John Tabatabai alias "Kankuwap"

Created on: 9. July 2008
Last update on: 19. August 2013
Entry from 9. July 2008    

WSOP Main Event

Well, after 6 weeks of being abused, I genuinely believed that today would be a great day, and I would do well. I woke up early, had a 2 hour hot stone massage, followed by an awesome breakfast whilst watching one of the best tennis matches ever, the wimbledon final, Federrer v Nadal. Classic.

I turn up a few minutes late to my table, and much to my surprise, it looks pretty good. Couple of players wearing other sites clothing, but no named players and no sponsored players it seemed. Beautiful, roll on the WSOP final table. One of my first few hands I got dealt 2-2 on the SB. 3 limpers, I completed, BB checked. Flop came KJ5 2 diamonds. Nothing to do with me, simple, ch/f.....everyone checks round. Turn brings ofc 2, now there are 2 diamonds and 2 clubs on the board and im first to speak in a 5 handed pot...$500 in the middle, we are all $20,000 deep. I wasn't sure what to do here, bet out or check raise. In cash I mix it up very closely to 50-50, and seeing as were deep stacked in MTT, I decided to go for a check raise. Surely out of the 5 people someone must have flopped top pair, flush draw, str8 draw or just will decide to have a stab at it. Worst case scenario, if it gets checked, I bet the river, get a caller and they see I can check later on when I check looking for free card I wont always be bet into.

It gets checked round...and river was the inevitable club. Problem is, if I bet out now, it looks like I have a flush, and clearly no one has a King otherwise they would have bet by now. If I bet, I can only get called by rivered 2 pair. My only option is to check, and hope a worse hand value bets. I check, BB ch, first limper ch, cut off bets $300, button folds to me. Now...this spot I thought was interesting, do I just flat call the bet of $300 which looks weak but is dying for a call. Given this better had position on the turn, it makes sense that after all the weakness that has been shown he would bet the turn with his draws and take the pot down there and then. I guesss he is on either a very bad bluff or most likely rivered 2 pair, thus, there is more value to be had from this hand. I decided to make a small raise that the pair hands I beat have to call, and if I get reraised I easily fold my bottom set. I check raised to 700, the cutoff instantly flat called and showed 9-10. He flopped gutshot, turned fl dr, and rivered flush but at no stage ever bet. He also only flat called my min raise on the river. WEAK TABLE !!! Id like to know what you guys think about the hand, Sorel says I should bet the turn and check call the river. I don't think what I did was bad, love to hear others' comments.

The next 30mins or so I just chilled and watched the table, see who was up to what. It truly was a perfect table, the 2 players to my left seemed super tight, which I was going to punish in the later levels. There was a guy 4 seats to my left who for no apparent reason exploded and raised 7/10 hands every orbit and c bet 90%. Amazing.

Anyway, I play a few hands here and there, some draws, couple of small bluffs, missed everything, nothing seemed to work. Given the slow structure, its no problem at all. Plenty of time. Then this hand develops, the crazy guy, who seemed like a cash player as he had no sponsorship or logos, was young and couldn't bare folding a hand. I had to assume a cash player. Anyway, he raised from EP / MP and I was on the BB with QJo. He had raised to $300, blinds were 50-100. I called. Flop came 3-3-4. No fl dr.

