"You have to be willing to die, if you want to live." - Felicia LeeSaturday, 12:55pm PCT... We finally made our way down to the poker room. It was very well lit, something that I liked right away. Dick's staff were professionals and they seemed excited to have us. We drew for seats. I picked up my card and nearly fell over when I walked over to my table and saw everyone seated. If the WPBT Holiday Classic were a televised event, chances are my table would have been the "feature table".
Table 1Yeah, I would have liked to sit down at any other table. With three pros (I consider Felicia a professional) and Grubby moving to Vegas to play full time... all sitting to my left... I wasn't too thrilled. I knew I would have to play solid, limit my mistakes, and catch good cards. Then maybe I had an outside shot of making the final table. Having that third double shot of SoCo a half hour before the tournament was probably not a good idea. I was buzzed and terrified.
Seat 1: Flip Chip
Seat 2: Charlie Shoten
Seat 3: Daddy
Seat 4: Brian
Seat 5: Mas
Seat 6: Pauly
Seat 7: Max Pescatori
Seat 8: CJ
Seat 9: Felicia Lee
Seat 10: Grubby
Seat 1: Glenn
Seat 2: Bad Blood
Seat 3: Bill Rini
Seat 4: G-Rob
Seat 5: BG
Seat 6: Linda
Seat 7: Otis
Seat 8: AlCantHang
Seat 9: Martin
Seat 10: Bob
Seat 1: The Poker Prof
Seat 2: -EV
Seat 3: Foiled Coup
Seat 4: Derek
Seat 5: Julie from the Blue Parrot
Seat 6: Ferrari
Seat 7: F Train
Seat 8: HDouble
Seat 9: EvaCanHang
Seat 10: Maudie
I picked up a cool bounty to give out to the blogger knocked out first. I have a great sense of humor don't I? The Gigli bounty was a hot potato. No one wanted to be given that honor. I especially didn't want to get booted first. My palms began sweating profusely. Only one thing to do to settle those chilling fears and to quell those inner demons. I ordered a beer, took a big swig, and the tournament was on it's way. I said an "Our Father" in Latin and in the back of my mind, I told myself... "You are never going to get better playing against fish. If you wanna be the Man... you have to beat the Man."
AlCantHang searches for a waitress
Level 1: Blinds 25/50 and you start with T2000 in chips. Top 5 places paid cash. On the first hand of the tournament, G-Rob dropped The Hammer! God bless him. It seemed to me that Charlie was messing around in the first level. He got me to fold QJs to his 46s when he raised my blind. I told myself not to play anything aside from Group 1 hands in the first two levels. Within seconds of each other, we lost our first two players. On my table, Flip Chip's AA were cracked by Max's AJs when Max hit a flush. Second earlier Al Cant Hang's AQ knocked out Bill Rini's QJ and Bill got the dreaded Gigli prize. By the time the level ended, I had T1800.
Charlie and Daddy
Level 2: Blinds 50/100... and I made a move on Daddy. I had AJs and I got him to fold AQ on a ragged flop. He showed me his hand and asked me to wait until he got back to Indiana to read my tourney report to find out what I had. CJ knew right away that I had AJ. A few hands later Daddy went up against Charlie. His KJ lost to Charlie's KQ when they both flop top pair. Outkicked, ouch. T2125 and 17 players remaining.
Level 3: F Train lost a tough hand to Ferrari after he flopped trips and let Ferrari see a free card. On the next hand he was booted by EvaCanHang and won his bounty... and F Train tshirt. I think AlCantHang almost knocked out two players on one hand. Linda's 66 and Bad Blood's KK were no match for another AQ from ACH. He flopped a pair and crippled Bad Blood while knocking out Linda. Back on my table Felicia's AK lost to Brian's AT when she pushed him all in on the flop and he caught a 10 on the river, With Felicia shortstacked she pushed all in on the very next hand with AQ. I found the Hilton Sisters and called. I think she had less than T500 remaining. When I saw her hand, I asked the dealer to hold onto those aces! I think an ace hit the turn and I doubled up Felicia. She had plenty of ups and downs early. She tripled up against Grubby and Charlie. And that was the beginning of her run. I had T1300 left and looking to hold onto my chips.
Half of -EV, Foiled Coup, and Derek
Felicia did a great job writing up the next hand that I was involved in with Max. Here you go:
A funny thing about that, was a hand that was so painful to watch which occurred right before Pauly's run. This is the hand that really got me talking more at the table, since Max was offering his advice, too, in between kidding and joking around.In my defense, I put Max on JJ or Hiltons. If I suspected he had AK, I would have pushed. I had a gut feeling it was a higher pair. I showed him hoping that he'd show me which he did. That opened up a series of small talks that Max would give me the rest of the afternoon. Betwen Max and Felicia, I got plenty of solid advice on my game. Watching the pros play at my table made me aware of the little things that I need to do to improve me game.
