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Manny Minaya -- What's My Line?

Minaya Takes Us Through a Big Hand in the $2,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Tournament


Manny MinayaManelic Minaya, also known as Manny, has been a regular tournament grinder for the better part of the last five years. With just under $1 million in lifetime earnings, Minaya has spent some time making a name for himself all over the country with solid play and perhaps more importantly, solid results.

In 2005, Minaya made a deep run at the World Series of Poker main event and picked up his first career six-figure score. The next year, he earned his second six-figure score when he finished runner-up at the WSOP Circuit Event championship. After numerous near misses, Minaya took down a preliminary event at the Borgata Poker Open and pocketed his biggest cash to date for $222,575.

Recently, Minaya finished in sixth-place in event no. 9 at the WSOP for $59,049. The event was played six-handed and Minaya made his way to the final table thanks to a huge pot he played late on day two where he slow-played pocket aces and made the maximum.

The Hand

Event – Blinds/ Antes WSOP — Event No. 9 2,000-4,000 with a 500 ante
Player Name Manny Minaya Alan Sass Mats Gavatin
Hand ASpade SuitADiamond Suit AClub SuitKHeart Suit KClub SuitKSpade Suit
Chip Counts 279,600 186,000 96,400

Manny Minaya limped in middle position and Alan Sass raised to 16,000 from the small blind. Mats Gavatin then moved all in from the big blind for 96,400 and Minaya thought it over for a bit before moving all in himself.

Sass made the call for his last 170,000 and showed AClub SuitKHeart Suit, but he was absolutely crushed by Gavatin’s KClub SuitKSpade Suit and Minaya’s ASpade SuitADiamond Suit.

The board rolled out QHeart Suit7Heart Suit6Heart SuitAHeart SuitQDiamond Suit and the turned flush of Sass was rivered by the full house of Minaya. After the hand, Minaya took the chip lead with about 565,000 in chips.

The Interview

Julio Rodriguez: Can you talk about the big hand you played late on day two?

Manny Minaya: The table had been aggressive, especially the guy in seat six (Alan Sass). He had been raising more than anyone else at the table and I thought I could get him to make a play if he had any sort of decent hand.

So I decided to limp with my aces, which is something I would normally do in that situation at an over-aggressive table. Seat six decided to raise and then seat one moved all in. I sat there for a while to think about it and then moved all in myself.

JR: Were you considering a flat call?

MM: No, I was never going to flat call. To be honest I was just Hollywooding a bit just in case seat six had a hand like queens and decided to make a bad call. I never thought in my wildest dreams that he’d call with A-K. He called instantly, so I told myself, well, he must have the other two aces. I was shocked when I saw his hand.

Of course, nothing is ever easy and I had to sweat the entire board. The flop gave him a flush draw, the turn gave me top set and gave him the nut flush and the river, thankfully, paired the board.

JR: Do you think Sass should have been able to get away from his hand?

MM: Absolutely, don’t get me wrong, I’ve played with him before and I know he is a good, aggressive player. But I honestly don’t know what happened to him. Especially since a few hands earlier I laid down pocket queens preflop and showed it, so he has to know when I move in that I have a big hand. It was just a mistake on his part. I would have mucked instantly in his situation and so would many other players, but for some reason, he must have seen something that wasn’t there. I’m just never limp, reraising all in with A-Q or pocket jacks in that spot.

JR: Let’s say that you had been playing in a regular nine-handed tournament instead. Would you still limp in early position with aces?

MM: I would probably do that same exact thing. Too many players try to isolate with one person when they have a big pair. I’m always looking to get maximum value from my hands and sometimes that involves letting in a hand that can crack me. If it happens, it happens. I’m not looking to pick up a few chips here and there. I’m looking to play a big pot that can set me up for the rest of the tournament.