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This trip report was written for
Rec.Gambling.Poker in November 2003 by Greg "Fossilman" Raymer
about the No Limit Hold'em event at Foxwoods.
Reprinted by permission.
313 players entered at $10,200 apiece. All of the known top tournament players, with probably very few exceptions.
Erik Seidel, etc., all out early. I draw my least
favorite seat, #5 at a 9-handed table. I hate sitting in the middle, and having to constantly turn your head back and forth
to see everything. It is so much better to draw the 2,3,7, or 8 seats, and have a full view of the table. My first table is
#34, way back in the corner, and it's a good draw. I have
Charlie Shoten in the 1 seat, who's near the top
of the CardPlayer rankings. A couple of decent local players, and nobody else who's known to me really.
Rounds are 75 minutes, and we start with 50/100 blinds. Nothing very dramatic the first round, but I'm down to T7450 due to
some preflop raises followed by bad flops. I'm still running pretty card dead, and getting very few good starting hands, so
I'm developing a tight image. During the second level, with 75/150 blinds, I win a very nice pot from Charlie. I'm UTG+1 and
raise to T400 with 6s4s. Like I said, I have a tight image, plus there has been little reraising preflop at the table, so I
figure to win the blinds or get called. Charlie calls on the button. Flop is As5d7s. I have a flush draw and open-ender, and
like my hand a lot. I bet T800 into the T1025 pot, and Charlie quickly calls. OK, he must have an Ace. At least. Turn is an
offsuit 3, my dream card. I bet T2000, and Charlie raises T4000 more. I think a little bit, and raise all-in. I've got
Charlie covered, but barely. He has T4500 left. He eventually folds, and shows his 77 in the hole for a set. He was so sure
I had AA he gave up a set after putting well over half his stack into the pot. He made the correct decision, but for the
wrong reason. Actually, given the pot size, I'm glad he folded, because he had sufficient
pot odds to make that call against my hand.
I finish the level at T12,975.
We bust Charlie and another player, and get replacement players who are not great players at all. This is an excellent
table. If I had an end seat, it would be as perfect as you could hope for. Level 3 is 100/200 blinds. Without ever playing
any big pots, I move my stack up to T20,525. At almost the end of the level, they bust my table. We're probably down to
about 250 players. My new table is at the opposite end of the room. I have an end seat, and a whole bunch of weak opponents.
Unfortunately, I'm not here long before the table breaks, and I move to a table in the middle of the room.
My last table of the day is a very tough table. I'm in the 8 seat. I've got
in the 4 seat with a big stack. Toto Leonidas in the 5 seat with a decent stack.
Chip Jett in the 3 seat with a good sized stack.
Mimi Tran playing tight and aggressive in the 2 seat. Unknown players in the 1, 5 and 9 seats playing very solid. Only
contributor is in the 6 seat, and seat 7 is empty. When 7 gets filled, it's a weak tight player. Good news that he isn't
somebody who's going to be tricky to play against, but bad news because it's going to be hard to get a lot of chips from him.
It's level 4 now. Still 100/200 blinds, plus a T25 ante. I'm still running very cold, and doing a LOT more folding preflop
than is typical. Plus it seems like every time I raise, even though I haven't raised in a while, I get reraised and have to
throw away a medium A or medium pair. I finally realize that I'm short enough that I have to play even tighter, and play
hands so that I'm the one putting in the last raise, so I can make these very aggressive players give up a hand. I finish
the level down to T13,700.
With my new strategy of reraising instead of putting in the first raise, I gradually move up during the next level, and
finish the 150/300 T50 ante round at T18,925.
Level 6 is 200/400 with a T75 ante. I go on a bit of a rush, and work up a big stack. Then, I lose a very large pot to John
Juanda. I raise his blind with AhKh. All fold, but he calls. Flop is Jh8h3d. He checks, I bet, he raises, I call. About
T10,000 in the pot now. Turn is a Qd. He bets T4000. I call. River is a small black card, maybe 4c. He checks, I check. He
has JT and wins. I considered betting the river, but it is highly likely he makes the tough call. It might have been correct
to make a good bet on the turn, but John is very good at sniffing out bluffs.
I steal my way back up to almost T20,000. Toto raises a pot in middle position to T1200, and I call on the button with 22. I
could tell the blinds were going to fold, and I could tell Toto didn't like it when I reached for my chips. The flop is
KdJd4h. Toto bets T2000. I think for a while, fiddling with my chips, counting out a call, restacking, etc. I really sense
he wants me to fold, so I eventually call. Turn is a 5h, and we both check. River is a 3h, and he stacks his chips around
for a while, and then bets T8000, leaving him with less than T2000. I think a bit, and still feel like he's weak. I call,
and he taps the table, saying "I missed". I show my 22, and there is a big buzz around the table. A few hands later, Chip
Jett raises my big blind, and when I'm thinking, he says "Don't be thinking I'm bluffing you, not after that call with 22."
I finish the level at T31,025.
Level 7 is 300/600 with a T100 ante. That's T1800 per round, so even with T30,000, I can't be thinking about coasting. In
the original papers, FW had talked about day 1 playing down to half the field. Well, we're already well below half, and
they're going to have us play through level 8 before we break. I estimate we'll be down to more like 1/4 of the field by then.
