The trip to Reno for the 2007 World Poker Challenge was an unsuccessful but reasonably satisfying one. I busted about an hour after the 1st dinner break.
Main event - Table 1, Seat 1
For the 2nd time in a row (for big buy in NLHE MTTs) I was stuck with a relatively tough starting table. This being table 1, the table was just not going to be broken on Day 1.
2nd and 3rd to my left were Hoyt Corkins and Mark Seif. Miami John was 2nd on my right. The big joke of the Bay 101 Shooting Stars, Ed "The Cajun Squeeze" Pellegrini, was on my immediate left. He was better than I expected though still fairly weak tight; however he was not giving away any chips. There were 3 average players including Tony Lee; not big Tony but little Tony from the 2003 Reno WPT final table. The one table donkey was seated to the immediate left of Seif. She announced multiple times to the whole table that her goal was not to be the first player eliminated. She made some poor river bluff bets and raises to donk off T$2-3k to Seif and Miami John. I was able to accumlate about T$1.5k chips from her, but the lion share of chips went to The Cajun Squeeze (~T$7k) and Seif (~T$6k) in almost back to back hands.
There certainly are lots of aspects of luck in MTTs, but getting a decent share of the "free" chips that are available in the early levels of the tournament are a big big deal.
The following hand was unquestionably the most interesting one I was involved with during the whole trip. The hand occurred in Level 3. Seif had already bluffed and shown a couple of times already, of which one of the bluffs was against myself. On hand #5 of Level 1, Seif CR'd the 569 rainbow flop headsup with me (after the SB mucked to my c-bet), lead when the 7 came on the turn, and showed QJ high when I mucked. The only point of mentioning this example is that because of this hand, I am 100% certain that Mark was aware that I knew he was capable of making moves.
Level 3, T$100/T$200
Hero's stack ~T$10.5k, Villain's (Seif) stack ~T$6.3k
preflop: Hero open limps in 2nd position with ?h?d, mucked to Villain in hijack who limps, mucked to BB who checks (3 players, pot size T$700)
flop: AcQhTc, BB checks, Hero bets T$400, Villain calls, BB mucks (2 players, pot size T$1500)
turn: AcQhTc6d, check, check (2 players, pot size T$1500)
river: AcQhTc6d4c, Hero bets T$900, Villain moves in for T$5700 total, Hero?
I bet the flop to represent a weak A, 2nd or 3rd pair and/or a draw. I believe Villain will tend to raise me here with any decent draw and any equal or better hand (than I represent) and only occasionally flat call (almost certainly flat calling with a straight). I also believe a substantial percentage of the time the Villain will float me here with 2 napkins.
On the turn, I check to keep the pot size manageable. I don't think that the Villain checks too many of his better hands behind me on the turn.
If the Villain floated the flop with the intention of taking it away later, would he tend to check behind on the turn simply because I haven't weakly put in any more chips yet?
Anyways, on the river I elected to continue to represent the same hand that I did on the flop and make a defensive looking bet of a little more than half the pot. My intention at the time was to induce a bluff raise and to immediately call up to a pot size raise. When he moved in, I naturally threw up in my mouth. I tanked for what I would guess was about 90 seconds, although since the passage of time is relative to a person's point of view it could certainly have been longer (I honestly don't believe it would have been much longer than 2 minutes, and Seif did comment to me later that it was not a long time.). At that time, the a**hole Miami John calls the clock on me. I dally for about 15 seconds longer before mucking but not before checking with the dealer to see who called the clock.
I know that in general that these aggressive and successful tourney pros are not bluffing when ~they~ are the ones being put all in. However, I believed at the time (and still believe) that Seif was making a move. I just have such a hard time believing he has such a monster hand on the river that wasn't played more strongly before the river.
The primary problem was that I may have been beat by accident. Supposing that I come to this conclusion prior to my first action on the river should I have played it differently? e.g. CR all in
Although I did not have this information during the hand, a few minutes later, the player on my immediate right announced to the table that he had held Kc3c.
Btw, ?h?d is 2h2d.
Note to self: Another thing for me to consider is what physical and betting tells did I give...