World Series of Poker Europe

Inside the Poker Tour — 81: Live from APPT Sydney

Inside the Poker Tour — 81:  Live from APPT Sydney 0001

I have to fire myself as a 'sweater', as I was witness to the following hands: Late in the third Day One (500-1000 blinds, with a 100 ante) I was standing behind a table which included Hiroshi Shimamura of Japan and Gary Lenz of Los Angeles when the following hand came up. The two hole limped off a stack of 16,200 and a player in the three hole then made it 3200 to go from a stack of over 40,000. Gary was in the six hole and pushed all-in for 16,700. The limper thought for a long time and called; remember, he had a raiser and a re-raiser behind him! The raiser mucked, Gary turned up {j-Spades}{j-Hearts} and the UTG player turned up {q-Clubs}{j-Clubs}. No problem. The flop came {10-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{8-Diamonds} and after the {10-Hearts} and {4-Spades} came off Gary was crippled and out one hand later.

Lee 'Final Table' Nelson lost two hands that I watched from afar and finished 18th, close behind Scotty 'The Prince of Poker' Nguyen, who moved all in against a made straight with one pair. In the first (tragic hand) with 23 players left, Mr D mini-raised to 32,000 from the cutoff over a big-blind of 16,000 with {a-Spades}{8-Hearts}, and Lee re-raised to 110,000 from the button off a stack of 455,000. Mr D called and it came {q-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}, and Mr D then moved all in for about 230,000. Lee counted out a call, asked Mr D some questions, and finally called with {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}. Another player volunteered that he had mucked an eight, the turn of {7-Diamonds} was safe, but what came off on the river? Yes… the {8-Diamonds}! Normally implacable, Lee jumped as though he'd just gotten an electric shock.

With blinds of 10,000 and 20,000 and 18 players left (six at each of three tables) the chip leader, with almost two million in chips, raised to 65,000 from UTG. Lee re-raised all-in for 240 thousand with {8-Clubs}{8-Spades} on the button. Eventually Lei He, the UTG raiser, made a difficult call with {a-Hearts}{2-Clubs} and the board ran out {a-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{10-Spades}{5-Hearts}{6-Spades}. Lee Nelson was done, although he was an enormous favorite to win one of these final two hands and be in the running for yet another important title.

I am reminded of a hand that Barry Greenstein played against Gus Hansen in the early days of poker on television. Barry managed to get all in with Gus (it was short-handed) with Q-J versus Q-8 with the board reading KQ4, which leaves Gus with three outs to tie (any four) and three outs to win (any eight), less re-draws. No problem! The turn brings a four for the tie! The river brings an eight for the win! Now the television interviewer asked Barry how he felt about this and his reply was to the effect of; "I can only get my money in with the best of it and then if the cards beat me so be it. If I put my money in with the worst hand and lost that might bother me a bit, but as it is, it's beyond my control…."

Well, as a player I lost control and also didn't fare well. On the first hand dealt on the second of the opening Day Ones I picked up {a-Hearts}{a-Diamonds} and the two hole limped for 100. I made it 450 from the four hole on my way to proving how useless getting two aces right away can be. The straightforward player right behind me called with {a-Spades}{q-Clubs} and two of us took the flop. It came {k-Spades}{j-Clubs}{10-Spades} and I bet 1100, and she threw in two thousand-dollar chips, which in Sydney was a raise. She was told she had to make it 2200 and did so, with me (foolishly) re-raising to 6200. She now moved all-in. I had sucker punched myself. Stepping back and looking at the situation I couldn't imagine that I held the best hand and after a minute's thought I threw it away; after all, a loss of 6650 off a starting stack of 20,000 was hardly fatal. Just disappointing.

The value of having aces cannot be underestimated… if they win. It's certainly the easiest hand to go broke with, as it's hard to let go. You look down at A-A and it seems so beautiful… even though it's only one pair. But trying to win without kings, queens, jacks or sets will likely lead to defeat and usually does. To get to the final table, no matter how well one plays, you need to be a bit lucky in some hands, and not unlucky in some others. As these examples all too clearly illustrate, either problem will send you to the rail. By contrast, when I read the blogs of some of the money winners they had an abundance of sets and big pairs during their victorious runs.

At Level 6, I finally moved into the plus column for the day (meaning over 20K) and I topped out at 65,000 in Hour 10. After making a few unsuccessful bluffs in Hours 11 and 12 I came back to Day Two as one of the shorter stacks.

On Day Two we were at 98 players when I moved all in from the cutoff for 29,000, first in to the pot, though with {9-Hearts}{5-Hearts}, over blinds of 1200-2400 with an ante of 400. This could have been good somewhere else, but not at this moment when the little blind called, after some thought, with K-8 offsuit off a stack of 66,000… with the table leader in the big-blind with over 210,000! The table leader now showed an ace and mucked what he said was A-10 off. That was a hand I beat, but the caller's I would not, as it came K-8-3-9-4 and I walked the plank.

Well, until we meet again, play good… and get lucky!

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