Thursday, June 12, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 13: A Big Hand for the Little Lady

After a couple of weeks live blogging at the WSOP for PokerNews, it has finally happened. I am now dreaming of writing posts.

Found myself a bit restless last night, my slumber punctuated every few minutes by my mind making the effort to compose a short synopsis of yet another hand, trying to relay the action coherently and accurately.

What happens, I guess, when you spend day after day that way.

We played down to the final nine in Event No. 19, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event, ending the day with an utterly wild, head-scratcher of a hand. Ever since the middle of Day 1, Vanessa Selbst had maintained the chip lead, and had been essentially running over her opponents by applying fairly consistent pressure with her ever-increasing stack. When the tourney got down to ten players, all assembled around a single table to play until the final table bubble was burst. There were several small stacks, including one severely short-stacked player, Ken Lairson, who simply refused to play any hands whatsoever. He even folded his big blind, which cost him nearly a third of his stack.

As play wound down, I sat over at our workstation while the other blogger and both reporters were on the other side of the Milwaukee’s Best Light “No Limit Lounge” (i.e., the mini-arena where they stage televised final tables) watching the table. They’d run over short updates, which I’d then post, such as a funny one where Selbst asked the table if they could institute antes for a round in order to speed up the process of knocking out Lairson.

Anyhow, after about a half-hour of Selbst and the second-place player, Tony Phillips, stealing blinds, a huge hand erupted between the two chip leaders that turned out to be the last hand of the day. When it was over, all three of my colleagues came over to my table in near hysterics. They couldn’t believe what they had just seen.

Marc reported the hand. The blinds were 4,000/8,000. Selbst had something like 600,000 when the hand began, I believe, and Phillips, her nearest competitor, was somewhere around 450,000. Before the flop there was a raise under the gun to 20,000, then Selbst made it 75,000 to go from the cutoff. Phillips, in the big blind, then reraised pot to 239,000. It folded back to Selbst who made the huge call. As you can see already, both players were fairly committed to the hand even before the flop. In fact, before that flop was dealt -- 4s5s8h -- Phillips had already pushed the rest of his stack in the middle, betting in the dark.

Selbst called, much to everyone’s distress. Phillips turned over AhAs9dQd. He’d committed to his aces, and now we were going to see whether or not Selbst had connected with that flop.

Selbst’s hand? 9hJh8dKd.

She’d hit one pair, and the only draws she had were backdoor ones. She had to have believed she was committed, though, as folding would have put her far behind Phillips going into today (he’d have something like a 2-to-1 advantage over her).

I ran the hand through over at Two Dimes and it says Phillips is 58.5% to win the hand here, not as big of an edge as I would’ve guessed. If that’s the case, then Selbst’s flop call is okay from a pot odds perspective, I suppose. The pot was around 750,000, and she had to put in 200,000 or so to make the call, so she was getting better than 3-to-1 at that point. Of course, this is a tourney, not a cash game, so that sort of analysis doesn’t necessarily apply perfectly here.

How did the hand turn out? Well, the turn was the Td. Phillips was still okay (exactly 65% to win from here). But the river brought the 9c, giving Selbst two pair and about a million chips, making Phillips the final table bubble boy.

Wild stuff. And fitting, really, for a PLO tourney. Will definitely be interesting to see today how Selbst plays her huge stack. She has simply dominated this tourney thus far, making that post title a bit ironic-sounding. (For those who don’t know, I’m alluding to the film of that title.) Selbst is in such a commanding position, she can now afford to take several coin flips with pretty much everyone else at the table.

Meanwhile, I can’t help but feel for poor Tony Phillips. What do you think his dreams were like last night?

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Anonymous Pud's Poker said...

Loving the updates as always mate.

Away fromthe reporting how are you finding your "trip" out there? Are you managing to enjoy any poker or is it literally all work, work work?

6/12/2008 4:34 PM  
Anonymous gtycoon said...

She has lost that lead today and dropped to 3rd in chips. SHe still has a chance though if she can stop the bleeding.

I think Phillips had Nightmares last night.

6/12/2008 9:22 PM  

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