I'm looking forward to this very much. For those unfamiliar with the format, basically in a shootout tournament, you need to "win" your individual table in order to advance. No new players are brought in, so the field slowly reduces as you lose players on your table, you can target individual players as there is nowhere to run, the table is not going to break, and basically (in my opinion) the "feel" element of poker comes a lot more into play, as players know they are not going to advance simply by waiting for good cards. You have to get in there and play poker or you eventually get blinded to death. In the past I have had a very good record in this format. I'm a tad disappointed that so far I've played three events on the trip and haven't won one yet, so maybe this is the turning point (cough).
A nice eclectic mix of players are seated (just for anyone who wishes to get their knickers in a twist about racial profiling). We have a pretty girl, an old geezer, a sports fan complete with all the regalia. a silent German dressed totally in black with black shades, a hyper aggressive Asian kid, a Brazilian, and of course...yours truly. Sounds like a recipe for fun and games.
Brazilian guy just lost a sizeable chunk of his stack with QQ vs Germany's flopped set of 8's. I think the dynamic in these things is very different to normal multi table events. It was hard to get away from on an 8 high flop, but not impossible by any means.
Level 3 and the antes kick in already. Still early enough that the pressure isn't being applied yet, we have another player joined us, who has been waffling on his phone to his mum for most of the first ten minutes. At least he cares about her.
Finally above starting stack in a tournament here. Blind squirrel/acorns/etc. Now up to 10k as we approach the first break.
Back from break and we now have a full table as a young hot-shot with shaggy hair joins us. He seems to be pretty aggressive and has already been all in once in ten minutes. He'll be alright.
Pace of the table has picked up a bit now. Shaggy and the guy who is constantly on the phone seem to know each other, and have upped the preflop raising between them. We have approx 1030 entrants now, and the blinds are 25/100/200.
I just snapped off a river bluff from smiling Asian kid, and am up to 12k as a result.
My reading skills appear to be nicely tuned in today. I just picked off yet another bluff, this time from the telephone guy. As a bonus, I also got to display one of my favourite party tricks at a poker table. I bet the flop with Kh4h with a king on board. We both checked the turn, and I check to him on the river. He bets 1500, and I instantly open my right hand and drop 1500 in chips onto the felt, his exact bet amount, almost before he completes his action. He looked slightly wobbly and then flipped over a busted draw. The girl at the table actually laughed out loud when I then asked him "don't you think it's kind of weird that I knew how much you were going to bet before you did?" Fun, fun, fun.
I'm up to just over 14k, and am comfortably chip leader on the table. No need to start swinging the big stick just yet. We're still 9 handed, and as we go to level 5 and 50/150/300, a few of the shorter guys are feeling the pinch and will be gambling pretty soon.
Smiling Asian also just exited the game, giving all his chips to Shaggy, which isn`t an ideal result.
Very shortly following this, I break a long standing rule not to bust the pretty girl at the table, when I find KK (yes!) against her QQ and we get the lot in. We actually both make a set, small consolation though it isn`t. We`re now 5 handed as we near level 6.
At the risk of blowing my own trumpet (bad idea, I'm pretty sure I'm tone deaf), I'm certainly in the zone. I just raised with J10, and the German on my left flatted. We're heads up the flop comes J25. I check and he bets out. I show him the Jack and fold. He obligingly shows me KK and looks incredulous that he didn't make more money on the hand. I'm on around 19k, and am still top dog chip-wise, though Shaggy is gaining.
Cardinals guy and Herman ze German just got it in together. Cardinals had 88, vs Herman's (sorry, I don't know your name!) AQ which couldn't catch, chopping him right down to fumes. It's a good thing. Cardinals guy is the weakest of the remaining players, and I'd rather he had the chips.
Herman busts immediately after, unfortunately giving the chips to Shaggy, who gambles with 55.
We're now 4 handed and Shaggy and I are about even in chips while the other two are short. I hate it when I'm right.
We're basically swapping chips around. I don' want to step on a land-mine 4 handed, and am trying to back into something or wait until 3 handed to jack things up a bit and start rowing for home.
Hallelujah... the dream scenario just opened up. I look down and find Aces (weeee...) upon return from the break, and I find Cardinals raising with AQ. He seems stubborn and doesn't like to fold, so I make it super expensive and raise his 1500 bet to 4600. He decides not to call but to shove all-in instead! Off we go, and although he hits a Queen, nothing goes awfully wrong, and I bust him to get my chips up to a very healthy 32k or so three-handed. Now to try and win the thing.
The guy from Brazil is a good player. We're roughly even in chips, and are both raising and reraising preflop a lot. We ebb and flow, likely for around 90 minutes or so, swapping chips. I take the lead, he does, back and forth etc. We have had a break and have hit the 100/500/1000 level, so each pot is now pretty big. I lose a decent chunk when I flop top two, and he rivers a straight, meaning he now has a roughly 2-1 chip lead on me. This isn't ideal, but with our stacks I'm basically two all-in winning hands from winning the table.
We are both playing a lot of speculative hands. Now we are heads up you kind of have to. The nuts and bolts dynamic of a full ring game won't work now, so you have to grab situations and get in there and gamble a bit.
A situation just came up.
I raise the button with 2d3d. I am perfectly happy playing hands like this, I can normally evaluate the situation fairly well post-flop, and folding in the small blind heads up with this isn't really an option.
I make it quite pricey. Neither of us are folding often preflop, so if I connect, it needs to be a pot worth winning. I raise to around 3300, leaving around 21k behind. He calls.
flop 2h 3s 6c. Perfect.
He checks to me, and I weigh it up, and bet around 7500. Effectively committing myself, and making it expensive for him to continue if he has two big cards or even an overpair. He dwells for a minute, and reraises me. Argh.
At this point, if I'm behind I probably still have outs. Past form shows he can do this with one pair, and there's now too much money in the pot. If I fold I'm likely cannon fodder, as he's good enough to keep the pressure up. I ship it, and hold my breath.
He calls, turning over 5c4d for a flopped straight. Balls.
I have four outs twice for the win, none of which materialise, and I'm out bubbling my shootout table after being chip leader the whole way.
Little to say but just congratulate him and wish him luck in the rest of the tournament. He played well and it was probably always going to come down to something like this. It was kind of one of those hands, and I'm OK with my play, even if I walked into the nuts. Venetian $600 one day Superstack tomorrow.
The freeze frame of the video update makes me look like I'm visually impaired. I'm not doing another one!