WPT Five Diamond Classic, Day One

I started out at yet another extremely soft table. Right off the bat I was making hands and cruising up to $55,000 by the end of round one. Round two went pretty smoothly also and I was up to 64,000. From 64,000 all the way down to about 12,000 in level 5 with about an hour left in the day. I was able to double up, though, when I made it 1500 from middle position with QQ. The button made it 3000, and I re-raised him 3575, leaving myself with 5000. He looked over and noticed I had just one blue chip left and threw it in. He was a rookie so I made the easy call and he turned over A-J. That got me up to about 25,000 when I made it 1500 to go with 33. I got two callers and the flop came Kd-4c-3d. The blind checked, I checked, and the rookie checked. The turn was the 8c, the blind checked, I bet 2400, the rookie called, and the blind called. The river was the 7c. Now I absolutely knew that the blind was drawing to clubs, so when he checked I checked behind him. The rookie checked also, and the blind turned over Q-10 of clubs. Sure I could have won the pot on the flop, but I was looking to get some action for my set. The very last hand of the night a tight player limped in for 600, I limped on the button with A-4, and the big blind checked. The flop was Q-9-7 with two clubs and both players checked to me. The rookie was in the big blind, and if he had ANYTHING he would have bet that flop, while the other player didn’t have a pair. How did I know that? I looked at him and could tell, plain and simple. I threw out 1000, the rookie folded and the limper called. The turn was the 4c, he checked, and I checked. River came another blank and I won in a showdown against his J-8, gut shot straight draw. I ended the night with 21,450 and it felt like a bitter sweet result. I’m happy to have a decent sized stack after taking several tough beats on the river in a row, but at the same time, it felt like I was in control for a second there. With 21,450 in chips and only looking at 400-800 blinds not much has to change for me strategy wise. Sure, I have to be a little more careful, but I can still use my reading skills and also try to “chop my way” back to respectability. There was one key hand I played early in the day with A-10 that I’m going to save for an upcoming Card Player column. Speaking of Card Player, at 9:00pm, after the day was over, I headed up to a suite with Mike Matusow to do a radio interview with the guys at cardplayer.com. The interview went VERY well and it ended up turning into a very informative listen for those of you looking to improve your no limit skills. Mike and I ended up sharing lots of secrets and strategies that the pros use to get the job done. I highly recommend listening to the link when it becomes available. Also, the tournament will be updated as always at cardplayer.com, but you can also discuss the tournament and get updates on specific players in the forums at fullcontactpoker.com. The plan for tonight is to watch a movie before bed. I’m thinking Rocky III! I need to get my mojo going for tomorrow and Rocky always does the trick!]]>