I appreciate the kind words that people left me after Part 2. I enjoy reading Main event stories so I'm glad others liked mine.
I'm not going to lie.....going back to work after being the chip leader at the WSOP was actually pretty cool. Everyone's ego needs a stroke every once in awhile, right? I spent most of my day talking to friends and co-workers about the experience and thinking about what was in store for me on Day 2. My wife and I flew back out to Vegas that night after getting home from work. There is something about flying back and forth to Vegas to play poker that just gets me totally pumped up. It definitely appeals to the degenerate gambler in me and allows me to play the part of "high-roller" if only for a brief moment in time...
I don't remember having a particular gameplan going into Day 2. I knew that I would be the chipleader at my table for sure so I wanted to take advantage of that as much as possible. When I got to seat #6 at table #142, I again tried to take inventory of the players. I laughed at Harrah's "random table draw" as I was seated with three other players from my final Day 1 table. There was tight nitty guy in seat 1...young and appeared solid player in seat 2...uber-nit asian guy to my right...what looked like a member of 50-cent's posse to my left...and 3 random donks in 8 through 10. I was ready to continue my quest!!
I raised the first two pots of the day and took the blinds and antes without a call. This definitely put some "puff in my chest" and I thought I might just run this table over today. Just a couple of minutes later, with the blinds at $250/$500, I raised to $1500 from middle position with Q-9off and the SB min-raised me to $3000. Sigh....I'll never understand what they hope to accomplish with a bet like that but with over $5,000 in the pot, I was obviously calling $1,500 more in position. The flop came down Q-7-2. Somehow, all the money got in there (I think he had around $16K total) and he showed K-K. Turn......Queen. Thank you, sir, nice playing with you.
Now, I was definitely feeling good about the day. I slowed down a bit for about an hour before it folded to the button who raised my BB. I looked down at 5-5 and had a ton of fold equity and easily had him covered. I just decided to ship it and he called and showed A-Q. The flop was benign but a nasty ace reared it's head on the turn and I took a hit to my stack. There were no other hands of interest (that I can remember) other than one that I wasn't even a part of. Within the first hour of the day, seats 8 and 9 got in a pre-flop raising war and ended up getting their entire stacks in with A-10 and K-Q. The rest of the table was pretty much speechless and the A-10 guy ended up winning the hand. He was pumped up after the hand and the table did a good job of not tapping the glass by simply congratulating him on a great hand. I took stock of the event and didn't realize how important it would be later in the day.
Beginning of the Day- $72,600
End of Level 7- $73,300
End of Level 8- $83,700
Sometime during the 3rd or 4th hour of the day, a player got moved to Seat #3 that was just maniacal. He had a PokerStars jersey on with the moniker "NuttBoy" and would put in huge overbets in a number of pots. He bragged about playing high stakes on STARS and knowing all of the big internet players but I had never heard of him (and haven't to this day). He was harmless and definitely brought some spice to the table.
During levels 9 and 10, I really didn't see a lot of action. I did not get dealt A-A or K-K one time before the dinner break and was just kinda hanging around as the day wore on. Midway through level 9, I called a raise on the button with 8d-6d from the same guy that had slaughtered me late on Day 1 with the A-K on an A-A-? board. The flop came Kd-7d-4h and I called a $4,000 bet from him with my flush and gutshot draw. The turn was the 2 of diamonds. After a series of raises, we were all-in and I tabled my diamond flush to see his....set of sevens. I had to fade 10 outs to get my stack close to $100,000 for the first time today. I stood up and got my wife's attention to let her know I was in a big pot. The dealer peeled the river and dropped a King on the board to make his full house. aodfi diafdfc amx,f[ioxfjdsjf//............The $40,000 pot was shipped his way and I was pissed. My wife thought I may have been eliminated based on my reaction (she was about 30 feet away) but I went over to tell her that I still had around $52,000.
I slowly chipped my way back up to around $65,000 when they announced it was the last hand of level 10. Players began to filter out of the room for the break as their last hand was completed. Amidst the chaos, I saw the "A-10" player from earlier raise to $5,000 from early position and the other players fold and leave as the action came to them. I was on the button and squeezed my cards out to see the loveliest sight of them all....two red Aces! I knew had a fish on the line and I did not want him to get away. I decided to re-raise him to $15,000 and make it look like he had fold equity if he 4-bet. By this time, most players in the room had left and we were one of the few tables left playing a hand. ESPN cameras knew we had a big hand brewing and they came over to capture the action. "A-10" was in the tank for several minutes and I tried my best to look weak (if I even know what the hell that means). I had gotten to know the ESPN crew from day 1 as they were very interested in me for a variety of reasons (my tattoos, my hat (kids pictures), the fact that I was a police officer). "A-10" finally decided he was "all-in" and, needless to say, I beat him in the pot. He sheepishly tabled As-Ks and we had ourselves an $85,000 pot. I stood up and got a little more animated than I usually do but considering the circumstances, I'm okay with my behavior (wink). The dealer laid the flop out of 6s-2h-2d. It doesn't get much better than that. The turn was the 10 of spades. Umm.....it doesn't get much WORSE than that. Are you kidding me? Was it really going to happen to me? Was I really going to get runner-runnered to get my aces cracked? The dealer painstakingly peeled the last card off and it was the Jack of diamonds. YESSSSSS!!!! I was pumped. I was well over $110,000 and after getting congratulated by everyone around, I stormed out of the room for the break feeling like I was on top of the world.