I was in the BB. Max was on the button. Mas limped in MP. Pauly limped in the cut-off. Max went all-in. Watching Max during the tourney, and his behavior up until that time, I knew he didn't want a caller. He usually wants to screw around and get a caller or two when the stakes aren't high and he has a premium hand. So the hand smacked of AK to me, or maybe AQ, but probably not. I also thought about the possibility of jacks or tens. Who really wants multiple callers with those hands? No one. So he put his chips in, not wanting to screw around with the hand, just wanting the blinds and two limpers. That would put 700 into is already big lead.
I looked down to find 55 in my BB. Had I been last to act, I would have called Max's all-in. Not because I necessarily thought I was in the lead, but because I figured it was a coin flip, and these small tourneys are no time to be messing around. Yes, I am a rock, and I don't usually even play small pairs in big tourneys, but no one had any chips, and I could have doubled through Max, giving me a huge chip lead at the table, since I was already co-lead with him at that time. Like I said in my last post, I sometimes have to "die" in order to live.
Pauly and Max the Italian Pirate
So I folded, knowing it could be a multi-way all-in pot, one in which I was surely behind. Mas quickly folded, no thought. Pauly agonized and looked like he was giving birth. Finally, though, he folded, face up. Pocket tens. Everyone gasped. He was HU against Max, with a premium hand. No, no, no. He had only about 1200 left after limping in. The blinds were 100/200. No, no, no. I told him why he couldn't fold that hand, in that position, under those circumstances. At first, Max kidded him by saying it was a good fold, but later told him the truth of the situation. Don't make big laydowns in little tournaments, and if you ever make a big lay down, period, never show it, or the table will run you over. Max showed AK.
Okay, so the funny story was that after this hand, Pauly went on his premium run. During this run, Max looked at me like he was really suffering and said, "Couldn't you have waited to tell him he was supposed to call with those tens? Waited until after the tournament?" Naturally we both saw the hands Pauly was getting, because he always got action, due to the structure of the tourney. At the time, it was a really funny comment, though, and I wish it translated better to paper.
OK, so I fucked up and folded pocket 10s to Max's suited slick. But soon after I was stuck by a calming moment. I recalled some words of wisdom from Lao Tzu:
My nerves were settled and that's when I went on my run, so it didn't matter anymore that I blew a chance to double up against Max. A slew of players were booted. Grubby's AK lost to Charlie's 99. Bad Blood and CJ were next to be shown the exit. Just before the level ended, I put Charlie on a steal. I pushed all in with my BB... I had nothing, Q5o and Charlie showed me A7o when he folded. 22 players left and I had T1500.
"Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness, have few desires."
Maudie's got AK, but check out Bad Blood's t-shirt!
Level 4: Julie's shortstack doubled up against HDouble when her AA held up. We now had G-Rob and The Poker Prof seated with us. Felicia's 55 beat out Charlie's AQ and that left him with only a few chips. He was KO'd on the same hand with the Poker Prof when Max's small pair held up against their overcards. 21 players left.
Level 5: I found the Hilton Sisters once again. Mas threw out a bet UTG almost half his stack. I pushed right away. He must have had a seriously marginal hand otherwise he would have called instantly. I figured Mas had a small pair and eventually decided to take the coinflip. I was surprised to see JTo and that was the reason he took a long time to make his decision. My Hiltons held up and I doubled up against him. G-Rob was knocked out by Felicia. 18 players left, T4100 and looking great.
Level 6: Down to two tables. Otis, BG, Bob and AlCantHang were moved to our table. Derek's shortstack got knocked out by Foiled Coup's 27o. -EV and EvaCanHang were also out. Back at my table, Bob's AJ lost to Max's AA. Everyone was dropping out like flies. I was gaining more confidence and then I ran into a monster. I usually wait until everyone to look at their hand first before I look at my hole cards. For some reason, I peeked at the first card as soon as it hit my stack. Ace of diamonds. Not too shabby. Al Cant Hang bet 1/3 of his stack under the gun. I told myself that if I saw any paint I was going to call. When I got my second card... the ace of clubs... I knew that AlCantHang was going to be toast. I pushed all in and I saw AlCantHang drop his head, with his chin buried into his chest.
