I kick off today in what is going to be my last event of this trip, with a still positive attitude, and a lot of self belief. Now really would however, be a good time to actually win something.
This table doesn't seem to be for the faint of heart. At least 4 players including me are casualties from the $10K WSOP main event. By the looks of it they all came to play today, with a large number of pretty hugs pots being pushed around in the first two levels. I drop to 17K when a scabby preflop raise with 63 offsuit from one guy flops him two pair, and then I get back to 20K again when with Jc 9c I get in another pot with two guys happy to make it expensive preflop. When it comes Qc 10d 3c, that's enough for me to fire out 10K of my 15K stack into both of them, and have them posture and grumble, and finally fold.
Right now I'm holding steady on 19K on level 3. There are currently 405/477 players remaining. This is a pretty tough table, but sometimes tough tables are the ones on which you can accumulate a stack.
Horror for one player here when he bangs every street with AA on a Q774 board. He bets 7500 on the turn, and the guy with 99 (yep) decides to raise all-in. He calls and the 9 that arrives on the river rewards more horrible play and gives the guy who played it far worse a 50K stack for his efforts.
It's quite hard to tell here if the play on this table is good or simply aggressive and almost mindless. Pots are far bigger than they need to be for the stage at which we're currently at. I just saw a French kid bet 5K on the river with air (KJ) on an A Q 2 5 7. The other guy called off for his tournament life with A8 offsuit, which was good. There are times to play proper poker and make moves, but whilst I'm more than capable of mixing it up with these guys, when all the money goes in, I'll nearly always have the best hand or the best draw unless I'm really short stacked, I can promise you that.
First break after 3 levels, and I'm on 19K. I go outside for some sun and walk as far as I can from everyone, a good 200 yards down Sands avenue. An old guy from the tournament comes all the way down as well, and sparks up a foul smelling cigar. He then proceeds to make a phone call on speaker, standing right next to me, with literally no-one else around for 100 yards. I miss some aspects of playing poker full time, however the total ignorance of most of the players when it comes to manners and respecting the personal space of others is something that I really don't miss at all.
Flop comes out 665 and when everyone checks to me I make it 1500 to go. Two players call, and the turn is a 7, with no flush draw out there. Now one player wants to jam for 5200. I'm not in love with it, but I ain't folding and I make the call whilst the other player folds. The all-in turns over A 10... and I bust him
I seem to be getting some run good in this level, and I've now got my stack up from the 20K start to a much healthier 60K, which is a good 35K over the average. Part of this was because I find KK (wait, that's not the good bit), and it's raised to 900 ahead of me. I know poker is all ranges and position and testosterone nowadays, but I really don't subscribe to most of it. As you all know, I'd rather try to rely on my card sense, and just try to bust people out and win the thing. I flat call the 900, because my spidey-sense is tingling, and it tells the the guy on my left who hasn't entered the pot let, looks like he wants to stick in a raise. He duly does after some deliberation, and he makes it 2700. Two other players including the original 900 raiser now call, and I seem to have set the trap perfectly, as long as it now doesn't blow up in my face.
I make it 10K to go, and my neighbour who reraised now jams and the others fold. I toss in the 5K chips and he asks me if I have Aces, by which I correctly deduce he has shoved with QQ. No drama and I bust him. Good times for now. Screen shows 538/669 as we near level 6.
Sometimes a hand comes along that makes or breaks you, and in a consistent flow of events on this trip, I just had a fairly horrible one in an 85K pot. I 3-bet an early raiser with Kc 8c as he's habitually throwing out these scabby raises, and I can't let him take liberties. One other player calls and he also calls. We see a flop of Ac 3c 4h, giving me nut clubs. It's unlikely anyone should have any of this in a 3 - bet pot, and I fire out on the come for 3700, happy to win it there and then. One player folds, and now this guy makes it 11K to go. I've seen him turn over air a few times, and also seen him get away from a few hands when he's asked the question and been reraised. I ponder the options, and decide if he doesn't have a set, he can't call a shove with just one pair. I move in.
I'm right, he doesn't have a set. He's called the 3 bet preflop with 52, and has flopped a straight. Yep, it's ugly, but this is how big stacks are made and lost in these things. I'm not going to give myself a hard time (though I'm sure someone else can if they like). I took the initiative, put the pressure on the other guy, and then I didn't get lucky in a huge pot when I needed to. I just cast it aside and keep going. I drop back to 19K as a result of that hand, but fight my way back again to 31K as we near the mid - point of level 6.
