Sometimes people amaze me.
Last week’s Party Poker $300K ended in an outright victory for the player who won nearly 50% of all hands played at the final table (Ugga_Chak) when a player who won less than 12% (wernitschg) said no to a deal that would have meant more money for everyone at the table save the dominant chip leader. That rejection ended up costing wernitschg himself about $3,000 (not to mention costing rsanco about $7,000.) I figured that was the sort of myopia that I would have to wait a long time to see again – apparently my wait would last a whole week.
Because on Sunday, July 13th, as the field whittled away from 10 to 9 and all the way down to 3, the number of players against a deal went from 7 to 5 to 3 to 2 to 1. Finally, when there were three players remaining, deal making mode was initiated. And then it was exited.
But we’ll get into all of that shortly; let’s take a look at the players at the final table first. All dollar values are in USD.
10th Place and $2,850: Ramms888 0 hands won
Ramms888 entered the final table as the second small stack with about 300,000 in chips. He never had the chips to get anything going and was eliminated in the first hand that he played.
9th Place and $4,050: Allminequick 3 hands won
Despite entering the final table a hair above 300K at 310,000 in chips, Allminequick made his presence known at the table. He nabbed a number of blinds with some solid selective aggression and never fell into that dubious final table small stack trap of folding his way up higher into the money. He was a good player who seemed to know how to play at a major final table. He was eventually done in at the hands of aussie181.
8th Place and $5,250: Youbemistake 1 hand won
Youbemistake entered the final table with about 450,000 in chips and nothing but a desire to move up in the money. He stayed out of every hand but two – one of which he won, the other of which went to aussie181.
7th Place and $7,950: aussie181 7 hands won
Aussie181 was the table captain entering final table play with 1.75 million in chips and the chip lead. But before we get to his untimely demise, I’d like to get into a big stack strategy that he employed brilliantly:
Hand 7217340275 is a great example of how to bully a small stack without opening yourself up to too much danger. Here, rather than raise pre-flop, aussie181 merely calls the big blind with position. Since the blinds have climbed so high, he is able to make the pot big (ie, valuable) without issuing a raise. The flop comes and the smaller stack is then compelled to make a play for the pot through a standard 2/3rds pot-sized bet. Again, rather than re-raise (which reeks of bullying/bluffing) aussie181 calls. The turn comes, the small stack is suddenly very aware of being trapped and checks – aussie181 makes his own pot sized bet and takes a cool 100K. He employed this strategy over and over again to much avail.
And then came hand 7217542435. Look, aussie181 is an action player – it is in his blood. He eliminated 2 out of the first 3 people and involved himself in many pots. But sometimes in a tournament, you’ve got to bite the bullet and play the stack size rather than the cards or player. The mistake here was that aussie181 got involved in a pot with one of two other players at the table to have more than 1 million chips, namely eventual 4th place finisher Tomgus456 (who had 1.3 million; katma77 was the third player to have more than 1 million at the time.) That means that aussie181 got involved in a pot with a player who could hurt him.
aussie181 flopped top pair when the flop came 8 5 2 with his Q8. Once the turn brought another 5 and Tomgus456 moved all-in aussie181 should have been out of there – after all, Tomgus456 was one of only 2 players at the final table who could’ve really hurt aussie181. But it was not to be: aussie called, Tomgus456 showed his pocket nines for an overpair and poof! Aussie181’s 1.8 million in chips was down to 500,000 in what turned out to be the biggest pot of the tournament at 2.6 million. aussie181 would be eliminated a few hands later in hand 7217561304 when he trapped his arch nemesis Tomgus456 with a pair of Queens but the case 4 hit on the river to give Tomgus456 a set and aussie181 a seventh place finish.
Prior to his loss, aussie181 had been very vocal about wanting to enter deal-making mode and in fact, the field stood at 6 – 1 in favor of a deal. But as was said earlier, no deal would be reached as long as one particular player remained in the field.
6th Place and $10,350: pepi777 2 hands won
pepi777 entered the final table right in the middle of the pack with about 525,000 in chips. He remained uninvolved in most pots but did make a nice re-raise on katma77 to take about 150,000.
5th Place and $13,800: MrKlamauk 5 hands won
MrKlamauk entered the final table the distant small stack with about 150,000. He should have gone home before finishing in fifth as in hand 7217529822 his AJ was dominated by Tomgus456’s AK. But the AJ of Diamonds found a flush against Tomgus456’s AK which gave MrKlamauk 500,000 chips with which to play. In fairness, he played a few hands well too and with the notable exception of the AJ suckout he played solid poker.
4th Place and $16,350: Tomgus456 8 hands won
Tomgus456 was at the center of the action for much of the final table. He suffered a nasty bad beat at the hands of MrKlamauk but also saw his nines become an overpair at just the right time. Certainly worthy of a 4th place finish and the $16,350 in prize money, Tomgus456 played good aggressive poker and found some hands at the right time.
3rd Place and $20,700: CanIwinWSOP 11 hands won
First of all, no. CanIwinWSOP – no, you can’t. The only reason that CanIwinWSOP was even at the final table was picking up Aces at the right time and doubling up through oy1ke’s AK in hand 7217460108. And that 11 hands won stat is very misleading as WSOP inexplicably had 4 blinds folded to him (seriously guys: attack the tight players’ blinds and leave the aggressive guys’ blinds alone.)
And the biggest reason that CanIwinWSOP will never reach Diamond Status at Harrah’s is his EV and Poker Odds ignorance. Never mind the fact that he didn’t even let the table check out the deal with 7 players remaining – with 3 players remaining when dealmaking mode was finally initiated, WSOP stood a distant third in chips with about 1.5 million. Katma77 had about 2.7 million, halvornaldo had about 4 million and the deal would have given WSOP about $26,000 (vs. the $20,700 outright third money,) Katma77 about $38,000 (vs. $33,000 outright 2nd) and halvornaldo about $49,000 (vs $60,000 outright victory.)
CanIwinWSOP decided not to take the deal. He must have believed that he would somehow climb his way up in prize money despite being both significantly outchipped and significantly outclassed by the remaining players (katma77 and halvornaldo, who would not play one single hand after WSOP was eliminated, each won many more hands than WSOP did.) It was a stunning refusal and cost CanIwinWSOP $6,000.
2nd Place and $42,852.52 (deal): Katma77 17 hands won
Katma77 came into the final table as the second biggest stack (1.5 million) and left the tournament as the second biggest chip stack. He played very strong poker and also employed a similar call-call-raise big stack bullying technique as had aussie181. Strong player, seldom called and took home a nice $42,852.52 paycheck. Katma77 took home an additional $4,000 thanks to CanIwinWSOP’s refusal of the three person deal.
1st Place and $50,147.49 (deal): halvornaldo
21 hands won
halvornaldo was another strong player at a final table which featured several. He mixed up pre-flop aggression with strong post-flop play. Hand 7217518464 is a good example of how to bet in a raised threeway pot when an Ace hits on the flop – check-raise. halvornaldo check-raised meaning that to call a player would’ve had to possess at least AQ and probably AK or two-pair. Excellent player well deserving of the more than $50,000 first prize money who above all else, knew enough to take the deal!
We’ll see you next week for the July 20th $215 Buy-In Weekly Party Poker $300,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool No Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament.