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Daniel - Poker Journal

Iím Out, but a Very Happy Man

30 Aug 2007

I think I put in a very solid effort in Barcelona. I played a ďforcedĒ coin flip situation at the end of day one and was lucky enough to win it. Early on day two I suffered a cold deck on the following hand:

A player raised from the middle to 2500 with blinds at 400-800 and a 100 ante. In late position I found Ad Kd. The player only had about 9200 left on top of the 2500, so while I thought about re-raising him, again, itís really just not my style so I opted for the call. The flop came As 9d 4c. At this point there isnít much that can happen for me that doesnít get me to put all of the guys chips in. He checked the flop and I decided to feign weakness and checked also.

The turn was a Js and he checked again. At this point Iím hoping he has KK or QQ and will pay off a small bet, so I bet 2500. He hesitated for a while and finally went all in. I was a little worried about JJ, but there is just no way I could fold for 3500 more. I called and he showedÖ AA! Oh well.

I was able to fight back from that and quickly got myself up over 30,000 by chopping away. Limping, stabbing, small raising, trapping, etc. Then I played my second all in pot of the tournament:

A player raises under the gun to 3000 with 600-1200 blinds and a 100 ante. In second position I looked at QQ and smooth called. Again I can re-raise as a total guess, but that just ainít my style. On my immediate left, Brian Green counts out the 3000 call and 12,000 more. Then instead of doing that, he goes all in for like 27,000. The button made what looked like a total desperation call from the button for 8000 and it was decision time for me. Most anyone else at the table, in the same situation, I could have folded, but I know Brian to be an aggressive pre-flop player who may have a smaller pair than mine. Also, if he did have a hand like AK, the player on the button may have an Ace or a King in his hand which would make me an even bigger favorite. After a long delay I called: Brian had AK and the button had K-10. I won that pot and was rolling.

I got up to 80,000 before taking a few tough beats in a row. That had me down to 50,000, but once again I battled back to close to 70,000 before my final hand. John Spadavechia limped for 1200 as did the player next to him. Before I looked at my cards, I surveyed the situation and made it look like I was trying to gauge the strength of my opponents hand, but in fact , I was just trying to make sure it was call call, vs. call raise. I looked at my hand and found QQ again. I raised it to 7000 and without blinking an eye, the big blind declared himself all in.

Now this was a kid who JUST moved to the table. This was his second hand at the table and he came to it as the chip leader with just a little more than me. Right off the bat I could just tell that I was dealing with an aggressive Scandinavian player. He had loads of the 100 chips which often signifies a player that is playing lots of hands. In this case I looked over at him and he gave me an awkward smile after I said to him, ďThatís a pretty strange bet.Ē

I was convinced I had the best hand and was hoping that I had a 4-1 statistical advantage. I could easily fold here and maintain above average chips, but some of these younger players will force you to race eventually. They often gamble way more than necessary which would make it difficult for them to have consistent results in tournament poker. When things go well they can certainly win, but from a perspective of longevity itís just not an approach that will get you deep consistently. After feeling extremely confident that he didnít have AA or KK, I called. I hated to see that he had AK as I was hoping for a better situation, but here was my change to be among the chip leaders with close to 150,000 in chips. Well, I won my first two races but lost this one and was out.

Oh well, I am happy with every decision I made. I never played a pot with the worst of it, never made a bad call, and made a few good lay downs along the way. I was forced into a few coin flips that Iíd rather avoid, but when I am confident that I have an edge I wonít let guys push me off the best hand. In other words, I ainít ďscurredĒ to gamble if I have to. With the game of poker always evolving with new approaches and new styles of play, I am extremely confident that my approach is the absolute best way to go. There will be guys that play aggressively pre-flop that go on rushes from time to time, but the guys with staying power always play a careful game pre-flop.

Iím looking forward to playing in both the PokerStars World Cup of Poker for Team Canada later this week and feel great about my chances at the WSOP Europe in London next week. Due to the WCP in Barcelona, I wonít be able to attend the first HORSE event, but will be there in time for the Pot Limit Omaha and the main event. Iím playing really well right now and feel like Iím going to do extremely well over the next month or so.