A Riveting Hold’em Tournament
The Limit Hold’em event was the most exciting final table yet. Who would have thought that LHE could be so action packed! Had the cameras been rolling, TV ratings would be through the roof.
When the final table got underway, it was filled with a wide variety of players, from young to old, new to extremely experienced. The one thing they all had in common was their great etiquette and powerful play.
Two participants were eliminated right outside of the money in one big hand. Gregg Fund had a good chip lead over these two opponents, and called both all-in’s with AK. The shortest stack held AA and the other 22. A broadway straight flopped for Gregg, and both players were out. Then there were three.
Gregg Fund is an aggressive player with a lot of experience. He considers NLHE his best game, and cashed twice this year in the WSOP.
Max Pescatori has had a phenomenal year himself, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He considers Omaha Eight his best game. His instincts are sharp, proven once again when he knocked out a player early in the tournament with ten high.
Dan Heimiller is a well known top player with 20 years of experience. He is able to change his entire strategy on a dime, and never lets any hand ruffle his game.
The chip counts were extremely close between the three expert players. Dan and Gregg were virtually tied with 11,425 for Dan and 11,400 for Gregg. Max was only slightly trailing with 9,175.
Play was so powerful during this trio match that spectators couldn’t take their eyes off of the action. Gregg was hyper-aggressive, and had a good feel for the table. Max was tricky and able to make moves both before and after the flop with extreme ease. Dan was studious, reading his opponents well and taking shots when he had the opportunity.
At one point, Gregg had both opponents virtually down to the felt. Neither were willing to give up, and battled back, winning large pots due to Gregg’s aggressive style. Once, Dan was so short stacked that he put in 300 of his last 400 chips into the pot. Gregg studied the flop for a moment, showed Dan an ace and folded. The crowd was amazed, as Dan only had 100, and a call with an ace seemed an easy one. Later, Dan told me that he was bluffing with eight-high. He also said that he’d noticed Gregg wasn’t paying close attention to his stack, so taking advantage of Gregg’s wandering concentration, he hoped Gregg wouldn’t notice he was down to the felt. The bluff obviously worked, although Gregg chastised himself later, once it was pointed out that Dan only had 100 left.
Max put up a good fight, making comeback after comeback, until the crowd was almost sure he would overcome. Max doesn’t play for second place. Then his AJ met Gregg’s JT straight draw, which happened on the river. Max exited gracefully, complimenting both of his opponents and once again showing perfect etiquette, which has been the norm at this table.
Going into the heads up battle, Gregg had quite a huge lead on Dan. Dan is not a quitter, however, and no deal was seriously discussed.
Dan changed gears to counter Gregg’s hyper-aggressive style. Suddenly Gregg was put on the defensive, when raise after raise was met with a steely reraise. Slightly off kilter from having the tables turned, Gregg had a hard time adjusting to someone who had previously only called his raises, or backed off rather quickly time and again.
Dan chipped away slowly at Gregg’s lead. He allowed Gregg to trap himself over and over, catching good flops, and letting the aggressor do the betting for him. Once Gregg was pot-committed, Dan would spring in with reraise after reraise, until Gregg finally called, mucking in defeat when being shown the virtual nuts.
After an hour of sparring, Dan took the lead, and never gave it back. From then until the tournament ended, Dan was fully in control, giving Gregg small pots, while taking large ones from his aggressive opponent.
Gregg was down to the felt three times before Dan delivered the knock-out punch. Gregg held A6 and flopped a pair of sixes. Dan held T8s and two of his diamonds flopped. Dan’s flush came in on the turn, and an ace on the river to make a second pair for Gregg was no good.
Both players were impressed and friendly with each other, celebrating their finishes and getting compliments from the crowd.
When I asked Dan which game he considers his best, he responded thoughtfully, “Whatever game I just won!”