Phil’s Short-handed Calls vs. Scotty
On the recent Card Player Cruise through the Caribbean on the Holland Cruise ship “Zandam,” I played in a $1,000 buy-in no limit Hold’em event with 42 of my shipmates. Coming off of an all-night session of Chinese poker (deuce to seven in the middle) vs. Andy Bloch, I decided that I had more equity in the 10:00 AM tournament, than I did playing Andy, even though I’d been up all-night. I was frustrated with losing over 70 points for the night (over $7,000!) and ready, honestly, for bed. Did I really come onboard to play Bloch Chinese poker” He is the one player in the world I know to be better than me at the game!
So the tournament began, and with no apparent excuse to be “Phil Hellmuth late,” I invented a good one. I went downstairs to shower, clean up, put on my walkman and hat, and change into fresh clothes. My expectations were low, but I was going to try my hardest to win this thing.
I found myself in a very quiet-none of my usual chatting–tight mode. I folded and folded and folded, and then finally picked up 8-8. R.A. Head opened for $250, and I decided to just call in late position. I had $1850 total at this point. David Plastik now moved all-in from the small blind with J-J, and R.A. moved all-in quickly as well. I flipped my 8-8 face up and folded. After a board of 8-5-5-3-2 I wondered if I had done the right thing! I would have tripled up if I weren’t so conservative, but I was happy with the way I played the hand nonetheless.
As the players fell, I continued to hang in there. With three tables left, I called under the gun $150 with Q-Q, and now Kenny “Skyhawk” Flaton made it $650. The raise smelled of power to me, so I decided to just call. The flop was J-5-4, and now I checked. Flaton bet out $700, and now I decided that I couldn’t get away from my hand no matter what. I moved all-in and Skyhawk beat me in there and flipped up A-A. Oh well, I didn’t mind going broke here; first, I like Flaton a ton; and second, it was too tough a lay down, especially in a $1,000 buy-in NLH tournament. The turn was a 5, and the river was the miracle Q. The game was on!
When we hit the final table, the lineup was pretty tough including Scotty Nguyen, Erik Seidel, Jeff “Happy” Schulman (who won the next day’s NLH event), Paul Darden, and me. In the end it came down to me, Scotty, and Paul. With first place $16,000, second place $12,000 and third $8,000, no deal was discussed.
With the blinds at $1,000-$2,000 and the antes at $300 a man, the following two hands came up between Scotty and I. The first hand Scotty moved all-in for $7,900, and I began to study from the big blind. There was $5,900 in the pot (S$2,000 + PBB$2,000 + SB$1,000 + $900 antes = $5,900), and it was going to cost me $5,900 to call with my Jh-4h. I was getting laid 2 to 1, but I knew Scotty had me beat-Scotty was playing really solid and great poker as usual. I finally decided to call, but I realized within seconds that it was the wrong move. Scotty flipped up Ah-6h, and the flop came down Qh-7s-3h. I flopped a flush draw, but Scotty flopped a bigger one, and his ace-high held up.
Two rounds later Scotty again moved all-in from the button, and this time it would cost me $10,800 more. This time I had A-5, and I began to read Scotty for Q-K- also, I knew that he would play that kind of hand at this point. After careful consideration-I didn’t want to make another bad call-I called and Scotty flipped up Kc-Jc. I wound up winning this pot (I was 3 to 2 favorite) and went on to take a nice chip lead against Paul.
From here I could have played better poker, but give credit to Paul for beating me. I need some practice playing one on one as I never do it anymore. Hopefully I’ll be getting that practice soon, and lots of it! Congratulations to Paul Darden, well played! I hope everyone enjoyed this weeks Hand of the Week’. Good luck playing your hands this week.