By the time you get down to the final two tables at the 2013 World Series of Poker, you figure you've seen everything. Turns out you haven't.
I played a hand against Anton Morgenstern, and when the cards were flipped over, I was shocked.
Morgenstern raised, and I called with 2h 2d. I was looking to flop a set: It was as simple as that. When he raised preflop, it was hard to put him on anything, but I was hoping he had an ace.
Everyone folded to his raise, and I got lucky on the flop when it came Ah As 2s. Morgenstern then made a continuation bet with a standard raise, and I decided to just call.
I thought that if he didn't have an ace, he might fold if I raised him right away. If he did have an ace and I raised, he would have just called. I was slow-playing my hand to try to win a bigger pot. My smooth-call was the right play in that situation.
The turn was the 3h. Morgenstern bet 750,000. With a bet of that size, it still didn't mean he had anything. I thought that he could have just been trying to apply pressure, but that he could also have an ace. I decided to raise to 2 million, and I was a bit surprised when he raised me to 3.9 million.
I paused for a moment and considered the possibility that my hand was no good. He realistically could have had A-3. My raise on the turn was a very strong one. When he raised me again, it suggested that he had at minimum A-K or pocket 3s. I thought there was a chance that I was behind, but my hand was too strong for me to let go of it.
If he had me beat, then he had me beat. I decided to move all in. Morgenstern called and turned over Ac Jc. The river card was a harmless 4c, and I managed to take the chip lead in the tournament by scooping the pot.
I was very surprised to see what he was holding. I felt that he overplayed his hand. The reraise on the turn was, in my opinion, an awful play on his part. He should have just called me down. When he three-bet the turn, I could have been bluffing, or, more realistically, could have had him beat.
When I four-bet him on the turn, it was almost impossible for me to be bluffing, I didn't have enough chips for fold equity. He was basically drawing dead, based on my chip count and my previous play.
This was a spot where it seemed as if an otherwise great player sort of lost his thinking process in a hand and blew up. I don't know what was going through his mind. It was close to impossible for him to have the best hand. However, it might be worth noting that I had just played several big pots against him, and he may have been tilting a bit.
The take-away lesson is that you can never let previous hands affect your emotions. Always be conscious of what is going on in a hand, and don't get too carried away.
Sometimes you just have to forget about the chips you've invested in a pot and let go of a hand.
Mark Newhouse is a professional poker player living in Los Angeles and playing at the Commerce Casino. He is part of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event "November Nine" and will be playing for $8.5 million at the final table next month.