UK player Paul Pitchford went on the freeroll of his life in London this week at the WSOPE. He won his seat in the £1000 No Limit Event at the WSOPE for free after winning the Amateur Poker Association & Tour (APAT) player of the series title at the WCOAP at Dusk Till Dawn. He turned that freeroll win, which was courtesy of Betfair, into a £40,000 pay day when he came 4th in his first ever WSOPE final table .
Here is part 2 of his diary, check out part 1 if you missed it.
If memory serves me correct, I went into day 2 with 36,000 chips. I knew this was top 14-18 out of the 80 remaining, so was very happy about that. Setting Freddy Deeb up (to a certain extent) at the end of day 1c definitely helped my spirit going into day 2 as it made me realise a couple of things. Firstly and the most obvious, the pot was nearly half my stack again at the time and put me into a excellent position to move on into day 2. Secondly, it gave me my first real positive sense that I could perhaps win this event. Paul Pitchford from Sutton in Ashfield could mix it up with someone who has amassed some $7,000,000 in tournament winnings alone. Ok, so it was only one hand, but it made me feel good.
To be honest, the start to day 2 couldn't have gone any better. They drew me onto one of the two outer tables which broke after about 20 minutes as most of the 10 small stacks busted fast. They redrew me back down onto the main stage where I'd played for a lot of day 1c. As I sat down I couldn't see any big names that I recognised at my table. Then after sitting in seat one, I noticed seat three was Andrew Lichtenberger. For those who don't know him, click his name. He is a very, very good player and famously offered Phil Ivey a playing deal on his poker site Lego Poker last year during his deep run in the 2009 WSOP Main Event. So now I'm faced with quite a prolific player in the BB from where I'd probably be trying to steal most of my chips.
Before I go onto our big hand though, there is a key hand I played with an unknown player which got me into a very good situation. Late in day 1c, I'd played with a Chinese guy on my right that was very loose, made quirky plays, and I felt was generally looking to avoid playing pots with me. In this hand on day 2, he made his usual quirky raise from the button. By quirky, I mean that he never counted out a precise raise. He would just grab a hand full of chips and sling them over the line. I knew this meant he didn't play much and I was always trying to isolate him to get him to myself. In this hand however, I have KK in the BB and he has raised 4.5x the BB. I know I'm out of position but elect to just call.
The flop comes J high with two diamonds. I check and he bets about 2/3 of the pot. I know he leads a lot so I call so as not to scare his weak hands off. I've already decided that I'm check raising the turn if no diamond comes. A blank hits the turn and I check, and he strangely checks behind. The river fills me up and completes the flush. Beautiful! I decide to under represent my hand and check. He bets half his stack. After a few moments I move all-in and he passes after a long dwell. This pot puts me up to 58,000 and sets me up perfectly to the hand against Andrew.
From the button, I raise 3x with AA. SB folds, and Andrew dwells, then raises me 3x. Being a great player, I know he can just be putting me to the test here, however, he could also have a hand. I decide to try and make a weak looking 3 bet as the both of us are so deep stacked (~40-50BB's each). I was hoping he would see this small raise as weakness and 4 bet me light. I'm not sure how he actually read this but needless to say, he stuck it in with KK, I snap him off and I now sit at 110,000 when the nearest has 55,000. Looking back, I think if I make a normal sized 3 bet here, Andrew is good enough to call and sniff my AA out post flop.
Two hands later I have KK again and knock a short stack and a micro stack out. 126,000!!!!! And at 500/1000/100. I was in a daze.
Now it wasn't as easy as you'd think from here. Every photographer in the room came and took my photograph. Every reporter in the room came and counted my stack from afar. The players kept raising their eyebrows at me as if to say, "lucky get." It literally took me two hours to get my head back into shape, and to continue playing as solid as I had been doing prior to this crazy 15 minutes.
I'll be honest, from here is a bit of a daze till we're down to 36 players. Probably because not a deal affected me and it got a little ABC with some short stacks around. There was one hand were I made a reraise on the turn with no pair no draw and got it through. What I do remember however, is how long it too to get down to two tables. Once down to two tables, this is where I made my first miss step. A mis-step that would prove to be costly, but strangely had a positive effect on me.
