Venetian MTT Cash
I am out in Vegas right now. Tuesday night, Joe Speaker, Drizz, and Spaceman were in town as well, and Joe suggested we play in the $165+15 nightly MTT at the Venetian. In Joe's own words, the tournament offers "lots of play". Maybe too much play. You get 4500 in chips, and there are 30 minute levels, and tons of them. 6 1/2 hours later I would cash. The very interesting thing about the MTT which had 100 starters plus 51 alternates, was that I never once in 6 1/2 hours of play had a hand that was better than a single pair. Yet I still managed to go that deep, and get ITM. I played my standard very patient MTT game, and I am now completely convinced that this is the correct way to play these deepstack type tournaments. Against the types of players in this one this was easily the best approach. If the play in the WSOP ME was similar, I would be stupid not to play it every year, but I imagine it is quite a bit tougher. I am going to recap the tourney from memory and cover just about every hand I played in the 6 1/2 hours (about 12 I guess).
Sat down and folded every hand for the first hour of the tournament. This was entirely due to lack of anything remotely playable. My stack was hardly dented at all after this. Joe Speaker gets through the alternates and is added to my table.
I get a free look from the BB, and flop middle pair on an all small board in a three way pot. I lead out, and am called by one player. Turn is an over, but also small. I lead out again, and am reraised. I muck, and the raiser shows a straight.
Next hand I complete the SB with Qx, and flop comes Q high. Again I lead out, and again I am reraised pretty big, and my kicker is crap. I muck, and raiser shows top 2-pair.
An orbit later I get 99 and raise preflop. Three callers, and flop comes KQJ. I fold to the first bet.
At this point I am down to 2800 and things are not going well. I pick-up QQ UTG with blinds at 100/200. I ask when did the blinds go up, and tank a little, then raise to 700. 2-pair guy from earlier reraises me to 1600. I tank and act like I am going to make a crying call, but decided to push instead. I announce all-in, and am insta-called with ATo. I double through and I am up to about 6000.
I pick up AKs and UTG raises 7x to 1400. I reraise to 3500, and he tanks and folds.
I pick up TT, and after an open raise to 2500, I jam. Other guy folds.
They break my table when I am on the button. This would happen twice which sucked.
I take about 9k to my new table, but the blinds and antes are starting to grow. I bleed to about 6500, and am in push or fold mode.
I get A9, in the SB and push when it is folded to me and pick up the BB and antes.
I get AJ and open push. No callers.
I get 99 and open push, No callers.
Whenever I pushed during this tournament. I folded my hands up in front of my mouth (like Helmuth does) and would stare at a point on the wall and remain completely motionless. I really think this looks strong.
I got about 8k in chips and pick up AA (finally). There is an open push for 4100. When it gets to me there are two more behind. I stall, and fidget, and recheck my cards. Eventually I just call, hoping to price in someone behind me. I get another call. Flop comes low, and I put the other caller all-in for his last 1300. He calls, and I hold-up and am close to 20k in chips.
This next hand would be key, and was about an orbit after the AA hand. I am looking to start using my stack, and get AJo and open for 4000 (blinds 600/1200 + 50 ante). A guy pushes for 10,400. A shorty pushes for 5k, and it is back to me. The pot is pretty huge with the deadblinds and antes. I need to call 6400 more. I try to convince myself that I am priced in for the call with AJo. I tank. I start to convince myself that he has 22-TT so I am easily priced in. I make the call, and he has KJ, and shorty has QJ. Nobody improves and I am now up to 39k in chips and at or near the chip lead. The table breaks after this hand, and I am moved to a new table where I have the chip lead, and only one other large stack on my immediate right.
Things are looking good, and I really want to start leaning on the table with my stack. There are 40 left, with top 18 paid, and the average stack at about 16k. But I am still pretty deep, and I don't really want to get too out of line and bleed off chips. It would not matter, as I would not see a playable hand for the next hour, and just folded every single hand preflop. This would bleed me down to about 30k, and we would also be down to 3 tables.
I pick up 66 and open raise 3.5x preflop. Everyone folds and a guy even said he put me on AA.
I get a walk in the BB.
We would get stuck at 20 players for a long time, and I continued to get crap and bleed chips. Eventually the money bubble would burst at 2AM (started at 8PM). I still had chips that would last for about three more orbits, and figured people would start to fly out. Not really, lots of play remember. So I start to get a little desperate, and open push 15k with ATo. An active player tanks, and makes the call. I flip my AT, and he says your good, and flips A5s. He flops and turns a 5 and I am out in 16th place.
With the dead blinds and antes that was a 40k pot, and would have put me right back in it for a run towards the final table. I got $226 for 16th (a $46 profit) after 6 1/2 hours of play.
The interesting thing about this tournament is I had horrible cards the whole way, folded preflop about 95% of my hands, never had a hand better than 1 pair, and still cashed. I could have easily won that last hand, started to pick up some cards, and made it deep at the FT. The donkey tourists though gave me zero respect, and paid me off every time I had a big hand preflop (twice but nice pots). 6 1/2 hours is a longtime to play, and it was very boring to me. I pretty much hate live MTTs now, and will not be playing in the WSOP Saturday. I actually think I have a really good shot if I play it like this, and just catch a couple extra hands here and there. I just don't think I have another 6+ hours in me of playing like that. Live cash games are not as boring (I guess because there is so much more on the line every hand), so I think I will stick with that for the rest of my time here in Vegas.
I don't think the uber-patient playing style I used was very difficult to do. It is just very tough to keep it up forever. I would imagine that many, many players take this approach in the very deepstack MTTs like the WSOP ME, but just can't mentally keep it up. Those who have the mental toughness to stay on their game for the full MTT have the best shot. The play at the Final two tables was just horrible. It was getting late at night, and people were just begging to donk out. The few people who could stay on their game were doing well. I am not sure at what point my game breaks down to push monkey poker, but it is somewhere after the 6 1/2 hour mark. I would guess that not too many even get that far, before sheer boredom requires them to start getting out of line.