The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.
It’s official, I will not be winning a total of $100K between mid-September and the end of the year, so the poker retirement is final.
My last chance, after a couple of great weeks at home, was to shoot for the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza Event #14 $260K GTD NLHE, literally the last major tournament of the year in my league. $400 buyin, 30K in chips, 30-minute levels…I could manage that.
I caught the 6am Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas this morning, having paid extra for their Big Front Seat. What they don’t tell you at Spirit—and I get the feeling that there are a lot of things they don’t tell you at Spirit—is that the chairs are so flimsy that when the person who didn’t pay for extra legroom moves their legs and their knees hit the back of your seat, that it’s like having a donkey kick you in the lower back. Anyway, it was a great $3 can of Diet Coke.
Rode the city bus from the airport to the South Strip Transit Center. Even though the public areas of Vegas are pretty white, I was the only non-African-American on the city bus leaving the airport at 8:15am on a chilly Saturday., and there were a dozen passengers and a driver.
Caught the Deuce up the Boulevard to the Venetian and bought my ticket for the tournament, which was set to start just after noon, then headed over to the Fashion Show to see if I could scare up a cheaper breakfast than I could get at The Venetian. I could not. In fact, after I decided against a heavy plate of pancakes or a burger, I picked an Asian Chicken Salad that was not the worst I’ve ever had. The one I had at an Irish bar in Spokane was worse.
Picked up some Diet Coke at CVS, then trudged back across three skybridges and through the Palazzo to get back to the poker room.
Along the way, I spotted this rad slot machine! The first board game I really remember having was based on Thunderball, and while I’m really not a slot fan, I had to sit down and plug a couple dollars in this baby. Two spins at the max credits and I was up to $8.50. I probably should have declared myself a winner in Vegas at that point, because it was the last money I won today.
By the end of the first level of play, I was already up 8500 chips, after hitting a gutshot to the nut straight with [8c9c]. Another attempt to get clever really cost me when 6♦8♦ flopped me the nuts, but someone with a similar idea had that and a flush draw to back it up, which he turned. That cost me all but 8K.
I managed to double up before the first break, then lost my chance to double again when I called a raise wth 9x9x, had the short stack in my left shove and the original raiser shove in for more. He had AxQx, the short stack had 8s, and the board ran out 2x3x4x8x9x. Then I let my aces get cracked by nines and lost more than I needed to (like half my small stack). And on my next button, I shoved Qx9x from the button and a new player in the big blind had AxKx and it was over.
i really didn’t want to reenter, but back to the cage I went with another $400. I was 178 on the alternate list, and they were calling 110 or so.
Sixty-five minutes later and I was in again, with another 30K in chips and blinds just about to go up to 500/1000 with a 1000 big blind ante. Won the last hand just before break 2, so I was up by about 4K.
Bullet 2 only lasted about 90 minutes. Eventually, I jammed KxQx into a short-stack raise, he had aces, I was short ago a Andy went out.
Bullet 3 (no wait this late in the game!) seemed like it was going to be the one. Early on, I raised with queens and got a couple of calls, then the board ran out three treys. An early positio caller jammed a little more than the starting stack and I called with my full house. He had fours, and I doubled up.
That same player doubled up against an aggressive player on the dealer’s left. I was on the button the next hand and the aggro guy was on the big blind. We had roughly similar stacks, like 40bb. I raised Q♥J♥ and he shoved after thinking a bit. I thought he might be steaming about the double up from the previous hand, but no, he had AxKx, which I found out when I called him. He had something to really steam about when a jack hit the river and I also doubled up through him.
Our table broke not long after and I did extremely well at the new table. By the last break of the day, I had more than 250K, which Would have been better than a median stack at the end of the day. Unfortunately…
A short stack new to the table raised all in and I called wth A♠8♠. He had Q♥T♥, so naturally, he won the hand. #PortlandNuts
That and blinds took me down below 200K. Then, in one of those hand that seem like setups, just as the tournament clock was stopped at18 minutes to Gomez before bagging, with nine hand left to go, I was in the button.
The player who had doubled up through me raised. I had jacks. Some poker common sense would say to just fold my way to Day 2, with a decent if not stellar stack, and get into the money. The bad poker brain says: “JACKS!”
I shoved. None of the players left to act had as many chips a shot I did. Apart from a huge stack who had more than a million chips afternoon one of the most bizarre hands I’ve seen, and a player on my right, I had been the chip leader before the double up. But nontheless, I shoved.
then the small blind shoved for more chips than the original raised. Not as many as me, but enough. The original raiser said something about not wanting to lose wit I had his hand, but he called. Small blind had queens. Original raiser had kings. Yuck.
At least, that was what I thought until the flop, which was all spades but with a jack. None of the pairs had a spade. Then a queen hit the turn. And another queen on the river. The guy with kings was eliminated. I was chopped down to 70K, less than 10bb.
Next hand, action folds to me, I shove K♠Q♠ and the small blind has aces. So that’s how my quest for poker glory comes to its end, eight hands short of Day 2.
Good luck to Portland’s Kao Saechao, who’s still in the hunt.