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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Pundit - Jeremy “Chipsteela” Menard - The PCA Experience Part I

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A blog of sorts, a story to be told, the true depth of poker is about to unfold:

The month of December started off pretty horrendous for me on the online felt.  To make matters worse, no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to win a package into the PCA tournament being held in January.  I was beginning to think that there was no way I was going to end up going, despite the fact that it’s the tournament that all the online players show up at and people were telling me that I was crazy even considering not going. The thing, is I had already been the past few years, and though the Atlantis resort where the tournament is held is pretty sick, I had basically seen all there was to see there and I wasn’t really looking forward to spending no less than $20 on a meal regardless of the quality of food.  The only thing that was drawing me to the tournament was the fact that I would get to hang out with a lot of the friends I’ve made from poker over the years, and also have the chance to meet some new people that have emerged over the past year in online poker.

Lucky for me things started to turn around.  At the end of the month I was able to get a few decent scores including chopping the Sunday Second Chance on Poker Stars for around $35k. Since I had finally dug myself out of that seemingly endless hole that they call ‘make up with my backers,’ I decided why not continue the vicious cycle and throw myself right back into it by adding the $10k buy-in for the PCA into the mix. Who actually wants to make profit anyways? I was determined that this time around it was going to be different and I was actually going to make a deep run in one of the largest live tournaments of the year. Being the life nit that I am, I decided to set up an arrangement where I would split the room cost with friends who didn’t suck at poker and actually did win a package to cut down on some of the cost for the trip. My fiancé was also going to be coming down for a few days in the middle of the week, so I planned on getting a room for just us during that time obviously.  I’m not that big of a life nit.

I arrived in Nassau to find a line wrapped around the airport for customs. This was going to be a problem since I planned on meeting my friend that I was staying with the first few nights at a certain time and I was already late. Finally I managed to make it through customs around an hour later, and got extremely lucky to run into my roommate, who goes by the online name Captinbiskuit. Not exactly sure what that means, how does one captain a biscuit? Kids and their screen names these days…but I digress… So we got to the Atlantis and after a few Kaliks (A Bahamian beer that taste like a combination of Miller Lite and Corona) with the boys, I decided I would take a shot at the 1k mega satellite to the main event since I still hadn’t won a seat and wasn’t looking forward to adding 10k to my make up. Since the Atlantis attracts lots of rich business men, I figured that this satellite would be ripe with recreational players (fish), I’m pretty sure I even saw the rapper Nelly (Country Grammar ring a bell?) taking a seat to play.

At that point I thought to myself ‘this is going to be a rapefest.’ It didn’t take long for me to see how right I was, and I was able to make it pretty deep without having to do much. The blinds structure was super fast however, and it basically just became a shove-fest as we got closer to the bubble. I found myself w 8-9s on the button with around 10bbs and knew it was such an easy shove with most of these people having no clue what hands they should be calling with, unfortunately the player in the small blind woke up with A-K and flopped me completely dead when it rolled out A-A-K. Easy game sir. I was going to call it a night, but then I ran into some Panamanians dudes, one of which had just won the Sunday Million a few weeks ago (Papadelpoker), and we decided to grab some grub and some more Kaliks. After winning credit card roulette for a very meager bill, and then having a chance to meet Humberto Brenes’ flamboyantly gay brother I knew it was time to call it a night.

The tournament started the next day, and I was excited to see that I didn’t recognize anyone at my table. For those who don’t know that’s usually a good sign. I got off to a decent start, and was chipping up by winning a few small pots. It wasn’t until after the first break that things really started going. I opened with J-9s to 550 with the blinds at 100-200 from utg+2 and had no less than 5 other players call me including both the blinds. So we saw a flop of K-T-7 with 2 spades roll out, and the big blind proceeded to fire out for a little over half the pot. The player in the big blind had just got moved to the table, and had the look of a foreign business man, this often means that he is a rich recreational player who wipes his ass with $10k buy-ins and could care less if he busted. This is obviously not always true, but more often than not I find it to be. One other factor to consider is that the player is leading out into 5 other players from out of position, which usually means he has either a very strong hand, two pair or better, or a big draw such as a pair and a flush draw or a straight and flush draw, and he doesn’t mind getting all the chips in the middle. Regardless, I have a double gutter straight draw (I make a straight with a 8 or a Q) which is very camouflaged if I do manage to hit it, and I have some great implied odds as I believe that this player is willing to go with his hand pretty often from the strength he is showing by leading into 5 players on the flop.

With all these factors in place I decide to call and peel another card off, everyone else folds. The turn couldn’t be a more perfect off suit 8 ball giving me the straight up nuts. He decides to lead out again with a ¾ pot sized bet, and at this point I see no point in slow playing my hand with all the possible draws still out there and also the amount of strength he is showing. I think for a minute then put out a raise, and as soon as my chips hit the pot he announces he is all in. Guess I have to call seeing as how I have the nuts and all. He proudly turns over one of the hands I expected to see, K-T for top two-pair, and I just have to dodge a K or T on the river and I’ve got heaps of chips. The river was indeed a blank and I was up to around 55k from the starting stack of 30k after that hand.

After that hand I had a stack that allowed for plenty of play so I could mix it up a lot more with some of the aggressive Euro players at the table. I was looking forward to actually having a chance at making it to Day 2 with chips to play with for once. I did end up finishing up Day 1 with around 50k in chips after a pretty low key rest of the day with not very many interesting hands to discuss. Check back in soon to hear about it, there is plenty more action to come from the Bahamas.

Study poker with Jeremy “Chipsteela” Menard at

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