Before I talk about this tournament, I want to say I am not becoming a live mtt pro even though I've been blogging about them this year. I'm just making them a bigger part of my poker routine for the 1st time. My main focus will always be cash games, mostly online. They pay the bills and always will do so. I will also focus on cash games at Cardrunners even though I'm probably pretty good at tournaments too.
Anyway this was a $5170 buyin main event at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I played in a few prelims leading up to this and have blogged and tweeted about them before. I managed to make a final table of the $1k buyin a few days ago but busted in a disappointing 8th place after being chipleader w/ 12 players left.
This main event had around 210 players and 1st pays around $300k. The structure of this tournament is amazing and probably a good reason a good cash game player like me made it to the final table (w/ somewhat relative ease). The levels were 90 mins long but the blinds went up slowly. I've always hovered around 80-100bbs+ until the last 2 levels of tonight. I can only think of the WSOP main event having as good or better of a structure (probably explains why I've gotten deep and cashed twice in 6 years).
Obviously a $5k main event that is not televised is going to have a tough field and I expected that going in but I'm confident enough in my game to know that I'm +ev.
On day 1 I got to play w/ Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler, Karina Jett, Scott Montgomery, Lee Markholt, Annette Oberstad, and CR's own Eric Lui. It was a pretty tough table but I felt like I could handle the table ok. It was actually a fun day because we started off so deep and Annette and I were getting involved in so many hands (because we just like to play a ton of hands). She was on my direct left and it was not an easy spot for sure (she 3bet me some but called a ton with position on me, probably because she knew I was opening so many hands). Overall besides her and I, the table was nitty and nobody gave an inch. I ended the day as the table chipleader w/ about 60k (after starting w/ 25k). No really interesting hands but that's probably because I avoided big pots (no reason to gamble when I can chip up w/ no risk).
The one fun hand of the day involved Annette and her boyfriend Scott. She opr lp, he calls out of bb, she barrels every street and he calls down including her river shove, she shows AA, he mucks, Kessler tells dealer he needs to open Scott's hand (because that is the rules believe it or not...when there is a river shove and a call both hands have to be opened...and Kessler is a stickler for rules), Scott takes it the wrong way (I assume he thought Allen was implying they could be colluding since they are a couple) and tells Kessler to go f**k himself! Even funnier, after the losing hand is in the muck the dealer asks Scott what he had (in seriousness too)..lol.
Before day 2 started the Wynn decided to hold a calcutta auction on the players left in the field. Basically you bid on players (w/ their stacks) to finish in the top 3 and get paid accordingly to the prizepool of the auction. W/ about 110 players left, Dan Heimiller and Phil Gordon bought about a 3rd of the field...I guess they felt it was +ev. The Wynn takes out 10% of the prize pool. Eric Froehlich went for $800 since he was the chipleader. 1st place pays about $12k, 2nd $6k, 3rd $3k. An interesting rule was that the person that was bought was allowed to buy back half of himself for half of what he sold for.
This leads to a funny story...Rene Angelil (Celine Dion's husband) was there for the auction and he wanted to buy himself. He was one of the chipleaders after day 1. Anyway one other person wanted to buy him and Rene bid his price up to $350 before the staff told him he can buy back half of himself at half of whatever price he goes for. So he stopped bidding his price up and just bought half of himself. When they called my name I waited to see if anybody would bid on me (obviously I would be great value because I'm not well known in the live tournament world) before I bid on myself...Dan Heimiller bids the minimum $200 to start and nobody bids higher so I let Dan buy me at $200 then I buy back half of myself at $100. So now I have half of myself in this calcutta auction (and still alive!).
I also got in on the fun and ended up buying 2 players...Dave "Bakes" Baker for $350 and Richard "Nutsinho" Lyndaker for $300 (stacks play a large part in what players go for). I played w/ Nutsinho the 1st half of day 2 and he sat on my direct right but I didn't tell him I had him in the auction (might affect our play). Anyway both guys didn't make it past day 2 (those bums).
On day 2 I drew another tough table w/ Michael Pessek, Dan Heimiller (the guy that bought me in the auction), Nutsinho, Darren Elias, and Jon Turner. Well the 2 guys that like to play a lot of hands got involved in a lot of hands together..they being Nutsinho and me. There were some 3betting going on (not always w/ good hands) and he had the best of me even though he was on my right. Fortunately they moved Nutsinho and later I busted Dan w/ AK vs AQ aipf (at least he gave his chips to one of his auction horses). Rene Angelil came to my table and I managed to win all his chips in several hands, most of it his last hand when he decided to 4bet shove 33 from utg vs my mp 3bet...my QQ held and I had a big stack. Don't feel bad for him...I will be taking my wife and myself to Celine's show when she resumes it later this year at Caesar's Palace so I'll be paying him some money indirectly.
Today was day 3 and we would play down to the final table from the 35 players that remained. Phil Hellmuth was still in it and even though I didn't get the chance to play w/ him, I really enjoyed the tantrums he put up when he lost a key pot..."idiot calls my raise w/ A3 and I set a trap w/ AQ and he bluffs off til he rivers the 3! Where do they find these idiots??!!" and "I raise 2 hands in 8 orbits and this idiot decides to get in AQ aipf vs me and beats my TT!! I guess this is why I have 11 bracelets.". 1st hand vs unknown, 2nd hand vs. Tony "Bond18" Dunst which he says was a super standard spot...lol.
Anyway on day 3 I again draw a super tough table w/ Isaac Haxton, Eric Froehlich (w/ the chiplead in tournament), Tim West aka TMay, Billy Kopp (the guy that gave Darvin Moon mountains of chips when he had a baby flush on a paired board couple years ago in the WSOP main event...lol), and Annette Oberstad (again). Everybody I mentioned had tons of chips w/ the exception of TMay. I managed to chip up nicely to about a top 5 stack w/o having to gamble (because that's what I do ;) then play this cool hand....
W/ blinds at 2k/4k I opr to 9500 w/ Qd9d utg, Annette and 2 others call. Annette and I are over 100bbs deep. Flop K85r (no diamond), I decide to bet 13,500 because it looks super strong, only Annette calls, turn 5 (no fd), I bet 24k, she calls, river 4, I bet 74k, she folds AK faceup, I show my bluff, she acts classy and says nh. I won't dwell too much on this hand but it wasn't a simple case of "I have air and the only way I can win is by triple barreling". She and I played a lot on day 1 and I took a lot of passive lines vs her where I let her valuecut herself (plus pot controlled on my part since I was oop) and I assumed she would give my multiple street aggression a ton of respect, and I was right :) .
After that we were playing 6-7 handed for a while since there were 3 equal tables. I was opening a ton of hands and chipping up nicely and managed to become the chipleader w/ 18 players left. Then disaster struck. I lose a flip w/ AK vs TT aipf for 25% of my stack. W/ 14 players left I take a brutal beat w/ TT vs Tmay's 88 aipf and get short and under 50bbs for the 1st time in this tournament. I have to tighten up (even playing 6-7 handed) because it was too easy for the bigger stacks to put me all in for my tournament life. I manage to hang in w/ 25bbs to the final table and now I head into day 4 and the final table w/ a 20bb stack (card dead and no spots to opr the last level). On the final table are Carter King, Annette Oberstad, TMay (tx to his miracle 2outer at river), and chipleader Eric Froehlich.
It resumes tomorrow at 4pm and I have a dentist appointment at 2pm (lol, I need to tell the dentist no sedatives) so I am done writing about this tournament for now. Hopefully I'll have my 1st major live tournament win tomorrow but if not, hey, at least my teeth will be sparkly.
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