Since last we spoke Pt. 6.5 Polar Bear goes bracelet hunting
The latter half of the the entry before this one detailed my tribute to Altered Beast for the $1,500 Stud 8 or Better Event, leading to my second Final Table in less than a week. This would be my third altogether trip to the Thunderdome, which is the coveted Final Table parked in the middle of the Amazon Room. Of course it goes without saying that as a Polar Bear, I felt a tremendous amount of pride knowing that I am the first of my species to have achieved this landmark, but it would be unwise to count my salmon now with unfinished business still looming.
the larger RFID cards felt especially block-like and awkward this time around. Luckily I was able to make a six straight against Jameson Painter's dealt TRIP QUEENS, and a wheel against Calvin Anderson's pair of eights as I got settled in. Beating Cal's eights is not as easy as it sounds you guys, ok!? I ran Aces up on fourth street into David Prociak's rolled sixes to give him the courtesy double, and then took down a big 3 way pot with Aces and a seven low that wound up giving me the chiplead.
I semi-bluff-raised a pair vs pair spot against Alex Livingston in a hand on 5th street. Made hidden trips as he made an open pair on 6th and bet into me, I then filled 7th and called a bet missing a raise not thinking things through correctly on multiple levels. He handled that situation exceptionally well given the way it all went down along with the final table implications, and it made a distinct impression on me. It was especially satisfying to see Alex have a deep run in the 2019 Main a few years later.
Alex busted in 4th and 3 handed was down to John Monnette, David Prociak, and myself. John was short but managed to double twice. I typically have a few very specific tournament adjustments for Stud8, one of which is a credit to best guy Eric Rodawig, but for some reason I abandoned it against John and it cost me an extra 5th and 6th street bet that I didn't need to sacrifice. This shit still bothers me, along with the fact that John is smart enough to exploit the adjustment in the first place, and that I could in theory be costing myself the times that I did opt to go the lower variance route.
No amount of animal sacrifices would allow Monnette to beat Prociak out of a pot however, and eventually he wound up settling for third. On his way out he offered me some uhhh words of encouragement that he thought wouldn't be heard by David, but David did hear the less flattering words and repeated them to me. Oh shit, I knew that feeling, and also the sound of that disrespected, vengeful tone. I shrugged it off and wished him luck going into our final battle; one that I had assumed I was well prepared for.
Heads up Stud8 takes me back specifically to being in Montreal after Black Friday, on Martin Bradstreet's ( MagicNinja/alexiemartov ) couch running equities and developing less conventional 3rd street ranges, followed by continuing ranges from there. I actively spent a good deal of time on exactly this thing for this specific moment. Unfortunately I realized a little too late ( both in the 10k Razz and in this event ) that my approach was flawed in the current format. There are times you think you played terribly, review it all back, and you realize you actually played relatively well. This was a fucking trainwreck.
Similarly tragic was that historically I've never referenced hands sent to me from someone sweating the livestream, and have opted instead to just decompress during short breaks and do some introspective review. My heads up opponent, David, was sort of a wild card to me. There were some spots I really needed clarity on, and I had been actively anticipating the break as my power bar continued to bleed out. I was very unsure of his starting requirements heads up relative to full ring. By the time the break had arrived I found out that my designated advisors had been asked into the commentary booth to narrate my disgraceful play, and they allocated the hand history duties to one of my best friends who wound up falling asleep while watching, as one does.
Admittedly panicked I scrambled around, when my friend Jason Gola called me up to inform me that I had been drawing dead in a spot where I thought I was continuing live, and essentially made me aware of the fact that I drastically over complicated my strategy. By the time we had returned I was down to crumbs, and my 2bb stack wouldn't survive another 30 minutes.
Bear bracelet would've been incredible. Winning two bracelets in a week would've made the sting of being 4 people away from 3 more bracelets in 2014 permeate in my subconscious a little less. Not ungrateful for the luck I've had of course, but I'm exceptionally unforgiving of my missteps. Fortunately the video of me playing the worst heads up Stud8 of all time has been scrubbed from the WSOP archives, and all that remains are these great pictures of a Polar Bear as a bridesmaid.