Venetian $5K Deep Stack Extravaganza Main Event
by Andrew Brokos | Published: Jul 18, '12
Edit: Changed flop so that I have the nuts on the turn. Thanks to goldhawk for pointing out the error. I quadruple-checked that I would have the nuts if I hit my hand, so I think it’s a lot more likely that I misremembered the flop now than that I misread my hand at the time.
I had a flight to leave Vegas on Friday, but I ended up changing it at the last minute to play the $5K main event of the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza. Although it was a smallish field, just shy of 400 runners, I was happy with the decision. It seemed like a soft enough field. My table at least had a few good spots all day, and I saw others around the room, and the structure was great. With only 40% of the field remaining after Day 1, the average stack was still about 80 BBs.
I got off to a good start in the first level then spent most of the day hovering around average. At the very end of the night I scored a great pot that catapaulted me up to more than twice the average.
Blinds were 300/600/50. Cliff Josephy opened to 1400 UTG, he got four calls, and so I somewhat reluctantly called with 86o in the big blind.
JQ95r. Cliff bet like 4600, all four of the others called, and so I ran some math in my head and decided that I could just straight up chase a four-outer since all of my draws were to the nuts. I called after more than a minute of thought.
Turn 7 completed the rainbow (Cliff claimed that was the perfect card for me but I think I’d actually prefer to have a flush draw out there). In my experience people are too passive in multiway pots, and given that no one raised flop I didn’t expect a bet on a seemingly blank card. So strong as it was, I bet 10K. Cliff agonized a bit and folded – I figured he’d be good enough to get away from almost anything – but another guy raised to 35K. I moved in for 60K and stacked his 97, which in my opinion should have been an easy fold when I led the turn into five people.
I came into Day 2 in 4th place out of the 160 remaining players.
Long-time readers may recall a story I recounted from my first deep run in the main event, back in 2008. A player named Dan had just won KK > AA against a Jewish Hawaiian player who called himself “The HulaJew” with whom both Dan and I had been friendly all day:
As penance for the bad beat, Dan bought a shot of vodka for himself and Hula, which they downed just before the dinner break.
Dan, Hula, and I were all in Vegas by ourselves, so we decided to head over to the Rio’s Japanese restaurant together. On the way over, both of them were getting dozens of calls and text messages about the shot. Apparently Pokernews had found that funny and included a blurb about it among their online updates. Friends and family of both Dan and Hula also thought it was hilarious and were texting constantly to express their appreciation.
At dinner, the two of them kept up the drinking, splitting two bottles of Sake. I demurred. Dan was starting to get a little tipsy and tried to insist on paying for dinner as further penance for the bad beat, but we wouldn’t accept it. We compromised on a game of credit card roulette with Dan contributing two cards. The Japanese waitress initially did not understand that we wanted her to pick a card at random and was upset that three of us were trying to pay for dinner with four credit cards. Finally she figured it out and drew one of Dan’s cards, but was further confused when he cheered and announced he had “won” then proceeded to pick up the tab.
That story ended with Dan waking up in the hospital the next morning and hurrying back to the Rio to play Day 5 of the Main Event.
I continue to see Dan around the poker scene, and we always laugh when we run into each other. On Saturday, for the first time since 2008, we played together again. He was a lot better than I remembered him (not that he was bad at the time), but thankfully there were softer spots at the table so he hadn’t been picking on me much despite being two seats to my left. He was reraising other players relentlessly, though.
I’d been leaning heavily on the two players on my right as well, so when I finally picked up AKo, I was excited to reraise it despite the fact that one of them had raised from early position. It helped that there was a tight player in the big blind. I 3-bet it, and then Dan cold 4-bet me. I wasn’t thrilled about that, but this wasn’t a spot for folding AK either. I couldn’t find a good size for 5-betting small, so I just put him all-in for about 70K, which was roughly an average stack at the time (I began the hand with 160K). He looked unhappy but called with AKs and proceeded to run out a flush. The rest of the table grimaced on my behalf, but as I just laughed and told him, “You owe me a shot and a beer.”
He laughed as well but was ready to order them. “I’ll drink double. It’s only fair. Give you a chance to win your money back,” he offered, sounding serious enough that I felt the need to explicitly decline. It would surely give me an advantage if he started drinking, but I didn’t want to risk killing him. I take cynicism at the table only so far.
Our table broke not too long after that hand, and I changed tables two more times in the next two hours before finally landing back at the same table as Dan once again. He was once again on my left, but this time Men “The Master” Nguyen sat between us.
Dan was at the table with Men before I arrived, and also after I was eliminated, so most of these stories come via him. Here’s something he tweeted before I got to the table: “Just witnessed one of the highlights of my poker career. Men the master ordering a corona..tipping in change..then spilling it on himself”
Dan and Men actually had a little run-in that I believe probably began as an honest mistake but ended with Men being shockingly stubborn. Men called a bet of 12,500 from Dan on the river and lost. The dealer passed Dan the pot, at which point Dan noticed Men had paid only 12,100, using a 100-chip rather than a 500-chip. The two do look somewhat similar, which would explain why no one noticed the error until Dan received the pot. Once he pointed it out, though, Men claimed it was too late to prove or reconcile.
As it happened, Dan had few small denomination chips, and only a single 100 and a single 500. Thus, there was no way the proper amount could have been paid to him. He just sat there with an incredulous, goofy look on his face, as though to ask, “Is this really happening?” (it was so surreal as to be funny, and the amount involved was really not significant) as Men flat-out refused to pay what he clearly owed. Only after several minutes of arguing did Men finally pay up.
I lost a medium-sized pot with what may have been a slightly ambitious move. A pretty good short-stacked player opened for a small raise from early position, got one call, and I called with Ad 3d on my BB. The flop came 2c 2d 4c. I checked, the raiser bet, the other guy folded, and I put him all-in. He was short enough that the risk to me wasn’t huge, and my equity is good enough that I don’t need him to fold much to make this profitable. I can’t be sure that he would even fold like an AQ here, though, and I don’t think he was opening too light in that spot, so it may still have been a slightly -EV shove for me. As it happened he called with TT and won.
The very next hand I was dealt KK in the SB. The same player raised again, Dan called, and then an old man with bushy sideburns 3-bet it to 8500. I had about 75K in the SB. Against more aggressive players I could consider a small 4-bet here leaving room for them to 5-bet, but this guy wasn’t going to 5-bet light and would probably correctly interpret my raise as strong. I decided the best thing I could do was make a shove that would maybe look a little tilty. I couldn’t convince him I had 87s, but maybe he would believe I was spazzing a bit with AQ or something. Sure enough, he didn’t think long before calling with Queens.
His eyes weren’t too good, so he kept asking what I had when we turned the cards over. I was repeating “Kings” loudly for him, but he wasn’t getting it. What he did get, however, was a Q on the flop to eliminate me. I guess he later got some drama with Men as well, because the last thing I saw Dan tweet was
“Men the master is now on an epic drunk rant with an elderly gentleman. I really wish I could film this for you.”