So far a largely unsmiling bunch, though nobody is obviously hostile (you'd be surprised in poker tournaments how many people turn up in a terrible mood DETERMINED to have some sort of argument with someone). I've done little but limp and fold in the first level. Standard Kevin. 117/120 at 75/150.
First small pot won. Loosening them up a little bit.
My 5c 6c got there to make a straight vs some old rock's 77 on a 278 flop. I would feel bad but as said before, I do kind of play poker a little outside the box, and this is how you accumulate chips in these things. He took it pretty well, even though I busted him, and as previously pointed out, I mess around and joke and chat at the table a lot, but in spots like that when I win I say very little. Being a dick when you outdraw someone really isn't a cool thing to do. Ever.
We hit level 5 and 140/174 remain.
Up to 48K. My Israeli friend at the table has got his chips back to normal and has stabilised after a fashion. I've generally left him alone now for a bit. People are now chattier and looser, largely as a result of my diatribe, which is how we like it.
Level 6 and little to say except a pretty Dutch girl just joined up. She proceeds to dust off 20K of a 30K stack on a 10 Q K 6 board with...A8 against KQ. River bricks and the KQ receives an early Xmas present courtesy of her. I'm still on around 48K and splashing about quite a bit, playing the poker I like best, talking and raising. Average is 33K.
Approaching level 7, and the table dynamic has become very weird. One kid just called me preflop, on the flop, the turn and the river with 33. The board read K J 10 8 6. He was winning yes, but even so it's a head scratcher. He's filed away under "value bets" in my mind for later on. Back to 40K at the next break.
It's become a no fold 'em Hold 'Em table, which is kind of commonplace in poker nowadays of course. All the smart kids are doing it, and they clearly know everything. The key for me however, is to adjust and extract value from the fact most people can't see past their own hands. 135/200 and I'm still over average.
I find KK in the big blind (I know, hard to play yeah?), and an aggressive player who I have already told I will send skint if he keeps playing pots with me, makes it 1200 to go at 75/250/500. The Israeli player thinks and flats the 1200. Folds to my big blind and I make it 5200 by throwing out a 5K chip along with two 100 blacks. Now in these spots, although I always talk at the table and am happy to exploit people's weaknesses, I would never obviously shoot an angle by throwing in the 5K and then hamming it up with a speech. It's borderline.
However, if other people spot an opportunity and now think they can exploit me and any mistakes I might make, then who am I to stop them? It's open season. Please note, I have said nothing whatsoever to influence the action. I have simply let their greed take over.
The original bettor thinks (note, thinks) he catches a slight flicker in me as I throw in the 5200, like maybe it was a mistake on my part. He tanks for a while, and then moves all-in for about 22K.
The Israeli guy now is in a spot, but he also then shoves, hoping that he is also right, that I made an error, and that the original bettor has shoved trying to isolate me and exploit it. The Israeli has QQ, and he also shoves trying to exploit the original exploiter (stay with me). I call. Over we go, and clench everything.
Original bettor: 33
An Ace flops but luckily no-one is home with one of those. I fade the rest, and up to 87K I go. I'm normally very chipper, but there's never a good moment to gloat when you've won the pot, though of course most plebs think a hand clap or a fist pump and a "yes!" is acceptable etiquette (it's not). The original bettor busts out, and the crippled QQ player is also gone shortly afterwards. Chalk up one for the good guys.
I maintain pressure, and later find 2 callers when I raise with 10c 8c.
Flop 6d 7h 9d. Bingo. I make this stuff look easy.
I bet way too much, and get one caller. The turn is the 3h.
I fire again and he now jams. That'll do nicely. I call. He flips over 54. He was drawing dead, and luckily for me, he got there.
171K at the dinner break. Average chips is 51K, and 110/221 remain. Bossing the table and playing well. The plan is to cruise to day 2 and take tomorrow off to play golf! Let's try to run up a huge stack today, and avoid a repeat performance of this spot a few days ago, where it nearly all went sour when I lost every hand with a big stack for 2 straight hours.
I've raised and called a few, missed every flop in the process, however the first hand was the only one that really stung. Still on a very comfy 140K at 100/500/1000.
Level 11 and the old guy on my left has had KK and QQ back to back and doubled up virtually twice. The two players on my left are dreadful, but that also makes them highly unpredictable, and necessitates treading carefully at this point to avoid bleeding chips.
I raise to 2700 with 99, and a guy fidgets around and then makes it 5400. I muck my hand for the min-raise, and show him, and then tell him I think he has Aces. He laughs and tells me my reads are bad...and shows me KK. How we all laughed at the table. Jolly japes.
Level 12 and I'm back to 162K again, mostly with well timed bluffs. The 33 kid has now busted, which wasn't a huge surprise. Whilst of course I'm generalising, in my experience, any guys who play poker who have tattoos on their arms involving playing cards (normally the Ace of Spades) tend to vastly overrate their own ability, have too much testosterone, and invariably get a big stack and then murder it. This is what happened on this occasion, when he outdrew me with the KQ, then gave it all away with 55 on a 346 flop. Not to me, sadly but onward we go anyway.
68 players left now, and we are nearing the end of the level, and the next break.
Move tables again...and I raise one and all pass. Shortly after I get KK (what a life), I limp (emulating my error the other day in the final). This time however, I'm right about it, and I get a raise, and also a call. Now I jack it up, and...they BOTH call! Wow. Big pot. Over we go.
QQ, vs AK, vs my KK. I bust them both and now I'm over 300K. Ker-ching.
Last 6 hands, and little to report. 37 players made it through, and average chips is 147K as we are now bagging up for the day, to come back for day 2 on Sunday. I fluctuated a little, but have a very comfortable stack of 351K, which is 6th highest chips and personally, I think I'm playing well and I've earned the day off tomorrow for my efforts. Golf awaits!