I opted to go for day 1B of the Venetian $800 event which has 3 x day ones instead of the previously advertised 1C. The rationale behind this (perhaps optimistically) being that after making day 2 of the $400 last time and having to get home, grab some sleep, and semi-rush back for 11 a.m. the next day, maybe making a day 2 with a one-day rest buffer might be nicer. Also, typically, the final day one gets more players, and thus, sometimes drags on a fair bit longer than the others. Based on that possibly flawed logic, here we are...
We start pretty short handed (5 in fact), as to date there are only 20 players bought in thus far. The $200k guarantee will obviously entice other players in, but for now, it's like a 6-max table. Short handed can be a blessing or a curse. It's possible to target bad players and get a nice early double up, but it can just as easily blow up in your face, and you can find yourself out of the tournament before the thing ever really starts.
A 40k starting stack on a 40 minute clock, and I lose a sizeable pot in the first five minutes with AK when I flop the ace, get called by QJ offsuit, who then proceeds to turn a Queen, which suits me fine, but then river another one just for good measure to suck out with trips. All part of the fun.
I get a little frisky with As 10h a few hands later, and turn the nuts, putting me back up to where I started. Now the table consists of 3 older guys with glasses and beards, 2 women (not generalising... put your pen down Karen), and me. We meander into level 2 and the field has increased to the dizzy heights of 29.
I just missed my early triple up moment, because I over-cautiously decided not to put in over 10k of my 40k stack preflop with Kh Jh. A guy who had previously won a huge pot with quad deuces put in a huge preflop raise with JJ. Three players decided to call, one of them being all-in for less. The flop came Ah 4s 10h, meaning I'd have flopped a huge draw, which of course then immediately proceeded to get there on the turn. The all-in won and tripled up with his A6, and the JJ of the preflop reraiser with the big stack busted out another player and won a side pot. Ho hum. Onto level 3, and I'm on around 37k.
We're now at a full table, which I much prefer, and 39 players are currently in the field. There are a few spots on this table that certainly are happy to punt off a big stack, and a few more passive ones that can be pushed around later on. First 15 minute break now, and I'm treading water for the moment.
There are certainly chips to be had on the table. I just watched one woman play KQ offsuit as if it was 4 of a kind. She got called down, and rivered two pair to win the pot. These spots certainly pop up quite often in tournaments, but it's good to have a rough idea of certain player's ranges, and how aggressively they play their sub-standard hands.
Listen to me, sounding like one of the internet dweebs with all the cool lingo.
I always find player behaviour patterns, and the predictability of some people to be a very interesting, and a sometimes largely overlooked part of poker. It's certainly not an exact science by any means, but with a sizeable number of players, it's often reliable and can be very revealing. If certain players don't immediately muck their cards when it's folded to them, there's almost a 100% chance that they're going to raise. They're pretty much never ever going to just flat call. This in and of itself might not sound like much, but some of the better (and definitely a lot of the worse) players will often just raise automatically if it gets folded round to them. Their thinking is that if 3/4 of the table doesn't want the pot, then they can win it with just one bet. This can turn into a game of "who's telling the truth" when a decent player locks onto this, and now reraises, also possibly with no hand, just to re-steal. On this now full table, I've seen a fair bit of this already, with a few players putting in an amount of chips that (relative to their stacks and the blinds) means that they're potentially making a mistake. Of course, these players often end up with a huge stack as well using this method, but unless they know how to change gears and manage their chips, they rarely keep it.
Level 5 approaches, and I'm on 31k from the 40k start. I'm not overly fussed at the moment. Early on there's a fair bit of jostling and jockeying for position. A big hand or two nice and early certainly helps. I just saw QJ call a 6k river bet on a board of 56Q83. The 6k bettor tabled A2 offsuit... I'm not sure personally how much I liked either play.
I just saw QJ offsuit raise utg, get shoved on by a short stacked K7 for around 7500, and then still get called by the QJ, who ends up winning with a straight. Welcome to America. Level 5 at 300/500/500, and I'm still waiting to get my feet wet properly, which isn't a whole lot of fun. I'm a big believer in gambling it up when you have surplus chips, and conserving your war-chest when you don't. For the last couple of levels I've mostly looked down at 93, Q2, K5 offsuit and suchthelike. These hands are essentially unplayable to me, at least right now. If you're 15k over the average then it's another story. The Asian kid on my right who is wearing a mask (either because he fears infection, or because he's a surgeon and just wants to brag about it) has put in quite a few scabby reraises. He might be my value spot if I actually get something half decent to play with.
I just took a hit when my big combo-draw with AQ suited missed on the river and I got shoved on. Sighcopters. Down to 19k. I've bobbled along, but so far today it's been something of a damp squib. I hit one flop in the first 10 minutes to go back to starting chips, but that aside, it's been pretty dire. Level 6 now at 300/600/600. I just found AQ, but it got reraised to 6k preflop, and one of the women moved all-in on a King high flop. I'm guessing me getting out preflop was the correct play, which is good, but also does little to help my cause. The surgeon on my right also just got moved to another table. One of the women on my table can play, the other is pretty shocking based on what I've seen, and massively overvalues her hands. All noted down in case I actually get a couple of playable hands myself anytime soon!
Looks like today is my day to be pelted with rotten fruit. My 10 10 just got called in 2 spots when I raised. The board ran out AK4AK, and Q 10 offsuit wins the pot... Shortly after I raise again with 55, and lose to K3 when he makes a flush and I have to fold my hand. By my reckoning, I've won literally one hand on this table in the last 4 hours. Pretty grim. When it's your day, it's your day, and when it isn't, it very clearly isn't. I'm down to 10k. The woman who can play just got gifted (well, kind of) another huge pot when, on a queen high board, an aggressive Asian player went all-in on the river for around 20k with Ace high. She called with one pair (QJ). Marvellous. Break in 8 minutes, and at this rate I'm not even sure I'll make it that far.
As I said, when it's not your day, it's not your day. After 5 hours of getting (metaphorically) slapped round the face with a wet halibut, the woman who had the QJ just busted me when she called my 7k shove preflop. I had K8 suited, there was about 5k in the pot already, and she called with J9 offsuit... I flopped the 8, and she then rivered a straight. Well played, good luck everyone, etc etc.
I'm not moaning, though I suspect it might well come across in writing like I am. She had a big stack, and I welcome the call as I'm trying to get back into this thing. You will get days where it seems like nothing goes right. Every flop misses, every hand that hits get's beaten, and every big pair gets outdrawn. A lot of times in poker, things don't go your way, and it often seems like the fates conspire against you to give you a bad day when you least need it. To a large extent, this is rubbish. It's just poker. And variance. And being in a trough, as opposed to a peak. It's not nice when this stuff all happens seemingly at once, but to me the best remedy is not to compound a bad day at the office by turning it into an even worse one by doing something dumb, which, in Las Vegas is pretty easy to do. Stick a pin in it, and just get ready for the next one. Simple as that. On the bright side, beating the Spring Mountain traffic for day 2 isn't going to be an issue for me in this event. Gallows humour, and all that.
I'm still wondering if, all things considered, I should have just played badly and called off 1/4 of my stack with the KJ suited after all....