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WPT Bellagio Day One- Good Vibes

13 Dec 2007

It felt good to be back at the Bellagio. Itís been a pretty busy week for me with moving stuff and getting organized in time for the tournament. The house is looking very different already, and the ďpiece de resistanceĒ should be installed completely by tomorrow (www.fullswinggolf.com)

I went to a chiropractor the other day to fix my back and he told me it was a back spasm. He cracked it and said to take it easy for a couple days to let it heal. Itís still a little bit soar, actually it feels fine as long as Iím not hitting golf balls.

So anyway, some of you are probably really sick of reading non-poker content heavy blogs so letís get to the dayís play. At my table I only recognized two faces, Bernard Lee and Blair Rodman. My table was rich in ďolder white guysĒ which in todayís poker world has to be seen as a good thing. Not that they suck, but they certainly donít fit the mold of the young internet hotshot that can cause you lots of problems.

I didnít play a hand in the first round and then in the second round the following hand took place:

A older white guy limped, Blair limped, and the button made it 425. I looked down at AK from the small blind and thought about re-raising as I didnít believe the button raiser to be too strong. Instead, I decided to play it ďsafeĒ and smooth called as did the other players.

The flop came K 8 5 rainbow. I checked and it got checked around. The turn was the 10d putting a backdoor flush draw out there. I bet 1100 and the white guy made it 3000 (all others folded). I was worried about the situation but had no read on this guy at all yet. I felt there was a good chance he had KQ or something like that and was trying to protect his hand- I called.

The river brought a 6 and I checked again. This time he bet 3500 and I just couldnít bring myself to fold the hand. It seemed like despite the fact his hand looked like a set of tens, there were too many other hands he could have that I could beat. I called, kind of expecting to see a set of tens actually, and he turned over a set of eights. That had me down 7000 right off the bat, but luckily this is a deep stacked tournament so it didnít put me in any danger at all.

The second hand I played was against a different older white guy. He raised from under the gun, button called and I called with 44 from the small blind. The flop came Jc Jd 5c and I checked. The initial raiser over bet the pot betting 1500 when there was only 900 out there. The button folded and I felt like this was a good opportunity to represent a jack as it seemed clear to me that this guy had AA or KK- I called.

The turn was a 2d and I fired out 2800 with the intent of bluffing bigger at the river if it was a club or if I felt hit would work. The guy didnít look like he was going to budge and called. The river was a 9s and I gave up on the bluff. He actually bet 5000 himself which further confirmed for me that he was definitely calling me. After that pot I dropped to about 17,000.

I was able to get back to 30,000 on the following hand:

Guy makes it 500 to go and I call from the small blind with KK- the big blind called also. The flop was Js 9c 2s and I checked to the raiser who bet 1200. I made it 3600 to go and he called. I was convinced I had him crushed and would have played for all my chips on the flop if he raised me back. The turn was the 9s and at this point I still thought I had him dead to very few outs as I had the spade in my hand.

I hesitated for a moment, considering a bet, but I didnít want to scare him so I checked to induce a call on the river if a brick hit. He checked.

The river was the 6s and I quickly fired out 4200. He called and that got me back to 30,000 which is where I was sitting for most of the day, between 30k and my peak of 44,800.

I hate talking about the ďbad beatĒ hands but I figure I should share the two biggest pots I played on the day:

Beat 1: Guy makes it 800, Bernard Lee calls, I call on the button with QJ. Flop is J-7-2 rainbow. All check the flop. Turn is the 10c and they check to me again so and I bet 2000. The first raiser called, I figured he picked up a draw for sure, and Bernard moved all in for a little over 5000 more. I thought about it for a minute, but didnít think heíd check a strong hand twice in that spot, especially with such a scary board and my no showing any interest in the flop. I called and he showed A-10. River was an Ace.

Beat 2: 3 hands left in the night and Blair Rodman goes all in for 7000 in what looked like a desperation play to either get some chips for tomorrow or take the day off to go golfing. I called on the button with JJ and he showed A-5. A flop of A-A-10 had me pretty dead.

Considering the fact that I didnít win too many pots, didnít suck out on anyone, and donít feel like I made any mistakes (except for the 44 hand) finishing the day above 30,000 felt like an amazing start. I ended with 32,775.

Throughout the day I used some of the tricks Iíve learned recently playing online. In my book I call them, ďdead money grabsĒ and today I was 100% on all of my attempted pre-flop bluffs. Iíve added a few new weapons to my arsenal that I think will be really effective, especially during those stretches where I canít seem to pick up a hand. I also went with my reads, like in the following hand which happened late in the night:

I raised to 1500 with Qh Jh and a tight white guy made it 3500 total. I called the 2000 but had this guy on AA as his most likely hand based on his tendencies and the raise size. The flop came Q-7-6 with one heart. I checked and he bet 3500. I still figured I was beat but the price to suck out and get his whole stack was right so I called. The turn was an 8, I checked and he bet 5000. I looked over at him and said, ďThatís pretty brave betting AA on that board. That 8 is right in my wheelhouse.Ē I showed him the Q and foldedÖ he showed AA which was no surprise to me.

Anyway, the gist of the day for me was a solidly played day with lots of minor gear changes, no big pots played in marginal situations, and no hands where I got my money in backÖ outside of the 44 of course, but even that hand wasnít so bad based on the information I had at the time.

If you guys want to follow along tomorrow the best way to do that is to log on to the forums at www.fullcontactpoker.com and check the General Forum. There will be a thread stickied at the top with text message updates from me in between hands.

On that note, since it was such an early night I think Iím going to practice for a few hours playing online at PokerStars. I wonít be playing long and I probably wonít be multi-tabling. Youíll probably find me in the bigger limit holdíem games or maybe the $25-$50 no limit holdíem games. This is a whole other blog, but playing limit holdíem actually helps my no limit game more than playing no limit. That should never make sense, but trust me, itís exactly what works for me. When Iím at my best Iím playing limit holdíem well. Itís the game I grew up on and I think itís the most important indicator of whether Iím in the zone or not.


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