We've filled up now, and the mood is a bit lighter already, which always suits my game if I can get people talking. One guy just finished getting a massage at the table (the girls normally charge $2 a minute with an optional tip). The guy had around 30 minutes or so from a pretty girl, and when she'd finished, he turned to her and said "how much do you owe me?" Chortle. Poker humour.
52 left from 56 players so far with people filtering in to sign up. How on earth we have managed to lose 4 players in the first 20 minutes is a mystery. It gives me hope for the poker economy.
Level 2 is halfway through, and the table is basically a full ring now. A French kid with headphones who looks about 12 has already bet 6k on the river on a KKJJ9 board and shown a bag of spanners to take the pot down with a bluff. The last guy to join our table seems to be a fan of straddling UTG (something I've always felt is a bit silly in a tournament), and also of checking in the dark quite often. Just file all this stuff away mentally for later. 65/74 left as we approach level 3.
Certainly a frisky table. A lot of blind raises and straddles going on. Makes for a weird dynamic but I can adept pretty well.
Chaos theory poker is certainly alive and well in the Encore today. Courtesy of the guy who keeps betting and raising blind, my 30k starting stack is now up to a healthier 36k. He blew his brains out shortly afterwards with top pair when he was shoved on by top 2 pair and called drawing dead. Seat open.
Approaching the first break after end of level 3 and I'm still on around 30k starting stack. I'm liking the table in general. There's only one player who is getting particularly out of line in pots (besides me, obviously). The rest are having their moments, but are pretty ABC and easy enough to read. Hopefully this table stays intact for a good while, There don't seem to be any real danger spots... unless of course I get coolered.
I've realised that I don't have my U.S mains adaptor in my backpack today, so I'll be on limited power vis a vis updates. Mercifully for you lot, I'll try to keep them a bit more concise and conserve battery power for as long as I can, or you'll end up getting a synopsis later when I get home if (hopefully) I go the distance. We're at 200/400/400, and 94/1116 currently remain.
Argh. I just took a 5k hit from the 12 year old when my 77 lost to his K4 suited. He hit a runner-runner flush. Ho hum. Level up to 300/500/500...
At the moment, it doesn't seem like it's going to be my day today, despite it being a pretty good table. I just re-raised preflop with JJ, both players called, and the flop came 9JK. Pretty good for me and I have to fancy I have a good chance of being ahead. I bet 3500 on the flop and both players call. The turn is a horrible Queen, putting 4 to a straight on board. One player bets 3500 again, the other calls, and I call, though of course now I'm hoping to fill up on the river as there's a 90% chance I'm now losing. The river brings an unhelpful 3, and one player leads out again for 5500. We both fold. I'm not a fan of calling to see if I'm beaten, I'd rather be betting or raising, but this clearly isn't the hand in which to be doing it.
The pain of playing these things never quite goes away....
I pick up AA on the button, just as the blinds go up to 300/600/600. The 12 year old from France (who actually seems like quite a nice kid) raises yet again to 1500. It gets folded all the way round to me, and I make the classic play of throwing in a 500 chip and a 5k chip together. This is a raise to 5500, but the move in itself sometimes puts doubt in the minds of the other players as to whether the player actually just meant to call the 1500 instead of reraising, which is exactly the uncertainty I want to foster by doing it. I don't do any play-acting or gesturing after throwing in the 5500, as that moves more into the territory of angle-shooting, which isn't really my thing. All players then fold to the original raiser, who now deliberates. He has a big stack, but I feel like he really doesn't want to double me back up to the point where I'm now a danger with a big stack again. He thinks, thinks some more, and eventually moves all-in. He has decided I believe (and the hand he flips over later bears this out) that I raised by accident, and he's now trying to push me off the hand and force me to fold. I have enough chips to do so, if indeed I'd raised by mistake.
Of course, I'm not folding, and I beat him into the middle with my stack. I flip over AA. He flips over...A9 offsuit and sighs. A great spot for me.
The flop comes K95, now giving him 99, but still putting me as a strong favourite since he only has 2 outs in the deck. One player at the table actually jokes "it's a classic flip!", basically underlining how far ahead I am in the hand. The turn brings a 7 which is no help, at which point, I jokingly say "get your cameras ready".
The river is another 9.
So, I'm out. Again. With aces. Again.
A lot of people can't handle the ups and downs (mostly the downs) of playing poker tournaments. There's a lot of luck involved, and during a day a ton of great starting hands will get smashed to bits by far inferior ones. I'm not moaning about it. In fact, almost all of what I write here on the site is for the benefit (or dismay) of the people who have invested, or the few who like reading the updates. The people who know me, are aware that I pretty much never discuss poker, and never go over hand histories, etc. I'm never going to be unhappy getting my chips in as a 90% favourite in a hand. It's just unfortunate that at the crucial time, the poker gods like to kick me in the nuts right now. It happens. Breathe and start over.
(cue Kevin walking off into the distance, followed by the sound of a gunshot)