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TassieDevilPoker.com - Travelling as a poker reporter and occasional player, this poker blog features stories from the tournament circuit as well as the online poker grind.

The Tasmanian Devil is a ferocious carnivore, rarely seen, but a survivor who loves nothing more than devouring anything that stands in its way.


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It’s A Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain

I arrived on Day 2 without any thoughts of reaching the money, but to simply play one pot at a time. I intended to play pretty TAG but after a late-night cram session with Duck (which may or may not have been a good thing) I would attempt to open a few more pots to steal those valuable blinds.

I had a solid table with Dom Italiano, Daniel Noja, Monica Nguyen and the intimidating presence of PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson two to my right. I had no intentions of getting in Lee’s way, but at the same time I expected him to play tight and straight forward, which is a much better draw than some young Internet gun.

I hadn’t played with Monica before and didn’t see much of her win in the High Rollers event, so I didn’t know how she played, but knew she’d be confident after that result. When I stuck to my plan of opening more by raising it up with KTo, I wasn’t happy to see her call on the button. I liked it a little better when the flop came KJT. I fired out a bet of 5k and Monica put in a strange min-raise to 10k. I only had about 20k-ish more and didn’t want to see my hand ruined by a scary turn, so I moved in, putting her on something like KQ/QJ/JT. She insta-folded what she later said was eight-high! Wow! I guess she thought I was an Internet LAG and not the nit that I am. So that nice pot got my day going in the right direction.

Monica moved tables, which really took the only LAG player away from the table, allowing me to chip up beautifully without any confrontations at all. At each break I was able to increase my stack and I still hadn’t seen a showdown. I picked up aces once and was re-raised. Perhaps I should’ve flatted but I think that’s stronger than shoving, and I felt my opponent was committed to calling. He folded, I collected a nice pot, and my TAG image was still in tact.

Lee also hadn’t showed down a single hand until he squeezed with 98s and was called by KQs. Thankfully a king hit and Lee was gone. I stayed tight and then we started to inch closer to the money. I blinded down to around 10BBs and decided I wanted to move in on a guy who was tighter than me on his big blind. I looked down at 56s and put it in. Plan worked well until he called. I thought I was dead, but he showed AK which was probably bottom of his calling range. I skillfully flopped a six and doubled up. I was then berated over my play as he was crippled. To his credit he fought on and actually made it into the money.

My image was shot, but I was now in comfortable shape. I opened up a little again but got into trouble and was bluffed off two pots. One was in a battle of the blinds against, eventual winner, Daniel Botta. He limped and I checked with 8c3c. The flop was A84 with two clubs. He checked and I fired the flop expecting to take it down. He called. The turn was a brick and I guess I should’ve fired again, but I wanted to keep the pot small as we were nearing the money. The river bricked a ten, and Botta fired an overbet of 45k which represented half my stack. I guess logically it doesn’t make sense for him to play an ace this way, but I couldn’t call with a bad eight. I made the mistake of flashing my cards and folded. He then flashed 47o for complete air. I constructively criticized his play and removed my hat to let out some steam.

The mistake of flashing my cards (something I normally never do) came back to haunt me a few moments later. In a three-way limped pot I was in the SB with KQ, and took a stab at a ten-high flop. The BB was the lone caller at which point I was done with the hand. We checked the turn and he fired on the river. I folded and he showed me KJ. I’d been owned again. He was old guy who was stupidly calling with just overcards on the flop, but I’d shown weakness and let him blow me like a feather off the pot.

Thankfully it was then dinner, and we were only four players from the money. After then break I folded AQ and AT to raises like a weak-tight nancy-boy until we squeeked into the money. There was one interesting bubble story from my table. With two players left until the money one player hadn’t returned from dinner and only had 15,000 in chips left. The big blind was one hand away and the BB and SB would be enough to eat up his stack. Incredibly he made it back from dinner in time for his BB. He had no choice but to gamble with JT, but found that he’d run into pocket aces. Somehow he managed to spike a straight and win the hand, double up, and limp into the money. Amazing.

I was extremely relieved to make it into the money, although the $1,000 win still had me in the red thanks to the repechage. I wanted profit dammit!  I was focussed on trying to make the result count. As others gambled I waited for my spot. I finally found it with AQ vs A6 to get back to 120k. A few minutes later I won a race with 77 vs AK when I hit a set. I then 3-bet with AK to win a nice pot and suddenly I looked down at 350k. As Oatsy commented it was the first time for the ENTIRE tournament that I was at average chips since the first hand of the event.  So sick.

That didn’t last long as I lost a 40/60 with a short stack to take a dent to my stack. I held my spot with a few steals as the field was narrowing. Jarred Graham was moved to my table with a big stack and I was excited to see this young gun play up close. He opened a lot of pots and went on a sick run of power poker. He three or four bet in like 4 consecutive pots and took them down everytime. No idea what he had, but he definitely had balls. He was looking to play a massive pot and found a spot with a pair and flush draw against Botta’s top pair. This was the key hand of the tournament. With one million chips in the middle Botta’s pair held and he would go on to win the tournament, as Graham was crippled and eliminated soon after.

I had one eye on the pay jumps and was thrilled to see us down to our last three tables. Warney was moved to my table but didn’t get a chance to spin one past the cricketing legend as I was looking to gamble with my short stack. The blinds had got a bit silly by this stage with several levels removed that might normally be there in a tournament of this structure. I found myself with about 5 BBs when the biggest fish on the table opened with an all-in raise. A retarded overbet of about 600k. He did this the hand before and showed T6. I looked down at the Ac in the SB and decided that was enough to call and look for a double up. He showed JhTh and I squeezed to find the 8c behind my ace. I was in front and when the flop landed Kc6d7h I was well in front and looking good for a double up. The turn then brought a horrendous 9h. Quite simply, the worst card in the deck. It gave him straight and flush outs to go with his pair outs. I was sick and felt the pain coming as the Ah landed on the river to complete his flush. I was out in 25th place for $3,000.

I was satisfied with my result. I got my money in good and that’s all you can do. I was short for the whole tournament, but played my game. I was able to chip up regularly without showdown and was prepared to gamble when I had to. The monkey is finally off my back. I ended up about square for the JHDSS, but now have a Hendon Mob record to show for my efforts.  Thank God!

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