A few minutes after that hand with Harry Thomas - our table broke and we all looked forward to the next challenge.
My new table looked assured to supply some interesting play, especially as Freddie Deeb joined us. If you don’t already know, Freddie makes a lot of plays and likes to call raises with small connected cards. Well, he was soon at it by making back to back bluffs and showing them.
By this stage, my stack was at a very comfortable 45,000 and in not much danger. But having had a few medium pairs and calling raises, each time from Todd Brunson (Doyle’s son) - I failed to hit good flops and stayed stagnant.
Enter James Hoeppner. Now James and I have a little history going back three or four years. Now I didn’t actually know that we had any history, but the last time our paths crossed and I busted James from a tournament - he made some comment about how lucky I was against him. I don’t recall getting that lucky against James, as I do not gamble very often. But I do know that he has been my victim on a few occasions. Even so, the manner of his remarks, suggest that James has a lot to learn about his behavior at the table.
Well, so much has happened in this event - it was no surprise that James and I would tangle…
Having raised with As-Qs in late position - James re-raised with an obvious big hand. But you know what? I do gamble sometimes! And if I am going to gamble - I may as well do it with a player that cannot win against me. With chips to spare, I was about to test James’s view that I am lucky against him. I set him all-in. He turned over his K-K and ran from the table - he just did not want to see the flop. He did come back though. Just in time to see the dealer pushing the chips towards me. James kept asking what happened as he did not see a board full of spades.
James took defeat in his usual animated and abusive manner. Sure James, get animated by all means - I understand how tough it is to take beats. But YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Anyhow, with a stack of 65,000 - Todd again raises my BB. For the fourth time - I am calling him with a pair. I think it’s time I got lucky against Todd. The past three times - I checked the flop and mucked to his bet. This time, with a board of Q-9-7, there were a few hands I could be beating here. It was time to make a stand. I called his bet of 4,000 . A six on the turn gave me an open-ended straight draw and the license to make a stupid play. So when Todd bet 7,000 on the turn - I decided to set him all-in - put him to the test. Holding a set of Queens - it wasn’t much of a test. I’m glad I didn’t hit the straight - I did not deserve to get lucky on this one. Having played so well all day - I did not need to do this.
My bad play on this hand sent my stack down to 23,000. I then got unlucky when I allowed Freddie to bluff - knowing that I would call his expected bluff on the river.
Billy Baxter made a smallish raise (2400) UTG, Freddie called. Holding A-Q on the BB, I could have re-raised here and taken a chance that Billy was not holding a monster. I also didn’t really like my out of position call here. The flop of T-T-9 was checked by all three players. The turn card was a harmless deuce that help nobody. Freddie, having position on both of us - made an obvious attempt at a steal which I called quickly. My concern was Billy. If Billy held A-K, he would surely call in this spot. I hoped that the speed of my call would send Billy running. It did!
O.K. The tough part was now over in this hand. I would now simply check whatever card the river brought, and call any bet from Freddie - including all-in. Knowing Freddie, with chips to spare over my little stack - it was the play I expected. But when the river brought a four and Freddie checked - I knew I’d lost the hand. How could I have miss-read this? I could have sworn that Freddie had nothing. Freddie turn over 6-4 spades. The four on the river meant that he no longer had to bluff. Oh well, at least I read it right.
Enter Devilfish. Dave joined our table with a very low stack. From middle position, he moved all-in on my BB. With blinds of 600-1200, I still did not want to call the extra 3,800 with my 7-7. I only had about 15,000 myself! But I did call and Dave doubles up.
Freddie then got involved in an interesting hand. He decided to just call the 4,000 raise with K-K on the BB. The flop of J-J-8 brought a check from both players. Freddie then bet when the turn came a 9h to make it two hearts on the board. The initial raiser called. Freddie then checked-raised all-in when the river came 7h. Holding Kh-Th for a flush - the call was made and Freddie was gone. “Funny old game” Freddie commented. He’s right! He amassed his chips with great plays and garbage hands. Then as soon as he gets a hand…
That brought to us to the end of close for the first day. I come back the next day with an even shorter stack than I had in San Jose. On reflection, I could not have played any better all day - until that hand with Todd. And although it will probably be the reason why I don’t progress very far in day two - I have learnt a very good lesson. However, I have no doubt that the same play will be made many times in the future - I just have to pick a better spot.
Until next time - play well, get lucky and DON”T MAKE MISTAKES!
Peter “The Poet Costa