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WSOP day 2

So, after plenty of rest and a sober night, I was fresh and rearing to go for the start of day 2. Not.

Hey, this is VEGAS. What sort of total curmudgeon would sit in a hotel room and 'get a good nights sleep'. Not this curmudgeon anyway.

I did have fish for dinner the night before - fish being brain food. Preceded by a very nice, very cold, very large, martini, washed down with a pretty decent Burgundy the sommelier recommended, and topped off with a great Niagara Falls Ice Wine. Then, it seemed like a very good idea to have a nightcap of some top shelf bourbon I had never heard of, and play craps.

Never the less, I got to be at the still decent hour of 3am, leaving 8 hours for sleep and 1 hour to get ready and make my way to the Rio. Then for some reason I watched TV for a while and ended up nodding off about 5am, getting about 5 hours of broken sleep. But a career of being on-call as duty engineer has made me an expert at coping with not enough sleep, so not a real problem, or not one that enough coffee can't cure anyway.

I made it to the Rio with enough time to line up at Starbucks (where, incidentally, I was behind Eric Siedel in the queue), and then to my table with a few minutes to spare.

My skill at conceiving of tricky plays without the ability to execute them properly was unchanged, despite the fish brain food I had last night, and pretty soon without the stack size to pull it off. By the end of level 6 I was down to just 15,000 chips and Level 7 would make the blinds 300/600 + 75 ante. Not a train wreck yet, but the tracks are buckling.

With about 5 hands to go in level 6 I am UTG with AQ hearts. I put in a raise just above min raise; pretty much the standard pre flop opening raise in this tournament. There are two callers. The flop comes A K 4, to hearts. I figure that even without the draw I am probably good, since an AK was likely to have 3 bet pre flop. Now, do I flat here, looking to check raise when someone represents, or should I make the expected C bet and hope someone has a weaker ace to call? I don't want to think too long, but my brain doesn't seem to be able to work out what to do - that fish last night must have been no good.

When in doubt, bet. I make a weakish looking bet of about 1/3 of the pot. Opponent 1 min raises, my bet was 1,500, and now the pot is about 8,800 with the raise. Then, opponent 2 calls! Not what I was expecting at all. About 12,000 in the pot now, which is also my remaining stack size, or close enough.

What to do, what to do? Am I facing two pair and trips? Is one of them just on a draw? Well for the draw, I have the best. Could I be dominated by someone slow playing AK? That would not be unlikely. I don't see how I can fold here. I am certainly getting the odds to call. If I call I am pot committed anyway, so the only thing to do is shove. All in.

Opponent 1 folds. Huh? A bluff? Oh well.

Opponent 2 almost insta-calls, and has me well covered.

We turn them face up, he shows KQ offsuit. WTF? Neither of his two outs hit and top pair takes down a very nice sized pot, more than doubling me up.

Unfortunately, all I can report is my stack after that hand was the high water mark of my tournament. As level 7 began I had the worst run of cold decking I can ever recall. Pre flop I would get good hands, often in late position, like AK, pocket 10's etc, inducing me to call, open the betting or even 3 bet sometimes. And then nothing on the flop at all, ever. Yet with aggressive betting from whoever else was in the pot, generally people I had marked as playing as tight or tighter then me. So over the next 30 hands I put a lot of chips in, all with +VE hands, none of which played out.

In fact, out of those 30 odd hands I had about 10 decent playable hands, more than half of which were pocket pairs. Just not a single hand hit.

Another thing that happened as my chips dwindled, was a couple of the big stacks started coming after my blinds, coinciding with me having no cards in the blinds to play back with. By the fourth time this happened I had had enough, and resolved to make a stand. With my BB out, UTG calls and a big stake makes a predicable raise and there is another call.

My stack is about 14,000 by now, still over 20 big blinds, and enough to make even the chip leader not want to donk off that many chips to me, but only just. I feel I need to win a pot pretty soon.

The action comes around to me and I have AK off suit. This is it. I shove.

UTG almost beats me into the pot. Big stack and the other caller both fold. And I find myself against pocket aces. Which ends the tournament for me.

Kudos to the guy with AA. His slow play pre flop was perfect. He knew one of the big stacks would almost certainly put in a raise if he just called, and perhaps he could even sense my frustration and the likelihood I would make a tilty play.

Ah well, there is always next year.

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