I finally found myself with some time to kill, so after much delay here is the recap of Event #26!
As I mentioned briefly before, I got off to an INSANE start in this tournament. I've never picked up so many chips so quickly at the WSOP despite the fact that just about every player at our table for the whole day was a pro of some kind.
1,254 players entered this one and we started with 7,500 chips each. For me the first two hours were about chopping out small pots. I made a few check raise bluffs, won the blinds plenty of times, and picked up some chips with standard continuation bets. I was at 11,000 after two hours.
Then I got involved in one of three huge pots that I'd play against Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet. Jon has won a couple million dollars in online tournaments and wrote a book with John "pearljammer" Turner. I've played against him many time online and he's a very strong player. He also seemed like a good dude from the little interaction we had.
In the first hand blinds were 75/150 and apestyles raised to 400 in the cutoff. He'd been very active this level, always making it 400 to go. I looked down at KT suited (a hand I would have folded against someone playing fewer hands) and raised to 1,200. Apestyes just called which turned out to be a big mistake for him!
The flop came down T T 3 giving me trips! Now I just had to hope he had something. I bet 2,000 into the 2,600 chip pot and got called. The turn was a queen, I bet 2,500, and again I got called. The river was a blank and I looked over at my opponent's stack. A quick glance told me he had 5K-6K chips. I thought if I put him all in he might fold, but if I bet a little less I'd get paid off since I was pretty sure he had something at this point. In the end I settled on 3,500 and I got a call with body language that said "I think, I'm beat, but I can't fold this hand." Later unprovoked when he was listing some other complaints it came out that he had AA on this hand!
Then I went on a busting streak. KT flopped a ten vs my QQ and was out the door. AK missed against my 88. And then AK hit for me against 88! HA!
Just before dinner I got involved in another big one where I put the screws to Apestyles. Although I had him down to about 2,000 chips after I cracked his AA, he built it back up to about 11,000 just so I could take some more from him!
The blinds were 200/400 with a 25 chip ante and he raised to 900 which seemed to be a standard raise at our table for some reason. I looked down at A7s and reraised him to 2,500. This is not normally a play I'd make, but I had a tight image and three times as many chips as he had so I figured I'd push him around. Well he had a strong hand again and this time he reraised me to 4,500. I would have folded to anything over 5,000, but I was getting 4 to 1 on my money, in position so even though I was sure to be dominated I decided to see the flop.
The flop came down queen high and to my shock Apestyles checked. What? He had less than a pot sized bet left and to me this meant that he had a rock solid hand (QQ, KK or AA) and was trying to get me to take a shot at the pot. But I wasn't biting. I checked behind him and the turn was an ace. Now this was getting interesting!
I could tell from his very subtle, but visible reaction that he didn't like the ace and he checked again. Or there was some chance he had AA and just made top set. At this point I figured him for KK. Given that, there was no reason for me to bet. If he has KK he folds, and if he has a monster hand I'm cooked so why bet?
The river was a brick and he checked again. Now I thought "how much is the most that I can bet that he'll call me with KK?" I decided on 3,000 and sure enough he called me and he did in fact have KK! Again I had him on the ropes, but he'd be up to 30,000 chips by our next confrontation! Dammit Apestyles why can't I kill you!
At the dinner break (after 6 levels) I had 45,000 which was six times what we started with. After level 8 I had 67,000! It was so much fun! I was blowing people to pieces and I was sure to be in the top 10 if not the top two or three chip stacks in the entire tournament.
Then I had two major miscues. On the first Apestyles got his revenge. The blinds were 300/600 and he raised to 1,400. I had AK and made it 3,500 to go. I'd actually been reraising him a lot all day and getting away with it. A few hands earlier I'd made the exact same play with 99 and won the pot on the flop. So when he made it 8,000 I thought there was some chance he was just getting fed up with me reraising him left and right. I had AK so I figured I'd put him to the test. I moved all in and he called me in a microsecond and rolled over AA! ACK! I was about 7% to win and I didn't. I lost 30,000 chips on that pot!
