My good pal Gary was the TD at the Wynn but they've shipped him off to the Wynn Macau for a few years to run the show there. It's his own fault for being too damn good at his job. In his absence his shoes have been very capably filled by Aaron, who does an equally fine job, but has the added bonus of being taller.
I'm not going to go re-entry crazy in this due to the field and prize pool, so will chug along with a 10k start stack and see what happens. Brandon, a nice kid to my right hasn't played before much, and is mainly in the game to kill time and have some fun. More of that is needed in the live game of poker, as more and more people these days turn up just to grind and bitch about things.
Early pain as I chat away and steal a few pots. I find QQ and bet big preflop and on the Jack high flop. My opponent turns a set of nines and my 11k or so drops to 4500. Less than ideal.
I find some love on an AA4 flop with A6. Brandon has 10 10 and decides to go with it. I don't like busting the nice people, I'd much rather knock out the surly ones, but sometimes that's how it is. I jump back to 13k.
Cruising along and Brandon has been replaced by a nice chatty lady named Dianna. Nice mix on the table, and a perfect setting for my patter, and in no time I'm up to 19k and still talking.
Maybe I've been playing in the wrong room all my life. I'm bluffing plenty, and then flop a set vs AK on a King high board. I bust another guy and go to 28k. Average is 14k and 57/77 remain.
50 players remain from 85. Blinds are 200/400/50 so I'm plodding and looking for spots to steal, bully, or just get paid.
Sometimes it's nice to win without having to even say a word.
I limp with aces for 600 (yes...aces!), a guy makes it 1500 with a 1k and a 500 chip. One caller, comes to me. I throw out a 5k chip and a 500. I don't even have to do any work. One guy says 'hey, that was a mistake, right?". A second says "I think he only meant to call." I say nothing and look slightly pained.
The original raiser immediately shoves for 15k or so. Joyous times. My AA shreds his JJ and upward we go :o)
I take a hit when I play a pot fast against Dianna with AKs. She has QQ and I don't improve and she doubles her short stack. Shortly after I river a set against someone else and I get the chips back.
37/85 left. Second break. average is 27k and I'm on around 55k.
Back from break and I have to fold 10 10 against the unsmiling button when it comes KQ3 and he bets half his stack. Pick your battles, etc.
31 Players remain and people are stuffing it in now preflop with all kinds of dogshit. I've gone into a more ABC style of play for now. My chips are pretty good but if I spew off 20k it'll be another story so for the moment I'll hang back a bit.
20 players left and I'm on around 63k with blinds at 1k/2k/300. A pretty Russian dealer tried her hardest not to laugh listening to all my one liners, so I upped it and eventually she broke :o) making pretty girls smile is always fun, and also one of my biggest downfalls in life to date :/
I raised in position with K4, and the ever stubborn big blind called with, as it turned out...K7.
I thought I was in good shape on the flop of K74, and was about to have a bad experience, however, the four on the turn perked me up a little, especially when the K7 open shoved and I busted him. How nice it is to be blessed.
Some ducking and diving...next break and 19 players remain. I'm on 58k and the average is 54k.
The floor staff at the Wynn are bloody terrible.
Just kidding. I was having a discussion with Ray (who happens to be flooring the event), and he asked if that was what I was saying on my updates. I thought I'd oblige him. Actually the floor staff here are all very good. The new (ish) poker room is beautiful and a great place in which to play. The girls I'm chatting to who are working there are efficient and professional... and at the risk of sounding a tad sexist, very cute too, which never hurts.
Back to it, and we are down to 18. Play has slowed down a bit and I'm now on around 50k. People are spacking off pretty light now. Time to be smart and not pay off a desperate short stack.
I just realised that Ray Romano (he of "Everybody loves Raymond") is at the table. He has a scruffy beard and glasses and was virtually unrecognisable. He plays these events quite a bit and generally keeps a low profile. We've played a fair few times together before, and though he is in his shell a bit normally (he's a professional comic and for him I imagine this is down time so it's good to respect his low profile persona), his humour still bounces nicely off of mine from time to time. He's also a super nice guy, and very courteous when someone does recognise him and wants a picture or an autograph, etc. He just got a huge double up from a guy who was nice enough but who also clearly had zero sense of humour where I and anything I said was concerned. That's OK of course, not everyone has to love me. Still, I'm happy to see him go.
I'm on 65k or so with 16 players left as we go to 1500/3k/400.
