This week we are in Monaco for the Monte Carlo millions. It is a time capsule for me as I first came here in 1978 and still remember my sticker shock when I had to pay 20 dollars for a glass of orange juice at a popular night club at the time. Of course you can get cheaper food, but it is still 15 dollars for a bowl of tomato soup at one of the nicer places.
In the tournament itself Phil Ivey played great, constantly putting pressure on the other players even when they had as many chips as he did. Of course being a little lucky helps a lot and having AA when your opponent bluffs all his chips into you makes life easier and pads your stack. After we were in the money Erik Sagstrom raised from the button, Phil re-raised from the little blind with about a 1.3 million to 300,000 chip lead and Erik moved all-in with AA and Phil called with KQ. The flop was king high with another king on the river. No problem.
Erik is a very famous online player and plays a very deliberate game, too deliberate and slow for my taste, of course, and very unlike the typical 21 year old. The chances are that we will hear his name many times into the future as his successes continue.
Kristi Gazes was the very popular bubble girl here. She went 13th when only 12 were paid and had been shortstacked for many hours and many levels. She picked up 22 in the little blind and moved all-in as first in and the big blind had AA. End of story.
Pokernews star Tony Guoga had many intriguing hands here and finally exited 7th as he went all-in from the button with KcQc as the shortest stack at the final table and was called by the little blind who held QQ. At this point we stopped with six of the finalists set and a seventh person added back in as outlined in the following paragraph.
A sensible innovation here was the running of a "second chance" tournament where the winner is reborn back onto the final table, creating a final table of seven players. This idea has my full approval, although many may debate its merits.
The worst beat I witnessed here, and one of the worst all time, happened to John Juanda. He raised from the button with 10d9d and was called by the big blind who held Ad6d and the flop came KK10 rainbow, but whoops, the dealer forgot to burn. The ruling was that the flop came back and the deck was shuffled and the flop came 8d6c5d and all the money went into the center with a 10 coming on the river, but this was too late for John, as the turn was the 4 of diamonds and both made the flush. So instead of winning the pot Juanda was walking out the door.
I am in the Sony Activision WSOP game and have heard that I play like a donkey in it. Oh well they never asked for my input on that! I have also heard that I jump up and down like a classless jerk when I win a pot! Now that is something that has been seen on television and in many brick tournaments that I would like to never do. NEVER!
Chip Jett has a whole bunch of great insights and comments on a wide range of topics. On being paid to be in the Activision game he said; "They're paying me! Don't they know I would have paid them to be included?"
On going all-in at an early stage of a tournament with pocket aces he has said; "Going all-in with them is an excellent strategy! They are not part of my plan to get chips anyways, so just get them out of the way!"
Chip's humor is black on black and it seems like he has his tongue firmly in cheek at all times. This viewpoint is shared with some others, such as Bill Gazes who, when asked if he had any superstitions replied that he does not change his underwear when he is on a winning streak, but no one else does either! Lol!
A few more hands from the Pokerstars cruise of 2004 that I mentioned before. My story was one of a bad read and some bad luck. I was in the four seat with 9600 when a player came to our table with 5400 at the second level and sat in seat seven. I held 10-10 and made it 300 to go, over a big blind of 100, and when it came to him he moved all-in. This was a huge raise and made me stop and think about what he might hold. Many beginners will make this play with a pair 77 through JJ because it removes the responsibility they might have to play the hand as it happens later on. Many intermediate or internet players are likely to make this play with AK. In neither case is it clear that I should fold even though I have plenty of chips, I wish to enlarge my stack in this spot if I think I have the best hand. While I was considering the limited information I had I got a tell from him that he hated his hand. "Call!" I said immediately as this tell has never failed me, and I live to fight on if I am wrong. He turned over JJ and now I got to play the rest of my days well below par. At the third or fourth level I picked up 9s8s in the little blind with Seidel in the big blind and I completed the call. It came J-10-6 and I bet the size of the pot from my 3900 with Eric calling. The turn brought the lovely Q and with no suits in sight and blind versus blind I checked. He bet the pot, which was now 900, and I checkraised all-in for 2700 more. He thought and thought and thought and called from his 12,000 dollar stack. He held J-10 and had flopped two pair. No problem, off came a J and I was gone.
Deeper in the tournament Mike Matusow was in a hand holding A-10 versus someone he did not know and it came KQJ and all the money went into the middle. The problem was that his opponent held KK and had my favorite drawtop set! The board paired and Mike was done...or was he? Because there was still 5 days left of the cruise on Voyager-of-the-Seas and he used those days to go on one long drunk telling everyone who would listen about his bad luck and the full story that illustrated it. One person he cornered was Howard Lederer and as the story was told for the umpteenth time and the board paired yet again the Mouth lifted a heavy chair and crashed it down onto Howard's toe, breaking it. For the rest of the journey when I ran into Mike I would ask him to hold that thought, point my toes backwards, well out of harms way, and then tell him to go ahead with the (same old) bad beat story. To this day I am not certain if he got the humor of this. I do know that bad beats are the ones that happen to us.
Mike's recent barrage of great results has gone a long way in assuaging his feeling that things never break even for him. He has won 2.4 million that I know of as of this writing in three tournaments in this calendar year. If you remember my Thor quote from column 29 you know the rest of the story.
Until next time... play good... and get lucky!
Ed Note: Do you want to chat in your own language at the poker table? Everest Poker's software allows you to see chat in many different languages.