Thursday, June 29, 2006

I made it to Day 2!

In my second try at this years WSOP I made the money and have made it to day 2. Let me start at the beginning. If you don't understand all of the specific about the poker hands don't worry; all that really matters in how much they pay me in the end. :) I sat down just before noon as one of 1102 entrants who each put up $1,500 to enter this event. I took my place at table 145 in seat 7 (the seats of a poker table are numbered starting with 1 to the dealers left and continue upwards in a clockwise direction) today feeling a little nervous after getting bounced so early yesterday. About 5 minutes into the tournament the player in seat 10 shows up and it's Chris "Jesus" Ferguson! Not only is Chris the 2000 main event champion, but he's also (by my estimation) one of the top 3 or 4 fan favorites in the entire poker world. If you've ever watched poker on TV you may have seen a segment where he throws playing cards across a room at upwards of 70 mph, which then cut the top off of innocent fruits and vegetables (it's quite a trick). He's a great poker player, he has a phd (in computer science?) and in my experience is a really nice guy. He was at my table for the entire 12.5 hour day today and happily I got the best of him more than once. The first such hand came up in level 2 with the blinds at 25/50. WARNING: HEAVY POKER CONTENT! If you don't care about the specific of certain hands you can skip to the second to last paragraph. Chris opened to 125 and I called 75 more chips with A 10 out of the big blind. Normally I'd avoid calling a raise with A10 because if you flop an ace you could lose a good chunk of your chips to AK, AQ, or AJ and if the flop comes 10 high and the original raiser has a big pair you're also in big trouble. It's tough to tell where you stand in these types of situations and good poker means limiting your difficult decisions. But, in this case I was getting good pot odds (I only had to call 75 with 200 already in the pot) so I had to call. The flop came down A 10 9 with 2 hearts. A great flop for me making me top two pair. I checked hoping Chris would bet so I could raise him. I figured if he had an A I had a good chance of taking most or all of his chips and I expected no matter what he had he would bet the flop. To my surprise he also checked. The turn was a 2 and I bet out 150 into a pot of 275 (don't forget to count the 25 chip small blind if you're adding along at home). I was hoping he would interpret this bet as a bluff or a draw and raise me. After about 10 seconds he just called. My heart really started beating at this point. I figured to have the best hand, but if by some chance he had me beat, I knew I was going to lose all of my chips and be eliminated. The river was an off suit 2(meaning it was not a card that made a flush possible, in this case it means it was not a heart). I figured if I checked, it might confirm any suspicions he was having that I'd been bluffing on the turn and had now abandoned the bluff. Also if he didn't have much or missed a draw he wouldn't be calling my bet anyway and might try to bluff at the pot. When I checked he quickly bet 200 and I raised him to 600. He spent about 60 seconds deciding what to do and during that time if you'd put a stethoscope up to my heart it would have blown out your eardrums. I figured there were 2 possibilities: 1) he had a monster hand and was trying to convince me he didn't have much so I'd call his all in bet or 2) he didn't have much and was trying to decide if he should call. It wasn't the thoughts of the second possibility that made me nervous. In the end he called, didn't show his hand (which I suspect was something like 77 or 88) and my stack increased to 2500 (we started the day with 1500).

Another exciting hand took place during round 3. With blinds at 50/100 everyone folded around to me in the small blind and I looked down to find J9 of diamonds. Not a great hand but good enough to muscle the big blind. I raised to 300 and after some thought the big blind called. The flop came down 9 3 3 with 1 diamond. I bet 450 into a 600 chip pot and my opponent called. I figured he probably didn't call my preflop raise with a 3 so I liked my hand, but I didn't have enough information to put him on a specific hand. The turn was the 8 of diamonds so now I had top pair and a flush draw and I wasn't going anywhere. I considered my options and decided to be aggressive. I bet the whole pot, 1500. My opponent quickly said "how much do you have left" which was not a good sign. I only had another 250 and after it went in the pot we both turned up our hands. He showed me 8 3 for a full house. 8 3? What kind of cheese is that? How the hell did he call my raise with that? I figured at the very least hitting my flush would win me the pot and now I'm drawing dead to a 9. And then.....BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE! A 9 on the river made me a bigger full house and I took down a nice pot. I went from toast, to having a $5,000 stack (a stack that was twice as large as the average stack) with the turn of that one card. At that point I felt like I was in for a good day.

