Wednesday, July 27, 2011
WSOP Main Event: Short Stack Ninja!!! :D
(Really long winded entry. Sorry if you guys can't understand my English or my poker terminology. haha my own Sister has trouble deciphering my poker jibber jabber.
下面文章太長, 我中文沒那麼好, 沒辦法用中文表達, 希望你們能夠看得懂。)
Finally a chance to sit down and write about WSOP Main Event (2011), and the wks leading up to it. What a marathon-trip it was EHHH! TBH I came to Las Vegas with a little less than $10,000 cash on hand (on June 9); was not going to bring anymore than that (still had to work within my bankroll). I basically had one goal for the 4 wks before the WSOP Main Event: win enough money to comfortably play 10k buy-in (before July 7), otherwise I was not going to play. I was fortunate enough to cash in 5/8 tournaments I played (biggest one being a Venetian 4th place finish for $30k, which was HUGE!). With my goals set and accomplished, I felt 1000% great coming into the WSOP Main Event. I knew in my heart I would do some GREAT things that wk; super focused and prepared. :)
Had my Pi Alpha Phi fraternity brother to my right, Binh Nguyen. As most of you know, Binh is a pretty accomplished tournament player and plays some of the biggest cash games in Vegas. Binh says "no friends at the poker table" lol guess he meant it. Early on, he open/raised pot to 300, I picked up AK in pos and 3-bet him to 800, he repops me to 2500 hahaha real tough spot for me this early (just cuz of the friend dynamic- wth is he doing here?). We are super deep. Online I would click this back all day and give him the pile. If I re-raise him, I think he just jams me (though he probably has the worse hand most times). I'm in pos, so I flat call. Flop was some all bs J72 or something, he bets 3500, I fold. LOL he won't tell me what he had. I think he had 70% air, 20% AK, 10% AA/KK. Didn't want to fight him there, so gave up. If he had QQ/JJ, etc., I think he'd just flat my 800 bet and play slow, bluff-catcher style (esp with how he played QQ few times later on).
Didn't play any pots for long time, super card dead. Was down to 20k, then picked up lucky spot vs. impatient player (my AK vs. his J-rag rejam)- got back to 30k. Then nailed set vs. softest guy at table, boom! Funny thing is I think 9 of the 10 people that started the day at the table were all still alive (fairly competent Day 1 table, kind of shitty table draw). Me and Binh finished 1 and 2 at that table though (he had 55k, had me by a little).
Ended day with 53k (next blinds: 250/500).
Early on, ran hot. Went from 57k to 120k in a flash. Blinds 250/500, UTG raises to 1300 (he has 25k behind). I have 55 and call in middle pos, small blind also calls (he has about 50k), so we're 3-way. Flop comes A52 rainbow. Small blind leads out for 4k; UTG jams all-in for 25k; meanwhile I am thinking DREAM SPOT (unless guy has AAA I'm good to go). I tank tank tankkkkk for hollywood purposes and just call (cause I don't want to necessarily scare off the sb guy); he too just calls for more than 1/2 his chips WOWOWOW!!! Turn is a 2 (so A-5-2-2; I got boat!). He checks, I go all-in, he calls and has AQ. River brick. Goodness, after I call 25k on flop, AQ should go in the muck (he should know better). I'm only callng a monster there. Really fortunate to pick up that spot; knocked out 2 players at once in process.
Played really solid to get to 120k. Only played 2 big pots to go from 30k to 120k. Small hand->small pot; Big hand->big pot. Really learned my lesson from first WSOP Main I played few yrs back about pot control and playing small ball; esp in this event. There's just so much play with 2 hr levels (patience is truly rewarded!).
