When you are near the bubble and have a big stack, it’s party time. You can put the short stacks to the test, and pick up lots of blinds and antes. While it was good for the most part to have Amir to my right, at this point he was raising almost every pot, and I wasn’t getting anything to play back at him with, so he was getting first shot at raising and reaping all the benefits. I finally got a shot when Amir was in the BB:
Philippe Rouas doubles through Blair Rodman
Blair Rodman raised to 10k pre-flop and Philippe Rouas pushed in from the small blind for an additional 34.6k. Rodman called and the players turned up:
Philippe Rouas [8s][8c]
Blair Rodman [9h][6h]
The flop came [Kh][6c][4c] giving Rodman a pair of 's. The turn came [4s] and the river came [3c]. Rouas doubled up with his two pair 's and 's.
I was getting about 1.75/1 pot odds to call. If he had two over cards, which is what I put him on, I’d be about a 3-2 dog, which would make my call correct. I was about a 2-1 dog to the hand he actually had. Had I somehow known his hand before calling, I might still have made it. It doesn’t make sense mathematically, but it sends a message, especially since people are going to see it on TV. I don’t want to be known as a player who’s going to back down to a re-raise. I don’t want people making plays at me without a big hand, thinking they can pick it up there. It’s too important to be able to steal antes. It’s a corollary of the Kill Phil theory. If you want to re-raise me, your going to have to race for all your chips. Many players aren’t willing to make the re-raise if they know they’re going to have to race. I made the same kind of call in the Mirage PPT last year, which will eventually be seen on TV. I raised in late position with 44. Randy Jensen came over the top, going all in. The pot was laying me about 2-1, and this is Randy Jensen, who could have anything in that spot. It was 6-handed, the blinds were high, everybody was a good player and almost every pot was raised from late position. I really thought I was the favorite. As it turns out, he had a bad hand for me, a pair of eights and I was left short-stacked. Even though it worked out badly and I went out 6th, I’d make the same play again. Image is everything!
Todd Gierhan, an online qualifier who’d been at my table for the whole day, had played very well in a tough field. He got ko’d in 12th place, and we were on the bubble. Another online qualifier, Jason Cotray, went out soon after in 11th, and we were in the money.
Philippe limped on the button, Amir called, and I checked with J-2. The flop came J-5-4. Amir checked, I bet, Philippe called, and Amir made a big raise. I knew I was beat and folded. Philippe called, and showed QJ, but Amir had J5 and busted him. Three people flop top pair. Had Philippe raised on the button like I think he should have, he’d have won the blinds.
A very important factor at all times is who is one and two seats to your right, but especially short-handed. If you have an aggressive player on the button when you’re in the BB, you’ll get very few free flops or walks (when everybody folds to you). Amir was very lucky to have docile players to his right. He got an unreal number of walks. Of course, part of that is because he’s such a tricky and fearless player. On the other hand, I never got a walk the whole day. Amir raised almost every time it was passed to his small blind. Or from the button when it was my SB. I’d been playing hard at Luke Neeloy, who was to my left, and had gotten the best of the SB/BB confrontations. He had been playing pretty tight all day, making small bets and raises, or going all in when he did play. He made a mini-raise from up front, Amir called from the SB, and I called with K5. The flop came Ks-6s-2h. I had a bad feeling and checked behind Amir to see what happened. Luke made a 30k bet into a 28k pot. I hated it, and folded. This is one I’d like to see on TV, but I’m pretty sure getting committed to a big pot there was the wrong play.
Jim Nicoulin doubles through Blair Rodman
Jim Nicoulin, Full Tilt Poker Qualifier, limped in from the button, Amir Vahedi limped from the small blind, and Blair Rodman raised from the big blind. Nicoulin pushed in for 28k and Vahedi folded. Rodman called the all in bet and the players turned up:
Jim Nicoulin [Ah][3c]
Blair Rodman [9c][8c]
The board came [6d][5s][2c][Kd][6c] and Nicoulin doubled up with his [A] kicker
I was really surprised by Jim’s action. He only had 4k invested, and still had enough to have a chance. He should have moved in on the button, but once he didn’t and I raised, getting in with a weak ace that could easily have been dominated was questionable. However, he got in as a 52-48 favorite, I lost my third race in a row, and Jim doubled up. Amir flopped a set against his top pair soon after and sent Jim home in 9th. My chips keep going to toher players, then end up in Amir's stack.
We combined into one table of eight, which was a little tricky because the TV table only had 7 lipstick cameras. The 4 and 5 seats had to take turns showing their cards to the camera. I was in third place with 250k, behind Amir with 525k, and Chip Jett with 255k. Once again, Amir was directly to my right.
Andy Bloch doubles through Blair Rodman
Blair Rodman made a pre-flop raise to 20k and Andy Bloch pushed in for an additional 72k, 'Plus a bracelet.' Bloch put the bracelet he won at the UPC II for first place on the table with his chips. Rodman, who took second place in the event, called and the players turned up:
Andy Bloch Qs Js
Blair Rodman 6h 6c
The flop came [6s][4s][3s] giving Rodman a set of
's and Bloch a spade flush. The turn and river came [8s][2c] and Bloch doubled up.
Andy was semi short-stacked and had been Kill Philling, moving all in often. He understands the concept. I wasn’t about to fold here since I knew he didn’t have to have a big hand. Besides, I wanted another shot at the bracelet I didn’t get last time. He had what I suspected and the hand was pretty much a coin flip. The flop was amazing, giving me a set and him a flush. I failed to fill and lost a very important pot. Had I won, I’d have been solidly in second place with almost 400k going to the final 7. Instead I lost my fourth race in a row and was below average and back with the pack. This is the way it goes at the end of no-limit tournaments. A single race can make such a huge difference.
Chip Jett ko’d Andy a while later when Andy moved in for 74k with KQ and ran into Chips’ aces. A long, exciting day was over, and seven would come back tomorrow for the final.