This week I am going to give my thoughts about Phil Hellmuth's 12th WSOP Bracelet win in $2,500 Razz, Phil Ivey's 2nd place finish in the 10k Limit Hold'em bracelet, the top misconceptions of poker, and what I am planning for the upcoming week.
This past Sunday Phil Hellmuth collected a record setting 12th WSOP bracelet and his first non-hold'em as he shipped the $2,500 Razz tournament. I want to give my opinion about Phil Hellmuth. I believe Hellmuth is one of the most underrated players playing poker. First of all, in order to be one of the best poker players you have to be elite in all of the games. A lot of people criticize Phil, yet these players only specialize in a few games. I think its very laughable when online players like to downgrade Phil's accomplishments. I think we can all understand when Phil blows up on National TV. Poker is his life. He works hard and has a fiery passion. I'm pretty sure Phil isn't the only player that blows up over a bad beat. His temper definitely is a disadvantage for him at times but he is one of the great ambassadors for poker. I was amazed that he spent 3 hours after his Razz win signing autographs, thanking fans, and railers. In conclusion, I believe Phil is misunderstood by many and I think he smartly uses other players misconceptions of him to his advantage.
Sunday also saw Phil Ivey get to heads-up in the 10k limit hold'em event against Andy Frankenberger. There were a few situations I would like to give my thoughts on in this match.
1. Here was the action described by WSOP.com.
2.6mil chips Ivey
2.5mil chips Frankenberger
6/11/2012 12:17:52 AM PST (about 3 days and 16 hours ago)
First Blood To Frankenberger
Andy Frankenberger made it 200,000, Phil Ivey raised to 500,000, Frankenberger raised 'pot' to 1,500,000 and Ivey thought for a few minutes before releasing his hand.
I have watched a ton of film on Ivey in the past. He seems content with playing small pots heads-up because of his great post-flop play. I think Ivey had a better A here, probably A9-AJ, when he 3-bets. The pressure is obviously on Ivey to win the bracelet and Frankenberger having won a bracelet in last year's WSOP wasn't pressured to win his first. I think if Frankenberger had not previously won a bracelet, he would have played tighter earlier on in this heads-up match. I believe he knew Ivey wanted to play a ton of small pots post flop and used this to his advantage. I believe Ivey has A9-AJ is in his range here, because with a weaker A he should be flatting disguising his post flop range. PP's less than 5's I believe are a 3 bet to see where his opponent is at or a flat for disguising purposes if he feels he has a read on Frankenberger's range. It is a +EV play for Ivey to get it in/commit himself preflop with 66+, AQ+. This leaving Ivey with that weird range (A9-AJ, pp's smaller than 5's). I believe Ivey folded the A9-AJ 55 and smaller pocket pairs range because he could very well be dominated here and it's not a long term profitable play heads up that early in a heads up match with the even amount of bb's they had. Especially when Frankberger reraises to "pot" thus committing his stack to this hand. I believe it is the right fold by Ivey assuming he had the range I assigned him. Even though Frankenberger showed A5s.. It was a great play by him.
2. Described by WSOP.com 6/11/2012 1:21:47 AM PST (about 3 days and 15 hours ago)
Phil Ivey Eliminated in 2nd Place ($275,559)
Andy Frankenberger raised to 300,000 and Phil Ivey made the call. The flop was , Ivey checked, Frankenberger bet 130,000, Ivey raised pot and Frankenberger called faster than a bolt of lightning strikes the earth. This was going to be the bracelet defining pot everyone is waiting for and this place is packed to the rafters.
Ivey turned over for the open ended straight draw and Frankenberger turned over for top pair. Andy Frankenberger was about to win his second World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in consecutive years.
This play by Ivey doesn't make much sense to me. I don't get why he doesn't just re-pop it pot and commit himself to this pot with the 76s preflop. I don't get the purpose of the stop and go there. If he completely air balls the flop, what does he do? The only way I understand this play is if Ivey was committing his stack to this flop regardless of the flop. I still think its bad even if that is his thinking. I think its a re-pot allin or fold pre. He seemed to still be steaming from the recent events of Frankenberger running him over. Even the best make bad plays sometimes. Phil Ivey is the best all around player in the world. I am sure he will comeback and continue to have a great world series. Great players shake things off and move on to the next hand.
My Top Two Poker Misconceptions
1. Assuming all poker players think like you. Lots of players can't fathom how other players could possibly make a play (good or bad). Putting an opposing player on a range of hands based on how you would play them will not always be effective. Gathering information, determining the type of player, and ranges for each specific player is key.
2. Assuming one player runs way better than others. All players go through streaks. If your finding yourself low stacked, and running bad throughout a period, do not become discouraged. Talk with a fellow player. Often times when a person is getting short-stacked often, they aren't finding the right situations to get their chips in or they aren't getting their chips in enough. You can't win a tournament by getting your chips in the best every time. A player must be selective based on the situation keeping in mind stack-size, opponents, position, and of course the cards.
This week in my spare time I plan to prepare for a live tourney at ThePokerRoomNH in Hampton falls. It is a $250 monthly tourney on June 23rd. I am looking to take 3-4 days off from poker before I go. I want to be fresh and rested. I don't want to see too many hands right before I go and get my brain cluttered or if I have a bad run for a few days for it to carry over. I really want to focus on and try to ship it. So next week looks like lots of work, lots of sleep, drinking tons of water, and eating pasta. Looks to be a lengthy tournament. Should be a blast.
“You will show your poker greatness by the hands you fold, not the hands you play,” ~Dan Reed
-Matthew White (Whitediego)