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Cheong's aggression giveth and taketh away at WSOP Main Event

7 Nov 2010

By Aaron Todd
Right from the first level of play in Saturday's World Series of Poker Main Event, Joseph Cheong displayed fearless aggression. He raised and reraised nearly half of the pots. He took down pots preflop. He made huge, cleverly disguised value bets on the river when he held the nuts. And that aggression confused opponents and led him to a chip lead late in the tournament, with just three players remaining.

However, that same aggression turned out to be his undoing, as he went from chipleader to third place in the span of just a few hands.

Holding nearly 45 percent of the chips in play, and with Jonathan Duhamel not far behind in second, Cheong six-bet all in with ace-seven only to see Duhamel call him with pocket queens.

"Jonathan is a really aggressive player," said Cheong. "He had been three-betting me a lot, I'd been four-betting a lot, so the whole dynamic set up for it to be a good place for me to ship, especially when he had 60 million behind, he could easily five-bet fold to me. And there's also the fact that (John) Racener had about 20 million on the side, so I thought he might fold a lot of better aces."

Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Duhamel locked horns in a number of epic hands on Saturday.

Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Duhamel locked horns in a number of epic hands on Saturday. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Cheong lost the hand and just a few hands later made a hasty exit from the tournament. He insisted, however, that he would likely make the same move in the same situation.

"I feel like I played well," said Cheong. "It kind of sucks that it didn't turn out better, but I'm happy with my results. I can't really complain with (more than $4.1 million)."

Cheong, who pals around with a group of young online poker pros, is used to playing in front of his friends, but having his family at the table was a new experience.

"My family mostly stays in (California)," said Cheong. "They have other things to do. But it made it a lot more exciting to have (my family) there. My mom looked like she was going to have a heart attack every time I was all in."

Cheong, however, was cool as a cucumber. Even when facing elimination, he and Duhamel traded smiles and hand shakes, and while he was disappointed that he wouldn't get the opportunity to play heads up for the title, Cheong was already looking at the positive side of things just minutes after being eliminated in third.

"The $4 million really boosted my confidence," said Cheong. "Now I don't have to worry about losing a buy-in here or there."
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