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Going for $1 Million in Monte Carlo

Pocket jacks, aces, and queens

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Aug 06, 2010


I played in the $25,000 buy-in Monte Carlo Millions tournament a few years ago in which $1 million went to the winner. Sixty players made it to day two, including me, and I was feeling good about my chances of winning. Right off the bat, with the blinds at 500-1,000, the defending champion, let’s call him Mr. X, made it 4,000 to go from first position. With 2-2 in the big blind, I pondered my decision. Normally, I’d just call with this hand, trying to get lucky and flop a set, but my poker radar was really humming. I sensed weakness, so I raised it 12,000 more. Mr. X called. The flop came 8-8-5. I bet 16,000, and Mr. X folded. Then, things got crazy on the very next hand. The button raised to 3,500, and I looked down at pocket jacks. I could smooth-call, trying to trap the big ...

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