Bellagio Bits 'n' Pieces
Five Star World Poker Classic, Las Vegas
Since I got back to Hendon people have been asking whether they should be congratulating me or commiserating with me. One hundred and eighty eight thousand dollars is a fair chunk and although I (only) finished seventh it is my biggest single cash. I’ve won a few tournaments but my biggest cash previously was when I finished second in Dublin in the WPC for Euro100,000. I could have easily finished 95th, 35th, 15th or 10th. I had a few squeezes the biggest when I was down to three tables and I lost half my stack to David Williams just before I got moved to balance tables. I was down to less than 100,000 and it was about 12,000 a round. I found pocket fives UTG and not wanting to be re-raised I moved my stack in. I found the small blind with aces (ouch!) but managed to back door a straight and doubled through.
Obviously it was a shot at a life changing amount of money but I’m very happy with the way I played and my focus was very good throughout the five days.
A number of Europeans did well at the Bellagio festival. Paul Maxfield’s 2nd in the main event was well deserved although I’d bet a pound to a penny that he didn’t have 9, 10 off suit in that key hand against John Phan when seven players were left (although we’ll never be able to prove it). He was two or three off the button and John was on the small blind. Paul raised, Hasan called in the cut off and John called off the blind. The flop came down 2, J, 2 and John led out for 300,000. Paul raised it to 600,000 and Hasan passed. The turn brought a rag, John checked and Paul moved all in for about a million. John thought for a very long time, a clock was called and eventually his hand was declared dead after sweating the call for ten minutes. John doesn’t like to pass although he’s not as bad as Tuan Le and I believe that he was very close to calling. John had Paul well covered and he showed J,Q as he passed. After the hand Paul exposed a ten. I think that he put John on sevens, eights or nines and that he believed he had the best hand or that he put him on a weak Jack and that he could make him pass. Paul played the hand very well and he played it like a champion but I couldn’t help smile when he tried to convince the table it was 9,10 off suit. I only saw him play or raise with premium hands and he wasn’t in very many.
A special mention to Marty Clarke who qualified for the $2500 super satellite via Stan James on the Prima Poker Network: He came very close to winning a seat and only just missed out although he tells me that he got a lot from it and that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.