Short of the goal…shrug

So I headed into day 4 of the PCA EPT with the chiplead and only 32 players left. I was hungry, I could taste victory, even though there was a ton of poker left to be played. Of the 32 left I would say all but maybe 3 or 4 of us had a shot at winning the event. That led to alot of great poker being played. My 1st table draw was ok, and my 2nd draw sucked where I ended up on the TV table with Adam Geyer on my immediate left. In my opinion he was playing the best poker of any of my opponents and is a true live poker sicko (his online results speak for themselves). Perhaps it was a good thing he was on my left, as it would keep me in line for the most part and prevent me from doing anything stupid on TV (rumor has it I have a tendency to do stupid things on TV).

So I came in with 2.6 million to start day 4, and during the 1st 2 levels I stayed right around that point. Then my dip came and I lost 2 big pots and found myself down to about 1.2 million. I recovered a bit after dinner and then won a key hand where I flopped a set of 6’s vs AQ on an A64 board and ended up busting my opponent. That got me back to about 3 million with 16 left and primed to make the final table. Once again with the re-draw I found myself on the TV table with a real sicko on my immediate left, this German kid named Benny. We would end up playing a pot that everyone is still talking about.

With the blinds 20k-40k, I opened the button with 77 for my standard raise of 95k. Benny then re-popped me to 315k and I made the call. The flop came 10-10-2 rainbow, Benny checked and I decided to check too. Sometimes I bet this flop but I decided to check for pot control and because my hand couldn’t stand a large check-raise from Benny who was capable of doing that with nothing. So the turn came a Ks, bringing a flush draw and Benny bet 450k. I took about 2 minutes before making the call. I really felt like the King was a great card for Benny to try represent a hand like QK or AK and I still wasn’t sold that he had me beat. Then comes the river where things get tricky.

The river was an Ah and this time Benny bet 650k, really putting me to the test. I took like 5 minutes before finally putting all the pieces together. At this point of the tournament, the biggest chip denomination in play were 25k chips, then 10k, 5k and 1k chips. As you can imagine with the blinds so high the 25k chips were the easiest to maneuver when making bets. Both Benny’s pre-flop raise and turn bet consisted of the maximum amount of 25k chips. Now on the river, Benny had about 800k in 25k chips, but when he made his bet on the river he moved the 25k chips out of the way and grabbed 3 stacks of 10k chips. As I contemplated my action on the river I sat and stared at the chips he bet and decided that he had to be bluffing and knew if I called he was going to lose the pot. This is why he didn’t make the bet in 25k chips because he wanted them for future hands because they are easier to maneuver. He also appeared nervous and I eventually made the call and he threw his hand toward the muck.

Now I’ve taken a little shit for my next action, but before they killed the hand I insisted on seeing his hand. I could have just taken the pot and moved onto the next hand but I wanted to see what he was re-raising me with. And for meta-game purposes I also wanted him to see what I called him with. It’s well with in my rights so I don’t have any remorse about my actions. And it worked. Benny, who was probably the strongest of my 7 opponents at the table stayed out of my way for the next couple levels until we got down to 9 players and I was able to do whatever I wanted for the most part.

We re-drew for the final table with 9 players left, nedding to lose just 1 more player to have the TV final table set. I was the chip leader and had a great seat with the exception of having Dustin Dirksen on my immediate left with alot of chips, though I had him covered since I was the chip leader. The problem of Dustin was nearly cured when he got coolered with AK running into AA and being crippled down to 10 bbs. I now had the best seat at the table. Un fortunately I made a dumb mistake and even tho I made the final table I was short, in 6th place with 8 left and only had about 15 bbs.

The final table on Saturday didn’t go very well. Two players were all-in early and both doubled, and I was card dead. I ended up picking up KJs and shoving my 12 Bs in and running into QQ, failed to improve and was out in 8th. Tho I was obv disappointed with my finish I was totally at peace. We hit the pool for the little time we had before it closed then continued to drink all night until my flight out on Sunday. I’m fortunate to have such great friends that were able to help me celebrate/forget the tournament for a night instead of being forced to dwell on what might have been.