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Three Barrel Bluff

Day 5 was both exciting and brutal for me on the feature table at this year's WSOP main event. After spending 24 days in the field getting filmed 24/7 on Survivor China, I was going to be as comfortable under the cameras as Daniel Negranu, and I could hope that this would put several of the players a little bit off of their game. However, my table was stacked with talent and I was unfamiliar with most of the players. As soon as the table draws are released that morning (sometimes the night before), I study up on my opponents and learn of their experience and successes. The only non-pro at my table (Robinson) was actually playing very tight (probably because he was short stacked).

When Bolavar Polacios showed up at my table with those goofy glasses and a huge stack, I was licking my lips like a lion eye-balling an extra fat and juicy gazelle. I wanted to immediately pick on him to start a personal battle with a man I believed was a boisterous non-pro. I was hoping to entice him to mix it up with me throughout the day. I would later find out that he is a Panamanian pro, and, based both on how he played this hand and by what I have been told, a very good player.

I elected to 3-bet Polacios with K-J suited, trying to rep a much stronger hand. When he called my continuation bet on the 843 board, I felt he was relatively weak, holding a hand like a big Ace (AK-AJ) or a small pair (33, 66, 77). I incorrectly decided that I could buy this pot on the turn when the T showed up, as he was holding two Queens. Once he tank-called my huge bet on the turn, I was done with the hand.

Again, I believed he was an amateur and never imagined he would fold to a river shove after calling that monster turn bet. He correctly checked behind me with his QQ. We both knew the only hand I could pay him off with, that did not beat him, would be if I held JJ (maybe 99).

Knowing that he is a pro would have alerted me to a few other possibilities--including that he might be slow-playing a monster--but more importantly, that I might fold him out to a river-shove. In that moment, this was not even an option since the "donkey with the goofy glasses" in front of me was simply not folding (remember my "Don't bluff the Donkey" speech?) Had I known he is a pro, I would have known that he would be capable of making a big lay-down on the river. He did tell me after the hand that he would have called me with QQ, but I can tell you that today I don't believe him.

It takes a very special individual to pull off a 3-barrel bluff in a deep stack tournament. So often it can mean the end of a run. I tend to believe someone by this 3rd statement. I'm always super impressed by someone who has the heart to pull it off, successful or not. You may consider showing me a 3rd-barrel bluff in a tournament one day, but I recommend that you choose someone else as your victim, as I am likely to pick you off.

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