21 July 2007

WSOP $10k PLO Final Table Report

Have not had a chance to sit down and write about what happened at the WSOP in Vegas until now, but I wanted to tell you about reaching the final table in Event 50 the $10,000 PLO.

Usually May is filled with anticipation for the WSOP. This year was a little different. All of my excitement was for the birth of my baby Mila.

My fiancée Maya and I had a beautiful healthy baby girl on May 8. So even though the WSOP is the biggest time of the year, my energy and focus this time was not on poker.

However, I still planned on playing five events or so and was really looking forward to the $50,000 HORSE event.

But it did not go as well as last year when I final tabled. Heading into day two I had 145,000 chips. The blinds were very high compared to my chip stack. I am looking forward to the upcoming WSOP Europe HORSE event, as I really enjoy playing HORSE.

The other event I was looking forward to was the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha. PLO is my favorite game and I felt like I had a great shot to win my first bracelet. I was top five in chips going into day two and was gaining momentum.

I was catching amazing cards, but could not hit a flop to save my life in the first half of day two. I had K Q J T double suited, J J 9 9 double suited, and KQJ9 single suited. These are some of my favorite hands, and each time I hit no pair and no draw on the flop.

I won a big coin-flip against Annie Duke soon after and we got all of our money in pre-flop. She flopped the striaght and I hit my backdoor flush.

Another big hand, I started with 250,000 in chips and I raised pre flop with A K J 8 and the current chip leader called me. The flop came A J 6. I bet the flop and he called. The turn came a 2 and I went all in with my last 143,000 and he called, after seeing my hand he mucked. It is pretty nice to be all in and your opponent calls and tells you he is drawing dead.

Another key hand, I was in the BB and five people saw the flop of A 9 8. It was checked around. I had A J T 6 and the turn was a 2 and I bet the pot. Everyone folded to the SB and he called.

The river was a 3 and the SB bet $130,000. I took a long time and based on his fast call on the turn I put him on a draw, when the river was a blank, I called and my one pair was good.

I built my stack to over one million when we were down to 10 players. We were waiting to lose one more player before the official final table would come back the next day.

I got all in pre flop verse two players with A A Q x with the nut diamonds. One player had A K K 2 and the other guy had 8 8 9 Q. They both had clubs and the flop came J 7 4 with two clubs and the turn was a blank and the river was a club, giving both players a flush.

If I would have won that hand, I would have knocked out two players and been chipleader with 1.35 million at the final table with only eight players. Instead I started the final table with 600,000 which put me fifth.

Also at the final table were friends, Doyle Brunson, Marco Traniello, and Robert Mizrachi. I knocked out Doyle out in 6th place, it is very impressive how he continues to reach final tables and dominate the big cash games at his age.

As we got three handed I really liked my chances, especially after flopping a Royal Flush and doubling up when Robert made a full house on the river. We both checked the flop, and I bet the turn and he called.

I was praying for the board to pair and hoping he made a full house. My wish came true when the board paired; as calmly as I could I pushed my chips all in.

To Robert's credit, he took his time and looked like he might even fold, but he called with a small full house. I was now chipleader and ready to take down my first WSOP bracelet.

The turning point at the final table was when I flopped the nut flush. I bet 150,000 into the 240,000 pot on the flop and Robert called. At this point I was putting Robert on a small flush or a set. The turn was a Jack – a total blank.

I bet 400,000 and he called again. I was still not sure if he has a set or small flush. The river paired the board with the Jack. Before the dealer took his hand off the card, Robert moved all in. Now I was faced with a very tough situation.

I was pot commited, I was left with 800,000 and there was 1.3 million in the pot, but I did not think he would bluff a smaller flush. I folded my nut flush face up and he immediately turned over the 9 high flush.

It was the sickest bluff anyone has ever made against me. Instead of knocking out Robert and having a commanding chip lead, I was now the shortstack.

I ran into Robert's A A x x a few hands later and was out in 3rd for a little over $311,000. It was disappointing not to win when you are that close, but now I am even more motivated to win my first bracelet.

I am really looking forward to the WSOP Europe and the EPT events coming up this fall. I have not been committed to the tournaments lately because I have been putting all of my energy into the cash games, live and online.

That’s it from me for now. I hope you enjoyed my blog and, as always, please email me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my website and blog better.

Thanks and good luck at the tables!