The Grind

Planet Hollywood PHamous Poker Series V $25K Guarantee, $10K First Place Guarantee (T15,000)

First off, let me say that the structure for this one-day event (modified from the original with input from Allen Kessler, among others) is truly fantastic for someone like myself. There’s more than enough room and time for recovery after a misstep or bad beat, assuming you’re not out of the tournament (and there’s reentry!)

I thought that perhaps the PH 11am registration numbers would be down, with the Monster Stack event at the WSOP starting at noon, but there were enough players in town with one reason (or 1,300) that they weren’t going to play it. Personally, I have to be back in Portland on Saturday, so starting a four- (or five-) day event on Thursday wasn’t an option. Maybe next year.

So it was off to Planet Hollywood for me, the first time I’d been in the building. The event was held up on the “mezz” above the casino floor, with a wide-open space, banquet-style chairs with well-padded seats and rocker backs (not as comfy as the Wynn chairs, but decent). Way more tables than I thought were likely to be in play from what I’d seen of the numbers for the 11am. I got a seat at table 4, where I stayed all day until we were in the money (ooops, I gave the ending away!)

The game got off to a fast start for me, picking up the first two hands and a couple thousand chips. What really got things gong tough was a hand with A8 where I had a flush draw on the flop and another player hit a set of fives. He called my all-in on the turn, only to see his tournament life slip away with another club on the river. At the first break, I was table chip leader, even after a final hand where another player was busted in a kings v aces matchup. I kept hitting the nuts on the river.

That turned around a bit when I called an allin from the short-stacked player on my right with a pair of tens and he flipped kings to cost me about ten thousand. With the slow progression of the blind structure, though, I as able to build back up to T43,500 by the second break (three hours in). There were 175 of 267 entries left, according to the clock.

Then I made a huge mistake against the same player I’d doubled up. I’d noticed that the dealer had missed my ante UTG, and she counted it then said I’d get good karma for it. Looked down at my cards and saw AK and though that might be true. Raised and got called by BB, then saw a jack-high flop with two diamonds. I put in a continuation bet, nonetheless, and BB re-raised. I called, he got therest of his stack in on the turn, and he had AJ (a Mutant Jack turns against me!) and I lost all but T16K, at 500/1,000/100.

I waited patiently, blinding down to just over T10K, then hit it big with KxKx in my BB and AxKx in my small, going back up to T40K. The final registration numbers were in, with 269 entries making a pot of $44,816 and a first place payout just under $11,000. 90 players left, with 27 paying, and I was about chip average.

Got it all in again with JxJx fifteen minutes later from SB, big stack in BB called and we checked a bunch of low cards to the river, then I was up over T80K, with the average about T50K going to dinner break.

Got AxAx allin over a short stack shove with Ax4x from UTG, then watched four cards to Broadway roll out for a chop. All his chips went to another player on the next hand in AxKx v AxQx. Aggravating.

A table broke and the tournament chip leader was moved into the seat on my left with about T400K. I was close to the chip lead on the table once again before that, with an English player (two seats on my left) and an aggressive former short stack on the far end in close contention. Now we were all short-stacked by comparison. I had a AJ in early position, raised it without fear, he made a little speech, folded, and I took the blinds. On the second hand, while he was still unracking chips, I picked up AK UTG. Again, I opened with a raise, 3x to T9K. He re-raised to T20K. Down the table, a stack about my size called his 3-bet. With nearly T60K in the pot, I shoved, the monster stack shoved, and the caller called because that’s what callers do. It was me against KxKx for the monster and QT. The window card was an ace, and nothing changed except for the fact that I now had about T230K. Within about 20 minutes, we were down to 5 tables, still needing to lose two tables to the money.

Planet Hollywood max stack

About T230K (the yellow chip s T25K). Max stack.

I tried to sit back and glide, but a Mutant Jack caught my eye and I raised a hand, getting called by the Englishman on my left. The flop looked good, jack-high with two low cards and uncoordinated, buthe shoved over a continuation bet and I folded, concerned about a set or overpair. I had him covered, but barely. The hand probably cost me some good money; I checdked with him at a later point and he said he’d also had ace-jack.

Meanwhile, the monster stack had been bleeding chips. He lost T100K to both the Englishman and the aggro guy on the otherend of the table, then busted short of the money. Been there.

Meanwhile, over in the PH 7pm $100 buyin event, the $10K guarantee had 331 entries 2 hours in and a prize pool over $25,000.

I folded most of the way to the money (we hit it about 11:15pm, over twelve hours in), but I was losing chips to the blinds. I knocked out a short player with KJ v A8 by hittng the flush, but had only T150K at the second break after dinner.

AxAx again after break kept me alive, but after having a hand limped to my SB andshoving J9 into the older hippie with bowel trouble he kept bringing up (“Don’t be in the bathroom at the break”) he called with AxAx, which cut me down to T46K with blinds at T5K/T10K/T1K. QxQx on the next hand! There’s a shove from the other end of the table! I’m all in against Ax4x! He rivers a wheel straight!

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So, some mistakes, a less-than satisfying cash for thirteen hours of play, but a cash nonetheless. And a pretty decent tournament. Better once they get their own chip set instead of the ones from Caesar’s, with the nearly identical (to my color-blind eyes) T100 and T5,000 chips.

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Thirteen hours. 15th of 269 entries. 240% ROI.