Thursday, August 10, 2006

WSOP Final Table Today

I am one of the suckers who has purchased the pay per view broadcast of the final table today at 2:00 PM. I want to record it on my DVR, but it will probably be over 15 hours. I think last years final table lasted 18 hours and there are a ton more chips in play this year than last year.

So far I have not been able to set the DVR because my Cox box does not recognize that I have paid for the event, even though I have confirmed it twice by phone.

Since there will be no hole card cams, I think the main educational benefit will be the commentary of Phil Gordon and whoever they get to drop by. I have not decided yet if I will track Allen Cunnigham's play as I watch.

I think it will be very interesting to see how many hands Allen plays, how often he raises, how often he gets to showdown, etc. I have never seen a world class player play up close and this may be as close as I get.

August 11. The Day After.

I stopped watching after there were 5 left. I have recorded the rest and hope to watch it this weekend.

I have discovered the secret to winning a huge World Series Tournament:

  1. When a good player is at the table, avoid him. Or play like a pussy by check folding all the time.
  2. Whenever you pick up QQ, KK, or AA make sure someone else at your table picks up the pocket pair, one lower than yours.
  3. Whenever you get your money in with the best hand, it has to hold up.

These three rules seem to be the road that Jamie "Ari" Gold has been following throughout the tournament. When I went to bed, he had $56 Million of the $88 Million in play with 5 players left. The actual size of his stack was just ridiculous.

Allen Cunningham definitely seemed to be the class of the table. He started out very tight and probably folded 95% of the first 30 hands. After a couple of players busted and it was obvious that the big stacks were going to wait for the other small stacks to bust, he switched it into over drive.

Allen proceeded to raise damn near every pot preflop. Nobody ever reraised him. It was either fold and give him the blinds and antes (which were over $500,000) or call him and then check-fold to his continuation bet. I must have seen Jamie Gold check fold to Allen on the flop 10 straight times. It was comical. Allen's only foil was that he doubled up one of the short stacks 3 different times. Allen was behind every time, the money went in, however you would think he would get lucky once.

The great players find a way to win without cards. They win most of their pots without having to showdown. This is definitely the way to win a deep stack tournament. Unfortunately, I am very rarely in this situation in the tournaments I play, because the structure is much faster. This was the reason that the tournament seemed to progress so much faster this year. The vast majority of these players were used to playing the fast structures on line and did not know how to slow down. There were way too many stupid raises of 20x the blind preflop and big overbet raises after the flop.

Even on the rare occasions Allen did make it to the river, he usually had the best hand. He picked off a bluff from Gold with just Ace high, that was just tremendous. Gold had been using his table talk to his advantage through most of the final table. He talked a little too long this time and Allen called a $2,000,000 bet on the river. Gold pretty much stopped talking after that pot. :0

August 14th.

I finished watching the final table. I went pretty much as I expected except for Allen Cunningham busting out in 4th. Jamie Gold ran over the rest of the table.

The key hand of the tournament was 3 handed. Here is the transcript of the hand from

Chip Count:

Jamie Gold $64,000,000

Paul Wasicka $14,000,000

Michael Binger $11,000,000

I believe the blinds were 200k-400k with a 50k ante

229. Gold limps from the button and Wasicka limps from the small blind. Michael Binger raises to $1,500,000 from the big blind. Both Gold and Wasicka call and the flop comes 10c 6s 5s. Wasicka checks, Binger bets $3,500,000 and Gold moves all in. Wasicka folds and Binger calls. Binger shows A10 and Gold turns over 43 for an open ended straight draw. The turn is the 7 and Gold makes a straight. The river is the Q and Michael Binger is eliminated in 3rd place.

According to the talk afterwards, Paul Wasicka folded 7s 8s. With 3 players left they had already locked up $4,000,000 in prize money for each of them. 2nd Place paid $6 Mill and 1st place would pay $12,000,000.

I'll will play the hand as if I am Paul.

Preflop: "7s 8s is a decent hand preflop. Let's get in cheap and see a flop. Jamie just limped so I am getting good odds. Wait, Michael raised to 1.5 MM. Jamie calls, so now I still have good odds so let's see what happens. Plus they're soooted."

Flop: 10c 6s 5s "Awesome, I am first to act and I have two aggressive players behind me. One of them should bet and I can check raise them."

I check. Michael bets 3.5 MM into a 4.7 MM dollar pot.

"That's a pretty good portion of his stack. He must have a decent hand. High pocket pair or tens with an Ace kicker. He is probably pot committed."

Jamie Gold moves all in.

"Shit! Fuck! OK calm down. I have 9 outs to a flush and 4 more outs to a straight. If all of my outs are clean I have a 55% chance to win if I see both cards. What could Jamie have? I have seen him bluff on straight or flush draws before. I can't lose to the straight draw since mine is the nuts. He could have a higher flush draw. Then I only have 6 outs. That's still a 24% chance. Michael looks like he is going to call and if he loses, then I win $2,000,000. Alright I don't want to call all in for my tournament with 8 high so I fold".

Of course a Queen of spades hit's the river and Paul would have tripled up to 39 MM and Jamie would have had 50 MM for heads up play and the remaining $6,000,000

The message boards at 2+2 are going crazy saying how bad a fold this was. I think it was as well. However, I can't fault the guy for trying to fold into an additional $2,000,000. If we ran this simulation on the Sit N Go tracker I think both decisions are positive EV it's just calling is much better.

The most appropriate response I saw said these two things: a. Draws don't always get there and b. Sometimes there are life positive EV decisions that are in direct opposite of poker EV decisions. If that $2,000,000 makes a huge difference in your life, then maybe it's better to hope for second and not deal with all of the ancillary stuff that comes in winning the WSOP.

I can't wait to see what Norman Chad has to say about this hand on ESPN.

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