In early November, I was in Jacksonville to play at the World Poker Tour bestbet $3,500 re-entry event. I busted out in the early evening on the first day, then bought back in the next morning, and for the bulk of the second day I was at a table with a fairly normal distribution of professionals and amateurs. Across the table from me was a player named Todd Terry whom I've known for years through poker forums.
Terry and I first played together at a World Series of Poker event in 2007. He went on to finish second in the event, and I went on to write in my blog that he played terribly the day we sat together. I can't remember what created that impression, and I'm too lazy to go back and read the entry, but these days it's well known that Terry is a top professional and one of the most knowledgeable voices in the poker community.
During our time together at the first table, Terry and I barely played a hand together. There was one hand late in the evening where he raised in early position, another player called between us, and I re-raised in position about three times his original bet. Terry folded, and I won the pot from the other player on the turn by betting after he checked. Beyond that, we had little history when we were drawn to a new table, which proved to be this particular tournament's table of death.
In addition to Terry and myself, the new table also included Amanda Musumesci, Matt Stout, Jon Little, Chad Batista and Nick Grippo in eight. It was difficult to discern who had the worst seat on the table, but we all had the worst seats in the tournament.
Players began the tournament with 30,000, and I came to the new table somewhere in the upper 40s. By the time I played my major hand against Terry, my stack was somewhere in the low 40s. The blinds were 500-1,000 with a 100 ante, and Terry raised in early position to 2,500. With Ad Kh in late position, I made it 5,600. When it folded back to Terry, he considered his options and called.
The flop came 6s 6h 6d, and after Terry checked, I bet 4,200. He made the call, and we saw a 9c on the turn. We both checked, leading to an Ac river. Terry checked, and I bet 11,000. He thought for a moment, then announced that he was all in.
This was a difficult situation. Terry wouldn't be bluffing; he either had pocket nines or a hand containing an ace -- meaning that if I called, it would be in hopes of chopping the pot. Worse, I couldn't be sure he would shove with an ace.
Still, I had half my stack in the pot, and I thought it likely that he would shove an ace. Plus, there was already a 9 on the table. I grimaced and put the rest of my stack in, then said, "That's the one," as Terry tabled his pocket nines and dragged the pot.
I was busted, but at least I was off that table.
Tony Dunst is a poker professional who hosts the "Raw Deal" segment on World Poker Tour telecasts.