Event #19 started with 1,068 players (quite the contrast compared to the 46 we got for the $2,000 event in L.A.!) each with 7,500 chips and blinds of 25/50. For me this tournament was filled with insane ups and downs. I started off at a good table. It was me, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari (he used to be an actual professional magician), and four weak players.
My first big hand came about 20 minutes into the tournament. One player at our table was clearly very nervous. More nervous than I was my first time at the WSOP. Clearly he was being very careful. On the hand in question he was in the small blind and made a small raise to 125. I was in the big blind with 85. Clearly this is a garbage hand, but I felt confident that if my opponent didn't hit something big I'd be able to blow him off the hand in later betting rounds.
I threw in 75 more chips to call and the flop came down J 7 5. My opponent bet 200 into the 250 chip pot and I just called. The turn brought an 8 which made me two pair and almost certainly the best hand. Now my opponent bet 600. I thought for a moment and made it 1,800. When he didn't instantly fold I knew he had something and figured him for an overpair. After about 30 seconds he moved all in and I called. He showed AA which was about what I expected and meant only 8 of the remaining 43 cards in the deck would make him the best hand. Sadly the river was a jack making him two bigger pair and knocking me down under 2,000 chips.
At the first break, 2 hours into the tournament, I was up to 2,700 and on the first hand back I doubled up. I got dealt JJ, got it all in vs AT and my hand held up. That had me at 5,500, but I faded back down to 4,000 before getting my money in bad. This was the first of many times in this tournament that I was in bad shape and got bailed out. I had QJs and raised from the small blind. The big blind reraised and I called. The flop came down K T 5 and I check raised all in. My opponent who had stared the hand with 3,000 chips called with KJ, but I hit an ace on the river. It was a good play on my part, but still a spot where I needed to get lucky once the cards got turned over.
With about 7,000 chips I got moved to a new table, which also turned out to be pretty soft. No one there was terrible, but these guys were not on my level.
This leads me to time number two where I was in bad shape and got bailed out. I had 88 under the gun and came in for a raise to 600 (the blinds had just gone up to 100/200). Two players just called and the big blind moved all in for 6,000.
We call this a squeeze play. If you're the player in the big blind you see 2,100 in the pot and you can be pretty sure that the guys who called the raise don't have great hands because they didn't reraise. If you can get past the first raiser (who still has to worry a little bit about the players behind him) you're usually gold.
I figured the big blind might move in with any ace or any pair in this spot so I moved all in too. It turns out he did have a pair - it was kings! Amazingly four hearts showed up, I had the only heart, and I took down a nice pot of about 15,000 chips.
Then I procedeed to run quite a few bluffs. There was a lot of calling before the flop and goofy small raises from the players at my table. As a result I was seeing more than an average number of flops and missing them all. Some of my bluffs worked and some of them didn't.
After one of the bigger ones failed horribly, I fell all the way down to 4,500. This leads me to time number three where I got my money in bad. I tired a squeeze play of my own with A7 suited and got called by AQ. Miraculously, I flopped a 7 and survied. That put me at around 9,000 chips. Which is where I stayed. For what seemed like forever. As I folded. And folded. And folded garbage hand, after garbage hand slowly bleeding my chips away until I only had 5,000 left.
After six hours of play it was time for dinner. I came back up to my room, ate some cereal and a ham sandwitch, and watched some TV. When I got back to the poker table some crazy shit happened very fast.
When we came back the blinds were 200/400 with a 50 chip ante. A few hands in, it got folded around to me in the small blind and I made it 1,400 to go with QTs. The big blind thought for a minute and moved all in. I only had 3,700 more and there was already about twice that in the pot so I decided to go for it even though I thought I was behind. I was up against A7 and in hand number where I got bailed out (I was about 40% to win here so my call was actually correct) I flopped a queen and was up over 11,000 chips.
About 10 minutes later I got dealt KK. On the hand before there had been a raise to 1,100 and a call, and I moved all in for about 10,000 (with A2s - squeeze play again) and got no callers. Now the same player had raised to 1,100 again and gotten two callers. I breifly thought about just blowing all in to make it look like a bluff, but instead I made it 3,000 to go. The initial raiser folded, but the first caller made it 8,000! When it got to me I moved all in for about 12,000 and he called with TT. I won and was up to 25,000!
Now I was feeling good. I'd come from 5,000 up to 25,000 which was about an average stack in just under 15 minutes.
Then I got dealt JJ in the big blind. All right! It's on now bitches! The button who was a new player to our table (someone had gone broke in his seat a few minutes before) raised to 1,000. I made it 3,000 with my big pair and he moved all in for 16,000. It took all of 2 seconds for me to call and when he turned over his cards up he had A7.
When I was winning all of those hands where I was behind I kept thinking, I bet I'm going to get it in with the best of it later and lose a big pot. I was about 70% to win here, but sure enough an ace came on the flop and a 33,000 chip pot (worth $11,000 in real dollars - fuck!) got pushed to my opponent.
About 10 minutes later I went broke. On my last hand maybe I out thought myself and made things a little too complicated or maybe I played it brilliantly and got screwed.
I got dealt Q9s on the button and everyone folded to me. Like I said before there had been a lot of just calling before the flop, but I hadn't once just called when I was first in. Q9s is a great hand to see a flop with and I figured I'd give calling a shot. The small blind just called behind me and the big blind who was the chip leader at our table with over 70,000 chips made it 2,800 to go. This was too much for him to have a strong hand. He was one of these goofs who liked to make small raises and if he had a big hand (or even an OK hand) he'd make it 1,600 or 1,800 (or maybe some goofy shit like 1,475). On top of that he was a thinking player and I figured he'd think I had AA or KK if I reraised him since people will rarely limp in and then reraise with anything but a monster hand. So I tried to look like I was trying to look conflicted (now that's a professional manuever!)and moved all in for about 12,000.
He instantly called me with A2 off suit! ACK!
In retrospect maybe I should have made it 6,000. Now that would really look like AA and would still give me enough to fire a decent sized bet at the flop. I actually flopped a queen and I thought, I'd done it again, but an ace came on the river and that was it. I finished about 300th of 1068.
There are a lot of ways that last hand could have played out differently. If I raise before the flop I might get called or small reraised (which I would call) and when I flop the queen I put enough heat on that A2 can't call. Or if my opponent raises smaller I just call, flop the queen, and move all in vs his flop bet which would no doubt lead to a fold from him. Or I could have just won that pot with the f-ing jacks! Damn it!
The walk of shame down the very long, long hallway of the Rio convention area is never fun.
Tomorrow HORSE! Look for a preview in the morning or afternoon.