Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day One (Part I) of the Bellagio Championship

Sorry for the delay guys, but usually in bad beat days I'm not in the mood to write, and these days, well, everyday is a bad beat day, let's define a bad beat day as one where you have terrible beats in more than 50% of the tournaments you played that day; maybe I'll start a new section with my bad beats and suckouts for the day. This Wednesday I didn't have a bad beat day, in fact, I didn't have any bad beats at all; probably because I didn't play any tournament. Anyway, as promised, this is my action on day one of the Bellagio 25k.

I was at Vegas on Monday night (April 17), only to find out that I was assigned flight 2 and would start on Wednesday (April 19) at noon. I was assigned table 2 seat 7, I was early like 15 minutes before 12PM, table 2 was situated in the Bellagio Poker Room, while most of the tables were situated in the Fontana Bar; I didn't recognize anybody, until Victor a player from El Paso took seat 4, I remembered him from my 15-30 holdem days in the late 90's at Speaking Rock Casino, I remembered him as a very wild player and a very nice guy who just love to have fun playing; it was just weird we were playing together in an event of this magnitude, he told me he just won his seat the day before in a satellite and asked me if I bought in, "Yes, I said", "I paid the 25k"; "really !!"; he looked very surprised and with reason; somebody has to be nuts to buy in for a 25k tournament. I just wonder how many people in the world does not make 25k a year, and here we were playing a 25k poker tournament, but that's material for another blog entry. On seat 1 there was a very young Italian player from Venice, he looked really thrilled to be there, on seat 2 there was a middle age man (but older than me), probably around 40. Seat 3 was another young guy, in his 20's, he looked confident and ready to work, later I found out he was from Panama and his name was Pier. Seat 4 was Victor, chatty and just waiting to have fun; seat 5 was an oriental man, probably in his 40's, I later found out after talking with Humberto Brenes that he was Japanese and a pretty solid player who had just won some kind of international poker tourney. Seat 8 was a guy around my age (36); seat 9 was an European player and seat 10 was an old man, but not too old, just the oldest in the table, probably in his 50's. Looked like no super-pro players at the table, until Scotty Nguyen (World Champion 1998) took seat 6, just to my right. I have played with Scotty before, I played with him many hours in a December Bellagio tournament and then in that same event, we both made the final table, I took 4th and he took 2nd, that time he was to my left; I think he was the single reason I didn't place higher that day, since I lost important pots to him and he simply outplayed me using his position that time. I remember playing perfect poker, I was dominating the table with 6 left, I was chip leader and Scotty's stack was going down, smaller and smaller. I knew he was my most skilled opponent in that final table, so, as soon as I got some pots from him and others and he was a short stack, I just went on raising a lot, so he had no chance to steal blinds with his short stack, since he was to my left, so he had to wait for good cards. I had like 600k, he was down to 21k with blinds 4-8k and 6 players left, don't remember the ante amount. I open-raised as usual with T7s and he went all in. The player in the BB called and we checked all the way; he had AK, nobody made a pair and he tripled up. About 2 rounds later, he went all in again with AQ, small blind called and I called in the BB; again we checked all the way and he tripled up again; I was so frustrated he won those two hands versus 2 players checking all the way, and I couldn't recover; I then proceeded to lose some pots to him, double some other guys and later I was out in my first all in (as usual) versus Orlando Maldonado, the eventual winner of that tourney. I was really depressed after that tourney, I remember I told Scotty, "next time I'll play better Scotty", and he just said while walking with his young wife and shaking my hand, "You do that, baby"; and I did exactly that on Wednesday April 19.
The day would be a very long one, that was the only table I played that day, by the end of the day the only 2 players eliminated from the table were Victor and Scotty. I played so many interesting hands, I'll write about them in my next entry.


AJ "The Triple Threat" Martino said...

Well, maybe one day you'll have the fortune of being the short stack who makes an impressive comeback (although going into the final table as the chip leader and totally dominating is always preferred)

Great story, thanks for taking the time to share.

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