Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WSOP main event, Day 1b

As I walked through the Rio on day 1b of the WSOP main event with two of my friends on my way to play my ninth ever main event, I told them there was really no need to get involved early without a big hand. Sit back, get the lie of the land, get your reads on your opponents, and learn everything you can about them before getting involved in your first big hand.

Twenty minutes later, I reflected wryly how little I'd heeded my own advice, as I raked in a large pot won with a flop threebet having put in 125 big blinds with ace high. One quarter of my stack. It's all well and good going in with a plan, but you have to be flexible enough to change it in running sometimes.

The hand in question started with an elderly gentlemen (not me) opening in early position to three big blinds, as he had done quite a lot already. Another guy playing almost every hand called, as did a young guy who looked like he had identified the opener and the caller as the two fish at the table. Around to me in the small blind with ace queen, and I figured myself to usually be in good shape against three very wide ranges. Playing the hand out of position against three players didn't seem too appealing however, so I decided to go for a play I use sparingly, the big squeeze.  I bumped it up to 2300, expecting to pick up the 1000 in the middle most of the time. The opener grudgingly folded, the second guy unexpectedly called, and the third guy quickly folded. Not quite the result I was most hoping for, but a very good second choice, as I found myself headsup against a single opponent who it was difficult to imagine was holding a premium hand. My optimism grew when we saw a JJ6 flop, one where it was difficult to imagine my opponent had many hands that improved. I cbet small, 2200, again expecting to win the pot there and then, and was again surprised when my opponent not only did not fold but actually raised.

A year ago in this spot, with ace high facing this kind of aggression, I'm pretty sure I'd just have hoisted the white flag and surrendered the pot. A lot of the study I've done in the last year has been in these deep stack spots, and I've come to realise that your range is far more important than your actual hand. When I stood back and looked at the hand from this perspective, it was still difficult to believe my opponent had much of a hand. If he had a monster, surely he would just call and let me keep firing? Even if he just had a jack, wouldn't he just call? And how many jacks could he actually have?

In a previous hand , he'd called preflop, and when the flop came eight high, raised the opener in a five way pot, and shown 66 like it was the nuts when everyone folded. After that hand, I pegged him as a raise for information see where I am kind of guy. Given this read, I figured his most likely hand in this pot against me was a weakish single pair hand that wanted to win the pot without further resistance and wouldn't be able to withstand much heat.

So I decided to bring the heat. Raising to 9500, I sat there impassively while my opponent looked pained. He eventually decided he wasn't willing to put any more chips into the pot with pocket sevens or whatever he had and folded. As I stacked the chips, I had reasons to be cheerful.

A couple of hours later, I was even more cheerful, having continued a great start to chiplead my table with 85k. I found myself in a flip against a shortest stack to get close to 100k. Given how I'd been flipping this summer (1/18) I wasn't feeling too optimistic, and wasn't too surprised to lose the flip and find myself back around the 70k mark. Still a great start, but for the rest of the day I was totally card dead.

A few hours into this, I arose from my folding slumber to threebet light with a good hand to do it with (A2s) and a good target to do it against (a very good Dutch online pro who was opening a lot). I didn't get the preflop fold I was rooting for, but got a good looking flop (Jack high, bottom pair, backdoor flush and straight draws). So I bet when checked to, again expecting to win the pot there and then most of the time. Unfortunately on this occasion I got check raised and folded, concluding I'd run into a hand.

After the great start, it was a bit disappointing to find myself bagging up less then starting stack, but on the other hand 48k wasn't exactly a disaster, and meant coming back for day 2 with a very playable 80 big blinds


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