan folded and the kid INSTA called me. “Oops,” I thought, I’m outta here. He turned over the Kh 8h, though, giving him two over cards and a flush draw. It was an all out race, and I won this one, ending the day with 24,500 and am above average in chips going into day two.

I felt like I played extremely well, taking stabs at a lot of flops and staying aggressive in some of the dead money pots as well. I had a little Ivey/Greenstein thing going on there for a bit. Hopefully I can get my chips up well today so that I can play “my” game the rest of the way. I’m confident that I will be able to, especially since we’ll be playing 8 handed (Yeah EPT!!!).

Anyway, I have a few interviews to do before play today so I better be going. We start at 5:00pm local time which is 6 hours ahead of EST and 9 hours ahead of PST.