Currently in the all too familiar position of feeling like I'm playing great, but can't close anything out. Call me misguided. Call me determined. Call me Mary-Lou if it makes you feel better. Back in the trenches at noon.
My 30K starting stack gets into action on hand 1. A raise with AJ and an unsmiling station gives me a spin. I flop a Broadway gutshot draw, get there immediately on the turn, and build my initial 30K into 42K without even breaking a sweat. Hopefully a harbinger of more good things to come. He looks a tad green around the gills, and is now even less likely to crack a smile today. Ho hum.
89/93 so far and we're on level 3. Young Dan Bland sits on my right, a UK based player who is a regular here. Nice kid. We chew the fat.
Later still in level 5, I raise a woman who I know as a very tight player. I have 5d 3d and when the board reads 4 6 8 2 on the turn she looks like a good value spot. I check, she bets 4K, and I ship. She calls and tables 57 for the nuts. Shit. Good read Kevin. I Casually say to the dealer "seven for a chop please". She duly obliges with immediate service as the 7-ball hits, so I use up one of my nine lives, and we all have a good laugh about it. Well. Most of us do anyway.
Level 6. 50/200/400 and 121/150 currently playing. The table dynamic has shifted since an older (71) Indian guy sat down. Nice fella and pretty damn aggressive. people seem to be playing a lot trickier now. I've ran it back up to 33K again, so have come off the gas a little bit for now.
Just lost another with 10 10 vs KK. No fireworks. Back to 25K. 121/162 left and for now it's still just shelling peas. Blinds are 75/250/500 so no need to go ballistic right now. No one on this table is giving it away, so I'd rather not be the one who does, making it a far more position and hand driven game.
Ugh. Just lost a 13K pot with A5 on an A25 flop. QQ got stubborn and rivered a queen. Sounds dumb now, but I knew it too, I simply talked myself into calling, which wasn't great on my part. 13K.
Dropped to 9K when I set mined a few times and got a big fat doughnut for my trouble. Decided that it might be time to shoot for the double up, when I looked down at AK, and there was a raise to 1600 at 75/300/600. Suddenly the guy two to my right makes it 4500, and my 9K has a decision. I size him up, and tank the lot in the middle. The original raiser folds, and the second player winces, instead of snap calling.
"Shall I tell you what you have?" I jovially ask. He smiles and nods.
"You have AQ" I tell him. "It's no good".
He looks genuinely pained at this, and then...calls, flipping over AQ. I get a 2 person round of applause. No miracles and I am back up to 23K, and have some ammo with which to get busy again.
Good times for our hero. I call a small raise from the 42 guy from earlier. I have Kd 2d so am likely in superb shape. We get another caller, and see a flop of...
5d 6d 8d. Yahtzee. Captain 42 makes it 4500 and I pop it to 10K. He jams once the other player folds, and I snap call. If he has the nut flush he's just going to have to show it to me.
Nope. He has the 9d 10h. Gutshot straight draw with the miracle 7d for hope for a straight flush and the Holy City to ruin my day.
Seven on the turn. Spades luckily so he has a straight but still only one out. He doesn't hit it. Kevin's back to 42K again after a few levels in the desert. 107/189 left and we are at 100/400/800.
End of level 9 dinner break. 55K. Perfect.
Level 10. Back to 43K with a little judicious larceny. 91/200 remain and we're at 100/500/1000.
Lost two biggish hands in a row when I get AK twice. First one misses everything, the second catches an Ace but loses to two pair. Down to 19K and not loving life. Feels like history might be repeating itself again.
I get a second wind when I call a raise with 7h 6h, and the flop comes 779. I decide it's now or never and ship into two people following a lead-out bet and a call. Original bettor folds, and the older Indian guy calls me with 10 10. I hold and am back to 55K again. 84/200 left.
97K. My Indian nemesis takes a stand with me and turns over 10 10. I table KK and it's good. I bust him and have a nice workable stack. Let's see if we can run it into day 2 chips and not implode. It would be nice!
I was close. He was more like 190lb.
I've done very little in the last level or so but maintain my stack at around 170K. Still nicely above average. Barry Shulman joins my table. He's been on my left or right in just about every event since I arrived in town this trip, however this time he has a decent stack, and is using it to bash people around. A few casualties, several in ugly fashion, and we make the level 14 break with 42 players left. We return at 500/1500/3000, and average is now 142K.
Back from the next break, and immediately Barry, who has being pretty aggro since joining us, murders a 150K stack by 4-bet jamming preflop with 10 10. he gets called by JJ (neither of which plays I like very much at 1500/3000 if I'm honest). He is crippled down to 30K, and looks ready to blow.
The table's now gone beserk, and almost every hand results in an all-in. I'm treading carefully. This is the stage where someone who isn't ever going to win the tournament can destroy your chances of winning it. Choose your moments and pick your battles.
I nearly become a victim of my own prophecy when I raise with AQ and have to call a shorter stack's shove. I don't like calling and it's 35K or so total, but in this spot and with my chips I can't fold. he tables J 10 offsuit, we both miss everything and I bust him. A few other well timed stabs, and I'm on 205K.
Barry has bludgeoned his way back up to around 90K again and is still ready to pop. He'll either bust shortly, or take someone out with a huge shove and be back to where he was. this is the bit where situational awareness comes into it. Yes, AJ suited and 33 are pretty hands, but not pretty enough to commit 11 hours and 3/4 of your stack with. A lot of guys right now are shipping it in with far, far worse, which is fundamentally where I completely disagree with the way a lot of people play tournament poker. Still, what do I know?
Well...what a shocker. 12 hours of ducking and diving. Our intrepid hero finally makes a day 2 with 260,000 chips.