06 Jul 2008
Little Day 4, Big Day 1: 10:04 am
My mind has not changed on Las Vegas. I find it a fascinating, exciting, and disgusting. It is an environmental cesspool and the center of social excess. But also, it is an uncommonly friendly place, and people are no different here than anywhere else. You get the whole range, and how can I condemn a place that I willingly go to? Easier to just accept the ambivalence and go with it. So far I’m having a great time.
2 hours until tourney time. Ill write more after Day 1.
Little Day 5: 11:37 am.
Everyone likes to tell you how hard their job is. I think it makes them feel better about themselves. Poker players will tell you how exhausting sitting and concentrating for 13 hours is. While I was tired after Day 1, I gotta say, it was a lot easier than tromping around the Delta all day dragging a canoe. It was far more heartbreaking at times, though.
So, Ive got good news and bad news. The good news is that I survived Day 1. The bad news is that Ive got a really short stack, which doesnt bode well for Day 2. This really is a tough tournament, and though I feel I played well, I got into a few really bad situations where I had a really good hand, and it turned out to be second best. I was all in 6 times yesterday. Most folks that make the final table are all in about 10 times after 7 days of play. Needless to say, it was a stressful day. Given the number of bad situations I got into, I felt really, really good to have just survived day 1. I could have easily busted out had I pushed my good (second-best) hands harder.
I was actually doing quite well when I got moved. I spent most of the day at one table, and I had everyone pretty much figured out. I could see their tendencies, and I was exploiting them quite well. I had a really loose player to my right, which is exactly where I wanted him, and several tight players to my left, which was perfect. I started out pretty aggressively, and I was table captain for a while. Then I got caught stealing with a bad hand, and I had to tighten up for a while. But for the most part, I stole the blinds a lot from the tight ones on my left, and came over the top on the loose guy when I had premium hands. I also got out of the way when the tighties raised. Life was good, and I was up to about $30,000 in chips (we started at $20,000) when I got moved.
Coming into a new table cold is tough, especially when you start getting good hands that are second best right away, and you dont know who youre playing with. Calling a big reraise with pocket tens is a difficult decision when you know nothing about a player. The blinds were getting high enough that the pots started to become a significant portion of my stack. You can withstand a few beats in that situation, but when they pile up, as mine did, it doesnt take long for the stack to dwindle. I took three pretty bad losses without a win to offset that, and that was hard to survive. I did not see pocket aces, kings, or queens once in the last four hours of play, and the one time I got AK cost me a lot of money.
I had taken a couple of bad beats, and my stack was dwindling when I got nearly crippled. I had AK and put in a good raise. A guy behind me, who I hadnt figured out yet, called with 66. The flop came as 6 6 5. I was drawing dead, and I didnt know it. I put in a small continuation bet, and he called. I put him on a medium pair or a couple of high cards. I thought 55, 66, A6, or 67 were unlikely because he called a pretty big raise preflop, but I couldnt rule out 55 and 66 because his stack was pretty deep and I didnt know yet how he played. Had I known more about him, I would have realized that he could easily make that call. I was about to shut down when a king hit on the turn. I put in a good sized bet to see where this guy was at. He smooth called, and I now had to add the possibility that had a king as well. If so, I probably had him out-kicked. Either way, I was not about to bet the river, no matter what hit. I checked and he put in a small bet. It felt like a suction bet, but the pot was large, and I had about 4 to 1 pot odds to call. The problem was that if I called and lost I would be down to about $6000 in chips. If I called and won, though, I would be back on top. The blinds were still pretty reasonable, so I wouldnt exactly be crippled, but I would be so far behind everyone else at the table that I would start to get bullied. Its not a comfortable situation to be in. That was a crucial decision, and it turned out badly, but I think I would make it again, given the odds and the way it all went down. Its a game of incomplete information, and sometimes you just have to consider the pot odds and go with it.
So after that I was looking for all-in opportunities, and I went in 4 times in the last 2 hours of play. Most of them did not get called, but one did, and I doubled up with AJ (my opponent had KJ). I ended the day with about 10K in chips.
My roommate here also had a rough day, but we went out had had a celebratory survival drink. I ordered a white Russian in honor of Matt-o, and it all kind of put it in perspective. Whenever I think of Matt, I realize that all of this stuff is not important. Im really happy to be here and to be playing in this tournament, but its small stuff on the life-scale.
Day 2 is on Wed. The action starts at noon. Im hoping that my luck will improve. The blinds will be 250-500 with $50 antes, which means each round will cost me $1200. Thats an M of about 8. That means Im going to be looking for situations to go all in with, probably with less than premium hands. What that means is that by early on Wed. I will probably either be out or I will have doubled up and be on my way back. Wish me luck.
posted Sunday July 2008