Now, I know before ive done anything, if I bet out, he will give me 0 respect and will either float me or reraise me and bet the turn...I also think that the guy doesn't know me, so won't give me credit for anything too fancy. So I decide to play the hand like a normal avg player would, namely ch r the turn. I haven't played back at him and so far we have no real history. I check, he bets $450, I make it $1100 and as I was putting the chips in the pot he had called, before my chips even got there. Tell, any kind of hand needs to think about the situation, am I bluffing, do I have the hand, am I making a move. AK AQ, big pairs, must think before making a decision because hands like that are rarely going to be folded and the pot is going to escalate quickly. So he will need to think how much he wants to commit with the hand and is he willing to go broke with those big pairs. Anyway, he insta calls me. The turn brought a 10. I decided to bet out quite large, so he thinks I have something and get rid of him, so I bet $2200 into approx $2400. Most bets so far have been half pot bets or this pot bet is quite large. As soon as I made the bet, within a few seconds he had reraised it to $6,000. I don't know what it is, but I picked up something, the betting patterns, the timing didn't make sense at all. I stared at him, it was very clear he was uncomfortable. However, I only have Q hi, my only option was to go all in. We hadn't even reached level 2 in a 10 day tournament and im already considering going all in on a stone cold bluff. Normally, I would follow my instincts, however, I have ran so bad the last few weeks, and now I am playing in arguably the biggest and most prestigious tournament in the world and I could be busted instantly if I am wrong. I just signed sponsorship deal with betfair, there are plenty of people watching and interested in my result, can it really be right to take such a huge risk so early on in the tournament? I stared the kid down for at least 4 minutes before chickening out and leaving myself with approx $12k in chips. Soon as I folded, he flipped over A9. I gracefully tapped the table and said, "I folded Jacks, well played." HE just confirmed for me that all my physical tells on him were right, and I assessed everything accurately but didn't act upon it. The key to successful poker is making the most of marginal situations and trusting your instinct. I was unable to follow my instinct here because of too many external factors, which was a huge mistake. When you play, you must have a clear head, must be able to focus exclusively on the game you are playing there and then, not about other things. AND FOLLOW YOUR GUTS. FFS!!

Not really much happened for the next 60-90mins, I made a few small moves and plays, as usual I missed everything and got caught the 2 times in the whole session I bluffed. The biggest hand being as follows. Agg kid limps utg, cutoff limps, I limp on button with 79o, SB complets and BB checks. The flop comes J-6-8 rainbow. Ch, ch, ch, ch to me, I bet 400 into $500 pot. Everyone folds bar the UTG kid limper. Now, if he had any sort of hand, he would have raised PF, in fact im very surprised he limped, he hasn't limped before, but now wants to ch c the flop. I guess he has some random hand with some small piece of it, or maybe just overcards. Given that I have assumed he is a cash player, I decide to make my betting pattern one that he can easily read as a set, just incase I miss my draw, and if I hit I was going to bet it the way he would interpret as a bluff. The turn brought a Q. he checks again, so I employ my plan, small bet on flop, small bet on turn to keep customer interested and a big bet on river once I know I have the best hand and want to extract as much as possible. He quickly called my turn bet of $1100. The river was another J. He checked again, now I am pretty damn sure he either had a draw, or some weak 3rd or 4th pair. The Jack is a great card, if I am willing to bet large here, it maens im not scared of the jack, and I either flopped a set, I've improved on the river to 3 jacks, or I turned the straight. All of which are highly plausible. There aren't many hands that I would 3 barrel here especially when he has shown this much interest in the hand. I bet $4000. Maybe 1/10 times I would be bluffing in this spot, unfortunately for me I chose the wrong person to bluff. The kid was incapable of thinking or processing any sort of logic and he called with 10-10. There was no reasoning or skill to his call, merely that he had a premium hand preflop and he wasn't going to let it go on the flop whatever happened. He is of the school of thought that you must win every pot to prove you are the best player. My mistake in this hand was not identifying sooner that he was a poor player without much mental capacity. Had I known that, I could have saved myself a lot of chips and hassle.

Anyway, after this hand I was down to $7,000 and blinds had just increased to $100-200. Still plenty of chips, but my image was destroyed, the only option was to play solid from now and get paid by the other players.

I chilled out for about 40mins before this hand developed. Folded round to button, who makes it $600, SB flat calls $600 and I pick up AA from the BB. FINALLY !! How do I play it though? If I reraise to $1800 its quite obvious, but they wont be able to decipher that. I opted to just shove all in and make it look like a steal. An overshove, hoping to run into any other PP or AK AQ AJ that was feeling frisky. Lucky for me, the button couldn't call quick enough with his AK.

Given how ive ran the last 6 weeks, I thought this is my tournament, things are going to turn from here. I thought waaaaaaaaaay tooooooooo quickly !!!

Flop, Q-J-7......2.....10. OBVIOUSLY !!!!


Ah well...Onto the next tourney and hopefully some good cash games.

7.75        4