I had a few errands to run today, including chasing round after some main event shares that were outstanding, so I dropped into PH at the end of level 2 for their one day $200k guaranteed event. My last package A tournament before the WSOP main event. Busy room even though a lot of people are over at the Rio playing in the $777 WSOP event. Off we go.
I chat to a nice young Asian kid on the table and am cracking jokes. He thinks it's hilarious, most of the rest of the table don't. We love a tough crowd. I soften them up a bit by level three and a few people are talking whilst I'm maintaining starting stack. One older guy who is listening but doing his best not to smile or react finally bursts out laughing, when I start telling the dealer a story.
"I still remember the last thing my grandmother ever said to me". She said "what are you doing in here with that hammer?!?!". He almost spat his drink over his neighbour. It was worth it for comedy value and once he'd cracked a smile he'd lost the battle, and gave up and joined in at the table. This is what I need when I play, to relax people and make them smile. It just works for me.
Mood of the table is better. I've dropped down to 12k but only through missing flops.
Level 5 and I flop a set of fives. I bet the river and get raised. I tank and tell the guy he rivered a set of tens. He shows me tens. Happy days.
Level 6 is nearly done and I find QQ and jam in a raise/called pot and pick up 5k when no one else wants to commit. Back to 16k again.
Miss a few flops and drift back to 10k.
Level 7 and I lose AK vs AJ when I flop a king and he turns a gutshot on a QK9 flop, nasty but not terminal. Back down to 7500.
Reach level 9 and lost 2 players in a big 1010 vs AK vs QQ coup. 1010 busts them both.
Level 10, still hanging on at around 9k. Biding my time.
Level 11 at 600/1200/200, and I jam Q10 and get called by a big stack with A4. The flop is QQ5 so I double back to 18k. 511 players with more still coming in. Dropped down to 14k then back up to 20 again.
Chubby kid came to the table with a 15k alternate stack. He gets AA and doubles, then gets 101010 and doubles again...charmed. I jam with AQ and he calls me with A4, I flop a Queen and it's all good, up to 28k finally.
28k at dinner break. I'm too far from home to drive back in an hour, and don't fancy a huge meal so I just stay close, chat to some interesting and very cute people. That always cheers me up.
Back again and we're at level 13. I fold AQs to a raise on the button as I've put nothing in and the vibe is that it's going to be expensive if I don't hit, the next hand I jam A9s and get the chips straight back again.
Lots of bustouts now, prize pool is up. 54 get paid, still 130/527 left and $43k for first, $783 for 54th.
Level 14 and now 120 left, me 28k at 1200/2400/400. Selective jamming when needed. My table breaks.
I steal a couple on my new table, up to 40k now, but lots of menacing big stacks around me so not being too splashy.
One guy with 140k just raised to 5400 with A7 offsuit, solid woman with AK then shoves for 30k, he snap calls hits two 7s, she leaves shaking her head
Level 15 and I'm on 32k at 1500/3000/400. There are 90 players left, it seems to have become a shovefest all around as people find any ace or any pair and seem to just get as much money in preflop as they possibly can...
Just folded A10 in my big blind as I can really only ship or fold in my spot. 25k.
One older guy has just come to the table with a huge stack, and immediately gives about 2/3 of it away to a guy who had 22 on a 101058K board. He shows A9 offsuit and thinks there was a nine on the board, hence him calling a 30k river bet with ace high. 5 minutes later he dusts off most of the rest of it with a red K9 on a 479 all club flop with a huge bet and a big raise ahead of him. He jams his K9...AA with the Ac calls him. He then turns a king and the AA goes white. River is a 7 and the K9 guy gets up and fist pumps before the dealer tells him that he's actually lost. I really don't mean it to sound insulting and of course I'd never ever say such a thing at the poker table, but it does sometimes illustrate vividly how pretty small the gap is sometimes between someone who plays well winning a pot, and someone who plays basically pretty horribly, can't read the board, and has no awareness of situations whatsoever ending up winning the pot instead. Poker can be brutal, tournaments many more times so.
This is very swiftly illustrated (or maybe it's just simply karma for my opinion) when we're down to 80 players, 26 spots off the money from over 500 entrants, and I've got only just over 5 big blinds left and am going to be in the big blind the very next hand. The current big blind has a lot of chips, but I've played her before and she's most certainly not a bad player at all and is more than capable of folding, so I squeeze out the first card which is a king...and then get it in, hoping I can just get the bet through for some more room to manoeuvre.
Everyone duly folds as requested, until it reaches the aforementioned old guy who can't read the board, his hand, or situations. He's put nothing at all in the pot yet but asks for a count. Once the dealer counts down my stack and it's clear it's actually about 3/4 of his chips in order to play the hand, he thinks for a second with trembling hands, and finally calls me with...
22. Yep.It's not a misprint.
I flip over K9
Again I'm never going to berate anyone at the table, but it's the one play in tournament poker I truly despise and can't see how any half reasonable player would ever make. Someone calling virtually all in with 22. They might even be winning at this point, but unless the next five cards that appear on the board are all twos or something lower, then there really is absolutely no hand at all they want to be up against, unless maybe I've done it with 32. Anyway, off we go.
Board runs out 3Q1010...
So I can still win this thing with a King, a nine, a Jack, a queen or a three.
River is a six. The old guy stands up and cheers loudly, and virtually high-fives the dealer. Everyone looks slightly embarrassed.
"Well played. Good luck everyone". Exit the building. 9 hours wasted. I spoke to a very cute girl for a while and made her smile and blush. That was something, but it wasn't really $400 worth.
I've often been asked how I maintain such focus and composure when I'm playing, and how in the face of really horrible play I can manage to just shrug it off and keep going over and over.
Honestly? On days like today? Sometimes I really don't know the answer either. I'm just lucky I guess.