That's it Nina, you tell em.
Personally, I like to think of myself more in the vein of the late great Bill Hicks, who once said:
“It's great to be here. I thank you. Ah, I've been on the road for ten years now, so bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plough through this shit one more time.”
Joking (!) aside, I'm extremely glad to be back here in Las vegas. After returning to England following a moderately successful poker trip in Oct/Nov, truth be told I was a bit of a zombie in the UK on the run up to Christmas. I wasn't really too motivated to get much done, even though I still got out and made some money regularly. I HATE the cold weather in Winter in England, and my sense of alienation toward the UK and virtually everything and everyone in it has done little but grow over the past few years. Family aside, there's actually very little to keep me there any more, and I still feel pretty certain that one day I'll fly the coop. Not sure if it'll be to Las Vegas, but it's certainly a strong contender as I've always felt far more at home here than anywhere else.
My shares are all sold, a tentative trip schedule is posted and I'm ready to go. As always the events played may be subject to change. How I'm feeling, what value they represent, how the bankroll for the trip is etc. Those who are familiar with my trips already know the drill. The initial tournament is the Wynn/Encore $600 with 3 day one's and a $250K guarantee, day 1B being today. My layout for the trip has a fair bit of down time (non playing days) at present, as a lot of my events are bigger buy ins, but as always we'll just see how it unfolds. The plan is to play today and not need another shell tomorrow, but we'll see how the day goes. More to come.
I am seated to the immediate left of an old geezer whom I've seen around a lot but with whom I've never actually played. In the past I've seen him be quite aggressive, and his tables normally look quite fun. He reminds me a little of my dear old buddy Tony Korfman in a way (and this is a compliment), let's see what happens.
My 20K start is quickly up to 22K. I'm dipping around in pots, early days. The Encore have adopted a new "big blind pays the antes" system, whereby we start immediately with a 100 ante, which the big blind pays, effectively for the whole table (so it's 100/100/100) and we have no 25 chips at all. Apparently it's quite popular for speeding up the game. We'll see how good it is.
My senior neighbour just got an instant double up with Qh Jh on an 8h 9s 2h 10d board for the stone cold nuts with a flush redraw. His opponent had K 10 for top pair with NO hearts and no draw and paid him off anyway when he shoved the turn with the nuts and a killer redraw. Good grief.
I lost a chunk when my JJ had to fold to a huge turn bet on a 10 10 6 8 board. I maybe should be like others and just piss it away, but I'd rather get it in when I know I'm ahead. back to 16K again as we his level 3 and 100/200/200. No-one at the table is getting super out of line save for just one guy, so for now it's back to nuts and bolts again. Get a big pair or flop a set and get paid. Something like that anyway.
AK and AQ both bear no fruit for me when I raise, miss, and get pushed off. Time for grinding practice I guess.
First break, and an unspectacular 11K, with plenty of play left. No sweat.
On we go and it's now 100/300/300, which of course is now expensive when you're the big blind! I can see why they like this, but it does take a little adjustment.
Currently 145/175 players remain today.
Level 5 and still plugging with no developments. One of the reasons I love poker in the U.S so much is some of the things you see. I've had one guy bet out the idiot end of a straight on the river with four straightening cards on the board, get called...and be good. Then I've seen a guy with bottom set bet virtually all-in on the river (which happens to be a King) with his 444, and get called by a guy who stayed the whole way with AK (nothing at all) and then made one pair, which of course was never going to be any good. The funny thing was that in the aftermath and head shaking, at least two guys empathised with the AK telling him there was nothing he could do once the King hit. Are you kidding me??? I hope to God they were being ironic.
A player for whom I've never cared (let's just say based on previous experience I regard him as a complete tosser and leave it at that) just joined the table short stacked, and then immediately jammed with QJ on a 224 flop. The guy with 44 decided to give him a spin and duly sent him packing. Good stuff. Always nice when the bad eggs get what they deserve.
My elderly neighbour on the right just busted, when he flopped the nut flush draw with Ah8h, versus KhQh and they got it all in. The Kc on the turn then ruined his day having done nothing wrong. Shame. He was fun to have at the table.
Back to a happier 14K when I shove Ac 10c on a ten high flop and pick up the pot, then win again with JJ on an A 6 3 5 6 board. Still plodding.
Rebuilding steadily, now back up to 17K. At least half of the original players on my table have now busted out. They all had far bigger stacks than me when they went. Funny, that.
OK, I just had a disaster. Blinds 200/500/500. I raised UTG to 1300 with 55, and it folds all around to a non believer in the BB who calls. Flop comes with an Ace, and I bet 1800 to represent it. He calls. Turn is a Queen and he checks, I check. River is a Seven and again he checks. I won't win this at showdown even though I'm 99% sure he doesn't have an Ace, so I bet 3K to take it down. He says "OK, you got me, good hand", and then CALLS, and flips over Q8 for a pair of Queens!. Well played Sir. I'm back to 9K again. Never try to bluff a mug, as the old adage goes, my mistake I guess. He managed to spanner off double that amount to someone else two hands later. Grit teeth and tough it out.
My 55 opponent is now out. He called an all-in on the river with K2 when he made a 3456 idiot end straight. The nut flush scooped the pot. He's already rebought and is at another table. God bless the poker economy.
Level 7, and re-entries for today are finally closed. Blinds/antes are 300/600/600, so now's the time to start swinging and get lucky with my 7K. 124/234 remain.
Midway through the level, and the fun of tournament poker never gets old, especially when you're right, and you know you're right. I have A8 offsuit in the big blind which is 600, and about 6K behind. It folds round to an unsmiling young woman who has all the bling, headphones, fancy nails, mirrored shades...a full poker kit. She makes it 1500, and I immediately dump the whole lot in, telling her she probably wishes she hadn't done that now. She looks dejected and asks 3 times how much more it is, then reluctantly calls for about 1/3 of her stack, and tables....64. Great.
Flop comes out 5 7 2, so now I can't hit my 8 as it makes her a straight.
6 on the turn, brick on the river, and that's that. Grr.
I wish everyone good luck and depart with about 110 players remaining in the field. My table wasn't bad and in my exit I knew precisely where I was at and just needed the hand to hold. It didn't and that's sometimes how it is. Because of the $250K guarantee in this, and a break before I start the Venetian campaign, I may take a swing at day 1C here tomorrow. For now, get me out of here. No major upsets, just variance, which is what happens in these things.