My trip began with a train ride up the east coast from North Carolina, to Atlantic City New Jersey.
The Borgota casino has become the east coast hub for tournament poker, and generates large fields for their deep stack events. This fact was amplified when 1042 players chose to pony up the $3500.00 buy in. This created a new world record of entries for a WPT event.
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE FIRST
Day One THE GOOD.
The tournament offered two day one starts and I chose to play on 1A which was on Saturday.
I like this format because it allows older players such as myself an extra day of rest, and in this case the opportunity to watch football all day Sunday.
My tournament day started at 11am with 30,000 in chips (30K) 75 minute levels with the blinds starting at 25/50. Doesn’t get much better. I drew a good table, the mix of players was mostly semi aggressive but not wild.
A favorable situation that allows for me to spend the first hour studying each player, also establish a rapport with some cheerful banner, and create a table image of a tight old man that only plays AA or better. Day one for me was a poker players dream come true. We had all been assigned to a table that wouldn’t break for the entire day. With so many chips to start there is plenty of time to play, and look for a good trapping situation. The day went smoothly for me with only two major confrontations. In both cases I had the best hand, and my opponents pushed all in. At day’s end I had accumulated a chip count of 89K and was in the top twenty. How sweet.
Day Two THE BAD.
After a good day’s rest on Sunday I was looking forward to the start of day two, and was eager to take advantage of my chip count of 89K. Average count was only 40K. Approximately 600 players had made the cut. I got to my table and discovered a table full of young (hats) my terminology for the young want-to-bes. As usual I set out to establish table image, and make friends with the hats. After a few minutes of play I knew that my intention to dominate the table with my chip count would have to be revamped. They were firing from both hips, and to make matters worse the player immediately to my left had broke a player and now had 120K. I had to change my game plan because of his aggression, and look to play small ball poker. To add to the misery for most of the day I was card dead, and was unable to continue increasing my stack amount. “It never ceases to amaze me that so many young hats want to play huge pots with marginal hands for their tournament life.” Every time that my chip count increased I would end up losing a hand to a short stack who felt they had to get all in with an assortment of bad hands, and at day’s end I had lost 4 out of 5 all in confrontations. Ironically I ended day two with exactly the chip count I started with 89K. But on a positive note I was still near chip average which was 93K. I’m not positive but I think the remaining field was about 300 players.
Day Three THE FIRST.
I titled this day the FIRST because in 25 years of playing I have never experienced a day like this one.
To start the day I had drawn table number three, seat number eight. I looked at the breaking board and realized that table three would not get broken for the entire day . I liked this draw, sometimes your table draw puts you into a rotation where you’re constantly moving tables , thus making it difficult to adjust to each table. As the players settled into their respective seats to my surprise four of the players were from my day one table, and I knew what to expect from them. Although there were four other new faces the table make up was soon proven to be a conservative group of players.
Because of the nature of the table I was able to play semi aggressive and wouldn’t be called. Slowly after about three hours of play I had increased my stack to about 130K without ever having a confrontation, just taking blinds. It’s nice to maintain chip stack but to win eventually you need to be confronted and given the opportunity to double up. Slowly as the day wore on and the blinds continued to increase the same pattern existed three players had busted out only to be replaced by another non aggressive player. I had played an educated guess of thirty plus hands and had never been called. Totally unbelievable but the best is yet to come. About five hours into the day we were down to 105 players nearing the money . 100th place pay’s $6600. My chip count was 125K and I was confident that I would at least cash. Then the following hand took place I’m in the big blind with KK and was raised by a good player who also realizes we’re close to the money. He had raised the pot to 50K. Decision time for me although I would like to cash I’m there to try to win the tournament, and studying him I believed I had the best hand his chip count was 103 so I pushed. He called with his A/Q and the ace hit. My only confrontation of the day I lose, leaving me with only 22K and the new short stack in the tournament.
After losing the hand and posting the small blind I had 20K and the button, 102 players left and then and-to-hand play started.. For those who aren’t sure what that means, each dealer is only allowed to deal one hand then has to wait for all other tables to finish, this keeps players from stalling, and eliminates collusion. It is no fun to have played for three days only to be eliminated one or two from the money, but somebody has to be the goat, and I knew that I had to take a marginal hand and gamble, because they were waiting for me to be the goat. Two hands later the first card dealt to me was an ace I never even looked at the second card, and pushed my weary stack in. Two players called and the whole room was watching hoping that I bust. Flop came Q/7/4 both players checked turn was a nine with the board Q/7/4/9 I was praying that my mystery card was at least one of them. Both players checked again and the river brought an Ace and one player now bet the other player folded and he showed A/J time to see my fate I peeked at the mystery card, and was delighted to turn over A/Q win the hand and now have once again my 85K. Two hands later the real goat busted and we were all in the money.
So far on the day I had had only two confrontations and was one and one. This is where it all gets strange. Average chip count is now 225K and the blinds are getting large losing about 20K per lap. Dinner break in one hour I need to get doubled up or out. Neither choice happened. Reached dinner break with 85K. Over the next three levels I pushed several times and no callers, meanwhile slowly players were busting out 90/80/70/60/ all this time my count was stuck at about 85K and we were now playing 6/12K I may never understand what had taken place. Players at my table just wouldn’t call my all in bets. Finally with 46 players left once more I pushed, and a player that had just been moved to my table called. I held A/Q versus Q/J he flopped a jack and my day ended in 46th place collected $10,340 for my efforts, thus ending the strangest day of my poker career. Once we hit the money I out lasted 54 players as the short stack in the tournament. There were hands where I was stealing but several hands where I wanted to be played. I projected a solid table image. When being short after making the money you’re looking to be played, and increase or be eliminated. Hazarding a guess on the day my pots won at showdown 1 of 3. Pots won without showdown probably around 70. Till this day, I thought I had experienced all there was in poker, but this was beyond my range of thought.
The lesson to be learned from this strange finish is NEVER QUIT you all have experienced bad beats, where you lose the majority of your chips, but face your situation after the beat with a positive attitude then do whatever circumstance dictates.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 17 November 2010 20:39)
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