1.Against All Odds

Introduction

Los Angeles poker classics

ESP

Bad Beat Poker

Pot-Limit Omaha

Spooky Hand

World Poker Challenge

Pot-Limit Hold'em Tournaments

Foxwood's Poker

Five-Star World Poker

World Series of Poker-2000

World Series Poker Championship

2.World Series of Poker Hands

Youngest World Champion

World Series Poker-1999

World Series Poker-1998

World Series Poker-2002

WSOP-2002

WSOP-1995

WSOP-1994

WSOP-1998

U.S.. Poker Championship-1999

WSOP-2000

WSOP's Winner-2000

WSOP-2003

WSOP's Record-2003

"Big One" in WSOP-2003

3.World Poker Tour

WPT-2002

World Poker Tour-2002

WPT's winner-2003

WPT-2004

WPT-2003

World Poker Tournament-2003

WPT's Event-2003

Foxwood's World Poker

Amir's Big Call

4.European Poker Tour

The Poker em

Poker In Amsterdam-1998

The Poker em-2000

Late Night Poker 3-2000

WHUPC-2003

5.Reading other Player's mail

WSOP-1992

Tournaments of Champion-1999

A Tale Of Four Bluffs

WSOP-2001

Commerce Casino-2002

No-Limit Hold'em Event-2002

 

Wow, are You Serious?

Here we go, then, coming off a third-place finish at Foxwood's-for $280,000, where first had been $1.1 million-in October 2003.  after a week of rest with my mom and sister in Manhattan, I was ready to rock and roll at the Sands’ Million Dollar Deal showdown in Atlantic City.  (I was still deeply frustrated with my third place at Foxwood's against Mr.”Move All-in.” On page 87, you can read about poker it.)

           Early on during day one at the Sands, nothing seemed to go right for me.  I was tired (I’d had nightmares over what had happened to me at Foxwood's), and in a bad mood.  But, I knew that if I could hold on long enough, I would have a chance to get positive and fell good-and, perhaps, catch a nice rush poker basics.

            A few hours in, I was all-in with K-Q  versus Amir Vahedi’s J-J for my last $2,100 or so.  The flop was A-6-5, then Q,Q.  A few minutes later, Matt Savage told me, “ If you fellas can hand on for forty more minutes, we’ll be moving you all to the ‘TV table,’” At that point in time, I didn’t like my chances.

            A mere three minutes later, I moved all-in with ace high low poker, and no one called me.  I looked down at $3,700 in chips, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt happy for no apparent reason.  OK, this can’t be bad, I thought poker.  The next thing I knew I was at the TV table with $22,000 in chips and a big smile on my face.

            “I made it through the rain/I kept my world protected/I made it through the rain” (Barry Manilow) kept running through my head! Now it was just a matter of time before we made the final 45 play poker card games left in the tournament, and we would be finished playing for the night.  I was feeling very proud of my play, and I knew that I had a chance to do something spectacular by winning the $1 million after just missing it in my last event, merely one week before.

            I finished the day with $40,000 in chips, just as I had at Foxwood's the week before.  In both cases I had had more chips, but in the Foxwood's case, I “blew up” (titled) late to go from $70,000 to $40,000.  in the Sands case, I played brilliantly down the backstretch, but just didn’t catch a break.

            I was very calm, and slept really well that night poker.  Day two began, and I made an early run up to $80,000-I did get lucky one pot for a $26,000 pot when my Ad-Qd beat my opponent’s Q-Q.

            Then I picked up A-A, and lost $18,000 to 10-7 off suit.  That was followed closely by my picking up 8-8, whereupon I lost another $16,000, and that one, finally, was followed by my picking up Q-Q, which lost another $4,000.  But OK, I still had $54,000 in chips, and now we were down to 27 players.

            Redraw! And Hellmuth draws the TV table one more time.  The very first hand was one of the weirdest that I’ve ever played in my life.

            I picked up A-3 three positions off of the button, and couldn’t decide what to do.  Finally, I called the $2,000 big blind bet (the blinds were $1,000-$2,000), and then T.J. Cloutier called in the small blind.  The flop was Ks-Jc-7s, and T.J. and the BB (big blind) both checked. I felt there was a good chance that my ace high was good, so I bet out $6,000, and T.J. quickly called me.  “Great,” I thought. “I let T.J hit his jack-rag hand for free, and then I bet it.’

            The turn card games was the As, for a possible straight or flush with Ks-Jc-7s-As.  Now T.J. bet $12,000 right out, and I immediately recalled a bluff that he made against me in 2001 at a World Series event.  At that WSOP event, TJ. bluffed me and then showed me the bluff, and he said, “I know you’re a great player.  That’s how I knew that I could bluff you.  You can’t bluff the bad players.”