In round three with the blinds at 50/100 I dodged another bullet (it wouldn't be my last evasion of the day). A Scandinavian gent in seat 1 (who it turned out was a great player) opened to 250 and I called out of the big blind with KJ. This is a similar situation to the A 10 I had earlier where I don't really like the hand against a raise, but it's so cheap to see the flop and I know no one can raise behind me that I had to call. The flop came down 5 6 7. This fellow had been doing a fair amount of raising so he could have had a wide variety of hands, but probably wasn't raising with any 5's, 6's or 7's in his hand. I decided to put him to the test and after about a 10 second stall I bet out 350 into a 550 chip pot on a total bluff. He thought for a long time and at one point counted out 350 chips and put a stack of 800 next to it. He looked like he was going to push them into the pot, but what he was really doing was looking for a reaction. I decided to do a little acting to help my cause. Normally if player acts strong it means they have a weak hand and vice versa. If an average player stares you down with his meanest stare he's trying to scare you into folding and if he's won't look at you he wants a call and doesn't want to frighten you away. I figured this guy would be familiar with this kind of tell, so I stared off into the distance and did my best to look as uninterested as possible. What might be surprising to some of you is I wasn't nervous at all in this hand. I figured if he raised me I'd just fold. I'd still have plenty of chips and there was no chance of elimination so I wasn't nervous even though I was running a total bluff. He called my bet and the turn was another 5. Well what the hell do I do now? There was almost no chance that the five helped him and I figured if he was unsure on the flop, maybe I could get rid of him here. I bet out 750 and much like before he stacked his chips in various combinations and looked at me and stacked some more. He just called my bet and I thought "I'm going to need to him a K or a J to win this pot." To my delight, a pretty little K showed up on the end. Now, much like in the hand where I had A 10, I checked figuring if he missed he wouldn't be calling another bet and might bluff at it, and if he had a big hand I'd lose less, by checking and calling than I would be betting. I checked, he checked I showed him my hand and he showed me JJ. In order to win that pot I need him to not raise more before the flop, to not raise the flop or the turn and to hit one of 3 K's in the deck.

I dodged another bullet (sort of) in round 4 with the blinds at 75/150. I opened with a raise to 525 with QQ. A short stack with only 475 left called me and the big blind (who had more chips than me and a loose player) also called. The flop was 8 7 7 and after a check from the big blind I bet out 1200. After a little hemming and hawing the big blind showed 44 and folded. The short stack turned up AK and the turn card came out. It was a 4! If the big blind had decided to call (it wouldn't have been a good call, but she almost made it anyway) I would have gone broke, but instead I won the pot. I was up to 9,000 chips well over twice average when we took our second break. For the next hour and fifty minutes I went card dead. With 10 minutes left in round 6 with the blinds at 150/300 a dude with a ragged beard who'd been at my table since hand 1 opened for a raise to 1000. I was on the button with AQ and 6900 chips left. I had quite a few options. Although folding might seem crazy to those of you who don't have a ton of poker experience, the one's who do will tell you that folding was reasonable if not optimal. I also thought about raising it 2000 making it 3000 to go. This guy had raised with some wacky shit over the course of the tournament, but if I made it 3000 I'd have almost half my chips in the pot and if he reraised I'd be forced to call and put my tournament life at risk. I decided to just call and see if I could hit something on the flop, which came down A Q 5 with 2 hearts. DING! It was a perfect flop for me. Unless he had AA, QQ, or 55 I had him beat. AA and QQ were very unlikely because there was already an A and a Q in my hand and one of each on the board. I couldn't rule out 55, but that's just one hand among the dozens of hands he was likely to have. I hoped he had AK or AJ and I'd be able to double through him. He checked and I bet 1400. He thought for a few seconds and called. The turn was a blank and he checked again. I decided I wanted to end the hand right there. The pot was already big and I didn't want to give him a cheap look at a flush draw if he had one so I bet my entire remaining stack of 4500. He thought for a long time and right away I knew I wanted him to call. If he had a flush draw he'd only hit it 1 time in 5, if he had a pocket pair I was a 22 to 1 favorite and if he had an A other than AK (which would make me a 14 to 1 favorite) he'd be drawing totally dead (meaning he had no card that could come on the river that would make him the best hand). Finally he called and when I showed my hand he immediately folded without even waiting to see the river card. This hand left me with about 14,000 chips and a very positive feeling during the 1 hour and 20 minute dinner break.

