• Never Give Up – Part Two

    Date: 2004.06.15 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    In a previous Hand of the Week, we talked about the Bellagio’s Five-Star World Poker Classic’s $1,000 buy-in Pot Limit Hold’em tournament, and how I ran $300 under the gun, up to $10,000 in one round, when the blinds were $100-$200. What a nice round of poker for me! I then told you that I eventually made the final table with the chip lead–with over $60,000 in chips–along with Howard Lederer (who was a short stack), Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Schulman (short stack), Dennis Waterman (he finished number one in Card Player magazine pot limit Hold’em category in 2002) and unknown Brian Green.

    Jeff, Daniel, and Howard finished 8th, 7th, and 6th. Howard later told me, “I was very surprised that this random group played so well. Usually, when I don’t know the players at a table they make a lot of mistakes.” Howard is right about this, the players were playing some great poker at the final table that day.

    When we reached the final three players, Dennis and Brian asked me if I wanted to make a deal. I looked down and realized that I had $150,000 of the $276,000 in chips at the table. I declined, but I also thought that a deal would net me over $40,000, when first, second and third were $53,500, $26,700 and $13,300 respectively.

    As play continued, I was confident that I would eventually prevail. At this point a very interesting hand came up between Brian and Dennis. Dennis raised it up with Ad-9d making it $12,000 to go, and Brian re-raised it making it $24,000 more with 8-8. Dennis studied forever, and then he made a very unorthodox move when he just called the bet. After a flop of Js-6d-2h, Brian bet Dennis’s last $20,000, and Dennis “went into the tank” (he studied for at least two minutes).

    Finally Dennis called the bet with his A-9 high, no pair, no draw! Dennis was now all-in, and then the dealer dealt off a 9 on fourth-street, and Dennis wound up winning the pot. Was Dennis’s call here terrible” No, it wasn’t, but if he felt A-9 was good; then, in my opinion, he should have put the money in before the flop. At this point I thought, “There’s no way that this miracle ‘hit’ of Dennis’s could ever come back and bite me, could it” Imagine the parlay, Dennis is all-in in bad shape, Brian only has $29,000 left, there’s no way I’ll end finishing third and get only 13k!”

    A few hands later Brian moved all-in with A-K, and Dennis called with A-7 suited, and I called with 2-2. Brian survived when a K hit the board on the flop. A little while later Dennis made a straight against me on the last card in a key pot, and now I was in third place in the chip count.

    With Brian beginning to raise a ton of pots, I knew it was just a matter of time before I picked him off in a huge pot. So with the blinds at $2,000-$4,000, the following hand came up. I limped in the small blind with Ah-4h, and Brian raised $8,000. I called quickly, and the flop came down 5s-6h-Qh; I flopped the nut flush draw. I checked and then Brian checked. The fourth card was the 10h, and now I had the nut flush! How to play it though” Perhaps a small bet that looked like a bluff” Yes!

    I bet out $8,000 trying to make it look like a bluff, and Brian fell right into my trap. He said, “Raise the size of the pot.” As he put his chips into the pot, I thought he had me covered, so I moved all-in lightning fast, and he said call (if I raised, it was less than $10,000). He flipped up his two black jacks, as I said, “Nut flush.” His face hit the floor, he had been over playing his hands against me for two hours, and now he was drawing dead for all the money; just as I had foreseen!

    Now I had all the chips, and I was wondering how he could put all of his money in with two black jacks with this board, when it hit me. I had the Ad in my hand, not the Ah! He had raised me $40,000 on the turn, virtually all of my chips, and I didn’t even look back at my hand! I had just called off all of my chips with nothing! Talk about bad plays: here I was thinking about how badly Brian played the hand, when I was one who misread my hand, zoinks!

    Luckily, it turned out that I was still drawing live to a heart or an ace, and I was thinking, “I deserve to hit it, as both of these guys have outdrawn me, and I’ve played so great today.” “Deserve” is a concept that someone wiser than me should grapple with. In fact, I probably “deserved” to finish third for misreading my hand! Anyway, the last card was a blank, and I was eliminated and got $13,300. I kept thinking, “I would have made over $40,000 in a deal!” Well, I didn’t have anyone to blame but myself this time. I wasn’t super unlucky; I just flat out misread my hand.

    I hope that everyone enjoyed this weeks Hand of the Week. Good luck playing your hands this week.

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