A grim looking first table, and the young Mr Bland is situated directly on my left, which can either be fun, or a massive ball-ache depending on which one of us cripples the other first. Another 35K start stack, and 30 minute clock... lots of ways to spring up to 75K or spin out in an awful fashion. Let's go!
The guy on my right just got a full level 1 double up to 70K+, courtesy of QQ vs 77 on a Q 7 3 flop. Some people might say it's a cooler, though I'm not convinced that the 350BB all-in call was totally warranted from the 77, but there we have it. He's now out, and he has a cool story to tell everyone.
Dan gets a timely bounce right up to 55K when he flops Kings full, bangs it on all streets, and still gets paid. Jeez, what a life. We hit level 2, and I'm still on 36K or so as we get to 25/100/200.
Dan hits and runs when he gets shifted tables out of the big blind. The pretty girl on my left also gets moved, and is replaced by an even prettier one. Life plods along and my stack does very little right now as we hit level 4, and 50/150/300.
I'd never actually come out and say it at the table, but some of these guys are TERRIBLE. In contrast to my earlier table, where people could get away from hands, and were capable of bluffs and a modicum of a thought process, this lot appear to want to shovel as much in at every opportunity if they hit one pair and a shitty kicker. I just witnessed a 100K pot, where 2 guys had KQ, the board was King high, another player with A10 was all-in on the flop and exposed his hand whilst the other two were still going at it for the side pot. The KQ's ended up busting him and chopping it, but they were happy to bet and call 15K and then 30K on the turn and river into an initially nonexistent side pot. It was entertaining, but has none of the finesse of my original table at noon, and the gameplay has to be drastically altered, since whilst a lot of these guys are never going to win this thing, stepping on one of their land mines will almost certainly scupper any chances I might have of going deep myself. I guess we'll find out on level 5 when I return.
The old guy who spannered off his money with the Q9 earlier just blew his own brains out with 99 against KK for over 20K of his chips all-in preflop. It cut him down to fumes, and now he's gone after punting off the rest of his money a few hands later. He certainly had an interesting style, I'll give him that. When he was first to act, he checked in the dark. Every. Single. Hand.
I drop from 30K to 23K when I raise with QQ and get 3 callers, it flops an ace, and despite a c-bet, A7 decides he's not going anywhere, and also makes two pair for good measure. Sigh. Approaching level 8.
Now nearly on level 9 and I've been comprehensively card dead for a number of levels. I took a hit and have just reached the next break on 16K, which is far from ideal. I've played a few pots, but have flopped nothing or someone has improved to overtake. No one seems prone to folding here this afternoon. The moment of truth almost came on the last hand of the level, when I looked down at Ac Jc in mid position, and made it 2200 to go. There are about 3 callers (standard for this table), and then a big stack makes it 12K to proceed. I've played this guy before, and have a sneaking suspicion that although the bet size is a good one, he's also likely full of shit and just trying to buy it. If we were heads up then it might have been the time, however I decide that I'm calling off most of my money to hope I'm good or get lucky, when of course as you all know I'd rather be shoving myself first. He gets action in the end from another dude who announces "let's gamble" and punts 20K in with Kd 2d. He's duly called, and the villain tables KQ offsuit. So, I was right, however I was also spot on with the outcome. The KQ rivers a heart flush and busts the poor boob who had a rush of blood. I'm still in survival mode, playing (maybe for the first time in the entire trip) the kind of defensive poker I loathe. This will be the do or die level anyway.
OK, let's die.
Two hands wraps it up for me... KQ on a Queen high flop runs into AQ, and with the remnants of my chips (about 2500 at 100/500/1K), I then ship KJ and run into a girl who isolates and flips over AK... and that's that.
It was a dire afternoon, following the huge hand with the nuts that destroyed me this morning. Cast it aside, keep doing the right thing, and move on. The WSOP main event beckons.