An uneventful level one, and I play very few pots in the next either. We're seated in the spa section of the Mezz in PH, so it's white marble floors and bright lights. Luckily it's not freezing in here, and it's also nice and quiet. A few familiar faces at my table but largely unknowns, and virtually no-one but me is talking, so I'm waiting to see if there are any early bonuses to be had, but so far it appears not. It looks like it's going to be a grind so far, which is OK.
Today's flight has 341 players so far and counting. My table is currently 8 handed.
Maybe it's not such a grind. I just saw a woman with As 3s beat a guy who called a decent raise with Js 4s. They both turned a flush on a paired board and somehow managed to play a 25K pot with a 20K starting stack at 75/150 when he bet the river and she raised him all-in, and he still called. Good to see.
Just before the 15 minute break as level 3 ends, I double up a short stack when my 33 cant hold against his steal-shove with 10 8 offsuit. Luckily his short stack was around only 1100, so it's not good but is just a minor irritation. 17K at end of L3 as we go on break.
Hurrah. Kevin wins his first pot. It was a tiddler when an aggressive Brazilian (I think) guy presses my big blind and I give him a spin with Ks 10s. The board ends up J J A 10 9 and I still win, so at least we know he'll be raising with horseshit.
His trend continues, and I make a vocal note of it, in a light hearted way. He chops up some poor kid when his 75 offsuit raise rivers a gutterball 8 high straight. Hopefully I can catch him at some point. 17,500 and now 38 entrants.
Monster pot in which I'm not involved. Ad Ah (Brazilian), 9d 8d (impassive sunglasses player) and Kc Qh (tilting kid who lost to the Brzilian). Flop is Queen high, all diamonds, and they all get the chips in. Obviously.
Crazy Brazil makes a set on the turn, but the 9d 8d holds and busts two of them. This table so far just looks like sit around and wait patiently to get paid.
Just tried raising in position and got 4 callers. I think the talking at the table and the English combined with humour is generally a good mix, but occasionally it induces too much action as in this case. Luckily my 5c 4 c makes two pair, and I'm back up to 21K again.
Another huge one, as a solid player on my left finds 33 on a 235 flop and it all goes in against 22 and AA. Threes hold and another two bust. Easy chips.
A large 'Murican beard with a backpack, a baseball cap, and a good 300 lbs of body weight just joined us. It looks like every table on the WSOP circuit main gets allocated at least two of these guys.
Level 6 and it's 25/150/300. I'm on 23K now. Quite a few have busted and I've now got the table talking, which is a far better dynamic. Looks like only one person is determined to not participate.
Another beard arrives, and punts off half of his 20K start stack in the first 3 hands by being ultra aggressive. Let's see how that approach works out for him against people who don't fold.
A lot of players seem (to me at least) to always play these things in such a formulaic fashion, like, poker is "meant" to be played this way. As most of you know by now, I wholeheartedly disagree with this approach. I think it's situational, and that's why I do unorthodox things. I just had 99 in the big blind, and folded to a 10K shove from the small blind with 2 players behind me, the girl who think J7 is worth 2K, and the beard who has gone down to 10K, appears to be going red, and is tilting slightly. She folds, he snap calls for most of his money, flips AQ, and hits the Queen. I'm pretty convinced if I call or overshove, then he calls anyway before a blood vessel pops. Situational...like I say.
I'm back to 18K when my set-mining approach doesn't work out. Level 8, and 75/250/500.
Nearly 5 and a half hours into this thing, and I'm playing fine but haven't caught a break yet. I'm not hitting any cards so am being patient. A few of the players on my table are good players but it's very weird for a $1675 main. Some are playing it like it's a $30 re-entry event, and if they catch any piece of the flop, then it's worth a 20K stack. I'm averse to play like this, so am just waiting to get doubled up by one of the coconuts with more money than sense.
One guy makes a remark about me talking a lot yet not playing any hands, which gets a laugh from the table. He raises the next pot and then is forced to fold, and I tell him that I just find my method preferable to playing 65% of pots, and losing 55% of them, which gets a bigger one. For the cherry on the cake, I limp with rags the next hand and then reraise two people to take it down and go back up to 20K again. Easy game this.
Now on the last level before the 60 minute dinner break. It's 100/300/600 and we have 476 entrants and counting.
Approaching the break, and I drop to 15K reraising with AK, missing the flop and getting two all-ins so folding. I then get 77 and call a raise, only for a big stack to jam 35K in with 99. He is called by A 10, and i would have flopped a seven, but lose when it runs out 5678J. As I said, you just have to dance through the minefield.
On the break I bump into a nice kid who was on my table a few days ago. He basically didn't like playing pots with me because he never knew where he was and said as much. He only won one biggish one against me, where he called flop and turn and then rivered a gutshot...his only out. We exchanged hellos and I asked if he was playing (he looked to be considering it after I mentioned it the other day).
"Yeah", he replied. "I got about 60K. You?"
"Not as much as you" I replied, and off I went to lunch wondering if I need to stop overthinking stuff, and just jam two cards more often like everyone else seems to be doing. It's working out for them generally.
The 60K kid I mentioned earlier just walked past me as he was exiting and tried to tell me his bad news. I nodded a bit but was generally just marvelling at how you can decimate a 60K stack in that short a time, when I've been grinding 20 or 30% of that for hours.
13K for me, coming back to 100/400/800, which is fine, but means with 16 bigs I'll be choosing my battles carefully, but also won't be call/folding very much either. The table is the right one to get paid on, and I wouldn't see a raise, and a shove from me and then a call from something like A J or A 10 as a huge surprise the way it's been playing. For now it's an hour spent with a turkey bacon avocado club sandwich, with Chipotle sauce.
As an indicator of the mindset here, blinds are now 100/400/800. It gets raised to 2K, and then repopped to 6500. Two players still call the 6500 (with around 25-30K stacks each), and 87 finally wins the pot vs JJ when he flops a draw, jams, and then rivers an 8 high straight. I'm reading a different manual altogether to some of these guys I think.
New table, a mix of friendly and unsmiling. I find myself of the left of...none other than Barry Shulman, again, along with some Asian whizz-kid, who I'm being told is winning every other tournament he plays. Fun times. 12.5K.
Level 12 now, and whilst it'd be nice to make level 15 and day 2, accomplishing this with no chips is never going to be the way it'll go for me. Do or die stuff...time to double. I think a rough count would be around 220 players remain from the original 500 or so.
Just raised with 66 and got one caller with a flop of 99J. I get moved all-in and can't find the call for my stack. I might have shoved had he checked but the bet cuts my ways of winning in half. My table breaks again, and I'm now facing a new set of big stacks on my third seating. 9K at 200/600/1200.
I find the spot on level 13 when there's a small raise from a big stack, and a call. I have Qc 10c and see a flop of Jc 2c 3h. First player checks, and I jam with an over and a flush draw. The original bettor calls and player 3 folds. He flips KJ with no clubs so I'm live to a queen or a club. I hit neither on the turn and river, and after 9.5 hours on level 13 I'm eliminated. I picked up around 3 premium hands in this entire time, and dodged around but couldn't find the spot to get paid. My exit would have put me back to around 22K again but we couldn't do it. Frustrating when card dead, but there it is. The maniac in me knows I could re-enter, but that ain't happening. I'll keep the powder dry and it's back to the Venetian, for the multiple flight $400 Superstack event on Monday.