Well, I'm sad to say that our apartment's journey up to Atlantic City was not overall as successful as we all had hoped.
We got into Harrah's in AC late monday night after some hotel booking difficulties. I realized that I was a bit tired from driving up, and that I really wanted a good night's sleep the night before the 11am start to the 300+50 no limit event, which was event #1 of Borgata's WPT Winter poker open.
That good night of sleep never really came for one reason or another, and I found myself pretty tired but still amped up and excited for my first live tournament series since turning 21 and being able to actually play the events (as opposed to the my world series stint where I could only ever get away with playing cash games). We got to Borgata right before tournament time, and Steve (Tubasteve) and Aaron (Manchild)were seated for the event in the main poker room, while I trekked along to find the convention center upstairs where most of the event was occuring.
I'm not sure why, perhaps subconscious/bodily nerves (I consciously was ready and felt ok it seemed), but I started to feel a bit queezy walking into the huge archway of escalators for the WPT area upstairs. I guess being able to finally pull out a tournament ticket for a bigger live event got to me somehow, because not too long after we started, I had to get to the bathroom for a quick calming of nerves (do you really want to ask about the details? Thought so.) I somehow convinced myself that there would be good players here and that I had to play better than them. Well, it is good to play better against your opposition so that goes without saying, but, my assumption on the quality of play was laughable, for lack of a better description. Seriously, I though 2/5nl at the world series was the easiest game in the world, when really limping and calling is the new betting, folding and raising in Atlatnic City.
After I sat back down, I felt ok, though my stomach still playing games with me. I very very quickly felt I was easily the best player at this table, and soon thereafter lost a sizey pot when I check/raised out of the small blind against a big blind lead with a combo draw and he called and called a turn bet with flopped top two. I saw this player make many weaker leads so unfortunately, while I don't at all regret my line, it didn't work out too well. I was quickly ground down from our original 5k stacks to as low as 2.6/2.7k. Around this time, some guy that wouldn't stop talking about his strategy (cliff notes of his strategy: folding A7o in the sb in level 1 to a utg big raise is apparently a "tight fold". Also, as with EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON ON THIS PLANET APPARENTLY, he hates starting a hand with 2 jacks...? Dunno, last I checked, paint pairs were a good hand) put it all in with a short stack over my utg open with 77 and I thought for a few seconds before calling with TT. I flopped top set to clinch it and I got a few chips back.
Soon thereafter, I was lucky enough to flush over flush someone and bust another player, and after that, with a few light resteals and c-bets, I was quickly back up to 8k in chips and feeling good.
The break came and we switched tables. The next table, though I never got any solid reads on many of the players, seemed pretty soft as well. Soon after I sat at this table someone limped in front of me in middle position at 75/150. I made it 600 over the limp with AKo, and got called by the very talkative/joking European guy immediately to my left. If you're unaware, middle ages European guys at these major live events seem to play fancily and get out of line easily. That, combined with no one knowing how to do simple arithmetic, led for a sad downfall. Anyways, we took a flop heads up of AK9 rainbow. $$$- I wish. I checked the flop expecting it to be very easy to get a guy like this (from the little I knew of him) to take the lead in the hand and get to play a big pot by the turn. He checked behind. The turn put out the Js, so the board was AK9sJs. I led 1000 into the 1300 pot and got called. The river put out another spade, and has Phil Hellmuth said on TV last year, I decided to check the river with that Hellmuthian voice in my head going "NOT SPADE- SPADE!" Really though, I simply decided that I had no solid read, but in classifying players realized that I just wasn't sure if I could profitably call a shove if I led at the river, and that he could definitely bluff with how much I underrepresented my hand. After I checked, he bet 2k and I quickly called and mucked to 6s5s. Yeah, sucks because I checked the flop, but I like my line after talking it over with some people given that I was relatively readless. That was how I planned to get the most value out of my flopped monster and it just didn't work out. Such is life.
Very soon thereafter, a TAGfish kid opened to 400 at t150 and I jammed 88 for my remaining 3k from the cutoff. He tanked, and did his stupid song and dance about how he has AK and that he doesn't think I could do this with AA/KK. I've seen this song and dance a hundred times, and not once has anyone ever folded AK in this spot. I stood up, waiting for his oh so surprising call, and lost my race. good game.
Manchild and another couple of friends of mine from home cashed in the event which was nice, so I took my illustrious 5% from a friend for his deepest finish of our group at 18th. Ship the 150 dollars that I got instead of the 5k I should've gotten when this idiot called a flop shove from my friend on a 9 high board with QJo against friend's 77 because my friend called him a coke head earlier in the night. River jack, good game in 18th place.
After chilling out for a while, I decided after I had busted to play the second chance tournament, the 200+30. The tournament was equally as soft, and the result similar. I realized I was in for a long (or short?) one when 5 peopple limped in on the first hand, I raised the button big and everyone called. Needless to say that didn't work out, though I did make some things happen in this event, and I got my stack up to nearly 20k from the 6k starting stacks before running into a wave of cold cards and fast blind/ante structure. I shoved A7o into AKo at the 600/1200 level, and as standard a push as it was, was out of my 2nd multi of the day.
It didn't surprise me, just not how I wanted to spend my day...feeling like crap and playing decently but losing. I'd rather have just stayed in bed for a good day 2 if I had foreseen it, though I will say it was a great experience and an overall good time.
Unfortunately, my woes continued when I was strapped for cash (the problem with being an internet player: plenty online, none around when you need to sit with live fish). I sat 1/2 instead of some juicy looking 2/5 games to grind up a bit of money before jumping into it, especially as I haven't played live since Las Vegas during the world series. Well, yeah, that didn't go well. The table's average stack was probably at least 100bb's, so the standard raise was naturally to 15 or 20 preflop. All I can say is, if I knew I'd always get raises and huge flop bets called when I had monster pairs I would just start open jamming them for 150 bb's preflop. Sadly, none of those monster pairs ever held. Despite people thinking that bigger raises=more of a reason to call with draws/lower effective stacks (?), it didn't pan out for me, and as laggy or taggy or nitty as I had to go to adjust to varying table conditions and players, I just couldn't put it together with the cards. Except for my one flush in the tournament, I didn't hit a draw or see the refreshing aces in the hole one time in 3 days. I rarely made a pair and no one ever folded to anything, so sadly, these series' have a bigger luck factor than one might be accustomed to. Again, I think I played pretty well with only a couple of minor errors all things considered, so I'm just looking to put it behind me and make Vegas a good trip.
Couple fun hands from my late night cash session: raise preflop to 20 (yes, at 1/2) with QQ. Old guy calls, idiot kid who thinks hes god's gift to poker (because he has the big stack at the cash table zomg!) calls out of the blind. Flop is 552 2-tone, and I lead for 60. Old guy calls, kid calls. The turn fills the flush, obviously. I check, old guy bets 60, kid folds, I tank and decide that he probably has the flush, but at basically 4:1, the fact that I'm never calling a river bet from this guy made it worth it for me to spite call this turn bet and see if he showed up with a bare draw/worse overpair/crap/whatever. I called, and I talked him into checking back on the river with his flush made with Q9hh. Yeah, the kid also had called pf with 43o, and the flop bet for 25% of effective stacks on that paired 2-tone board with his open ended straight draw. Nice one kid, god's gift to poker indeed.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the really depressing report. At least some friends hit decently in the tournaments (another friend cashed in the second chance the next night after I played it). I'm also going to try to put in huge volume until vegas so I can keep up with my online bonuses/VIP stuff and what not on pokerstars. Hopefully Vegas will bring a happier trip in the sklansky-bucks department :) Thanks for reading.
Oh also forgot to mention that I played a 120 buy in live sit and go also. Obviously I lost that one, but yes, in multi's, single tables and cash games, the players all seemed comparably bad. JJ shoved utg, queens with a slightly bigger stack than me (but still very short) reshoved, and I called with JJ on the button. Since we were both more or less drawing dead preflop, and the flop didn't bring me me only glimmer at a scoop or chop, that one was an easy exit. And if one more person open limps and calls a raise with AK pf or states how awful a hand JJ is I'm going to throw a kitten.
We ended the trip by missing our exit on the highway in the heavy snow/ice/rain and turning a 3 hour drive into a 7 hour ride of joy...that was also fun. Thats about it I think.