I had some dinner, took a shower, and came back feeling refreshed. Unfortunately I also felt the jitters come back and despite the fact that I was in a strong position chip wise, it took me a while to settle back down. I knew we had 4 more hours of play and if I didn't do anything stupid I'd have a great chance to make the money. My table only got tougher as Hoyt Corkins (his real name!) and Dewey Tomko (also his real name!) joined the fray. With these two, the Scandinavian Gent and Chris Ferguson and without much in the way of amateurs, I was at a tough table. At this point I went into cruise mode. I won a few small pots, stole the blinds and by the next break found myself with about 12000 chips (still above average). 99 places paid and towards the end of the 9th round someone finished 100th. Just after, I won a nice pot when the bearded dude raised my big blind and I reraised him with AK. He put in his last 4000 chips after his initial raise of 2000 and showed A 5 (not a very good play). My AK held up and I was over 20,000 chips. After an uneventful round 10 we called it a day around 12:30 a.m. We all put our chips in sealed plastic bags which will be waiting for us when we arrive tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. There are still 70 players in the tournament and if I was first out tomorrow I would still get paid $3,008 gross ($1508 net). I'll pick up another $753 if I can make it to 63rd and the prizes keep going up from there. The money really starts picking up in the top 18. 18th is $12,034, 9th is $33,845 and 1st is $345,984. The final 9 will be on ESPN. My stack of 20,500 is just short of the 23,614 average stack.

Anything can happen tomorrow. When we get back the blinds will be 1000/2000 so things should progress quickly. If you're bored or really fired up about how I'm doing you can follow the action in real time (or about 5 minutes behind real time) on (remember we don't start until 2 p.m. pacific). Just click on the number 3 in the blue strip about half way up the page where it says "select WSOP event" and then click on "full details" written in white towards the bottom. They should list the players names as they get eliminated. So if you don't see Wesley Huff listed (my first name is Wesley and my middle name is David for any of you who are confused) it means I'm still in it. I'll let you know how it all went down tomorrow. Also I look forward to Jen joining me here in Vegas tomorrow until Monday.


Eebster said...

For those of you not keeping track of the bigger picture, Dave is now an EIGHT DOLLAR WINNER in the 2006 World Series of Poker!!!

That may sound sarcastic, but it is not. (If I played in two WSOP events and ended up ahead, I'd have it etched on my tombstone.) Seriously, though, even for Dave, it ain't small potatoes. Those aren't just eight bucks, those are eight WSOP bucks. If you consult Dave's grading scale in his post "What are my goals?", you will see that he has gone up two grades from the catastrophic "F" in just the second tournament of the series, and he isn't done yet!

So I say "Hazzah!" (I really did, out loud just to myself right here in bed... You should try it; it's quite envigorating).

Anonymous said...

Show me the money!!! I would just like to point out that roughly speaking 3% of $8.00 is $00.24. Hazzah!! to that.

Well Mr. Huff if you make the money in 50% of your tournaments I think that you will have a pretty successful trip. Good luck today!

You need to start thinking about your hollywood poker nickname, something that will sell. Alameda McHuffington for instance, Or Wes "destroyer of worlds" Huff. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

The excitement is crackling off the screen! Your east coast fans are pumped that you're doing so well. Keep writing the detailed updates.

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