After landing in Vegas midday on Wednesday, I went over to Bellagio to sweat Russell in a $5K event that he had made the final table of. He busted 7th after getting a bit unlucky. With no other work projects to handle, I decided to play the $120 buy-in 7 pm tournament at the Venetian. Since I’d gotten up at 5:30 am EST, this was going to be a long night if I did well.
We started with 7500 in chips. Before the first break, I had my stack up to 25,000, in great shape. I lost half my stack on a marginal decision, then lost another pot to essentially make myself a short stack with 60 players to go.
Fast forward 4 hours, and I’d grinded until we had 30 players left. They started dropping like flies, and I won a few pots to give me a big enough stack to open up my game. When we got down to 2 tables, I was chip leader at my table. The floorman (Mark) promptly moved me to the other table, where I was 7th in chips out of 8. Thanks, Mark. We can’t be too pissed at Mark, since he’s a Padres and Chargers fan. Mark gets a lot of practice saying, “This is a rebuilding year.”
I still managed to pick up enough pots at the table to keep up with the chip leader. I was happy that I was calling with marginal hands, then either betting out or check-calling to win some nice pots from players too afraid to go broke. Very shortly after moving tables, we were in the money. There was no money until the top 3, so I played as such at the final table.
Early on, 9-handed, with about 110K in chips, I limped from early position with T9o for 4000. A bunch of players saw the flop. The SB was the chip leader, with about 130K in chips. It was checked to me on a Q92 flop, with 2 clubs. I bet out 5500. The chip leader called and we were heads up to the turn. He bet out 25,000 on the turn, a 5 of spades. This appeared to be a blank, and I was pretty sure it didn’t improve his hand. I studied him for a while, and decided to call. I hadn’t see him play even one pot at the other table, so I really didn’t have a good read on him. The river was a red 3. The chip leader bet 35,000. I spent a long time thinking and studying him. I really felt like it was most likely he hadn’t improved, and could potentially have missed a draw. But, he also could have a better 9 than me. The bet was big enough to leave him chips to play, which was the factor that almost lead me to calling. Well, I should have gone with my gut. My cards weren’t even in the muck when he turned up JTo, for a busted straight.
Oh, well. I started stealing pots here and there, and worked my stack back up to 120k pretty quickly. We were down to 6 players, and I had 4 decent hands against short-stacks who reraised me all-in. Getting great odds on all, I called. I went 1 out of 4. Back down to 60k. We dropped two more players (1 of which I doubled up twice while I was holding AK). 4-handed, the blinds were 4K-8K, with a 1K ante. I had 89K. The clock had already expired, so I knew we were going to 6K-12K on the next hand, with a 2K ante. I had 7BBs left. On the button, before looking at my cards, I decided to steal the blinds. The SB was weak, trying to hang on to move up. The BB was erratic, but showed he could lay down big hands. I looked down at 27o. They were letting me open for small amounts and still folding, so I opened for 22K. The SBs cards hit the muck so fast, they caught on fire. BB thought for just a second, and called. He had about 12K less than me. I was pretty much done with the hand, but the flop was 234 with 2 hearts. I had the 7 of hearts as an emergency re-draw to a flush, but more importantly, it was virtually impossible that my opponent had a better hand at this point. He shoved in, and I was getting the right odds to call. He turned over K-T of diamonds (eep!). Turn was a T, river King.
Down to 14K, fold UTG. In BB, I get dealt KQo. Button and SB both call with worse hands, but the SB fills up with T8 off, and I’m out in 4th place for a whopping $600.
I don’t feel like I’ve been playing good poker lately, so I was happy with the deep run. There were a couple of times where I felt like I may have made the wrong decision, but in the end I felt like I played solid poker. I don’t think I’m 100% focused yet, but I do think I’m playing better.