My Callback Is On Saturday

I don't think I got on television yet, but my first audition for the final table of the main event went well enough. I finished the day with 42,700 chips, which is about average at this stage of the game. More importantly, I'm still alive, and I'll be back on Saturday to play Day 2B.

Day 1 spread a few minutes of excitement throughout twelve hours of boredom. There were colorful characters: some dude dressed up as Batman was sitting next to Dan Harrington across from my table. A Full Tilt Pro was wearing a puffy Unlce Sam hat and an all white jump suit as part of their 1% pledge to [URL=""][/URL]. I was the first to take a patch from Phil Gordon (happy 40th, Phil). I can confirm the reports - he is very, very tall.

I only saw two guys bust at my table in 9 hours of play. I was fortunate enough to bust both of them.

The first was Dan Shak, winner of the $100k buy-in event at the Aussie Millions. I had been trying to figure out where I knew him from until the other players informed me of his exploits. I don't watch much poker on TV, though, so I'm pretty sure I've actually played with him before. He's a hedge fund manager from NYC, so the latter explanation seems likely.

The hand was pretty straightforward. He opened in early position and it folded to my big blind. I held AKs. I just called, and crushed the flop of AK6. I figured I could get a c-bet out of him, so I went for a check/raise. He checked back. A third spade fell on the turn and I led into the 1,300 pot for 1,000. He made it 3,000. I expected him to semi-bluff spades on that flop and there are only 8 combos of sets on that board, so I shoved. He called and flipped up middle pair with the nut flush draw. A red seven on the river maintained the status quo and shrunk our table to 9.

The second guy was an unknown (to me) wearing Stars gear. He had been opening a ton of pots and I had re-raised a couple times already (earning folds from him). With a 12k stack, he opened the cutoff for 875 and I looked down at black tens. I made it 2,500. He did a fair amount of hemming and hawing before shoving. I paused to consider whether this was sincere or an act. It felt genuine enough to me, so I called. He flipped AT and I had him dominated. The flop of KQ9 bought him an extra 4 hours, but the turn and river bricked off and I was back up to 43k chips. There were a couple other interesting hands, but that's it for this blog.

Live Tournament No Limit Holdem has to be the slowest poker game on earth. (Well, Omaha is probably worse.) The majority of my nine hours of poker were spent waiting and watching. I can say that on two occasions my heart was racing, and that's something that cash games have completely ceased to cause. I'll take the good with the bad, and hopefully avoid the ugly.

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