I get to the casino to play in the HPT monster stack main event satellite and am happy with the seat that I drew, as I’m at table 21 seat 7.  Seat 7’s were good to me the last time the HPT was here in the satty, so hopefully it holds today too.  We start out with 20k chips, 20 min levels and my target stack is 80k chips to be safe with 20% of the field transferring to the $1650 main event.

We start off and in the first two orbits, I pick up a few chips with a preflop steal and a c-bet with absolutely nothing on a board that missed a preflop caller’s range from a tight player.  I then pick up KK and raise over three limpers, that all call.  The flop is 8 high and two of the opps call my flop value bet.  The turn is a rainbow blank and I take down the pot with a second barrel.  After the first hour, I’m up to 25925 chips and just cruising along.

The second hour is extremely uneventful (I did steal a few pots to keep up with the blinds, so ended up being the player that ended up buying up the green chips)… until the final hand before break.  I look down at JJ from UTG and open it (I know, I know… it’s JJ AND it’s the last hand before break, which both normally mean I’d go busto).  A shorty shoves, the cutoff calls and the table nit makes an extremely small 4-bet.  I have position on the BB, so I decide to call the raise for another 1300 and the cutoff comes along too.  The BB’s range is basically TT+/AK+ but with position, I think I can outplay him for the sidepot and I’m not that worried about the cutoff as they’ve been playing every hand since they came to the table.  The flop is 8 high and when checked to, I make a value bet that gets rid of the cutoff.  The turn is a nine and when checked to, I check behind for pot control, as I don’t want to blast off the rest of my stack with a hand that may be behind.   The river is the 4 of diamonds, that puts 3 diamonds on the board.  The BB grabs chips, tanks and checks.  Well, I’ve got showdown value but I might not be ahead (and could lose the main pot to the shorty that can have about ATC), so I check, show my jacks to his TT and take down a huge pot that gets me up to 43300.

A few minutes after we get back from break, we have something that I’ve never seen before.  There is a ton of commotion at the table to the side of me and 2 players are going at it and we’re thinking they’re gonna end up in a fight.  I’m not sure what happened, but I’m guessing it has to do with who grabbed what chips and the entire tourney is stopped for a few minutes while surveillance is called and they straighten out everyone’s chip counts. 

As we get back to playing, we finally get to the end of late registration and we find that there were 137 entrants, so the top 27 get seats to the main, 28th gets $660 and when the tables combine, there are under 90 players left.  With it being 20 min blinds, the blinds are now getting expensive as we are up to 800/1600/200, so what used to be a larger stack for a number of players is now dwindling in the number of bb’s that we have.  With about 60 left, we hit the third break and I’m sitting on 11bb (33k) after break.

We come back to 1500/3k/400 and when we hit 50 left, I’m in need of a double up and looking for a spot to shove.  I see two hands I’d be willing to shove, but can’t call shoves with, so muck them.

I then get my spot on my BB.  MP1 opens for 12k, it folds to me and I look down at red queens.  I’M ALL IN!  Well, since the opp opened to 12k, he basically has to call my shove and does so with J4 of clubs.  The flop is 234, but I dodge his outs and get my badly needed double up!

The double up gets me to over 60k, but that’s still not to my target safe number of 80k, so I’m still looking for a spot to get a few more chips, but I’m going to be VERY selective.  We’re now down to 40 left and I’m getting very easy decisions, which is a good thing.

With 33 left, so 5 to the money and 6 to the ticket, I get my shot to pick up some extra chips.  The blinds are now 3k/6k/1k and it folds to me in the SB.  The BB has basically an even stack to me and when I look down at my nemesis hand from the 6-max, AA, I’M ALL IN!   The BB folded, but the extra chips I pick up here should make me safe to get a seat… I hope.

With 30 left, my table breaks and I’m off to seat 2 at the table behind me.  We’re 2 to the money and 3 to the seat and as we’re breaking, someone busts, putting us 1 off the money and we start playing hand for hand.   Here’s the situation, I’m totally safe unless multiple people double up and being one off the money, but there is a situation at another table.  The guy that started at my starting table in the 3 seat got his stack up to about 100k on level 3 and for some reason… had to leave!  So, his stack has been being blinded down for a couple hours, but he does still have chips.  He’s only got 1bb and will be blinded out in 5 hands. 

The player in seat 4 at my new table is the chip leader (no danger of busting unless he doubles up at least 3 players, if not 4), so he’s just shoving every hand to get the hand over with.   On my BB, obviously, he shoves, so when I look down at KK, I fold them face-up (seat 5 folded QQ the hand before face-up).  Now, I’m thinking that the reasonable thing would be that everyone folds until the sitter’s gone… or so you’d think.  The next hand, seat 4, go figure, shoves and an old guy in seat 10 that was short, but could have at least outlasted the sitout to at worst get the $660, calls?!  I almost fell out of my chair when I heard the word call.  You’d think that the guy has to have AA, but no... he’s got AJo?!  The bigstack turns over J8o, we see a flop of J85 and when the rest of the board bricks out, his ICM suicide attempt is successful!  Well, that guy definitely earns the ‘Idiot of the Day’ award. 

We all fold the next two hands and the sitter goes out 28th for $660 and the rest of us all get $1650 main event vouchers. 

I’ll be playing flight 1B tomorrow at 2pm as I can play tomorrow until the early morning, then get a full day’s rest before day 2, if I can make it to Sunday.  That scenario works tons better than getting done at 2am, home at 3:30am or so, then have to be up and leave at 10am to get back to the casino for day 2... which is what I’d have to do if I played 1C on Saturday.

Day 1A was today and there were some big names in it, including Greg Raymer and Kevin Saul and if they bust today, I thoroughly expect them to fire bullet #2 tomorrow, along with a number of other big pros that usually show up here for the main event.  The main event structure is a good one, that is similar to the WSOP main event, 30k starting stack but with 30 minute levels and was set up by Kid Poker, and Mr. Negraneau knows a thing or two about what good tournament structures are.

The HPT does a live blog from the main event at hptupdates.blogspot.com so if any of you want to see what’s happening and who’s playing, that’s where to get updates on it.  I’ll also be sending out tweets at breaks as to how I’m doing at twitter.com/jwk24poker.  If I can make it to day 2, they’re going to be running a feature table stream on their twitch page at www.twitch.tv/hptpoker.