Today nearly got off to the worst start possible for me. The old banger I'm driving which is tatty and groans a lot but is still barely functional (a bit like me, coincidentally) was redlining on the temperature gauge as I was sitting in stationery traffic trying to get to the Venetian. This was so worrying that I turned both the a.c and the engine off a number of times in case the engine decided to blow up unexpectedly. For those not familiar with the joy that is Las Vegas Boulevard, multiplied by the horrors of the F1 roadworks (think Hyde Park corner at 8.30 a.m x 50), suffice it to say that me breaking down here in the middle of the day would be about as bad as it gets. Fortunately, I managed to limp to the parking garage, and will check later to see if my radiator actually contains any water at all.
Only 25 players thus far today, and level one passes without incident. A couple of the players on the table seem quite happy to get 1/3 of a 40k stack in at 100/100/100, which, as we know isn't really my MO. One of them just won a 25k pot and flipped over Q6 suited on the river after a lot of staring and chip riffling. Say no more.
The fun and games of the tournament world continues...
I raise in position with K3 suited, and get called by the guy who earlier won a pot with Q6. Flop 339... marvellous. I raise the flop when he bets, I bet heavy when a ten hits the turn, and I bet big again when a five hits the river. He raises the river bet and I call. He flips over 53 for a rivered full house. Lovely. Down to 18k.
Level 3 and we're a full table now with 29 players in the field currently. It always feels like a punch to the guts to lose a pot in that fashion, but it happens. You (and by you, of course I mean I) just have to shake it off and regroup. The guy I played the pot with, and one or two others at the table seem to like any 2 cards that are suited to play for a raise, which is by no means a bad way to play, but it just means that an adjustment is necessary, and, at times, you might need to play a bigger pot than you'd like with a sub standard hand. You certainly can't let these people run over you, so making a stand is at times what needs to be done.
Another bad beat. He just got moved to another table, taking my chips with him...
Down to 17k when my JJ runs into K 10, and down to 14k when I flop the wheel, and 65 suited improves to make a bigger straight. Fun times. I decide enough is enough, and make my bets a bit bigger, bullying (?) my way back up to 22k again just as we approach the first break.
Back from the break, and there are now 33 players. This event has 3 x day ones, and a $150k guarantee. They normally have the numbers pretty much nailed when it comes to hitting the right balance between final number of players and money accumulated via buy-ins, but I don't place nearly as much emphasis on an overlay being super important as some other people do, especially when we haven't even got to the end of day one yet. 20k for me, and we'll keep chugging and see how it goes.
Level 5 and I've parlayed my money back up to 34k after my earlier mishap. At one point I did the old rope-a-dope move, when a player made it 1300 to play, and I quickly tossed out one 5k chip and three 100 chips. The dealer (correctly) announced raise, and, whilst I never said anything, the other player now doesn't know whether to shit or wind his wristwatch. He finally opts to call, and a check-raise on the flop quickly sends him packing.
I lose a pot with 10 10 when 77 calls me down and rivers a flush. Meh. Still doing OK for now.
English kid to my right has a ton of chips and is running in a somewhat god-like fashion. He just called an 18k shove preflop with AQ. The other player had 10 10. Flop is A Q 10. Turn 6. River Queen. By his own admission, it's not really the stage of the tournament that you want to be running hot. However, having 130k when the average stack is about 55k probably doesn't hurt. Meanwhile, back in the cheap seats, I've got myself back up to starting stack of 40k again, just as we hit level 6 and 300/600/600.
Not much to report. One player got a bit grumbly when he was in the small blind for 300, tried to make it 1300 blind on blind by throwing out 1k, and I pointed out that his one chip only went as a call and not a raise., and the dealer hadn't spotted it. The dealer confirmed this, but the player seemed to be of the opinion that players shouldn't point out a mistake at the table when it happens. I guess if on the river the dealer announces a straight when someone has in fact made a flush, we should all just keep quiet. Get the point? I could have agreed with him, but that would simply have made both of us wrong instead of just him.
I took a knock when my AQ got rivered by A6 who made 2 pair on the end. Back to 30k again. 51 players as we approach the next break and level 7.
Not really loving this table at present. It's almost totally silent most of the time, and a few of the players who have joined us are the min-click pencil neck tournament grinders I'm not really a fan of. They have precious little to say most of the time, and the little that they do say is normally neither funny nor interesting. The rich tapestry of poker, and all that. I'm always far more in my element when a few people at least are chatting. We're all trying to win, sure, but to say some of these guys have the personality of a spring onion is vastly overselling the conversational sparkle of your average spring onion. Live and let live, etc.
Back up to 40k again, with hardly a word spoken.