After dinner break, had a hand that broke me (won't ever forget it). Have aggro internet kid to my right. I 3bet him one orb before, he folds. This orb, he raises again and I pickup AK, obv 3-bet him again to 5k, old lady in the blinds calls (weird), he calls too, so 3-way. Flop Kc/Ks/3c. They both check, I bet 9k, lady folds, and aggro calls. Turn Qc, completing flush (but I got Ac). He checks, I bet 15k, he calls. River 2d (so Kc/Ks/3c/Qc/4d). He checks again (he has 60k behind total). I'm thinking I have to bet the river, esp after he checks. He's paying me off with KJ/KT/any K, AQ, etc. Also, if he does have flush, he would just check-call, so I don't have to worry about him jamming me (with paired board out there, and also he doesn't have nut flush cuz I got Ac). If he has 33/44, I don't think he jams me too, cause there are bigger FH combos. Just have to worry about KQ/QQ basically. I decide to value bet again 21k. He tank tank, jams me ALL-IN 60k (if I call and lose, I would be down to 17k- or fold and have 56k). WOWOWOW!!! Basically does he have KQ or QQ. Really sick spot, feel so gross, spat in the face. What to do what to do ahhh?!?!?!!! I saw him earlier make a river jam on a 9xx9x board and only had TT; other guy folded a 9. This kid is crazy enough to jam me river without the goods. I called and he has KQ fmlllll; went from 106k to 17k from one hand. OUCH MANY TIMES OVER!!! :T
Still gotta keep your head in the game though (most people would be pretty demoralized, as was I tbh, but still have to refresh mentally). With 17k on the bb, rejammed with 44 vs. c/o raise, he calls Ad5d. Flop two dias (ewww!), turn brick, river brick. haHAha first of many fades for me. :)
Ended day with 47k (next blinds: 800/1600).
Started day with 30 bb's, so moves pretty limited. Open tight/solid, look for rejam spots, stay patient. Got pretty lucky on couple hands. Opened with AQ, guy in the sb 3bets, I flat in pos. Flop Axx, he bets, I call. Turn x brick, he checks, I decide to bet (cuz pot is huge- don't think I'm folding this spot, esp with my stack). His check on turn is most times weakness (might be KK/QQ), but he could be just playing me. River is a Q- god-sent (AxxxQ)!!! I had a little shy of 20k left and go all-in. He calls and has AK phewww. If that Q doesn't come, I am really in deep shit (difference of being at 100k vs. 20k or ZERO). Could've easily gone broke there I think.
Other lucky hand of the day. New guy comes to table (has about 130k). He opens/raises, I pickup AK in pos and 3bet, he calls. Flop AA7. I bet 2/3 pot, he calls. Turn K, same thing I bet and he calls. River 2 (so AA7K2, rainbow). I go all-in river, he calls and turns over 77. WOWOWOW!!! haHAha run good, baby!!! :D
Ended day with 150k (next blinds: 2k/4k).
Had Simpsons co-developer Sam Simon at my table, who I thought played great until a maniac got moved to our table (maniac owned him for everything bvb 77<88). Maniac came to table with 1 MILL chips (and so lucky- I had him 2 seats to my left); after taking out Sam Simon he had near 2 MILL fml. Couldn't open any pots, stayed SUPER PATIENT. Maniac who had opened every pot almost, opens UTG (think was 4k/8k blinds). I have about 80k with AcTc and decide to repop him. He's opened EVERYTHING, I gotta be ahead of his range most of the time. He snaps me, he has JJ vs. my AcTc. Alright need some help here. Flop CLUB CLUB CLUB!!! hahahaaaa so sick!!! :D
Then blind down a second time grrr. Was down to 100k (blinded down from 150k). Just wasn't getting anything at all and had that 2 MILL maniac guy to my left. Another guy at table opens/raises, I pick up AJ and repop him all-in. He calls with A7 suited. Flop 7-x-x (me thinking oh nooo 7 ahh), two hearts on flop; turn h, river h. I got J of hearts!!! hahahahaaa (also, we're in the money!!!) :D
Ended day with 188k (next blinds: 5k/10k).
Went on a super heater (188k to 1 mill chips in first hr). Got Mr. Eli Elezra at my table (he's quite the character!). 2nd orb, jam 165k into the blinds from middle pos with AJo, everyone folds to bb who calls KK (flop AJX haha I double up!).
Next orb, HAND OF MY LIFE:
Everyone folds, I'm on button with AJo and open to 26k (I have 300k behind). Eli is in the sb and 3bets me to 65k. He started the day as chip leader at table with 750k. Button vs. blinds, he's 3betting me to test me a lot of times here obv. I cram ALL-IN, pretty standard spot I think (given positions), he calls with 88 and we're off to the races.
