partypoker ambassador Tony Dunst is currently plying his trade in Las Vegas, but before he headed to “Sin City,” he played a big tournament in Europe. Here’s the second part of his trip report, click this link to read part one.
With that dynamic, I raised AhQd first to act, and when it folded to Omar on the button he re-raised. After the blinds folded I made the call, and Omar followed through with a small bet on the Th-2h-5h flop. I called his bet, and the turn brought the 8h.
I checked to Omar and discretely wiped the drool from my mouth, and after thinking for a moment, Omar checked behind. The river was an unfortunate 8c, and I decided to check to Omar again because I felt he’d value bet all his flushes, and bluff plenty of the time he didn’t have one. If he made a small bet I was going to raise, but instead, Omar confidently reached for chips, then fired out a full-pot bet of 250,000. I shrugged, tossed a chip onto the felt, and cringed when Omar turned over pocket-tens. I flung the ace of hearts face up towards the muck, then laughed and told Omar “I guess I owed you an eight”.
Even though I’d lost half my stack, I was still well above average in the tournament, and the rest of the day went much smoother. We were playing down to 14 players, and with 15 left I found pocket kings and opened the pot. A short-stack behind me went all-in with ace-king, and my pair held up to knock him out. We stopped the tournament and bagged our chips, and I learned that I was in second place with 1.26 million. But Omar was miles in front, with a stack surpassing 4 million.
The tournament resumed at 2pm the following afternoon, and for the first few hours I was entirely card dead. We reached the final table of nine in the evening, and I had less than 600,000 going in. Of course, Omar was still in the lead, and he immediately designated himself table-captain by raising countless hands. But now his opponents felt more comfortable fighting back, and as the final table continued, Omar’s stack gradually dissipated.
I won some small pots to carry me over a million, and with six players left I could tell my experience with short-stacks gave me the advantage. Most of my opponents were far less comfortable playing the push-fold game that the high blinds necessitated, and I built my stack over 2 million by attacking their pre-flop raises.
With five players left, I raised the button with ace-jack, and the other aggressive player on the table—a young online player named Andriss—shoved from the small-blind for about 17 blinds. I knew he wasn’t likely to be shoving light, but I felt my hand was too strong to fold, and reluctantly made the call. He tabled ace-queen, but I drilled a jack on a flop and he never caught up.
Suddenly I was the chip leader four-handed, and a moment later I scored a dramatic knock-out against Omar, who was down to 8 blinds when he shoved over my raise. I wasn’t thrilled to call with A4, but the price was right, even against the A10 he was holding. The flop contained both a 4 and a 10, but another 4 rolled off on the turn, and my friend Omar was out the door.
After eliminating Omar, I had over 6 million in chips, while my opponents had 3 and 2 respectively. But the blinds were an astronomical 75,000-150,000, and I knew the match would come down to whoever won the all-ins.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t me. First I shoved 97o blind-vs-blind against an opponent with 13 bigs, and when he snap-called I said “Well, you’re ahead”. That was true, but he’d called with pocket threes, so I was in much better shape than I could’ve hoped. But his pair held, and now the three of us were close to even.
I was reduced to three million after an unfortunate river gave my opponent trips vs my top pair, and a couple hands later the same player opened to 700,000 on the button. He’d made enough big raises during the final table that I wasn’t overly concerned about his sizing, and felt comfortable shoving the pocket nines I found in the big-blind. But the button excitedly blurted “Call!” then tabled pocket queens, and he hit an extra queen on the flop just to be sure.
The saying goes that only one person leaves the tournament happy, but I was feeling great for a guy who went from chip-leader to out in a matter of minutes. I try to think big-picture about poker, and the big-picture of this tournament was that I got lucky for tons of chips in four different pots, and had mostly traveled to Cannes hoping for vacation and a little money. I ended up getting plenty of both (third paid 39,000 euros), and I’ll definitely return to Cannes for the WPT National next year.
The day after the tournament finished, Steve O’Dwyer sent me a message on Facebook, congratulating me on the result. “Thanks man” I wrote, “I’m a fan of your system.”