When I get to the casino for day 1, I immediately see that this is going to be a very interesting day.  I find out that the casino has 10 tables slated for this tourney and only have that many dealers there.  Well, in just my flight alone, 222 people played!  That makes for a ton of alternates and it could have probably been over 300 people, as some left because they did not want to be an alternate.  Luckily I got there a bit early since traffic was light, so I got to start out at table 16, seat 9.  There are so many people that the decision is made for us to play 12 levels today instead of 9, as they need to play down to about 100 people so that they can combine the two flights on day 2.  This means that all of the satellites and cash games are cancelled today (I was hoping to play a main event satellite at 7pm, but that’s not happening as I’ll just be finishing day 1A).  1B (that Dave and Sailor Moe were in) was supposed to start at 6pm, but didn’t start until 7:30, meaning that they had to play until about 3am, then be back at noon the next day.  When I see this, I’m glad that I picked to use my $360 entry ticket (that I won in an online satellite) in 1A and not 1B.  Another thing with this tourney that Dave pointed out to me, the structure, other than the level time (30 min instead of 2 hours) is identical to the WSOP ME.

I start off with 32k in chips at 50/100 blinds and see that the early levels are going to be a limpfest.  Well, when I look down at small pair after small pair, I’m totally fine with this as it gives me a chance to set mine.  I miss with 66 three times, 77 and 33.  However, when the blinds go up to 75/150, I pick up quackers on the button.  With 4 limps in front of me, I’m more than happy to limp behind.  I get a flop of Q 8 2 with two clubs.  It checks around to me and I fire out 650 that is called by one opp that has been a calling station so far.  He calls and calls, but if he hits the nuts, he leads and leads big.  The turn is the 5 of clubs and he checks.   I decide to bet 1175 that he calls.  I’m putting him on Ax with the ace of clubs.  The river is a 10 and when he checks, I bet 1500 that he tanks about, for a minute and decides to call.  I show my set of ducks and take down my first pot.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and I pick up JJ in the BB and it is folded to the SB that completes.  I raise to 700 and the SB calls, so I get to see the flop in position.  The flop is K63 and when the opp checks, I make a c-bet of 900 that he calls.  The turn is another K.  I didn’t put him on a K since he didn’t bet the flop and the second one reinforces that when he checks again.  This opp’s sticky and likes to fire on the river, so I decide to check behind and see if I can get him to bluff the river if an overcard doesn’t hit.  The river is a low blank and sure enough, the opp fires out 1200, which I snap-call.  He flips over AQ and I take down another one with my JJ.  I end the first session with a stack of 36200.

The second session starts and I get two hands that cost me some chips.  I pick up AK, AQ and AJs and make a standard raise with each and have to fold when I miss the board and there are larger bets on the flop.  There is a big table dynamic change in this session.  Instead of a limpfest preflop, everyone is now making open-raises and BIG open-raises.  The table standard is anywhere from 4BB to 8BB.

I only get to win one hand this entire 90 min (3 levels) session, when I take one down with a c-bet on the flop with ATs and I end the session with 33100 chips.

When the blinds get to 250/500 in the third session, I pick up my next opportunity.  I look down at AA and make an opening raise to 1500.  I get one caller and when the board comes J 8 5 with two clubs, I make a c-bet of 3k since I’m first to act.  The opp, which only has just under 10k left decides to shove on me.  Well, if he has a set or a draw, so be it, and I snap-call.  He flips over KJ and I take down a huge pot to get my stack to just over 48k!

After this hand, the cards definitely take a turn for the worse, as I go totally card dead.  Over the rest of this session, I saw 28o and 69o about five times each.  The only hand that I pick up is AKs from UTG, make a standard raise and take one down preflop.  I end level nine and the third break with 47200 chips.

The fourth session starts and I get a big problem.  I’ve built up a really tight table image, so I’m hoping to use it to start stealing some blinds.  However, they decide to move the tourney chip leader into my BB.  This guy’s got a ton of chips, is raising and betting everything and getting really lucky.  It’s very rare if he folds preflop and he only calls behind a very small % of the time.  Most of his bets are 4X raises (either the blind amount or someone else’s raise amount).  Without being able to steal, this turns into a huge problem, as I’m even more card dead than the end of the third session.  In level 10, I don’t get to play a single hand.   

This changes at level 11, 600/1200/200, as I pick up KQ UTG and make the standard table raise to 4200.  I get called by the BB.  I get a flop of 8 5 3 and when the opp checks, I make a c-bet of 7200, hoping that if the opp missed the flop or didn’t have a pocket pair, he’d muck.  Unfortunately for me, he calls.  This player is one that will not fold if he hits any part of the board or has any pair.  Needless to say, when he calls my c-bet, there’s no way for me to win this pot without a K or Q.  The turn is a blank and when he checks, I check behind and hope to hit the river.  The river is a J and he fires out 15000.  I know he has at least a pair, so I muck and lose a large chunk of chips.

I’m now down to about 25k in chips and am looking for a situation to get them into as the blinds are now up to 800/1600/200.  I look down at A9s from the hijack and make the standard table raise to 6500.  Seat 3, which has about 20k and is in the BB decides to shove on me.  Well, I had already made the decision when I raised, that I’m calling a shove… so I’m all-in.  I would have open-shoved it, but opted for the standard raise since I had a few too many chips to shove with.  I show my A9s and the opp flips over A6o.  Not only am I ahead, but I’ve got him dominated.  The flop is 8 8 K, so I’m still well ahead.  Unfortunately for me, the turn is an A, so instead of me winning a huge pot, I get counterfeited and have to chop the pot with him.  UGH! 

At the end of level 12, I do get to do something that I’ve never had to do live before, bag and tag my chips for the second day.  Unfortunately for me, it’s only 23200 chips.  With the blinds starting at 1k/2k/300 tomorrow, I’ll need to start swinging for the fences quickly and hopefully will be able to pick up a hand or two to do it with. 

Day two starts and I’m looking for any situation to shove.  I get my chance when there is a limp from middle position and a limp by the player to my right.  I look down at KQo and shove.  I get called, not by the first limper, but the second one with 77.  I get a Q on the flop and it holds, so I’m now up to almost 50k chips and have a little breathing room. 

An orbit later, I’m in the BB and the button (known tight player that I’ve played with before in another tourney, WSOP Circuit), open-limps.  The SB completes and when I look down at 68 of hearts, I decide to see a free flop, as I’m behind the button’s hand.  The flop is K 2 7… all hearts!  The SB checks and I make a bet of just over 2/3 pot.  The button immediately mucks and the SB puts out 30k chips.  With a flopped flush and this being the majority of the chips that I have left, I shove on him.  He snap-calls and turns over 27 of clubs for 2 pair.  With the check/raise, I was really worried about the nut flush, but he only has two pair.  The turn is a blank, but the river is the 7 of spades, giving him a full house and knocking me out of the tourney in somewhere near 170th-180th place. 

There were 460 players in the tourney, the top 45 got ITM and the winner received over $35k.  I’m not sure exactly where the player that took me out finished, but he still had a seat with 2 tables left.
I’ll be doing a blog about the $360 HPT main event satellite that I played tomorrow.