I had planned on playing the 6-handed $545 tournament. Matt Savage and I exchanged emails and I wanted to stop by to see him and get in some poker. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot and didn't check the starting time. Don't know why I assumed it was a 7pm start. I did get there at 2:50pm thinking I would spend the afternoon playing some satellites. It turns out that there was 10 more minutes to get in as an alternate. I would get the full starting stack of 4k and the next two 40 min levels were 100/200 and 100/200 25. Hmmm, not great, but with an avg stack still at 5.5k it wouldn't be horrible. Okay, I decided to give it a shot. I didn't have my players card with me and the guy who dealt with them had already closed shop but the staff was very helpful and got me my seat in minutes.
I managed to stay out of trouble for the first few orbits and won most small pots I played.
My first major hand was with the blinds still at 100/200. Me on button with A8. Folds to me and I raise to 500 with a 4k starting stack. SB who has 1800 or so pushes. I insta-call. He has K9. Flop comes with a K and 8. River is 8 and I'm in business.
For a fairly major 6-handed tournament loaded with aggressive pros my table turned out to be great. There was a young pro two seats to my left who was somewhat aggressive. Actually he talked a lot and represented through his words that he was the real deal and very aggressive. In reality he was fairly predictable and not very aggressive at all. Most pots were heads-up and there wasn't much post-flop aggression or pf 3-betting. About an hour in Makisim Karandeyev sits to my left. He's young, friendly guy who tells us all that he just won the NL event #11, but is actually a limit specialist.
I'm in the BB with KT at 100/200 25 and around 5.5k. UTG makes it 600, button calls, SB calls, I call.
Flop T84 with two clubs. SB makes it 1500, I push. Folds to SB who calls with JT. He has me covered by a bit. My hand holds and I'm in business with a great stack.
Still 100/200 25 and I'm at 11k. I make it 700 with AJs. BB who has about 10k takes a while to decide. It seems to me that he is seriously thinking about raising. I put him on a hand like 99/TT/JJ/AQ. He calls.
Flop comes K rag/rag. He immediately leads out for 1200. I have no part of the flop, but the timing of his bet really raises alarms to me. I really feel he has a hand like JJ and is testing the waters. A raise here or a call and then bet or raise on the turn will very likely get me the pot. However, I'm torn because I would have to risk about half of my stack and I have a very healthy stack right now and don't want to bluff it away. I decide to just let it go, but do regret the wimpy play. Any thoughts?
Pretty standard. My stack and blinds are about the same as above. I raise with TT. Aggressive young guy (AYG) across the table calls as does a short stack to my right. Flop comes KT9. AYG checks, shortie puts his last 300 in and we both call. AYG checks in the dark which sucks. Turn comes an 8 so I really can't slowplay any more. I fire about 2/3rds of pot and he folds. Pretty standard.
I lose about 3-4k of my stack through blinds/antes and PF raises with hands like AT, AJ, KQs, etc., and either missing/continuation bet/fold to raises or more often then not, having my buddy to the left, Makisim, 3 betting me. This happens 3 times and while I do want to look him up at some point, I decide that I'll wait for a better opportunity so am forced to fold each time, until:
150/300 25, stack: 9k. I limp with KTs from UTG+1 (is it possible to be in early position 6 handed?). This is my first limp of the day when first in. Everyone comes along except the UTG who already folded. Flop comes T92 rainbow. SB makes it 500 into a 1600ish pot. Checked to me and I make it 2k. Makisim asks me my stack size and takes quite a bit of time deciding what to do. He eventually makes it 4k. Hmmm. Very weird bet. He either got a bit worried and thinks that this weird bet will screw with me or he really has a strong hand and wants me to come along. I think quite a bit about it and decide that he doesn't have much, but what a stupid bet. Why do it? Very tough spot. Given our history I just can't lay it down and really am convinced I have him and he's just making another move, given that I've shown no resistance to his other raises. He probably pegs me as weak (is it right?) given what he's seen, so I push my last 6.5k. When he doesn't immediately call I'm pretty sure I'm good.
After about a minute he calls with... QT. What the f*&^&ck? I RR the original raiser, then push over the top of him. He still has over 20-25 BB with about 7-8k left. What could I possibly have given the way I've been playing? I haven't shown down one hand that was out of line. Of course he rivered the Q and sent me packing. No hard feelings. I hope you add to your trophy case with my chips. Here's the proud event #11 winner:
Time to do my own sucking!
It's too early to leave so I put down my $120 and play a one-table satellite. We get 1500 in chips and the blinds move up very 15 mins. Pretty standard group of players, a few guys who think they know how to play BUT... very few really understand hand values in these things. It amazes me the hands that people fold or consider folding in this tournament.
I win a small pot on the first hand with AQs and then go card dead for a while. I stay at around 1800 as blinds move up to 150/300 -- I'm just getting no opportunities to make a move. I keep my stack steady by simply pushing blind from the SB and button when folded to me. Then I go on a crazy run.
I'm UTG with the blinds about to eat me alive so will play a very wide range of hands. Still 6 people left. My first card is an A and I push without looking at the 2nd. The SB open folds 88 without hesitating. Pretty weird if you ask me given how broad my range is in this situation. I guess if he thinks I play like everyone else it makes some sense. Unfortunately my second card was also an A, but I probably would have done the same thing if I knew. I proceed to get KK, JJ, AK, 88 over the next bunch of hands and knock out two players to take a large lead. I do suck out on a guy when I called his short-stack all-in with 88 when he had JJ and I flopped trips. However, that hand wouldn't have killed me, but this hand...
We're now 3-handed. An attractive Asian female who is fairly good has about the exact same stack as me. We are both at 6.5k or so and one guy between us had 3k. Nobody mentions a deal and I'm in no mood to offer one. Blinds are now 400-800. I have Ah7h and auto push. The SB folds and the Asian female goes into the tank. She says she loves her two cards and is having a hard time folding them. I assume she has KQs and don't really feel like flipping right now so I hope she folds. She is seriously thinking about folding and I'm pretty sure she will. She has done this routine countless times before.
To my surprise she calls. To my SURPRISE she show AJs. What just happened? She almost didn't call me? With 3 handed action and blinds at 400-800? You gotta be kidding me. Of course, the flop comes with 3 hearts and I suck out.
A few people make mention that I was caught stealing. A7s in that situation is like trip A's. So now I have 12k or so vs. 3k for my opponent. If he asked for a deal I would have probably given him 200-300, but he doesn't. He makes some mention of catching up with me and then chopping. I take him out in about 3 hands and take the entire 1060. Boy, I sure earned that one! I feel bad because I started to talk to some of the other players and completely forgot to tip the dealer. They must think I'm a complete schmuck. When I come back next week I'll try to make up for it.
I must close by mentioning how impressed I was with the tournament. It really felt like I was in the Amazon Room of the WSOP. The tables were packed between the featured tournament, a variety of one-table satellites, the daily multi-table satellites and the final table from the previous day. The staff was extremely efficient, the dealers were great and the food, as always, was first rate. I'll be back for a few more tournament and will be sure to report back.