While Sunday's tournament had Lucky Chances bursting at the seams, Monday's $380 buy in tournament had it looking like an average Friday afternoon, but on a Monday morning. We started with the same 20,000 chip starting stack, 30 minute levels, 100/100 blinds to start and eventually 227 entries.
Here is the big board with the prizes and such.
I had a couple of real hot shot big talkers at my first table. The Young Hot Shot talked about how he was happy he busted out early the day before because he went home and played a big tournament online, finished second and won however many thousands of dollars while the Old Hot Shot evidently made the final table in the $630 the day before. It didn't stop there as both continued popping off at the mouth about some other final tables they'd made and how soft some of these games are. These guys weren't friends or anything like that, the just shared the common ground of being big mouth hot shots. If you just listened to poker players talk you'd think that everyone was a winning player.
Poker is a game of information and before I'd seen these guys play a hand they'd given me huge head start on categorizing them and anticipating the types of plays they'd be capable of. I kept my mouth shut about my accomplishments and silently rooted against both of them.
To my delight both of them made asinine plays and went broke in the first hour that show a good counterpoint to how I play.
The Young Hot Shot limped in in early position for 100 with 64 suited, got raised by a guy who was very straightforward to 500, two other players called and they took the flop 4 ways. The flop came down 8 4 3 rainbow and Young Hot Shot bet out 2,000 (almost a full pot sized bet) with second pair into 3 opponents. The preflop raiser raised to 6,000 and another guy cold called. If you know how to hand read at all, major alarm bells will go off with that cold call. There are no draws on this board and the raiser has basically announced that he has a big pocket pair so what is that cold caller calling with? It has to be a huge hand. The turn came out a 6 and Young Hot Shot instantly shoved his two pair for about 14,000. The raiser foolishly called with QQ and so did the cold caller who had 33. The river was a K and Young Hot Shot headed back to the online tables.
I'm sure when he told the story to whoever or played it back to himself he said "I made two pair and ran into a set" instead of "I tried to do WAY too much in the first level calling out of positing with garbage preflop, then I made a hopeless bluff and ran into two big hands. But I didn't let that stop me from foolishly taking one off anyway drawing almost dead. When I got a miracle turn I made a bet that was almost sure to fold out any hands that I beat and get called by every hand that beat me. But seriously bro these games are so soft."
In Old Hot Shot's hand the dude who had the 33 in the last hand 3 bet from 800 to 2,400 and he called along with 3 others. The flop came down A J J rainbow, everyone else checked and Old Hot Shot bet 2500 into the 12,500 chips pot. Only the raiser called. The turn was a 5 and it went check, check. The river was a J and now the raiser bet 15,000 into the 17,500 pot and Old Hot Shot snap called him with his last 14,000 or so. The raiser showed an A and Old Hot Shot mucked saying "I made a full house, what could I do there." Well, you could not bet an underpair into 4 people and not call off your entire stack with a bluff catcher in a spot where someone is never bluffing?
Anyway I enjoyed seeing their smug asses hit the rail.
I got off to a pretty good start. In levels 2, 3 and 4 over I had one good hand in each level. I flopped top two with AK and again with KQ getting a little action with each and missed a flush draw with JT suited, but hit the J and was good. These weren't big pots but got me up to about 35K going into the first break. No where in there was limping with a garbage hand or trying some random bluff in a multiway pot!
I stayed between 30K and 40K for the next few hours as the field slowly caught and then passed me. I found just enough good spots to tread water, but I didn't put myself needlessly in danger with the marginal cards I was getting.
About 4 hours in I finally got a big pocket pair. With blinds of 500/1000 and one 1000 ante, the under the gun player who was a guy in his 70's with an 80K stack made it 3,500 to go. I was next to act, looked down at QQ and made it 9,000 to go leaving me with about 30K left in my stack. The dude to my left who looked like he was barely 21 and had about 22K in his stack went into a 45 second round of theatrics saying stuff like "This is so sick" and "I really just have one move here" and "I'm stuck." I was pretty sure this wasn't an act, but not 100% sure. It felt kind of like AK or JJ to me. Eventually he just called, which was a really odd move, but as soon as he did the other guy quickly moved all in!
I have with 99.9% certainty never intentionally folded KK (or AA) preflop and I almost never fold QQ preflop. I only specifically remember doing it a few times and I'm sure it's been less than 1% of the time over my career and is probably more like 1 time in 250. But this was a pretty clear fold. Ask anyone who has played poker at all what the old guy is raising under the gun and then 4 bet shoving over two people and they'll tell you it's AA or maybe KK and that's it.
So after 30 seconds to make sure I was really sure I folded, the young guy called, the old guy rolled over KK and the young guy had QQ also! I kept quiet and didn't tell him he was drawing totally dead! Meanwhile I patted myself on the back for getting away from a hand where most players would go broke and felt like I was playing with house money from that point on.
