Home Poker Diary of a Professional Poker Player: Satellites Gone Up to the Skies

Diary of a Professional Poker Player: Satellites Gone Up to the Skies

by Paul Hewson
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WPT Poker Player

With a prestigious trophy on the line, Paul Hewson made some interesting decisions at the poker table. Did he redeem himself?

Let’s see what he’s up to. Maybe you could apply some of what he’s learned to your online poker games.


there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out

– Charles Bukowski, “Bluebird” (c. 1992)


Thursday, May 16

As promised, it’s time for one of those $400 satellites to the WPT Montreal Championship. I arrive about 45 minutes ahead of the 6 PM start, grab a decaf, and breathe. All is well.

And off we go. Right away, I double up when I get dealt 87s in the big blind. Under the gun open-raises, I call, and the flop is 87x (can’t remember the third card, but it wasn’t closely connected). I check, he bets, I call. Turn is an Ace – perfect. I check, he bets, I raise, he calls. River is a King, I jam, he calls, I show my Two Pair, he shows AJ.

My stack keeps going up from there. I’m getting dealt lots of AK and AQ, and a smattering of QQ. Pretty soon, I’m up from 20K to 60K in chips. The target for this Milestone satellite is 240K. If you want to win, this is how hot you have to run.

Then… nothing. Dry. Desert. Desiccation. I spend the next few hours working on my folding technique from Seat 8, to the point where I can scoot my cards directly in front of the Dealer. And I’m not even left-handed.

Sometime just after midnight, I’m down to between 5-6M (yes, I use the M-ratio, so should you), and I’m in the big blind with K2s, in Spades. Early position opens, two callers, small blind folds, and it’s on me. It’s a speculative hand, but the price is right and I’m desperate, so I call.

Flop is Q7x with two Spades, and the bluebird in me decides this would be a lovely time to pull off the old stop-and-go move. Into three players. On a board that smashes their collective calling range.

I jam, early position folds, the other two call – one has 77, the other has Q7. My overcard King is no good, but I can still win with a Spade that doesn’t pair the board. None arrives.

Did I just punt this satellite? It feels like it, but maybe not? I had a flush draw and an overcard, and some fold equity with the jam despite being short. There were just under 60 players left, Top 27 would win seats and No. 28 would win just under $3,000. Hmm.

It was too late to catch the last bus out of Kahnawake, so I had the entirety of my $70 cab ride home to think about it. Back in the day, I would have plugged this scenario into the ICMIZER program, but I gave up all that stuff about five years ago. I’m a “feel” player now. I change gears. Or maybe the bluebird does.

Friday, May 17

My other client finally paid me, so my odyssey continues with the last satty into the main event, also a 6 PM start. And I double up early with AA in the big blind, going all-in pre vs. JJ. Life is good.

Until it isn’t. Now I’m the one under the gun with AJo versus the big blind, in a single-raised pot that had two other callers if I recall correctly. Flop is A44, I bet, those callers folded, BB calls. Turn is another 4, check-check. I don’t remember the river, but he checks, and I seriously consider checking back – he’s the one with the “nut advantage,” given that I’m unlikely to have a Four.

I didn’t check. I bet, he jammed, I called, and he showed 43o. Didn’t even have the decency to call with something reasonable like A4s. Ayoye.

I still have about 12 big blinds at this point. Before I can translate that to M, I get dealt 77, early player open-raises, I jam, he calls with JJ. Here comes the flop: There’s a Seven in the window – and a Jack in the door. I’m toast on Level 4. At least I don’t have to take a cab this time.

No shiny trophies for Paul Hewson. But there are more tournaments to be played. Looking at my poker/work situation, I’m going to regretfully skip the two 6 PM tourneys on Saturday and Sunday, including the lone Pot-Limit Omaha event on the schedule. I love PLO, dang it.

Instead, we’ve got tournaments starting at 11 AM or noon to play on each of the last three days of WPT Montreal. Stay tuned; I’ll be pouring decaf on my bluebird and inhaling St. Viateur bagels in the meantime.

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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