Sat down in time for the off. Picked up AK and KK in 3 hands and won 75 chips with them. Running good at last.
Found 88 and lost a smallish pot to a brummie at the table on a 35327 board. He had 43. Then some rocky old lady hammered all the way when I flopped a draw with AdQd and missed turn and river. Back to the mode of treading gently. The average open is only 75, but with only 3000 starting chips you need to exercise a bit of caution.
Just as quick as that, 3k is 2k. I believe in good starts, and right now I don't appear to be getting them. No time for self pity. Just dig in and keep going. I know a few of the faces on my table, and though I don't think anyone's going to be 5 bet jamming with 10 9, also no-one is doing anything particularly stupid either.
Having said that I've just seen a fairly big 3 way pot, where Queen high just picked up about 2k on river showdown, I guess everyone missed everything.
Digging in seems to be the way forward. Dropped to 1600, now back up to 3200 again from flopping top/top, and check-calling a draw that was betting and didn't materialise. It's not nice playing chicken with a small stack at this stage, but just jamming to try to win a flip or find yourself in a bad spot isn't too appealing either. Just take things slowly and see how it unfolds.
3400 with 30 mins to go before the first break at the end of level 2
Down to 3k after my JJ unkindly flopped 2 overs and then two people took off in the hand, then my AK<Q10 when a queen rivers. More plodding.
Drifted down to 2200 seeing and missing flops. Table is a little more aggressive now but still basically small ball poker. Just be nice to flop something when I have a playable hand.
1800 coming up on the end of level 3 and I'm feeling a bit like the table punchbag right now. Basically getting raised and reraised most hands before it gets to me, not that I'm looking down at many hands. One fairly active European kid is opening more than his fair share of pots, and especially my blinds. I just jammed on him and he went away pretty quickly.
Up to 75/150 now.On 2100 and trying to exercise patience.
2 guys just got 3500 in preflop with 77 and Qd10d. Pretty good indication people aren't folding much even at this level. Will most likely need to find a strong hand and go with it. Deja-vu.
Nothing to report on level 4. Bumped into Jeff Kimber, Tikay, and a few of the English lads. Everyone's getting small cashes (OK a few have already had huge cashes). They all concur. Just keep doing what you're doing and wait for things to turn around. Which they invariably do. The trick is to not implode whilst waiting for it to happen.
Down to 1650, and the Brummie on the table just shipped 7s6s because he'd decided he was bored and had had enough. The woman with 10 10 duly obliged by giving him a spin.
Flop 9-6-7....8...J amid much oohing and aahing. I'm still on the lookout for something playable.
The European kid is pretty loose, but has folded about 4 times to a raise so he's most likely my emergency shove spot if required.
War of attrition continues. It's a min-raise fest and I'm finding myself looking at Q2, 10 4,K5 etc. I just folded 44, the best hand I've seen in about 2 hours because the original raiser was pretty much committed to call. I'd rather give myself two ways to win the hand. Down to 1450.
Decided I had to make a stand against the constant raising on my blind. I shoved against a suited ace, and made 2 pair. Also slightly amusing that one player not in the hand was repeatedly insistent to the dealer that the other gentleman in the pot with me needed change, when the gentleman was in fact a rather rotund lady in a baseball cap and big headphones. At least I won the pot anyway. Back to 2800 coming up to the next 20 min break.
My table broke. Been moved to a new one with much bigger stacks. Still looking for a spot.
Dwindling down. A few friendly faces and some big pots getting played, not by me. Pretty sure when I ship my last chips in I'm getting called so may as well make the hand a worthy one. There's a couple of impassive internet robot types at the end of the table. Taking an age for every bet and staring fixedly at the centre of the table at all times. I truly wonder why people like this even bother to play live poker. It must be as boring as shit for them to sit like a statue all day, and it sure as hell isn't much fun for the rest of us. I guess it takes all sorts, and the game would be boring if everyone thought and played alike.
On to level 6, and I'm still surfing with a short stack as the antes kick in. Time to change gears.
Finally found my moment and woke up with QQ. Unfortunately, there had been a limp, a small raise, 2 calls and then a shove before it got to me. I decided my stack was simply far too small and I just have to get it in. It ends up being a 3 way fest, and I'm up against A9 and AK. Luckily the board runs out rags, almost making a wheel (!) and I finally jump up to over 4000.
