posted on June 13, 2011 00:00
I just got home from Las Vegas. My trip began May 28 playing in a Million Dollar Freeroll at Caesars Palace the next day with 99 other players for a WSOP Bracelet. Here were the seating assignments.
Seat 1 - Dennis Summers - 2 Allie Prescott - 3 Brian Ali - 4 Gary Friedlander - 5 Jesse Bryant -6 Jeses Cabrera - 7 Josh Evans - 8 Joel Merwick - 9 Scotty Fucking Clark
My Southwest flight was St. Louis to Omaha, Nebraska, to Las Vegas. When the plane began to board in Omaha, here came Joel Merwick -- an Omaha native. I said hello, but we don't know each other and we never talked at the airport. Fast forward to the next day and would you know it, Joel was seated on my right. My first big pot was versus Merwick. I raised with Queens in a three-way pot. The flop landed K 7 4 and it was checked around. A Queen of Diamonds landed on the turn -- completing any Diamond draw. Joel bet and was called by myself and Brian Ali. A blank landed on the river, Joel led again and I called. Merwick showed a set of Sevens and I took it down.
A very good check by me on the flop.
I rolled my stack into 32,000 (20K to start) by the end of the second level. I had began to build a great table image, mixing up instances of having the hand at showdown and showing a few big pairs to folds. I also got away with stealing when I tried. Then I made a steal that should have worked but didn't. Brian Ali picked off my river bluff when I held one pair. It was checked around on the flop and Jesus Cabrera was in position in the hand. I led on the turn representing the flush that got there and was called twice. I bet big on the river, and Ali tanked a long time. Brian hated his call, he was "in the squeeze". Cabrera's demeanor told me he had no call coming, but Ali still called 10K and this let alot of wind out of my sails. After that hand, I just called with AK from the small blind in an uncalled pot to Allie Prescott. He was short-stacked, shoved with Ace rag and I snap called. I now had 38K in chips. After the elimination of Prescott, Kyle Cartwright and Dwyte Pilgrim were moved to my table. Dennis Summer and Gary Friedlander never showed up for the tournament and their chips were picked up after four hours. We played 7 handed for 4 hours and I think the situation was actually advantageous for me. After busting Allie, I doubled up Dwyte Pilgrim in probably the worst call all year. Mr Pilgrim should thank me, it was embarrassing...
I was then moved to a different table which included Pete Mavro, Bernard Lee and Brandon Adams on my immediate left. La Sengphet and Allen Kessler were on my right. I am telling you here and now, I watched La simply pummel a table of grown men. It is true, this bitch can play boys (inside joke). I was down to 12K when I raised with As Js and La re-raised from the big blind allin. I folded and she showed me Queens, cause we friends on Facebook LOL. For three hours at this table I lingered between 9K and 20K -- then I doubled through Miss Sengphet. I limped with AK, Pete raised, La called with 66 and I shipped it. La called and the flop came 7 7 T. There was no help on the turn, but I spike the Ace on the river to avoid elimination.. I entered Day Two with 38,600 in chips. Blinds will be 600/1200 and 35 players remain. Fourteen of these players have a shorter stack than I, but I have drawn a very tough table on the re-draw.
Going into Day Two, the chip average is 54,000 and it was anybody's game.
Quoting Pokernews.com Live Reports -- "Catching the action on a 4h 2d 6c flop we found Scott Clark moving all in to force Sam Barnhart out but find a snap-call by La Sengphet. Clark held Ac 8c Sengphet 2s 2h. With Clark drawing virtually dead, the 6h on the turn would end his tournament forcing him to the rail in 26th place as Sengphet moved to 190,000 in chips."
