BeL0WaB0Ve’s WSOP Blog: Part III

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We're featuring Kevin "BeL0WaB0Ve" Saul's blog throughout this year's World Series of Poker. For full coverage of what's going on out in Vegas, visitwww.pocketfives.com/live2.

I was excited for the 1,500 NL 6-handed event. Short-handed tournaments suit my aggressive style very well, as aggression has more of a reward in short-handed tournaments than when playing at a normal 9 or 10 handed table. Since it is a 6-handed table, a drawback is that players must accumulate chips early to survive because they will blind out waiting for a hand much more quickly than in a normal tournament.

I pretty much bounced around between 2,500 and 3,500 during the first level, and then the following two hands occurred. UTG raised to 150, Crazy Euro Guy to my right called, I called 10h-8h on the button, and I believe the SB also called. Robby then made it 750 to go from the BB with roughly 1700 behind, UTG folded, and Crazy Euro Guy moved all-in. I folded, as did the SB, and Robby thought for a bit and then called with AsQs. The nature of the tournament’s structure is such that players who want a chance to win must gamble early on to build their stack, and Robby’s call showed that he recognized this fact. He was up against the Crazy Euro Guy's JJ, and he flopped a flush draw, leaving him 15 outs overall. He hit a 3rd spade on the river to double up.

The very next hand, Crazy Euro made it 150 with about 1,100 total. Sitting on 2,700 or so, I decided I would like to take a small gamble vs. this person who was likely tilting. I re-raised to 550 with 8 ‘s and called his shove for the change he had left. He turned over AK, and I lost the race, leaving me with the short stack at the table with the blinds going up to 50-100.

The last hand I had was A7d, and I decided I was going to make a large raise to 350 and shove my last 950 in on any flop if called, unless of course I flopped the nuts. The person to my left called me, which set off some alarms, and I was starting to get cold feet on my original plan as I thought he might have a huge hand. Crazy Euro Guy then made it 1,500, and I tanked it for two minutes, trying to get a read on Euro Guy and completely forgetting about my initial fear of the flat call. I finally decided I was very short and that this may be a good spot to double-up plus some, as I felt I would be all-in vs. only one player. I really felt the Crazy Euro Guy could be on a complete move, so I called. I then watched the person who smooth called me, instantly shove all-in for 2k more, and I cursed myself for forgetting about him. The Euro folded, and I was up vs. KK in a spot to actually triple up. I normally would be happy with this situation, but when the other four players all said they folded an ace, I was no longer enthused about my chances. No help from the dealer, and it was back to the rail for me.

I was pretty pissed that I busted so early and even more pissed that I busted on a Thursday. The online tournament schedule is so much juicier Monday-Wednesday, and I really wanted to play poker. With Shane at the 1k rebuy final table, Jordan "iMsoLucky0" Morgan at the final table of the 1.5k Omaha Hi/Lo, ZeeJustin and Ducci (online player worldsgrtest) starting day two of the 2k NL, and many friends still in the short-handed, I decided to stick around the Rio and rail my friends.

Jordan was not so lucky, as his screen name implies. After entering the final table 2nd in chips, he was eliminated in 7th place after losing some big pots early. For most of the afternoon, I sat in the ESPN audience railing Shaniac at the 1k rebuy final table. Coming into the final table, Amir Vahedi and Mike Gracz were the top two in chips and ended up finishing seventh and sixth respectively. I felt Mike played great and just got super unlucky in the big pots he played. As for Vahedi, I have never been overly impressed with his play, and without actually seeing his hands, it seemed to me that he spewed most of his chips before getting unlucky with an overpair and losing to Dolphin’s flush draw. He raised with QQ, and Dolphin called in the BB. On the flop, he called Dolphin’s check-raise all-in on a J-9-x flop with two clubs and was up against 10c-7c. The turn was an offsuit queen, which gave Amir top set, but the river was an offsuit 8, which should make for good T.V. I really hope ESPN shows the priceless reaction on Amir's face as he thought he had dodged the flush and won the pot, but the 8 actually made Dolphin his straight and left Amir with fewer than 10k in chips.

Meanwhile, Shaniac was waiting patiently for an opportunity to double his short stack. After folding one hand, Amir committed his last 6k with 56o, and the chip leader made a sizable raise to isolate. Next to act, Shaniac moved all-in with zero fold equity, and waiting for the cards to flip, we knew that he had to have a hand. The chip leader knew he was behind but also knew that he had to call and eventually tabled AQ vs. Shane's AK. Shane’s hand held and was up to more than 500k with 15k-30k blinds.

Very little time passed before Shaniac was involved in another hand. The button made a standard raise pre-flop, Shaniac called in the BB, and the flop came down J-9-7 rainbow with one diamond. Shaniac check-raised all-in with QdJd, and he was called by pocket aces. We all started screaming for help cards on the turn to give Shaniac the lead in the hand. The turn was a complete brick, which left Shaniac drawing to just a queen or a jack. The dealer brought a queen on the river, though, and Shane was saved.

Barry, the player who had the pocket aces vs. Shane, proceeded to shove a few times to steal some blinds and build back up. Then he shoved with As-8s, and Shane moved all-in over the top with Ac10c. The board came Js-9c-4s-8d-8c, and Shane was down to fewer than 200k chips. Two hands later, he pushed with A-Q and called by the BB with K-10. When a 10 came on the board, Shane was out in fifth.

With Bax also out of the short-handed event, we started bouncing from rail to rail, sweating Zee Justin and Ducci in the 2k NL that was approaching the final table. Sheets was also still in the short-handed. It was interesting watching sheets deep in this tournament, an event where aggressive players usually dominate, as he is not quite as aggressive as many of the other players we know. He was nursing his typical shorter stack for most of the tourney when they approached the money bubble. I swear this was the longest bubble you could possibly imagine for a tournament that paid 126 players; it must have been about 15 hands before they finally lost a player. From the time they reached the money until the end of the night, Sheets went from about 45k to 175k. The players at his table just kept giving him chips, and he was in great shape to make a run to the final table the next day.

Watching the 2k was quite a treat. Plain and simple, ZeeJustin is just sick. He was abusing all those people and amassing a huge stack. Besides the pots he was picking up pre-flop by raising frequently, he occasionally played some flops when players would decide to call him. It was really an art, watching him betting the flop, turn, and river and seeing his opponents fold at the end. He would bet just enough on the turn to keep his opponents interested in seeing the river, yet leaving enough in his opponent’s stack so they could fold the on the river. I am not sure if he actually had good hands or was bluffing, but it sure was entertaining to watch.

Ducci, on the other hand, was battling to make the final table. At one point, he went all-in with KJ vs. HB_Hitman's AA, only to flop a jack, turn a king, and river another jack. Justin, with a massive stack of almost 2 million, and Ducci with a healthy stack of about half of that, made it to the final table. Hitting about 2 A.M., I headed home to get some sleep for the next day’s 5k Pot-Limit Hold’em event.