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Diary of a Professional Poker Player: Maybe We’ll Make Something

by Paul Hewson
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WPT Montreal

WPT Montreal wasn’t kind to Paul Hewson this year – until it was. Before heading to our top-rated online poker rooms, let’s take a look at how much money our embedded poker pro walks away with.

Monday, May 20

Event No. 9 is the $1,000 Mystery Bounty, and it’s my biggest buy-in of the festival.

The bounties don’t kick in until the field is whittled down to the Top 20%, at which point the bounty portion of the pool is divided into prizes as small as $500, with one $25,000 bounty for whoever opens the lucky envelope – thus the mystery.

Those bounties are even more mysterious to me because I didn’t make it past Level 4. The cards gave me almost nothing to work with; there was one mildly interesting hand where I got it all in pre with AKs, and the guy next to me, with poker/octopus tattoos all over his arm and Nick Cave playing in his ears, had AKo. We chopped.

I kept folding and chipping down, using Cave performing “From Her to Eternity” in Wings of Desire as my own mental soundtrack, until I shoved AJs from the hijack with 9M left. Got called by pockets Kings, Ace in the window, King in the door. What did I do to offend the poker gods?

Tuesday, May 21

Whatever it was, they’re not done with me yet.

Event No. 11, the $600 Bounty Multiplier (similar structure to yesterday’s event, but each bounty is $1,000), was somehow even worse. We were in the main poker room instead of the sweltering festival tent, so that was nice, but they were playing “New Country” music on the PA. I’d rather have been cooking in my own sweat.

I didn’t have to endure it for long. I got dealt a fair number of medium-strength hands, but had to fold most of them pre-flop or after missing the flop. I did manage to run a minor bluff through once; otherwise, the action and the textures just weren’t right.

The killer hand this time, once again in Level 4, was me reshipping 77 and 10M over what turned out to be KJs. Can I win a flip? Not today, apparently – King in the window, bupkes in the door. Calgon, take me away.

Wednesday, May 22

It’s the last day of the festival. There is no hot water in my building this morning, which I decided to take as a sign of impending good luck. Why not. As I’ve discovered over the years, it’s all about how you frame things.

We’re back inside the main poker room for Event No. 13, another generic $300 NLHE tourney, and they’re still playing New Country, but it’s not as loud this time – I can block it out for the most part. Even when they play that Luke Combs cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

This is indeed my lucky day. I chip up early and often, from 20K to 30K to 40K; stacks are deep enough at the start of this live turbo for me to open or call all those tasty speculative hands that I had to fold yesterday. And the flop hits my range just about every time.

I’m surprised how tough this table is. Lots of hardened pros here, or at least that’s the appearance they give. Two of them in particular are quite salty, especially the older of the two. He’s trying all the angles against me: the fake fold, the fake call, you name it.

I wasn’t going to bite, of course. I’ve developed a very calm and composed poker persona with as little speech and movement as possible – somewhere between Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger and Justin Bonomo, but closer to the former. Go ahead, buddy, shoot all the angles you want. You bemuse me.

He folds a medium-sized pot to me and continues his miserable existence. Get well soon, sir. Remember what I said about framing.

After about six hours or so, I come back from a break and get dealt KK. Early limper, call, call…. and the somewhat short stack to my right shoves. I look at everyone else’s stack, re-shove, no callers. My opponent has J8. I hold.

I’ve been here so long now, they’re playing “Fast Car” again. And I’m almost in the money; the Top 12 make it in out of the 90 or so who entered. We’re down to three tables… two tables… I lose about half my chips calling a river bet with pocket Eights, after my opponent hits the turn and the river to make Two Pair with 76s.

No problem – I still have about 6M, and all I have to do is fold a few times before the bubble bursts. Which it does when Mr. Misery gets knocked out, cursing his fate the whole way.

Huzzah! Now I can skillfully wield my short stack… all in with AJo from the cut-off, the big blind has AA, and I’m out for a min-cash of just over $600.

And that’s how my poker odyssey ends. Ot at least this chapter of it. These past few days weren’t easy on the soul, and that min-cash won’t nearly cover my costs for this trip. But it helps, as does the $300 I won in bounties.

We’ll meet again, poker gods. Don’t know where, don’t know when. Now play my music!

You got a fast car

I want a ticket to anywhere

Maybe we make a deal

Maybe together we can get somewhere…

author avatar
Paul Hewson
Paul Hewson (not that one) is a poker player/writer from the Pacific Northwest, appearing on the World Poker Tour, MILLIONS Tour and the WSOP Circuit series. Hewson is the senior writer for the Bodog Poker family; Texas Hold’em is his specialty, with side hustles in 8-Game and Badugi. He’s an Abe Limon Guy.

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