"Pauly, Pauly, Pauly! Why did you do that?" he muttered. He thought about it for thirty seconds. He called even admitting before he turned over his cards that he was far behind. He was... with ATo (not KJ like he claimed on his blog). I doubled up against AlCantFold's stack and had over 10,000 in chips. Ferrari was kncoked out by 10-10 and we were down to 12. I found pocket Jacks under the gun. It's my least favorite pocket pair so I moved all in. Otis called in LP with Slick suited. My Jacks hold up and I knocked out Otis. That was sweet revenge for that bad beat I suffered months earlier in the True Poker event! Boy Genius knocked out Mas for the Battle of the Geniuses. I was the chipleader and had T12000+ and had more chips than Max. It was breaktime and I made the decision to play conservative. I didn't want to give up my big lead on foolish calls.
The Final Table:Level 7: Ah, the chipleader. The last time I held a chip lead at the final table in a blogger sanctioned event... I blew it all during the infamous Pauly Implosion.
Seat 1: Felicia
Seat 2: Max
Seat 3: Foiled Coup
Seat 4: Pauly
Seat 5: AlCantFold
Seat 6: BG
Seat 7: Glenn
Seat 8: HDouble
Seat 9: Julie
Seat 10: Martin
I just got moved to the final table as the chip leader.
Those are all of my chips in that rack next to Julie.
I had the most chips at the Final Table, with Max not far behind, and Felicia looking solid. HDouble and Foiled Coup had the shortest stacks. And without a doubt, AlCantHang must have been the biggest surprise of the tournament. Nobody picked him to make the final table. None of the bloggers, none of the oddsmakers in Vegas, none of the offshore books, not even his wife picked him! Is he a better player than he gives himself credit to be? Or did he level the playing field by getting everyone crocked all morning long? For years poker scholars will be debating the AlCantHang factor in the first WBPT Holiday Classic.
On one the first hands, AlCantHang pushed his chips all in against Max. And for the second time he ran into pocket aces. Ouch, anothe rmonster. Nothing you can do about that. He quickly headed for the bar out in 10th place. I had been bullying Boy Genius when he was moved to my table before the final table seating. He played a hand and his AT was outmatched by Foiled Coup's AJ. BG was left with a shortstack and Foiled Coup was able to double through. I looked at my stack... about T15,200 and behind Max after he took all of AlCantHang's chips. Felicia knocked out BG a few hands later when her 88 won the race against his overcards. BG left in 9th place amid a warm shower of applause. HDouble had been aggressively stealing blinds just to survive. If I had anything I would have called him a couple of times. I found a Q9s once and considered it... but my mentality at that point was to let the smaller stacks knock themselves out. Glenn almost knocked out HDouble... A7 to A6. He had the shortest stack and was hanging on. Martin was the next to go when he ran into Julie's A7. What was up with A7? It was winning a lot of pots for the entire trip. Seven players left. HDouble's tiny stack tripled up against Felicia and Max. He was fighting for every chip! That was, until he ran into Max's Big Slick when he had AJs. HDouble's 4th quarter rally fell short. He finished in 7th place.
We're all on the bubble. The top five places paid... and I could see the piece of paper that Dick posted on the wall behind the table with the prize payouts. Top 5. Julie was in the big blind, Glenn in the small blind. I am on the button. Felicia and Max fold to me and I moved all in with 66. I was on a steal. I didn''t want any callers, just the blinds. I had not played any hands (aside from stealing blinds twice) at the final table. I had not seen one flop. Julie had KQs and called. The flop looked great for me... all rainbow rags. Same on the turn. The Queen spiked on the river and I was devastated. "You got to be kidding me!" I yelled in my best John McEnroe imitation. So much for winning my first blogger tournament. I had next to nothing in chips. Next hand I had A3s. I moved all in and Julie called with A7. I lost and walked way pretty ticked off. Al Cant Hang was standing around and he's the first person I saw. "Dr. Pauly needs a shot," he said. The next thing I know I'm knocking back SoCo and wondering why I didn't limp in with 66. I bubbled out in another tournament. That is the most frustrating feeling in poker. And that's been my sad story about my poker play this entire year.... I'm the bubble boy. It's a bad habit that I must break out of in 2005.
I went back to the table and picked up my notebook from Derek. He was taking notes for a little while during my decompression session with AlCantHang.
Three Way Action
Level 8: Foiled Coup moved all in with AQ and luckily caught a Queen on the river to beat Felicia's AK. Glenn was shortstack and he pushed all in preflop with A9s against Max's AK. Another big hand for Max. Felicia took a big pot from Julie when he Big Slick held up against Julie's J-10. Foiled Coup's run at the final table was over when he had to push all in from the big blind against Max's 22. A valiant effort from a member of the Lasvegaslasvegas crew. It was three way... Julie, Max, and Felicia Lee.
