Well, sometimes you’re just going to have one of those days or weeks or even months playing poker and that hit me bigtime on my trip to Vegas. 

In the WSOP Marathon, I had a tough table draw, as two of the players from my starting table made the top 45 and the player on my right made the final table, along with another player that has won an HPT main event.  I just couldn’t get anything going in it.  I did get some good hands to play, but in one way or another, basically every board went south on me.  I ran into aces, quads, came out on the wrong end of multiple flips, was 0-for AK and eventually went out by having my aces cracked by of all hands… pocket 5’s. 

I then played in the Aria Classic and also a WSOP afternoon deepstack, but couldn’t get anything going in either of those tourneys too.  I did have an interesting thing after the Aria tourney, as I went back thru every hand in it and for the first time in ages, there wasn’t a single hand that I would have played any differently.  Normally there are always a few spots in a tourney where you can go about them differently… but not in this tourney.  I wouldn’t have changed a single play, which is highly unusual.

My final tourney was at the Orleans and this one, I did get a small run going.  The first thing I noticed about this tourney was that I’m glad I got there about 90 minutes before it and registered.  There was room for 130 players (13 tables) and everyone after that was made an alternate and had to wait until someone busted.  Well, I sure wasn’t expecting OVER 100 alternates (although some just left after waiting around for an hour or two).  I built my stack up from 15k to just under 30k, then took another beat that knocked me back to basically a starting stack, but then started building it again.  We ended up with 206 entrants with the top 27 getting paid.

I do make one really good laydown though, as I 3-bet QQ and got flatted.  The flop comes TTT and checks thru (the opp should only have JJ+/AK here, so a bet should only get called by better).  The turn is a jack, so now the one and only hand I’m beating is AK and the opp donk-shoves into me.  I let go of the QQ and the opp turns over aces.

As we get down to about 70 left, I start getting short, as the blinds are skyrocketing and I went card dead for about 45 minutes.  I then get a shorty that shoves from UTG and when it folds to me in the big blind, I only have to call another 2bb to play the hand, so I call blind and turn over a coocoo.  A queen on the river gives me a straight and take a player out.  For those odds, it really doesn’t matter what my cards are as I can’t ever fold (this is a call with 2 wet bar napkins, let alone two cards) and it did totally surprise 3 of the players at the table that I called blind. 

I then get to KO another player as I open AJs, get shoved on by a 7bb stack with KTo and they’re drawing dead when I turn an ace. 

With 35 left, I get into a spot where a lot of players make a HUGE mistake.  I have a player that has opened 4 of the last 5 hands and after doing so again, I look down at AQo on a stack of 15bb, which is a perfect resteal stack.  My choices are… fold and lock up a cash of $244 for my $130 buy-in, but basically have no shot to win the tourney… or 3-bet jam and either bubble or have a top 10 stack with a real shot to take down the $4894 on top.   A large number of players will fold here and get a cash, which is absolutely the WRONG play.  Well, with the way I ran, of course, the opp has AK and when I don’t improve, I brick another one to donut the entire trip for tourneys.  A trip like this happens every so often and this is the first time in over 10 years that I bricked every single tourney that I played.

Well, enough with going thru my runbad, as there was a hand sequence that provides a really good teaching point.  In the marathon, I end up with a sponsored pro at my table and he screws up royally.  This player has made a WPT final table and it was shocking to me to find that out, with the way he plays, as his bet sizes are totally nuts.  His standard open is 10-20x and his standard 3-bet is 5-6x.  Well, the player to my left opens and he 3-bets him.  The guy on my left 4-bets about half his stack.  The pro tanks for a minute, says “I call” and turns over his KQo.   Well, huge problem, neither player is all-in and he’s turned his cards over.  The floor gets called and issues the pro a 1 hand penalty (which just so happens to be his big blind, tilting him even more).  He then gets his cards back, as his hand is still live, but obviously everyone knows exactly what he has.  The flop is Kxx rainbow and the guy on my left now goes all-in, which is a very smart play on his part, as he knows the opp is burning and on monkey tilt and has top pair… which is great considering that he has AA.  The pro snap-calls and loses 3/4 of his stack.  The key here for everyone… conceal your hand at ALL TIMES!  Only turn over your hand when the dealer asks to see your hand.

Of course, now knowing that this guy is on total shove-monkey tilt (shoves the next 3 hands after the penalty), I’m just hoping that I can pick up something to play against him, as he’s going to try to punt the rest to someone, so it might as well be to me.  I open AKo and needless to say, he rips and when it folds back around to me, I snap-call him.  He turns over 56o and after I flop a king, he hits his miracle gutterball 7 on the river to double thru me.   Right play, wrong result.

I also had an interesting situation happen at Planet Hollywood on my last night in Vegas, as I decided to play $1/$2 cash… and ended up at a table with more female players than guys.  I’m used to having one or two girls at the table, but that’s the first time I had them be the majority of the table.  It was really funny too, as there were two young Asian kids at the table that kept trying to bluff everyone off of any hand.  Well, they punted about $800 to the rest of the table and left as they totally missed on following two rules.  Miller #2 (don’t pay off a huge turn or river bet) and also that you can’t bluff a station.  Their most popular move.  Raise or call a raise pre, then shove any flop.  Well, guess what happens against a station… their misses get called by second or bottom pair. LOL!

For me, it’s back to the online grind and I can’t wait until August, as that’s going to be my next chances to play live, as the HPT will be at Ameristar in East Chicago then.  I plan to play at least 1 if not two main event satellites and also one or two of their standard side events (like the one I won last November).

Tournament runs like this are also why we need to follow bankroll management, as we’re going to brick the majority of large MTT’s we play (most pros only cash 15-20% of the big MTT’s they play), so we need to be able to withstand the times where we do bust as it’s easy to have even 20-30 games in a row where we don't cash, let alone only five tourneys, especially against the toughest competition I’ll see all year.