Sunday, June 24, 2007

WSOP Day 23: Live Poker Is Rigged, Tilting CK Hua, and How I Cashed in Event #38

By Pauly

Just survied Day 1 of Event #38 $1,500 NL donkfest. I'm 124th in chips out of 170 players and advanced to Day 2.
Here's my starting table on Day 2:
Seat 1: Erica Schoenberg - 30,900
Seat 2: Walter Remaley - 18,800
Seat 3: Darin Haddock - 24,500
Seat 4: Men "The Master" Nguyen - 91,500
Seat 5: Robert Cheung - 89,500
Seat 6: Your Hero - 27,300
Seat 7: Julie Dang - 69,100
Seat8 : David Robbins - 64,600
Seat 9: Robert "Action Bob" Hwang - 57,800
Head over to to read what happened on Day 1... how I doubled through CK Hua and sucked out a bunch of times to make the money. For now, I guess I can say I had a pretty good day off. Thanks to everyone who railbirded me both live and online.

Day 2 starts at 2pm local time or 5pm for all you East Coasters. I'm hoping to double up against Men the Master early in Day 2. At least I get to stare at Erica Schoenberg for a little while.

Click here to follow my progress on Day 2 of the $1,500 Donkeyfest.

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Editor's Note: Here's the recap of Day 1 that I just finished...

The good thing about June 23rd was that I got the day off. I wanted to play an event and sadly the only one I could swing on the day off was the $1,500 NL donkament. I didn't have a choice and said fuck it, I'll play. That's when I was approached by Schecky who said that he and Tony G would stake me in a 50-50 deal. They pretty much assumed that they'd be pissing their money away but it was more like a bonus than anything else. Both Scheky and The G appreciated the hard work I had done over the first three weeks and I was pumped that I didn't have to fork over any of my money in a donkfest. I'm not a tournament player these days but in 2007, I seem to have a better than average record. My bankroll took some hits at the 30/60 Limit Hold'em level and that was offset by a few decent scores in tournaments. I cannot explain why I played well in the few that I decided to play. It just happened.

I've covered three or four of thedonkaments already and after talking to friends and pros who played in them, it was pretty evident that I'd have to play loose and accumulate chips early if I wanted to survive. In the previous two WSOPs, I played two events and never made it the dinner break. I had a few side bets on lasting longer than some of my friends who played in similar events this year. Michalski lasted until 3:30 last Saturday. Felipe made it to 6:30 on Thursday. If I could make the dinner break, I would have survived half the field. That was my goal.... accumulate and survive.

The last player to be seated at my starting table was Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. He was the first Supernova on PokerStars. The former professional video game player from France was a rock-star in South Korea where he crushed the gamer scene. He turned to poker and often played 20 SNGs at once. Talk about manual dexterity. I also heard a rumor from a fellow poker player that ElkY was running bad online and stuck $250,000 in SNGs.

I sat in Seat 4 and ElkY took Seat 6. From the first hand, ElkY played fast and aggressive. He raised the first three hands and saw a lot of flops early on. The rest of my table were weekend warriors. Great guys but weak-tight. One guy had a photo near his stack.

"That's a dead deer and that's my grandson," he proudly said.

Only in Texas do they point out the dead animal before their blood kin.

One play got crippled in the first orbit and I took him out. He pushed for 600 and I called with J-J. He flipped over 6-6 and my hand held up. That was the first player I'd bust at my table.

I found 9c-8c and limped in UTG. Eight total players in the pot. The flop was Jd-10d-7c. I flopped a straight and fired out 275. The guy next to me with a black sock covering up the stump on his amputated arm called. A cheery fellow from Denver who was drinking Beat Lite raised to 1K. I moved all in for 2K. The guy with one arm went into the tank and folded. The Beat Lite kid sat for a few minutes before he folded J-10 face up. The guy with one arm said he folded 7-7. I dunno how those clowns got away from that hand.

I had a couple of hands against ElkY. Both involved me raising his blind from the button. He called both times. He fired out at the pot both times. And me? I shoved all in both times. He mucked. That was the only way I figured I could play against ElkY. One instance I had Jd-10d and flopped a Jack. The other time I had 10s-8s and missed completely.

I increased my stack to 6K and felt pretty good. Meanwhile, friends in the media kept coming over and sweating me or snapping photos of both myself and ElkY. After ElkY busted out, one of the old guys joked, looks like we won't be having photographers come over any more since that European kid is gone. Maybe they can take a photo of the empty chair."

