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Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series Kicks Off

So today was the opening event of the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series and I admit I was a little excited.  Cheap buy-ins, great start banks and decent structures, only problem is that no matter how you sugar-coat it, live poker is still retarded.

Today was a pretty horrible day, and it’s pretty incredible that I actually lasted as long as I did.  It started off well, and in fact my best level was the first one of the day.   With a 15k start bank, I was happy to speculate early, so with a raise and call in front, I came along for the ride in position with 7d 9d.  The flop was a big one as it fell 4d 8d 7c.  The original raisor led out for 200, before the caller (who was the most aggro player at the table) popped it to 625.  I was now in a kinda weird spot.  I loved the flop and my hand, but with a bet and raise in front, I had to think for a moment about my next move as it was still the first orbit of the day.  A flat-call was strong, but still weak, so I decided it was super-strong to raise, so I made it 1,500.  They both folded, so a decent result and good for my image.  A few hands later I flat-called a raise to 225 in position with Ah Qh, and flopped a flush draw.  My opponent fired 350 and I called, before I picked up a gutshot draw on the turn.  He fired again for 650, and this time I raised it up to 1,600.  He let it go and I’d taken down another nice pot with some aggression.

From there, I remained tight before losing the chips back in a bit of a strange hand.  Action folded to me and I raised to 300 on the button with Qh Jd.  The small blind appeared a TAG and he raised small to 700.  I can’t fold for that pissy raise, so I called to see a Jh 9s 3c flop.  My opponent led for 1,100 and I raised to 2,800.  Pretty standard I felt, but my opponent then declared himself all in!  It was a big raise, and I figured I don’t really beat anything so I quickly folded.  My guess is he got a little excited with a big pair.

My table broke and I got moved to another table of randoms.  I won a small pot with A-Q after calling a river bet with ace-high to beat an opponent’s queen-high, before another weird hand.  At 75/150 and with three limpers in front, I decided to keep the aggression up and raised to 1,050 with the mighty 8h 3h from the cutoff.  Punish the limpers!  It would’ve worked, but the player on the button over-called as everyone else folded.  The flop was K-5-4 and I took a stab for 1,250.  The villian called and I gave up.  We checked down the bricks on the turn and river.  “You win,” I said, but my opponent didn’t move.  I wasn’t going to show my 8h 3h and was confident my eight-high was beat so I open-mucked.  “I’ll show you anyway,” spat my opponent and he flipped As Qs for ace-high.  Nice calling sir.  “I should’ve kept firing!” I joked.  “I would’ve called!” he replied.  Awesome.

I then tightened up and tried to find a good spot to strike.  It came in a raised pot on a 5d 4h 2d flop when I was holding pocket deuces.  The big blind led out for 1,000 and I decided to flat call to try and bring in the original raisor, and another preflop caller, but they both folded.  Heads-up to the 8c turn and my opponent fired 3,500.  It was a solid bet, but it left me with a decision.  I had roughly 12k in my stackm which made bet-sizing a little tricky.  I was trying to figure out the best way to get all of my chips into the middle.  I wasn’t particularly worried about the straight draws, as it was a raised pot and it was more likely my opponent had an overpair, but I wanted to raise to protect my hand.  However I felt a shove might scare him off and a small raise would just look too suss as it was committing so much of my stack.  In the end I decided the most deceptive option was to call, knowing that if my opponent bet a river brick, he was committed to call my all-in shove.  There weren’t many rivers that would be a worry, but the 6h was one of them as now any three or seven made a straight.  My opponent bet 4,000 and raising was no longer an option.  I flat-called again (yes I flat-called three streets with a set, yuk) and he flipped pocket fours for a bigget set.  My passive line had saved me my tournament.

I was down to around 4,000 with the blinds at 150/300/25.  So much for deep-stacked poker!  Fortunately I found a double up with pocket aces against pocket nines, but an orbit or two of folding and the blinds jumped again to still leave me hovering around 12BBs.  I then copped a pretty demoralizing blow when I completed from the small blind with K-9 with four limpers and spiked gin with a K-K-9 flop.  We checked around to the button who bet 1,000.  I called, hoping for a few more customers and only found one.  Then the turn was a sick 9.  Now I chop with any king.  We checked around again and an ace hit the river.  I moved my last 3,500 into the middle and found a call from K5.  So sick.  He was drawing dead to a chop on the flop.  Gross.  I wasn’t happy but luckily soon after I got the double ups that I needed as I picked up AK twice and doubled both times, once through KT and another eliminating a guy holding AJ.

Suddenly I was up over 20k and back in decent shape when I got moved to a new table.  It was significantly tougher as I recognized some faces for the first time.  David Zhao is a very talented young player who was four to my right, and Australian poker legend Leo Boxell was two to my left.  To make things more fun, I had the tournament chip leader with 170k on my direct right.

I only had to wait two hands for the 800/1600/100 blinds to reach me and get amongst the action.  A player under the gun moved all in for around 8,500 chips and it folded to me in the big blind.  I look down at A-Q.  I guess it’s kind of marginal, but online I’m way ahead of the range of an UTG-shove for 5BBs.  Maybe live, it’s a little closer, but he flipped K-J and I was in front.  That is, until a king spiked on the turn.  If I win that I’m up over 30,000, but instead I’m down to under 13,000 and in trouble once again.

I folded a few hands until I’m in the hijack.  The big blind was nit of the century from my previous table, so I felt it was a great spot to steal from with ATC with my 8BB stack.  I peaked at the Ad and that was enough for me to shove.  The button isolated and flipped As Qs as I squeezed out the rather disappointing 5s as my kicker.  No three-outer and I was out the door, middle of the pack.

A very rough day, but I guess there’s some light to come out of it.  I should’ve been busted with set over set, and despite being down to 10BBs very early in a deep-stacked tourney, I managed to recover and claw my way back.  A little luck at the right time, and I would’ve been a chance to progress deeper.

Not to worry, there’s always another day!  There’s some great tournaments coming up, and the decision is which tournaments to play!  Tomorrow is a big online poker day so I’m contemplating whether to make a big Monday morning assault or tackle the live vultures once again.

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