I am posting the below blog on the behalf of Matan Krakow.
Matan would like to express his gratitude for your continued support during event #2 of the WSOPE and hope that he can make you proud in future events!
A couple crucial moments of my back 2 back final tabling experience
Five minutes of run good in poker are all you need sometimes to take you to the top, the problem is staying there.
Thirty minutes to the end of day 1, I was around average stack at the new table that I was just moved to. Though I didn’t really know any of the players at this table, I went from feeling like the table captain at the prior, to feeling somewhat humbled compared to the big stacks surrounding me -not to speak of the beautiful Barbara Martinez right across. Little did I know, a few minutes away and almost all those beautiful chips would be mine (as well as the significant chip lead of the event).
I usually take my time getting to know the players at a new table before I get into big battles, but circumstances didn’t really give me this luxury. A few hands in, I know Barbara is kind of tilted, losing chips and getting 3-bet quite often. I also know the guy on my left has been re-raising every other hand and I have QQ.
Barbara raises from early position, it’s my turn to 3-bet her and I get 4-bet from the French dude to my left. I don’t love the situation, since 3/4s of the field is gone, we’re nearing the money, I have a good stack and he has me covered, but I’m NEVER folding. I have no problem busting, knowing I made the right play. So I commit myself by 5-betting and call his jam (all-in).
When I saw the A on the flop I knew it was over. Upset but true to myself, I began to accept my fate. And then the power of scarce probability happened. AK2, turn –J, river – 10!!!!!!!!! Holy ****, what the ****, did I just win?!
In the next few minutes, I ran over the table, playing 75% of the hands in an aggressive manner and winning 90% of them. I trapped with AA. I knocked out Barbara after hitting top pair with a better kicker. I bluffed and I value bet -I was chip leader and I could hardly sleep that night, feeling so fortunate. This is the same event I final tabled last year and I had a chance of doing something incredible by “back2backing” it.
And I did.
The final table line up was not bad for me. Roberto Romanello was the most well-known opponent there. I have a lot of respect for him but he didn’t seem to get any hands and busted shortly after the French pro (who’s QQ ran into KK).
Feeling like the most aggressive player at the table I went on a rampage leading me to a substantial chip lead when the final 3 were reached. And then those life changing few minutes happened again; this time not in my favor. I lost a flip for a 3rd of my stack, while winning would have brought me to my specialty game (HU) as a huge chip leader.
Then I went on to playing 1 hand at a crucial moment badly and losing it all…
The reason it took me a couple days to get this blog up was because I was feeling pretty depressed. Of course I can complain about nothing. I just won a side event a few days ago. I have been fortunate enough to final table this tournament 2 years in a row. I was very lucky to even be here winning with those queens, and yet I was feeling pretty lousy. And the reason is that I felt I played the last crucial hand poorly.
I had 18 big blinds in the small blind, with a player who does not like to fold to my left. After a few rounds of folding this position, I decided I’ve gained enough credibility to raise with my 78o. I assumed he would fold and I’d win or he would jam and Id fold, but he had different plans, flat call.
On a 6 8 Q, 2 hearts board I c-bet, got snap raised and a stare down. I was short, believed he was on a draw, and felt like his chip splash meant: “I’m weak so I’ll try to look strong”. So I jammed, and I truly regret that. Even if I am against a draw as I expected, I’ll be flipping. I may be short, but I’d rather get my chips in with much more fold equity and a less speculative spot.
The details of the hand are less important. What is important is the lesson learned from it. If I learned one thing from this event it’s that when you find yourself facing a big decision in poker, ask yourself this: “If I am wrong and end up losing this hand, will I feel like an idiot? Or will I feel that given the information I had, I am wholehearted with it despite the loss?”
I was foolish enough not to do so this time, but a couple days later I can wholeheartedly say I feel blessed. Blessed for running good at poker, blessed for being able to make money from my passion and most importantly for the amount of support and encouragement I received from my friends, family and my super warm and embracing work place, 888.
Stay tuned for updates about team 888 during the rest of the series here.