Julie bluffing Max at the final table.
Without a doubt, Julie was overmatched. That was her first ever NL tournament and her run was impressive. She lost a tough pot to Felicia's high straight and then doubled up against Max with A7. Max eventually knocked Julie out and she took down a third place prize outlasting the pack. Felicia ended up beating Max when her K7s bested his AJ.
Joaquin was generous enough tp purchase and ship a cowboy hat for the winner... which went to Felicia. I was happy to see Felicia win the Holiday Classic since she had been very sick the last week or so leading up to the event. I picked Glenn to win only because he had been playing more NL than Felicia, but I was still happy to see her take us all down.
Felicia Lee wins!
The Final Results:If you would like to view the photo gallery for the WPBT Holiday Classic... here's the link. Thanks again to Joe and Joe, Sr. for all of their help. All of these pictures are courtesy of Lasvegasvegas.com. Thanks also to Jeff from Check N Raise who helped sponsor the event and gave out cool jackets to everyone. Anyone have a pic of those? Thanks also to the folks over at All N Poker. They gave out t-shirts for the final eight and shotglasses to 9th and 10th place.
1. $600... Felicia Lee from Golden Valley, AZ
2. $310... Max Pescatori from Las Vegas, NV
3. $230... Julie from New York, NY
4. $130... Foiled Coup from Las Vegas, NV
5. $80... Glenn from Golden Valley, AZ
6. Pauly (A3s lost to Julie's A7)
10. Al Cant Hang
11. Mas (JTo lost to my QQ)
12. Otis (AKs lost to my JJ)
20. Charlie Shoten
21. Poker Prof
24. Bad Blood
25. Grubby (AKs lost to Charlie's 99)
26. Linda from Poker Works (66 lost to AQ)
27. F Train (KQ lost to EvaCanHang's 77)
28. Daddy (KJ lost to Charlie's KQ)
29. Flip Chip (AA lost to Max's AJs)
30. Bill Rini (QJ lost to AlCantHang's AQ)
We got some positive feedback from the staff at Sam's Town. Here are some of ths comments, Dick posted on his blog:
"Where did these people come from? They are great!"Whew. I was a little worried that a few of us were intoxicated and acting unprofessional. I'm glad that everything worked out.
"It was a pleasure to work today"
"I hope some of them stay for the tonight's tournament. They could teach some of our regulars some manners."
"These people are fun."
Thanks to Dick Gatewood!
Special thanks goes out to Dick Gatewood. He completely hooked all of us up with the tournament, banquet hall, and discounted rooms. The next time you are in Las Vegas, go to Sam's Town to play poker... and make sure you tell him that Pauly and the bloggers sent you. You can pick up some last minute cool poker related gifts at his main site Buy It In Vegas.
Here's the timetable of the rest of my trip reports:As you can tell the timetable for my trip reports have been constantly changing. I have too much to write!! Stay tuned for more wild and wacky Vegas stories. There are plenty fo Hammer stories too. In the meantime, please visit everyone's blog for their kickass trip reports; HDouble, Iggy, Derek, Poker Prof, Flip Chip, and Foiled Coup from Lasvegasvegas, Dick from Buy It In Vegas, Riding the F Train, Boy Genius, Bad Blood, Bill Rini, Felicia, Glenn, Otis & CJ & G-Rob, Al Cant Hang & EvaCanHang, Maudie, Signor Ferrari, - EV, Bob, Grubby, Mas from Genius of Poker, Martin from JMC Automatic and Brian, Linda from Poker Works, and Daddy from Snail Trax. Did I miss anybody? Some are up, some are in the process of writing them, and some people like my brother are swamped with work, so I'm sure you'll be reading about this trip over the next few weeks. Thanks for stopping by.
12.20 - Day 2, Part III: More blogger tables, Hammers, & late night hijinks
12.21 - Day 3, Part I: Sun. am shots and NFL betting at Mandalay Bay
12.22 - Day 3, Part II: Late night hijinks including Bellagio hookers
12.24 - Day 4, Part I: Aladdin tourney report & hanging w/ Grubby & Derek
12.26 - Day 4, Part II: The Brawl revisited and Late Night with Otis
12.27 - Day 5: Afterthoughts plus my fav. pictures & quotes
And here are the ones I have already posted:
Chapter 1: Day 1, Part I
Chapter 2: Day 1, Part II
Chapter 3: Day 2, Part I
Derek finally posted his Day 1 trip report. Check that out.