10 Jul 2008
Big Day 2:
It was about as good a situation as I could have asked for. I was all in with AK suited and I got a caller with AT unsuited. I was over 70% to win the hand.
This was late in the first round, and I had been treading water. The guy to my right was the other short stack, and I could tell from the beginning that he was not a good player. I was on the blind, and the button and small blind limped in. I looked down at AKs and knew I had to raise. I did not want to play this with 3 people. But how much? I would have been happy to win the pot right there. The button had a big stack, and I thought she might call if I put in a small raise, but if I missed the flop she could bully me out. I had already gone all in 3 times, and I decided that was my best move. It might be mistaken for an attempt to steal the pot, and I might get a caller. I doubted the small stack would put his tournament life on the line by calling an all-in raise with anything but AK, AA, KK, or QQ, and I was sure he would have already raised had he had any of those. So really I was trying to isolate the button, who was a good player, and take away the post-flop play.
I went all in. The button thought a minute and folded. The small stack called instantly, not even a moment of thought given to his decision. He turned over ace-ten offsuit. Sweet, I thought to myself. I had his ace dominated. I couldnt believe he would call with that, but I was happy none-the-less. This was it. If I won this hand, I would double up and have enough chips to loosen up and be able to wait for optimum situations. The pressure to make a move would be off, and I could play my game. I would have about 30K in chips. If I won this hand, I felt there was a good chance I’d make it through Day 2.
The flop came 3, 10, 7. He flopped a ten, and several people at the table groaned, including me. I did not catch up. The guy apologized about three times for staying on such a dominated hand and winning, but I didnt want his apology, I wanted his chips.
I cant believe how many emotions went through me at the same time. Anger, disappointment, disbelief. But there was also a feeling of injustice. Not that justice has anything to do with a random event. In fact luck has pretty much proven neutral to justice, right and wrong, and ethical considerations in general. Luck just happens, and you can’t control it. But the feeling is that if youre a big favorite to win something, you should prevail. Like the Yankees. Except, of course, that everyone wants the Yankees to lose. In poker, no one wants to see the worst starting hand win, except the person with the worst starting hand.
As I cruised the halls after I busted out, there was a constant stream of folks walking by on their cell phones telling their bad beat stories. I had pocket aces I was on the button with King-King I was in the big blind with Ace King suited and the guy called me with pocket sixes he went all in with Ace seven he called an all in bet with ace-ten offsuit and he caught a six on the turn and he hit an ace on the river and he flopped a ten. And then I spent the evening and night in various poker rooms, listening to many more bad beat stories. I would politely wait until they had finished, and then I’d tell my own. Im not sure anyone really listened, but I felt better all the same.
So, this was not my year, but there are more. Thanks to all for your votes of confidence and your wishes of good luck. I busted out in good company with the likes of Negraunu, Harrington, Ramer, etc. Theres a little solace in knowing I outlasted them, but the payout is the same. Im also glad to know that the two Alaskans Ive been hanging out with made it through the second day.
I actually learned a lot about tournament poker this trip, and next year I will know more. I leave Vegas with a little less than I came, but it was worth the experience. Ill be back.
posted Thursday July 2008