I'd raised a little too much for my liking from the button with 89os and the BB jammed. I realised I was getting around 6/4 and should probably be making the call but knew it was 1/3 of my stack. I tanked for a bit and made the reluctant call only to shown JJ. Here we are then 70,000 chips which was quite short, deal with it! I was a bit miffed to say the least as I should have had a better idea of how many chips the BB had, but also I shouldn't have made such a large raise. But after winning a few pots back, I got it back together.
In my mind from here, it seems really quick to the point where we're on the FT bubble with 10 left. It wasn't long after though until the bubble burst and I was once again filling in my WSOPE chip sheet for the bagging up of my chips.
What a roller coaster day! Chip leader of a WSOPE event for nearly 5 hours I think. However, I had a new task at hand. A WSOPE final table with only 77,000 chips, 8th of 9, with the blinds at 4000/8000/1000.
We headed back to our hotel knowing I was guaranteed around £10,000. I hoped to get some much need rest as it was 3am. However, I don't think I went to sleep till after 4am and was up at 9am. Very rare for me indeed!
I spoke in my last post about that 89 vs JJ hand how it strangely had a positive affect on me. Firstly because it grounded me a little, but secondly it made my play on the FT less tricky. If I'd have had say 220,000 coming into the FT my play would had have to have been more calculated. Now though, I was just looking for good spots to stick it in!
There were three shoves straight away that got me over 120,00 within a very short period of time. First the SB limped my BB where I held 89ss. He won't be doing that again in a hurry! The second was from the cut off with KQcc and the third was AK from middle position which I of course show to reassure everyone I'm not doing it all lightly! Believe it or not, 120,000 of the 1.7 million chips in play is basically average stack as two players had around 400,000 each.
My image on the final table must have been good. My raises were hardly ever contested and my re-raises got through every time. I basically ABC'd my way into 4th if I'm honest. I'd love to tell you how I bluffed my way to 4th but I just played rock solid, nothing fancy. Because day 2 had ran so long, our stacks were quite shallow and that took some of the play out of it.
As players dropped out the money jumps were massive. I could hardly believe the amounts of monies involved. One thing was certain though, I had my eye on that bracelet the entire time. At no point was I content with a £20k, £30k or £40k finish. I so badly wanted that bracelet. Don't get me wrong, I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't bothered about the money, £40,000 is a life changing amount for me, but the number one concern on my mind was that little sparkly bracelet.
I'm only going to talk about my exit hand on the final table as it was only my real thinking hand. I'd played with Jeppe Bisgaard for most of day 2 and most of day 3. You could tell he plays online a lot because he had the game but you could see he wasn't 100% accustomed to live play. He'd stack his large chips at the back and hide his cards from view so we couldn't see his cards (not on purpose though). As I say though, he had the game.
As it folds around to me, I have A6 on the button and 4 handed I'm raising 90% of the time here unless I notice something before it gets to me. Jeppe sticks it in! I've seen him put people to the test like this before with QJ, KQ and J5 if I remember rightly. This was a perfect spot for him to stick it in with anything in the middle of his range or better. He only has 12k less than me so essentially, this decision is for my tournament life.
I thought about it for some time but ultimately the maths and reads came to the conclusion that I have to call. My stack is ~210,000 and his is ~190,000. The blinds are 8,000/16,000 with a running 2,000 and I have raised to 42,000. Also I have to take into account that If I fold, I'm immediately put under pressure with the ante's coming through me two hands later and may never recover. At least here, in this situation, I'm at worst live to 3 aces and in my mind have to call.
The rest as they say is history. I entered the event as an amateur. Played with and knocked out some of the best players in the world. Won £40,862 and finished 4th of a WSOPE event. All off the back of a freeroll essentially! Who knows how it goes from here?!
So that's it. My WSOPE experience is over. But my, what an experience. On my way out last night, I caught a glance of Scott and JP playing heads up for the bracelet. I hope I get a chance to be in their position some time in the future...
You can qualify for APAT events or buy in direct exclusivley at Betfair Poker.