June 2006
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Running Hot to the WSOP! [Part 2]

I was working in London for three days last week so it would have been rude not to take in a game or two at Gutshot.  Wednesday was a £30 game with one rebuy.  I needed the rebuy.  Holding 88 on BB with 2 limpers, the small blind completes the bet, so I check.  I don’t want to play a small pair unimproved out of position against overcards and these guys like to see a flop.  Trying to isolate is futile so I take a flop and see if I can get lucky.

The flop is a very pretty 853, with 2 diamonds.  The small blind bets 300 and I decide to just call.  I don’t very often do this, but I want to try and keep the other guys in the pot and if one of them tries to squeeze me out then I’ll be happy to stick my stack in the middle.  If I raise I might not get any more action at all with this board so I’ll take my chance against a flush draw, wait for a safe turn card and then get my money in.  In fact the two limpers fold and the turn brings a 2 that is not a diamond.

The small blind instantly moves all in, and how can I not call?  The offsuit 2 is the perfect brick – usually.  But when your opponent holds 46 for the nut straight top set is looking poorly.  Very well played indeed – I didn’t even see it.  Even if I had, I don’t think I can fold this.  He could have flopped a lower set of hold a pocket pair bigger than 88 and love the turn card.  He could even think that I’m drawing to diamonds and bet without much of a hand at all.  Mostly I’m way ahead here, and I still have 10 outs against the one hand that currently beats me to win.  Please, please, call me a donkey if you can find a way to fold here…

Playing 46 in the small blind… as they say "You’ll be alright".  But I guess I’d be calling there for cheap too just in case something wonderful does happen.  Didn’t get any further after the rebuy – needed to take a chance with my nemisis hand AJ, dealt myself two aces on the flop, but a ten on the turn gave the other guy a full house.

As fate would have it, I have to stay in London one day longer than I expected.  How can I resist the £50 freezeout that night?  Well, basically, I can’t.  This is still a self-dealt tournament, which is a bit poor, but it attracts some experienced players so the dealing isn’t too bad.  I’ll try to keep this one short, because I can’t say I wasn’t lucky.

Having literaly not played a hand for the first 90 minutes (and the only one I might have played – the best I’d seen – was QJs, which would have flopped a flush but lost to a full house), I found AA and someone raised into me for nearly all my chips.  AK vs AJ two hands later and I’m back in it.  Was chip leader at the final table for a while, and let a few players knock each other out.

The blinds were getting stupidly high – I had about 25,000 with a 2000 big blinds – so I started talking about a deal.  "I haven’t played for 5 hours for a seven way chop" said the next player to be eliminated.  It’s totally bad karma to turn down a deal.  I’d have been happy with just over £300 each.  Instead I was able to sit back and watch the field drop down to 4 players before I had to play another hand.  I won with the best hand and the worst hand at the times that mattered most (the blind situation meant things were completely in the lap of the poker gods) and ended up heads up with a small fraction of the chips.  Whilst I was surviving, the other guy was busy knocking out the other two players.  My luck continued though and I doubled and doubled again, enough that my opponent offered me a deal based on chip count and I ended up walking away with £898.  In the books I’m down as finishing in second place, but "joint first" has a much nicer ring to it!  1st place would have been £1208 and second £690, so we were effectively flipping a coin for over £500.  Not something I’m interested in doing really…

Because Gutshot is a borderline-illegal cardroom private members’ club and not a casino, you can – and are expected – to tip the dealers.  Which is a bit rich in a game that’s self-dealt until the final table, but I had to go along with the winner’s suggestion of £30 each.  They’ll be alright.

Total profit from Gutshot: £753 (approx $1400)