Something to Tell the Grand-kids Part I

Dave Russell won the Mob Forum League 2 and enjoyed an all expenses trip to the 2007 WSOP in Las Vegas with The Mob courtesy of Full Tilt Poker. His first live event was at the Gold Coast the day before the WSOP Main Event and Dave kindly shares his experience of the $10,000 event with us in two parts.

The Mob Forum League 3 is just underway and there are four added $4,000 packages to the 2008 WSOP to be won. It takes place every Tuesday from August to November, why not play tonight? You can join at any time, read this forum post.

WSOP Main Event 2007 Day 1B

So here it was. Event Number #55. The Main Event of the World Series of Poker. $10,000 buy-in. $20,000 in starting chips and 2 hour levels. It would be the biggest tournament I’d ever played in.

I arrived 10 minutes before the noon kickoff and I was 3rd to reach my table. I didn’t recognise anyone yet – and believe me, I’d been watching every Poker program I could to make sure I recognised the pro’s when I saw them. The table slowly filled up. As the clock ticked to 12pm, there was still one seat empty – and one of the stars of the Poker world was taking a slow stroll over towards the final seat at my table.

Sam Farha sat down and handed over his registration card. He was opposite me. I was playing poker with Sam Farha! The same Sam Farha we’d heard had lost millions to Brian Townsend only days earlier at the Bellagio. The same Sam Farha who made the final table with MoneyMaker. Wow.

Immediately behind him on the next table was Patrik Antonius. The current star of “The Big Game”. On the table next to Patrik’s was Tony G from Australia.

First hand. Blinds started at 50/100, so the double stacks meet double-blinds. Pah. UTG raises to 600. Crikey, that 20k stack doesn’t look so big suddenly does it. Sam Farha who is UTG+1 calls……Everyone else folds.

The flop comes Jack-high and UTG bets out 2000. Sam comments on the large bet and folds. UTG shows his KK and lets out a big sigh in his relief that his KK hadn’t met with AA in the first hand…..Everyone’s nightmare, surely.

Second hand. Sam is UTG and he raises to 600. It folds to me, and I’m holding Qd Qs. I call the 600. Everyone else folds.

The flop comes 3 diamonds, all lower than my Queen. Sam bets out 1k. I really don’t want to play a big pot yet. Especially against Sam. I call the 1k.

The turn is a low black card. I’ve still got an overpair to the board and a flush draw…..Sam bets out 4k.

Great. There’s no way I can call this. Online I would be tempted to go all-in, but this is the 2nd hand of the WSOP main event against Sam Farha! I thought for a few minutes before I decided I would get a better spot…..and I pushed my cards to the muck, face down. Sam flashed the Ad as he raked the pot.

Right. My plan – yes, I did actually have one. I was going to play tight. Tighter than I’d ever played before – at least for the first day. I would, of course, be playing AA, KK, QQ and AK from any position, but apart from those hands I was looking to play any playable hand from Button, Cutoff and Hijack – and then only if I was open-raising. Another hand, or another position and it would be a fold. Yes you’re right, this is incredibly tight. I just decided to see how it went for the first few sessions and then make any changes based on my chipstack.

About 30 minutes go by after my QQ hand before I get dealt AA in mid position. The guy on my right, who seems more interested in writing notes in his book than actually playing cards, raises. I reraise him. Everyone else folds and he calls. Flop comes A65 with two clubs. He checks. I bet ½ pot. He check-raises me double my bet. Nice. I re-raise him back double his raise! He folds. Nice pot for me, thank you very much.

Another 20 minutes or so go by and I get KK in the cutoff. It’s easy this Poker lark eh? Just get dealt AA,KK or QQ every 30 minutes and try and win a big pot with them 😉

I raise and the button calls. 2 of us see a flop of AK7. Rainbow. I bet and he calls. Turn is a Ten. I bet again and he calls. I’m wondering about QJ now, but then the river makes it irrelevant. The case King hits the table and I’ve made quads. There’s about 10k in the pot and I’ve another 16k or so behind. I need a nice bet here that he’s still going to call. I bet out 8k…..and he calls! Another nice pot, thank you very much.

Now, anyone care to guess what this other guy had? An hour or so later, when he’d got some chips back, he claimed to have had AA and told me I got lucky…….But if he did have it that was three times in the first two levels – and he showed the other two……

As you can imagine, my tight play wasn’t going unnoticed by the rest of the table, but I wasn’t really that bothered – I’d just about doubled up my starting stack and we were only through a couple of levels.

During the afternoon I played very few hands. I open raised with TT from the Cutoff. Two callers. Flop came Ten high. It checked to me, I bet ½ the pot and they folded.

I open raised with T8s from the Hijack. Everyone folded.

By now, there were a few players out and a few more on short stacks. I’d also picked up that the guy two to my right had HUGE tells indicating when he made a decent hand and when he had nothing. He was playing quite loose, but whenever he made a hand he went bright red and he could hardly stay on his seat. Whenever he was still drawing, or didn’t like the flop, he would hold his cards ready to muck them – sometimes even practice-mucking them whilst waiting for others to act before him!

Anyway, blinds are now 200/400 and Tell-Guy raises 3x from mid-position and I reraised him another 2k from the button with AK. “Oh ho….” He says. “You haven’t played a hand in 2 hours and I don’t want to give you chips, but I have to call”…..So he calls my reraise. The flop comes 6-high and he picks up his cards, calls “check” and looks at me. I know he’s going to fold, so I bet out 5k. He throws AK face-up and says “I’m glad I didn’t hit the King!”. I muck my AK facedown and rake in the pot……

Another player, garbed in PokerStars gear, arrived at our table with a short-ish stack. He was on the BB as I got a pair of deuces on the button. There’s a limper already, so I limp too. Three of us see a flop of A72 with two hearts. Set city for me today. Pokerstars guy across the table bets out about 4k – that’s twice the pot. I’ve got over 45k, so I call. The other limper folds. The turn was a non-heart and Pokerstars guy moves all-in. It’s only about another 6k, so it’s an easy call. I flip over my set and he gasps. “A set of deuces? I can’t beat that” and off he goes……A river card wasn’t even needed!

The last hand before the dinner break was another involving Tell-Guy. This time, though, he was playing against Sam Farha….

Sam was acting first and Tell-Guy called his preflop raise and then his flop bet.

The turn card, however, was 3c. This card paired the board and also put three clubs out there. Tell-guy suddenly rocketed off his chair and he was using all his power to stay seated! The bright-red colour returned to his face and his excitement at 3c was clear for all to see.

Sam checked. Tell-guy checked behind.

The river was a blank and Sam bet out about 2k. He only had 8k more. Tell-guy, who had over 20k, raised Sam another 5k.

Now, Sam thought long and hard here. The longest anyone thought about anything at our table. It was the last hand before dinner, but nobody moved because they all wanted to see what Sam would do. He was reasoning out loud “Surely you’d only raise if you made the full house?”. He thought some more.

Now, given what I saw when the 3c hit the turn, there is no way this guy had anything less than a full house or the nut flush. No way in the world. I was sure Sam had seen it too……Until he made the call. Sam turned over a K-high flush. Tell-guy turned over the nut flush and Sam was all but out…..

So, there you have it. The story of the first 3 levels of the WSOP Main Event. We broke for dinner and I had about 65k in chips. The average stack was less than 30k. Sam Farha had 3k. There were still 3 levels to play before the end of the day and we started again at 8pm.