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Bicycle Casino hosted the third Legends of Poker World Poker Tour event and it was appropriately titled. The true legend of poker,
Doyle Brunson was amongst the six finalists
along with Lee Watkinson, Grant Helling, Tom Lee, Pete Lawson, and Joe Awada. The six players beat 661 players to make it to
the final table.
I was at the final taping of this event and was amazed at how quickly the first four players were eliminated. About an hour into the event, they were already
heads up and I was wondering if they were going
to have enough film footage to even get a two hour episode out of it. The great thing about this particular episode is that hands that
wouldn't normally be shown were shown. We were able to see how players were able to pick up
blinds with raises and how
No Limit is not only about the cards,
it is about situations. An example of this was when Pete raised the $20,000 big blind to $55,000 on the button with pocket Tens. Joe
reraised an additional $100,000 from
the big blind with 82. Pete had a strong hand so he reraised another $225,000. Many times, players on the button raise with
weaker hands if the action is folded to them. If Pete had a weaker hand, he might have folded his hand and Joe's aggression
would have been rewarded. In this particular case, it was not. Joe folded his hand.
There were two players that started the tournament out short stacked. One of them was the first person eliminated. Joe
raised to $75,000 with pocket Jacks and the action was folded around to Tom in the big blind. Tom only had about $150,000 in
chips and he had to think how he wanted to play his pocket Nines. He decided to call the bet and when the flop came K87, he
moved all-in. I liked the way he played the hand because he decided preflop that this was the hand he was going to go with.
He knew that he was going to move in on
the flop and maybe he could get his opponent to fold. If he had moved all in preflop, then there was no way that Joe would
have folded any two cards. Joe called the all-in bet and won the hand.
The most memorable hand of the tournament was when Lee raised to $60,000 with pocket nines and Joe called on the button
with pocket deuces. Doyle was in the blind with QT of diamonds and he called. The flop was 987 all hearts giving Lee a
set and Doyle the open end straight draw. All players
checked. The turn was a seven giving Lee a
full house. All of the players
checked again. The river was a deuce giving Joe a full house too. Doyle checked, Lee bet $150,000, and Joe moved all-in.
Doyle folded and Lee quickly called winning a pot over two and a half million. I was surprised at the large bet by Joe and I
am sure Joe has had some time to rethink the way he played the hand. He started the day out as one of the chip leaders and
finished in fifth place.
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Grant was the next person eliminated when he moved all-in on the button with A3 of hearts. Lee was in the blind with 98
and he decided to call the additional $115,000 bet. He was the chip leader by a huge margin and the call would not affect
his stack at all. Lee turned a pair of nines and Grant finished in fourth place.
Lee and Pete did some battling when there were three players left. They got into a few raising wars and one of them cost
Pete. Lee called an additional $10,000 in the small blind with Q6 and Pete doubled the bet with J6 of diamonds. Lee called.
The flop was 762. Lee checked, Pete bet $115,000, and Lee reraised to $300,000. I couldn't believe I was seeing all of this
action on a 762 flop. I was even more amazed when Pete moved all-in for an additional $610,000 and Lee called!! Did Lee have
that good of a read on Pete? Was he just
playing the role of chip leader? I am not sure what it was, but he ended up winning the hand with a pair of sixes, queen kicker.
The heads up battle was a treat to watch. It seemed Doyle made every correct bet, fold, move, etc. He played a flawless
heads up match and showed why he is considered a legend. When the heads up match started Lee had more than a 3-1 chip lead on Doyle,
but that didn't last long. On the first hand of the heads up play, Lee raised with 53 and Doyle called with 65 of hearts. The flop was 743 giving Doyle the
straight. Doyle checked, Lee bet $100,000, and Doyle called.
The turn was a ten and Doyle checked again. Lee bet $200,000, Doyle raised to $600,000, and Lee moved all-in. Doyle said, "I call by the way"
and showed the straight. The river did not help Lee and the two players were almost exactly even in chips.
Doyle kept the pace up and kept taking chunks of Lee's stack. Lee's emotions started to get the best of him and it
contributed to his second place finish. Instead of playing a patient game, he started getting desperate. The last hand was
the biggest example of his frustration. Lee raised the $40,000 blind to $120,000 with Q3 of clubs and Doyle called with Q9.
The flop was QJ7. Doyle checked, Lee bet $150,000 and Doyle moved all-in. If Lee folded the hand, he would still have
$1,280,000 in chips and that was pretty close to where Doyle started when the heads up match began. Obviously, with patience
the chip deficit could have been overcome as Doyle had already shown. Lee did not fold the hand and called the huge all-in
bet. Doyle was the winner of the Legends of Poker WPT event and the audience gave him a standing ovation. I was one of the
people standing for Doyle. I stood out of respect for him as a player and a legend in the game, but more than that, I stood
because he played the most masterful game of heads up poker I have ever seen.
See also Bicycle Casino Season One and