Poker Guy | Don't go wild on the first day of a tourney

Posted: September 21, 2007

HARD POKER rule: You can't win a big buy-in tournament on the first day, but you can lose it.

That's something to remember when

you're dealt aces, especially when some scary cards hit the board.

In the first level of the $15,000-buy-in Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2006, with blinds at $50-$100, accomplished pro David Grey drew pocket aces and open-raised to $400 from middle position.

"I don't limp in with aces too often," said Grey, who made the final table of the World Series of Poker main event in 2003, the year Chris Moneymaker won it. "I might limp in from the first position, but once a few guys have folded, I wouldn't limp in."

T.J. Cloutier, a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, called from the cutoff.

The flop came 4-8-6, two diamonds. Grey bet $800, almost the size of the pot. Cloutier called.

"He could have anything," said Grey, part of the Full Tilt Poker online team. "He said he had two 10s, but he didn't have two 10s for sure because he would've definitely raised on the flop.

"He's not calling on the flop with two 10s, thinking I had him beat and hoping to get lucky to catch a 10 in that situation. He'd raise to figure out where he is right there. But he just called, which meant he could've had diamonds, he could've had a small pair, he could've had A-K."

The turn came the 7 of spades, putting a fourth straight card on the board.

"I didn't see any value in betting there because I could be drawing dead," said Grey, a WSOP bracelet winner. "He's calling to represent that he has something to do with that flop, and now another card that connects to that flop comes.

"I don't want to bet if I can't call if he raises. If I had bet $1,500 or the size of the pot and he raised $6,000, he knows that if I don't have a straight, I can't call. But now when I check, he might be worried I have a straight or who-knows-what."

Cloutier checked behind Grey. The river came the ace of diamonds, adding flush possibilities to the straight cards. Both players checked. Grey's aces took the pot. "At the beginning when the blinds are small and the antes are small . . . I'm not going to go broke on the first or second level with an overpair after the flop when there's a whole day to play and a lot of people haven't even gotten here yet."

Table talk

Open-raise: To be the first player to voluntarily enter the pot for more than the minimum bet of the big blind. *

Send e-mail to:

srosenbloom@tribune.com.

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