A few weeks ago, I took the old Greyhound bus to Atlantic City (thank God for the new train service that has just started) for the Borgata Winter Open. It’s been a while, so forgive me if I get a few details wrong in the descriptions below.
My first event was the $2,150 No Limit Hold ‘Em–the final preliminary before the deep stack, $3,200 buy-in main event. I gathered some chips in this thing, before running into my old nemesis from the World Series, Dan Heimiller. Dan open-limped for 200 from the cutoff, and the button and small blind followed suit. I made it 1,200 from the big blind with KK. Dan called, the others folded. The flop came 852 rainbow and I led out for 1,600. Dan called. The turn brought an ace. Obviously this wasn’t the card I was looking for, but I didn’t think it was the end of the world either. I put Dan on a pocket pair, or having flopped a pair. Why would it have to be specifically A8 or A5? I didn’t think he would’ve played so passively preflop and on the flop with something like AK, AQ, AJ. I also thought there was a decent chance Dan had just been calling along hoping to steal at some point, so I decided to check and call. Dan, as expected, made a bet of a little more than half the pot (3,200, I believe). I called. The river paired the deuce. I checked again and Dan made a small bet of 4,100 into the 12,400 pot. On the one hand, I’d played with Dan enough to know that a small bet like this in position was probably a monster. On the other hand, Dan is extremely tricky, and he absolutely had to have aces up or better to be betting for value there. Given the wide range I’d put Dan on after the flop action, I thought I had to call for the price. Dan showed A2o for the full house. He then stated that he thought I was bluffing preflop. “In my head, I had a much stronger hand preflop than I actually did,” he said. Indeed in reality too, as it turned out.
A few hands later I folded to one of Dan’s small river bets (rightly or wrongly) when I could beat a bluff, and pretty soon I was left with a restealing stack. Dan opened in the cutoff and a loose player in the button called. The small blind folded, and knowing that Dan was very unlikely to call if I moved in, I tried a squeeze play with 53s. Dan folded immediately, but then the button asked how much it was and I started to suspect I was in trouble. He eventually called with 66, a disaster spot if there ever was one. No miracles, and I was knocked out. Luckily my good friend Rob “Action Bob” Hwang ended up making a deal three-handed at the final table, so my first event wasn’t all bad.
Next up was the $2,150 HOSE. Not a ton of interesting stuff to report in this one. I played limit poker, and lost too many hands. I think I probably played too tight in the stud games, especially on the early streets. And there weren’t nearly as many soft spots as I’d hoped. My table was mostly pros, including John D’Agostino and Tony Cousineau, both of whom (I believe) play a fair amount of mixed games. I busted quickly.
All this set the stage for the $3,200 main event. They started us with 50,000 chips and blinds of 25-50. This was far too many blinds for my liking. (I say that jokingly, of course. I love a deep structure, but it does make it extremely difficult to bump up your stack by any meaningful amount for a while.) I’ll relate three key hands from this one in quiz form.
Hand One: I’m the shortest stack of the three players involved in the hand. A mid-position limper for 200, and then a loose-aggressive player makes it 900 in the next seat. I call from the button, the limper calls. The flop comes 976 with two clubs. Limper checks, the raiser bets 2,500. I move in for 19,000. The limper folds. A) What’s my range? B) What’s the worst hand the raiser should call with?
Hand Two: Everyone has more than 40,000. UTG limps for 400. Two other limpers, and a loose-aggressive player makes a small raise from the button to 1,400. Folds to me in the big blind. A) What’s my range for reraising? For calling?
I call, UTG calls, both other limpers call. The flop comes K82 with two hearts. I check. UTG leads out for 3,500. The other limpers and original raiser fold, I call. B) What’s my range now?
The turn is a blank. I check, UTG checks. The river brings a third heart. I check, UTG bets 3,800 into the almost 13,000 pot. C) What range do I call with? What do I raise with?
Hand Three: Blinds 400-800, I open in the cutoff for 2,600. The button calls, the small blind calls, and Bill Edler calls in the big blind. The flop comes AQ2 all hearts. Checked to me, and I bet 7,500. It folds to Bill, who sets me all-in for about 60,000 more (Bill has me covered safely). A) What’s Bill’s range? B) What’s the worst hand I should call with?
Look forward to seeing some responses in the comments. Results to come in the next post.