End of Level 9- $78,000
End of Level 10- $112,000
Upon returning from this break, we were told by tournament staff that we would only be playing one more level. After playing until 3:00 the previous morning, this was a welcomed respite and made it so we were looking to get out of there around 12:30. I had one more level to either survive or thrive.
The blinds were $600/$1,200 so that gives you some idea how deepstacked this tournament is at this point. During the last level, I played two hands of significance, one which I just love and one that makes me grrrrrowl. I had been feeling pretty good after coming back from the break and had played a couple of pots rather liberally. I had seen 50-cent's posse member (to my left) play a hand and make a comment during the hand that indicated to me that he was really NOT looking to go home during this last level. A short time later, it folded to me and I opened from the button for $4,000 with Kd-8d and he promptly min-raised me to $8,000 from the SB. Why do people keep doing this? Of course, I'm never folding so I call and the flop is 9s-9h-4h. He bets (rather quickly) $4,000 into a $19,000 pot. WTF? It reeked of weakness and rather than raise him here, I decided to float him and see what transpired. The turn was an off-suit 2 and he checked. Now I was fairly confident that he had no part of this board and probably should have bet here but I decided to peel one more off and see what happened on the river. The river was a 3rd heart and he meekly bet $5,000 into a $27,000 pot. I just decided there was no way he had anything here but how do I go about winning this pot? Believe it or not, I actually thought back to a hand that Daniel Negreanu played with Freddy Deeb in the 2004 Championship at the Plaza. It was made famous when Dan Harrington analyzed it at the back of his first Harrington on Hold'em. It involved a pot where Daniel bluffed on the river by betting a relatively small amount into the pot. Freddy commented, "I wished you had bet more, I would have called" before folding. Doyle refers to this as a "Post-oak bluff." I decided to raise to $13,000 actually making it only $8K more to call a $45,000 pot. He tanked for quite awhile before saying "You must have made your flush" and mucking A-K face-up. I'm sorry......but I just had to do it. I flipped over my Kd-8d and he literally almost hit the roof. He jumped out of his chair and huffed and puffed for a good 60 seconds before returning to the table. God I loved that hand...............
With 20 minutes left in the day and the blinds still at $600/$1,200, a short stack open-shoved the hijack position for $25,000. I was in the SB and looked down at Ac-Kc. I had approx. $130,000 in chips and I know it is probably an auto-call but it's just frustrating to call that much without a pair. I went ahead and called and he tabled J-J. The board bricked and I was left with a little over $100,000 as the day finished.
End of Day 2- $102,400
As we bagged our chips, we were told that there were approx. 1,100 players remaining in the Main Event and 890 players would cash. We all now knew that early in Day 3, the money would be reached. I bagged my chips and walked to my new table draw for Day 3. As I arrived at Table #135, I was left relatively speechless. Now I should have known that as the field thinned, the tables would get tougher but I had clearly drawn the most difficult table in the entire f'in room. In seat #1 was the chip leader of the tournament with over $475,000 in chips, Jon "G6Dragon" Lane. In seat #7 was Michael McClain, final tablist from the 2004 WSOP Main Event and one hell of a player. But those two were really the least of my worries....sitting in seat #6 was a guy that would probably make the shortlist (Top 5) of virtually anyone that knows anything about poker for the best NLHE players in the world. As Norman Chad likes to say...."He's A-L-L-E-N Cunningham." He was sitting there with over $180,000 in chips and, frankly, I was really excited to get the opportunity to play with him. Little did I know how that excitement would turn to horror in just 48 hours.
I would like to have accumulated more chips on Day 2 but I lost two races and couldn't fade 10 outs on the river for a $40K pot so, all in all, it was a fairly successful day. If anyone had said at the start of the tournament that I could start Day 3 with 80+BB, I would have taken them up on the offer right then and there.
Stay tuned for Part 4 as you experience what it's like to win a huge pot with Ace-high, why I think Allen Cunningham can read minds, and why I've never been so dissappointed to be featured on ESPN.
Thanks for reading,
Get it Str8 -- Introducing The Str8 Story Podcast - The first episode of my new podcast is available now on Soundcloud and for download HERE! (The show should available for subscription on iTiunes within a c...
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