Sunday, October 8, 2017

Long Day's Tourney Into Night (Part 1)

This is the first part of a four-part post.

Although I didn't cash in it, I felt good enough about my game after playing in the Aria tournament (see here) that I was ready to give it another try.   Venetian was having their DSE 3.5 series during my visit to Vegas in September.  My first Saturday in town the tourney was an $800 buy-in event so I never considered playing in that.  But on Tuesday they were running a $340, two-day version of their regular Saturday tournament (same buy-in) which I told you about here and here. In fact I liked that Saturday, one-day event so much that I played in it the next week as well.  This was back in April and I suppose that one of these days I'll tell you more about my second try at that tourney.

But now we're in early September and the tourney I was considering playing had two starting flights with a day 2 combining the survivors of both flights.  My initial preference would have been to play on Tuesday, but I kind of overslept and missed my chance.  So I ended up playing on Wednesday, knowing that if I somehow managed to survive to the end of day 1 I'd have to come back the very next day at the obscene hour of 11AM.

As I said, the tourney had a $340 buy-in, and a generous starting stack of 25K which is why the name of it is the "DoubleStack."  The one-day only regular Saturday version has a 24K stack, not much of a difference.  The levels were 40-minutes and the tournament even featured a 30-minute dinner break (yay!) same as the single day version.  I really enjoyed playing the one-day version so I figured two days, twice the fun, right?  The guarantee was a cool $100K (the guarantee for the single day version is $25K).

This was not one of those two-day tournaments where you are in the money on day 1.  Nope, all surviving day 1 got you was the right to come back on day 2 and fight for the money.  The first day 1 flight would play either down to the final 11% of the starting field or through 15 levels, whichever came first.  The second starting flight would play down to the exact same place on the tournament clock.  We found out right away that the first starting flight played all 15 levels, meaning we would have to play all 15 levels as well.  So if all went well, I was in for a long day of poker.  If. The first starting flight had 218 players and of course they figured to get more for the second starting flight.  Thirty-one players advanced to day 2 from the first starting flight.

The tournament started at Noon and somehow I managed to get there a few minutes early.  When it started, we were only four-handed at the table.  They had plenty of tables reserved for the tournament of course and used them all, or most of them, by really spreading the players out.  I know it's hard to know how many players are going to show up and when they will show up.  You don't want to put the first 10 players at one table and the second 10 players at another table and so on.  But it seemed weird that we had to start four-handed.  Posting blinds for half the hands in every orbit seemed like a punishment for those of us who arrived on time.  There must be a better way to do that.  In fact, we were four-handed for a good twenty minutes and then I don't think our table was full until like the third or fourth level.

Once our table got reasonably filled up, there were two guys on my left that made life miserable for me.  I was in seat 1.  The guy in seat 3 looked somewhat familiar.  I'm sure I had played with him before, but my memory couldn't place him in any specific tournament or venue. Kind of Eastern Europeanish accent.  I called him an "Aggressive Calling Station."  He often opened pots or raised over limpers preflop.  Then he stuck around in hands seemingly forever.  He didn't three-bet preflop that much but he sure wasn't shy about calling preflop raises if it was raised before it got to him.  He especially liked to call my three-bets.  I swear, for awhile, he called every damn one of mine.  It made it really hard to pull off the standard play of preflop raise, miss the flop, c-bet with air and take it down.  He wouldn't let me do it.

A few rounds into the tourney, after the original guy in seat 2 busted out, they sent over a solid player, a real tournament grinder to replace him. He too seemed to call all my flop bets. One of the two of them was almost always in the pot with me and I was having a hard time figuring out a way to get chips.  I was really worried about lasting very long.  And just in general, there were almost no limped pots at this table.

I was a little distracted at first when I noticed our cocktail waitress.  She looked exactly like somebody famous and I couldn't think of who. It was driving me crazy, I knew she looked like some actress.  I spent so much time trying to get my brain to come up with the celebrity she resembled that I almost asked her, "Who do people tell you look like?"  But finally the light bulb went off over my head and I realized she was the spitting image of Hayden Panettiere.  I guess she's more known for the TV show Nashville but I know her from Heroes ("save the cheerleader, save the world").  She really did look like her.

Early on, blinds 50/100, I had Ace-7 of clubs in the big blind. No raise and it was a limped pot (we were still four-handed, the aggros hadn't shown up). The flop was Ace-high, one club.  I called $200, heads up. There was no more betting, the last two cards were blanks.  My Ace-7 beat his Ace-deuce.

