Monday, July 21, 2008

The Aftermath

The last few days have been really hectic. I got maybe 2 hours sleep before my flight and felt pretty terrible until I finally got a little extra sleep on the plane. When I got home I tried to quickly catch up a bit on reading all the congratulations from friends, family, and well, basically everyone. My phone was constantly vibrating alerting me of another text message or phone call I had missed, there were threads hundreds of posts long on all the poker forums I read, and countless e-mails and Facebook wall posts. It was really kind of overwhelming to hear from so many friends and family in such a short period all saying how happy they were for me. After that I went to a little party with my sister and some friends which was a lot of fun. As exhausted as I was I'm glad it wasn't anything too crazy. Still, I didn't get home until 4am and between talking to people online and reading some more of the threads i didn't get to sleep until 6.

At 1pm on Saturday I was awoken by my friend Cam informing me he was on his way to kidnap me. Before I was abducted I decided to check my account balance and see if the wire transfer had arrived yet. Sure enough, even with the 30% withholding because I`m Canadian that I can`t file to get back until next year, as well as a few other deductions like Bond`s 5%, I still had a 7-figure balance. I just felt like including that because I've got to get a solid brag in here somewhere. Anyways, again my phone was buzzing all day, and I did a few more phone interviews and talked to even more friends and family. Otherwise we had a fun relaxing day and then we partied pretty hard all night. Again I woke up still tired and got some brunch before making my way home. Today I`ve been making my best effort to send thank you`s to everyone who has sent me congratulations. I haven`t quite gotten through all of them but I`m getting there. If for whatever reason I haven`t gotten to you yet or somehow I missed you, just know that I really appreciate it. I also booked a flight back to St. John`s for Wednesday because I've got to go see my parents and all my friends there. I'm really looking forward to it because Newfoundlanders are always especially proud when one of our own accomplishes something big like this, apparently it's been huge news there and it's going to be great to get back and see everyone. Also we do kind of know how to party a little bit.

At the risk of making this an exceptionally long post I do want to finish my write-up of the key hands of the tournament just for the sake of completeness and in case some of you just can't "wait to see it on TV". I'll start with day 4:

Hand 1: 12k/24k a3k Benyamine limps the SB and I raise 50K more in the BB with AJo. He calls and the flop comes JT3 all spades. He checks and I decide to check behind (I don't have a spade). Certainly betting here is the more standard and probably slightly better play but there's plenty of merit in playing it this way too. The turn pairs the 3, and he leads huge for 180K. This bet seems really strong to me but I have a huge hand considering the action so far so I'm obviously not folding. I call and the river is the 9c. He checks and I decide to go for a huge value bet that I`m hoping he will perceive as a bluff. I bet 450K and he quickly calls with JTo. Oops. I don`t think I like my big bet considering his bet size on the turn but I also can`t really imagine checking this hand behind.

Hand 2: Glen Chorny has the button in Seat 7 and Mike Watson raises to 66,000 from the cut off. Chorny reraises 180,000 total and Per Ummer asks how much he has left. Chorny informs him he has around 490,000 and Ummer folds. Watson thinks for a minute or two before moving all-in and Chorny quickly calls.

Chorny has AA and Watson is behind with 1010. The flop comes K53 and the aces are still ahead, but a 10 on the turn gives Watson his set and leaves Chorny drawing to two outs. The river is the 5 and Chorny is eliminated in 14th place. Watson is up to 2,350,000.

He had shoved on my button raise the hand before and I muttered something about how I should have known that was coming eventually as I folded. Most players are not reraising you light the 2nd time in a row because they don`t expect you to believe them as much when they`ve done it twice in a row and his bet-sizing also looks really strong. On the other hand I have TT in steal position against a 28xBB stack. Gross spot I think I probably should have folded but I executed the play bad run good system instead.

Hand 3: Mike Watson has the button in seat 6, Gabe Thaler raises to 70,000 from under the gun, Mike Watson reraises to 220,000, and Adam Geyer moves all in for 860,000. Thaler folds, and Watson calls. Watson shows AK and Geyer shows AQ. The board comes KJ254 and Geyer is eliminated in 13th place earning $64,640. Mike Watson runs his stack up to 3,500,000.

I`m not really sure why he moved in here. Gabe was playing very solid and it`s really unlikely I would reraise light here. I think he actually moved in for 860K more not total but anyways I just can`t fold because I know for sure he would never fold AK or QQ there and I`m getting the right price against that range, and while I didn`t know enough about him to really think he was shoving light I was at least aware that it was a possibility.

Hand 4: Hand #104 - David Benyamine has the button in seat 5, John Phan raises from the cutoff to 240,000, Mike Watson reraises from the big blind to 700,000, and Phan calls. The flop comes K42, Watson bets 1 million, and Phan tanks for nearly 10 minutes before Gabe Thaler calls the clock on him.

With about 10 seconds left, Phan reveals his cards and indicates a fold. Phan folded QQ face up. Mike Watson doesn't show his cards as he collects the pot.

I had Q3o. There was a hand shortly before this where Phan made a huge open raise to 400K (5xbb) in the SB and showed Benyamine QQ after David folded. I knew that meant for whatever reason he did not want to play a big pot before we got to the final TV table so I decided I was going to make a play on him preflop if I got the chance. He thought forever and then called which really surprised me. I thought he was just doing his usual routine and never really thought he`d actually call. I felt like he had a hand like JJ or TT a lot so when the king flops I think it`s pretty automatic to fire again and the longer he took the better I began to feel that he was going to fold.

At the final table I mostly just coolered the hell out of everyone. The only big pot I can remember where I didn`t show my hand was this one:

Hand 5: Mike Watson has the button, he raises to 400,000, and Benyamine calls. The flop comes 7d 4c 2c, and both players check. The turn card is the 10h, Benyamine bets 700,000, and Watson calls. The river card is the Jc, Benyamine bets 1.4 million, Watson thinks for a bit before he moves all in for a total of roughly 5.3 million, and Benyamine goes into the tank for more than a minute before he folds. Mike Watson takes the pot.

I had 98o here.

OK this has gotten pretty long and I should get a good sleep. I really have no idea what`s next for me. For the time being I`m just going to keep taking things as they come and enjoy the moment.



Progger said...

Congrats Mike! Very nice recap on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the win man, if you have any idea when this going to get put on television can you let us know.

TODD said...


Colin said...

Congrats on your win Mike!! It is really good to see a fellow Newfie and mathematiciian win a major title in the poker world. I have been following your exploits and reading your blog ever since I seen an article in the Telegram last year and noticed you on the World Cup of Poker. Even though I play as a hobby I am still dogging it here in Hamilton at McMaster...good luck in the looks like it will be bright.

Colin said...

By the way..I recognized you from NSERC while at MUN and your dad taught me as well.

dnesan said...

I'm so sad that the QQ vs Q3 hand didn't happen at the final table, I desperately want to hear Mike Sexton call that hand, he'd probably black out midway through.

Congrats again Watson, I've been lurking on this blog for a while, but this kind of awesome deserves actual comments.


Anonymous said...

A deserving title for a classy player. Probably the best player born in the year of the rat.


Pud's Poker said...

Great result and way to go having a seven figure bank balance! I wouldn't mind a four figure one right now!