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When I Was A Donk – Neil Blumenfield

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Jan 02, 2019


Neil Blumenfield

In this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

Neil Blumenfield was one of the more entertaining stories from the 2015 World Series of Poker, with the then-61-year-old poker enthusiast tearing through the $10,000 buy-in main event field. The fedora-clad former software developer ended up finishing third, for a $3.4 million payday.

Blumenfield also has a Heartland Poker Tour final table-appearance on his poker resume, and in 2017, he narrowly missed out on the final table of the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star main event.

Here, Blumenfield talks about a hand from his run in the 2015 WSOP main event.

“I have a hand that comes to mind from day 5 of the 2015 main event, actually. A couple things going on here. One, I had a big leak in my game at the time, which was over calling on the river. And the second thing was that day 5, late in the day, was the one time in the tournament where I felt that being tired really affected my play.”

“One of these late hands was with Matt Jarvis. He opened, and I three-bet with pocket kings with a pretty big stack behind. Definitely better than average stack. He called, and the flop came down something like Q-7-6 with two clubs. He checked, I bet, and he raised.”

“So, I’m thinking, what can this mean? Draw? Made hand like A-Q? I called, and the turn was an ace. He checked and I checked behind. The river was a blank, and all of a sudden, he leads out huge with a pot-sized bet, which was now for a little over half of my remaining stack. It essentially meant the difference between going into day 6 with a big stack or really short stacked.”

“I ended up making a bad call and he showed me a set of sixes. In hindsight, if he actually had a draw, then I think he would have continued on the turn. So I should have probably found a fold against what was almost certainly a value bet and not a bluff.”

“I went into day 6 of the tournament in 68th place out of 69 remaining players. I wound up getting lucky that day and doubling up twice from behind, which was great, and obviously I went on to have even more success in the tournament, but I shouldn’t have been in that spot to begin with. It’s a hand I’ve thought about a lot and one that reminds me about that over call tendency I had in my game.” ♠