I eventually busted that guy who made the wise ass remark. He raised pre-flop and I defended my big blind with Ac-7c. The flop was 10s-8c-4d and we both checked. The turn was the Ah. I bet 500 and he called. The river was the Ks. I bet 750 and he moved all in for 1400. I called thinking he rivered two pair on me. He showed K-9 for second pair and I took down the pot as he headed to the rail. That put me up to 8K.

Around 2:45pm, I found The Hammer.

"Raise," I said and tossed in 700 from the button. The big blind defended. The flop was Kh-Qc-3s. He checked and I bet 1500. He called. The turn was the 6c. He checked and I bet 2000. He folded and I showed 7s-2h. That hand put me past the 10K mark. Grubby would have been proud.

I increased my stack to 12.7K when I called a big raised with Ah-Ks in the big blind. The flop was Ad-2d-2h. I check-raised the kid drinking Beast Lite and he folded his Kc-Kd face up. I showed him the Kh but one of the players said, "Show one, show all." The dealer flipped over my other card.

Then I busted another player with a junk hand. I called from the small blind with 6s-3h. the flop was Ac-6d-3s. I was hoping to check-raise someone but everyone checked around. The turn was the 8h. I bet 2K and the guy with one arm shoved for 3.2K. Everyone folded to me and I called. He showed As-4h. The river was the Qd and I busted another player. That put me close to 16K.

Then I lost the first big pot of the day. It was to a new player at the table, a quiet guy from Oklahoma named Gary (not GCox!). He raised in EP and I called from the button with Qc-Jc. Otis walked up to the table as the dealer fanned out Kh-Qh-Jd. He bet, I raised, he re-raised all in. I hoped he had A-K and I called with bottom two. He flipped over Kd-Qs and he doubled up. I was down to about 6.5K. That's when CK Hua arrived.

Photo courtesy of Flipchip

CK Hua went to work and started running over the table. He's quiet and aggressive and shows no mercy. Having him to my left was not pleasant. I tried chatting him up and asking him about his man purse that he always wears even at the table. I asked him about the 50K HORSE and he said he was skipping it because it was "too expensive." Every time I'd walk through the cash game area, CK Hua would be playing $100/point Chinese Poker. The guy likes to gamble and I knew he had a reputation for loose-aggressive play.

I was down to about 4.5K and shoved with Kc-Jc. I was called by a player with J-J. I was toast and stood up ready to leave. The board ran out 8-6-5-7-4 for a chopped pot.

"Sweet Jesus!" I said.

"You're still alive," said CK Hua.

I picked up a few chips there (from the blinds and antes) and picked up my first lucky hand. Just before dinner break, I get my second lucky hand. A new player with a ton of chips sat down. George Djen is a magazine owner and editor from France. He's one of Benjo's editors. Anyway, he limped and I shoved with Ah-3s. He called with Ac-Qs. I asked the dealer for a three. It was the door card.

"There's your three," said CK Hua.

Djen was pissed and I think I tilted him after that hand. I doubled up to over 10K. When the dinner break started, I had 9,900.

Change100 and I left the Rio and ate at Subway and went home for about 40 minutes to refresh. My t-shirt and shirt was soaked with sweat. I started to change my clothes and she refused to let me do that.

"It's bad luck," she said.

"My attire has nothing to do with what cards I get," I said.

Still, just in case she was right, I kept wearing the same clothes.

I had a plan... double up against CK Hua. He was among the chipleaders with almost 50K and he'd most likely double me up with a small pair against big cards and vice versa.

After the break, the players in the tent came inside. 570 players left. I just had to get through more than half the field and I would cash. Eric Hershler (WPT LAPC champion) moved to my table two seats to my right. Great. If I wanted to steal Hershler's or CK Hua's blinds, I was going to be in trouble. Those guys would murder me post-flop.

After it was folded to me in the small blind, I tired to steal CK's big blind with 5-3o. I raised and he moved all in.

"50-50," he said.

He put me on over cards and I went into the tank for a few minutes to let him think I had a hand. I mucked and he flashed 7c-7s.

"Fifty percent," he said.

"Next time, I call," I promised.

Ten minutes later, I found 7c-7h and raised 2,100 from the cutoff. CK Hua jammed for 7,100. Everyone folded to me. And I sat looking at CK Hua's hands. He wore a bracelet. I dunno from what event, but he was showing his bling. I tried to put him on a range of hands. CK Hua could have any two cards. Then I started thinking about what was in his bag. Cash for Chinese Poker. Cell phone. Vinnie Vinh's stash? Nah. But what the fuck does CK Hua have in his man purse? I had to shake off those thoughts and focus on the hand. If he had big cards, I was risking my tournament life on a coin flip. If he had a small pair, I was way ahead. If CK Hua woke up to a monster I was fucked.