I finally got some run good when the French guy on my left put in all his chips on the turn, when he'd flopped a set of 5's on a 5832 board. Fortunately, our hero had flopped a set of 8's, and with no horror story, we say au revoir to him, and I'm up to 60k as we approach level 8. Shame. He was quite a nice guy, and one of the chattier ones at the table. The English guy to my right has a lot of chips, is using them to good effect, and is still hitting everything in sight. He just made it 12k preflop with QJ offsuit, was shoved on by KQ, and spiked the jack to send the reraiser packing as he spoke to himself under his breath. Toasty life.
I go up to 70k when I find KK and a shorter stack jams with AJ. I give him a spin, and despite him having one overcard and a gutshot on the turn, we fade the pain to bust someone and continue our advance. A player who was on my table in the event in which I cashed a few weeks back has just bought in and joins us. I seem to remember him not being afraid to get all his chips in the middle, and this appears to be the case when I raise to 3k with 99, and he thinks then ships his entire 40k stack into the middle preflop the first hand he joins us. It's a flip at best, so I'll bide my time for now.
65k at the next break and I get moved to a new table, with my old Q6 nemesis from earlier...
Back from the break, and the final number today is 57 players, of which 25 now remain. I think 8 players will advance to day 2, so there's a long way to go. we have broken down to 3 tables, and are now at 800/1600/1600. My Q6 buddy from Canada just called 20k with K 10 and busted AK. This table seems like gunfight at the OK corral right now.
Up to 1k/2k/2k. 23 players left but the pots are now pretty huge and the shorter stacks are shoving with all sorts. This is the point where stacks can be made or destroyed in the blink of an eye. Watch this space.
60k and I've seen some grisly stuff in the last 15 minutes. 6k seems to be the new 2k, so obviously wiggle room in pots is a bit limited for the moment unless you have a monster stack. I'm still working on it.
Once again, we've reached the fun part of the proceedings. 1.5k/2.5k/2.5k and level 12. 18 players now remain, and I'm one of the lower stacks, and have just been moved back to my original starting table. It's probably time to play chicken unless something decent manifests itself shortly.
Approaching the 4th break at end of level 12. I've been ducking and diving, but have mainly started jamming versus an open, once or twice with questionable hands (that still have a chance to win if called), but mostly with something. I'm on 60k, and we are about to hit 2k/3k/3k. This is the time when you need to run good, not in the first 2 levels...
Speaking of running good (or not, as was the case for this guy), I just saw JJ vs QQ on a baby flop with 3 spades on it. Both players had a spade and played it pretty cute, but eventually it all found the middle of the table. The QQ was in great shape, until the Jh hit the turn, the rich got richer, and once again, someone got rewarded with a kick in the nuts for playing the hand well. Fortunately, I wasn't involved, and we're down to 16 players as we reach the break.
As we return, level 13 sees a few timely shoves, including one from me that doesn't get a caller. I'm on 70k which is below average, but still meaningful enough to make people think before snap-calling.
You would think.
Just like that, our hero finds himself on 160k and above average for the first time in ages. I shoved AQ from utg +1 to pick up the 8k in the middle, only to find the big blind snap-calling with QQ. I wasn't in love with the situation I'll admit, but I felt a lot better when an ace flopped. Now actually in decent shape and able to play a few pots. A few hands later, I get moved to the other table. We need to lose another 6 players to bag up for the day, but, of course I'm not playing just to survive. The price of poker is now 10k a round,
Level 15, and I'm still jumping around on about 170k. We are down to 10 players, so need to lose two more to bag up for day 2. Blinds and antes are now 3k/5k/5k.
The joy of poker tournaments... I just lost a 200k pot all-in preflop with KK vs...A9 offsuit. He shoved, I called, he said "oh shit", and then made a full house when the ace immediately flopped, followed by three jacks. And you lot wonder why I don't do this for a living any more. Down to 70k.
If you're a poker player, and you play tournaments, just about the worst scenario you can endure is to bust out on the bubble, one away from making the money, after playing for 12 hours straight. Clearly fate has a sick sense of humour when it comes to me. Afetr getting crippled by the A9 offsuit incident, I duck and dive until we reach the final table of 9 players, of which 8 will make day 2 and the money. I am one of the 2 shortest stacks on the table after my earlier experience, and find myself in the big blind in one hand with 75k at 3k/6k/6k, meaning it's costing 15k a round to play. I look down at AQ, which is easily good enough to jam with in this spot. If I get called I'm hopefully not dead, if everyone folds, I live another round and leave the task of surviving to the other short stack. I move all-in, and 4 players all fold. A bigger stack who has over 500k calls me and tables AK. Great. The board runs out all blanks, and, despite me picking up a straight draw as well on the turn, I get no help and bust out in the worst spot possible.
Sigh. Etc. Another productive day. Off to eat. And sleep. And forget what happened in the last 2 hours.