Today, I played in the Hammond, IN, in WSOP Circuit event 1B.  There were 2498 entrants between the two days, one of them being Dave (TheLangolier).  Hopefully table 63 seat 7 will be a good one, as that’s where I’m starting at, while Dave ended up at table 27 seat 9.  The top 252 get ITM, with a min cash being worth $742 and the winner getting over $110k.

After the fact, when I got home, I decided to see how tough of a starting table I had.  Was surprised at the results (knew a couple of them were good players).  Seat 2 has a WSOP cash, seats 4 and 9 have Circuit Event cashes and seat 6, the one I pegged as the best opp at the table… was right on target.  He has 13 Circuit cashes, with two final tables, and two WSOP cashes.  That makes for a very tough way to start.  This actually is good to see, because it really confirms the reads that I had on them, as to who the better players were.

I start with 10k chips, blinds at 25/50 and 30 minute levels.  The first two levels are really uneventful for me, as I’m pretty card dead (K8o was the hand of the day, as I had it about a dozen times).  With a deep stack and long levels, I’m happy to be patient, get my reads on the opps and muck the trash hands that I am getting

Level three (50/100) starts and I finally get a hand where I want to pay to see a flop, from the hijack with AQ.  It’s folded to me and I raise to 250 and one of the looser players at the table min 3-bets me from the SB, which I call.  The flop comes K 7 5 and the opp leads for a pot-sized bet.  He had already shown a pot bet that was the nuts and also a check/raise that was a bluff on two occasions.  Having picked up on that, I mucked because I figured that he had at worst AK, if not a set (showed the K).   The only other hand that I played at this level was a complete from the SB into a 5-way family pot with 33.  Unfortunately, I missed with it, but knew I’d get paid if I hit a set.

Level four (75/150) is next and I pick up AK in the BB.  The button limped, so I raised it to 525 (std table open was 375, so added 150 for the limp).  Everyone folded and I took that one down.  I finally got to win a pot.  The next to last hand before break, I have it fold to me on the button and I’ve got the hand of the day (K8o).  It was the first time that I actually could make a play from the button, so made a standard raise to 375 and took that pot down.  At the end of the first two hour session, I’m sitting with 9750 chips.  Not good, but not horrible either.  I do, however, have a very good read on everyone at the table now, which I plan on using after break (especially when the antes kick in).

Level 5 is the last without an ante (100/200).  Toward the end of the level, I pick up 88 from mid position and make the table standard bet to 450 as an open.  I get one caller from the CO and see a Q 5 3 flop.  I lead out for 600 (the table’s standard c-bet) and take this pot down.  This puts me at exactly even (10k chips) heading into the next level with antes.

Level 6 is another uneventful one for me.  I’m basically card dead the whole thirty minute level and only see two flops free from the big blind (49o and the second was with the tank hand).  Both missed to flops with three broadway cards, so they are easy check/folds for me.

Level seven (150/300/25) is one that has some action.  It starts out fine, with making another button steal where I standard raise preflop, it’s checked to me, so I c-bet and take it down.  I then pick up AK in the BB and after two limps, make another standard raise, flop an A, c-bet, bet turn, bet river and take down a good pot (put the opp on a flush draw that missed, which was confirmed when he showed 2nd pair with the flush draw). 

The next hand I’m involved in is one that I played correctly, but would rather forget.  I pick up pocket 10’s and make a standard raise that is called by the button.  The flop is three rainbow undercards and I make a standard c-bet that is called.  Something in my gut just seemed wrong with this hand when he called.  He had been playing pretty solid but did like seeing hands thru to the river, so I put him on two overs.  The turn was a J and I led out for just under ½ pot, that was snap-called.  This was the first time all tourney that this particular opp ever snapped anything.  He always took his time with every play, raise, call or fold.  He hadn’t shown a bluff yet, so I thought that my initial read of two overs could really be the case and he did that to try to look strong.  The river is a K.  Needless to say, alarm bells are going off all over now.  I check to him, to see how he’d react to that, as I hadn’t checked a river yet and he decides to shove the river.  I just knew that he rivered me with the K and when I mucked after tanking for a couple minutes, he showed me KQs.

Level 8, the last one before the second break isn’t very eventful.  I’m back to being card dead.  I go into the second break with only 6075 chips.

