Well, after satelliting in last week after a sit & go and MTT when I made it into the top 20% both times, I drove back up to Turning Stone resort outside of Syracuse NY to play in the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event. I figure since LVMichael put my last story into the trip reports, I'll just start it off in there this time.
There were 173 players who signed up and they paid 20, with 20th getting about $2200 and 1st taking home about $72,000. I played solid early and won a few pots, including a couple where I was pre-flop raiser and took it down with a continuation bet even though I missed. I also had one or two where I had good hands and they held up for the win, although I'm not sure I had to table any cards except the final hand. But, I got unlucky and wound up busting about 5 hours into the tournament at about 110th place.
I did have a couple of interesting things. At my second table I was 2 to the left of Al Krux. Not a really well know pro, but I recognized the face and someone mentioned how much he'd won in tourneys -- I looked it up and it is over $1 million and he has a few WSOP final tables and one WSOP braclet. He lives up in Syracuse and came down for the event. He seemed to know the dealers well so I guess he’s a regular and was a really nice guy. Based on that, I wish him the best and hope he went deep and has a lot of good runs going forward. Also, when I was headed up to my room I ran into a guy who was in the tourney and had been at my table for a while. He seemed like a decent recreational player and he asked me "so what are you going to be playing out in Vegas?" He seemed genuinely surprised when I said that I wasn't going out for the series and I had been playing way above my normal limits today thanks to a satellite. So, I guess I acquitted myself pretty well based on his read.
I think there were 3 key hands for me in the tourney and I'm not sure I played the first two right (spoiler alert: they'll be in the strategy section) but I don't think I played them terribly either.
Here’s a description of them:
Hand #1 - blinds are 100/200; I'm on button and a guy who I know to be a good and pretty solid player raises from early to middle position to 800, 4 times big blind which seemed to be his standard raise with good hands; I flat call (pot about 2000). He has a big stack probably 40-50K in chips and I'm at between 15000 and 20000. Flop K-Q-garbage rainbow. Guy bets out about 1500 and it folds to me, I raise to 3500 and he insta-shoves. I put him on only a few hands Q-Q, K-Q, K-K, A-A or A-K and after thinking about it a bit and trying to get a read by asking "K-Q? "pocket Queens?" I decided that I can only tie 1 hand and I lose to 4, so I'm not going broke there and folded saying "I think you've got me beat." A guy who had said he played with him before (and who was in my tourney to make this one and seems to be a pretty good player) said "I know he had you beat." I'm not 100% sure, but I'm comfortable with my fold -- I had raised to get an idea where I was and I can't believe I was ahead but I could easily have been way behind.
Hand #2 - blinds are 200/400 with a 50 chip ante. I'm at a new table and have played maybe 10 to 15 hands here, so I don't have much info on these players. It folds to small blind who calls. I have 7-5 suited and check (pot was 1050). Flop 7-4-3 with 1 in my suit. Guy checks and I bet out 700 and he calls (pot is 2450). Turn is a high card like a J and puts 2 hearts out there, he checks and I check behind. River is a blank, I think an 8, no heart. He bets 1500. I am really perplexed because he could be betting into weakness, or have called with a couple big cards. I think and say, “well you’ve either got me crushed or you’ve got complete air and I’m just not sure.” So, I called. I think it was an iffy call, but like I said I wasn’t sure. He turned over 3-3 for a flopped set. This put me down to about 11,000 to 12,000 in chips.
Hand #3 - Blinds up to 250/500 with a 50 chip ante. I’ve been pretty card dead since the last hand and the antes and blinds have been eating into my stack so I’m down to just under 7,000 but I have a decent read on the table by this point. Under the gun (who was a youngish internet aggressive but pretty good player) min raises to 1,000 and an early position donk calls (he was older and had been calling with a lot of pretty crappy hands and underbetting his good ones), the small blind (with the 3s) calls and I look down at A-J. Since no one has shown a lot of strength (unless the under-the-gun was min raising with a monster) I decided to go for it and push all in. My all in was for 6050 chips to top of the 1000 and the pot was then 10550. Under-the gun thinks about it and folds, the donk snap calls for about 1/3 of his remaining stack and the small blind says “well then I fold.” The Donk proudly flips over K-J off suit so I was way ahead. Flop was safe 2-4-6 rainbow but the turn K gave him the lead and the river 8 didn’t bail me out.
I said “nice hand” and “good luck everybody” and walked out of the room. Honestly, it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach.
I think, other than the weak call on the 2nd hand I played it well and I really can't get my money in a lot better with that short of a stack. Plus, considering how fast the donk called, I don’t think if I lay down the second hand, the extra 1500 chips would have made a difference and he’d have still called. So, I guess it was just not my day.
P.S. I figured since LVMichael put my last story into the trip reports, I'd just start it off in there this time but I have to check a Las Veges room to post it there myself. So, I'll mention that the Turning Stone room is huge, probably about the size of Aria maybe Venetian -- and the hotel is a nice property, but not a nice as either of those.
If you want to remove those mentions, I'm totally cool with that. But maybe there should be a box for "Non-Las Vegas Rooms" or "Outside Vegas" or something like that.