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Inside the Tour, Volume Seven

Inside the Tour, Volume Seven 0001

Two hands to describe from the 2,500 buy-in no-limit event at the Bicycle Club on March 27, 2005.

At the first level, about 45 minutes after we started, "Bobby" Bellande brought it in for 100 (over a big blind of 50, from a stack of 4475, we began with 5000 each in chips) and two spots behind him Ralph Rudd (a no-nonsense type of player) made it 350, Bobby called.

The flop was AJ2, Bobby checked and Ralph bet 800, Bobby called. The turn was an 8, no suit showing, Bobby checked and Ralph bet 1200, now Bobby straightened up and went "all-in", Ralph thought long and hard and called, he had about 1000 more than Bobby in chips, which made a tough decision somewhat easier to make. The hands come over AK off-suit for Ralph, 10-9 off-suit for Bobby. Wow! Off came a 7 and Bobby went on to win the tournament. Folks that is one path to tournament victory; let me say it again, WOW! Raising before the flop in first position is interesting, calling the re-raise before the flop is not unusual, but calling after the flop of AJ2 out of position is amazing, not the normal professional advanced play by any stretch of the imagination, even if you had the right read on your opponent. So I give this hand quad WOWs, do not try this at home, unless you somehow know you are going to make the winning hand on the river. Bobby's commentary was worth mentioning too, as he stacked the chips he says, "sorry, Ralph, I put you on kings and thought you would lay them down.

I am surprised you called me, even with what you had." Is this the truth... or a needle?

The second hand is my exit from the event at the second level (100 big blind). An older player made it 400 from the front and a young man hemmed and hawed from the cutoff and called, I held AsAd in the big blind and made it 1200, both called. The flop came 765 rainbow and I thought a bit and moved all-in. The pot already had 3650 in it, which was considerably more than my stack, and I was not going to lay the hand down on any subsequent action, and lastly it was a fairly coordinated flop on which I did not want to give a hand like Ac9c a free card to see if the straight card came. The older player counted out a call several times and finally blustered a comment I have heard many times, "I came to gamble!" This was his proclamation as he splashed his chips toward the middle of the table. The young player said, "well I am glad you called him so I don't have to" and mucked his 10-10. The older player had 33 and the turn was a 4 and I was gone.

In professional circles such players are referred to as 'donkeys'. What is a donkey's most famous trait? Yep, stubborn. They might have little chance of winning an event but by laying down in front of a huge oncoming roller and giving up the carcass they can create big bumps for someone.

Who has gone on to fame and wealth as the media driven poker explosion has happened? The donkey killers. Phil Hellmuth is more famous for throwing tantrums than gracefully accepting beats and a few years ago allowed Varkonyi to shave his head at the WSOP when Varkonyi beat Phil's AK with his Q-10 and then went on to win the world championship.

Back to 'Bobby Bellande' who just now finished second in the 2000 buy-in at the Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada held April 11 and 12th, 2005. I did not watch the hand and so cannot say how the money got into the middle but not long before the final table an enormous (chip wise) hand came down where Bobby had 88 and his opponent held AK and the flop came AAK, which would be the death knell for the average human being but now Bobby caught 88 to make quads and go to the final table as a huge chip leader. This is a hand that will be talked about for years to come, if not decades.

When such events happen people are in awe but I have the perspective of a backgammon player and do not see them as such a big deal. In backgammon you might take a beat that is more than a million to one whereas in poker it is not possible to take a beat that is more than 946 to one unless you contrive special circumstances such as reshuffling the deck and including the discards, or such. So backgammon players adjust much more easily to this situation in general, and to bad beats in particular, whereas a chess player tends to blow his cork that the "right" hand failed to win a particular pot, even when the dominant hand might only be a three or four to one favorite. Chess players come from an artificial reality where the "right" move is supposed to win. Welcome to the real world, chess players! Another place that I see people complaining nonstop about losing particular hands is on internet forums. Anymore I tend to just click to the next item as most of them have no concept of fair in poker terms. Both chess players and backgammon players can have big problems with poker if they are not mature enough, or lack objectivity about their own game. In 'African Genesis' Robert Ardrey wrote about 'disillusionment of central position' which I am here today to tell you is essential if you wish to become one of the top players in the world.

Does that mean that your competitive juices must be reined in? Of course not. The more aggressive players have a built in advantage in tournament action. Let it go. Let it flow! If you are more of a chess player by temperament you should not be playing poker, but if you insist on playing, then by all means, play in a cash game!

More Bellande! (This guy is so much fun to write about! He has gamble!) He recently came third in the Harrah's-Rio-ESPN 10,000 dollar buy-in event in March of 2005. He blew himself up on a hand by moving all-in against Doug Lee when the board read A234 and he held 64 because he "knew" Lee did not hold a five, and therefore could not call. Whoops! Lee's hand was 85, and this left him with a mountain of chips and Jennifer Harman with relatively few. The intriguing thing here is that Bobby had plenty of chips when he moved in, while Jennifer's stack had seemed more vulnerable. Two observations: one, here is a guy that puts his money on the line and plays for first place; and two, here is a guy who acts on his 'reads', right or wrong.

First place was 695,970, second place was 383,840, and third place was 210, real dollars.

I have many more 'Bobby' stories from large cash games where he has risked hundreds of thousands, as well as this foray into tournament action which has brought him fame and notoriety over night. good and get lucky!

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