Thursday, September 22, 2005

Weekly ESPN Recap

This week's ESPN WSOP broadcasts featured a NL Hold'em event with Mark Seif, 2004 World Champ Greg "Fossilman" Raymer and Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott.

Early on, Fossilman called down Ulliot's KQ on a Ten high board holding pocket sixes - Fossilman played the hand fine - checking the flop to keep the pot small, and calling bets on the turn and river (the river was about 1/3rd of the pot I think). Nevertheless, Devilfish took it upon himself to chide the Champ, spurting: "I should have learned from watching you on TV - never bluff a calling station." Ouch. Even Norman Chad grasped the magnitude of the insult.

Fossilman can play - but the ESPN broadcasts have a knack for making him look lucky - on many hands he has tried to keep pots small by check-calling, or simply smooth calling - and thus come off looking like a calling station. On others, his aggression has run into better hands and he has sucked out - hey - that's the benefit of having chips - you can pressure other players like he did in last year's main event.

However, one hand really struck me as strange: Fossilman either limped or open raised with 7-7. It was folded to the BB who came over the top all-in with A-K. Now, it wasn't like Greg was priced in - I think the re-raise from the BB was AT LEAST 2 or 3 times the size of the pot - but without even a moment's thought, he declared "Let's go" and called instantly. One can complain about not winning races at the final table when it counts, but Greg really didn't do a good job protecting his chips at this final table either - a call like that at least warrants some thought. Greg had plenty of chips, and I don't know why he was dying to get his chips in the middle where it was highly likely he would be AT BEST a tiny favorite. It would be easier to argue if ESPN showed bet and raise sized. Then again, Greg won the fucking main event last year, so maybe he's on to something... GAMBOLLLLL!

There was one other interesting hand: 4 handed, Minh Nguyen open raises on the button with JJ - he moves all in for about 400k - a big overbet. Now the blinds were like 10k-20k at most here, and the SB calls him with TT - I think the SB had about 200k in chips. Then Billy Gazes in the BB wakes up with A-K, and goes into the tank. He eventually calls - I think Billy had about $300k.

Minh sees Billy's hands and chides him for calling - Billy retorts that there's no way he can fold A-K at this 4 handed table considering how the play had been, especially getting 2-1. Again, from the stacks I saw, it didn't look like Billy was quite getting 2-1, but anyway...

Flop: J-T-2, and Minh flops top set to the SB's middle set. Billy is drawing to a queen which doesn't come, and Minh eliminates two players. He takes on Mark Seif heads up, and Mark takes home his second bracelet in as many events.

No offense to Mark Seif, but if he can win back to back bracelets (a TREMENDOUS accomplishment) - I feel like I should be entering these events....

The other broadcast was a 7 Card Stud event. All I can say about this event, which featured John Phan, Joe Awada and Chip Jett, is that on almost every hand ESPN showed, I found it very interesting from the %'s of each player to win shown on the screen, that it would have made very little difference if the players played their hands face up: the player in the lead would bet, and the player trailing would call, getting proper odds to do so. How boring is that? Watch the next 7CS event and observe this. Very important to notice that in general, despite Norman Chad chiding players for "chasing" - they are very rarely making mistakes by calling bets. The exception of course is on the river: and every limit player knows that you don't get rich by making big laydowns on the river - you almost always HAVE to call.

until next time,

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