15 left and I took a small hit when I raise with KQ and got shoved on. Nothing wrong with the raise, but another 35k out of a 55k stack to call wouldn't have been smart. I let it go and am down to 48k or so. We also just lost Dianna when her 99 couldn't beat KJ who got stubborn and rivered a king. Like I said, some of these guys can't win, but they can easily ruin your chance of winning in situations like this one.
I'm on 52k or so and a bit under average for the first time in ages. 14 left and we're at 2k/4k/400. I'm still quite liking the table line up as no one has any real flair and it's pretty hand-driven. If we lose one or two more I can open up a bit and put on some pressure as people try to claw their way into the 10 handed final.
Ray just made a backdoor flush and busted a Chinese guy who was sporting welding-goggle glasses and no conversation. He left without a word.
I just lost another of "those" hands that I needed to win in these spots. My AJ raise to 11k was shoved on by 77 and I couldn't get there. It chopped 20k off my stack and now I'm in trouble with blinds so big. Sigh.
I jam twice in the next two hands and recover a bit. In one of them Ray romano folds his big blind to me and shows me 77! Result :o)
We are 12 handed and 10 spots get paid. I'm on 40k, so still not out of the woods.
Returned from the third break looking for some love, and finally got the rub of the green!
I find AcJc in the big blind, and a fairly ABC player I know from the Venetian makes it 15k. I raise all-in for 50k hoping for a fold as I know he's pretty tight. He calls showing AK. Shit.
Board runs out 6789, so a ten would make me the high straight.
I get a Jack, which works just as well and I double up to 100k. That almost NEVER happens to me :o)
Shortly after a shortish stack jams on my big blind for about 15k and I call. My AJ vs his A2.
He flops a two, I turn a jack, and bust him. Down to 11 players.
Finally, we are 10 handed and on the bubble as only 9 spots pay. we agree to pay the bubble $20 each. More expense but it stops all the stalling that normally occurs. Ray Romano busts shortly after, and we have a final, and after the first hand of the final table with AK vs A2 I bust someone, and am on a nice 200k with a million chips in play.
Everyone is pretty deep and I don't want to bleed chips. I raise once with AJ and get almost min-raised by a guy with just a little more behind. It screams strength and I go away. 5 or 6 handed I may go with it but 9 handed I want to keep my stack intact for now. Shortly after the same guy makes a huge overbet preflop on my big blind and I fold again. I've gone from 200k down to 130k or so. Still 8 players remain.
I exercise some discipline for an orbit or two, then finally find KK and raise, fully expecting a three-bet from somewhere. I duly get it from AQ for 60k and I fade the ace and bust a player. Down to seven and I'm back up to 200k again.
Another guy busts and we're down to six. One player asks about a chip chop (paying out the remaining prizepool according to each players chip count), but I decline, saying I might consider it if say...three handed. there may not be a ton of play by that time, but with just over $5,000 up top, truth be told I'd rather go for the outright win if the situation is favourable.
Ten minute break, we will return at 6k/12k/1k. I'm still on around 200k.
One of "those" hands just came up that you need to win. This time I made the call with 10 10 vs AJ for over half my stack and it ended up good when AJ missed everything. I've hit 300k and we're now four handed after I bust him. Time to start rowing for home for real now.
Finally I'm in my element. I steal a few with hands like 32 off, 63s, and A3, but I also get away from the big overshove, which looks like everyone else's play here. If we play for long enough, I think I have the edge to close this out. I really think live poker is all about feel, and is why I have good results live and gave up playing online years ago. The two forms are about as different as can be.
Easing up slowly and trying to keep applying pressure. The guy on my left is quite useful, but the other two are fairly open. I'm still ducking and diving, but the stack I have is generally either maintaining or growing.
Two of the guys are practically begging for a chop. Because of the money involved I'm declining. I'd rather play it out if possible and I feel I just need a decent tail-wind to finish this thing. My chips have dropped back a bit but I'm still trying to apply the pressure.
Trying to wrap this up but the guy on my left keeps coming over the top of my raises. Frustrating stuff. I'm feeling like no-one wants fourth place. I'm about to start pulling the trigger as there is 42k in the middle every hand now.
We all trade chips for a while, and it goes round in circles. Finally we are three handed, and they are still angling me for a chop. First is $5,477, and third is $2,296. An even chop gives me $3,769. Finally I agree, as almost each hand is just a massive flip, and there isn't enough play now as we hit 12k/24k/3k. I'll take the result, with second place on paper based on chips, tip a little bit out to the dealers and floor, and show a nice result on the day. Back to try again tomorrow in the $25k guarantee :o)