Mark S. Rasmussen
Aug 03

I made it!

Before starting on day two, I made myself the promise that I would get a good nights sleep this time, last time I only got about four hours. So I went to bed at around 1 AM that night, falling asleep very quickly while watcing South Park episodes on my laptop. Perfect.

I woke up three hours later at 4 AM. Dammit, this is just not happening. Luckily I fell asleep again.

One hour later I woke up for good. I tried sleeping, but everytime I was close to sleeping, someone made a big roar from the living room in the house (there’s always somebody who’s awake in the camp). I have decided that if I make it through day three, I’m going to get myself a room at the Rio. After day three we will be playing every day until the 10th of august, so it’ll be important that I get some rest.

Before we started, I said to Morten (Abuello) that I was either going out of this day with $100k or with $0. This was my way of saying that I do not care if I bust out early. I don’t want to just fold my way through this tourney, just making it into the money. I’m going for the kill. I started out with $18.425, blinds being 250/500 + 50 ante.

Let me start out by saying that I do not take notes during my play, so remembering hands can be quite difficult. As so, many hands will just be vague memories though I will try to get the important factors in.

I certainly proved my statement since I was all in three times during the first five hands. First hand I get is KcQc, I raise it up in LP after a couple of limpers. I get a single caller. Flop comes an incidbly beautiful TcJs7c giving me not only the second nut flush draw, but also the open ended nut straight draw. I bet out around 3/4 of the pot, pretty hard. He calls. I can’t really remember the turn, but it’s a total blank like the 5h or something like that. Now the opponent bets out, I think for about 10 seconds before I push it all in. He folds.

Next hand I get TsJs in LP. There’s about 6 limpers to me (who would’ve though this is a $10k buyin tournament?) so I limp. Flop comes something like Tc6sQs, pretty good. It’s checked all the way around. Turn comes with another spade, blank otherwise. IIRC, I bet, get raised, I push all in, he folds.

A couple of hands go by when I get a red pair of threes: 3h3d. I raise it up from EMP, get a single caller in the blinds. Flop comes Kh2d7c. He bets out about 2/4 of the pot. Now I don’t know why, but my read (after only 4 hands previous to this one) and my instinct tells me that he is weak, so I call with the intention of making a move on him on the turn. The turn comes with the most beautiful card ever: 3s. He instantly pushes… I instantly call and shows him the set of threes. He’s devastated as he turns over his AKo and realizes that he’s drawing dead. I rake in yet another nice pot. I get a nice start, being up to around 40k after a very short time period.

Today was the first time ever that I wore sunglasses during play. Up until now I’d been kinda sceptical about it, didn’t really think it’d make a difference. Boy was I wrong. Wearing the sunglasses made an enormous difference. I suddenly had the ability to look and stare at everybody at the table without them knowing. Also I recognized that nobody were able to stare me down as they otherwise could when I weren’t wearing the sunglasses. On the contrary I was much better at staring at them, probably because I subconsciously realized that they couldn’t look at me in the same way.

At one point I get a black pair of sevens: 7s7c in LP. I raise it up. A new internet pro-ish guy sitting in seat one pushes his short stack of around 12k into the middle. Folded around to me. This player had been at my table for around 30 minutes, he’d made a lot of correct shortplay moves, pushing it in LP, pushing into weak preflop raises and such. All this made me pretty certain that he was a good player, and therefor I knew that he’d make this move on me with pretty much any pair, all aces, no matter the kicker, and a lot of hands like TJ, KJ and the likes. So I called with my sevens. I clearly announced ‘Call’ at the table, wherafter the dealer knocked in front of me, signalling for us to show our cards. I flipped my cards over, placing them in front of me, but still near me. As the other guy was turning over his cards, the dealer suddenly takes both my cards, flips them over and mucks them. The table broke out into an uproar. I had clearly announced CALL, and several people at the table confirmed this, even those at the other end of the table. I called my hand, black sevens, and so did about three other people at the table that had clearly seen my hand when I flipped it over. Now some guy to my right starts talking about it being a dead hand as it had touched the muck - which is the correct ruling albeit extremely unfair to me as this was 100% a dealer error. Luckily he didn’t really force it through, and while the dealer looked kinda embarrased (although he at no point excused to me), he started wading through the mucked cards to find my black sevens. While he looked for my sevens, he also showed up a red seven, removing one of my outs. The dealer finally found my cards and placed them on the table, signalling to the other guy that he should flip over his cards (he seemed afraid to do so, with good reason). He flipped over AKo, a classical coinflip. Flop + turn were blanks, unfortunately the river ace gave him the winning hand and he won a nice pot of around 25k.

