Poker Hispano Tour 3 - Part 2

Sept. 7, 2011

So with a 2nd place and $5000 under my belt I had the confidence and the bankroll to play the $1500 main event. Being the nit that I am though, I sill played the $200 satellite the day before. I also decided to do some backing with my new found wealth and go halves with Elliott in backing Dan, Gallo and Craig in the satellite. Dan and Gallo flopped but Craig grinded hard into the early hours, emerging at 6am with a seat to the main event. I also swapped 10% of myself with Elliott so I had a sweat for when I inevitably ran bad and busted in the first level.

Day 1 started at 6pm on Thursday and I was pleased to get a pretty soft starting table. I didn't recognise anyone there and it became clear quickly that there were several soft spots. One player seemed very good and aggressive but he lost the majority of his chips running a good 3-barrel in a squeezed pot and then getting unlucky when a fish bet/called AJ on a KQ4 flop vs his QQ and hit a T on the turn. I turned my intitial 30k starting stack into 40k quite quickly thanks to one large pot where I 3bet 89cc from the big blind and flopped gin on 225r. Luckily my 3barrel bluff turned into a value bet on the river when the turn and river ran out 6,7 to give me a straight. My opponent said he had aces but it became pretty clear after playing for a while that he was actually full of shit and would have called any pair in that spot and probably would have gone broke with AA. Of course a PHT tournament wouldn't be a PHT tournament without Alex Brenes being on my table and just before the dinner break he arrived in the 9 seat. luckily I was in the 4 seat so there was no real need to clash with him. In the pots we did play I got the better of him inducing a bluff by checking 88 on a 79TJ board when the river brought an ace and then sucking out when I called twice with AT on a T732 board before rivering a ten and getting Alex to check/call a big bet with AA. I was heading toward the end of the day with 80k and amongst the chip leaders before I lost every pot I opened for the last 45 minutes of the day and ended the day with 48k. With 4 minutes remianing on the clock for the day, I was forced to rack my chips and move table. My displeasure at this was only exacerbated when I found the table I was moving to was not only directly below the aircon unit and subsequently freezing, but also contained online phenom Alex 'assasinato' Fitzgerald. In talking to Craig and Elliott I found that Craig had survived the day with 70k and Elliott had 44k despite having just 4k with 10 minutes of play left in the day (3 allins won all of which with the worst hand #worldsbiggestsunrunner.) Dave also survived the day with 60k in chips. In fact of the 5 pokerfarmers that entered only international superstar John Hewitt failed to make it through the day! I went home, changed my facebook status to something about having 10% of Elliott, 25% of Craig and 90% of myself and therefore being guaranteed to get some return on my investment, and slept.

50 players came back for day two at 4pm on friday. I barely had time to debag my chips before finding myslef all-in twice in the first 3 hands. a 15bb stack shipped over a raise and I reshipped TT in the big blind. He had Ac9c and I held, despite a JQ7cc flop. The next hand a shortstacker open shipped the gun and I reshipped QQ. He had AK and binked a K to leave my blood pressure and adrenalin levels higher than the start of the day but my chip stack no different. Meanwhile Craig was raking pot after pot and had grabbed the chip leader position and Elliott had doubled to an above average stack. My table then got a bit tougher as my trend of sitting at the toughest table of the tournament in the late stages continued, with Felipe 'improved' Montenegro taking a seat. The runbad cannot be stressed enough. I was sitting at a table in a $1500 tournament in Costa Rica with two of the best online players in the world. Normal. The field went from 6 tables down to 3 fairly quickly without too many memorable hands and I was moved away from the table of death and onto a table that included Elliott Peterman and Dave Zeeman, again two of the better players in the tournament but not likely to cause me too many problems. I hovered between 10 and 20 BBs whilst watching Elliott dominate. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have been genuinely impressed by a player in a live tournament but this one such occasion. He raked pot after pot, owning souls preflop and postflop. Luckily tables were redrawn with 18 left and I was lucky enough to avoid Elliott and Felipe and be sat with guys who were clearly terrified of bubbling which allowed me to steal and resteal relatively often with huge success. Sadly the shortstacks who desperately wanted to final and would consequently allow their stacks to get as low as 3bbs before shipping, always somehow managed to find Aces with that 3bb ship. Worse still they were always up against Ax and generally a 98% favourite after the flop, so going from 15 players down to 10 took a long time. Sadly one of the players to bust short of the money was Dave who finished 15th. Eventually Felipe busted the 11th place finisher and I was pleased to be amongst the final table of 10 and in the money. Even more pleasing was that my horse (Craig) and percentage swap (Elliott) had also made the final, meaning my Facebook status prophecy had come true and I looked set to make a considerable return on my $1800 investment.

