Las Vegas, May 30, 2015
This will be a pretty short blog (EDIT: It became longer than expected). I don’t want the readers to get bored, so I will try to keep the blogs pretty short (EDIT 2: Fail).
From 308 players 40 went through from the first round. To get a 10-handed final table we played 10 4-handed tables. I would probably have made it so it was 8 5-handed tables and then an 8-handed final table, but 4-handed is okay as well.
At my table I had Matt Schwarmann Kyle Frey and Sam
Greenwood. Matt and Kyle was people I hadn’t even heard about (Sorry guys), but
Sam I had seen on too many result lists to think he wasn’t a good player.
Checking their stats, before writing this blog, I could also see that Sam has a
very solid record both live and online with $ 1M and $ 3M won in tournaments. I
usually wait until after I play to check this, quite the opposite of what I
probably should do. Since I’m mainly a live player I like to get a read myself
that is not based on what they have done before.
When we started playing Sam raped the table. I believe he took down the first 15 pots or so not letting anyone having the last bet. If anyone raised, he 3-bet. If any of us tried to 3-bet, he put in a 4-bet. He had position on me sitting on my direct left, and I was thinking that this could be a rough day!
The first pot I played was against Sam. He raised UTG (what a surprise) and I defended in BB with 8-7 off. The flop was 8-7-2 rainbow. Ding! What line should I pick here? I checked the flop of course, and Sam bet. I raised and he called. What can he have here? I was thinking anything from an over pair to 10-9, 5-6 or even 9-6. The turn was a 4 of spades putting a second spade on the table. I bet 8k into a pot of 14k or so. Sam raised to 32k. What is going on? My first though was: Did he really have 5-6? But I didn’t think he would bet that hard with that hand, so folding wasn’t an option. I was as close as I could get to go all in here. If he has a hand like 9-6ss or 10-9ss I can easily be in trouble. It‘s so many scare cards that can come on the river. But I though that if a blank hits he might fire another bullet since he had played so aggressively, so I decided to just call. That was a call I didn’t like to be honest. I was kicking myself the second I said call. I should have pushed all in here. The river was another deuce. Not a good card at all to say it the least. I checked. Sam checked behind and my top two were good. Phew. If Sam had moved in on me here, I don’t know what I would have done. It would be a crying call or a crying fold. But I was up to 150k (from 117k starting) or so and things looked a lot better. To be honest I don’t think I was the only one that was happy that Sam lost a pot. He calmed down a bit after this, so we could play a bit more relaxed poker.
Matt got pretty much beaten up, not the least because he lost with aces vs. Sam’s 5s on a K-5-x board. Another king on the turn saved Matt’s tournament life, but he still lost a big chunk of his chips. He was never able to recover and busted on the last hand before the first break. At that break I had the chip lead with 199k. I was pretty happy with my play so far and felt good.
Playing 3-handed a lot changed. Kyle woke up after having played pretty tight from the start. In my opinion it’s nothing wrong with playing tight from the start in any tournament, and it’s something I usually do myself. I had a run of really useless cards and went from being first to being last at a point. The stacks were very even though, so I was never below 80 % of the biggest stack. In this period I think all of us played pretty well and I tried to get as much info about how the two other guys played. Sam was the most difficult to play with. Of course position had a lot to do with that, but I decided that I would prefer to play heads up with Kyle if I could pick. I had also had position on him all day, so I had beaten him in more pots. When you get heads up that is in your opponent’s head even though it really doesn’t matter when you get heads up.
Not long after just what I was thinking happened. Kyle got queens vs. Sam’s nines all in pre. No help to Sam and we were heads up. The heads up play is very often my strongest part. When we started the heads up Kyle had close to a 2:1 chip lead. That didn’t last long. I felt that I played well and I grinded as good as I could to get as much chips as possible. It didn’t take long before the table was turned and I had a 2:1 or so chip lead.
I mixed up my game a lot and on the deciding hand I played 7-3 of spades pretty hard by 3-betting pre to 15k after Kyle had raised to 6k. The blinds were 1200/2400-400. Kyle had been folding quite a bit heads up to my 3-bets, so I though it was profitable, but this time he called. The flop came 8-6-5 with one spade. Not bad. Kyle called my 16k bet. The turn was the jack of spades. Now I had 15 outs against pretty much all his range unless he has spades, so I bet 27k. He thought for a bit before he moved all-in for about 100k more. Crap. I was pretty much getting the exact price to call here. I decided to do that after a couple of minutes. Pretty light, but I felt I could build again if I lost it. The river hit me both ways, as it was the 9 of spades!
That means that I today will play my first WSOP final table! Let’s do this. One time!