• Not the Deja Vu I like

    Date: 2006.08.07 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    With more than $90 million in prize money in the main event of the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP); first place is a whopping $12 million! That’s some serious coin. As you read this, we now know that 10-time bracelet winners Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson and I are out of the WSOP main event; the three of us were eliminated on Day 1. In fact, the starting field of more than 9,000 players has now been whittled down to about 1,100 or so (this article was Aug. 2). Defending champ Joe Hachim is still in there, as is Daniel Negreanu and Allan Cunningham. You can follow the action live all week at CardPlayer.com, and then I will commentate the final live for Bluff radio (on Sirius) on the night of the 10th.

    After recently winning my 10th WSOP bracelet in a no-limit Hold ’em event, I fancied my chances in the main event (no-limit Hold ’em). I had some serious momentum, I had made the money in five Hold ’em tournaments, and I knew that I was at the top of my game. Unfortunately for me, things started out badly; on the fourth hand dealt to me I picked up Jh-Jd, and watched as one player made it $300 to go, and Randy Jensen — who is a bit wild at the table — made it $800 to go. I was on the ESPN-featured table, and I said, “I’m thinking of folding my hand right now, but ESPN announcer Norman Chad will probably fall out of his chair.”

    So I called $800, and the flop came down 10s-7s-4s, and Jensen bet out $3,500 or so. Without more than 10 seconds passing by, I folded my hand. Then, Jensen showed me his black pocket queens. I somehow just knew on the flop that I was beat, and I’m proud of the fold. The very next hand, I looked down at pocket kings! I thought to myself, “If someone else has pocket aces, I’m gone.” Someone else did have pocket aces, but that person only called my $450 bet before the flop. If he would have reraised pre-flop, then I may well have gone broke on this hand. The flop was Q-10-9, and he checked, and I put on the brakes and checked. The next card was the 8s, and now we both checked again. On the end, after a deuce came off, my opponent bet $500, and I called. Wow, I had lost only $1,750 with these two back-to-back coolers (“coolers” stands for “cold deck,” which means a cheaters deck set-up so that one person loses all of his money). It sure was cold for me so far at that table!

    Even though I had arrived 100 minutes late, I left the room again after that hand and went to the UltimateBet.com booth to relax for awhile. Upon my arrival back at the televised table, I raised it up to $225 to go with Ac-6c, and the flop was A-10-9. I checked, player one bet $500, player two called, and now I called. The turn was a seven, I checked, player one checked, and now player two bet $1,000. Player one and I called. The last card was a deuce, I checked, player one checked, and now player two bet $2,500. Was this a nightmare? Could this really be happening to me? My first hand back at the table, and I felt like I had to fold for the $2,500 bet.

    Awhile later I opened for $200, and player three made it $500 to go, which priced me in for only $300 more. The flop was J-7-5, I checked, player three bet $1,000, and I called. The next card was a three, I checked, player three bet $1,000, and I called. The last card was a deuce, I bet out a defensive $800 bet, and player three called and showed me Q-Q. Are you serious? No way this happening to me in the main event, no possible way, but it was in fact happening. This was in fact for real.

    About an hour later, I raised on the button with A-Q, and player four moved me all-in from the small blind. I felt some weakness, and I called the bet. With more than $6,000 in the pot, I saw my opponent had 7-7. I went broke when I couldn’t beat his pocket sevens — he was about a 21-to-20 favorite. But wait a minute, in last year’s main event I had A-Q vs. 7-7, with me sitting in the five seat, and my opponent sitting in the six seat. Same deal this year, and that is some serious deja vu. Just not the kind of deja vu I like. By the way, there are six more WSOP bracelet events in the next week, and I will play them all: I only hope that my next article talks about me winning bracelet No. 11!!

    A-Q vs. 7-7:
    A) the 7-7 is a tiny favorite
    B) the A-Q is a tiny favorite
    C) 7-7 is a 2-to-1 favorite
    D) A-Q is a 2-to-1 favorite

    Answer: A