The final table began the next day at 4pm with the chip stacks looking like this :

Felipe 'improved' Montenegro 904000

Craig 'sunwaddler' Cole 776000

Alfredo Ulloa 234000

Elliot 'WTFisfolding1' Peterman 204000

Gabriel Barboza 187000

Luis Jaíkel 182000

Mark Gray 174000

Giuseppe Ruso 173000

Jorge Chacón 141000

Javier Molina 68000

And the payout looking like this :

1st: $50,2042nd: $23,0103rd: $15,3404th: $12,5515th: $9,7626th: $8,7367th: $6,9738th: $5,5789th: $4,14810th: $3,486

My seat draw at the final table was very kind with Felipe on my direct right and the tight shortstacks directly to my left. My plan going into play was to reship very light vs Felipe and target the blinds of the people looking to ladder up. I knew that with the big stack and a similar plan to steal as much scared money as possible, Felipe would be opening superwide and I thought he would probably pass up some marginal allins as he probably felt he had a huge edge over everyone and didn't need to gamble. 2nd hand in, it folded to him in the small blind and he opened. I looked down at my cards and saw A8o and shipped in my 15bb stack. He snap-folded and muttered 'so obvious'. As planned I stole blinds well and reshipped on him a couple more times (both times with AQo as it happens) and he folded both times, allowing me to chip up to 500k reasonably quickly. 3 of the shortstacks then busted in fairly quick succession to leave the 6 remaining players all fairly even on chips between 400k and 600k with Felipe having lost a lot from opening and folding to allins before tilt calling a shove with JQo and Craig having blinded down a little whilst Elliott and I had chipped up nicely. It was at this point that I swapped a further 10% with Elliott in order to hedge my bets a bit and reduce variance. Almost as soon as we agreed this the two of us got involved in a hand. Elliott opened the button, Felipe folded the small blind and I looked down at 99. I was really unsure what to do. I hated 3bet/folding but felt if I did 3bet, he wouldn't call very often and his 4bet range was going to crush me, so in the end decided on calling, even though it felt horrible to do it. The flop came a somewhat perfect 369 rainbow. I checked and Elliott checked behind. The turn brought a 5 and I decided to lead for 40,000 into 50,000. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to happen at this point. Obviously I wanted value from my topset but at the same time I didn't want to get it at the expense of a friend, and, more importantly, a friend of whom I had 20% of. Elliott called and the river paired the 6 bringing a final board of 36956. At this point I decided I'd got enough value and wanted to send a clear message that I had a real hand and that he should probably fold and see another day. It wasn't collusion, more a case of letting my betsizing do the talking. So I shipped allin for 400k into the pot of 130k. Unfortunately for Elliott he misread my intentions and called pretty quickly with AA. This left him crippled and he was eliminated shortly after for a pay-day of $8,736. I meanwhile had catapulted to a chip lead. The table was set up perfectly for me to run over. Left in were Craig and Felipe and 2 other considerably less experienced, less aggressive players who were clearly looking to ladder as high as possible. Craig and Felipe were therefore unwilling to gamble knowing they had a big edge on the other two whilst the other two were unwilling to gamble because they hate gambling and wanted to move up the prize ladder. I pounced on this situation and began to raise literally every hand with little to no resistance. Eventually Felipe got his increasingly small stack into the middle with A2s vs the 88 of Craig. Craig held and the player I most wanted to see eliminated was indeed eliminated. With four players left Craig and I were a lot more experienced and more aggressive poker players than the other two and basically took it in turns to steal the other two blinds whilst they blinded away. They would occasionally reship when they picked up a top 10% hand but were not willing to get it in with anything worse and quickly saw their stacks diminish to 10bb's. From this point they really had no chance and were both eliminated by Craig to leave him and me headsup for the trophy, the first place money, a seat into the next PHT main event (likely to be paname in january) and a smiling portrait on the wall.

