A Review Of My Day 2 At Graton: My Best Play Of The Day And How My Bustout Hand Changed The Course Of The Tournament


I came in to Day 2 of Graton’s opening weekend $400 $200k Guarantee with high hopes having the 2nd largest chip stack out of 153 remaining players. While it didn’t go the way I hoped it would, I played my best poker.

I chipped up a little early on but caught some bad luck about an hour in. The blinds were 5000/10000/10000 when a short stack pushed UTG for 38,000. UTG+1 re-raised to 75,000 with a 233,000 chip stack. I was UTG+2 with Aces and ~600,000 in chips and re-raised to 165,000. It folded around to the big blind, another short stack who went All In. UTG+1 went All In. And of course I went All In. The big blind had JJ and UTG+1 QQ. I don’t recall what the UTG player had. The flop came Q high, all diamonds giving UTG+1 a set of Queens. However, I did have the Ace of diamonds. Unfortunately for me, the board ran out without another diamond or Ace. Had I won that pot I would have had ~900,000 chips – probably the largest stack in the tournament at that point. Instead I had ~350,000.

I was pretty card dead after that until I made a move that was my best play of Day 2. A player in early position raised to 45,000 at 10000/20000/20000 and I called in the big blind with As7d and a 305,000 chip stack. The flop came down 854ssx. I checked and he continuation bet for 45,000 into a 120,000 chip pot.

This was an interesting spot. First, I didn’t think it likely that he connected with that flop. Second, I had the Ace of spades and a gut shot. In other words, even if he had an overpair like Jacks, I still had plenty of outs: three Aces, four 6s and runner runner spades. In that scenario, I would still have about a 33% chance to win the hand. Third, he might have had something like KQ so that my Ace high was actually good. Fourth, even if he had AQ or AJ, I thought I had enough chips that he couldn’t call with just Ace high.

So I shoved for my remaining 260,000 chips. It was 215,000 chips to him to call – only about 11 big blinds but about two-thirds of his remaining stack – and he tanked for a long time before folding. Obviously he didn’t have an overpair and my calculation that I had fold equity was correct. So instead of folding and having 260,000 chips, I had 425,000. Big difference. This is the kind of play that is extremely EV+ but that I was afraid to make for most of my poker career.

Which brings me to my bust out hand. A bad and wild player limped UTG at 15000/30000/30000 and I called with my 600,000 chip stack with J9hh in mid position. The small blind (Adam Curchack) completed and the big blind checked. The flop came 754hhx and it was checked to me. I bet 95,000 into 150,000. Curchack went All In for a stack slightly larger than mine. The other two players folded and I called. Curchack flipped over 75 for two pair. I needed a heart. The turn was the 10d giving me three more outs in the form of non-heart 8s for a straight. But I bricked the river.

That pot contained 1,290,000 of the 30,400,000 total chips in play or 4.24% of the total. Curchack had me covered by less than 100,000 chips. If I made my flush, he would have been crippled and likely busted in the next few hands. Instead, he ended up chopping the tournament with Brendan Turner for $52,130 each. One hand can change the entire course of a poker tournament.

I got 36th place for $1980 which about covered the four $400 bullets I fired plus my three nights at a local hotel. I also had a really good time.

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