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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

2008 World Poker Open – Donkey poker writer wins media event

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I took the night off to spend with my girlfriend but for some reason thought it was important enough to come back early to play in the media event. The biggest reason is I like talking with the other members of the media and the media events are usually a good time. I also thought there was an off chance if the cards ran right for me that I could go deep in the event because, in all fairness, most of the players in the event are average to below average (I said most... there are some very good players that play in the event). My former student, Kaelaine Minton, had won it the previous year and I had worked with her over the summer in Vegas so I was also looking forward to catching up with her.

I started off pretty well, doubling up my stack without one all in confrontation. With 15 minute blinds, the structure was very much a “super turbo.” I have some experience in these, so I set out with the mindset to see as many flops as I could the first few levels and be ultra-aggressive after that with my good hands.

The first nice pot I picked up was when I limped with queens in early position. I was hoping someone would raise behind me but instead I found 6 of us seeing the flop. Crap, I thought, that'll teach me to try and be tricky.

The flop came Q-Q-10.

Crap, I thought, that'll teach me to try and be tricky more.

A player led out for 200 (we started with 4000) and I flat called along with another player. Everyone checked the ace turn. The river was a jack. Surely someone has an ace or king I was hoping. I bet 500 when it's checked to me and get called by the original bettor who just nods and says “I thought you had a 10 too” when I turn over quads.

I hover at the 8-9K mark for a couple of orbits and make it 600 to go from the button with pocket 9's. The big blind is one of the few members of the media that has been here and I knew he played quite a bit of online poker so I was willing to give him more credit for knowing what he was doing than someone else. He calls and we see a 9-7-2 flop. He leads out 1,000 and I flat call. The turn is a 10. He checks and I bet 1,500. He calls. The river is a 10. He leads out for 2K, leaving himself with under 1K. I move in. He calls. I show the 9's full and he flips over A-10 for runner, runner trips. Oops for him. That put me up to nearly 15K, easily the biggest stack at my table.
The table busts and I move to a table with two CardPlayer reporters... I know they can play. It doesn't take me long to get involved in a pot with one of them... Ryan L.... when he raises in early position and someone who I thought was loose, flat called. I look down and see queens. I have both of them well covered, although it won't feel good if I lose the hand... but what are the odds one of them has aces or kings? Any regular re-raise I make would commit me to calling their all in, so I decide to represent a squeeze play and move all in. Ryan mutters “you're the one person I didn't want doing that,” but calls, flipping over pocket kings. One problem. The other guy is still in the hand. Ryan gets a good ribbing from his colleague, the floor rules his hand plays (correctly so), I don't deliver a vicious beat, and he takes about 40% of my stack in the process.

I go card dead for quite some time. I manage to pick up the blinds/antes enough to keep afloat. I raise once with aces, under the gun, to 1,000 with the blinds at 200/400 and everyone folds. Bah. I try the same thing an orbit later from middle position, this time making it 1500 to go with the blinds at 300/600. This time I only have A-6 off though and I get 3 callers. Where was that when I had aces? One thing I was not going to do was to let myself blind out, so if I saw an opportunity to pick up a pot, I was going to take it.

I won a nice sized pot when I moved all in under the gun with A-K for about 6K with the blinds at 300/600. A woman immediately to my left thought about it for some time but eventually folded. She said she folded jacks. I received one caller from a shorter stack. He had 8's. Flop K-J-5. Thanks for folding the jacks! (I never would have!)

The blinds are moving up like crazy and a short stack moves all in from early position on my big blind. I'm getting 3.5:1 on my money to call. If I fold, I will have 13K. If I call and lose, I will have 8K. If I call and win, I will have over 30K. I make the math call with Q-7 and am surprised to find out that I am ahead as my opponent has 10-9. I flop a pair, but he turns a straight and I double him up and am crippled.

Of course, I move all in blind the next hand when it is folded to me. A lovely young lass by the name of Sonnet, in the big blind, faces the same situation as me. She has me covered by 400 in chips. She makes the call with Q-4. I have 9-8. I hit an 8 and double up. Bingo poker rules! She manages to win her next hand and we reach the final table. We started with 65 players and it took under 2.5 hours to reach the final 10.

I moved all in on successive hands after 2 players had busted and everyone folded. Doing that, alone, nearly doubled me up as I had over 30K in chips when I posted my big blind. A very loose, aggressive big stack who had been open pushing way more than he should have been, does the same thing again. I look down at 9's. Someone else I might have thought about folding. Not with this guy. I call. He has A-Q. The flop comes with a jack and two blanks. The turn is what I swear is a queen but it's a king. Great, now I have to dodge MORE outs. The river is another king and I double up and all of a sudden am probably the chip leader.

The very next hand I get jacks in the small blind. Folded to me. The nice lady who folded jacks before for me, is in the big blind. I even try and be nice to her and say out loud “just fold” -- but she's short and decides she needs to gamble. It's bad timing for her and I knock her out.

After that, it's really a matter of me being patient and picking my spots and letting other players make mistakes. I get A-10 when someone moves all in and I re-raise to isolate. They have A-6 and I knock them out. I double a couple of people up when I have better hands than them and they improve but I'm still the chip leader. I move all in from the button (pretty much the only bet at this point, even as the chip leader) and am called by my, big blind, photographer friend. I have him dominated as well with my A-Q and knock him out. It's nice getting cards at the right time.

It's down to 3, and I stay out of the way, just trying to get it heads up where I feel I will have an edge with my chip lead. The other two go at it and we are now heads up. My opponent is a nice guy... happy go lucky... who has won 3 or 4 all ins and has rebuilt his stack. The blinds are 8,000/16,000 and I have about 275K to his 60K or so. He folds the first hand. I look down at a king on the 2nd hand and push. He says “well since you probably have good cards, I'm hoping my crap cards will hit” and calls with 4-3. He doesn't hit either of his cards and I win. Sweet.

The even sweeter part was the $1,000 I found out I won later at the awards presentation. Nice freeroll, Goldstrike... thanks!!! Heck, if I had known they were handing out cash, I woulda chopped with that structure. The bracelet I received is the same one the other WPO winners got. I've already had two offers of it for $1,500 but since Johnny Grooms told me it retails for about $5,000 and the fact that I think it's pretty cool to have a bracelet, I think I'll hold onto it. Ask me again if someone offers me 3K for it though.

Fun tournament. I'm going to become a professional bingo player now.

*Editor's Note - Aaron writes strategy articles for PokerWorks . You can find his helpful columns by searching Aaron Hendrix.*

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