Last night,  due to classes essentially being over, I headed to the local casino to play in one of the nightly $60 tournaments. However, I didn't realize until a few hours before that this was the first Wednesday of December, meaning that the casino's Monthly Challenge tournament is on - it's a $330 buy-in with big stacks and 30-minute blinds that consistently draws over 120 people a month, usually has over $10,000 for first, and counts for Candian Poker Tour points. This means that the nightly tournament was still on, but much smaller than usual - we only got 30 players.

When I arrive, there's still 50 players left from a starting 150 in the monthly challenge, so I'm wondering if my tournament will even get anyone. Sure enough, we start the first level with only 4 players at my table, with me in seat 7. First hand, the button (seat 5) limps, and I look down in the small blind with AQs - I raise to 200, and take it down preflop. Not bad to start. Although one hand later, I setmine with 55 and I'm forced to fold when I whiff.

I started to take notes about the other players as they came along. Seat 9 is playing loose at the start, and is winning most hands in the first two levels - although he rarely bets anything different than exactly 100 chips. When he arrives, Seat 3 has a Corona in his hand and is obviously drunk off his ass. A young aggressive guy who knows the drunk sits down in seat 2, and an older gentleman in seat 4 arrives. Seat 1 wears glasses, and is moderately tight.

A couple of orbits later, I get QTo in the hijack - since we're still short-handed, I raise to 150 and get one caller - the drunk. The flop was AAJ rainbow, giving me a gutshot draw. The drunk checks, and because I know how much these casino players are scared of Aces, I c-bet and manage to take it down.

I'm not playing many more hands, but I start to watch some hands play out - the tight Seat 1 raises utg, and the drunk 3-bets to 500, and the old guy in seat 4 cold-calls. I fold my trash, and the flop is 273. Seat 1 checks, the drunk c-bets, the old guy folds, and 1 check-raises, causing the drunk to fold. The very next hand, Seat 2 limp-raised utg, and still got 2 callers, including the drunk! The flop was A34. Seat 2 c-bet 1500, and the drunk raised all-in for his last 5700, causing seat 2 (who limp-raised) to tank-fold. The drunk showed AQs as he took the pot. The next hand, the drunk limped utg with A9o!

I get one more hand this level - AK of spades. I raised to 150 with it, and the tight Seat 1 calls on the button. The flop was KQ7 twoclubs. I c-bet my top-pair+top kicker, and he snap-calls. The turn is the 9 of clubs. Not a great card - any flush got there, as well as JT. But I can still get some value from weaker kings, so I make one more bet of 400 (1/2 pot), intending to fold if I got played back at. Seat 1 tan-folds, and I take another pot.

Level 2 starts, and seat 6 (to my right) gets filled. First hand, he limps utg, and I raise to 400 with AKo. 3 people call me, including the limper. The flop is 992 rainbow. Now, I SHOULD have checked here, because we're 4-handed and there's no way everyone folds to a bet here, especially with how sticky most of the casino players are on the flop. But I still c-bet 700 chips anyways, due to the board being so dry, and EVERYONE calls. The turn is a blank, and I give up - everyone checks until the river, when seat 2 bets small and takes it down.

I start to notice that seat 8 is winning fewer hands and starting to get short, but I don't get into a confrontation with him. Instead, Seat 6 limps again, this time in the cutoff, and I raise to 400 on the button with QJo. He calls, and the flop is AJ9 two diamonds. Because I don't think he'd be calling a c-bet with worse, I check instead, and we check it all the way down to the river - my jack is good, and he claims he had T-high (he refused to show it, even though the order specified that he had to).

Only two more noteworthy hands this level - once when seat 2 rivered the 2nd nut straight on a 75342 runout, and made a sucker-bet of only 600 into a 3000 pot, which is good to know. The second is when 6 people limped to my Big Blind, and I looked down at ATo - I raise to 900, and they all fold. WOO-HOO

Level 3 starts, with blinds at 100/200. Seat 8 has arrived, and I don't feel good - I think I've played against this guy before, and I don't think he's a bad player. I'm soon corrected, however, when he limps utg and minbets an AKT flop.

