Major suckouts, monster pots and a $100,000 deal added up to the June 29th Party Poker $300K. Let’s take a look at some specific players, pots and plays from this week’s

The Tragic Fall of jovialjohnny: jovialjohnny had been at the center of the action for a long time on Sunday. He’s an aggressive player – particularly post-flop – which led to his involvement in a number of large pots. However, he never fell into that recklessness that undoes so many aggressive players, and his play first caught my eye when there were still around 200 players left.

• Hand 7180667991 This hand displays the indirect benefits of playing aggressive poker. After raising 3 out of the past 7 hands post-flop, jovialjohnny was the big blind (levels were at $10K/$20K) with about 270K left. Funkey12345 had about 650K in his stack and was on the dealer button. On to the hand itself: Funkey12345 issues a minimum raise to $40K after the table has folded around to him; he is holding pocket deuces. jovialjohnny smooth calls the pre-flop min raise holding pocket Jacks. Most players would re-raise with hooks in the blind after a big stack min raised from the button, but jovialjohnny decided to play on his table image. The smooth call out of position reeked of setting up a post-flop bluff, as jovialjohnny had fired 3 times at the flop out of the past 7 hands (he’d been in 5 of those 7 flops.) The pot is about 100K then the flop comes 10 7 3 with 2 Hearts. jovialjohnny bets out $60K (a little less than 2/3rds of the pot) in a bet that at best cried out Ace Jack and could’ve easily been a bluff. Funkey12345 thought for a little while, decided that Johnny was a very aggressive post-flop player and probably had nothing, then re-raised jovialjohnny (who has about $140K left at this point) to 200K. Immediately, jovialjohnny goes all-in with his well-disguised overpair and takes the $550K double up after the river King. Pocket Jacks are often described as the hardest hand to play in Hold’em, which I think is flat wrong: any hand is vulnerable, from 8-4 to AA, but if you can accurately identify what your opponent is putting you on – just as jovialjohnny showed – you can win big pots with JJ.

 Hand 7180710452 This has got to be one of the worst cold decks I’ve ever seen in the late rounds of a . Play begins with limits at $20K/$40K and a small stack goes all-in for about 100K. The two biggest stacks remaining in the 13 player field are jovialjohnny (700K) and jackrich000 (800K) who both call the pre-flop raise. Flop comes 6 7 8 – both players in the side pot check. Turn comes a 9 – and here is where the mistake was made (if there was a mistake –) both players check. As it turned out, jovialjohnny was holding A10 to give him a 10 high straight after the turn while jackrich000 had been holding pocket 9s for top set (there were no flushes possible.) So in checking there, jovialjohnny was setting a trap for jackrich000 – of course, jackrich000 figured that he was the one trapping jovialjohnny with his top set. Then came the river 6 leaving: the board at 6 7 8 9 6 with no flushes, jackrich000 with a full house and jovialjohnny with a bad trap. johnny bet out 120K into the 300K pot (a call-me bet if I have ever seen one.) Immediately, jackrich000 went over the top for everything, putting johnny all-in should he decide to call. Despite having another player already all-in, having the second most chips in play and being a mere two places from the Final Table – jovialjohnny called. I understand that jovialjohnny wanted to set a trap and get as much as he thought he could, but you have to be very cautious when trapping with straights before the river, especially when there are three players in the pot. Even still – if I had been in jovialjohnny’s position I probably would have busted out then too.

The Reign of jackrich000: After the ice-cold deck in hand 7180710452, jackrich possessed more than twice the number of chips than anyone else with about 1.6 million and he would basically sit back and ride that big stack to a heads-up match with thorburn87. Before we get to the results of that Heads up match, let’s look at a few more interesting hands.

 Hand 7180788600 Here is an example of what we saw a lot of in the – suckouts. It was only a matter of time after Funkey12345’s AJ beat scf73’s AQ for more than 500K that Funkey12345 would have to reap the karmic price of his suckout: Funkey’s pocket Queens lost to jackrich’s A10 when an Ace came on the river leaving Funkey in third place (with a nifty $21,750 payday.)

• Hand 7180788145 thorburn87 got a lot of luck at the right time. In two consecutive hands, thorburn hit straights on both the turn and river to come back and beat a stronger hand and eliminate a player. In the previous hand, thorburn’s A-8 cinched into a joint on the river to beat canolieater’s set of sixes and eliminate him in 5th in the process, basically doubling thorburn up from 800K to 1.5 million. The very next hand (hand 7180788145) saw thorburn87 hit another straight on the turn to beat plzsosick, eliminate him in 4th place and nearly double up thorburn’s just-doubled stack again to about 3 million. In two hands played, thorburn went from 4th in chips amongst 5 live players at about 800K to 1st in chips amongst 3 active players with about 3 million.

 Hand 7180721737 We’ve all heard the phrase “think long, think wrong.” Here is a good example of why we’ve all heard it. After being re-raised by thorburn87 pre-flop, Downdude_ used the entirety of his time bank to decide that it was worth calling the big bet with his pocket 4s. He called, the eventual runner-up thorburn was all-in with his pocket Queens against the eventual ninth place finisher’s pocket 4s. While this was an admirable effort by Downdude_ to accumulate chips and win the whole tournament rather than clam up in waiting for the biggest payday possible – it was a bad call. In the best case scenario with pocket 4s, you are in a coin flip: even if thorburn had been making a play with something like J10 or 78, you wouldn’t be more than 50-50 to come out the winner. Add into the mix that thorburn87 could have had any pair bigger than 4s (as he did) and that was an example of a player talking themselves into making a call that they easily could’ve avoided.
 

The Deal is Made: Entering Heads up play, thorburn87 had about a 3.5 million to 2 million advantage over jackrich000. But neither player wanted a deal at that point. After 20 hands or so with jackrich taking 70% of them – the chip situation had reversed; jackrich had about 3 million to thorburn87’s 2.5 million. No showdowns, no big pots, just jackrich taking small pot after small pot before the turn while thorburn’s stack slowly dwindled. After jackrich000 took the chip lead, the players entered into the dealmaking mode, congratulated each other and agreed upon the 53% – 47% split of the remaining $99,000. All I could think to myself was, “Wow, if thorburn87 had stopped and talked about a deal prior to losing 35% of his stack – he could have had another $10,000 – $20,000 easily depending on what he offered.”

Which brings me to a question – why do deals always seemed to be made according to the chip spread? Never in
my entire life have I seen someone offer a deal whose specific numbers were not generated from the host site itself. Isn’t it worth it to try and split it up creatively – isn’t that why they call it a deal?

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