            Somehow I knew (Daniel Negreanu, don’t needle me about that word “knew”!) that T.J. was bluffing.  I had been waiting since 2001 to nail him bluffing me.  Now what to do:  if I move all-in?  Why not let him bluff all of his chips on the end?  I decided that called was the right move here for me.  The last card,3s, wasn’t very pretty: it put four spades on the board.  Now any spade would beat me.

            T.J. went ahead and bet out $20,000, and my gut screamed out, “Call him, he’s bluffing!” But I had only $40,000 left, so I surveyed the situation quickly.  I could only beat a pure bluff, and if I was wrong, then I was going to cripple myself.  I counted out the $20,000 with my gut screaming louder and louder, “Call!”

            My gut has made me literally millions of dollars playing poker, and if I was wrong this time, then too bad.  Besides, when I feel this strongly, it seems like I’m never wrong.  So I called the $20,000, feeling as if I was making a great call limit stud.

            T.J. then rapped the table and said, “You got it.”  I then flipped over my hole cards, feeling as if I had just made an incredible call.  It also sent a message to the table: “Phil is on, so don’t –with him today.” The pot limit omaha was about to be pushed as T.J. started folding his cards-he was still muttering under his breath that he knew that I had nothing on the flop.  All of a sudden he says, “Wait a minute, I have a flush,” and he rolls over 10s-9c.

            Now I know T.J., and I know that he would never “slow-roll” me (slow-rolling is the worst possible etiquette in a poker hand ).  As if for confirmation, his heart rate-which was being monitored by Fox-spiked up only when he saw the 10s in his hand.  Stunned by what had just happened to me, I literally fell to the floor on my knees.  You see, I had just made a great call against a great player, one that I had been waiting 30 months to make, and I still lost! With $80,000 in the pot, at the height of my game of cards, I asked myself why this weird thing happened to me.

            I believe that he would have given off signals of strength, not weakness, if he knew he had the flush.  If T.J. had seen that he had the fifth spade, I believe I would have folded the hand easily on the end.  I believe this, because this is what I do for a living: I read players.

            A guy bluffs on the end, you read him perfectly, make the big-time call, and then still lose?  Is it possible?  I have played poker many years, and I’ve never, ever seen someone rap the table and say they were bluffing, and then, out of nowhere, “find” a hand.  This had to be a 2,000-to-1 shot, maybe higher, when you consider that it happened against one of the world’s best players. It took me a long time to pull myself together after that hand, but I still had chips, and I still had a chance.  I had overcome bigger obstacles than this, I still had a chance.  Paul Wolfe studied and studied, and I looked down at 8-8. he then opened for $6,000, and I felt a ton of weakness, so I moved all-in for $11,800 total.  Paul had to call the $5,800 with his A-7, as the BB player announced, “I folded A-9 wpt 2003.”

“Great,” I thought, “only two aces left in the deck.” After a flop of J-4-2, an ace popped up, and I just couldn’t believe that I was out, in 24th place.  The last pot limit hold'em held nearly $30,000, but what the heck had just happened to me? Wasn’t I supposed to have $100,000 in front of me?  Wasn’t I supposed to cruise easily into the final nine players-and the Fox TV coverage?  Wasn’t I supposed to have a good chance of winning $1 million the next day?

From a poker point of view, it seems as if I deserved much better (I did make a great call), but who can judge these things?  Perhaps I was lucky I was still in the tournament that late.  I recognize this much, though: I am truly blessed on every possible level, and I thank the universe for all of it.

 

6.From The Other Side Of Table

WSOP-1974

Commerce Casino-1999

WSOP-1999

WPT-2003

Bellagio Poker

Ladies World Championship

High Limit Action in Houston

Commerce Casino's California-1999

Party Poker Million-2002

WSOP's Winner-2002

WSOP seven card stud-2000

Foxwood's Casino

Pot-Limit Hold'em Event

World Heads-Up Poker Tour

United States Poker Championship

7.Poker Hollywood Style

Chinese Poker

Bicycle Club Casino

Rounder's

Celebrity Poker

Hustler Casino

8.Cheesehead Poker

Poker in Madison

Bluffing

Sportsmen Club

Pot-Limit Hold'em At Nora's Bar

Big Game in Wisconsin

A GOLF STORY

ULTIMATEBET HAND

CHAMPION OF THE YEAR AWARD

TOP MOMENTS IN POKER

THE NEXT POKER WAVE