Somewhat ironically, the only tournament from the World Poker Open that does not appear on pokerpages.com is the $500 Second Chances Tournament on Sunday, January 14th. So you'll just have to take my word for it that a total of 3 batfaces entered the 185-person field, and two made the final table: Celeste and yours truly (Celeste, after nursing a short stack and getting ridiculously lucky time after time, finished 5th for $4600. I finished 6th, cashing $3900). Scott was eliminated somewhere around 60th place. In any event, I think there were a couple of interesting hands that might be worthy of some comments. I am ultimately pretty happy with the way I played each of them, but I realize that they may not have been played optimally.
The tournament was my third and final event during our Tunica trip, and to that point I'd played pretty lackluster, weak tournament poker. Two things occurred that changed the way I would be play in the final tournament: (1) watching Zach cash in our first event, and seeing how, like at the WSOP, he played fearlessly. Yes, perhaps misguided and overaggressive a times, but he was simply not going to go quietly, and as you looked around his table, you began to recognize the other players seeing that in him and adjusting their play to avoid confrontations with him; and (2) my horrific mistake in the $1,000 NL event (won by Devil Fish). This will be the subject of a later post if I'm man enough to own it.
So coming into our final event, I was dead-set on not being afraid to push chips around and not be pushed around. Fortunately, I managed to get some pretty good hands and chip up early with very few showdowns. Then I played a hand that seemed to confirm my newfound willingness to play faster. I found 8-9 suited in the cut-off and raised. A good player who had a few less chips than me was the only caller in the big blind after a short think. The flop was 876r. He checked to me and I bet half the pot. He called. The turn was a 2, completing the rainbow. He checked again, and I bet half the pot again, now having committed close to 40% of my stack to the pot. He immediately check-raised all in, I quickly called and he tabled AQ. The river blanked and I basically doubled up.
Thereafter, I cruised to the final three tables as probably one of the top five chipleaders. Right about this time, I was moved to a new table.
I am in seat 4. Seat 6 is the clear chipleader in the tournament with about 50,000. I have around 19,000, third at the table. Seat 8 is an extremely cocky, tattooed and blinged out kid of maybe 24. He has around 24,000 and clearly assumes he will cruise to the final table. Seat 7 has around 5,600, and seat 9 (I think a friend of Scott's) has around 2,000. Blinds are 300-600 with a 50 ante, so each round is costing us 1,350. While I'm well above par and not in blind danger, the blinds are about to go up, and I know that the volatility of the tournament will mean I just can't sit around. I had played maybe 2-3 hands at the new table, and it was my button.
UTG (Seat 7) moves all in for 5600, obviously with some kind of hand, but also realizing he's got to take a stab at the blinds and antes while he's still a threat. Seat 8, our cocky friend, thinks, makes a couple of comments about what he thinks seat 7 might have and calls. His call screams of something like AK, AQ or a middle pocket pair in 99-77 range. I think he would have raised to isolate with any real premium hand as he's looking at adding over 7K to stack. Seat 9 pushes in his last 2,000 getting the proper odds (almost 4-1) to do that with almost anything, and it's folded to me. I look at my cards for a good ten seconds and then move all-in. What's my range? What do you think seat 8 had?
Results to come.