1.62% CHANCE to win after he flops 8 (8-7-2 flop). I need a perfect T-9 or 9-T ONLY, tournament life on the line. GET THERE SUPER SICK FACIAL-DELIVERY STYLE! :DDDDD
Then next orb, goes raise early pos + flat call behind, Bryan Porter (accomplished online player) squeezes to 65k. I look at AA in the sb hahaha nice spot EHHH! 4bet to 150k (knowing Bryan Porter has about 450k+, still has room to rejam me). He rejams me indeed with AK, we're all-in and I hold (1 MILL CHIPS!).
Next hr, some other dynamics unfolding. Tyler Bonkowski, bracelet winner, at this table too. He raised from hi-jack one orb earlier, I 3bet with AK from sb, he folded. This time, same thing yet again, he raises hi-jack, I 3-bet with AK to 80k, he has 450k total behind (40+ bb's deep) and jams me all-in! I SNAP CALL! He turns over QhJh. 1 MILL POT (100 bbs) and J hits flop ughhh #$%! Went from 188k to 1 mill, back down to 500k.
Played good to get some back. Won a big 800k flip, standard squeeze spot, 99>AQ (only won when my tournament life on the line LOL). Just hung around, tight/solid/patient. :)
Ended day with 928k (next blinds: 12k/24k).
Next day played with Matt Kay (ch0ppy online), Andrew Brokos (who I thought played excellent), and that Belize guy (who is Nov 9, and tilts me to see him there LOL not a fan of his game, not to be mean). Played some of the poker of my life this day. Picked off Andrew Brokos many times (he was to my direct right, opening everything). 3 times in a row, bvb I had ATo in the bb; everytime he raised and I 3bet, he folds (was hoping he pop me back for it all though). One blemish was QQ vs. AK hand for 2.4 mill chips; lost that flip grrr. Pretty significant loss, as it knocked me down to 550k at 25/50k blinds. Got lucky again though. Picked up AK utg+1, before blinds were to pass me, went all-in. Guy isolates/calls me with KdQd for 1/3 of his chips. Flop two dias, turn gave him gut shot too, river BRICK!!! So sick, another heart-attack for me, but unscathed again fuk yeah!!! :D
Ended day with 1.2 mill (next blinds: 30k/60k)
Started day with Erick Lindgren, etc at table. First orb, guy opens and another guy flat calls, I look down at AA in the blinds hahaha EZ game, jam! Guy calls with JJ, 3 mill pot! Never comes EZ though: flop Q-10-9. LOL so sick! Heart attack on ESPN for the dozenth time. BRICK BRICK!!! HAHAHAHA :D
Then got moved to table with Philipp Gruissem (PHILBORT online). I hate this guy hahaha play with him a bunch online. Guy is hyper-aggro, frequent opener. I folded a bunch to him first 4-5 orbs, didn't 3-bet him at all. This hand, he opens again for 170k, I have only KQo and 3bet to 420k (trying to use my tight image, he knows I'm tight online too), he calls. Flop A-T-6 rainbow. He checks, I continuation bet 600k, he jams all-in (he has 1 mill more than me). I have 1.5 mill behind. Was short stack for many hrs after than hand, just grinding and grinding. Then won a nice pot that knocked out Tony Hachem to get back to over 2 mill. Thereafter, pickup JJ utg and open, Philbort 3bets me from button (which is typically pretty strong, when he's 3-betting my UTG). Other players, my rejam would be tougher against, cause they're showing a lot of strength (willing to re-raise when I am showing strength). However, vs. PHILBORT hahaha evil villain, I rejam 2.2 mill chips ALL-IN! He calls with AQ. 5 MILL CHIP FLIP + HOLDDD BOOYAHHHH!!!!! SEND ITTTTT!!!!! Crazy last hand as we go to dinner break (this is with about 30 players left).
During dinner break (and throughout), I'm just super emotional/grateful: thinking about all the "10,000+" hrs playing online poker, all the sleepless nights, all the sacrifice and commitment to get to this very pt. All my heart- sunk into this moment. Quite the feeling! :)
Table change, probably worst one of them all (though got to TV table). Seated in between Ben Lamb (right) and 2 seats to my left JP Kelly (who's just super sick online; 700k+ profit cash gamer). First rotation, didn't even want to get involved haha scurrred, just sitting back and organizing, counting my chips. In a "leave me alone" mode, as you always do want to get a feel for table anyways.
