Monday, September 05, 2005

Raising With a Monster

This week's ESPN WSOP broadcast of the $2000 NLHE event had some great action.

Erik Seidel made some great reads (re-re-raising Morgan Machina's A-T while holding 4-4 to move him off the hand preflop), and got lucky when it counted in the final hand against Cindy Violette, cracking her nines with his eights when he spike an eight on the flop, to win his seventh WSOP bracelet.

Tiltboy Perry Friedman was the first to use drawn on hand puppets to talk to the cameras - a little loony, yes, but Perry pulled it off well. In the previous event, fellow Tiltboy Phil Gordon had managed to take $100 from NYC local Shane "Shaniac" Shleger after winning an impromptu RoShamBo match at the poker table. I've played NLHE tourneys with Shane in the city - he's a good guy and a solid player - and he had massive implied-tilt-odds if he could have upset Phil in the RoShamBo, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Now, back to the hand I wanted to talk about: Morgan Machina, who is apparently a Phil Hellmuth disciple (yeah - that was one of the little ESPN vignettes: they actually played ULTIMATE FUCKING FRISBEE together in Madison, Wisconsin) was the chip leader in the small blind with about T1.5MM in chips. Paul Sexton (no relation to Mike) was in the big blind with about T475k.

Blinds are something like 8k-16k, with a small ante (1k maybe? It would be nice if ESPN showed the size of all bets and raises on the screen like WPT does.). Everyone folds to Morgan with 8-5 offsuit, who raises to 50k. Paul calls with QhJh.

flop: JdQd6c Morgan checks. Paul checks.
Turn: Jc Morgan bets T50k.

Now, a lot of players might continue to slowplay here, but Paul makes a PHENOMENAL play, and raises to T150k. This raise leaves him with what appears to be just enough chips to muck if Morgan plays back at him - Paul will still have just under T300k. Morgan apparently notices this, and, replaying the hand in his head, decides there is no reason to believe that Paul has a hand. Paul's raise can mean anything - as Morgan showed weakness on the flop, and then made a basically obligatory turn bet, since he was the pre-flop raiser.

In previous hands, Erik Seidel had taken pots off each of these player by coming over the top of them, so perhaps Morgan wanted the chance to flex his muscles and chip stack at Paul, in essence, communicating: "Hey, I'll lay down for Seidel, but you better not fuck with me." Morgan comes over the top all-in for the rest of Paul's stack, and Paul calls instantly of course, leaving Morgan drawing dead.

Lesson of the day: When you choose to slowplay, you don't have to slowplay all the way to the river. Paul checked the flop here - that was his slowplay - but he correctly made a turn raise that gave him the opportunity to double up. Yes, Morgan may have mucked to Paul's raise, but the circumstances here were right for Paul to take that risk - given the stack sizes, and the lack of information in the hand. Had Paul smooth called again on the turn, he likely only wins Morgan's 50k turn bet, and possible a small river bluff.

To his credit, Morgan Machina kept his composure completely, even after a succession of brutal suckouts that eventually sent him home in 4th place.

until next time,

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