To make matters worse I lost another 20,000 with AQ to another guy who had AA a little while later! Bastards!
Now I was feeling like I'd totally blown it. After having 70,000 chips at my peak I was down to less than 20,000 with less than an average stack.
Sometime later 2006 WSOP player of the year Jeff Madsen got moved to our table, directly to my left. Jeff is a very aggressive player and I knew he'd be big trouble if he got some chips. The good news was he only had about 10,000. The better news is shortly after we started level 9 I took him out. I raised with AK suited, he moved all in with QQ and I flopped an ace. Bye Jeff!
I was hoping to get someone soft to fill that seat since the rest of my table was a bunch of ball busters. Instead I got Shaun Deeb who either wins or finishes in the top 3 on the yearly pokerstars tournament leader board every year. Can you imagine how hard that is? It's not like he got hot for a week and won the weekly tournament leaderboard on some bullshit site. He's had great results year after year on pokerstars. Well I busted his ass too.
In that hand the blinds were 400/800 and I raised to 2,500 with AQ from the small blind. He thought for about 2 seconds and moved all in for 28,000 from the big blind. I knew that couldn't be a strong hand so I called for about 28,000. He rolled over 55 which meant he was ahead. The flop came down K T 4 with two spades (I had the Q of spades). The turn was another spade. I saw the river was a 2 and I was like "fuck, I'm out! Oh shit it's a spade! It's a spade! I'm the king of the world! Suck it Deeb!" We counted down our stacks and I had him covered by 100! Ha!
I finished day 1 with 46,400 chips. 154 players made it through the day and 126 spots paid. I was in 90th place going into day 2 and my plan was to play tight until we made the money and then go for it.
As you may have seen in my Day 2 preview I got a great table draw. My table for day two had one player with about 50K and everyone else between 20K and 30K. When I got to the table it was better than I hoped. It seemed like only one of these guys was a strong player. But 15 minutes in, just when I was getting pumped about my chances of smashing these jokers, they broke our table.
My new table was much tougher and I saw Apestyles sitting in seat 6 with over 100,000 chips! Why aren't you dead Apestyles?
Despite my plan to play conservatively I couldn't help but be aggressive. And it didn't work out. The blinds were 600/1,200 and the under the gun player raised to 3,000. I was in the big blind with 44 and I called. The flop came down 9 9 3 which meant if my opponent didn't have a pocket pair or a 9 I was ahead. I checked, he bet, and I decided to put him to the test. When the hand started he had 28,000 and I had 50,000. We were 10 players away from the money and while I was hoping he didn't have anything, I thought there was some chance he might fold a strong hand given the circumstances. Sadly he called me with TT and I was down to 22,000.
Right after that I was moved to an even tougher table where everyone but one guy had over 100,000 chips!
Happily I was still able to cruise into the money. Actually it took quite a while, but not too many hands. When we got down to 128 players they started hand for hand play. The way that works is every table plays one hand and then the dealer stands up so the people in charge can see that the table is done with the hand. Once one hand has completed at every table they deal another one. And so on until we make the money. The do this to prevent people from stalling. With 22 tables it took at least 5 minutes for every hand and it took over an hour to go from 128 players to 126.
The very first hand after we made the money I picked up KK for the first time in the tournament! A player with 66 raised, I reraised and he put me all in. That had took me up to about 37,000.
The blinds were 800/1,600 at this point so I had plenty of chips to work with, but then one of those situations where there's nothing to do but go broke came up. I got dealt AKs, raised, got reraised by the big blind, went all in and he had JJ. I couldn't win this race and I was out.
I finished 98th which paid $5,211. A strong finish which gives me two cashes in three tournaments at the 2010 WSOP. Not to shabby!
When I went to get paid out, there was Apestyles at the cage getting his money too. I guess someone had finally taken him out. Nice playing with you Apestyles.