182 players showed up to play flight 1A of the HPT deepstack today at Majestic Star.  I can notice the difference with the new TD in place, as soon as I walk in the front door.  Everything in the casino is well marked for the players.  There are 2 floors of tables (10 added).  There is a new registration area where the actually get people thru the line in a timely fashion.  I also notice that there are a number of new dealers, some of which I recognize from the WSOP Circuit at the Horseshoe and also from the River City HPT games.  There are also new tourney clocks posted, so that you can not only see them, but the information on them is correct… a new and novel idea.

I find that my seat, table 26 seat 3 is upstairs.  I get to my table and after paying the $10 dealer toke, I start with 32k chips.  I immediately notice one other thing.  We’re only starting out with three black chips?  I’m assuming that they took some of the ones out (last time there were 3 colors of black chips and one was eerily close to the gray 5k chip).  As the players file in, I begin to notice that this could get real interesting, real quick.  Seat 10 won the WSOP Circuit Leaderboard (won the $580 6-max for over $40k) in October and seats 8 and 9 have made it to the final 3 tables of either an HPT ME or a WSOP Circuit ME.  I’ve also seen seat 6 before, having been at his table in a circuit tourney before and know he’s tight, but can also be aggressive when he needs to.

The tourney starts off and the first blind level is totally uneventful, unless they institute a prop on T2, in which case, I’d have made the LAGs in seats 8 and 10 look like a couple of nits.  I’d have been in raising all over trying to win the props.  I see real quickly how light these two will not only bet, but call.  Something that I hope to take advantage of later.  If they want to call light, give me a hand and I’ll give them as much rope as possible.

The blinds now go up to 75/150 and seat 6 opens my SB to 450.  It folds to me somehow (seats 8-10 have only all folded a very small % of hands, under 10% where they all fold) and I look down at 33 and since we’re extremely deepstacked, I’ve got plenty of odds to call to setmine.  I get a flop of 3 7 10 and since I have history with this player, I know that he’s seen me lead out and burn him more than once when I flop a set.  Due to this, I decide to change things up a little and check to him.  I do so and he c-bets 450 that I call.  The turn is another 10 and puts a spade flush draw out there.  I’m hoping that he has a 10 and will bet again as with the board pairing, he’s not putting me on a 10.  I check again and he now bets 600.  I don’t want to scare him off since I now have a full house, so I call again.  The river is an A.  This card is a problem for me, as if he thinks I’m floating him, unless he has a 10, he’s beat and after calling the first two streets, he’ll just check behind if I check.  With this being the case, I lead out for 750, just hoping that he repops me with a 10.  I figure he’s probably got a hand like 88, 99 or JJ when he mucks.  I think I got just about as much as I could have out of the hand, so I’m happy with the way it played out. 

A few hands later, on seat 10’s BB, I look down at ATs and open to 375, what has become the table standard.  Everyone mucks and I take down another one. 

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and here is where I start to get active.  I get a limp by seats 8 and 10 and look down at QQ.  I make a standard raise to 900 and both of them call.  The flop is J 8 5 with two clubs and I now lead out 1750.  Both quickly muck and I take down another one. 

A couple hands later, I look down at 66 UTG and make another standard open to 500.  Everyone mucks, so I take down another pot.  I get one more chance with 33 toward the end of the level and take one down with a standard raise from the cutoff.  I end the first 90 min session with 33400 in chips.

The second session starts and we’re now at 100/200/25 and I get an interesting hand that I’m not involved in.  Seats 4 and 7 get into a heavyweight battle.  A raise to 525, then a 3-bet to 1200 preflop.  The flop comes KcQcJs.  Bet, raise, shove and call.  What would you put them on to get a 20k stack in at this blind level?  Seat 4, that raised and called the shove, turns over JJ for a set of jacks.  Seat 7 shows AKo… without even a backdoor club draw.  Punting over 100BB on TPTK on a really wet board is definitely not the best option in the playbook.  I was expecting a set against AT for a straight.

