I posted this over in the AVP Forums, but figured I'd cross-post here, since not everyone looks at the AVP side.
Yesterday (October 3), I took a shot at a $250 event in the Venetian Deepstack series, my first bigger buyin in tournament in a couple of years. It was the 5th of 5 day one flights with a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000. The levels on day 1 were 30 minutes long and we played a full 15 levels - just like each of the preceding 4 day one flights had done. After all of those, the fields combined to play day 2 down to a winner. When we started we heard that 127 people had made day 2 from the first four flights on the preceding days.
I had a really ugly first level. I had AK and raised pre-flop, got just the big blind calling. Fired a C-bet on a turn of J-6-10. When he called, I slowed down when the turn paired the J, but when the river paired the 6 and he put out a small bet, I made the call. He had a 6 for a boat. A couple hands later, I had AK again and raised. The flop was K-10-5 with 2 clubs, I did have the ace of clubs and fired a C-bet. My one opponent made a small raise, which I felt could either be 2 pair or a draw and I called. The turn was a blank and after I checked, he checked behind. The turn was the J of clubs completing a few of the draws and I gave up on the hand and check-folded. Finally, I had RobVegasPoker's favorite hand -- KK and raised, I got one caller on my immediate left. The flop was 10-8-2 with 2 diamonds. I made a c-bet and my opponent called. Turn was the 4 of diamonds and I checked, then he checked back. The turn was a 5, no diamond and I checked to keep the pot smaller and give him a chance to bluff -- he bet small and I called. But, he wasn't bluffing he had 8-5 of hearts and rivered 2 pair, he floated me on the flop and then caught the river after the diamond slowed us both down.
Following those 3 hands, I was down to under 7,000 chips of the starting 15,000 stack. After that, I was card dead for almost 2 whole levels -- I think I called a raise from the big blind once and may have made a late position raise with suited connectors and folded both times when I missed everything and was bet into. At that point, it was level 4, with 100/200 blind and a 25 chip ante and I was down to just over 6,000 chips, so I was getting fairly short stacked. But, I pull myself together and wound up playing well most of the rest of the day. I wound up pushing a few times and getting no calls. On one, I even made a squeeze play with 8-8. There was a raise from early position to 625 and 3 callers and I looked at 8-8 on the button and shoved. The first player tanked before folding and the other 3 all folded fairly quickly. Not long after we had a break.
I went the next 4 levels relatively short stacked the whole time. But, I held on and made a few more shoves with no callers. Finally, in level 8, when the blinds were 400/800 with a 100 chip ante and I was still around 7,000 chips, I woke up with AA in middle position and shoved. I got called by A-Q and my aces held to double me back up and finally get me back to near starting stack. Less than an orbit later I woke up with 10-10 and, still being pretty short, I shoved again. The big blind had A-K and called, but I won the flip and got up to my biggest stack yet at almost 28,000 -- nearly 2 time starting stack. I really didn't have much the rest of the level and never had an opportunity to steal blinds, so I took the second break with about 24,000 in chips. Just before the break, as the last players were re-entering a familiar face was moved to my table, someone I knew from TV, Eli Elezra.
After the break, I was still playing pretty tight, when I made my next mistake. The blinds were 500/1000 with a 100 chip ante. Eli limped into a pot and I raised to 3,500 with 88. The big blind and Eli called. The flop was A-4-2 with 2 diamonds. It checked to me, and I made a small C-bet of 5,000 which both players called. The turn was the Q of diamonds and we all checked. The river was a black 5 and the big blind checked. Eli made a small bet -- about 6,000 into a pot of around 25,000. Something told me that he didn't have either the Ace or the Queen and he didn't have the diamond flush. I was right on all counts, but I wasn't thinking that with so many low cards in his range, the 5 could every easily make him a straight -- it did and his 6-3 of clubs won a nice pot off of me and left me with a really short stack again -- just a bit over 10,00 chips.
Not long after that, our table broke and I got moved to another table with a lot of big stacks. We were probably in level 10 at this point. I held on with my short stack, shoving a few times, but never getting called. So, I never built many chips and by taking the blinds and antes managed to stay between about 10,000 to 20,000 chips for about 2 hours. Finally, in level 14, blinds 1,500/3,000 with a 500 chip ante, I found a hand. I was down to about 9,000 chips at this point, with the blinds having just past me (I folded 9-2 off and 8-3 off in the blinds to raises). Then, on my button, a guy in a WSOP t-shirt raised to 10,000 and the woman in front of me shoved for about 14,000. I looked down at AA and shoved as well for my 9,000 chips and WSOP called. WSOPt-shirt had 99 and my neighbor had JJ. My aces held and I was back up to 27,000, although with the blinds and antes still really short. A few hands later, with the blinds up to 2,000/4,000 with a 500 chip ante, my neighbor, who won the side pot but took a hit to around 10,000 shoved. I looked at A-7 off and considered reshoving, but I didn't -- probably another mistake. She had a suited K and got called by a big stack in the big blind who had 3-6 off. He hit a 3 and won the pot, but I think if I re-shove he doesn't call. Even if he had an A hit the flop and I'd have won the hand in even had he called. But, I'm not sure he'd risk it against my re-shove. In any case, those chips did not go into my stack, which hurt.
A bit later, I was down to about 17,000 and shoved with A-K. I got called by A-10, and we both hit pairs on a flop of K-J-10. But a river queen cost me half the pot and I remained very short stacked. I had 2 other hands that I would have pushed with 7-5 suited and 10-9 offsuit both in late position, but in both cases there was a shove by a bigger stack in front of me. Both got called by the blinds. In the first case, it was 7-6 suited with the big blind having AA and the aces holding. In the second, the shover had A-Q but the small blind had JJ which held up. So, the shoves before me kept me alive but with a dwindling chip stack. Finally, with only about 7,000 chips left (under 2 big blinds). I shoved with A-10 and got 3 callers. The board ran out 7-5-7-4-4 putting 2 pair and all kinds of straights out there, but it turns out the A high was good. Only problem was 2 of the callers had A-3 and A-6, so the river 4 cost me 2/3rds of the pot. I still increased my chip stack a bit, but only to about 8,500. After that, I got no cards and was basically all in in my big blind. I woke up with K-10, but there were 3 callers and they checked it down, the board was J-8-7-6-5 and I lost to Q-9 suited with a straight.
Overall, despite my bad playing, I made the most of a short stack and really proved that I could hang around in tournaments. I never got a stupid good run of cards and never really had the situations to do much with my stack or hands, but I had a lot of fun and learned a few things from my mistakes. So, hopefully, I can do it again soon with some better results.
On the plus side, I had a ton of comps built-up and it only cost me $70 to play in the event; so I think I got my money's worth.