A Deep Run at Venetian (Again)

So, I played the Noon tournament at Venetian on Tuesday. The tournament got 130+ entrants, which was both good and bad. Good, in that it was a decent sized field for payouts, bad in that we got just enough players for the tournament to pay 18 spots instead of 9.

Things started out very well. With a starting stack of 7500, I was very quickly up to 17,000 with no truly memorable hands. I then got into a great zone where I was playing and reading very well. I flopped top pair against an aggressive guy, when I was holding AK. I had a sense that, based on the way this guy was playing, if I checked behind him on the turn after betting the flop, he would bluff at the river quite a bit. Well, true to form, he did bet the blank river. However, he unexpectedly pushed all-in, which was a pretty big overbet. Could he have a set? I thought it was much more likely he had a busted straight draw with two big cards as opposed to a set. The problem was the tell he was giving off. Earlier, he had been staring right at me in a hand when I read him for weak. Now, he was staring down, and wouldn’t say much. I asked him if I was losing, and he started to say something, then got really quiet and shrugged, pointing at the pot. This was enough to convince me that he was pretty nervous, and I called. Had he kept quiet and still, I might have laid down top pair. But taking the overbet and the change in mannerism into consideration, I ended up making the right call. He showed me a busted straight draw. This propelled me over 30K.

A couple of automatic calls/hands that played themselves, popped up, and I won coin flips against smaller stacks to push myself over 40, where I treaded for a while. I crossed over 50K when we were down to 80 players, then ran KK into AA to dump off half my chips. I ground my way back up to 50K again, only to take AK vs. A7, and drop back down to 32K. At this point, the blinds were starting to become a factor. We were at 1000-2000, with a 300 ante. I was stealing enough pots to stay afloat, but things weren’t great. The blinds moved up to 1500-3000, with a 500 ante, and I was officially in bad shape. With less than 40 players left, I had 23K in middle/late position. A fairly tight player in early/middle position raised to 6K. This screamed weakness, since he usually bet more when he was protecting bigger hands. The guy next to him smooth called the 6K. I looked down at pocket 7s, and hoped I had enough to get the initial raiser to fold. The player to his left was fairly weak-tight as well, so I thought if I could get through the first raiser, I was fine. That was, until the SB just called my raise to 23K. The SB was a tighter player as well, who had a bad habit of over-valuing his hands. I had no idea where I was. The original raiser folded, but the second guy in the pot decided to call, even though it looked like he wanted to jam. I think he just didn’t realize the SB called instead of jamming. On the flop, both of them get it all-in. One of them held AA, the other KK. The true beauty of this situation was that the flop came out 7 high. All of a sudden, I had 80K, and we had 30-ish players left.

The next hour was short-handed play as players dropped somewhat quickly. I was able to pick up lots of small pots to keep my stack at around 80K, but when we were down to 22 players, I lost 35K on AK vs A7. Yes, I lost to A7 holding AK all-in preflop twice in the same tournament.

When we got to 20 players, everyone in the room wanted to take $300 off of first place to pay 19th and 20th $150 each. The prizes were already thin enough ($14 profit for finishing 18th). The floorman, Daniel, who I consider a good friend, asked if there were any objections. I complained a bit, but told him if I was the only dissenter, it was fine. Then, some moron suggested that we take $200 off of first and $100 off of second. I started screaming that the clock was still running, and just wanted to play poker. In reality, the money bubble is always a great spot for me to pick up chips, which is what I had been doing for an hour. So, I was sad to see it go.

It took about another hour for us to get down to the final 10. 10th place still only paid $200, vs. $5000 for first. So, aggression was still the method of the day.

There were 997,500 chips in play. I was 3rd or 4th in chips with roughly 130K when we got to the final table. I played one hand poorly with pocket 4s, but managed to work my stack over 200K. We dropped a few people to get to 6-handed, then busted the girl to my left with AQ vs. A9 to get us to 5-handed. I had almost 300K in chips at this point, and was the chip leader. Sitting in the SB, I reraised the button holding AK only to have him jam for just a bit more holding KK. No improvement, and I was down to 150. I worked back up to 200K, then lost a coin flip to drop under 100K for the first time in a while. I stole few pots preflop, then got into a 3-way pot. Instead of making a play at the pot on the flop, I waited until the turn (something I’ve been trying to add to my game), and successfully took down the pot to get over 100K again. Blinds were 6000-12000, with a 2K ante at this point. Effective aggression had me back over 200K again when I raised from the button with A9s to 33K. The BB jammed for another 37K more, and showed me K9. He rivered a straight, and now everyone had roughly the same stack.

It was at this point that someone suggested a deal. Based on the crazy size of the blinds, we quickly agreed to chop it up 5 ways, each taking $2400. So, all in all, a strong tournament for me. However, I feel like it could have been a much better payday if things had gone my way at the final table. I got lucky on the 77 hand earlier, but not a lot went my way at the final table. Ah, the cards can be fickle!

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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