There were 1959 entrants for Event 1 for the WSOP Circuit in Hammond, with 207 players getting ITM and over $92k on top.  I find out that we are playing to partway thru level 15 today; as that’s where day 1A stopped yesterday (I’m in day 1B).  I draw table 2, seat 2, so with about 12.5% of the field advancing, I’m hoping that I can cement myself to my seat and not move as this table definitely will not break.

With a 10k starting stack, we begin at 25/50 blinds and the first level, not much is happening.  Surprisingly, it’s not a limpfest, as there is normally a raise every hand.  This is definitely not normal, as the other similar tournaments that I’ve played in the past normally start out with a ton of limpers, then turn into a better game.  Between this level and the next one (50/100), I’m not involved in many hands, but do raise a couple preflop and steal the blinds preflop or once with a c-bet on the flop.  At the end of the first hour, I’m sitting with 10300 chips.

Level 3 starts (75/150) and now the limpfest start.  The first few hands at this level have at least 6 players see the flop and I’m not in any of them, because the best hand that I saw was 29o.  I do however, hit one that I’m more than happy to see a flop with as the entire table limps on my button and I look down at 33.  Needless to say, it’s a perfect situation to setmine, so I call and so do the blinds.  I see a flop of 3 2 3!!!!  I now get what I didn’t expect.  The SB leads out for 1100 and gets 2 callers before it gets to me.  Needless to say, flopping quads, I’m smooth calling, as there isn’t anything that can beat me.  We see a 4-way turn king.  Everyone checks to me, so I check behind and hope one of them hits the river.  We get another 2 on the river and after two checks, the third opp leads out for 2500.  I’m obviously going to raise here, but the question is… how much.  I decide to raise to 5500.  It quickly mucks back to the 2500 guy and he goes into the tank for 2 min.  He’s got something (I’m guessing a weak K or a small/mid pair).  He mucks and I pick up a very good sized pot.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and the limpfest continues when I look down at JTs in the cutoff.  We see an 8-way flop of A Q 8.  I know this flop hit multiple players, but I do have a double gutter.  There’s a bet of 850 and a call, so I call behind and the button raises to 2100 and one of the others call.  Well, I’ve got the odds and a concealed hand, so I call and hope to hit a straight.  The turn is a total brick and we check to the button, that bets 2425, which basically pot-commits him.  This puts me in a pretty bad spot, as I know he’s shoving the river and I’m not really priced in, so after tanking for a min, I muck.

I’m able to get some of these chips back though the last hand before break, as there is a raise to 500 and two flats.  I look down at QQ and make it 1750.  The opps muck and I end the first session with 16700 chips.

We come back from break and the antes kick in (100/200/25).  I steal a couple pots here, but my stack isn’t doing much as I’ve now turned into being card dead.   The blinds go up on level 6 to 150/300/25 and I’m still card dead, but due to two raises over a couple limpers, I’ve now raised my stack up to 18400. 

Levels 7 and 8 are totally uneventful for me, as I’m totally card dead.  However, I see that the two best opps at the table are on either side of me, as they both make some plays that only a knowledgeable player would make (they had to know odds pretty well.. or got really lucky).  I’m also glad that I didn’t draw seat 5, as we’re now on the fifth player in that seat (most due to coolers).

We start level 9 (300/600/75) and the shorties are starting to shove early and often, which along with being card dead, is cutting into my steal opportunities.  We’re now down to under 700 players left and I’m sitting at 16k chips.  I’d really like to get something to play, but I’m not calling shoves with 37, J2 or 49.  We hit break with less than 600 players left and I’ve got 12100 chips as pick up an extra 100 when the green chips are raced off, so I need to find somewhere to shove when we get back, as the blinds will be at 400/800/100.

We start out and the third hand I get the player to my right, that raises to 1800 (he’s only got 5200 left after losing two pots).  I look down at AK and decide to raise to isolate him, so I make it 5k.  It folds to the opener, that shoves and needless to say, I snap-call.  He turns over queens and when the board runs out blanks, I’m down to 8200 chips. 

I’m now sitting on 10bb, so the next pot I’m playing, they’re all going in.  I get my chance the very next hand.  A new player at the table in seat 8 opens to 2500 (he’s got 40k chips).   I look down at AA and into the pot they go.  Losing the previous hand to make me really short, I think is a good thing here, as the guy may think I’m on tilt.  Everyone mucks to him and he calls with 44.  I double up and now have 17500 chips.

As the blinds go up to 500/1k/100, there are now only 470 left in the tournament.  I steal three sets of blinds during this level, one with A2, one with J8s and the other with K3o from the button. 
We get to level 12 600/1200/200 and I’m sitting on a resteal stack.  I get my first opportunity with an open to 2500, I look down at 88 and in my chips go.  Every one quickly mucks and I pick up some badly needed chips. 

The next orbit, I get another resteal.  Another open to 2500 and this time there is a flat of it before me.  I look down at 33 and in they go again, I’M ALL IN!  Everyone folds and I pick up some more chips.

We hit the dinner break and I’m sitting on 15800 chips, which won’t be much when we get back and the blinds go to 800/1600/200.

Less than 400 total remain and I’m looking for any opportunity to shove.   It doesn’t take long as the second hand I look down at AKo from mid position and when it folds to me, I’M ALL IN!  Everyone folds .  Three hands later, I look down at 77 and get another set of blinds and antes when everyone folds.

The blinds go to 1k/2k/300 and I only have to last another 45 minutes or so to get to day 2…. But I need chips!  I now get a hand where the BB is short (less than 2BB as he just punted off about 50k chips) and seat 8 flats and seat 1 flats.  Well, I look down at AQo and here’s a great squeeze opportunity.  I’M ALL IN!  Needless to say, the BB puts his chips in and so does seat 8.  I’ve got a great shot here to get a very playable stack that would be above average the average stack, that’s going up rapidly and puts me in a great position to get ITM.  The BB turns over Q4o and seat 8 turns over 99.  Unfortunately for me, the board gets a K and J, but no A nor Q nor 10, so the 99 holds and I’m out in 350th place. 

While a top 18% isn’t bad, it’s not ITM and not a final table, so while I played well, it leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth.   I’ll get two more shots later this week, as I’ll be playing in the Stimulus tournament on Wednesday (18 ME seats added to the prize pool) and if I don’t get one of those ME seats, I’m going to play a mega satellite on Thursday.  Hopefully one of these two tournaments will give me my b-day present… playing the ME on Friday.