There can and should be no doubt that I were extremely lucky when I drew my table on the end of day 1A. The table consisted purely of no-names, and there were not a single player that I really feared. Most of them played ABC poker, and most were a bit too weak for their own good. I’ll try to explain a couple of the key persons at the table.

To my left was sitting an old gentleman, I’d guess he was around 65 - I didn’t ask. He was a great player to have at the table. Besides him being a really friendly guy, he was playing very usual tight ABC poker - very common to the elder generations of players in my experience so far.

To my right were an OK guy, he played his hands too weak, was very easy to run over during hands and so forth - most of the players at the table were exactly like this guy.

Further to my right was a shortstacked guy (he was the one that mumbled about the dead hand rule), he probably had around 15k when he entered today. At no point did he have more than 20k. He ended the day with around 9k. I have no idea of how he did it, but somehow he survived more than 15 all ins. He played extremely tight for a short stack, definitely not the correct shortstack strategy. As an example, one guy in EP limps, shortstack limps, and the guy to my direct right limps also. I look down at Js2h and raise it up to 5k (blinds 600/1200 + 100) to take down the pot. Everybody folds. I later find out that the shortstack guy had AdTd - he didn’t raise (easy push being a shortstack), and even worse, he folded to my raise. The guy to my direct right folded AJ. This both shows how awful several of these main event players are, as well as how much respect I got from the table.

At the other end of the table sat a played that I really got irritated with. I don’t know if he’s just slow in general, really inexperienced at live poker or if he was just trying to be a bitch on purpose. He was constantly taking a long time to make his decisions. There could be 5 limpers to him preflop, then he’d take a minute to ponder over his hand, and then he’d fold. I mean, come on, how frigging hard can it be? Also, in one hand, he’d just won a big hand in the previous hand with AA (this guy got AA 7 times during the hand, they all held up) so he was stacking his chips. The action got around to him, and he didn’t follow the action so it was like 10-15 seconds before he realized that the whole table was looking at him, waiting for him to make a decision. “Oh, it’s on me?”. He looked at his cards, put them down again, and then he kept stacking his chips. The dealer knocked in front of him to kinda signal that we were still waiting for him. He looked at his cards again, and blimey if he didn’t make a few corrections to his chipstack at that moment, correcting a couple of edges here and there. And THEN he folded his hands as if it was 72o - which it could’ve easily been.

At our lunch break I ate at the All American grill in the Rio together with Rune who was also still in. By coinscidence I sat next to this slow guy from my own table. We got into a short conversation and I found out he was russian. He had this terrible american way of speaking - with russian accent. Everytime he met someone new he started out with “Hey man”, “Oh man”, “Man, “ argh, stop it!

I have the deepest respect of good players having a large stack, Jason Strasser for instance, he really deserves it. This russian guy also had a large stack, but it was not due to his play. He played pretty loose, but not the good loose aggresive style, just plain loose passive. He was pretty easy to push around though. He’d received AA 7 times during the day (I have yet to see AA during the whole main event hint day three dealers! /hint), and all the times he got doubled up.

