Vegas Trip Report Part Trips - "Don't you know I'm Blinders"
Now that I have bashed the fee structure of the Venetian WPBT event, it is time to write about my run through the tournament. This was my 4th blogger gathering and 4th WPBT MTT. In each of the previous three I made it through 2/3s of the field before getting eliminated out of the money. I really wanted at least a cash this time, and set that as really my only goal for the trip. When I found out the tournament would be at the Venetian I knew I would have a bit of an advantage. The structure is very deep and it is quite a marathon of a tourney. Most bloggers have not played a live MTT with this structure, and probably will not make the right kind of adjustments to their game. My game requires little adjustment to this type of structure. I figured this would go 9+ hours based on my last trip to Vegas when Joe Speaker, Drizz, Spaceman, and I played basically this same structure, and I cashed about 7 hours later.
I planned on playing my normal tight and patient MTT strategy, but also look to see some cheap flops in the first few levels with drawing type hands with the large implied odds. I drew a pretty tough starting table with ScottMC, STB, FallStaff, JJok, Vinay and others. I got in a battle of the blinds with Vinay on the first hand when it folded to the SB and he completed. I normally don't make blind moves this early, but I looked down at something like 97s and figured I would pop him back to encourage some walks later on. He called. I flopped a gutshot and just one over to my hand. When Vinay checked, I c-bet and he called. The turn paired my low card, and Vinay checked again. I checked behind this time, uncertain where I was at. A blank hit the river, and after another check I felt I was good, and made a value bet that was called. I was beat by a higher pair, but he also had an outside straight draw. So I was a little disappointed to start off like this, but having showed my hand, I think it might have been good for my image.
I would play some medium sized pots, and win with better kickers. I would river a straight after semi-bluffing the whole way and win a decent pot. I would slow play AQ against JJok by just calling from the BB, and then check calling all streets when an Ace fell on the flop. I jammed the river, and JJok was somehow able to fold with about 2500 left behind with a weaker ace. I had now chipped up to a comfortable 15k ish stack when our table would break, and I would get moved to the "Feature Table".
At the feature table I would find Gcox, Al Cant Hang, F-Train, The Rooster, Bdidde, Penner, Joe Speaker, Wawfuls, and Russ. I would steal a pot off Bdidde right after I sat down, and I showed him which was a bit of a mistake. He did not trust me after this, and since he was my BB this was not a good thing. Rooster was pushing in a bunch preflop, and I was 3 to his left. He was showing a bunch of junk after buying pots, and I was pretty excited about my prospects of getting his chips eventually. Then the key hand would happen. I pick up KK, and Al open raises on my right. I reraise, and it folds to Russ who pushes. Al overpushes. I had seen Al make some moves, so I can't really put him on AA. I call, and sure enough he has AA and Russ has QQ. I would flop a K and send them both to the rail (and win Russ's book as a bounty!). Yes, I am a lucksac.
So at this point, I would estimate we were close to three hours into the MTT, and still had at least 1/2 the field remaining. I now had 35k in chips, and most likely the overall chip lead at this point. I had a nice chip lead over the others at the table. Now some of you would go into complete maniac mode at this point and start really pushing the table around. Having played this MTT before, I realized that we were still about 5 hours from the money. I play best when I stick to my normal MTT strategy. I figured I would ratchet up the aggression a bit. Basically, committing myself to open raise from any position with any pair, any decent ace (all aces from late), all premium hands, and even medium suited connectors or two paint type hands. For the next 1/2 hour or so, I bought a few pots this way, but did not get into any big pots and never picked up much for starting hands. Another thing that was working against me was the overall aggression level of the table. Rooster was open raising a bunch, and F-Train was pushing his shortish stack in about every orbit. My opportunities for opening preflop were pretty rare, and I was not getting preflop reraise type hands. I did have position on the aggressive side of the table. There must have been at least 20 hands where Rooster or someone else committed themselves preflop, and I had not even checked my cards yet. I never woke up with a hand once when this happened.
So I was not really able to ratchet up the aggression much, but I also did not want to go to far in that direction this early. I play best with a tight or even better a weak/tight image. I don't really think I could successfully play a maniac image for several hours without busting. So I stuck with my basic MTT strategy, and kept my stack north of 30k for then next three hours without playing very many hands. Eventually the feature table would break.
I would finally pick-up a premium hand with AA UTG at a pretty aggressive and shortstacked table. I obviously limped it. LJ picked up AQ and pushed. It folded to me and I said "Don't you know I am Blinders" as I flipped over rockets. I had said that a few times during the trip when people bet big into me on the river and I had the Nutz. I thought it was pretty funny. Not sure if LJ did, but I can't fault her play as a shortish stack with AQ. Plus she has not played with me enough to know I have AA when I limp UTG. So I won a nice pot, and was back in business a bit as we moved to the final two tables an into the money.
My streak of no cards would continue at the next table, and I would fold my way down pretty low. I probably screwed up a bit at this point, as this is a weakness in my strategy. I need to get a semi-steady amount of decent cards, and two-hour cold streaks can be devastating. I would eventually pick up JJ at about 11:30PM, and open jam it. I was called by a smaller pair, and lost to a set on the flop. IGHN in 13th place. l would have been pretty short with a win there, but at least I have a fighting chance. With Pauly's and I think Joe Speaker's cash, all three members of Team Fantasy Sports Live kicked some ass in the tourney. Next Summer it's the Final Table for me.
Rooster questioned my strategy a bit afterwards, but I am not questioning it. Everyone plays their own way. He does have a ton of heart to play that aggressive for that long and survive. So he gets tons of credit in my mind for the win. It was quite a performance. Only one aggro player like that can survive, and he was the one. I was so ready to call him down a bit slim preflop and stack him, but could not get the situation I was looking for. I had a huge number of chances though. If I catch a big hand and bust him with four tables left, does he still question my strategy?