• Third Time’s a Charm

    Date: 2007.03.19 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    I continue my tales of the Premier League in London on my third heat. For those of you just tuning in, the internationally broadcast Premier League invites 12 world-class players to compete in several heats. Ultimately, six players compete in the finale. Four of the final players are chosen based on their scores. Two are chosen from secondary “heats.” Each player took their point total times 10,000 to the six-player finale. Each heat would be broadcast as an hour-long TV show.

    On Day 2, I won my first heat, then played in another heat featuring Eddie Scharf, Vicky Coren, Juha Helpi, Kiril Gerasimov and David Devilfish Ulliot. I was the only player to play in two heats in one day. Would the fatigue catch up with me? Would I “donk off” my chips? Or, could I win three in a row? Early on, Devilfish kept raising my blinds, and I told myself that he wasn’t going to run me over, not today! With the blinds at $3,000-$6,000, Devilfish opened on the button for $18,000 with As-8s, and I moved all-in for $70,000 with 7h-5h. The Fish studied a full minute and finally called. Amazingly, the flop was 8-6-4! I had flopped a straight, and I had gone from first one out had I lost the pot — and zero points — to chip leader with $140,000!

    Let’s take a closer look at this hand: the Fish made a standard raise on the button with a decent hand. His intent was to try to win the pot right then and there. I moved all-in because I didn’t want the Fish to keep on raising my big blind all day long. I moved all-in to send a message. Of course, it could be argued that I was fatigued, and that I tried to “donk off” my chips.

    In any case, the Fish smelled my weakness and made a great call. I was simply lucky to escape. However, I did send a strong message: don’t mess with me today.

    Later on, another big pot came up between the Fish and I when we were four handed. With the blinds at $5,000-$10,000, I opened for $30,000 under the gun (first to act) with 9-9. Fish studied, chatted with me a bit, and then moved all-in from the big blind for about $150,000; I “insta-called” him. Fish showed me A-A, and I was all-in again, this time as a 4-1/2-to-1 underdog. Amazingly, the flop came down 9-7-6, and I won the pot.

    What happened? I do not mind my raise of $30,000. I love the fact that Fish talked for a minute before he moved all-in. For the record, I do not think that an amateur should do that against a pro, because the pro will be able to read it (why give a pro more free information?), but Fish added a layer of deception when he chatted with me before moving all-in. My patented insta-call was probably not the best move. I was expecting Fish to try to bluff me, as I had been bluffing him all day long, but still, I should have studied Fish awhile before I acted. Maybe I would have smelled strength and made a great play and folded. However, the fact that I kept on moving all-in on Fish earlier, and that I was bluffing him a ton throughout the match, made me think that he was trying to bluff me back.

    Bottom line: after three heats, I had an amazing three wins, and 24 points. Wow, back-to-back-to-back wins. This time though, I was pretty lucky. I could have lost with the 7h-5h and been out in last place or the 9-9 and finished fourth. Next week I’ll talk about my fourth heat, where I was first out, or I won my fourth in a row, stay tuned.

    I send the message “Do not mess with me today,” when I:
    A) move all-in
    B) fold
    C) call
    D) act like a Poker Brat!

    Answer: A