Near the end of the day I got JdQd in EP. I raised it up to 4k as was becoming common to my style (though everyone still respected me and treated me as a very TAG’ish player). The russian was the sole caller. Flop come Ad9s7c - or something similar. I bet 5k on the flop (pot around 12k) - this was the normal bet sizes, remember that 2k came from the antes alone. He thought for about 10 seconds and then called. The turn was a total blank, probably the 3c. I bet out 9k this time. He though for probably 30 seconds, I could easily see that he really did not like this, but he ended up calling nevertheless. The river brought the last and final blank, a 5h (or similar). Now, I didn’t like having invested this much in the pot, beating nothing but lesser air then I had, but still, if I checked, I’d loose the pot for sure. My only option was to bet out (I was pretty sure I could push him out also), so I pushed in 15k. During the 5-10 minutes he used to think of the hand, several times he held his cards in a position as if he was going to fold - not looking for reads as he was clearly not looking at me (he was looking into the air in a surrendering way). Yet he ended up calling… With As2d. My god, the whole table suddenly lived up. One thing was that I had to show my pure bluff, but what really made the table “Oh my god” was his hand, A2o! Now, a couple of the less good players gave him the standard “Nice call” while most others were padding my back saying I made a good play, while being totally non understanding of his call. How did he call my 4k bet preflop with A2o? He’d be dominated in most cases, I was raising from EP. I bet out strong during all streets, there was no way he could put me on anything but AK/AQ/set. I wouldn’t have bet an underpair this way the whole way. Before contemplating if he just really had a good read on me and he made a superb play… Trust me, this guy was not the type to utilize reads.

Oh well, that crazy russian hand brought me down to around 70k with only 30 minutes to go. Dammit, I was up to 120k shortly before, if I’d won that hand, I’d be around 160-170k.

Just before ending the day, I got 6h6d in the MP. I raised it up, an anonymous (playing extremely tight the couple of hours he’d been at the table) bigstack called as the only caller. The flop was kinda good, though a bit scary: 6cTc7d. I made the standard bet of 5k. He called pretty quickly. The turn brought a Qh, I bet 8k, again he called rather quickly. Now, I was starting to fear if he was holding 89 since he was calling that quickly. The river brought the case 6s, now all of my straight fears were gone, I had quads! I bet out 10k, and again he called rather quickly. He looked pretty stunned to see my quads. I don’t think he had the straight any more, he probably had the ten, maybe some kind of TJ combination. After all he had just seen my JQs bluff shortly before.

This last hand brought me up to ~$95.400 which I think is close enough to my projected goal of $100k to be satisfying. The average is around $76k so I’m well above average. The play will commence on friday at noon, day 3. When I make it through day three also, I’m going to rent a room at the Rio so I’ll be able to get my sleep - it will without doubt be necessary.

Again this friday I’ve drawn a pretty good table for me:

  • 1 Marius Sorensen $35,800
  • 2 David Pham $112,300
  • 3 Jim McCrink $88,100
  • 4 Mark Rasmussen $95,400
  • 5 George Watson $24,100
  • 6 David Hony $54,400
  • 7 Bo Sehlstedt $65,400
  • 8 Paul Kitsos $50,400
  • 9 Martin Virgen $197,500
  • 10 Jon Nakatani $23,000
  • Average $74,640

I’m sitting together with a fellow dane, Marius Sørensen. To the first four places on my right I’ve got semi-shortstacks, including one real shortstack of only 24k. All your blinds are belong to me! There are only two players with stacks larger than mine, Martin Virgen which seems to play mostly low limit events - he won his ME entry through a live super satellite. David Pham on the other hands is probably one to watch out for.

Mark S. Rasmussen
I'm the CTO at iPaper where I cuddle with databases, mold code and maintain the overall technical & team responsibility. I'm an avid speaker at user groups & conferences. I love life, motorcycles, photography and all things technical. Say hi on Twitter, write me an email or look me up on LinkedIn.