Andrew Robl had barely even played PLO before he got involved in a $250k pot with Patrik Antonius
The Aussie Millions is a great tournament, no doubt about it. But while we were in Melbourne this year, a handful of pros and I planned on having our own Aussie Millions – a cash version. I spent a few weeks in the run-up to the event finding backers, and managed to raise $800,000. I kept 20% of myself and looked forward to playing in the biggest poker game of my life. But when the time came it turned out that the only ones willing to risk seven figures were Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and myself. They suggested playing three-handed, but I doubt my backers would have viewed that as a very good spot for me.
We dropped the buy-in to $200,000 and found seven takers – Chris Ferguson and Phil Laak among them. One drag for me, though, was that everybody wanted to play half no-limit Hold’em and half pot-limit Omaha – a game that I’ve played maybe 20 times in my life and never for anything like $500/$1,000 blinds.
As such I had the worst of it 50% of the time, so it’s not totally surprising that I got all my money in really badly. I was a 2-to-1 underdog in a $250,000 pot with Patrik. We ran the turn and river four times. Amazingly, I swept all of them. It felt surreal to get so lucky at exactly the right moment. I was in a state of shock as I scooped the chips. So was Patrik. He got slightly tilted and kept telling me what a great call I’d made. I sensed a bit of sarcasm there. But I wound up winning $30,000 in seven hours without really knowing how to play one of the games. So I’ll take a little ribbing in exchange for that.
Back in America for the LA Poker Classic, I was in my hotel room at the Commerce playing $500/$1,000 no-limit Hold’em online and got heads-up with Gus Hansen. I think this hand provides a lesson on divorcing yourself from the money at stake and doing what’s right by the cards. I was on the button with Ah-Th. Gus opened in middle position with a pot-sized raise and I called. The flop came down Qc-Tc-3s. Gus made a continuation bet and I called. After the 6s came off on the turn, Gus bet $17,000 into a $19,000 pot.
Against that board, middle pair is a hand I could have easily gotten away from. But after considering all the hands Gus could have, and the fact that he tends to play slowly in middle position, I felt like I was a slight favourite. If I just called, I wouldn’t have many chips left, so I shoved. Hansen called, revealing Jc-8c for a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw. Calling was the right play for him and shoving was the right play for me. I divorced myself from the money and felt really pleased to see a blank on the river.
I won $55,000 on the hand, but even if I’d lost – and had to rebuy in for $20,000 – I’d know that I made the right play and would happily do it every day for the rest of my life.
Taking The Odds
I’m enough of a gambler that I make my share of stupid bets. So if somebody offers me the best of it, how can I say no? Such is the case when I play poker with [multi-millionaire real estate broker and recreational player] Bob Safai. He gets bored easily and likes to do props. Bob picks 18 two-card combinations. On every hand, if his combinations don’t comprise the flop, I get $1,800. If one of them does flop, though, I have to pay him $36,000. He’s getting 360-to-1 on his money, but the true odds are 394-to-1, so Bob’s paying a little bit of juice. But I can get hurt pretty badly – especially if the flop comes three of a kind, and it covers, say, seven of his card values. The odds of that happening are 300,000-to-1, but it would cost me $252,000.
The guy who was booking Bob’s props before me was up $200,000 in two days. Then I took over and got whacked for $120k. That doesn’t feel great, but in the long run, my winning is a mathematical certainty. Yeah, I’ll let you know when the long run hits…
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