One friendly face at my starting table, in the shape of the younger, fitter, nicer, and more Italian Vince Calenti lookalike with whom I've played a few times this past few weeks. Just kidding, love you Vinnie xo
There are two 100K gtd events left in the deepstack, this being the first of them. I'm feeling like it might be fast and loose with an 18K stack and a passive looking bunch staring impassively back at me. maybe not, we'll see how it goes.
I open the first pot with 33 and get two callers. It goes to the river and there's a bet of 1500 (at 50/100) and a call, and I have just 33 on a 9 9 Q 10 2 board so I fold.
They show AK and 33. Marvellous.
Level 2, and fast and loose may be the order of the day for sure as UK legend and calling station extraordinaire Albert Sapiano joins the table immediately to my right (thank goodness). I like Albert, who can be a nightmare to play against because he sees just about every flop for any price, but he's amiable enough, and is good for the game. I give him an introduction for the benefit of the table and inform them he is about to change their lives. He proceeds to win about 5 pots in a row with dogshit 5 gappers,and quickly goes up to around 25K. I didn't say he'd change their lives for the better.
He just hit 30K with A2 by hitting a runner runner wheel with two Kings also on the board. He bet 4K on the river and I think the old guy who called him nearly had a heart attack when he flipped his hand over and showed the straight. Anyway, the focus of these updates is supposed to be me, so let's hope I can get him to double me up nice and early. I kind of have the best seat in the house right now.
Level 3 now, and I'm on 17K after winning a small one. Albert is up and down like there's no tomorrow, but still on a dangerous 26K.
It's still the Albert show here on table 16. He just jammed with 78 on a 2 9 10 J 5 board, and the Russian lady on my left paid him off with J 9 for her whole stack. I think I just need a $100K bankroll. It gives you an amazing sense of freedom to be able to see every flop and punt every draw in tournaments! He's on 45K, and I'm trying to stay with him on a less impressive 18K.
83/100 players currently.
Having Albert on the table is a double edged sword. There is literally no hand he won't call a raise with if he feels like it, and once he's in a pot with anything, he's like woodworm...you can't get him out. This has drastically changed the table dynamic, so now there is very little raising going on preflop, and most flops are seen 5 or 6 handed. I can adjust to it easily enough, sure, but I think it'll still be the big payoff hand where I have to clench everything and hope he doesn't ping a miracle against me. We just saw a flop with 8 players, that should give you a clue how the table is playing!
Finally found my mojo and won a few at the first break. 26K. Albert's menacing stack of blues is to my right.
Level 5 begins, and...snap! I manage to take a hefty chunk from my erstwhile companion's stack, when I catch the second nut flush on the turn and check it. I bet 4K on the end and luckily Albert has made a straight and raises me 15K. I have the second nuts but am not folding that to Albert 999 times out of 1000, so I call and scoop. 62K. Sitting pretty. An added bonus was that my buddy Steve "the angel of death" was dealing and he managed to let me win one. Cocktails all round. Albert is wounded, but still dangerous. I'll try to finish him off later. For now I'm happy to just drag the odd pot or two, and keep climbing.
Level 7, and I've dropped to about 57K. I've laid a few hands down to Albert's bets, as he's getting tired now and more swingy and aggressive as he comes to terms that he can't win this thing in the first 7 levels. He won't win, but could seriously hurt my chances of winning along the way, so like letting a boxer punch himself out and into tiredness, I'm letting him wear himself out with calls and raises. He had a stack of almost 70K at one point... it now looks like more like 23K because he only has the one gear and won't back off.
Albert is no more. He went to 20K, and on a board of 9 J K 10 6 he jams with J 9, only to be shown a flopped straight. He's always fun to have in the game (unless he cripples you), and he sends the whole table off balance. Now he's gone we have to re-adjust and start playing properly again. I'm biding my time and am still at around 70K or so, so going nicely.
Level 8, and we go up to 75/300/600. I'm on 70K which is just great. People all around are discussing hands and ranges, how people "have" to have a particular hand in a particular spot, and also what they are folding. To me, poker is largely about mis-information, or giving no information, whilst exuding an image that projects totally the opposite of this. We're all different I guess, but there's a ton of free info to be hoovered up, and utilised, since people want to broadcast their thought process.
Of course. My table just broke.
Me and my big yap. I get moved to a new line up including Dan Heimiller, and a huge stack directly to my left. This bunch looks a lot tougher.
OK, so maybe it's Kevin's day today...