Big time pro vs. me. Time to make a stand. That's why people play in these events? The chance to take down a professional. Sticking it to someone who lists professional poker player on their tax returns. I told myself that I wouldn't let CK Hua push me around. That's when I noticed a swarm of media surrounding the table. If I busted, the world would know about in within ninety seconds. No fear. Sometimes you have to be willing to lose everything to get ahead in life.

"I'm all in," I said.

"I call," CK Hua quickly said.

"Do you have a pair?" I asked.

He shook his head as I showed him my Sevens. He showed Ad-Jc.

"Fifty percent," I said.

"Fifty percent," he said.

We both stood up as the dealer put out the flop. Usually I have perfect clarity over big hands. It's my job and what I get paid to do. That instance, I could not recall a card. All I know was that I still lead. On the turn CK Hua picked up a gutshot. The river was a blank and I doubled up. I was stunned. I couldn't move. I doubled through CK Hua and all I could think about was what the fuck was in his bag. CK counted out my chips since I couldn't speak and he shoved chips my way.

I sensed that I tilted CK Hua. It took me twice as long to stack my chips because my hands were shaking. I did exactly what I said I was going to do. CK Hua hooked me up and I was above average up to 23K.

A few hands later, I found the Hilton Sisters. I raised. Old guy moved all in and I called. He showed A-K. it was a classic race and my Queens held up after I flopped a boat on a Q-10-10 board. That hand put me to 34K.

I folded a ton of hands as we got close to the money. That guy Gary from Oklahoma barely had enough for the antes. He had three chips left as 271 players remained. He put in $200 for the ante. He had one chip left. A lady opened for a raise. He said, "I have to do this." He tossed his last chip in. He could have been the bubble boy. After twelve hours of play it came down to one hand.

She tabled 9-9 and he flipped over K-K. Everyone at our table stood up in amazement. The guy won the pot, avoided elimination, then made the money. One chip left and the guy wakes up to K-K on the bubble. Amazing.

My table broke as the money bubble burst. Andrew Webking and Chicago Jason also cashed along with Kathy Liebert, MarcelLuske, Jesus, and Ed Moncada.

At my new table, I had about 15K when I open-shoved with Ac-Qh. One player moved all in and a player int he big blind showed J-J as he folded. The other player showed K-K. I missed the flop but the turn was an Ace.

"Shit!" the guy screamed as I doubled up to over 30K.

I got moved tables after than hand. I spotted Erica Schoenberg'stable and hoped I got seated next to her. No such luck. As I sat down I spotted Men the Master drinking beer. That's when I heard, "Hey Pauly!"

It was Action Bob. He's a local player at the Borgata in Atlantic City and he's a frequent poster on RGP and 2+2. I met him when I covered an event for the Borgata almost two years ago. It felt good to recognize someone at my table.

Men the Master was in rare form. He took dragged a monsterpotten with A-A. He had five players call him and he busted the guy sitting next to me. Men increased his stack to almost 90K. I folded the rest of my hands as time ticked down. I got to watch Erica Schoenberg play a couple of hands and realized that she has magnificent eyes. She made a big fold in that hand with Men the Master.

I got to bag up my chips. I never did that before and a childlike giddiness took over. I cashed in a WSOP event (a real one, not like the media event I final tabled in 2005 where I won money for Charlie Tuttle's charity). Plus I made it to a Day 2. I saw Flipchip and I had never seen him happier. Felipe and the rest of thekids at PokerNews were excited that I went deep. I went to the secret bar with Change100 and Otis to have Red Stripe and play video poker.

Since I covered a slew of Day 2s this year I know what to expect. I could sit on my ass and let thirty players bust out ahead of me, or make a move and try to double up early to be in a position to go deeper. I'd like to have Men the Master double me up since he has most of the chips at the table. We'll see.

At least I got a few extra hours off on Sunday. After I bust out, I'll have to cover the 50K HORSE event at 5pm. I'm not expecting to last much more than that. Alas, it was one wild day.

Click here to follow my progress on Day 2 of Event #38.

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Don't forget to check out LasVegasVegas for Flipchip's WSOP photos and there's the Poker Prof's cool 2007 WSOP Info page.

And come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chipcounts.

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Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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