A couple of hands later I got a nice break. With blinds of 500/1000/1000 everyone folded to me in the small blind. The big blind only had about 9,000 and I put him all in with T7. This is questionable, but he's probably folding preflop 2/3 to 3/4 of the time and the rest of the time I'll usually be like a 65/35 or 60/40 underdog. Anyway, he snap called me with A4, but the flop came out J98! Zing!
At this point there were 82 players left with 21 spots paying and I had 38K which was about 2/3 of average.
I had some snacks with me but I was starting to get hungry for some real food. Lucky Chances has a full menu that you can order at the table, but I hate ordering food in tournaments. I'm not superstitious, but you can go broke at any time in a tournament and the idea of sitting there after busting waiting for food and then hastily gobbling it down sitting at an empty table sounds like the 7th circle of hell to me. Despite that I had to eat something so I ordered some Mongolian Beef and sure enough I put the hex on myself!
With blinds of 800/1600 and a 1600 ante, the under the gun player just called. This is highly unusual as usually at this point it's raise or fold first in preflop. The small blind called and I got a free look with 63 off suit. The flop came down K 4 3. And it checked around.
Right at this time my food arrived. I handed the waitress a $20 bill and my $5 food coupon and asked for some change. She responded like I'd handed her a cactus wearing a small sombrero. The turn came out a 6 making me two pair and without thinking too much about it I bet out 5,000. The under the gun player quickly called and the waitress and I tried to find some common ground. To me it looked like maybe this guy had limped in with AA and was putting on the big slow play or maybe checked back a king looking to squeeze out some action as it was a rainbow board without any reasonable draws. The river was a 9 which looked like a total blank and my opponent only had about 12K left so I moved all in. He snap called me and rolled over 99! ACK! Now that the hand was over the waitress understood perfectly what I wanted and easily made me change on the spot. Stupid cursed Mongolian Beef!
This had me down to 20K but then I won five small to medium hands in less than 30 minutes all at the 1K/2K blinds level 1) I made it 7K to go over a 2K limp with KK, got one caller, bet the flop and won 2) I moved all in for 30K over a 5K raise from the small blind with 66 and took it down 3) I just called in the small blind 4 ways with 97 suited, called a 4K bet on the turn and won at show down on a 5 J J 7 3 run out 4) I raised a 2K limper to 9K with TT and took it down 5) I picked up 12K vs a short stack who had A2 and ran into my JJ. Numbered lists!
After being stuck around 35K all day and down to 10 big blinds a little earlier I was up to 69K with 60 players left. I was feeling so good that I took a picture of my chips!
Then I got into a tight spot. With blinds up to 1200/2400 with a 2400 ante I made it 7K to go from the cutoff with AT and the big blind moved all in for 29K. AT was almost certainly not the best hand here, but I was getting a good price. Specifically I had to call 22K to win 39.6K. I'd be about a 70/30 underdog against a hand like AK or QQ, but I'd only be a 55/45 dog against hands like 88 or 99 and a favorite against something like A9 suited or KQ suited. Probably I was in bad shape, but if there was a chance he was shoving small pairs I was getting the right price against his entire range of hands.
In the moment I took my time to count all the chips, figure out the exact pot odds I was getting and counted down my own stack to see I'd be left with 47K even if I called and lost. Usually if you're getting 2 to 1 pot odds preflop it's hard to fold and I decided the 1.9 to 1 I was getting was close enough. I called and my opponent proudly rolled over AQ. Uh oh. The flop came down 9 4 4 and I was thinking a chop would be nice. The turn was a 6 of spades putting 3 spades out there and I saw that my T was the only spade in play, but sadly the river was a red 3.
After 6 hours of play we took our third break and I came back to a 40K stack on the button with blinds of 2K/4K and a 4K ante. 49 players were left and average was 92K. I had 10 big blinds and it was going to cost me 10K a round in blinds and antes so I'd need to find something quick.
I folded 15 hands in a row none of which were even close and then I looked down at A2 in the hijack. This is close, but I think with 7.5 big blinds in the hijack any ace is good enough. I moved in and to my shock and horror the cutoff and then the button both instantly moved all in! It turned out I was up against AQ and AK. Oddly it's actually better for me to be up against two bigger aces than just one. In this case I was 20.0% to win an 4.4 % to tie but getting a little more than 3 to 1 on my money compared to 23.8% to win and 4.9% to tie getting a little more than 2 to 1 if I'd been just up against AK. Still a shitty spot though!
If I'd won, I would have had 100K exactly, but I bricked out and was eliminated in 44th place.
My $10,000 starting bankroll is at $10,920. Phase 1.3 is Wednesday and is another $380 event at Lucky Chances.