(photo of David Pham)
This is part 4...the prior posts are parts 1-3. I am playing for a possible first place win of $80,000.
Image via Wikipedia
It is now down to 3 tables and I get moved. I end up at a new table sitting to the left of Layne Flack. Frankly, I'm not happy about this at all. Layne is a better player than me.
Layne and one other pro at this table start to beat up on us amateurs by raising and betting and raising and betting. My stack is starting to dwindle because they are so aggressive and I've been dealt zip.
Finally, it comes to a point where my chips are getting lower than I want and I decide to make a play in the next few hands before the blinds go up again.
I get 5-5 under the gun. I raise 4x's the big blind wanting everyone to fold. Everyone folds except for Layne Flack. He calls. The flop comes K-7-4. Layne checks and I move all-in. Layne insta-calls. He trapped me! He has K-5! He calls my raise with K freaking 5!
I am about to go out in 27th place and win $200. I push back my chair to leave. The turn card is a spade which puts three spades on the board. A few players make some noise which I don't really discern. I am too busy readying myself to be eliminated.
I get up as the river card hits--another spade. Everyone at the table does that sound when a player has sucked out. I quickly glance down and realize that I have a spade and Layne does not! I end up doubling up!
8 hands later everyone folds to Layne on the small blind. He raises big, but this time I decide I may be able to trap him since I have K-J. The flop comes K-5-3. Layne moves all-in! Oh no! If I call that bet and I am wrong, I will be out. So I think and think..and it hits me that Layne is a pro. Pros don't move all-in on the flop unless it is to get you out. If he had A-K or a set, there is no way he moves all-in. He might have second pair. I call.
Layne is bummed. He shows 7-7 and I double up again!
Sure enough, the next time around, it is the same situation. Layne is in the small blind and I'm in the big blind. Everyone folds to Layne and he moves all-in. It won't cost me much to call as Layne only has 1.5 times my big blind. I turn over J-9 believing that Layne probably has nothing. Wrong! Layne shows A-Q.
Neither one of us get any help on the flop or turn. On the river, a J hits and I knock out Layne Flack.
Layne leaves the table and I could hear the sigh of relief from all the players at the table. The guy to my left actually reaches out with his right hand to shake my hand. He says, "Good job." It's not a good job, really. I just got lucky.
I walk over to Layne and admit to him I got lucky. Layne smiles back at me and says, "No, you're playing good." It was really classy of him.
It is down to 2 tables.
And now another pro to deal with...it is David Pham. If you don't know David Pham you should. I'd read his book if he wrote one. He won the Cardplayer player of the year award once and he often gets close to winning many times. David is sitting to the seat next to me--yeah, on my right.
David is similar to Layne in that he is super aggressive. He raises me three times in a row when it gets folded to him pre-flop. I fold each time. Here we go again!
These pros are like flies that keep buzzing you and won't go away. Time to swat them away, right?
I decide I have to stop this the 4th time or it will go on forever. Sure enough, everyone folds to David and he raises me again. I couldn't help myself. I just started laughing. I ask him, "do you always have a hand?"
Of course, he is stoic. I look at my hole cards. A-10. It's a monster. Okay, good enough. All-in. David doesn't fold right away. He thinks and thinks and thinks some more. I have a big chip stack and he has a slightly bigger one. No way do I think he will call, right? He folds. Phew!
The next time around, everyone folds to him. He just calls on the button. Huh? Now a limp from him is very suspicious to me. I look down and find A-Q. I raise 3x's my big blind. Pham calls.
When he calls, I am done with this hand. I am not going to bet this hand since I don't want to walk into a trap.
The flop is K-4-2. We both check. The turn is a 9. We both check. The river is J. I check and he bets. I fold. He shows pocket 2's--he flopped a set. I chuckle.
The tournament director stops the action to even out the final two tables. I get up to stretch my legs nearby. David Pham calls me over and asks for my name. I tell him. I don't know why I did this, except maybe to amuse myself, I ask him his name. He tells me.
It is down to 14 players.
I get moved to the other table to even the number of players at each table. This table is so much easier--there are no pros at the table. If anyone checks, I bet and win. My chips grow at this table.
We are now down to 1 table. And it seems that the pros TJ Cloutier and David Pham have made it to the final 9. Also, Tony Lee, the local pro is at the table as well. The other players I really don't know and don't pay much attention to them.
To be continued...next is the finale!