Tuesday, January 11, 2005

PokerStars WPT Event Side Tournament Report

My last trip report was on the main event. As you may know by now, I was busted when 'Miami' John Cernuto raised with 22, called my 3x reraise, and cracked my KK. I made it through one day in the tournament and felt good about the way I played throughout.

On Sunday I played a side tournemant. $300 buy in, 131 players. With 1500 starting chips and 30 minute levels I decided to play a little tight and see what happens. Early on I doubled up by limping with A4o from the SB. A weak player who had limped in EP reraised my checkraise on a rainbow flop of A84. I pushed all in and he called with QQ. (!!) This allowed me to coast through a string of rags. I built excellent table image at the table I was moved to by folding every hand for about 5 circuits.

Late in the tournament a player known by the others as "knucklehead" pushed all in to resteal my blind steal. I folded my 33 and he showed me T6o. He was incredibly aggressive. Much later I raised UTG with AKo. He asked for a count on me, saw he had me well covered and pushed in. The BB called immediately and I grudgingly called. Knucklehead has 66, the SB had QQ and I flopped an ace, tripling up. We got into the money which was the final two tables. Then one of the craziest hands I have ever played came up:

The blinds are 400 800 with a 100 ante. I am on the button with King of Diamonds 9 of Clubs. I picked up 7 purple chips and announced "raise to 7000." OOPS! The purple chips were worth $500 each and I had meant to raise to 3500, my standard raise. I was held to the raise I had announced and had to put in 7000 chips. The SB remarked what a big raise it was and he pushed all in for about 10,500. With more than 18,000 in the pot I had to call the additional 3000. Of course he had Ace of Clubs Ace of Diamonds. The flop came 8 of Clubs 5 of Hearts 2 of Diamonds. I felt like an idiot. The turn was the King of Hearts and the river was the 9 of Spades. He was gone and I was the chip leader! It was the wildest mistake I have ever made!

At the final table I was about 7th in chips but not far out of first. The shortest stacks doubled up and it looked grim. Finally people began falling out. I picked up QQ and JJ back to back and busted two players. When we were four handed we made a deal that I was not too keen on: $5500 each and play for the last $3500 in the prize pool. I was about even with one player and had about 1/4 more chips than each of the other two. I took the deal because the table was very unpredictable.

After we busted the other two players I found myself HU with none other than knucklehead. He was hyper aggressive and had about 4x the chips I did. I managed to double through him to get the lead and then doubled him up when I had J8o with top pair and he had 69o for the nut straight. It took me a little while but I figured him out. He would move in preflop with junk and try to trap with monsters. I avoided his traps with AA twice (min-bet on the flop after limping in from the SB is a dead giveaway). Finally he pushed on me when I had ATs. His J9o was no good to my nut flush and we were even again. He pushed again with K3o and I called immediately with KTs. I made another nut flush and he was nearly ammboed. He was all in on the blinds for three hands until I got him out.

I made $9000 for my efforts, making it a very profitable trip. I think I would rather be HU against a very aggressive player than a careful player. Once I figured out his betting patterns it was a matter of time befor I let him trap himself.

The trip was amazing. Atlantis Resort is a beautiful place, full of palm trees, exotic marine life exhibits, good restaurants, and waterslides. It was a tad expensive, but the extra $1000 PokerStars chipped in for spending money was not even exceeded. I will definitely try to qualify for this event again next year. Never once did I feel like I was outclassed at the tables even though I may have been. The vacation was great and the poker was even better. See you all there next year!


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