September 16, 2005

Bluffing Jesus: UPC II Main Event

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Chou call

The $10,200 main event at the Plaza drew 55 people. Because they were rotating tables through the TV spotlight, the entire tournament was played seven-handed, which I liked. I got a tough starting table, 12, seat six, with Mark "The Shark" Seif in seat eight, Dan Pugliese in seat nine, fellow Full Tilter Andy "The Rock" Bloch in seat one, Ray Faltinsky in seat two, and "S.K." Senthilkumar in seat three. Then 40 minutes after the start the empty seat on my left was filled by another Tilter, World Champion Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. This would be a true test of my abilities.


 I saw a five-way flop on the button with pocket Sevens and the flop came King-Jack-Eight and checked around. The turn card was a seven, giving me bottom set, and I checked. Mark bet and Andy called and I check-raised half the pot. They both called. At this point I put Mark on a big hand like top set or Ten-Nine for the straight and Andy on a straight or flush draw. When the river came an Ace and it checked to me I was more than happy to check behind, figuring one or the other of them had me beat. Mark had King-Jack, slowplaying himself right out of the hand, and Andy had Queen-Ten for the nuts on the river. I was down to 21,700 from my starting 30,000.


Then I bluffed off half my stack to Jesus when he flopped top pair, top kicker and I picked up a pair and a gutshot on the turn. I gave it up on the river and was down to 10,475. I played aggressively but got nowhere and was quickly down to 2275 when I doubled through Ray with pocket Tens versus his Ace-Eight offsuit. That brought me back to 5000. Chou Giang moved into seat nine and I was up to 6800 at the break.


I had 5900 when, with 200-400 blinds and a 50 ante, I picked up pocket Nines on the button. I made a hefty raise to 1500 but Chou thought it was 1100 and called. The flop came Five-Four-Three and Chou put me all in. I called and he turned over King-Deuce offsuit. The turn was an Ace and I was out of the contest 40th.


I made a spotlight table in this event, bringing me up to four TV appearances in the series. It was great to play a TV event every day in Las Vegas and I couldn't wait for UPC III in November.


With so many televised events now I made a decision to skip tournaments in places I didn't want to go because of distance, expense, or State taxes. That meant no California or New Jersey tournaments unless there was a significant incentive to play, such as added money, and no events in faraway places like Europe or Aruba unless Shortstack and I really wanted to go.


Meanwhile, it had been ages since we had traveled just for vacation and we decided to book a trip to Israel. I had heard there were some good home games there.


Tonight (Friday) on WGN Superstation at midnight Pacific Time should be an airing of my first final table from this UPC. It aired last week on local affiliates and they're going to rerun them on WGN a week later. We don't get the program at all in Seattle so I haven't seen it but others have said it's a great show. Set your PVRs!


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