116 players entered
150k starting stack
Mix of 8 games (Triple Draw, Limit Holdem, Omaha 8, Stud, Stud 8, Razz, NL Holdem, & Pot Limit Omaha)
Thoughts: Whoever came up with the idea of a 50k tournament as the first event is a pure genius in my mind. 100 high limit players will start out 50k in the hole at the beginning of the WSOP. Pretty certain that is a positive for high limit cash games.
Much of day 1 is a blur right now as we just completed a long 12 hour session on day 2. Day 1 was pretty uneventful for me as I ended with a 134k stack, slightly below avg of 160k. Table was certainly tougher than average for this tournament, but I have had worse.
Views: Entering day 2 I was hoping for a softer table draw, but that was not to be. I was joined by (in seat order) Dan Kelly, Isaac Haxton, Matt Glantz, Scott Clements, Michael Binger, Phil Hellmuth, Eric Seidel, and David Oppenheim. Also halfway through the day we added Alexander Kostritsyn. This table was going to be quite a challenge, but hey; that is the reason I am here. And I pride myself on days like these to study great players in their respective specialty games and be able to incorporate the best parts of their game in my own. Example: Isaac Haxton to my right. Watching him in NL was a pleasure as he plowed through the table in almost every NL round. Every hand was 50/50 Ike vs the 7 of us. In reality it might have been 60/40 to Ike’s favor. If there was anyone at the table that didn’t learn something about NL today from him, they really missed out.
I was on cruise control most of the day. Did not get too creative and slowly chipped up ending at my high for the day at 368k, avg is 322k. 52 players remain.
I had one real interesting hand with Scott Clements that started a lot of discussion after showdown.
PLO blinds 600 1200 effective stacks 125k.
Oppy limps early for 1200, I pot the cutoff to 5400 with the AAJ3, Scott calls button, Oppy calls.
Flop A94 rainbow: Oppy checks, I bet 7700, Scott calls. Oppy folds.
Turn 3 which brings second spade. Possible straight on board. I have J high flush draw to add to my set of Aces now: I bet 10,500, Scott calls.
River offsuit Q: 53k in the pot. I check, Scott bets 17,500, I checkraise to 47,700. Scott calls with set of nines.
Hellmuth immediately jumps on the situations and bellows out something to the tune of, “Matt, how do you checkraise the river in plo without the nuts? Do you even think out the hand or just raise there without even thinking about it.” But when I offered to make a small wager with him that if he polled the other 6 players at the table and just one of them said they didn’t like the way I played the hand Phil would win the bet, he declined. I certainly wouldn’t be willing to be the opinions of any 6 players but these 6 were all high level thinkers so I was in good shape.
Anyway, why checkraise and not bet pot. Betting pot and checkraising the amount I did would be the same net chips entering the pot so why take the risk of having him checkraise? Other option was to bet about 60% of the pot but I thought that was the worst option based on my read. I don’t want to give too much away for obvious reasons and also it wouldn’t be fair to Scott. But I will say that when I am playing Scott it is rather easy for me to narrow down his range in so many situations for one reason. I think that he is the one player in the field that plays so identical to me in almost all the games that when I am in a hand with him, I don’t necessarily have to read him, but more I just have to ask myself what are the hands I would be holding in his situation. And I can be very confident he is holding the same. Weird dynamic.
All the information in the hand had me convinced he had a set of nines. I have to be at least 80% confident he has this one particular hand to check the river. Obviously he is forced to bet the river behind with the set. If I think he can have a big ace and make Aces and Queens on the river than checking the river would be bad against him, If I think he is likely to have the straight, then again checking would be bad. I thought with all the info I had, he was 0% to have a straight, but in reality he was probably 5% to have a straight there.
You might be wondering why not bet pot if you know he flopped 2nd set. He has to pay off. But then you don’t know Scott. He is too strong in PLO and will make that laydown a huge majority of the time to me. I think betting the pot would be a fine play in that spot as a bluff, but not for value against specifically him.
He had another 45k behind, so if he 3 bets the river all in it sucks for me. Glad I didn’t have to consider that decision as I am not sure I would have made the right one.
Please feel free to leave comments on the blog about this hand. I am very curious to hear other’s views of this hand.
Realization #1: The 50k Horse field was a joke just two short years ago. It was about as soft as a tournament will get in the high buyin arena. Last year it was somewhat tougher. And this year the gap between the avg player in the field and the best in the field is significantly diminished.
Realization #2: Justin Bonomo. This kid came from nowhere in the mixed games. We played together a few years ago in the 50k Horse and he was clearly consistently making bad decisions at the table. All to the aggro side. Fast forward to yesterday. Clearly the best player at the table the entire day. Was totally focused. Valued his hands optimally in every game. I was so impressed with his decision making in all the games that it forced me to always take the less confrontational route when playing a hand against him. In my mind, the value was lost. I don’t know where he is in chips but I would not be the least surprised to see him at the final table.