Off we go, and I play some small pots off the bat to loosen up. An old rock in the two seat calls my river bet with Ace high (which wins) but the cheapness and the free advertising is well worth the price of admission. Shortly after I get the money back from someone else, and shortly after that, I river a boat with 99, and make a 2k value bet at 75/150 to put my 50K starting stack up to a nice 54K. Slow progression today is the key if at all possible.
I raised with AQ offsuit, and the flop came Q 10 3 with 2 diamonds and a heart. I bet again when two players check, and they both call.
The turn the Ah giving me top 2 and putting out 2 diamonds and 2 hearts. I bet again for 1100. Now the old geezer in the two seat springs to life and wants to make it 4500. The BEST situation I can hope for here is that we have the same hand, and we're chopping. It smells much worse than that of course, and I think unless I river an Ace, the situation is only going to get worse, and I let it go. There are going to be plenty of other spots in which to make money today. I've already stolen a number of pots with air, and luckily this structure is so good that I don't need to satisfy my curiosity by spending 10K or more on a bad call. Onward we go.
Don't know who the kid who sat down in the 5 seat is, but he's quite useful, and plays his button and position quite well. He just bet 2500 on the turn against the guy on my left, who made it 7400. The kid mucked almost before the bet hit the table. He tried the same on my big blind a few hands later and I fired out a 3-bet to 2200 with air and got the same result. Can't let him take too many liberties.
We've been going just over 3 hours, and I'm back to 52K or so.
The good guys just hit 61,000, by virtue of a fun hand where I flatted a 700 preflop bet with Ah Kh, and it gets banged by my neighbour to 2500 and called in a second spot by the aforementioned kid who likes to play position aggressively. I only have have AK, but throwing it away here is pretty bad poker when we're so deep stacked so I call.
Flop is AJ3 with one heart. I bet out for 1600 and get called in 2 spots. The turn brings 7h giving me top/top, and the nut flush draw. The kid now wants to bet 4800, and whilst not loving it, I'm not folding so I call. The other guy folds.
The river is an offsuit ten, and he checks to me. I could be missing some value here, but experience has taught me that a bet here with one pair is a bad move. I likely don't get called if I'm behind, and I probably only get raised if I'm beaten, or if the guy is very good. Either way, it's a bad time to bet so I check behind. He tables 6h 5h for a turned straight draw and flush draw. His flush would have been no good, but it's cheap info, and I take down the pot anyway. 13 minutes until the end of level 2, and the second break. Life is going OK for now.
The atmosphere changed a bit, when a new dealer comes in. She tutts twice when I collect the 25 antes (which most dealers appreciate as long as the number is correct), then she says that most dealers don't like it when a player does that (which is totally incorrect), and finally when I toss out 100 for the ante, she requests I put out 25, even though there are 8 other 25 chips right there for her to make change. I'm not going to get bent out of shape. Some dealers just have a way about them, and I'm not going to be the asshole that decides to argue over stuff as trivial as this. I simply tel her it looks like we're not going to be swapping phone numbers anytime soon, and I leave it at that. She'll be gone soon so I get past it and just move along.
She departs from the table, and the good atmosphere resumes. Another new kid joins us, and loses a couple of smallish pots straight away with some early aggression. This level has been pretty bleak for me, but I've not done any real damage, and am on 57K still as we approach the third break for 20 minutes in the sun.
I go outside and prepare to enjoy a few minutes of sun and solitude. It doesn't pan out that way when a couple of gangly kids rock up and start picking hands to pieces between them. I move seats to blot out the droning, but they seem intent on being as loud as possible, and it carries a good 15 feet. Sigh. Anyway, back we go to level 4, and 50/200/400.
An hour into the level, and I'm not hitting anything at all. Tried a couple of steals that haven't worked, and my stack looks more like 49K right now. It's OK. I can grind it out with the best of them.
On the table behind me, Eric Seidel and Scotty Nguyen seem to be chopping up the opposition. At least it gives people a cool story to tweet to their friends. For me, the break comes up in 4 minutes, and then we play the final level of day one.
Back from the 20 minute break, and we have 2 hours remaining until bagging up for the day. I'm on 42K, which whilst not ideal, is still not causing me to sweat unduly. We're on 75/250/500, which is a bit more serious, but still not so terminal that a player with a 30K+ stack needs to get their knickers in a twist unnecessarily.
Yuk. I hate it when I'm tuned in perfectly, I read the situation, I tell the other guy his hand before he tables it, and I still lose. A pot just came up when the guy on my right makes a small raise. I call with As 3s. I fire the flop which bricks, he calls. We both check the turn, and I bet 1800 on the river with air to try to take it down. He twiddles his chips and picks up 1800. I tell him he has AQ, and he looks shocked...nods, and then calls anyway with AQ and wins the pot. 37K for our hero.