Finally with a more healthy stack, I'm happily surprised to find KK a hand or two later, and the same Italian who had the A9, has again shipped his short stack, this time with A10. I call and flop a King and he flops a gutshot draw. Why is no one ever drawing dead even when I flop the world?
He makes running tens which gives a few people the impression he's won, but of course I've made a boat, so for the fist time on this trip I'm now actually sitting on a reasonable chip stack, with 8000.
I just made a pretty colossal misread (for me).
Out of my 8k stack, I just found QQ, and opened to 475. A player who I know to be the biggest rock in the room them makes it about 2100 out of a 4k stack. I knew I should have instantly mucked, but instead I did the opposite and got it in with his KK to chop me back to 4k again. I was a bit annoyed with myself, though I know some people just shrug and say "what could you do?". Well, I could have folded because I knew I was behind. Anyway, there it is.
My 4k catapults back to 8 again just before dinner, as I find AsQS and take a flip versus 88. The Ks Js 3d flop is interesting, and the spade on the turn wraps it up. Off to take a bath and eat. Back to 8k with about 500 players left from the initial 1600.
Back from dinner and we're joined by none other than current WSOP main event champion Ryan Riess. I'm pretty sure he'd literally just bought into the event at dinner, because he had a 3k stack and just punted it in after around 15-20 minutes with an ace and was called by a bigger ace. Seemed like a nice kid, and with a good temperament. He came and went. I guess when you win 8.3 million dollars you can do that kind of stuff!
390 players left and I'm on about 8500. Average is 12,000 but the blinds are small still at 150/300/25. Riess was replaced by Steve Zolotow, another veteran pro, and generally nice guy. He's out as well now.
It's around 200 players to the money, and I'm on 7k. The blinds are 200/400/50, so a couple of rounds of the table with no winners will hurt. Right now I'm not getting out of line, but my stack will certainly not be enough to get me through the next few levels, so if I don't catch anything, on this table I'll definitely have to make a stand.
An Asian woman I've played with in Las Vegas many times is on my left. She's loud, never stops talking, is a calling station, goes on about hands ages after they've finished. She got into it with a fairly active American guy earlier, and won a huge pot off him when they both had trip kings and she had the better kicker. I've never to this day seen her win a pot with any measure of grace or dignity, always exclaiming loudly and fist pumping, especially if she sucks out. This particular pot was quite ugly, with some of the friendly banter getting a little more cutting. I always find it fascinating to see the other side of people when they win, or more commonly lose a pot, and suddenly become a lot less congenial than before. Like I said, it takes all sorts.
I've made a stand. Was a slightly nervy moment when I raised with 88, got flatted by a big stack behind me, and then a stack or 3500 or so shoved. This put me in a tough spot, but I opted to shove my stack to force the other guy out and be heads up. The big stack thought a while, then decided to go away. On their backs...
Villain: A9 offsuit.
The board runs out blanks and finally I've a bit of a stack. Now on 12k.
Coming to the end of level 8 and I've moved tables. The stacks aren't huge, but I like it a lot already. Busted a guy who had 22 vs my AQs when I made a flush, suddenly I'm on a pretty healthy 17,700 at the break! 333/1688 left.
Boom. Finally got something to smile about. Just played a pot against a solid player with a decent stack. We both rivered a straight, but I over-shipped with the better one and got called. I'm on 34k.
Starting to feel just that little bit cursed.
Just lost a 55k (yes 55k) pot, when I've flopped for the 3rd time a straight draw with suited connectors, turned the flush draw as well, and then bricked the river, after my opponent is in a pretty tough spot with an overpair facing my bet. He eventually decides he can't fold after over 5 minutes tanking, and I'm now chopped right down to 6k. Obviously cashing in a tournament is nice, but I'm not trying to min-cash either for myself or investors, I'm trying to accumulate chips to have a real shot at real money. Shortly after I jam with a suited king (K9) with 7 big blinds and immediately walk into AA. I'm knocked out in 183rd place, 12 spots off the money.
I'm now going home to sleep. 13 hours for nothing. I'll write more tomorrow.