I managed to survive Day 1A of the World Poker Tour event in San Jose with $64,400 in chips. That places me 15th in chips out of the 53 remaining from the Day 1A group. Day 1B plays today, and the survivors of the two groups merge to play Day 2 on Wednesday.
The highlight of my day was busting Kathy Liebert. First of all because busting tough players is fun, but also because busting her came with a 5k cash bounty. The San Jose WPT tournament is known as the “Shooting Stars” tournament for good reason. Every table has one celebrity poker player who has a 5k bounty on their head. The player who busts them receives the bounty. Notable bounties who were eliminated on my day were Gus Hansen, TJ Cloutier, Hoyt Corkins, “Elky”, “Durrr”, and Jennifer Harman.
Here’s how the hand went. Blinds were $200-400, antes 50. Kathy was sitting on 17k, I had around 30k. Kathy was in the small blind, I was in the big blind. It was folded around to Kathy, who raised to $12oo. I called the $800 more with 5-3 of spades. The flop came K-5-5. Kathy checked, I checked back. The turn was an offsuit 8. Kathy bet $1500, I called. The river was an offsuit 6, Kathy bet $3500, and I raised her all-in (a little over $10k more). After sweating me for what felt like 5 full minutes, Kathy called. She didn’t show her losing hand.
The line I took probably wasn’t optimal if Kathy had AA or Kings. Better to bet the flop, obviously, which would cause the chips to go in more naturally. And it’s quite possible that Kathy did have a big hand. Pre-flop raisers rarely check the flop when a king hits if they have nothing. What better card, other than an ace, is there to represent?
I chose the line I did to trap underpairs like QQ or JJ, or if she had an Ace-high hand, to allow an Ace to hit. Her small stack size also played a factor: I figured that even if she hit the flop hard, I still had a good chance to get all her chips by slow-playing.
While sweating me, Kathy said (among other things), that she thought I either had a 5, or nothing. By which she meant that she strongly suspected I was bluffing a missed flush draw. That is one possibility my unusual line represented.
After mucking her cards, Kathy stated that she had a big hand, but wouldn’t specify what it was. It is somewhat unusual for players not to show their losing hands after a big call, to justify themselves to the remaining players. So it’s possible that she called me light. But perhaps Kathy is simply beyond justifying herself. I’m pretty sure she had a king in her hand.
As for my pre-flop decision to call with the 5-3 suited: I like to call a wide range of hands in that spot. First of all, counting the chips and antes already in the pot, I am getting nearly 3-1 odds on my $800 call to see the flop. Secondly, I have position in the hand, which will enable me to win a lot of the times that I don’t hit my hand. Kathy has somewhat defined her hand by raising, and if I succeed at playing her rather than my actual hand, I will win my fair share of the time when the flop is unlikely to have hit her hand.
And hey, as they like to say in my business: “It was sooted!”
Along with the $5k cold hard cash (they just give it to you right at the table), I also received a nice white T-shirt with Kathy’s picture on it, that says “I busted Kathy Liebert!”, which Kathy was forced to sign for me. Not quite sure what to do with this at the moment. Kitchen rag?
They also took a picture of me and Kathy. I’m pretty sure this picture will show me grinning, and Kathy looking like she was trying to pass a kidney stone.
Even to me, that seemed like overkill.