First level produces little of interest, and on level 2 I pick off a few small stabs from button raises to go around 19K to 21K. We're only playing 6 or 7 handed right now so the blinds come round quite fast. i know a few of the players and for now it's all small ball stuff. One player busts with JJ on a 442 flop against 22, which he really had no need to do. I guess he didn't want to play small ball poker.
125/135 midway through level 2.
I get what seems like potential to get some chips, and runs out a nightmare in the end.
I put in a small raise with Kh Qh, and get two callers. Flop is 3h 3d 5h. Two overs and a flush draw. I missed but it's not bad. I c-bet and get one caller. OK...
Turn is the Qs. I miss the flush but now have Queens up. I fire again and get called.
The river is the Kc. I have 3 pair, no flush, and the other player now makes a small bet which I have to pay off. He turns over 36 offsuit for trip threes. Sigh. Back to 16K.
See a flop with 77 and it comes 9K2....see a flop with 99 and it comes QQ7. Wonderful.
My neighbour on my left just got a second double up, again from a player unable to fold JJ. This time his 96 off hit a 664 flop and that was that. Oh to run like that just for an hour. Still on 16K. John Morgan joins the table, a guy with whom I've played a fair bit this trip, along with Anthony Alonso, another Venetian regular. The line up is now a full table dotted with several familiar faces. No-one is likely to spew off a bunch of chips, so it's nuts and bolts, see cheap flops, steal occasionally, and just try to build.
Approaching the end of level 3, and I check-raise a pair and a draw, and am back to 20K again as we near the break. No dizzy heights, but not a disaster either. I'll take starting stack right now all day long thank you.
Screen shows 152/219.
Just raised with 10 10 and got 2 callers in the blinds. I bet the flop and turn, they both call. It runs out 23346. One has A5 offsuit, and one has 45 offsuit. Last place for Kevin. 9K and wondering when on earth this is going to change.
Inwardly right now I'm quite frustrated. The guy on my left has been stealing with a bag of shit for about the last two hours, and either repeatedly gets there, or ends up with a high card being good. Nothing wrong with stealing and squeezing of course, but when I keep looking down at 10 3, 6 2, Q 4, and just getting blinded out it's enough to piss off even someone as patient as me. Still just gritting my teeth and waiting it out.
Next break. 9K. Maybe I should simply abridge these updates to "playing today, I'm out" or "playing today, I'm through to day 2". That might save all the painful filler in the middle. I'm basically just plugging on and doing what I know is the right things to be doing, but it's demoralising watching the other stacks going up and down, and not having neither the ammo or even a whiff of the cards with which to do something proactive. When we get back, it will be level 7, and this will be the level where I either force the issue, or die in the attempt.
10 minutes into level 8, and pretty much all of 7 was folding unplayable crap like before. No Ace, no suited connectors, nothing. A guy who made Quads earlier and was up to 40,000 just gave all of it away to 99 on a Q93 flop when he looked at AQ and decided it was unfoldable for any amount of chips. Meanwhile, I'm finding the first card I look at each time is a 2,3 or 4. Grinding like this is absolutely zero fun, even if I know it's the right thing to do.
A woman comes to the table as a new player, gets Aces first hand, and add 10K to her 20K stack. Poker has a twisted sense of irony at times. I just suck it up I guess.
Well, this has been about as demoralising a day of poker as I've ever had, and on this trip considering the way it's gone, believe me that's saying something. I've ground like a bastard, and finally as we hit level 8, I'm on just over 4K, and look down in the big blind at JJ. Maybe at last a chance to get it in good and get paid.
It's folded round to the button who makes it 1700 to play. The small blind has a history of 3-betting, but elects to call instead. They both have pretty big stacks.
This is an interesting spot, and I decide the way I'm going to play it pretty easily. If I simply jam, they will both call, and now they either check it down to knock me out, or one of them hits one of the five board cards and I bust. Neither of these is good unless I flop great.
Instead, I elect to call and play a stop and go. That is to say, I'm calling the raise, but I am going to shove on the flop irrespective of what comes. The upside of this is that if one or both of them misses, they can now fold. If one has nothing at all it's unlikely they still call the all-in, even though it's not huge. That's the theory anyway.
Flop comes 336 rainbow. Perfect for two red jacks. First player checks to me, and I jam for around 2K. As planned, the second player now folds, and I'm hopefully in a good spot heads up.
The other player calls, and turns over A5 offsuit. I table Jacks, and he says "wow, that's a lot better than I thought you had".
I know mate, that was the idea.
Turn card is an Ace. You couldn't script this stuff any more painfully if you tried.
No set on the river and I'm out on level 8. Nice pain. Apologies for how painful these updates are to read. If it helps, imagine if you had to both write them, and also experience the stuff that's happening as well whilst playing.
Thank you, and goodnight.