The only other noteworthy event is seat 2 limping his button with pocket Kings - but he wasn't trying to. He tried to raise to 300, but couldn't due to the blind sizes. But that's it - I'm card-dead this level, and I go to the break with 9400 chips, down 100. We all get the 3000 chip add-on as late-reg closes.

When we come back from break, a lot of players are still lingering away from the table. But the 2nd hand of the break, we get a bust - seat 8 limped his cutoff with 43s, and loses all of his money with a weak pair+combo draw to the drunk's 27o, which flopped two pair.

Soon after, I raise KJo utg - it's quite loose, but due to the missing players we're only 6-handed at this point. I get two callers, and with a flop of AQx, I can't get anyone to fold. I check-fold.

Soon after, the drunk busts aother player - he flopped a set on an all-spades board, and someone else flopped the nut flush. The turn paired the board and sealed their fate.

I'm card-dead the rest of the level, but an interesting hand took place - I didn't see the full-action, but on a 983A3 board with three spades, seat 6 made a bet and seat 8 called with 77 - on this board, pocket 7s are literally just a bluff-catcher. Best part - he was right! Seat 6 had a missed straight draw.

Level 5 comes, and the blinds raise to 200/400. A new older gentleman was moved to seat 8 due to the casino miscounting how many players were left at the tables. Early on, Seat 6 busts, his QQ losing to seat 2's KK, and seat 2 is now a bigstack. With that, we're down to two tables, and get three more players - Seat 1 is a woman in her 50s, seat 6 is a casino regular I've played against before, and seat 10 is a latino man in his 20's.

Right after this happens, the following happens - The woman limps, and seat 5 shoves 16bb (note - there are no antes yet) with KJs. The woman SNAP-calls for the rest of her 13bb stack with 66, and cripples seat 5 to a few big blinds.

Two hands later, I get into an interesting spot - two players limp, and seat 2 raises to 1500. Seat 5 shoves his last 2225 in (he doubled up last hand), and I look down at KQo. I think for a while, and decided that this is a good opportunity to attempt an isolation-shove, as I don't want to be up against two players post-flop. So I shove my 10600 (26bb) in. Seat 2 tanks, before calling with pocket Ts - not a great result, and seat 5 flips over pocket 7s. However, I spike a Q on the turn, bringing be up to over 25,000! Seat 8 comments, "Nice hand. HEE-HAW!" I laugh internally at him.

Level 6 arrives, and the blinds go up to 300/600. A new player limps, and I look down at pocket Kings. I raise to 2100, and get called by seat 9 - seat 2, who I doubled-up through last level, 3-bet shoves his 22,000 stack. Someone else calls with his short stack. The limper folds, and I push my 24,000 into the middle, and I can just SEE seat 2 give an "Oh, crap" expression. With 40bb in the middle, I expect seat 9 to fold - but he doesn't. He tank-calls his last 12bb with AKs. Seat 2 flips over AQo, and the other shorty flips up 66, meaning my KK are FAR ahead. Even better when seat 1 says she folded A5. Seat 1 and 10 are literally at one out! I am literally 70% to win everything, and even 93% to at least bust seat 2. The flop is all low-cards, no 6s, so I'm still good.

Turn is the last Ace in the deck. He hit his one-outer, and now I'm down to one out.

River is a Q, giving the worst hand preflop the win, busting seat 9 and 4, bringing seat 2 to over 50,000 and myself down to 2000 - 3bb.

And yet somehow I wasn't angry. I was crushed, and disappointed, but I wasn't steaming - I just sat back down and shrugged, thinking "oh well. What can you do?"

Two hands later I shove Q6o utg, as I can't survive going through the blinds even once, and I get called by seat 10's A7o. My cards are live, but he flops an A, so I'm out in about 15th place.

It's disappointing going in preflop 4-way with a 3:1 chance to win, and a 14:1 chance to at least crush the other big stack, but then neither happens. Oh well. I wonder if I can get another win sometime.