I just got chopped down to 23K after losing a pot with JJ vs 77 when he rivered a set, and then a badly timed bluff when the other player sandbagged AA all the way, and then also rivered an Ace for good measure. We're in the final hour of the day now.
And what an hour it's been... it's been spectacularly unkind to me on a number of occasions. I've had two hands where I've had both a straight draw AND a flush draw, and have had to bet the river in a sizeable pot to try to win it, but have been called super light and lost. Just to be clear here, my table image is not one of someone who is playing a ton of pots and bluffing a lot. I've been playing notably tighter since returning from the dinner break, but on two occasions I've been sigh-called on the river by guys who seem to "just want to see what you have". The most bizarre of these is when I have 5s 3s in the big blind and the board on the river shows 10 2 4 2 10 with two spades and two diamonds. I've been the aggressor, and have had to fire 6K out on the river (I don't think 5 high is going to win at showdown so I simply have to bet it), and the other guy in the pot sighs deeply and finally tosses out a call for over 1/3 of his stack, with 54 for 10's and 4's which wins. I'm never going to berate anyone, it's just not in me to do that, and hell...he was winning, but given the action half the table are scratching there heads at his call, and also how he came to be in the pot in the first place. I'm on 17K and not loving life.
Battery power on the Surface Pro has deserted me, along with good starting hands. The 1 seat on my table, a nice enough guy who has sat there all day and barely said a word, has a baseball cap, mirrored shades, and a bandanna up over his face like he's going to rob a bank. He must be on 150K, and I think he honestly hasn't lost a single pot the entire day. I'm trying to avoid getting frustrated with an itchy trigger finger. The guy on my left is raising to 3-4K every time anyone limps for the 500. He has a stack of around 100K also now, and these guys are going what you really should be doing if you have a decent stack... putting pressure on the little guys and making it hard for them. It's what I do when I'm lucky enough to be in that position, but for the second half of today, my stack's been going in the wrong direction.
Under 30 minutes remain today and we've now been going for almost 11 hours. I probably couldn't have wished for a better starting table quite honestly. I'd say it's made up mostly of recreational players, with only a couple of question marks in the mix. I keep upbeat with a positive mindset, knowing that the main thing about day one of the main is to just get through it. It's frustrating as I keep coming off second best in the hands I'm playing, even when I start out ahead, but that's just how it is. The first two levels today have been pretty great, the final three levels have been pretty grim.
I look down at JJ, and decide it's about time things turn around a bit. There's a raise to 1600 and a call. It reaches me and I make it 4900 to go. Jacks is an awkward hand, and I don't really want to see a flop where it comes baby cards and you let the straightening connectors in cheap, or a bunch of overcards, and now your Jacks probably aren't good. I can limp along, but as the day is drawing to a close, the bigger stacks are putting on the squeeze and making it tougher so I take the initiative. This is fine, until one of the bigger stacks now tosses out 12K preflop, and I have to decide if this is the moment, as it's effectively my main event life on the line. A lot of people will simply shrug and stack off here, but this doesn't feel like a squeeze to me. I think I'm racing at the very best, and I begrudgingly let it go. He quickly flashes me KK, which is a small consolation for me making the right fold, but doesn't help my plight as my stack is now in danger and at the worst possible time of the day.
With 16 minutes to go before the end of day 1A, my exit hand pops up. There's a raise to 1300, and one caller. I look down at AQ offsuit. Not a hand I'm in love with, but not one with this stack which I can just disregard either. I decide I can't keep missing flops or get pushed off of pots over and over, and I shove my now sub - 10K stack to either take a flip, or pick up the 4K or so already in, or what will be more like 20K+ if I get any action at all. Chris, the guy on my left who has around 100K, requests a count, and then calls me. I feel like I'm ahead, but we all know that rarely means much until the dust clears. All then fold to one of the guys who has put in 1300, and he dwells, then calls also... for about 50% of his stack ?!? We all play different, but this makes pretty much no sense at all to me. I do hope this doesn't get ugly.
The flop comes out K 10 5 rainbow, and I have one overcard and a gutter. I wouldn't mind this with chips to move around with, but now I'm all-in and need to improve fast. It gets worse when Chris now bets out for 10K, putting the other fella effectively all-in as well. He shuffles around and then calls for the rest, which totally baffles me. If he was going to do that why wouldn't you simply shove preflop? He then turns over Q 10 for one pair, and Chris tables K7 suited for top pair. Oh shit. I'm losing to Chris, but the other guy's play is just weird to me. He had more chips to start with, and has dusted off the lot with Queen high basically with 2 people who aren't folding. Anyway.
The turn and river are no help, and my neighbour busts us both with top pair. I'm not happy, but grumbling won't change anything. I'll still be out. After the first 4 hours today and a good start, my stack just went South instead of North over and over. Not going to make excuses or blame anyone but myself. I'll just have to win something else instead to make up for it.