Not the WCOOP But It’ll Do For Now
by Andrew Brokos | Published: Sep 09, '12
Friday was to be not quite a day off from poker but a light day. I planned to play only one WCOOP event, the $320 NLHE with 10-minute levels that started at 5 in the afternoon Montreal time. On a whim, I also late registered the Big $150 that started an hour before. Seven and a half hours later, I had min-cashed the WCOOP and taken second in the Big $150 for $20K, which should be enough to cover all my WCOOP expenses and then some no matter how the rest of the series goes. But more on that later.
After a leisurely morning writing up the events of the previous day, I embarked for two of my favorite places in Montreal: St-Viateur Bagels and the Jean-Talon Market. The Bixi bicycle situation was even worse than on Thursday. I walked past six stations, all the way to the bagel shop, before finally finding a usable bike.
I’m no bagel connoisseur. In fact I rarely eat them. I probably haven’t had the best bagels in New York, but I have had fresh New York bagels, and in my opinion St-Viateur is better.
Their specialty is a sesame seed bagel that they make fresh throughout the day, so if you’re lucky you can get a warm one even in the afternoon. They’re good at any time, light and moist enough that you don’t have to put butter or cream cheese on them, but the warm ones simply melt in your mouth.
There was no fooling the woman behind the counter into thinking I was a local. She greeted me with ”Bonjour!” but followed that up with “For here or to go?” before I’d said a word.
I ate my bagel while searching for a bike, which I finally found at the seventh Bixi station I passed. Once I had that, it was a breeze to ride a few miles, almost exclusively on quiet one-way tree-lined side streets, to the market.
The Jean-Talon Market is huge, and unfortunately I didn’t have much need for produce since I’d just gone to the grocery store a few days before. I was afraid peaches might be past their prime, but several stalls offered samples, and after trying one, I did end up buying a couple.
Mostly though I bought nuts and pasta. They sell these almonds there encrusted with lemon juice and slightly hot pepper flakes. The first time I tasted one, it was way too intense for me, but within a minute I was craving more. They’re a good snack because the flavor is so strong that you can eat just one or two at a time rather than whole handfuls.
There’s also an amazing pasta shop there with fresh pastas and homemade sauces. I almost never like alfredo sauces, but there’s to die for. The first time I came to Jean-Talon, this shop seemed a little anachronistic, but now I know that the market is in Montreal’s Little Italy, so that explains it.
The older ladies who work at the pasta shop have never volunteered any English, but they keep their French simple, which is perfect for me. I understood every word they said and successfully asked if they had a smaller container of the alfredo sauce, confirmed that yes that was everything, that no I didn’t need a bag, and then a minute later apologized and said that actually I would like a plastic bag (when I realized how easily the sauce could spill out of its plastic container and into my backpack on the bike ride home).
The ride home was even nicer than the ride to the market because I was able to follow a bike path along a set of railroad tracks and the backsides of some small factories. It was nice not to be on the street, and I was so engrossed in the scenery that I missed my turn. Partially not wanting to ride back up hill but mostly welcoming the challenge, I navigated my way back to my apartment on my own.
Nothing too remarkable happened in the $320. I actually got less than a min-cash, because I lost a flip to end up as one of several bubble boys who had to chop four prizes five ways.
Most of the $150 was unremarkable as well. There were no big bluffs or calls or suckouts or anything, I just got good cards at good times and they held up. Tournaments feel so easy when they go well.
Things started to get interesting at the final three tables. I wasn’t bullying the final table bubble too hard because everyone else was trying to do that:
Hero (UTG) (t180028)
Hero’s M: 20.00
Preflop: Hero is UTG with A♦, A♠
Hero bets t8000, 1 fold, CO raises to t16475, 3 folds, Hero calls t8475
Flop: (t41950) J♠, 9♠, J♥ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t16475, Hero calls t16475
Turn: (t74900) J♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t26475, Hero calls t26475
River: (t127850) Q♠ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks
Total pot: t127850
Hero had A♦, A♠ (full house, Jacks over Aces).
CO mucked 8♦, 5♦ (three of a kind, Jacks).
Outcome: Hero won t127850
Hero (UTG+1) (t306953)
Hero’s M: 25.58
Preflop: Hero is UTG+1 with 7♠, Q♠
1 fold, Hero bets t9600, 2 folds, CO raises to t17789, 3 folds, Hero calls t8189
Flop: (t47578) 7♦, J♦, 3♦ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks
Turn: (t47578) 5♠ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t16652, Hero calls t16652
River: (t80882) 4♥ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t28308, Hero calls t28308
Total pot: t137498
Hero had 7♠, Q♠ (one pair, sevens).
CO had 8♥, Q♦ (high card, Queen).
Outcome: Hero won t137498
Villain in this second hand a 3B of 29%, which is arguably a reason not to open Q7s, but I’d actually been quite well-behaved and this was otherwise a good spot. As you can see, he gave me great odds at every point in the hand.
I came into the final table as chip leader, so then it was time for bullying, though most of the other big stacks were on my left so I still had to show some caution. My chip lead lasted until…
Hero (BB) (t1078003)
Hero’s M: 37.82
Preflop: Hero is BB with Q♣, K♣
1 fold, MP1 bets t24000, 4 folds, Hero calls t12000
Flop: (t64500) K♠, 8♣, 10♠ (2 players)
Hero checks, MP1 bets t23333, Hero raises to t66666, MP1 raises to t123999, Hero raises to t1052503 (All-In), MP1 calls t249583 (All-In)
Turn: (t811664) 7♥ (2 players, 2 all-in)
River: (t811664) 9♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)
Total pot: t811664
Hero had Q♣, K♣ (one pair, Kings).
MP1 had 8♠, 8♥ (three of a kind, eights).
Outcome: MP1 won t811664
By the time we were five-handed I was in fourth place, but then I won a flip to bust the short stack and that brought me back to first where I stayed until the last few hands of heads up play.
We looked at chop numbers when three-handed, and I had $22.5K in equity. I demanded 25K in a chop (first paid $28K, second $20K). They offered 23, and I would have taken 24, but we couldn’t reach an agreement so we played on.
I came into the heads up with a 60-40 chip lead and felt I had a significant skill edge as well. I had him at about 2.5:1 when he got it all in pre with A8s to my ATo and turned his flush. I got back nearly to even before he dealt the coup de grâce:
Hero (BB) (t1474167)
Hero’s M: 21.06
Preflop: Hero is BB with 7♥, Q♦
SB bets t80000, Hero raises to t188888, SB calls t108888
Flop: (t387776) J♠, 5♠, 7♠ (2 players)
Hero bets t188888, SB calls t188888
Turn: (t765552) Q♥ (2 players)
Hero bets t444444, SB raises to t1335057 (All-In), Hero calls t646947 (All-In)
River: (t2948334) A♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)
Total pot: t2948334
SB had J♦, Q♣ (two pair, Queens and Jacks).
Hero had 7♥, Q♦ (two pair, Queens and sevens).
Outcome: SB won t2948334
In addition to being a nice score, this was a great confidence booster early in the WCOOP, since I hadn’t had any significant scores since the 2011 WSOP (not that I’ve played that much). I was also proud both at how uninvested I was in winning and how slight my disappointment was at the pots that I lost. After a quick grunt of displeasure, I was over both of them.
Time to gear up for my first WCOOP Sunday!