2012 was the year I swung from Cash to Tournament poker. Between Delaware Park and the Golden Nugget in AC, there were plenty of reasonably priced tournaments with great structures. And I found some success in the tournament game, cashing a handful over the course of the year, including several 4-figure chops.
I began 2013 still focused on tournaments; however, I was mainly playing the Saturday tournaments at Showboat - $65 buy-ins, 20 minute levels and no antes. And, the pay structures were awful. A min cash was barely better than the buy-in, and you basically needed to make it to the chop to make it worth while. I lost focus, and began playing these as a cheap way to spend 3 or 4 hours playing cards and drinking beer. Aside from one $800 chop (on a day where I was supremely focused . . . and sober), I didn't cash a single tournament. I didn't really even come close. Suddenly, I was having a hard time motivating for tournaments. The pendulum swung back to the cash game. In fact, I hadn't played a tournament in nearly 6 months . . . until this weekend.
I was prepared to play cash Saturday at Maryland Live! However, Friday, while in the office and avoiding actual work, I was skimming the 2+2 boards and saw that Delaware Park was holding a noon deep stack. $150 buy-in, $30,000 chips, 25-minute levels. I rediscovered my motivation to play, and took the drive up to Delaware Saturday morning.
It started out bad and only got worse. My very first hand dealt was AK. I raised the $25/$50 blinds to $125 (small ball, baby!) and got a grand total of no callers. A few orbits later I looked down at AA and raised to $150 from early position. This time, the big blind came along, but promptly folded to my flop bet. Sometimes failing to get paid on your big hands seems only slightly worse than getting crushed on your big hands. Heaters don't last forever...
I took my first big hit in the second level. Blinds were $50/$100. UTG+1 opened to $300 and I re-raised to $1000 with JJ. The button called, and the original raiser bowed out. We go heads up to a 9-high monotone flop (spades). I lead for $1,600. He calls. Turn bricks. I again bet out for $2,600. He repops to $8,000. He's a very competent regular who was being hit over the head with the deck. Yet, it's hard to give him QQ+ since he didn't four-bet. Still, in the end, I feel like it's too early, and the structure is too good, to take a stand with JJ. I fold. Villain later claims he flopped the spades . . .
I made some of the loss back a few hands later when I turned the nut flush. We were three-handed, in a limped pot. UTG lead out the flop for about 1/3 and I called and hit the heart I was looking for. He checked the turn, and I bet it. After losing the cut-off, UTG called both turn and river bets. A nice sized pot.
And then . . . nothing. Like, literally nothing. I didn't win a hand between the first and second breaks. In fact, I only played a handful of hands during this hour-and-a-half. I limped into a few pots with hands like 9T, QT, 76 and whiffed each flop. Then I got 99 and raised two limpers 4x. The flop was KJ3 and I continued with a decent sized bet only to get re-raised. Fun times.
I entered the second break with $15,000 (half my starting stack). Shortly thereafter, sitting on $13,000 or so and with blinds at $75/$400/$800, I looked down at AT clubs in middle position and open to $2,400. I get one caller. The flop is A56(two hearts). I bet out $3,200 into approximately $6,600. Dude thinks about it and shoves. I'm almost positive I'm beat by a better ace. This guy had been betting aggressively when he "had it," which he nearly always did. If I was deeper; or if I gave more of a shit; or if the Georgia-Auburn game hadn't already started . . . I would have folded... But I only had 10 big blinds left and was sitting at a table of deep stacks . . . and had been card dead for almost two hours . . . and I really wanted to get back down to Maryland Live! to donk some sweet, sweet VP and watch football. So I called and got up to leave (all in one motion) and was not at all surprised to see villain's AK hit the felt.
At least I think I got my desire to play tournaments out of my system for a while. Back to cash next Saturday.
P.S. Is Baylor the best team in the Nation? And how much of a monster was Carlos Hyde on Saturday? And how much must Aaron Murray want to step into traffic after watching that last pass get tipped from two defenders into the Auburn receivers hands in full stride and heading for the end zone? And why is Alabama soooooo fucken boring to watch?