On Wednesday, I went and entered the WSOP Stimulus event along with 683 others, including some guy named Dave.  72 players get ITM and the top 18 also get Circuit ME tickets.

I start out at table 6 seat 2, so I’m hoping I can stay there for a long while, as my table will not be breaking anytime soon.  I quickly find out that my table, while not passive and limping like the early stages of a tourney like this, is actually being aggressive… all be it with lower than standard raises.  Most of the table is playing TAG to nit, but there are two definite lags that want to see as many flops as they can.

At the end of the first level, I get my first shot.  There is a raise from EP to 125 and three callers.  I look down at bullets and I’m definitely 3-betting and make it 525 to go.  I get two callers and see a fairly nasty flop of QT7 with two clubs.  It checks to me and I fire out 1175 that is called by the loosest player at the table.  The turn is a total blank in the 3 of diamonds.  He checks and I fire again, this time to 2150.  He calls quickly and I’m putting him on some sort of draw, as he’s raised and shown two made hands already.  The river is the J of clubs, just about as bad as it can be, as a number of straights got there and also the flush.  He checks and only having one pair, I’m absolutely not giving him a reason to check/raise me, so I check behind and take down a good sized pot when the opp shows KQ.

The blinds go up to 50/100 and I’m right back at it again.  I get a raise to 250 and three callers and look down at KJ clubs on the button and since I’m definitely priced in, plus with position, I’m seeing the flop.  We see a 6-way flop of QJ9 with two clubs.  I have second pair and a gutterball straight flush draw, so  I’m not going anywhere when I get a lead bet of 875 and two callers in front of me.  The turn is 8 of clubs.  Jackpot!  The same opp leads now for 2200 and gets one caller before me.   Being in position and having the second nuts very well hidden, I’m smooth calling behind here.   The river is an even better card for me, the A of hearts.  The straights get there and at least one of them has to have it.  I get led into for 2800, which is half the opp’s remaining stack.  If he has Ax of clubs, so be it.  I make it 6k, just enough to put the guy all-in and he very proudly calls and shows his AT, which is only good until I show my flush.   This hand gets me up to 27k chips, up from my starting stack of 10k.

The rest of the first session is fairly quiet as the antes are just kicking in and I’m saving my steals for when they’ll mean something and I end the first two hours with 28375 and Dave’s hanging in with a small gain from his starting stack.

By the time when the blinds go up to 200/400/50, I’m starting to ramp up my steals and have stolen my way up to a 32k stack as the table’s reluctant to play back at me much since I’m only going to showdown with big made hands. 

The blinds now go up to 250/500/50 and I’m still sitting with 30k chips, as I haven’t been able to steal as much due to the shorties starting to shove and I don’t want to be calling shoves with garbage hands.  I do hit another one at this level though when I open to 1100 with AQ and pick up a caller with position on me.   The flop is Q93, so with top pair, I’m definitely making a value bet.  The turn is a ten, so there are a number of straight draws and KJ just hit a gutterball.  I fire again and get called.  The river is an A, so I now have top two pair and fire bullet number 3 and the opp mucks JT face-up, so he flopped open-ended and hit a pair.  This gets me up to 40k chips with 320 left as registration is finally closed, so I’m well over the starting stack and hopefully on my way to getting ITM, as I’m easily in the top 10% currently.

With the blinds at 400/800, that plan changes.  I pick up JJ and get two limpers in front of me and needless to say, I’m raising it on the button and get the loosest guy at the table and two other callers.  The flop is Axx with two spades.  When the opps checks to me, I’m making about a 2/3 pot c-bet, as I don’t want to scare off the loose guy that could call with a pair, but also with a draw.  Only the loose guy calls and we see the Qs on the turn.  Well, I now have third pair but pick up a flush draw and when he checks to me, I decide to check behind.  The river is the king of spades, so I now have the second nut flush and get led into for 5k.  It’s a large bet amount based on the blinds, but is very small in comparison to the pot.  I don’t want to raise it, as he’ll then most likely shove anything and since he’s known to be aggro with big hands, I don’t want to be forced to call a shove and double him, so I call.  Go figure, the guy has ace/rag with the ace of spades.   UGH!  Instead of about a 75k stack and be golden, I’m now down to 22k as the blinds go up to 500/1k/100.

I’m holding my stack steady, and now the blinds are up to 1k/2k with an ante and I’m sitting on 10bb.  I now hit a disaster hand as I get it in with AJs against a 7bb stack and unfortunately, while this opp has been very loose, they’re at the top of their range with AQ.  The board runs out blanks, so I’m crippled down to 3BB and in the blind the next hand.

Needless to say, when there is a raiser and everyone else folds, with under 2BB in front of me due to paying the bb and ante, I don’t even need to look at my cards… I’M ALL IN!  The opp shows KQs and I flip over the powerhouse hand J2o, LOL!  KQ isn’t ahead for long as the flop is J82 with an extra J on the turn and 8 on the river, so my trash hand turns into a boat that gets me up to 7bb.

Two hands later on the button, it folds to me and I look down at A7s and on the stack I’ve got, that’s a no-brainer shove, so I’M ALL IN!  I’ve been on a run of shoving into big hands from the blinds online as I’ve been doing it for two solid weeks now (mostly into AA from the BB) but this time, the blind wakes up with jacks.  The board runs out blanks, so I’m out in about 250th place.
While this tourney didn’t have the ending that I wanted, I played well the whole day and was able to accumulate a very large stack quickly.  I’m also glad to report that Dave was able to cash, as he went out 55th.

