Yeah, I was a bit overtired when I wrote that Day 1 synopsis. Lots of typooohs.
Anyhow, I had my A game for Day 1, but not so much for Day 2. I simply did not get a good night's sleep, and it might have come back to bite me.
We resumed at 2pm on Monday, 30 players at four tables, needing to get down to 18 to reach the money, then on from there. I'd had a great table on Sunday, but on Monday there were three large stacks to my immediately left among the seven players. One of them was a tough Russian girl named Nadja who I remembered from last year, and another of the stacks turned out to be tourney veteran Patti Till. The third large stack was to my immediate left.
I had 60,800, but blinds and antes were already 1,200/2,400/300, and folding to the money was no option. Neither was playing a hand, at least at first -- I found 7-2, 7-3, 8-3, 9-2, and all sorts of similar combinations for the first couple of laps. Meanwhile, we were losing a player every three or four hands.
We were down to about 23 players and I was in the big blind when my make-or-break hand arrived. The deep stack to my immediate left opened for 10,000. It folded all the way around to me, and I found aces. I pondered whether to call and take the flop, or just jam for my last 50,000. I picked Door B and got a snap-call from the UTG player, who blessedly had Q-Q. An ace flopped, but so did a ten, and then a jack on the turn brought the Broadway bad beat into play. It was bad for a second when paint flashed, but it was another jack, and all of a sudden I was north of 100,000, and pretty much assured of a cash. That happened just a lap or two later, and the TDs took the final two tables' players up to the performance stage at The Venue, where this was held. I'd been up there last year as well in the H.O.R.S.E. tourney, but it was good to be back with a playable stack.
Of course, the players who were left were tougher, too, and I just couldn't make much headway. I had the tough Nadja at my table, a couple of other good players, and a seemingly timid but very aggressive player to my right who kept stealing blinds and mixing it up. After a while I was just aching to mix it up with her in a big hand, but she got the better of me the whole time we were at two tables. As for me, I was doing my best just to hold steady, oscillating between 75,000 and 125,000 as we lost another six players.
I was back down to about 90,000 and blinds/antes were all the way up to 6,000/12,000/1,000 when I found an unsuited A-K on the button, among the best hands I saw all day. I jammed with it, and the small blind tanked before calling me for her last 65,000. She showed J-J, but this race I won when an ace flopped. I had about 160,000, but then took a small hit and was soon back down and scuffling around the 100,000 mark, after getting check-raised off a weak flush draw by the aforementioned aggromouse on my right.
I think I was under 90,000 and blinds were imminently moving to 8,000/16,000/2,000 when I made a move with A-8 suited, and was called by a good player in the big blind, who had me just covered. Bad news, as I for sure only have three outs there, and she indeed showed A-J. Good news, in that the flop came A-Q-8. Somehow I dodged both the jack and the queen and doubled through, then bounced her the very next hand in 11th. It was the only bad beat I laid on anyone the entire tourney, but it came at a great moment for me.
We combined to a single table and filled out the player info sheets; this was my first Circuit final table, and I was mid-pack at 196,000 when we did the redraw. That was my high-water mark, as I never won a single hand at the final. Every hand was contested and I had to get out of the only pot I entered after being stop-n-go'd while whiffing a flop with A-Q. Meanwhile, Patti Till won a race with a short stack to avoid going out in tenth, and she ended up running all the way to second, behind Nadja, the eventual winner. I was card dead and the blinds and antes were eating us up, and we lost a short stack to set the official final table and then another one to close to eight players.
I had about 135,000 or so when it was folded all the way around to me in the small blind, where I found A-8 of hearts. The shortest remaining stack was in the big blind, the same player I'd doubled through with aces early in the day. I attempted to set her all in for last 50,000 and she snap-called and showed A-K, which held.
So I was the short stack, and found nothing at all during the next lap, dribbling away the 2,000 ante every hand, leaving me perhaps 65,000, about four big blinds. Soon it was my big blind, and it was folded all the way around to the small. She raised from a deep stack, I looked and found A-J and jammed, and she called for just a few more chips with A-K. There's no way not to play the A-J there, of course. I was just a bit coolered at the very end.
It's never easy, though, win or lose. The flop came 8-9-Q, and the turn was the ten, giving me the suckout straight. The river, though, was the re-suck jack, useless to me and giving her Broadway, sending me off in eighth.
So much for that. It was a good long tourney run, but still quite short of where I hoped it would end up. I'd promised Nolan I'd return to play this year's H.O.R.S.E. tourney if I won this won, but in a way it was okay -- I'd have been way too beat to play good poker the next day anyway.
So far, these Circuit events are the only thing I've played where I've had some success: three entered, three cashes. Now, if I could do something about that oh-fer-four in the much more expensive events at the WSOP itself, I'd be happy. It's a shame I'm not slightly better at poker and a whole bunch younger, because then I'd have more hopes for the future.
Today I just feel old.