PFR = Pre flop raise; PFRR = Pre flop re raise; OTF = On The Flop; OTT = Turn; OTR = River; UTG = Under the gun. C/S= caling station, CO = Cut off
Arived 7:30 Pm Friday night, with my goal to play in CP noon Saturday tourney as it is one of the better structures for skilled players. Dumped bags at MGM, and went off to Mandalay as as it is rated as easy competition. Had a dinner buffet with was delicious and included all you can eat King crab legs!
Immediate seating at 1/2 at a table full of easy money including a drunk couple from southern USA who had over a $1000.00 in front of them who both left after losing all their money. The players were very poor. One young fellow who was a regular, PFR to $12 UTG with KK and got 4 - 5 callers. Ace OTF and he bets out 1/2 the pot. Two callers , with a board with no obvious draws. OK so any half baked poker player knows that KK is no good. So what does he do OTT? Pot size bet!, same two C/S call both playing weak Aces weakly (which is a very typical play from C/S). River is a blank, KK check,A9 check, A7 check, A9 takes it down. KK stands up and insults both of them. (with me wanting to gag him and tell him to actually READ a poker book: NEVER EVER berate the fish) Oh well, I picked up $192.00 with no memorable hands, except one where one of the drunk southeners, called my turn push with second pair on a board of Q 7 2 8, then cheerfully smiles and says nice hand when I flip over AQ for top pair , top kicker. (he was holding K7 off and yes I did PFR.)
I wander back though the Luxor and Excalibur maze and wind up going to sleep around 4am, having watched a very entertaining (and free) show between a very drunk Irishman who couldn't figure out how to work the cash machine and a very angry black hooker.
Next morning I wake up at 10:22 (too excited to sleep to my 10:45 am alarm, and grab the Deuce to get to Caesars for th noon tourney, $330.00 buy in 10,000.00 chips, and 40 minute blinds. i play uber tight for the first three levels but pick up pocket AA versus AK, which is three bet, and a K lands on the flop, He pushed OTF, I called praying he did not flop a set, no suckout so I move up to $18K in chips. I donk off 1500 through attempted steals when there are no antes, which I know is a no no, but I can't resist. That doesn't work out, so I tighten up and catch a break in the BB on a limped pot with me holding Q10off, flop is QQ7 rainbow, so I check, but it's checked around, turn brings second spade so I bet out 2/3 pot, folds around to CO, who pushes, I have him covered, I figure he can't have AQ cause of no PFR and I would have expected a least some small bet with KQ or QJ OTF as he was last to act. I figure most likely hand is nut flush draw, so I call and he flips over A7, both spades, I dodge a spade and am up to just over 30K in chips.
The blinds and antes kick in and I pick up a few small pots and am chip leader at my table with around 50K, when a very aggressive local pro raises UTG to 2200. He has the second most chips at the table , around 43 - 45K, blinds are 400/800 with 100 ante. I don't peek at my cards early, so action is folded around to me and I look down at KK. I know UTG is very aggro, so I PFRR harder than usual to 7000. SB/ BB fold. He acts too quickly (thank you Annie Duke for your book I read before I left home) and pushes all in. My instincts scream weakness at me, and I am mindful of Harrington who says that if you pick up KK versus AA in a tourney, it's just not your day. It doesn't take long for me to announce call and his face drops with a sick sheepish look as he flips over Q7 of spades, groans when he sees my KK and gets up to shake my hand before the flop, classy guy. I don't fault his move that much, as there are probably only two hands I'm not folding against second chip stack. This leaves me as the overwhelming chip leader at about the midway mark in the tourney, with final table chip count in hand.
All advice says play like a rock in this situation until the tables start to play short handed, and for the most part I do. I'm blessed by three players on my left who will fold to my occasional steals, so I stay ahead of the blinds and never get repopped. I am also very greatful to the loudmouth in seat 8 who had played at my table since the start of the tourney and would continually announce to any new players that "Seat 5 has a tell; he only plays the nuts; he only played three hands so far and every time he had Aces or Kings" (bless your big mouth, wherever you are)
We get down to 22, and I am still chip leader. I make a conscious decison to steal to 18 and steal I do, raising whenever SB and BB are tight players. I only get called once when I'm holding a monster: 8 4 of spades. I'm in MP and a tight guys calls from BB. I watch him watch the flop: his eyes and Mike Caro tell me he missed the flop, which is K high. I put out a 60% rep bet, trembling in my heart and praying my poker instincts and the tell is correct. They are; insta fold!
18 quickly comes and goes and from 13 - 9 I steal a little bit but I don't really need to and even my own guts ask me to tighten up so I can tell the boys I made the final table at my biggest live tourney so far. A coule of short stacks blow up, we're at 10 and everone almost instantly agrees to pay bubble boy $50.00 bad deal for me as I'm in the chip leaders, but it's 9 - 1 against and I don't need any bad karma so I also agree.
Bubble boy is gone within 10 hands and we're on break. I phone home to my Poker rocks (Thanks Jeff and Dave) to break the news and get some calming advice: Jeff says play to win! We colour up and deal blinds: 3000/6000/500 ante. I've drawn UTG (groan) for the very first hand of the tourney and look down at AA (elation), raise to 20,000, every folds, pooh! I play tight as there is no need for to do otherwise, and I'm seated to the left of Eric Morris, who told me he is the owner of Bluff magazine. My celebrity radar doesn't run that deep, but he was a good guy, (and uber tight at a final table - I saw his hand once - he folded A7 on Dealer button). I knock out one guy in seventh place with my AA versus his KJ _ yes I did pick up pocket AA three times in this tourney ( but it is a ten hour tourne so over 275 - 350 hands est, it's not a crazy std deviation).
There is one cripple in the final 6 who does not understand the concept of M at all. (Harrington concept of stack size related to blind levels for those who also don't know) This also benefits me greatly, as I start to steal again, regularly until he is gone and the tighties , sit back passivleyu and let me steal. Down to five. 3 are tight and one is loose aggro, and angry as hell about what he thinks are my steals whe n the cripple was still alive. Unfortunately he is immediately on my left. I raise 3 x in posiiton with A10, AJ and AQ and it puts aggro man on quasi tilt as I have him triple covered. He loses it, and his tournament when he fails to recognize that a third bet PFRR from a tight player is probably a lot better than 55. JJ takes him out.
The prize money now goes from $2300 - 3000 - 5000 - 9800 (approx) and I go card dead. To be precise flop dead. The blinds move to 8000/16000/1000. Avg stack is 237,500 or our avg M is 8.5. No talk of a chop whatsoever, but probably should have considered it. I raise three pots in fairly quick succession with AK, AQ and AJ and get called PF each time, and the flop whiffs every single time. I bet out with the AK and got called, and couldn't committ my remaining chips on nothing.
with PF raise being 45K, I go from Chip leader to shorth stack. I push all in twice with A rag and p/u blinds. Then I'm in BB with around 140,000 in chips M = 5, holding J9 off, Dealer limps, small blind completes. I focus on D to see if he is slowplayin a monster OTF, no his eyes say he missed OTF and the flop is 37J rainbow. SB checks, I push, Dealer folds, SB insta calls with a flopped set of threes! Jack comes OTT to make the river interesting. I'm gone! The pain is eased by the $2312.00
What a rush. CP puts on a really great tourney, except the breaks towards the end should be longer - only 10 min to do your business and no time to eat at all. Part II up next!