Since I didn’t get a ME seat thru the Stimulus tournament, I went back on Thursday to play a mega-satellite.  I start off at table 75 seat 10 and notice that I have two pros that just busted out of the $1125 buy-in at my table.  I find out later that the guy that won the $1125 and also the PLO ring was the one that  took me out last Friday, so it’s not like I lost out to a nobody as he’s cleared 6 figures this week already.  As play starts, the first level is an easy one, as I’m getting total trash for cards. 

This all changes the next two levels, as I take down my first pot with a steal from UTG with 44 and then proceed to pick up AA that turns into top set, which gets me back to a starting stack when I get paid off.  I then hit a cooler hand that knocks me down to 3425 chips (5k starting stack) as I 3-bet preflop with 99 and get a flop of AKQ, all diamonds.  Needless to say, I’ve got 1 play here and that’s a check/fold.

We come back from break and I’m at 12bb, so I’ve got one play and that’s to shove anything I want to play.  I look down at AT and I’M ALL IN!  No takers, but at least I pick up a set of blinds and antes.  My table now breaks and I’m off to table 76 seat 1.  This was not a good change for me, as I had just paid the BB the previous hand and get put right into the BB again.  Not what you want when you’re short to start with. 

We’re now down to 40 left with 10 players getting seats and it folds to me on the button and I look down at QTo and needless to say, I’M ALL IN!  Leave it to me to shove into another real hand in the BB, as they snap-call with AJ.  The board runs out blanks, so I’m out in 40th place.

Since I don’t really want to drive home during rush hour, there’s one last mega-satty that starts at 5pm, so I decide I’m going to jump in it.

I start off at table 17 seat 6 and this satty has more in it as 131 sign up to play, so 16 players get seats and 17th gets $1075 cash.  The first couple levels are uneventful but that soon changes just before break.  I get a raise in front of me to 500 and decide to 3-bet to 1200 (made the bet slightly less than a third of my stack, to make it look like I wasn’t pot-committed).  The opp 4-bet shoves and is very surprised when I snap-call him with aces and double up.  I’m sitting at 9975 at break, basically double my starting stack.

We get back from break and at 300/600, I get a raise to 1300 and I 3-bet to 2750.  I get 4-bet shoved on again and once again, snap-call him with aces and take another player out that gets me up to 17k chips.

I hit the second break with 22bb and 31 players remaining.   I’ve used my table image pretty well, as I’m able to steal just about whenever I feel like it, but have been quiet due to all of the short stacks that now continually have to shove or fold.  I do end up tilting the player on my right though as four straight hands when he’s either tried to limp or raise, I've come over the top of him and shove.  I could see him starting to tilt from it and I was really hoping he called the last one as I picked up aces again. 

When we hit 27 players left, we redraw for seats and I’m off to table 8 seat 2 with my 16k chips at 600/1200/100.  The table dynamic here is great for me.  I have most of the shorter stacks at my table and only one larger stack that is scared to death of me due to my last table.

With this table dynamic, I’ve basically got free license to steal whenever I want and build my stack quickly up to 22k.  When we hit the third break, I have 20200 with 23 left and there are three micro stacks.  One of them is on my right and folded on a less than 3BB stack when I open-shoved on his BB from UTG with JJ.

When we get back from break, I get trash the first few hands, but the shorty on my right shoves three times and doubles all of them and is now the table chip leader. 

We get to 18 left and have another table redraw.  I get moved to table 9 seat 6 and this table change totally screws me.  I go from a table with a micro stack, three stacks even to mine and 3 larger ones… all of which are scared to death of me shoving on them, to the exact opposite.  I do still have the micro stack (that goes out 18th on the bubble) but I’m now sitting with the seven largest stacks in the tournament.  I’ve only had one of these players at my table the entire night and he’s a luckbox raising station.  I go from having an extremely huge amount of fold equity to absolutely none at all.

When the micro stack goes, we’re all now ITM, but I want a seat and not the cash.   A player at the other table gets crippled to 2bb when his kings get cracked by 77, so since I have no fold equity, when I look down at A7 from UTG, I need to fold it as this guy’s blinded in the very next hand.  Go figure, the table calls him and luckboxes a 2 outer on the river.  UGH!  He then gets it in again on the next orbit… and wins again with the worst hand.  UGH!!!

This absolutely screws me, as I now have to win a hand as I’m the shortest stack left.  On my BB with an M of less than 1 after this hand, I get the raising station min-raising.  I know his range is astronomically wide here, and with no chips, I’m absolutely all-in with K5s.  He flips over 66 and we get a flop of 2 3 6.  Even though he’s got a set, I’ve got outs!  The turn is a K and the river is a 9, so I’m out in 17th place and get $1075 cash.  I played great the entire tournament and there isn’t a single hand that I could have changed my play for the better.  I made maximum use of my stack and shoved over 20 times pressuring the opps the last two hours and just run into a bad table dynamic at the end.

While I’d have liked to win a ME seat for my b-day, I guess I’ll have to settle for over a grand in cash.