Coming back from the second 30 min break, I’m looking for something that I can shove.  The blinds are now up to 250/500/50) so I’m sitting with just over 12BB.  The first orbit, I get K 10 off on the button but I can’t play it as there is a shove and a call in front of me.  When I have just under 5k chips left, I pick up 88 UTG and shove with it.  The opp in seat two (second best opp at the table) goes into the tank for a couple minutes and mucks, along with all the others, so I take one down.  When I get to the button, I pick up K2o and when it’s folded to me, decide to shove again as a button steal.  One of the new players at the table was in the BB and since she was playing very tight, I thought she would fold, but didn’t want to bet less preflop, as the SB was known to want to see flops.  Shoving was about the only way to get rid of him and the play worked perfectly. 

That was it for level 9, so we’re onto level 10 (300/600/75).  The first orbit, I’m looking and looking for something to shove.  Unfortunately, I get absolutely nothing along with the fact that two others have shoved and gotten KO’d from the table, which all of that action obviously discouraged me from getting into those pots with marginal cards.   I’m now down to just under 4k chips and the blinds are coming.  I have UTG limp and UTG+1 make a raise to 1800.  I look down and see my hand adds up to 2!  There is my hand to shove, so I do.  The blinds and the limper fold but I’m called by the raiser with KQ.  The board runs out five low cards and I get more than a double up and am right back in the game!  At the end of level 10, there is a fifteen minute break to color up all the greens and I hit this break with 10.3k chips… which is a great improvement from the 2k+ that I had at my worst point.

I start level 11 (400/800/100) in the blinds and after I have to muck both due to very large action, my initial table breaks.  I now get sent to table 79 seat 8 and get the player that is most likely the entire tourney chip leader in the seat to my right (over 125k chips)… and of course, since I had just paid the blinds at my old table, I’m put right into them again.  This table is going crazy and it honestly looks like the first level of an online freeroll.  Someone is shoving almost every hand and getting calls, even shoving 20-40BB when they have absolutely no need to, nor the cards to do so!  The big stack takes out two opps, and another gets ko’d by someone else.  I had some marginal hands (ace/rag, two broadway, etc.)  but I’m not playing them with this type of action in front of me.  Once again, as soon as I get thru the blinds, now this table is breaking.  This is twice now that I’ve had to switch tables right after paying a set of blinds.

I get moved to table 23 seat 5 and guess what, right into the BB?!  My chip stack’s getting short, just from moving tables and having to pay more blinds than everyone else.  I get nothing for the first orbit at this table, but very quickly pick up who likes to steal blinds.  One of them even got caught once, but sucked out to win the hand.  This will be relevant info, as this opp will be on the button the next hand I get involved in.

The last hand at level 11 is my downfall, although, I think that I played the hand absolutely correct.  I’m in the BB and it folds around to the button (opp from above) that makes a min-raise.  The SB then min-raises again, which is another player that is known to steal light.  I look down at A 10 hearts and have 7600 chips in front of me (less than 10BB now, 7BB after I pay the SB and ante the next hand after the blinds go up) and decide to shove.  With what I’ve learned about both opps so far, my hand is definitely ahead of both of their ranges and if they both fold (expect to get called by one), I get 5800 chips, which is ¾ my remaining chips behind.  The button instantly mucks and the SB goes into the tank.  He only has about another 12k chips, so calling my 7600 is sizable compared to his remaining stack.  He decides to make the call.  I’m hoping to be in a race and not to be dominated.  I was very surprised when the opp turns over 7 dia 8cl ?!  Forget a race, I’m a 2-1 favorite now (from pokerstove) with my two overcards in a 19.4k pot, which would put me at one of the three largest stacks at the table and very near the table leader.  The flop…  Q hearts, J spades, 8 spades.  Now, I’m behind… BUT… with a double gutter, two overcards and backdoor heart draw, I’m still a 52.9% favorite to win the hand.  Unfortunately, the turn and river were low cards, so I’m knocked out of the tourney in about 450th place out of the 2498 that entered.

Unfortunately, Dave was knocked out early on in this tourney, however, it may have been the best thing for him in the long run.  I’ll leave that one for him to explain.

I was very pleased with the way that I played.  I had solid reads that were proven correct on everyone at each of my tables and made what I thought were the best decisions that I could make for each hand.  Normally, there are a few situations that I’ll go back and look at afterwards and see things that I could have done better or second guess myself, but I’m 100% happy with the way that I played every single hand in this tournament (which doesn’t happen very often).  Unfortunately, I happened to hit a hand where I got my chips in good and got sucked out on and even with that, I still had a top 20% finish.  I also think that if the AT holds, I’m most likely about 1 double-up from getting ITM, maybe even less than that depending on how the others are playing.  When I bubbled this tourney two years ago, I only had 26k chips at my high point and never won a hand after that point.

The next blogs that I will be doing will cover what happens to me both in the three tournaments that I plan to play and also in the cash games that I get into in Las Vegas later this month.