On Wednesday 27th May i flew to Las Vegas after a monster month and incredible 2009 so far in a very confident and optimistic frame of mind. I had never stayed more than 15 nights before and that time it was too long and did my head in. That said i knew i had matured more now and was really looking forward to seeing if i lasted the 6 weeks, let alone come away with a profit ! The condo i shared for the 2nd half of the stay worked out at only $40 a night so i knew i could afford to just ditch it and fly home any time after 3 weeks so the pressure of definitely staying there 6 weeks wasnt a factor at all.
I paid for extra legroom and managed to get the seat right by the exit door which meant i got off the plane 3rd. Hate queues and it was the quickest i ever got through customs. I had never taken > $10k through customs before but filled in the form and got no hassle, in fact i got a friendly "are you gonna play the big one ?" comment which is totally out of character for the normally stern customs staff.
My best poker highlight of 2009 was the $1,500 omaha hi lo limit event early at the WSOP from 29th - 31st May.
Normally my 1st night in vegas is booze 1/2NL for fun and stay awake till midnight+ to try to get on a decent body clock. Knowing i could play limit omaha hi lo almost with my eyes closed though i sat on the 30/60 game in the Bellagio and left a few hours later +$1,100 to crash.
The next day i entered a $1,070 Caesars game. They reduced the buyins shortly after this as they just werent competing with Venetian. Extract from post that night :
"Basically 138 players and i finished 30th. Final pot was AJ vs KK vs J10 to have got back to a under average but chunky stack. My key pot earlier was 22 vs AK to have prob gone about 5th with 40 left but i lost the flip and was left on only 10xbb. Overall was happy with my play and surprisingly i wasnt pissed off at all after busting 10 hours in. "
Fortunately for me if i had made the final table i would be playing the next day at 2pm and i would not have entered the $1,500 omaha hi lo limit game that night which started at midday. Lots of what ifs in poker which shouldnt be dwelled on imo (good or bad) but definitely a key good one for me this year.
After a long day 1 in the Omaha hi lo event this is extract from my blog, basically i was sitting 26th :
"Made day 2 of the omaha hi lo limit. At one point i was prob top 10 or so chipleaders with 40% of the field left and 3.5 x the average stack. Peaked at 46k but last level hit me a bit and final count was 34,300. Average is just over 20k so sounds good but blinds are getting nasty so 1 or 2 lost or won scoops can swing the stack big time. Over 900 entered with 197 left and pays 90. "
A quote from a random guy who approached me a few days later. "I was on your table in the Omaha hi lo the other day (day 2 of the event), how u get on in end etc etc ................." "My table was really tight and easy then Annie Duke turned up followed by you and the whole table dynamic changed with at least 1 of you 2 in nearly every pot" :) I should mention as i dont go into specific hands in this that it amazed me how many limpers there were in this event. For anyone with a basic knowledge of hi lo it was huge value although of course being limit theres a lot of luck in it too. Anyways after another long day (down to 19 players not the final table as scheduled) extract from blog was:
"Back at 2pm today (10 hours time) 3rd/19. What will be will be and im remarkably relaxed about the whole situation. The type of game helps big time as i know if i was this deep in a nl holdem tourney i would be 100 times more nervy i think. I havent even looked at the payouts since day 1a start and wont unless i get a weaker stack as laddering is more of a tactic in omaha hi lo limit used for medium to weak stacks."
More extracts to cover day 3 :
"I was hoping day 3 would be a long day and it didnt disappoint. My 3rd place 387k stack (about 4 million in play) went straight down in the beginning with 19 of us left. Basically then i floated between 200 and 300k until we hit the final table. A couple of key hands just before we went 10handed were as follows:
Reraised an 120k stack with AdKxJdJx , blinds were 10/20 20/40 . and he called . Flop was huge Jd10x7d and he led at me obviously committed/ing so i raised. Turn 5d allin but river came a low card to give his AQ52 the split pot. If i had won that pot i was back to about 360k.
This other hand was last hand before we split and went 10handed. After this hand i was mad and it took me a long time to calm down and stop shaking my head in disgust. Was probably only time i got like that the whole tourney and thankfully we had 10mins break and time to chill a bit b4 goin 10handed.
Called a raise from sb with AK46 1 suit but not relevant. Flop came Q23 and i chk raised to 40k. Turn was a monster king d for me and i bet and was called. River was a sick 3 and also a 3rd diamond and i could not find the fold and had to check call after tanking for so long only to be shown 8834 no diamonds. If i scoop that pot i would have gone to 460k and my tourney could have took off from there with some extra lives to attack the many short stacks left 10handed.
So i hit the fake final table (10 handed only time in tourney) with only 100k at same blinds as above. There were actually 2 or 3 shorter than me but as much as i wanted to ladder if i found a good starting hand it was time to gamble. Couple of shorties doubled up and i stole 1 lot of blinds that gave me a tiny bit of room to go through the next blinds. Then came a hand i lucked out on which made me probably $40,000+ when i was out if i missed all.
I had AdKd9x2x and had raised but got 3 callers. Flop of 10,5,3 so i knew this was never being folded. 3 of us went to the river and it had come runner runner high diamonds for my nut flush. Instead of being just over 100k at start of hand i almost bust but i now had just under 400k !!!
Managed to push on from there and by dinner break i had peaked at 560k but lost some back to 460k and was joint 3rd with 2 others. We had lost players too including Freddie Deeb who had blinded out to like 3 chips in order to ladder for $4k more. Was unbelievable to watch i dunno what goes through some peoples heads sometimes. He got $4k more but had like 1% or less chance of winning now and justice was served when he quickly bust after. I say justice cos he had a go at the dealer 10handed which was nothing short of a disgrace in my opinion. Jordan bust shortly after in 6th i think before we lost the shortie friendly French chap.
Being the short stack in 4th i looked for any hand to shove with but actually blinded out more than i wanted too gettin junk like K975 all 1 suit and stuff . Final hand i was in with A,3,10,8 against Thangs AKxx. Board had come K229 and i tanked for over a minute on the turn as i knew i could be drawing dead but only had 65k left. I finally made the call with too much in the pot and was drawing dead. Most of online followers were probably misled following updates as i believe most if not all of them got myself and the chipleader mixed up by name despite us telling them throughout the day to change it.
I started 3rd that day but never got above 3rd in chips and my best position was at dinner when i was joint 3rd/6 with 2 others and i never got above 15% of chips in play. Anyways i busted 4th for $73,412 for my biggest single win ever but i think more importantly i did make a wsop final table :) at the 3rd attempt. I hope to return to one sometime in the future, watch this space :)