…So the next morning, I wake up with the sun in my face around 9 am (I forgot to shut the curtains). I shower and go relax at the buffet, eat some free breakfast (had $25 in dining credits, yay!!), drink some coffee, and read some magazines I got from the poker room the night before. I head over to MGM a bit after 11 to register for the tourney. I was shocked to find out that I was only the 5th person to register for day 1B, but the girl at the counter said that on day 1A, most of the field registered after the start time. Looking at the report from the previous day, only 48 people played day 1A. This was a bit disappointing as the predictions were for closer to 200 runners. So I was waiting for the festivities to begin. A few minute before 12, I take my seat and there were not many entries to start. Eventually, day 1B had 48 entrants, exactly the same as the previous day, for a total of 96 runners for both starting flights. We started a bit late, obviously waiting for more people to show up. As I’m waiting I see that one of the reasons I played this tournament is really going to come true. I said before that I was hoping for above average competition with the buy-in level and AVP’ers. I look up from my table, and who’s hanging out with Jon Friedberg flashing his WSOP bracelet? Dutch Boyd. And sure enough, he’s at my table, in the 1 seat, I’m in seat 4. At least I have position on him most of the time. I honestly didn’t consider there would be any pros playing (that I knew). Kinda cool. Eventually, we get started.
Let me preface all of my “analysis” and description of my “play” by saying that I have no illusions of being a great player by any means. I play my share of small tournaments and have managed to win more than a handful and cash in quite a few. That being said, I also know for a fact that my competition was not top-notch. So while knowing that I can make deep runs by playing my best game, I am here to learn how to play my “best game” with better competition. I know going into this that I’m probably a “soft spot,” but I know that am at least capable of learning a thing or two about myself and how to improve my game. To top this all off, I am primarily a LIMIT player in cash games. This is not because I’m afraid to play No Limit, but I enjoy limit games and I am WAY better at it when playing cash than I am at no limit, so I stick to my strengths.
The first 2 hours are rather uneventful, no huge pots, most everyone playing pretty snug in raised pots (except 1 guy who called raises a bit too much). There was more limping than I expected, which I also did in a few spots. I played decent, betting my hands in position, stealing a few pots in position, and winning one decent hand against Dutch Boyd. I flopped two pair w/ 3-5o in the big blind and a few limpers. I bet the flop, limpers fold, except Dutch, who calls. I lead the turn, Dutch thinks for a bit and calls. River gives me a boat, I lead, Dutch thinks again and calls. I show down my hand and take the pot (not too big, blinds are still 25-50 at this point). I honestly can’t remember the board, but there was not paint, so I put him on some sort of suited connectors or maybe he was just floating and the turn hit him. No real read on him except that I knew I was ahead the whole way. I hit the break with 22k in chips. Sometime during the break or the level before, Gavin Smith joined the party at the table behind me.
Right after break, one of the players at our table busted, and within the next couple of levels, our table broke and I ended up at the table next to the rail. I wound up in the 10 seat and in the 5 seat was a long haired bearded guy with a huge mound of chips. The next day I would find out his name was Sean, aka The Wookie. I played with him in the AVP XV tourney also, an all-around good guy, and entertaining to have at the table. At one point, he was the tourney chip leader with around 50-60k in chips during level 5 or 6. He was pretty aggressive and busted a while later (can’t remember if it was before or after the 2nd break). I think he got his money in good. The guy in the 1 seat busted, and soon after another table broke and Gavin Smith takes the seat. Crap! OOP against Mr. Smith. He was a bubbly guy, pretty much just like he is on TV. He also drank A LOT, sucking down Greyhounds from the time he arrived until we broke for the day. He was the first one that really started to attack my blinds. This was the beginning of a trend, as I began to go card dead as people started to get some bigger stacks and the blinds were going up. I was able to induce a bluff from him once. I wake up with KK and raised to 1200 (blinds 200/400/50) from early position, he called, we’re heads-up, I’m OOP. The flop was all low cards, I check sensing he wanted to continue to bully me with position. I really think he's gonna make a move as he had raised my blinds at least twice before. He just had that twinkle in his eyes...maybe it was just the vodka. Sure enough, he shoots out about 4k, more than the pot. I check-raise, he insta-folds faster than I can put the bet out. As he grabbed his cards by the sides, he pulled them from under the chip protecting his hand and I caught a glimpse of the bottom card, definitely a small spade, maybe a 3, 4, or 5. After the fact, I began to think it was probably lame to check-raise. Maybe I should have led out, he may have come over the top, then I could have gotten a bit more out of him. Opinions? Remember, I need all the constructive criticism I can get.
Later our table breaks again and I end up at a really tough table. We’re down to 2 tables, playing down to 12 for the day. I’m in the 1 seat. The 6 seat is a tough player named Brad, who made the final table. The 7 seat is Gavin Smith, and the 9 seat is John Kim, a tough aggressive player with a huge stack who also made the final table and was the chip leader going into day 2. At this point, John Kim is hammering the table with constant raises, I’m card dead (my end of the table all seemed card dead). There are two hands of interest for me, one I just can’t remember very well. I got it all-in with Brad across the table. He was ahead with a small pocket pair (7’s I think) and I have AhJx. I was getting low on chips and it was about all I could do with the best hand I had seen in an hour. Sorry I don’t remember the details, but I was just thankful to have gotten lucky enough to survive that all-in. The flop comes with 3 hearts, 4th heart on the river for the flush. I double up and I’m back in contention after being abused by Mr. Kim. The second hand is the final hand of the day. In fact, it happened simultaneously with one of the most exciting hands of the day, over at the other table. On the other table, Dutch Boyd got into a 3 way all-in with QQ vs. 77 vs. AK. The 7’s flopped a set, AK flopped TPTK, and Dutch hits runner-runner for Broadway to triple up. He busted the guy with 77 and crippled the guy with AK leaving him with only 800 chips. This is also chronicled in a post by Donkey Tax the night that this happened.
As the buzz happened over there, I wake up with JJ in the BB. Gavin makes it 3500 (I think) and like the fool I am, actually considered folding because I knew that was the last hand as we were down to 12 with the knockout on the other table. I thought for a while and realized that was the lamest, nittiest thing I could do. I would be somewhat short stacked giving me even less of a chance to win this thing. Furthermore, I just didn’t believe him anytime he made a move on me and I had a hand again to play back with. So I pulled the trigger and popped it to 9100. Gavin thought for a bit, rolled his eyes up at the ceiling and folded. I bagged up my chips for the day and went to day 2 with 32,600. That was 16th/25 in chips. Not a lot, but definitely room to play with blinds at 800/1600/200 with almost a full level to go when we return before the blinds went up again. I feel okay about how I played day 1, but I know I could have been more aggressive. I gave up my blinds way more than I should have, but I truly had crap when I did. I felt that I was better off playing better hands in position, instead of defending my blind with garbage. I’m sure it would have worked a few times if I came over the top, but one of those bigger stack bullies would have snapped me off eventually. So my raises in position always worked, only seeing a flop once, taken down by a c-bet. Overall, I was just happy to get to come back and play day 2….
(these are long, you will make it in here soon Brian)