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I played the Bellagio $10,400 tournament! Here is the hand I was eliminated on.
This week I was fortunate enough to get to play in a $10,400 buy-in tournament. Over 1,000 people put up five figures to compete in Las Vegas at the Bellagio, for a chance to win their share of the over $10 million dollar prize pool. I had my sights set on the nearly $1.7 million first place prize. Entering Day 2, I was a middling stack with 30 big blinds. That is when this hand came up…
Action folded to me on the hijack and I looked down at Ac3c. With blinds being 500/1,000 and a 1,000 big blind ante, I raised to 2,200. The cutoff and button folded. There was no player in the small blind because he was eliminated the previous hand. The big blind called my raise for another 1,200 chips. There was now 5,400 in the pot and the flop landed Ah 2h 5c.
The big blind checked, I bet 1,500, then the big blind raised me to 4,000. I called his raise to see a turn card. The turn fell the 3d and the big blind bet 9,000 into a pot of 13,400. Action was now on me. I had 25,000 in chips remaining and a strong hand with two pair. I thought over my decisions, which were to either call his bet and leave myself with a half size pot bet, or to move all in. I ended up going with the latter, and moved all in. My opponent called, tabling 4s5s. I now needed to hit an ace or three to make a full house and beat his straight. The river landed the Qs and I was eliminated.
I have no issue with how I played my hand. I am supposed to raise my hand preflop, bet the flop, call his raise, and see a turn card. When I turn two pair, this improves my hand and also hits some of the big blind’s semi-bluffs. I didn’t necessarily want to make two pair, because the range my opponent is representing is pretty weak. I thought there was a small chance he might move all in before the flop with small pairs, such as 22-88, along with 3betting stronger hands such as AJs+ and 99+. When I get raised, he is mostly saying he has two pair himself, or a big draw. If he had a flush draw, or other bluffs, he would likely continue bluffing on the turn. For this reason, we could make an argument for calling, which is also a good play. If I did call the turn bet, I would have 16k chips remaining, into a pot of ~32k. I would still be calling all-in on the river on most river cards, where my price would be 4-1. My reasoning for moving all in on the turn was to get called by flush draws that decided to play their hand this fast. I am now beating a few hands, such as worse two pairs. Since this player decided to check raise their pair and gutshot (45s), we could also see hands like 53, and 32 in their range to play this way. I was hoping to get value and a full double up from this specific range, but I ran into a stronger hand.
Poker is a difficult game to play, and good players are going to put you in awkward situations to apply a lot of pressure. This is one of those hands. If you want to be great at poker, you must understand how the community is playing and what types of plays they are making. After I was raised on the flop, I knew I had a very easy continue and was likely going to be calling more bets. My knowledge on this spot led me to be comfortable in playing the hand. Alas, I was on the wrong end of this situation. Making two pair was the death of me, and had another turn card fallen, I would have been in a prime position to win a nice sized pot. That’s poker!
“The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.” – Nelson Mandela