A recent tournament

I played a lot with John D’Agostino in Niagara recently.

He was at my table all three days. We were together an hour on the first day and then most of the second and third day. I really got to know him and watch him play. He’s just an amazing player. Obviously, when I first sat with him I didn’t want to get involved with him until I found out exactly how he was playing.

It turned out he was playing pretty tight and aggressive so I figured there really was no point getting involved with him unless I had a monster. It’s hard to believe but we played for over 24 hours straight at the same table and we never really got involved in a big pot against each other until finally, near the end of day three, he raised to 80,000 on the button and I had A-Q in the big blind.

I asked him to count out his chips and he had about 400,000. I had over two million so I put him all in. He thought about it for a minute and he called. Turns out we both had A-Q. We were laughing about it and then the flop came three spades and he was holding the Ace of Spades. So my laugh turned to a quick frown but luckily the turn and river didn’t bring a Spade. So we chopped the pot and that’s it. That’s the only big pot we got involved in.

On day three, I was the chip leader with about 450,000 chips and there was a guy with about 350,000 chips at my table. Two players limped and I raised with pocket Kings on the button. I’d been raising every other hand so I got three callers which I didn’t really like. I only wanted action from one or two people so I was praying “please no Ace”.

The flop came down K-9-4 rainbow so there were no real draws out but I was still going to fire out if it checked to me because they’d think it’s a bluff. The first guy checked, the second guy fired 35,000 (there was about 80,000 in the pot), the third guy folded and I just flat called. The first guy then folded as well.

On the turn, I was just praying for no Ten, Queen or Jack so that it wouldn’t put a one card straight draw on the board. Unfortunately, the turn was a Ten. I didn’t think my opponent would have lead into three people on the flop with Queen-Jack though. So, I still had “the nuts” in my mind. He checked and I knew I had to bet because I didn’t want the straight to fill on the river. I fired 90,000 into the 130,000 pot and he flat called. At that point, I figured I had him. I’d shown a huge bluff earlier and he must have been thinking that I was bluffing again.

The river came a Jack; the worst card in the deck for me because I thought, “Maybe he’s been calling me with King-Queen”. At this point, there were about 310,000 chips in the pot and he fired in his last 200,000 which was enough to seriously cripple me if I called and lost.

I got out of my chair and I said, “This did not just happen!” I could still have had the best hand but I should not have had to make such a tough decision. After I’d flopped an almost unbeatable hand, I was suddenly susceptible to one card that beat me; all he needed was any Queen in his hand.

I walked around in circles for a while and he started to look pretty nervous. Eventually I just said, “If you have King-Queen, I mean I was just destined to lose this hand”. I flopped a monster, I trapped him on the turn with my bet and if he had me beat then it just wasn’t my day.

I called and he said, “You’re good.” It was a huge relief. I showed my hand and he just mucked. I would have loved to see what he had but I didn’t want to be rude or rub it in and ask him to show. That was the toughest call of my life.

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