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Phil Hellmuth : Kid, I Bet You Were There!
At the $10,000 buy-in WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in December, I arrived on Day Two ready to rock and roll as I'd be facing some real tough pros, including Eric Baldwin, Sorel Mizzi, and Shawn Buchanan.
The first thing I did was remind Mizzi that he had overplayed a hand against me at the Los Angeles WPT event a few months back. Mizzi, however, claimed that he wasn't even at my table. So we made a bet - I put up $5,000 to his $8,000.
We called someone else who I knew to be at the table that day, Barry Greenstein. Guess what? I was wrong! I confused Mizzi with Shane "Shaniac" Schleger. Was my failed bet a sign of things to come?
A few hours later, with the blinds at $800/$1,600, Mizzi, who had been playing a lot of hands and playing them aggressively, opened for $3,500 under the gun. I called from the fourth position with 5-5, and the big blind moved all-in for $2,400 total. The main pot was worth $9,000 with a $2,200 side pot.
The flop came As-Qh-5d. Mizzi fired out $5,800 and I called. Then a king hit on the turn. Mizzi checked and I bet $7,500 out of my remaining $22,000. Mizzi called.
The river was a ten. Mizzi pushed $10,000 into the middle and I called.
When he flipped up K-J to claim the pot with a straight, and I revealed my set, the table braced for a legendary eruption by the Poker Brat, but instead, I dug down deep and didn't say a word.
Two hands later I moved my last $5,400 all-in with Qs-Js. Eric Baldwin called with As-Ks and it was over.
Let's take a closer look.
Sorel Mizzi's under the gun $3,500 open with K-J offsuit was okay; he's known for his loose-aggressive style. I'd never encourage a beginner to raise UTG with that hand, though.
My pre-flop $3,500 call was okay. I probably would have folded any opening bet of $5,000 or more.
I love Mizzi's $5,800 bet on the flop. The fact that we had a third player all-in in the pot and only a small side pot gave Mizzi's bet more strength. Generally, a bet into a small side pot means that the player making the bet has something.
I love my $5,800 smooth-call here! I assumed Mizzi was either drawing dead or drawing to a runner-runner. I wanted to give Mizzi a chance to bet with A-J, A-10, K-Q, or just bluff on fourth street.
On the turn, Mizzi's check was reasonable but I really love my $7,500 bet. I assumed he was drawing live to only a ten or a jack, and that if he already had two pair, he'd move all-in right there. So I bet $7,500 into the $23,000 pot hoping to get a weak call.
Now, some players would say that I should have bet more to protect my hand but I was right on that Mizzi only had four outs to win - he was a ten-to-one underdog in the hand!
Could Mizzi have folded his hand for $7,500? He probably assumed that he would win the pot with a king (wrong), a jack (wrong), or a ten. And I guess he could have had the best hand, too. I can't fault him for making the call because I played the hand like I was weak and was able to lure him in.
Mizzi's bet on the river was perfect. Had he bet me all-in, I would have considered folding but I just couldn't laydown a set of fives for a $10,000 bet.
It was a bad beat, plain and simple, but at least I handled myself well in defeat!
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