Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lee Watkinson's blowup at the Main Event

I know some of us follow the Tournament Circuit more than others (and some don't want to know results), so you can safely ignore this post if you're one of those people. But if you were interested in the WSoP Main Event and its results, I'd like to discuss the following hand.

Tacoma's own Lee Watkinson entered the WSoP Main Event Final Table last night 6th in chips. Chip counts were:
Seat 1 - Raymond Rahme - 16.32 million
Seat 2 - Alex Kravchenko - 6.57 million
Seat 3 - Lee Childs - 13.24 million
Seat 4 - Jerry Yang - 8.45 million
Seat 5 - Lee Watkinson - 9.925 million
Seat 6 - Tuan Lam - 21.315 million
Seat 7 - Philip Hilm - 22.07 million
Seat 8 - Jon Kalmar - 20.32 million
Seat 9 - Hevad 'Rain' Khan - 9.205 million

And blinds started at 120000/240000, with an ante of 30000. More importantly, Watkinson was the only pro at this table, and is widely considered by other pros to be a "pro's pro", meaning that his game is widely respected.

On hand #21, Watkinson was involved with the following hand. Everyone folded around to the blinds, and Jerry Yang, in the small blind, raised it from 240k to
to 1 million. Lee Watkinson moved all in from the big blind for 9.715 million, and Yang started deliberating for a few minutes.

Keep in mind here, Yang in the first 10 hands had already doubled his chip stack substantially and went from 8 mil at the start to 21 mil at this point. You could say his confidence was now pretty high.

Yang eventually calls, and shows {A-Spades}{9-Diamonds}. Watkinson shows {A-Clubs}{7-Hearts}.
Flop: {6-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{2-Clubs}
Turn: {K-Diamonds}
River: {J-Spades}

And Watkinson is eliminated from the tournament.

Now, my question is: If you're a pro, and the blinds aren't substantially high yet, why do you make this move? Is there any excuse for this? Watkinson's image is tight, and he's known for making good reads and laydowns, but in this case, it went from battle of the blinds->SB raise to 1 mil->Watkinson overshoves with 9 mil->amateur calls. Can anyone really feel so good about A7 off? Even if he's just making a move there for the $1 mil small blind, I'd actually rather have two numbered cards, just to have the higher possibility of live cards if you actually get called.

I realize that almost any other raise from Watkinson in this case essentially commits him (1 mil -> say, to 3 mil is 1/3rd of his stack) but why not just fold here? He only has the big blind invested. Is this a case of spotlight shell-shock, brain fart, gutsy play, bad read, something else, or any combination of the above? Really, as the only pro, he had more ability and experience than anyone else at the table, and instead, looked like he was playing an amateur's kind of game.


jtrey333 said...

Btw, I copied the cards in from a tournament results website, I don't know how to make those cards by alpha-code. Can Mac users see it?

Bob Loblaw said...

Yep, looks good. And it also turns out that the previous problem I was having is only a problem on my home computer, which may be because it's older, or doesn't have the right font, or something like that. Either way, I like these card images you've posted better!

jtrey333 said...

Nice. I don't know how often I'm going to be using these cards, though if everyone can see them, they *do* look better, imo.

jtrey333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Yeah, I saw that hand and was like, WTF? I was, like most, rooting for Scotty or Lee, so I was very annoyed that he went out like that.

He may have just had a read that Yang was weak and could not call an all-in.

Ultimately, he was right...Yang was weak, and by no rights should have called with A9o in that spot.

That being said, how many times have you said to yourself in a hand, "I think he's weak, and can't call a big raise here, but I'm lightly invested, I'll wait for a better spot," and then folded?

That's what Lee should have done, here, although he made a move that should have worked. Risking doubling up the most dangerous player at the table by calling an all-in w/A9o? That's an awful call that worked out, not a good call at all.

jsola said...

I think Ryan hit it on the head. He probably read Yang for weakness (correctly) and decided 1 million chips would be pretty sweet in his stack. It didn't work because Yang is kind of dumb and decided to gamble half of his stack on a crappy hand.

Oh yeah, and I was getting the messed up symbols in firefox on my macbook as well, so it's not just you, Royal.

Marshall said...

I agree with Joe here, he just saw that 1M and was pretty interested in it. But you have to know your players, and Yang seemed like a dumbass. He seemed like a big enough dumbass to call off a bunch of chips with A9. I blame Lee all the way for this crap play.

Also, I use Firefox on my MacBook also, and I got the lines before, but these new symbols that Jeh is using show up and work great.

jtrey333 said...

While I agree that the A9 call was a d0nkey call, it was the kind of hand that Yang had shown that he was going to play with. For those that didn't follow the action, a bit more background: In the first 20 hands, Yang had played in about half of them, and in the process, busted the chip leader going into the final table. The seats are barely warm, and he busts the chip leader! The guy is feeling practically invincible at this point, and of all the players, you're going to make a move on him?!

I just think that because Watkinson is a pro, he's gotta know what his opponents are capable of. And he had to know that Yang was capable of calling with a huge range: basically any two face cards, Ax, and any pocket pair. With A7, and a pretty good chance he was going to get called, why would he leave it up to, at best, a coin flip? Even if Yang called with A2-A6 (best case scenario for Lee), A7 is 48% to win, A2-A6 is roughly 23% to win, and it's 31% to chop. With any two face cards, A7 is a slight favorite (again, why leave it to essentially a coin flip), and we know the rest of the percentages.

I just think Lee's play was even worse, knowing that his opponent is likely to call. He played down to Yang (and the others) level, leaving so much up to luck. IMO, Lee had an advantage, and just didn't use it.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Well I've played in way fewer tourneys than Lee I'm sure so maybe he knows something that we don't? To us it may look like a "he's on a heater, stay out of his way" but Lee may have read it as "he's going to have to have to fold one of these". Whatever the reasoning for the push, I want to play devil's avocado and look at it from Yang's perspective. What are the range of hands that someone would overbet-push with that I'm behind? Probably not *pushing* with any of the highest pockets AA-JJ, maybe TT or 99 also. Probably not *pushing* in that situation with AK, AQ, or AJ. So Yang is most likely up against a lower pair for a coinflip, lower Ace for domination, or two face cards and a slight lead. I think if Lee re-raised to 3 mil then that would have sent a more clear message of strength that Yang could have let go. In the end I just think Yang thought that Lee was making a move (which he kinda was) and called. Yang *is* a psychologist ya know.

Either way, I agree that hand probably shouldn't have happened at all from one side or the other.