My first day and night in Vegas was pretty unremarkable, unless you count getting stuck two buy-ins really fast remarkable. I got in early on Thursday and headed over to Caesar's to see what was going on. I got in on a new 1/3 table and my target sat down immediately to my right. He looked like he was on something, and my best guess was meth, but I couldn't lock anything in. So not too long after we get the table going, meth-boy is on his third $100 buy-in, and he shoves preflop with kings right into aces. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, and on the next hand, he shoves his fourth buy in into the middle. I look down at tens, and insta-call.
The odds of him having kings two hands in a row is pretty absurd, right? Again, nothing untoward occurs, and I'm back into my pocket. Not too long later, I pick up queens in late position, and make it $50 to go, a re-raise of $35. There's an early position caller, and meth-boy. Flop comes down 10-high, and he shoves. I could have gotten away from my overpair against a reasonable player, but since the poster boy for substance abuse programs was the bettor, I made the call. 10-7 for two pair. He called $50 preflop with 10-7.
I asked him if I could play with him every day, but after a few hours of treading water on buy-in #3 I headed over to the IP to eat something and hang out. We got a 2/4 mixed game going, and CK's dominance of the table has been well-documented elsewhere. I dropped two buy-ins there to start my trip down $600. Nice, huh? That is how we roll in the summer, apparently.
So the next day I manage to roll out of bed with just enough time to meet Special K, Lil' Nick and Big Bro Mikey over at Sahara for the 11AM tourney. I've said it numerous times that the Sahara is the best tourney in Vegas for less than $100. I had played it once before and went out on the bubble, and Special K and Brian the Red had both met with success there as well. Numerous bloggers have hit that tourney up for decent cashes, but the good Dr. and Grubby seem to be snakebit in their multiple tries at the tourney. Anyway, for $45 you get 4000 in starting chips, with 20 minute levels and no antes. Another $20 gets an additional 2000 in chips, which I put into play immediately.
My first few levels were pretty unremarkable, as I was trying out my new headphones. I was indeed the dork at a $65 tourney wearing $250 headphones, but the benefits in cutting out all the slot machine noise was well worth looking like a schmuck. And since I hadn't eaten and had only slept for about 2 hours, I didn't really care what I looked like. One guy at our table was just playing the bully, and I kept waiting for my chance to get it all in with him. I knew it would happen, and I knew if I was patient enough I could make it happen with him about an 80/20 dog.
Finally, after the first break and as the field was starting to thin, he popped it preflop and I looked down at AK. I knew his range of raising hands was pretty wide, and I had an M of around 12, so I shipped it in. He called with AJ, and the moment I had been waiting for had arrived. Until the flop came down A-Q-J. Nice. Turn brought the cosmic justice scales back into balance as it brought a pretty King, but then the universe decided to stretch my rectum once again by coming down with a 10 for the chop. It was a little while later when I got my chance to almost double up when my AK got all in again against AJ from another player, and this time the 80/20 favorite actually held up.
I realize that the exact odds may not be 80/20, but close enough for my blog. I then issued my one major suckout of the tournament. I was running pretty sick, getting some big hands and having them hold up or taking down pots uncontested. The solid player to my right raised it up preflop, and I moved it all in when I looked at two black nines. I figured he would lay down almost anything there, since he'd been really tight up to that point, but of course jacks was not a hand that he was going to lay down. I hit my two-outer on the flop when my nine came, and doubled through him. I took him out a few hands later with AK over his A-10, and then it was down to two tables.
I didn't really play that many hands at the penultimate table, mostly because I didn't have to. I got in one moderate suckout when I called a short-stacks all in move with a flush draw after he moved in on the flop. It wasn't much of a suckout since I was getting close to the right odds to make the call, and I had the chance to bust someone without significant damage to my stack. I missed my flush draw but went runner-runner two pair to crack his overpair, and he instantly became the guy I wanted to play the cash game with, since he went around the room bitching about it for the next half hour. It was a moderately loose call, but not that bad, and the chance to bust him made it worthwhile. Mainly I just tried to pick my spots, and I made it to the final table in the middle of the pack.
There was one huge stack who was playing it well, bullying when he could and tightening up at the right moments. There were a couple of very short stacks, and about four of us in the middle. I ducked and weaved for a little while until I got all my chips in the middle with pocket tens against a guy with overcards. I won the coin flip, and I was second in chips with about seven to go. It was pretty uneventful, except for the dreadlocked dude in the 4s who started the final table as the short stack and dodged and doubled up his was to third by the time the dust had settled. This guy folded anything and everything, unless he pushed, and he doubled up three or four times to stay alive, starting with 15 players left all the way down to three.
Big stack took him out in third, and it was heads-up for the money. 1st place was supposed to be around $1,000, with $600 for second. I was happy to play it out, and the big stack didn't seem that interested in a chop, since he had me at a 4:1 chip disadvantage. With around 350,000 chips in play, I had about 70,000 to his 280,000 when heads-up started. We jockeyed back and forth for a little while, and I was content to fold to his shoves while he tried to play bully. I figured I'd just be patient and try to play small-ball until I could catch a monster and double through him. After a few minutes of back and forth, I had closed the gap a bit, to about a 3-1 disadvantage, and felt like I could probably take him. He asked for a minute for a pee break, and I agreed. The clock kept running, which was to my disadvantage, but I felt pretty good about things so I didn't mind.
He came back from the break, we played one or two hands, and he offered a chop. I asked him what he had in mind, and he said he'd give up $100 off first to end it there. It was a pretty fair chop, since there was $400 on the table, and he had 3/4 of the chips in play. I was happy to lock up the 2nd-place plus a little, which put me back to even for the trip.
I don't say that I won the tourney, because I didn't. I also didn't come in second either, because the guy with the lead didn't want to play any more and offered the deal. So we chopped, and even though I think I could have taken the whole thing down, my chip disadvantage and the vagaries of heads-up play were such that I think it was a good deal.
So at that point I got even, and then yet another downward spiral of cash commenced...