Las Vegas Trip Report – Day Two

by john on May 1, 2004

Las Vegas Trip Report – Day One

So I’m not going to be a poker champion this year but I’m pretty happy with my performance nonetheless. I played in one more satellite and won it, and since I didn’t make any deal I got all three $500 tournament entry chips plus the $120 in cash. I nursed a short stack while six-handed to finally get to the top three then busted out the third player when my A::dK::c dominated his A::sJ::c. At this point I was the overwhelming chip-leader and flat out told the other guy I just wasn’t going to make any deals. First hand I get A::dQ::d and raise from the small blind and he mucked. Then I get A::dQ::d again and call his all-in bet. He had K::s8::s and caught an 8 on the river to take a nice sized pot. Next hand I had A::sJ::d and raised from the small blind he called with something I have forgotten and lost most of his chips. He went all-in blind on the next hand with only about 2BB and I called blind. I had 8::s8::c and I won when his 6::d7::d didn’t improve. Poker is pretty easy when your last five hands are A::dK::c, A::dQ::d, A::dQ::d, A::sJ::d and 8::s8::c.

After that I registered for the big event, the $1,500 no-limit, had a little bite to eat (complimentary buffet to tourney players) and with about 45 minutes to go before the start decided to unwind with a little craps. I found an opening on the hook and bought in. I looked over to the guy next to me who was holding a lot of black and purple chips ($100 and $500) in his hand and then noticed the very sparkly gold and diamond bracelet he was wearing. I looked up, way up, to see that I was playing craps next to T.J. Cloutier, perhaps the best poker player to never win the $10,000 no-limit championship. T.J. is an aggressive black chip player who gets all his money out there on the board and then hopes for a big roll. He was also the typical craps player in that he is very superstitious, telling one guy not to throw his money in during a roll, for example. In the end we did have a decent run and I won $200 to his $4000 or so. I had heard T.J. was a big craps player and I confirm that is the case.

After that it was the start of the tournament. With one hour rounds I knew I could play pretty tight but that I also needed to make moves when given a chance. I won my only major pot during the first level when I raised with Q::dQ::c on the button and went all-in when the small blind raised $500. He had A::sK::s but didn’t improve and I crippled him while doubling up.

Later in the second round I knocked out a short stack when he went all-in UTG and I called from the big blind with A::cQ::d, dominating his A::d8::d. I believe this put me to about T3000 which was my high chip stack of the event. My stack started to get whittled down after I made a couple of blind steals that were raised over the top by players I considered rocks and I’m now regretting one of my mucks which was J::sJ::c – I just hate calling all-ins with that hand but in hindsight maybe I should have. Later the guy proved to not be the rock I thought he was when he busted out on a really silly all-in steal attempt.

My end came about 20 minutes before the second break when I made my move from the small blind going all-in with A::s9::d and getting called with J::dT::h. I felt pretty good pre-flop but not so good when the board came up T::dT::sK::c7::hT::s to give the player to my right quad tens for the second time. It’s hard to say exactly where I finished since they were only updating the player total periodically at that point, but it had been stuck on 390 for awhile so I suspect I made it to about 350 or so, out of I believe a total of 831. I did last longer than Poker Hall of Famer “Amarillo Slim” Preston and 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker who both busted out earlier on tables near mine.

My 2004 tournament is over but I feel I acquitted myself fairly well, winning my entry into the event and then lasting longer than more than half the field, including at least a couple big names that I saw. The money paid to 81st which had been my goal so I fell short of that by a mile, but still I’m happy with how things turned out.

Las Vegas Trip Report – Day Three

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