A small argument breaks out on the last hand of the level when one player takes another's cards in error, and I'm the only player to have acted. As soon as I see this, I stop the action and as people are squabbling I suggest they just call the floor. By the time the floor arrives there's people bickering, and the floor then rules that with so many people now folding, there IS now significant action and the hand should continue. I think this was absolutely the wrong ruling, but am not blaming the floor... it seemed to be a case of "who shouts the loudest" there, and I felt that some people REALLY wanted to play their hands here, regardless of whether a misdeal would have been the right ruling. I leave them to it.
Returning for level 7, I get my stack back to over 50K again by busting out the guy who originally took a few thousand from me with 63 offsuit at the start of the day. I call a raise to 1600 with Ah Qh, and now this guy decides to jam 18K out of the big blind. The original raiser folds, and to me the shove out of the blind really stinks of someone who's trying to buy it. The problem is, sometimes you can be totally right, and still get the shaft anyway for your trouble. I cut out the chips and see it leaves me about 10K if I lose. The problem is, I'm SURE I'm right here.
I decide to go with my gut and I make the call. He shuffles around, and then tables K5 offsuit saying he hadn't looked when he shoved. So the first part was spot on, however the hard part is getting to the river without getting royally screwed.
I flop an Ace, which makes me feel a lot happier... however, he then turns a King. So now he needs a King or a Five on the end to bring me maximum pain.
He gets a Nine, and our hero is right back in the mix again. Screen showing 534/892 as we hit level 8.
Around 57K now as we near the one hour dinner break. I've been playing well, and stealing, value betting and also folding at just the right times. I really hope this table doesn't break, as despite some of the players being very capable, I'm also very comfortable playing against them all.
Back from the break, and the screen shows 450/1048 remaining.
My table broke, which I consider to be bad news. Never mind. Just deal with it and move onward. Still on 65K or so. 405/1048 left at 200/600/1200.
I've dropped to 53K and done nothing wrong. On yet another new table the stacks are getting bigger, and one guy has well over 200K. I'm not too sure how his big overbet bullying tactic is going to work out on me, since I'm well and truly in "I don't really give a shit how many chips you have" mode today.
Level 13 following a 15 minute break, and we're at 300/1K/2K. I'm on say, 40K and haven't hit anything at all. I'm playing just fine, and just need one pot, or the one opportunity I know I can generate, to see me nicely into day 2, and in with a chance to smash the hell out of this thing.
People are now spazzing left right and centre, and I've seen plenty of 50K pots where hands like A5 and A10 go to war all-in preflop. I'd like to avoid that if at all possible as it kind of nullifies any element of skill that might exist, however, with some of these guys, I may just have to hold tight and push hard. The main screen now shows 279/1048 remain.
Some guy at the table, possibly from Brazil or similar, still likes to bully everyone with his 200K+ stack. He's not terribly sophisticated, and has proudly shown his AK to the table after making it 15K to go with it, like he's got Aces or something. I'd really like to play a big pot with him just to jam it up him, but with his stack growing, mine shrinking, and no playable hands appearing yet, it's going to possibly be a scrap, unless something rewards my discipline sometimes soon.
Level 14 now, and still utterly card dead. It's been very hard going since returning from dinner, and it feels a lot like most of the time the first card I squeeze out is either a 2,3 or a 4, followed by something equally as grim and unplayable. It's very close to the moment where I just have to jam and hope it wins or gets through.
Sometimes it must be said, I really hate poker players. Hate of course, is a very strong word. Maybe I mean intensely dislike. They all play by the same stupid script, and most of them don't even know why they do it.
One guy jams, and some bearded young twat two seats away asks for a count, when it's bloody obvious roughly how much the bet is. He then calls for most of his stack, with AJ offsuit, and wins. It's just pretty horrible.
The big stack just doubled me up when I have to jam A9, and he calls with KQ. I hit an Ace, and live again. The next hand he wanks away a huge portion of his stack, then gets most of it back when he jams with AA and gets called by A4. There really is no justice sometimes.
Last level (15) of the day, and I've just busted. I get to 26K with the levels at 500/1500/3000. I squeeze out an Ace in the cutoff and jam versus the button and blinds, all fold, except the big blind who can't put down his A9 for another 23K, which is about 2/3 of his stack. He hits a Nine, and that's instantly the end of my tournament after 11 & 1/2 hours, and getting past 1,000 players, and also my Summer after 3 very tough hard going weeks. Stupidly I still feel that I'm playing poker just fine, and I'll regroup and get ready for the next series and attack it as I always do. It seems there's rarely much justice in poker for the good guys (not just me, I know a ton of great players who just get day after day of pain). The scumbags all too often seem to be the ones winning all the money and getting all the run-good when needed, normally with loud and ugly displays of boorishness as it happens, but I haven't given up just yet on myself, or things eventually coming good as long as I get a fair shake, and play as well as I know I can. Maybe life and karma turns around at some point. You just need to be sat at the table with the right attitude and some chips when it finally does.