Thursday, August 21, 2003

How I Bet $8,000 and Lost a $16,000 Pot!

I played in a No Limit Tournament at Foxwoods and came in second place! I won... nothing. It cost me $115 to enter.

Well the good news is that Senor and I played at not one, but two different casinos yesterday. We started off at Mohegan Sun and played Seven Card Stud ($1-$5) and $3-6 Hold'em for a couple of hours (we both lost around $200 combined). I lost a couple of close hands. Since the Mohegan Sun poker room is closing in two weeks, management decided that they would no longer hold daily tournaments at 7PM. With that information, I told Senor that we should drive to Foxwoods and play there, since it was only 15 minutes away.

Long story short, I played in a World Poker Finals Act Two Satellite Tournament. The buy in was $115 and the winner was awarded a $1,060 Coupon for an Act Three Tournament. If you win the Act Three Tournament you get a $10,000 seat at the World Poker Finals in November, which will be televised on the World Poker Tour coverage on the Travel Channel. Basically I needed to win an Act Two and then an Act Three... in order to get a shot at over $1 Million purse and the chance to play with the big boys like Howard Lederer (last year's winner with over $320,000), Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, and Phil Hellmuth.

Alas, I got great cards but I only came in second place. And only first place gets a prize (a seat at an Act Three Tournament). The tournament was about two and a half hours long. There are ten players with $2,000 in tournament chips (not real money). The goal is to be the last guy with all the chips! Simple, huh?

I started out slow, but won two quick pots with Pocket Aces and Ace-10 of spades (I flopped the nut flush) and was the chip leader at one point with $3,600 in chips. Then I didn't get much in the middle levels of play. With six players remaining, I knocked out the guy next to me. He put his chips "all-in" with an A-3. I played right back at him and called him, "I'm all in!" I busted him with my A-9. He was pissed.

I know what you are thinking... "How did you lose $8,000?"

I made it to the end, surviving until I was one of the last two players. "Steve" held almost $12,000 in chips and I had about $8,000. It was 11 pm and the blinds (forced betting) were $600 and $1200! (Again this is not real money, and realize I normally play low limit games like $2-4 or $3-6!) I had the little blind and called $600 more. I held A-9 of spades, a better than average hand, but playing heads-up, it's a great hand!! The flop came out... 9-9-8! I just flopped a set (trips) of 9s! I bet $1,200. Steve raised me $1,200 and then I made the toughest decision of my younger poker career. I went "all in". Steve called me and the pot was over $16,000! Steve turned over his cards... K-9. He was shocked to see that I held A-9 suited. Statistically speaking, I was the favorite to win the hand. I made a textbook play and I was winning the pot after the flop. However, the turn card came and it was a King! I was stunned. Steve made a full house with Nines and Kings. I was fucked! I was now a huge underdog, with only an Ace that could save me. Alas, the river card came, and it was a Seven. I lost all my chips and finished in second place. Steve was shocked at the results. He thought he was fucked. He should have been. If I won, I would have been in perfect position to win the entire tournament. I would have had $16,000 in chips, four times as much as Steve's $4,000. With the blinds at $1,200, I would have bullied him with raises and re-raises until I got all his chips. I blew it. I got fucked on the turn!!

Steve and the other players shook my hand and complimented me on my play. Steve said I only showed two or three hands all night (a sign that you are a strong player... that other players fold to you, because they think/know you have a better hand). I wasn't looking for any validtation from my fellow cards players. I know I'm a good player (just inexperienced). I lost on a bad beat. Every poker pro would salivate over the position I was in, to double up on chips against the chip leader. They would have pushed it all in with an A-9, so I know that I made the right play. But sometimes in life and in Texas Hold'em... the right play is not always the winning play.

Fuck! I lost $8,000 and a $16,000 pot! Just writing about this pisses me off! I felt good about my overall play, I made it to second place... I thought if I won, I would have fucking rocked that Act Three Tournament if I got that shot.

I'll be back to play in at least two or three more Act Twos... World Poker Finals are in November. I'll try again in Septmeber, October, and in early November.

Anyway, this was my quick bad beat tale. I'll get into more logistics later. Visit the Tao of Poker later tonight for the sordid deatils of my bad beat!

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