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Sole Survivor - WSOP Main Event Part 2

by Ian Simpson |  Published: Oct 01, 2013


Ian SimpsonMy last blog described the fantastic opening I had to the WSOP Main Event. This blog describes how easily a strong chip count can disappear with just a few key hands.
Around level 3 is where the tournament really started taking a turn for the worse. I made a set on a 689 board holding 66. I bet the flop strong and my opponent called. The turn came a 7 and we both checked. I checked the river to him and he fired a bet. I begrudgingly called it but he showed the bad news with 910. Not too big of a hit but it was the start of the slippery slope.

A very loose passive pre flop player, who switched to loose aggressive post flop was talking about grinding out the Omaha cash games back home. He was very active at the table playing at least 40% of the pots. I raised with K-J to 800 at blinds of 150/300/25. He made the call on the button and the flop came A-J-7. Knowing he liked to fire a lot of bets post flop, and not being able to make a better hand fold should I bet I checked to him. He bet out for 1k and I made the call. The turn was a Q and once again I check and face a bet of 1,700. This is where I made a mistake and called. I knew he was capable of firing multiple bullets so took him on when really being out of position and not knowing where I was in the hand should have been enough to make me fold my now 3rd pair. However I made the call and the poker gods punished me by rivering another J. I checked to him once more and he bet his Q-J for about 3,200. I was down to around 40k at this point.

I then 3 bet a frequent button raiser to 2,100 with AClub Suit 9Heart Suit at the same blind level. He had about 18k at the start of the hand. The flop came KClub Suit 9Club Suit 2Heart Suit. I checked to him and he bet 3100. With 2nd pair top kicker and a backdoor flush draw I set him all in. I think there’s a very good chance I have the best hand right now, but I don’t want to see an over card to my pair as that would make a huge part of his range either make a bigger pair or a straight. So I made the big push and he agonises about his decision before making the call with K-Jo. I couldn’t improve and dropped to under 30k for the first time in the tournament.

Then it just went from bad to worse. It felt like every pot I got involved with faced action I didn’t want. I couldn’t hit and I couldn’t bet without facing a re-raise or a check raise. I got dealt 88 and faced a 3bet from the Omaha cash player and the flop came J-3-4. The pot was around 4k and he bets out for 3k. I’m in a really tough spot here, this board doesn’t connect with a lot of hands. I’m still ahead of A-K, A-Q, most A-x hands, K-Q and suited connectors that he might have gotten cute with. I’m behind J-x and 9-9+. I know he can fire multiple barrels too so don’t want to flat call, see a big card and be even more lost in the hand. I decide to check raise his 3k bet to 8k to find out where I’m at and hopefully win the pot there and then. I figure he can only really continue here with a better hand and this bet will let me know where I am at in the hand while pushing him off the pot should he hold one of the hands that I’m ahead of but he still has a lot of equity with. If you put a hand like K-Q against 8-8 on this board into a programme like PokerStove you might be surprised at how much equity they have against you here. If you make your opponent give up this much equity in this spot that’s a big win. Unfortunately he called. The turn is another 4 not really changing much. Unless he made a stubborn call with A-K I’m beat here. I check and he checks behind. I check the river, which is another 4 giving me a full house but still not changing much about the hand. He puts me all in for my last 15k. Unless he floated the flop and neglected to bet the turn I’m pretty certain he had jacks full or better here. I folded and was left with a badly wounded stack.

We got to the last level of the night and I faced more of the same. I got dealt J-J and was down to 10,000 or 25BB’s. I raised pre flop and got one caller. The flop came 8Club Suit 9Club Suit QHeart Suit and I made a continuation bet. I faced yet another post flop raise and decided enough was enough. I wasn’t going to spend all day being raised out of pots so I made the push figuring his range contained a fair few draws on a board like this. He turned over KClub Suit QClub Suit for top pair and the flush draw, leaving me in big trouble. The river was the AClub Suit and sealed my fate. I shook hands with the players I’d spent the day bantering and playing with and hit the rail. There’s absolutely no worse feeling in poker than busting out of the Main Event for the first time, especially when I felt I could have played better. That being said, now that I’m over that post-bust feeling I really enjoyed my first WSOP experience. I managed a deep run in the $3,000 event, finishing just shy of a final table and while I would have liked to have made a cash in my first ever Main Event, it’s all part of the learning curve. I’ll almost certainly be back next year to take another pop at taking home a bracelet.

In the mean time I’ve got some planning to do. A lot of people are heading over to Galway soon for the UKIPT there, but me and Emma are in desperate need of some R&R so unfortunately I won’t be heading over to the Emerald Isle again just yet. I will however be back at the felt shortly after the summer when the GUKPT and UKIPT arrive in Manchester and London respectively and by then I’ll be itching to for some action. ♠

Science teacher Ian Simpson came fourth in the Irish Open 2012 for €107,500 and, as the last online qualifier standing in the main event, won the Sole Survivor contest netting himself another €100,000 – €50,000 in cash, €50,000 in tournament buy ins.