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The PPT $500K Freeroll - Commerce Casino, By Peter Costa

The PPT $500K Freeroll - Commerce Casino The Professional Poker Tour (PPT) began with 181 players in a $500K freeroll. With only the top six getting paid, it definitely favored trying to accumulate chips from the outset. I therefore tried to party and play more hands than usual. It was working fine until I flopped two pair against a set. So instead of coasting, I was soon down to just over 3,600 from my starting stack of 10K.

I must admit that I hated the way I played the hand. Having limped with 6-4 hearts, I liked the flop of 4-6-7. However, after being re-raised, I decided that my opponent had held an over pair (he had a habit of limping with 9-9 T-T etc) and I committed myself to the hand with a further raise. And as should be the case, bad play got exactly what it deserved.

At that point, Daniel Negreanu came over to my table and mentioned that he was also down to just under 4K. But with these slow structures, this should not be too much of a problem to overcome. Within ten minutes after the first break, I doubled up with Aces and then won two other pots to put me back to over 14K. I was then faced my biggest test of the day.

On the big blind (BB) with QQ, the button raised it to 1200 after 4 players had limped in with 200 each. I decided to re-raise a further 2500 with what I thought was the best hand. However, facing a further re-raise that would have left me with just 300 - I was convinced otherwise. We both showed - KK v QQ - a lucky escape for me this time.
As we took our seats for the second day - I was very happy to have amassed a stack of 53K. I felt that I was playing very well and soon built this up to 75K. Then crunch time!

Daniel had now seen his stack grow to 60K - thanks to his AA v AK. It would only be a matter of time before the fireworks started. I made a somewhat loose call to Daniel's raise with AT clubs (I had position on Daniel and decided it was worth the risk). The flop of K-7-2 with two clubs help my hand. When Daniel decided to bet out, I decided to move all-in. As many of you know, Daniel makes raises with any two cards. In all probability, he would have no problem in mucking many of those to my raise. However, on this occasion, holding AK - Daniel was not about to lay this one down.

Although I had the draw to the nut flush, Daniel is running so hot that it was no surprise that I missed. However, I did build my stack back to 50k and then down to 27K when I again had QQ. This time a ran into AA and a 25th place finish. Daniel went on to play some great poker and it was no surprise that he has made the final six with the chip lead. Can anyone stop this boy? Well, I tried and look what happened!

While on the subject of Daniel - I must say what great fun it is to have him on the table. I have always been a fan of his from the first time we met in 1999. Not only for his ability, but also for his all-round attitude on the table. It just goes to show - nice guys do come first. In Daniel's case - that's very much the norm!
Until next time - play well, get lucky and enjoy life!

Peter "The Poet" Costa


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