Then came the sick QUADS hand hahahaaa :D
Pickup QQ from middle pos and raise to 280k, JP Kelly 3bets to 660k. Right away, I knew he was just testing me here, most likely has sh!t (probably noticed I was nervous to get to TV table, fumbling around with my chips hahaha). I could 4bet him and just take the pot down pre-f, but felt like we were deep enough to where I still wanted to play post-flop (and most importantly use QQ as a bluff catcher, which I like to do). I just call. Flop QQx. LOL not too worried now. I give him my weakest check in my repertoire, he bets 550k, I call. Turn x, I'm afraid he'll shut down and check behind (but that's risk I have to take; still no benefit to ever bet this turn for me). He probably puts me on a mid/small pair or even Ace high on this flop. I CHECK and just hope for best. PLZ barrel again JP, dooo it!!! He bets 900k (hell yeah I'm thinking!!!) hahahaaaa I tank for a good 1-2 min and really pretend I am on a mid/small pair type of decision. In my mind, I am imagining that one video- Johnny Chan vs. Erik Seidel hahahahaa check check checkkkkk suckahhh!!! (my exact thought in that moment) I call 900k. River is another x. QQxxx. I have near 2.5 mill behind. I knew that after he bet 900k on turn, he was for sure jamming river (esp because he started the hand with 8 mill chips, and picked me as target to push around, in pos). I check again on river, and he does exactly that- puts me ALL-IN! hahahaaaa hand got me pumped (esp because I was battling the short stack for days). Got me to 9 MILLION CHIPS and having thoughts of "Nov 9". With 200 MILL chips in play for this tournament; FT avg = 20 mill. I was def right in the mix to get there.
Then I went through a cold spell, got to 10 mill at my peak. Lost a 4 mill pot, AJ vs. A9, Chris Moore's 9 got there on flop, faded my J + gutter (I think this really did me in). Super card dead for last 2 hrs, won 1 pot. Rough end to a pretty well-played day.
Ended day with 4.5 mill (next blinds: 100k/200k)
22 players left. Early on made a big squeeze rejam from the blinds with KQo, both parties folded. 4 people eliminated, 18 left, last 2 tables of the tournament, "NOV 9" right in my grasp. GOGOGO!!!
New table, within 3-4 hands, I get 8c8s UTG, I open to 525k (100-200k blinds). Everyone folds, bb Hewitt flat calls. Flop is Ac/6s/7c. Hewitt checks, I c-bet 700k, he snap raises to 2 MILL (I have 3.6 MILL total behind). I had 5 MILL to start the hand, he had 8 MILL. Just had feeling he had air here. UTG I could easily have KK/QQ or just repping ace (have loose hand). If he really had ace, he would just call on this flop, instead of re-raise. Felt like he was also tilted from losing a 4bet pot few hands before. Had a good read on him in this spot, just trusted my instincts. I stick it in. 3.6 MILL to win over 10 MILL (I could fold and start over with 18 bbs). I don't think he has ace though, just don't. He calls and turns over KcJc, overs + flush draw (I was right, though not happy to see all his outs). And that's my final hand and the tournament + chance to get to "Nov 9". :T
No regrets, got it right. 3:1 on a 50/50 spot. Proud I got that last hand right, was shitty spot. And proud of how I played most of the tournament; hung patient + tough, always did what I needed to survive. Was really disappointed for a few days NOT getting to Nov 9, since I was sooo close (just needed to chip up just a tad more); and seemed so realistic when I had 10 mill chips. But I promised myself after that 1.62% spot vs. Eli to be appreciative and grateful for whatever end result occurs. Counted at least 10-1 on showdowns with my tournament life on the line; gotta run so good to get so deep in this 6800+ person field.
18th place for $378k usd.
Not life-changing, but def makes things 100x easier as a Professional Poker Player. I just see this as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I feel like I am good enough to get deep into future tournaments; and my best poker is yet to come (as I am still learning A LOT everytime I'm out there). When you play with great players, you can't help but learn. The WSOP Main Event is the greatest poker tournament out there, ultimate skills test imo- hope to be back again and again. Mb next time Nov 9 EHHH!!!
A big special thanks to my support/rail group (housemates!): gf Jessie, Evan + Sammy, DQ, Cal, Nam, Andrew Yamamoto, other housemates Ariel/Mike/Terrence, etc (and my Dad+Sis back in TW). And also, really appreciate all the nice messages and fb positive vibes hahaha really helped keep me motivated. :)
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