Sunday afternoon was a home Jets game . . . or, at least it was suppose to be (you might be fooled by the sea of 49er red):
. . . so, I drove up to AC for the weekend.
After an uneventful Friday evening and an early Saturday morning jog on the boardwalk, I drove over to the Golden Nugget for the Noon tournament. I know I've mentioned it before, but it warrants repeating -- The Best value tournament in AC, by far. $120+40 gets you $25,000 in chips, 30-minute levels starting at $25/$50. $10,000 guaranteed.
This Saturday drew 89 runners. Now that I'm on the wagon, and in no rush to degen it up at the bars, I had no where to go all day and vowed to play patient. A mere 10 hours later, I was at the final table...
My tournament really game down to patience, smart play, and a few key hands. Early on, the only playable hands I found were AK. I had big slick three times, whiffed the flop on each, but took down the pot with a well-sized C-Bet. Easy game.
Several hours in, I found myself in a key spot. Blinds were $100/$800/$1,600. I'm sitting on around $34,000, the rock in seat 2, who was UTG, and had been open-shoving his stack for the past 30 minutes, opens with a small raise to $4,800 -- nearly half his stack. Interesting. Someone want action? It folds to MP, who was a relatively solid LAG, and repops to $12,500. It folds to me, and I look down at JJ - the best hand I'd seen to that point in the event. It's fold or shove. Rock has about $6,000 behind and must be committed. LAG has about $20,000 left, and I figure he's getting his chips in if the action goes shove-call. I tank a bit, and figure this is not the spot to gamble. I figure I'm racing, at best. I fold. Shockingly, rock folds too and shows TT. LAG mucks. I live to play another hand.
A little while later, I face another key hand. Blinds are $100/$1000/$2000, and I'm sitting on around $45,000. I'm in the small blind when the action reaches me after two limpers. I look down at JT off and complete my blind. Big blind checks his option and we go 4 to the flop.
Flop: J 5 T rainbow.
I lead for $6,200 and get a call from the hijack, who has been playing solid TAG poker.
Turn: 3. I bet 9,500 and hijack flats.
River blanks. I check and hijack shoves for about $40,000. Interesting. I think this villain is raising TT or JJ preflop. About the only hands that make sense are 55 or Q9. The more I think about it, bottom set doesn't seem right. More often than not, with the draw on the board, a set of 5's is going to raise me on the turn and, even if he did string it along, why not value bet the river. I talk myself into a call and Villain mucks. Suddenly, I'm sitting on $90,000+
Shortly thereafter, blinds still $100/$1000/$2000, UTG (who's sitting on around $30,000) opens to $5,000. It folds to me, and I look down at AK for the fourth time. I repop to $18,000. UTG shoves and I snap call another $22,000. Villain tables TT and I flop a K to send him home.
I saw little action thereafter and hit the 5:00 "dinner break" with $125,000 in chips (with the chip average at $49,000). Over the course of the next 5 hours, my stack remained little changed. I tried to play extremely tight aggressive, not limping a single hand, and three-betting hands like pocket 88's with success. I repeatedly folded the barrage of suited small Aces I was dealt, despite the boredom, and resisted the urge to make the types of moves that normally spell my demise in the late stages of these types of tournaments. I was able to take down the growing blinds and antes just enough to keep my stack over $100,000, as the chip average was closing in.
With 89 runners, 9 spots were paid. Given the generous tournament structure, we played at 11 for nearly an hour before someone finally busted. We hit the final table at approximately 10:00 pm. I entered with the third lowest stack. Blinds quickly rose to $2,000/$8,000/$16,000, so milking my $120,000 was not an option. Mercifully, the bubble burst quickly and we were all in the money. I then doubled up with A9 suited against KT -- I open-raised to $32,000 and got called by a big stack. Flop was K77. He checked, and I shoved. He snapped called and I rivered and Ace. Clean living....
Two more runners busted while I looked at bevy of unplayable hands for several orbits. I was back down under $100,000. As the blinds approached, I was committed to shoving the next playable hand. In early position, I look down at KQ diamonds. This is my last stand. Player directly to my right min-raises to $40,000. He had been opening with lots of medium pocket pairs. I figure I'm racing and shove. He flips 99 and I don't improve. After 11 hours, I'm out at 6th place.