This level goes poorly right away. Again, every time I bet or raise, I get raised and have to fold. I'm bleeding down quite
a bit, about T23,000. I raise to T1600 with JdTd, and the guy behind me reraises to T3500. I call. Flop is Tc7d3h. I check,
he bets T2000, and I raise to T7000. He agonizes a little and calls. I am sure he has no pair, or a small pocket pair below
7. Turn is a Q, and I check. I'm feeling he has few outs, so I'm going to give him some rope. He bets all-in, and I call. I
feel he has AK or a small pair. He has AQ, and I fail to get lucky. That
turn card killed me. If it were the A, I
could get away without losing anymore chips, but not the Q, especially getting something like 6:1 on the call. I am down to
about T8000, below T10,000 for the first time since early in the second level, and feeling terrible.
A few hands later, I'm the big blind. John Juanda raises in middle position. He has been raising a lot of pots, and has been
backed down a few times. In fact, I can't recall the last time he called or reraised when somebody reraised his initial
raise. I look down and see 9c8c, and raise all-in for almost 5 times his bet. He considers for about 15 seconds, and calls.
I'm very unhappy, figuring I must have run into a pair 99 or better, or AQ/AK. He has KQo. I'm very surprised he called
getting not much better than 3:2 on the call. Flop is K42. Turn is 8. River is 8!!! I'm alive, and have around T15,000.
We get to level 8, 400/800 blinds and T100 ante. Last level of the night. No more big hands for me, but I move from T15,800
up to T24,800 with some timely steals and resteals. Although the average stack coming back the next day is over T40,000, I'm
happy with my play. I got AA once and KK once, and won nothing more than the blinds with each hand. I was otherwise dealt
almost no really good hands, but made the most of what I got, with very few mistakes. The one key mistake was the JTs hand,
where if I had check-raised all-in he says he would've thrown away his AQ. Problem is, I thought I had him beat and could
milk him. I was right but didn't read him for the Q.
Day 2. Table 1, seat 3. Harry Thomas in the 1 seat with T15,000 or so. Freddy Bonyadi in the 2 seat with over
T50,000. Alan something in the 4 seat with less than me. Senthil Kumar in the 5 seat with over T100K. John Juanda in the 6
seat with T35,000. Mohamed Ibrahim with T50,000 or so in 7. Alan Miller in the 8 seat with T29,000. I can't remember the 9
seat, but he was short-stacked. Blinds are T600,1200 with a T200 ante.
Button starts in the 7 seat. I fold the first couple of hands, and raise UTG with AQ the next hand. Freddy calls. flop is
K98, and we both check. Turn is 7, he bets, I fold. I hated to lose the first one, but I felt he hit that flop.
I fold my blinds, and fold around to my next big blind. I wanted to steal, but usually somebody beat me to it, or it just
wasn't a good spot to do so. In my BB I get Th8h, and 3 limpers. SB completes, I check. Flop is 679, but it's all spades.
All check. Turn is Qc, and I bet T4000. First two limpers fold, and Alan Miller calls. SB folds. River is 5d. I think
awhile, trying to decide if Alan has the flush. I bet T5000, leaving me with about T7500. Alan asks how much I have left. He
does some chip counting and stacking. Finally, he bets enough to put me all-in. I immediately call. He says good call, he
only has the As. I show my straight, and have T40,000, my highest chip count yet.
I bleed off some more chips. Blinds, antes, and one failed preflop raise. I have T33,000. Alan has gone broke in the 8 seat,
and the 9 seat is also busted. We had gotten Johnny "World" Hennigan, also known as "Flakes" in the 10 seat,
with T140,000, down from his start of the day chip count of T170,000 and the chip lead. It is John's big blind, and I raise to T3000,
my standard preflop raise this level, with AJs. All fold to John, who calls. Flop is QcTc8s, and my AJ is red. John checks, and
I bet T4000. John immediately check-raises all-in, T26,000 more into a pot of about T16,000. Now John has been here for a
couple of orbits, and is playing a lot of hands. He also loves to play draws very strongly, and that is how he amasses big
stacks of chips in so many tournaments; by hitting those draws. I am sure I have at least 11 outs, assuming I'm currently
beat. I feel that at best he has a Q, and that any K, 9, or A will be good for me. I also consider that he could easily have
A-little suited in clubs, and I could have him looking for a handful of outs with me being ahead. I finally say "John, I
have to gamble with you.", and push my chips in. John has KJ with no clubs. Turn is a 4, river is a 9. My queen high
straight is no good against his king high straight, and I'm out. As it turns out, it was a great call, with him having 7
outs against me. Over T70,000 in that pot and it went to the wrong guy.
It felt like the time I got nailed in the stomach playing in a doubles racquetball tournament in high school. At first you think
you're OK, and then a couple of seconds later you're doubling over in pain. I guess there's always next year. Plus, now that the
Tuesday night NLH tourney at Foxwoods is so big, you can win about $13K every week. Not the same as $1M, however, is it?
Later, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)