• Even Last Place Keeps Me Going in the ‘League’

    Date: 2007.03.26 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    Working on my fourth heat in the Premiership of Poker (I also refer to it as the Premier League), the internationally broadcast London invitational continued to provide me with a great chance to get some international exposure.

    Longtime readers know that I’ve been writing about the League in my last few columns. For those just tuning in, the event works like this: 12 invited world-class players would each play six separate six-player “heats.” Points are awarded based on performance. Each heat would be a random drawing, so that you could face the same opponent several times. The top-four players and two players from secondary “heats” advance to the six-player finale, with their chip stacks to be 10,000 times their point totals.

    Dave “Devilfish” Ulliot was in an uproar after our last heat together in the third round, and he came after me big time! I had won my first three heats to take a huge lead with 24 points, but in the third heat I went after Devilfish, moving all-in on him with my 7h-5h. In this, my fourth heat, Devilfish was looking for revenge. He would in fact try to outplay me early and often. My fourth heat featured Tony G., Devilfish, Eddy Scharf, Juha Helpi and Vicky Coren.

    With the blinds at $1,000-$2,000, I opened the pot for $7,000 to go in late position with A-Q. Devilfish, who was sitting to my right — on the button — called with 9-6. The flop came down J-J-5, I checked, then Devilfish checked. The turn card was a four, and now I decided to bet $12,000. Devilfish hemmed and hawed for a minute, and then made it $25,000 to go. I studied for a full minute, but decided that it was not the right spot for me to risk my entire tournament. Eventually, I folded.

    What happened in this hand? Devilfish had decided to really go after me, that’s why he called the $7,000 bet with the 9-6 off suit. I do not like his call here, as I was playing patiently, and was bound to have some sort of strong hand. Plus, I’m not the easiest guy in the world to bluff (although Devilfish did a great job bluffing me out this time!). On the flop, I wish I would have made some sort of bet. But, I do not mind the check too much. My bet on the turn was decent, although checking would have been better against a wild player like Devilfish. Why not check, and then possibly call? Fish certainly wouldn’t have bet more than $15,000 on the turn. In this scenario, I could call for the same amount that I bet. I love Devilfishes bluff here. Give him full credit for making a tough play, and pulling it off against, well … me. I do not mind my fold here. It is very difficult to call a raise here on the turn with only ace high. Devilfish simply outplayed me this time around. However, now that I know that he is capable of making that move, I will be able to call him down in impossible spots in the future.

    One other nice move that the fish made on me this day was when I raised it up to $14,000 to go on the button with A-K. Fish called from the small blind with Jh-9h, and when the flop came down 8-5-4, fish moved all-in on me. He bet my last $45,000 or so. I felt like I couldn’t call, again not knowing that he was capable of making that move against me. I give Fish full credit for outplaying me this day, but watch out in the future fish, because now I’m coming after you!

    I ended up finishing in sixth place (last place) in this heat, and getting zero points. Still, after winning 24 points in the first three heats, I wasn’t about to panic. Next column I’ll talk about my fifth heat, which I either won, or finished last in.

    Calling a big bet with a weak hand is:
    A) Dangerous!
    B) Not a very good idea
    C) Takes a ton of skill to avoid trapping yourself
    D) All of the above.

    Answer: D