Thursday, February 18, 2010

LA Poker Classic Score Day 1 Recap

On a whim I decided to drive up to LA and play in event 34 of the LA Poker Classic. I had been following the results online wishing I had the chance to play when I finally decided to just go for it.  I checked the schedule to see if there was an event I was rolled for and then drove up to LA within an hour of making the decision.  It worked out for the best as I took down a nice prize.

The first day went about as well as it could have. I built a big stack early and never looked back. I played well and ran better, using my stack to put pressure on my opponents without ever having to put my tournament life on the line.

A few key hands:
Early on in the first round I had built to about 4500 chips. I called behind a chain of limpers with pocket 3's in late position. One of the blinds popped it up with a "go away" raise, which of course means "don't go away" to me so I called and we were heads up. I could see his distress when I called and I was even happier to be there. The flop came QQ4 and I knew he didn't like it. He bet out and I raised to take down a nice pot, giving me twice the average chips.

There was a player to my right, the type who talks too much, who began to drill the guy about his hand.
"I put you on pocket 6s, was I right? I think you had a medium pair…"
"Wow, did you say 66? You were right. Good read. How did you know that?"
It was probably the dumbest exchange I've ever heard but I picked up good info. Seat 7, although he seemed like an innocent straight forward player, was capable of lying to you with a smile on his face. That was useful when I picked off a river bluff in another hand.

Later on I had another big hand go my way. I called a raise on the button with 10 8 suited and flopped the nut straight. It was checked to me and I bet. The big blind check raised all in and the preflop raiser went into the tank before folding, later claiming to have QQ. “That was going to be my move,” he said. Lucky for him. I called of course to see the raiser had the nut flush draw. More than half of my chips were out there so I had to duck a diamond if I was going to be able to keep a big stack. I didn’t have to sweat for very long though, the 9 of diamonds came on the turn giving me a straight flush and my hand was invincible.

As we got down to the final few tables a really big hand worked out for me. The player to my left raised under the gun and was called by the cutoff and the small blind. I looked down at 64 suited and couldn’t resist the odds. When the flop came 964 with 2 hearts and I donkey lead into the pot hoping for action. I was hoping I’d be read for a draw and get raised. The preflop raiser twisted in agony before flatting. Almost.... There was still one more to act so I still had a chance. The cutoff raised all in and I had a second chance. The dealer stopped me though, before I could come over the top. The cutoff was too short and his shove wasn’t full raise. Damnit, if I had only bet a little less. An ace hit the turn and I put my chips in. The original raiser folded his queens, claiming to have put me on a big ace. No sir, bad read, but good fold either way. My 2 pair held up against the cutoff’s 10s and I raked a monster pot. With over 100,000 chips at that point I had a safe ride to the final table. Looking around I only saw a few players with a comparable stacks, one being Theo Tran.  It was an awesome feeling being in competition with a player on that level.

I don't want to risk losing anybody to Internet Attention Deficit Disorder so I'll continue with the final table in a later post.


  1. Congrats!

    It was fun following your run through the tourney via Twitter.

  2. Thanks CK.

    I'm planning the next one now, maybe Monday's $335. I'll keep you posted.


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