Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ESPN WSOP Main Event Final 18

Back to my tardy recaps of the ESPN WSOP Main Event coverage: We're down to the final 18, and Sheik is on level 10 TILT with Mike "The Mouth" Matusow. Blinds are 30k-60k

Michael Kessler wins the "That's the Attitude" award of the week, when, after being eliminated, he tells his buddies: "I tell you what we do now - we go party like rock stars." Attaboy.

Matusow raises to 180k with Jh9h. Sheik is next with AdKd, and raises to 600k. It's about 1/3rd of his stack I think. Scott Lazar wakes up with A-K in one of the blinds, and smooth calls! Mouth folds.

The flop is 6d 5c Tc, and Lazar puts Sheik all-in. Sheik has to lay it down: There's really no way he can call here - at BEST he's chopping (as would have been the case.)

Aaron Kanter continues to exhibit tremendous CardRack tendencies, assassinating all comers with violent suckouts.

Sheik doubles through Mouth with A-J to Matusow's K-Q. Then, Sheik taunts Mouth like a little boy: "You got what you deserved sucker!" - yelling at him while standing over the table. I don't know what Sheik's problem is, but he was way out of line.

Mouth got his revenge when he raised a subsequent pot with A-Q suited, and Sheik moved in for a little bit more with A-7. Lazar must really hate Sheik too, because he called with Q-6 suited. Matusow turned the nuts, and sent Sheik home in 11th place, $600k richer.

Matusow, Lazar, Black and Tex Barch played this gi-normous hand which illustrates a KEY bluffing concept, and a major error by Black:

Mouth raised to 200k with T-9. Lazar called with AcTc. Black called with K-J. Barch, with J-J (Friday in Vegas!) raised to 1MM! Everyone folded back to Black.

Matusow chides him "Come on man, you KNOW you ain't calling."
Black: "I'm not calling. I'm raising or nothing."
Barch: "I think I've got you dominated."
Black: "All-in!" Barch has about 4MM left, Black has him covered.
Matusow: "Wow."
Barch calls!

Let's think about Black's play: It was raised and then called before him initially: that's not a likely spot to smooth call with a monster hand this late in the tournament, so AA and KK are unlikely. Similarly, A-K is a hand he's likely to re-raise with when the action gets to him the first time. Black's attempt to convey supreme strength by smooth calling then re-raising just isn't consistent: One of the most important considerations in any bluffing situation is that you are telling a consistent story. It is possible that Black has QQ (or even A-Q), and if Black thinks that Barch has a hand like TT or 99 then his play makes more sense: he thinks Barch will probably call, but he also knows he has some fold equity, and two overcards when he gets called. If Black thought he could get Tex Barch to lay down JJ there, he made a crucial mistake.

In the final hand of the broadcast, Kanter's AhTh cracks Alsancak's QQ: They get it all in on a flop of 7h 3h 3c, and the Ts turn gives Alsancak hope, but the 8h river takes it away, and we have our final nine.

The Final Nine

Blinds are 50k-100k, and stacks range from 1.4MM to 10mm. ESPN gets a dream confrontation on the first hand:

Steve Dannenmann, with JJ (Friday in Vegas!) bumps it to 250k. Lazar, with red Aces, raises to 1mm. Matusow wakes up to KK on the button, and moves all in for 7.5mm! Dannenmann mucks, and Lazar calls, destroying Matusow with the bad news.

On the flop of Qh6hKd, Matusow goes beserk, having been given a reprieve from this brutal cold deck, but the 2h and Jh on the turn and river give Lazar's nut flush the pot. Even though all the money went in with the best hand, the way this hand played out undoubtedly makes it this week's Kick-In-the-Junk-of-the-Week. Matusow is crippled, but still has some chips.

Matusow continues his aggression, raising to 250k with 9-5 offsuit. Black, with J-T offsuit in the BB, calls.

flop: Jc6c5h. Black checks, Mouth bets 350k, and Black calls.
turn: Th. Black bets 1mm! Bet the nuts baby! It works, as Mouth raises to 2mm! Black moves all-in with little hesitation, and the crowd goes wild. Black silences them with a Pope-like finger to his lips. Mouth does a little angle-shooting, feigning like he's going to call, but mucks.

With 60k-120k blinds, Mouth (1.8mm in chips) raises to 250k holding 8-5 suited. Norman Chad quips "We just saw him raise with 9-5, and now he's raising with 8-5. He indeed IS mixing it up." Dannenmann calls with 8-8, and Black calls with J-2 in the BB.

flop: K-T-9 rainbow. All three players check
turn: Ah, completing the rainbow. Black checks, and Mouth, drawing dead, bets 600k and takes it down! Nice play by the Mouth.

Dannenmann eliminates Mouth in ugly fashion, when his A-J spikes a gutshot wheel to crack Mouth's TT. On the flop of 5-2-3, Mouth checks, Steve moves in, and Mouth calls. The 4 on the turn sends Mike home in 9th place, with $1mm.

Kondracki's A-Q cannot catch up to Dannenmann's 8-8, and Brad goes home in 8th place with $1.1MM

Daniel Bergsdorf wins the "15 minutes of fame" award, as he basically gets his first coverage of the WSOP when he gets unlucky and goes home in 7th place. Tex Barch's TT spikes a set against Bergsdorf's JJ, and Daniel leaves with $1.3mm.

Scott Lazar blows up for no reason at all, possibly because he mucked an A-5 in a prior hand where he would have turned quad aces against Tex's 5-5 and Black's 8-8.

Lazar insta-calls a big-reraise twice: first with K-9 suited vs Joseph Hachem's A-Ks, and then with Q-T offsuit against Black's JJ, and just like that, he's out in 6th place.

we'll return with the final 5.

until next time,

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