Still four-handed, the dreaded pocket Kings make their first appearance.  It had been raised to $200 so I made it $600.  He called and it was just the two of us. The flop was Queen-high, two spades and I bet $500 and got a call.  The turn was a King.  I bet $1K and after a bit of tanking, he folded.

 We were now 6-handed and in the big blind I had Ace-Queen.  It folded to the small blind who completed.  I made it $600.  He called.  The flop was 7-5-2, I c-bet $600 and he called.  The turn was a 2 and a the river was a 7 and there was no more betting.  He took the pot with Ace-5 for a better two pair.

Level 2 (75/150), $23,500.  I limped with pocket deuces then called $625, it was heads up.  Unfortunately I didn't write down many details of this hand and by the time I recorded my voice notes I couldn't remember much of anything.  But I hit my set and apparently decided to slow play it.  I checked the flop and called $750.  I checked the turn and apparently was planning on a check raise but he checked behind.  I led out for $1K on the river and he didn't call.

With 9-7 of spades in the cut-off, I opened to $400 and everyone behind me called .  The flop was Jack-high and totally missed me.  I took a shot and c-bet $1K and didn't get a call.

Level 3 (100/200), $23,600.  Card dead the entire level, I finally get pocket Jacks near the end of it.  I called $700 and it was 3-way.  The flop was low and the preflop raiser shoved his last $3,500.  I could tell the guy behind me was eager to fold.  I called.  The all-in player showed pocket Queens.  Ugh.  But a Jack showed up on the turn and I took it down.

Level 4 (25/100/200), $27,100.  I opened to $500 from the button with Ace-10 off.  There was one call.  I flopped a gutshot and took the pot with a c-bet of $700.

I limped from the button with Jack-8 of hearts after two limpers.  The small blind, the Aggro Calling Station, made it $800.  One of the limpers called so I came along too.  The flop was Ace-8-2.  The preflop raiser checked, the other guy checked and I checked.  The turn was a blank and again, the small blind checked, rather surprising.  This time the next guy bet $2K.  My inclination was to fold but then I thought it through.  This guy was fairly new to the table and had apparently re-entered after taking a bad beat the first time.  I figured if he had an Ace, he would likely have bet on the flop when the preflop raiser checked.  So I thought he might just be trying to steal it.  I went ahead and called.  The aggro folded (a rarity).

The river was another Ace, making it even less likely he had an Ace.  This time he bet $3K.  Now, it was still early in the tournament  and I had over the starting stack and the starting stack was still a good size stack at this point.  So, taking advantage of playing in a tourney with such a big starting stack, I figured it was worth a call.  I mean if I thought he didn't have an Ace before, I thought so even more now.  It was more a question of could he beat a pair of 8's?  So I took a shot and called.

He said "King-high" and showed King-10.  I had read the situation perfectly.  Even though I had doped it out, I was still a little surprised (amused, really) and was laughing a little internally at my play there and that it actually worked out.  Perhaps a sly smile was on my face.   The other guy was not so amused.  "You called with an 8?"

For once, I handled the situation perfectly.  I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I can't help it, sir.  I'm a bad player."  I'm sure my smile grew bigger and I chuckled a little more loudly.  Meanwhile, he was shaking his head.  "Five-thousand for an eight!"  He couldn't believe it.

I was really pleased, not just because I won some chips but that I reacted so well to his criticism.  My tendency there is to get defensive and annoyed when my play is questioned.  It was really nice. 

That was my favorite hand of the early part of the tournament.  I kind of felt that no matter what happened after that, playing the tourney was worth it just for that moment.

Level 5 (50/150/300), $34K.  I limped in with pocket 8's, no one raised and it was 6-way.  The flop was Ace-high, no 8.  The same guy who I beat with pair of 8's on the previous hand bet $600.  It was such a small bet for the size of the pot, I decided to float.  Perhaps this guy was going for another steal (though the number of players who saw the flop made that unlikely).  So I called and four of us saw the turn.

Well, wouldn't you know—the turn was a beautiful 8.  My third turned set of the day!  The guy who bet the flop bet $1K.  I made it $3K and got a call before the bettor also called.  The river was an Ace.  This time the guy who bet the last two streets shoved.  I shoved and the other guy folded.  He flipped over Ace-2 for trips.  His tournament was over.  And busted out to a bad player who invested $5K with just an 8!  My stack was now over $50K.

End of part 1.  Part 2 can be found here.

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