Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

2010 World Series of Poker Main Event

Oh well, wait until next year!

by Todd Brunson |  Published: Sep 03, 2010


World Series of Poker Featured TableMy draw for the main event seemed to be pretty good. In the first level, I saw like four hands come down where someone went to the river in a raised pot with something like J-5 suited. Before I really had a chance to get involved in any kind of big pot, my sister — “Well, my name’s Pam” — came walking over, followed by the ESPN cameras.

I knew what that meant, so I started pointing and laughing at her at the top of my lungs. I then asked her how many chips she had. Sound cruel? Well, what are brothers for? I collected my $1,000 and told her not to let the door hit her on the a— on the way out.

I may have given myself a little bad karma with that one. A few minutes later, I raised from middle position with the 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit and got two callers. The flop came 6-5-2 with two clubs, giving me an open-end straight draw with two overcards. The big blind check-called, and bet out on the turn when a third club hit.

I didn’t give him a flush, so I called, thinking I could probably take it away on the river if a fourth club came, or I could still make my hand. The river bricked, and he fired out again. It didn’t look like a good spot for a bluff, so I let it go.

At about this time, I had picked up a pretty big tell on a guy who had been pretty active. He raised my blind, and I called with J-9 offsuit, which is not something I usually do, but I was hoping to spot something. The flop came 9-6-2 rainbow. He made a normal-sized continuation-bet, and I didn’t see the tell, but … I had top pair. I called.

The turn was a rag, and he looked at me; lo and behold, I saw the tell. He bet the full pot, and I called. The river was another blank, and he showed me the tell again before betting the whole pot. I quickly called, and he threw away A-K faceup. Yeeehaaa! (I’m not giving away the tell for free, sorry.)

I was doing well in chips now, and called an active Internet kid with the 10Heart Suit 9Heart Suit. The flop came 8-7-2 with two spades. I checked, and he bet two-thirds of the pot. I considered raising, but he had the perfect amount to move in on me, and I didn’t want to race with a straight draw when there was a flush draw out there, so I decided to just call.

The turn brought the 3Club Suit. So, now there were two spades and two clubs out there. I checked, and he bet about half the pot. I really felt weakness here, and started to raise. Then, I went against my initial instinct and decided to just call, and move in if I made my straight or a pair, or if any black card came. Well, a freakin’ red ace came, and scared me out of betting. We both checked, and he turned over the 5Heart Suit 3Heart Suit. He had made a pair of threes on the turn to win it! I gotta learn to follow my instincts more, as great players like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey do.

This kid went on a tear, and ran me over like a giant whaling cutter running over an unarmed Greenpeace ship. For example, he had raised like five hands in a row before I called him with A-Q. The flop came Q-J-10. He checked, and I checked it back. We both checked the turn, and he bet like half the pot on the end, which I called. Of course, he had the A-K.

On the last hand of the night, I picked up pocket kings and reraised a guy who had raised from up front. Three rags came on the flop, and he check-called. The turn was an ace. We both checked. He bet about two-thirds of the pot on the end, and I paid off his A-K. Nice! I ended the day with 33,000 in chips.

When I came back the next day, 97-year-old Jack Ury was seated to my immediate right. I’ve never played with him before, but I figured him to be real tight. I was gonna try to stay away from him if at all possible. It wasn’t.

The guy in the number-one hole raised, and Jack called. I looked down at A-Q suited. I started to make it three bets to define the hands, but was kind of leery of Jack, so I just called; after all, it was suited. Two more players trailed in, and five of us took the flop, which came A-A-6.

The first guy checked, and Jack bet 2,000. Now there was a little more than 5,000 out there, and I didn’t want to let these guys take a card with a pocket pair, so I made it 7,000. Jack quickly min-raised me to 12,000. I called, and the turn was a deuce, which couldn’t change anything.

Now, Jack bet out 10,000. I had only 22,000, so it was either shove or fold for me. I broke it down and thought that he shouldn’t have A-K, because he didn’t three-bet it. Pocket sixes were possible, but then I’d still have seven outs and wouldn’t be dead. I really think he has an ace, and as I said, he didn’t three-bet, so I’m thinking that we have the same hand or he has A-J or A-10.

I went ahead and shoved, and you guessed it, he had A-K. I got up to leave, and a 6 came on the river, double-pairing the board. We split it! Jack asked what happened, and his grandson ran up and started helping him stack his chips, and told him that we had the same hand. His grandson winked at me, and said that if Jack knew what had happened, he’d be complaining all day, so I went along with him.

I wasn’t going to be there all day, unfortunately. Shortly after I got a second life, this hand came down: A guy raised from up front, and was called by one other player. I think this was the first hand that this guy had played, and it was from up front, so I knew that it was a good one.

I looked down at pocket kings and figured that I’d try to commit this guy preflop, so I made a big reraise. He called, and the other guy folded. I wasn’t crazy about the flop of J-10-6, but I couldn’t very well just check. I bet 10,000, a little less than the pot. My opponent moved in for another 15,000 (2,000 less than I had).

I wanted to fold, but with more than 30,000 out there, I had to hope that he had pocket queens or went crazy with A-K. He had pocket aces, and had me beat the whole time. My going broke was most likely inevitable. Oh well, I still have the Todd Brunson Poker Challenge this Labor Day weekend up in Montana. Spade Suit

Todd Brunson has been a professional poker player for more than 20 years. While primarily a cash-game player, he still has managed to win 18 major tournaments, for more than $3.5 million. He has won one bracelet and cashed 25 times at the World Series of Poker. You can play with Todd online at or live at his tournament, The Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge, in Bigfork, Montana. Check his website,, for details.