We started with pretty even stacks and so decided to chop 1st and 2nd place money. We only had about 30bbs each so there wasnt a massive edge either of us could have so it made sense. I've played with Craig a ton both live and online and I think I have a pretty good feel for his game. Going into the headsup match my plan was quite simple: steal a lot of small pots, value bet often and bluff very rarely (Craig has no fold button vs me, when he has a piece he calls down.) Early on I 3bet his button open and he called, I check/folded a flop I missed and got shown T7, confirming my plan to valuebet a lot and bluff rarely, seemed a good idea. We traded a few pots back and forth. I lost more pots than I won but the pots I won were bigger, as will always be the case employing this strategy. He held a 1.7m to 1.3m chip lead when he opened the button, I 3bet TT and he shipped A9. I have to say that sweating the flop, turn and river in that pot really got my heart pumping. It made no difference financially but I desperately wanted to claim first place and get my picture up on the wall at the next PHT. The similarities to the final hand of event #2 where I got in JJ to A8 were striking and I felt pretty confident that I could feel a repeat on the cards. Luckily the board bricked off and I took a big chip lead. With Craig having just 400k, I moved him in with Q3ss. He called with KT and we both paired our top card. I didn't improve and he doubled up to 800k and we had a match again. Craig appeared quite frustrated at not drawing out in the big hand (lol) and started moving in over my btn raises. I started to mix in some limps with weak and strong hands to see some cheap flops and to take that move away when the following hand came up. I completed AKo from the sb, obviously planning to jam over a raise or snap a jam, but Craig checked. The flop came 967dd and Craig checked. I bet half pot and Craig raised. I'm sure he leads a 9 here and if he does check it it's to check call. I also felt he would check/call a 6 or a 7 100% of the time. So his value range was hands better than 9x. But as he just checked his option pre he couldn't have 66,77, 99 or TT+. So this left his value range at exactly, 97, 96 and 67. Meanwhile his semi-bluffing range was huge as I know for a fact that he checkraises draws in this spot. I had also been quite stabby in these smaller pots so felt he had a fair few pure bluffs in his range. Either way, as his value range was those exact three hands my hand was no different to AA other than I had worse equity vs his semibluffs. Given what I felt about his range I decided to jam and pray he didn't have one of those 3 hands. Unfortunately he did and snap-called with 67. Everyone rose to their feet and I felt upset that I had blown a big chip lead and would now have to try to grind it back. The dealer burned and turned an A of diamonds giving me 8 clean outs for the win, 2 aces, 3 kings and 3 nines. The dealer burned and turned over the rivercard, a King !! There was so much adrenalin pumping through me that I can't really remember what happened next. I think I apologised to Craig for the massive suckout and took handshakes and hugs from the rail. It wasn't the way I'd wanted to win but it was a win all the same. After some comlicated calculations I ended up walking away with :

80% of my own win of $36,607 (1st and 2nd place money divided by two) = $29,285.60

25% of Craig's win of $36,607 = $9151.75

20% of Elliott's win of $8736 = $1747

For a total payday of $40,183

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