Wild-man reputation provides a payoff
At the poker table, I have a reputation for being a crazy man. Maybe it’s the fact that I live in a tent near an airfield so that I can skydive any time I want. Or maybe it’s because early in my poker career, I would bet just about any hand in any situation.
I’ve tightened my game and am a much better player now. But my opponents still see me as the crazy guy — which works well for me now that I’m no longer playing that way.
At t he $1,100- entry WPTDeepStacks Main Event at the Win-River Resort and Casino in Redding, California, last November, I had chipped up from the verge of elimination to 50-60 big blinds, giving me ammunition to play more Darrell Dier’s hand: aggressively. With blinds at 10,000-20,000, I was on the button with Ah 10s. I raised to 44,000. In the big blind, Dann Turner, a quality cash game player, called.
The flop came 10d 8c 7h, which was great for me. The only thing making me nervous was the straight draw. Any 9 was now playable, and at a four-handed table, the range of opening hands was significantly increased, so Turner could have had just about anything. But with my reputation, I also could have had just about anything. Flop:
Turner checked. I bet 65,000. If I’m in a heads-up pot and I’m the preflop raiser, I have to look for a reason not to continuationbet, because it’s so effective — especially late in events, when people are looking to cash higher and will get out of a hand rather than risk their entire tournament. He called.
The turn was a 4h that brought a long-shot flush draw. It was a pretty inconsequential card, allowing for backdoor outs that were possible but unlikely. He checked. I bet 165,000. He Turn: called.
With Turner check-calling on the flop, this card changed nothing for him unless he had 5-6, but it was unlikely he’d just check the flop with that hand. I thought he could have had 10-9, 8-9, any kind of pair or a straight draw. If he had a stronger hand, he would have check-raised. Instead, he check-called. Maybe Turner had a good value hand that he could call every street, but I had top pair, top kicker, and that’s tough to beat four-handed.
The river was a 7d that River: paired the board. Turner checked. I bet 420,000. I had about 850,000 at that point. He had me covered by a little bit. If I shoved all in, I probably wasn’t getting called. I wanted to size my bet so that if he re-raised all in, I could fold and still leave myself a workable stack.
Turner thought for about three minutes and was shaking his head. At that point, I knew I was good. The only hand I was worried about was 7-9, but if he had that, he wouldn’t have taken so long. He called, flipping over Js 10c. He had top pair with a busted gutshot. He’d called hoping to catch a bluff. But I didn’t have a bluff; I had the better hand.
I’m still using my reputation for being crazy to my advantage. Turner stayed in because he thought I might play just about any two cards.
Winning this pot gave me 40 percent of the chips in play, and I was able to pick my spots and put pressure on everyone en route to winning the championship. I have my reputation to thank for that. People haven’t adjusted to what I’ve done. Let’s not let them in on our secret. Darrell Dier has won more than $325,000 playing in live action tournaments. He has captured three DeepStacks Poker Tour titles.