Sunday was a great day to have off. I was able to be with my family, hang out at the Rio pool and enjoy watching day 1d go on from a pressure free distance.
I swam, exercised, and enjoyed watching my children have fun. My diet was spot on, low starch, lots of vegetables, lean fish and poultry. Tons of water and not a sip of booze. Caffeine didn't make the cut...but I was feeling good.
I had plenty of time to research my table for day 2a.
I was fairly happy with my table draw. I was a pretty good chip leader here. After investigating their records (which I know is flawed) I imagined the two Europeans, thankfully to my right, were going to be the most skilled. I underestimated David Lin because I could not find anything about his poker history online. He was probably the next best after the Swede Kovacs and Jasper the Dutchman. He pretty quickly took control of his end of the table and hit Todd Brick pretty hard without ever showing down. The Swede came out swinging too, but got often got flatted in position by either myself and/or the Dutchman. He must have epically missed a lot since he seemed easy to push out post-flop. Then about 1 hour into the first level this hand goes down.
Under the gun I limp with AKs.
So I guess I am giving away one of my plays. You may not agree with me but I find it highly effective and profitable.
I do not often raise with AK, unless maybe I'm happy just to take a pre flop pot.
I do not raise with AK... Sam I am. I do not raise with them in or out of position! Not on a boat! not with a goat! Not in the dark! Not in a tree. Not in a car! You let me be! ~~~ I'd rather get in cheaply and see a flop. If I hit I am well disguised and usually make a decent profit. If I don't I can get away scott-free with a dud of an AK. BTW one of the things I learned some while ago is AK is not a drawing hand with a dry flop! Don't leak with this hand post flop and get rid of it.
But beware, in some situations I use AK as an atomic bomb. But playing with bombs can be dangerous. Back to the hand.
Short stack to my left, Jeremy Renz, limps too. It gets folded all around to the Swede...who does what I expect a Swede to do.
He raises. He has 45k behind. I have about 135k. I put him all in. Renz folds and he deliberates...and the calls shortly.
QQ...Its a coin flip...in true Euro-style.
He fades the flop, turn, and river.
I'm down to 90k.
But I am happy with my play....you might think this is risky but AK has HUGE equity in these situations. First of all there are only two absolute disasters AK can run into, AA and KK. After that you're looking at 50-50 shot...which honestly part of the purpose of building a big stack is to be able to get into these coin flips but yet survive them if you lose. I have many times with a big stack called relatively small stacks (less than 20% of my stack or so) with medium to low pocket pairs hoping to run into two big cards and swallow them with a coin flip. You win a few of these babies with a big stack and you become an immortal poker pac-man and get like 3-free lives. All of which I need because I am good at screwing shit up.
What I am really looking for the Swede to do is fold an inferior hand or call a dominated hand (any A or K). That's where the real equity is at. And the fact that he can make this bet light and knows that I know this, might call with a dominated Ace. Unfortunately its Queens, but its still not a bad deal for me. Just didn't work out and it didn't bother me too much. In fact I don't start getting tilted until I lose 3 of these in a row....Oh yeah did I mention the only coin flip I won was knocking out a shortie on day 1 with my medium pocket pair? Any way, there was a lot of intense play. Although it varied per orbit I estimate I was involved in 25-30% of the pots on average. I really liked having the 20 minute mental break!
During one of the breaks my cousin had told me about some dude in the series dressed as wonder woman in the tourney and asked me to snap a shot if I saw him. I ran into him in the stall. No I did not do it discreetly. All social discreetness in that bathroom had vanished when Wonder Woman arrived.
At my second break, as I was waiting to return to my seat, I shared some time with Mike Caro. Unlike my usual "have no idea I'm next to a poker super star" I knew who Mike Caro was. My wife apparently became buddy buddy with his girlfriend/wife on the rail. She had no idea who he was until I reminded her about the book of tells in the guest bathroom. I haven't seen much animated Mike Caro, but read TONS of his stuff. The name Mad Genius is so apropos and I could not help but to snap a picture of the pacing poker philosopher deep in thought.
I wound up playing the Dutchman a lot in position, and was happy to bluff him off some post-flop hands, but unfortunately at the same time was unable to get much value from him when I hit some good cards. I remember getting it in with David Lin a few times. In the BB I checked a limped multi-way pot with K6 and flopped K93. I bet the flop and got called by Lin only and we both checked the turn and river. He must have had a 9 and started griping that I was running like God. I wonder if God has a 6kicker when he hits his King.
Eventually I was moved from the pavilion to the Amazon room after dinner and sat down at a table where I was a big big chip leader, and clearly scared the snot out of the whole table. Furthermore I was about 5 feet away from the rail and I had a pretty big mostly Italian crew. I think that was intimidating too. It amped me up, and I played some good poker and within 10 minutes hit a 99Q flop with A9...and took down at least a 25k pot.
Within minutes I watched my chip lead get surpassed by two others at my table. Both of them delivering sick beats, all-in with AK, in multiway pots. Both times it was AK vs KK vs Ax. It was a sobering reminder of how fast shit can go down in this game. I'm doing my best to stay disciplined and stay out of those kind of pots...for the most part I am doing exceptionally well with pot control.
At the end of the night I bagged 220k in chips. I felt I was able to accomplish a strong day 2 for several reasons:
1. I had a big enough stack to survive coin flips and post flop bluffs that I needed to drop
2. I continued to maintain an emphasis on pot control
3. I was lucky that my whole stack was covered only for about the last hour of the day.
4. I kept up the pressure and took blinds/antes as often as I could
5. I effectively used 3 betting against individuals with wider open ranges
6. I was confident
When my friend Matt Klein saw my chip stack he gave me crap for stacking them like a cash player and not stacking them to the ceiling in an effort to intimidate. I responded "I don't show boat Matt, I just kick ass."
This was my starting stack on Day 1, and this is what I was able to literally grind out at the end of day 2. The copious amounts of small chips are a testament to never having gotten into a huge pot today. I did good with blinds/antes, 3 bets and post flop play. Little activity beyond the flop. I played strong, aggressive, controlled poker. I am very critical of myself, but I truly feel I earned this stack. And yes...Matt Klein wins.
Oh yeah...after all that crazy AK stuff that went down some quiet skinny kid, wearing his baseball cap backwards sat in one of the execution seats. His arms were crazy hairy. I am a seriously hairy Italian dude, and when I see someone hairier than I, it grabs my attention. He seemed uninterested and tired to me, and I must have picked up about 20k off of him in post flop pick-ups...a combo of real hands, semi-bluffs and bluffs. I discovered who he was while thumbing through poker news the next day. He didn't look near as scary as he does in this picture.