It is true, this play does not look good on paper. Playing for the National Championship and a WSOP Bracelet, I open shoved into two very tough players with air. I had been a bit card dead for my Day Two and the hand above began with myself UTG+1 with a suspect Ace Eight suited. The thing that amazed me in this tournament was the fact that players actually folded to my preflop raises often. My read was that I had a decent table image, and this table had been pretty tight at this stage of the tournament. Tunica Main Event Champion Sam Barnhart called. Sam is a good ole boy with a Southern gentleman's charm and he started the day with only 20K in chips. Somehow he had gotten hot at his first table and gathered the chips to put himself back into contention. Barnhart's call was slow and deliberate. I got the feeling he wanted to raise to isolate and changed his mind. I read him as holding AQ or something like Eights or Nines. La Sengphet and her big stack also made the call and we went to the flop. The flop was a 2 4 6 rainbow and here are my thoughts. I was nearly certain that La did not hold a pair Nines or bigger. She had a big stack and she would have raised preflop to grab position. IF Sam held something like Sevens, Eights, Nines or Tens -- I was in big trouble. My only hope would have been he felt squeezed with La behind him, causing him to fold a better hand (not likely). After Sam had folded, I thought I was going to win this hand, as he was my main concern. La snap called and I was out the door.
I was very disappointed not to make the Final Table of the National Championship. The freeroll represented a lot of hard work on my part. When Day Two began and I was 21st of the 35 players remaining. I could have won the damn thing. Seriously. Why not me?
I never felt overwhelmed at any point. Despite all the great players playing in this tournament, I learned these men also put their pants on one leg at a time, same as me. Great players have the slightest edge over good players and I have said that many times. To illustrate my point, Sam Barnhart was in bad shape at the start of Day Two and went on to win the Bracelet. A trusted source has told me "Sam is really just a $20/40 Limit Holdem player from Tunica." It was just Sam's day. I am not taking away from Sam's accomplishment, I am simply stressing I had a chance to win. All Harrahs properties on the Strip were sold out due to Memorial Day and I ended sleeping on Christopher and Gino's couch the night before Day Two. No offense guys, that couch sucked and I got a bad night's sleep. Sunday I would moved into the Rio with Joe Dub and then extended my stay in Vegas for another week. John Richards arrived and became my roommate for the duration. We stayed at the Rio for the first four nights, moved to Ballys and on to Planet Hollywood.
I only played one tournament on this trip, playing the Venetian $550 Omaha High Low 8 or better Friday, The event fielded 224, it was $30,000 for first place and 24 were to be paid. I only played this tournament because I feel I have an advantage playing this game. I honestly have very little desire to play tournaments these days and have been concentrating on cash games trying to put a roll together. I stumbled out of the gates and lost a third of my chips early. At dinner break I held an average stack and the field was down to 110 players. By the time we were down to 75 players the chips average was 30K and I had reached a pinnacle of 44K. It never got any better for me than this and the game had turned into a limp-fest. The big blind had become too big for people to raise and risk a three-bet. I flopped and folded, then flopped and folded. A couple of hands I flopped nut flush draws and drew. It went brick, brick both times and I folded to bets on the rivers.
THE HAND: My stack had fallen to 34K when I picked up A A 2 5 double suited. A player raised in front of me and I chose to three-bet him. The flop brought 2 4 J rainbow and he bet. I chose to raise with intentions of possibly checking behind on the turn if a blank landed. The turn brought the 4 of Spades and I picked up a nut flush draw and on the river an off-suit Seven landed. I called with Aces Up and the second nut low. My opponent showed A 2 3 4 for a full house and the nut low.
I lost 27K in this hand and was dealt A 2 K T with the Ace suited two hands later. I got my money in three-handed. The flop came down Q J 4 and I picked up a 3 on the turn. The river would have to pair the board for me not to get some of the pot -- and that's exactly what happened. I was out 56th and had my stack torn down pretty fast. I played cash at The Rio, The Venetian, Flamingo, Bellagio and at Bally's on this trip. I love the Venetian, but unfortunately the perfumed-air gets to me really bad. Legend has it, there is a small minority that the air makes sick -- I am in that minority and was sick as a dog on days Ten and Eleven as a result. John played the Pot Limit Omaha at the Venetian, I played NL elsewhere on The Strip. We both refused to pay $7 a half an hour in the cash games at the Rio. The dealers were bad, there were no shufflers and no comps. They were good games, but the value was diminished by the WSOP. Despite beating the cash games early on the trip, the only thing I beat on this trip was the single table satellites. I went four for five. The buyins were $130 and I netted over $1000 playing these things.
I lost money in the cash games and spent 13 days in Las Vegas -- $500 lighter after expenses.
And I played for a Bracelet along the way...