The rest of this 90 min session, I’m really card dead.  However, I do get a handful of blind steals in that help me to keep up with the blinds and I end this session with 32900 in chips. 

Just as we’re about to go on break, the TD comes over to my table and says that when we come back from break, to expect to see a seat card as he’s going to be breaking the a couple tables.  Sure enough, when I get back to my seat after break, the dealer is instructed to deal for high card and we break the table.  My new seat is at table 20, seat 9 and is downstairs in the main poker room. 

When I get to my seat, the blinds are at 250/500/50 and I recognize seat 1 that has about 50k chips as someone that I have played with before for about three hours in the HPT ME last August and is another player that has won a WSOP circuit ring.  I see that two of the players are really, really loose.  Seat 10 wins a big pot to get to about 60k chips and seats 3-5 all get involved in a pot that is another one that surprised me.  Seat 3 raises, seat 4 shoves and seat 5 re-shoves.  Seat 3 tanks for a minute and says “Screw it, let’s gamble” and calls as the shortest stack of the three with… KJo?!  There’s a reason why it’s called the amateur hand and this is a prime example of it.  Seat 4 shows AQo and seat 5 shows AQs.  The flop is A high and the two AQ’s chop.  I’m totally card dead still, so I don’t even get to play a hand at this level.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and I’m just as card dead.  I get a very noteworthy hand though from seat 6.  He gets into it with seat 2 and overbet shoves an A high flop.  He gets snap-called by AK and turns over A8o?!  He lucks out and hits an 8 on the turn and doubles up.  After doubling, he now open-shoves over 20k from UTG+1 with A6o and gets called by seat 10’s ATs.  With a 6 on the flop, he lucks out again and now has a stack.

I finally get to play a hand as it folds to me in the SB and I make a standard raise to 1500 with Q7o and take down my first pot at this table.  Two hands later, it folds to me again and I look down at pocket 10’s and make another standard open.  This time I get called by seat 1.  The flop is J84 and when seat 1 checks to me, I fire out a c-bet of 2500.  He mucks and I get another one.

The blinds now go up to 400/800/100 and for the first twenty minutes of this level, I’m back to being card dead, seeing multiple hands of 25o. 

I now get an opportunity for a big one.  I get an open-limp from seat 3 and a min-raise to 1600 from seat 6.  Seat 6 has been min-raising very frequently and has not folded to a 3-bet yet.  I look down at red American Airlines and I’m definitely going to 3-bet.  I decide that since seat 6 hasn’t folded to a 3-bet yet, he’d probably call a larger one and raise to 5000.  Everyone goes away except seat 6, imagine that.  The flop is 9 8 2 rainbow and seat 6 donks into me for 2500.  I figure he’s either got a pair or a draw (JT) but most likely top pair.  I’m definitely going to raise here as there’s no way I’m going to give him a +EV draw and raise to 7500.  Now, the opp goes into the tank for about three minutes.  He’s looking at his stack, counts out some chips, looks again, counts out another amount and 3-bets me to 17000.  With this being the overwhelming majority of what I have left (17300 in front of me) and knowing that the opp will stack off with top pair and a bad kicker, since I’m ahead of that, I decide to shove.  The opp snap-calls and very quickly turns over T9 for top pair.  Before I even flip over my cards, seat 1 says to him, “What are you thinking, stacking off there with T9, you’re NEVER ahead!”  I prove seat 1 to be absolutely correct when I flip over my aces.  I put this into pokerstove when I got home and I’m a 3-1 favorite to more than double up and have over 60k chips, which will be an above average chip stack heading to day two.  I’m in even better shape when the turn is a brick.  The river… UGH!  Ten, so instead of a monster stack and in great shape heading to Saturday, I’m out in about 140th place.

That makes two HPT’s in less than a month where I got it in as a 75+% favorite to have a huge stack and lost out on both of them.  One of these times, I’m going to get them in good and they’ll hold for me and get me a large cash in one of these.  As long as I can keep doing it, sooner or later I’m going to hit a big one.