It was soon obvious that seat one and two on my first table were going to be the action players. But even I was surprised at the plays that these two would come up with. After all, this was a $25,000 buy-in!
My first confrontation would be with seat one. After five of us had limped for 100, he decided to raise a further 1,000 from the small blind (SB). I was the only caller with 7-7. I liked the flop of Q-4-3. He bets 1,000 and I call. The turn is the 8d that puts out a flush on the board. He now bets 2,000 and I again call. I don’t have a diamond here, but having seen the hands he has played with so far - I still liked my hand. The river brought the 5h and he declares all-in. All-IN? How big is his flush here? I obviously can’t call. But when he turns over the Ah-2h for the wheel, but no diamonds - I knew we were in for a treat. What a shame our table would be the first to break!
We then had seat and one two play an old classic. Well, it wasn’t exactly Q-Q v A-K, but close enough. Seat one is UTG and makes 1,000 to play, seat two calls and everyone else folds - obvious respect to what must be two big hands here. They both seem to like the flop of 6-2-5, two diamonds. A betting war erupts on the flop and then again after a 3 hit’s the turn. River is another 3 and seat one finally checks. He then calls a big bet. 6c-2c for seat one and Jd-3d for seat two.
Kenna James - who was to my immediate right - turned and looked at me with pure shock on his face. But even he must have been surprised at what happened to him against seat one. Kenna, holding Kc-Kd made a big raise after two players had limped. Seat one, on the BB, had no hesitation in calling - heads-up.
Kenna must have liked the flop of T-J-5, all clubs. But facing a bet from the BB who led out - Kenna played the hand with caution and just called. The turn brought a harmless 3d. This time Kenna is forced in to calling a very big bet. The river was again a harmless looking 4d. Finally, we get a check and Kenna shows the K-K. Seat one begins to muck his hand and tells Kenna that K-K is good. He suddenly snatches his hand back from the edge of the muck and shows the T-4 of spades for two pair. A bemused Kenna had just lost over 17,000 in this hand. Maybe it was just as well that the table broke soon after as it was becoming too painful to watch. However, not before seat two managed to bluff almost 40,000 to Joe Grech, who was obviously holding a very big hand.
The table broke and my starting stack of over 68,000 was looking good.
My new table was going to different for sure. As it proved, it was very tight except for “Eskimo” Clark who was getting busy with small raises. I tried to take advantage of this tightness by making a major buff on a board of three diamonds. It was obvious that my opponent had a small flush, but I still tried to get him to lay it down after the river. It didn’t work and I was down to just over 40,000. I then lost with A-A v 9-9 and was down to less then 30,000 (my punishment for failing with the bluff). Even worse was to follow as I lost another big pot with Eskimo - when he called an 8,000 re-raise with Q-T against my suited A-K. Down to less then 15,000 and sliding. It was now a case of hanging on and hoping for a change of fortune or the end of play. Luckily the change came fist and I managed to improve to 25,700 when play was stopped for the first day.
It will be tough to come back - but it shouldn’t be easy to win over $2.8M.
Until next time - play well, get lucky and STOP BLUFFING!
Peter “The Poet” Costa