I should have been out of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event late in day seven.
We were on Level 32. The blinds were 100,000-200,000 with a 30,000 ante. I got into a hand with J.C. Tran, someone I have played against often, and I made a bad call. I should have been out. I'm not.
I looked down at Jh 10c and raised to 425,000 from the hijack, or to the right of the cutoff position. Tran called in the cutoff position, and the big blind also called.
The flop came 10s Jd 5s, and the big blind checked to me. I bet 475,000, which was a good move for me. It was a continuation bet, fairly small, and it looked fairly weak. Tran called, and the big blind folded.
The turn was an Ad. This was one of the worst cards in the deck for me, a horrible card. There were so many hands that had me beat at this point. I decided to check to Tran, and he bet 935,000 into me. I called.
There was roughly 2.5 million in the pot after the turn, and at this point, against Tran specifically, I should have been out of the hand. He had been playing me pretty conservatively all day. We are friends at and away from the table, and I was almost certain he had me beat. But I made a bad call; against most players, that wouldn't have been true. My hand went from looking like almost the nuts on the flop to, once he bet on the turn, practically worthless. But I ignored my instinct and decided to see what he would do on the river.
The river came a 3d. It was a card that didn't change much. I checked to Tran again, and he bet 2 million, roughly half the pot. At this point, I knew that my hand couldn't beat anything, and so I decided to lay down my hand.
Tran showed pocket fives. He had me beat the whole way. I thought he may have made two pair or a straight on the turn. Luckily, he decided to slow-play his hand. If he had raised me on the flop, there was no way I could have gotten away from the hand, and it would have busted me.
In retrospect, I am very lucky the ace came on the turn. It saved me — I was able to get away from the hand and stay alive. I made a mistake in calling his bet on the turn and should have laid down my hand at that point. You can get "married" to a hand and ignore your intuition too many times. In judging the way Tran had been playing me all day, I should have known that he had me beat after the flop. I chose to call his bet and lost the minimum amount there. After the ace came on the turn, I knew I was beaten.
Sometimes, the worst card in the deck for you can also be the luckiest card in the deck for you. I went on to make the final table of the 2013 Main Event.
Mark Newhouse is a professional poker player living in Los Angeles. He is part of the 2013 WSOP Main Event "November Nine" and will be playing for $8.5 million at the final table in November.