The cash games have been going okay, but bricking tournaments is never fun, and I was 0 for 6 and getting fairly fed up of busting early.
I decided to try my luck in one of the Wynn daily $300 tournaments, and straight away things started to fall into place.
For a start, the standard of play was a lot more passive and friendly, with most players on the wrong side of 50. This made it far easier to stay in control of pot size and not let any pots get too big without having the goods, and I felt comfortable as I quickly got my 12k stack up to 30k without showdown.
The only other player (apart from me) playing lots of hands was a guy in an Ivey Hoody jacket. Every time there was a limp he tried to isolate and he was generally three-betting and being more aggressive than the rest of the table.
I knew we would clash at some point, so I made sure when the time came I’d have a genuine hand as I really didn’t need to go to war with him so early.
When the time came, I picked up two queens in the big blind and my Ivey Poker opponent had isolated a limp again.
It was the perfect time to three-bet, knowing it would look like I was just trying to resteal
He peeled and took a weird line in the hand, raising the turn and bombing the river, but I called him down successfully and all of a sudden I was the table big stack.
Two hands later a Brazilian guy sat down who I’d played with at the WSOP. I knew he was pretty terrible having seen him spraying chips round earlier in the week.
First hand he had to post 500 as a late entrant, and I raised his limp to 2000 with AK. Everyone passed, he shoved with KQ and I threw another 12k onto my pile.
I’d peppered the big blind of the elderly lady sat one to my left as it was passed round to me almost without fail. I’d raised and cbet any two cards. It just so happened the time she decided to play back at me by shoving 30bb I had two kings.
Just as the Ivey Poker guy was telling me how sick it was I was being gifted chips on a dry flop, the turn and river both came ace and the old girl made three aces with her AQ and took a chunk of my stack.
Still, I was playing well and knew showing down KK wouldn’t do my chance of continuing to steal any harm, so I kept level headed and went back to work.
As the bubble approached play got even tighter and I built up a massive stack, more than a quarter of the 1.5million chips in play.
Then I took my second sick beat. An older guy raised in early position and an aggro kid who had joined the table and already gotten lucky twice shoved for 20bb. I found aces in the big blind and reshoved and the older guy called.
He had two kings, and aggro kid had AJ. The board ran out in the most ridiculous way, so by the river on the QTxx board the kings were drawing dead and the AJ was drawing to one of the two remaining kings.
Boom! King on the river and another bump in the road
With that bust out, we moved to the final table. I still had 350k of the 1.5milion, but couldn’t help but look at the 250k the aggro kid had and think they should be on my pile. Still, having a big stack allows for these mishaps, and a break was called as we moved to the new table, a factor I think that helped me get mentally right again.
I passed the first few hands of the final and then picked up two queens in mid position. I raised and rather surprisingly faced a three bet from the 84-year-old local, a lovely old boy who had been having fun all day, in the big blind.
He was playing 150k and I was happy to play for the lot, so I four-bet and he quickly called.
I knew I was winning, and loved the Q-9-4 flop, even if it was all spades. He checked, I bet small and he check-raised all-in.
It seemed pretty certain he would have the ace of spades, but no, I’d set over setted him, his three nines now drawing to one out.
As the turn and river bricked he got up smiling and told me how I deserved the pot after losing with the aces earlier, what a gent!
Now I was over half a million and determined to seal the deal
A few of the finalists were literally folding every hand, so their blinds were up for grabs, and it became obvious that the aggro kid from earlier and a young Irish guy sat beside him would be my main competition. Two became one when they ran aces into kings in the blinds against each other, and the Irish kid took over the chip lead from me.
I lost a significant pot to him with 77 v QQ when I should have folded the river, but was still clear second when I found aces again in the big blind.
The Irish kid raised the button, I three-bet and he raised again. Now I had to decide if a five-bet was worthwhile or if it would allow him to fold. We were deep enough for me to five-bet fold though, and that came into my thinking, that he might shove wider knowing he could knock me out and on a passive table I might choose to fold say AK type hands.
He insta-shoved my five-bet and of course I called. His AK was dead by the turn and now I was a monster, 815k of the 1.5million with five left.
All the other stacks were pretty even, which meant I could have fun picking on them knowing they’d want to outlast each other, presuming I’d win.
After 15 minutes of that, one of the guys suggested a chop
I wasn’t that keen to start with, but looking at the numbers I could lock up $7200, not that much less than the $8400 first place price, and I would get the trophy, winner’s photo and could go and join the boys in the bar.
It was such a friendly tournament it felt like a good deal to do, and also locking up over $7k for an afternoon’s work was not bad at all. At last a win!