Worryingly, the big stack on my left now dwells up, and then calls the 12,500. Even more alarmingly, a short stack now jams for 15K, which means that no-one who already called is allowed to re-raise, and now to complete the clusterfuck, Dan Heimiller on my right now also CALLS the 15K. A big pot already and I don't like playing KK four way with an all-in short stack. Jesus!
The big stack asks for a count and some time, and then calls. Dan goes away. The big stack flips over...JJ, and the short all-in tables AJ. Any chance I can run good when it matters?
Oddly...yes. I'm now on 190K at the dinner break :) My chicken fried rice never tasted so good.
I guess I should keep my mouth shut, though of course I won't. I lose a 90K pot with AK vs KK first hand when I get moved to a new table (again). No-one else had folded an ace and I still couldn't get there when I also flopped a straight draw. Back to 135K. Ho hum. That was a big chunk which I could have done without losing. I'm still more than comfortable, but am grinding a bit more now.
Jesus. Down to 80K when I raise with Qh Qd, get 3 callers and it comes 567...all clubs. I lose 20K there, and a little more a bit later when I flop the nut flush draw with a gutshot, and it all misses. An Asian kid with shades and bad jewellery doesn't want to fold second pair. That's an ugly way to lose over half my stack in an hour.
This is truly the stuff of which nightmares are made. I've come back from dinner and have lost quite literally every single hand I've played. Every one. And I'm not spewing chips, it's just gone bad every time. Grit. Teeth. And carry on. 35/148 left.
Up to 200/800/1600 at level 12 with 34 players left. this has really been a soul destroying 2 hours, where I've largely stayed out of any trouble, and yet every hand I've played hasn't worked out for me. I guess I rise above it, and continue to go forward. 65K.
I've yet again been moved tables, dropped to 55K, which is now below average, and find myself facing a daunting new line up including Dan Heimiller (again), and also Bob Whalen, another able-bodied and aggressive U.S tournament veteran with whom I've played a lot.
I limp with 4h 6h, deciding I can't be waiting for Aces, and it gets jacked to 6500 and called. I decide to take a flop and hope I'm due a miracle sooner or later. We see the flop 3 way with over 20K in the middle.
Flop comes 2h 3d 5h. It really don't get much better for our boy.
The original bettor makes it 20K. A weak player behind raises to 40K...and I jam for 75K or so. The original bettor looks truly pained, and after 2 minutes, he gives up (what he later said was KK, for what it's worth).
The 40K raiser announces all-in...even though we are heads up and I'm already all-in before him. Always a good way to spot the inexperienced. I just don't want him to flip over a bigger flush draw, or a set. Drawing dead is how I'd prefer him.
He tables AA, with the Ah. OK, looks safe enough surely.
Turn is an ace. Oh holy fuck. Could life really be this cruel today. Now he can win with a heart (not the 3h, which makes me a straight flush) or a pair up for a boat, or an ace for quads.
It's the Queen of clubs, and I'm safe. I'm back to 160K. However, it was a nasty moment.
Well, that was a HORRIBLE part of the day for me, and I'm glad I weathered it. I'm finally back in decent shape again. The dream continues. 28 players remain.
Back to it, and again I'm feeling like it's Lemmingsville. Some of the play is aggressive but REALLY bad now, with 70K-120K pots being won with one pair. A lot of these guys are all over the place, and are not going to win, but can decimate my stack and ruin MY chances, so I'm being conservative until I have something super strong. The Asian kid who wouldn't fold second pair to me earlier just blew half his stack when he lost to KJ offsuit on a K 3 5 8 9 board. I don't know what he called the other player's 20K river bet with if he couldn't beat a pair with a crappy kicker.
He just gave me some chips also when my AQ on a queen high board extracted some value. He doesn't like to fold, and I intend to exploit it in a while.
Maybe I should do this for a living. I just busted him when I sandbagged 10 10 vs his A 10. The board came 4 6 9 and he couldn't help himself. I snapped him off and he missed the ace, I'm over 215K at 400/1200/2400 with average at 121K and 22/148 left.
Bob Whalen just got hamstrung by the Arab when his AJ couldn't beat A5 when the Ace flopped and the 5 rivered, he wasn't a happy bunny. You've got to know your players. Some of these guys are simply NOT folding, and I'd rather make day 2 with a decent stack, than get into a pissing contest with someone who is 92% testosterone. I'll beat them when it means something. At least that's the plan.