Long, Long, Day at the MSPT:

Showed up for the 1030 am satellite for the MSPT at the Belle of Baton Rouge.  I had previously won a $60 satty to qualify for a $250 with a seat in the Main Event on the line.  I played so much poker yesterday (all the way to 1:30 am today) that I can't remember much of that tournament early.  I know some good players were at my table and I was looking enviously at the other table, but I had position on a couple including Danny Doucet.  I busted him when he flopped top pair and I had Aces.

When we got to the final table I arrived as the chipleader.  I got some good hands and saw my advantage disappear as we limped toward the four seats they were giving out.  Next thing I knew two or three stacks had swollen up.  One player had no idea he was in a satellite and played like he needed every chip.  Short stacks kept doubling and after hours of play I became a shorty.  Twice I got Aces to get critical double ups including once when on the stone cold bubble.  Ran good with Aces in this event.

One player kept gifting a short stack chips (raise fold or limp fold), when he was supposed to call anything and after a long time of play we were all even in chips.  By this point we were under an hour away from the Main Event start time of 5:00 pm.  I was pretty tired of it.  I felt if we were at a final table, I was quite comfortable.  But we were in a mega and it was now basically shove or fold for most of us.  Gene D had been the stone cold bubble the day before and they round down so he ended up with nothing.

It was going to come down to a cooler type hand to decide things, so I suggested we each pony up $100 for the bubble so at least everybody made some money.  After agreeing one player said he'd take $900 (each pay $225) and we'd get the seats.  Since it cost me nothing (well $60) to play the $250 I wasn't that opposed to it, but I had visions of winning the Main Event off of that $60 satellite--would be fun to do.

Anyway, the other four quickly agreed.  I hemmed and hawed and the dude offered it for $200 a piece.  I didn't really like it that much because I did feel I had an edge and it was only a 1/5 shot that I would be the unlucky bubble boy.  Still he was going to get $300 less than the rest of us and I needed some sort of break before beginning the Main so settled for the deal.

They got 54 in Day 1A and I got to say the MSPT ran a first class tournament.  The Belle's staff was little new to a multi-table tournament of that size but were in good spirits and taking advice/criticism well.  There was some grumbling about their competence but I think it was just inexperience.  They did up the third floor well, and if not for the way too loud slot machines, you almost forgot you were on a boat casino.

Lots of players showed up and I think I landed on the toughest starting table.  I chipped up a little bit with most of my cbets getting through.  In fact, so many were not getting contested by the better players that I f'd myself a bit.  The eventual chipleader Austin "The Kid" Bursavich raised, as he did every third hand, and I spied Kings.  I decided I would call instead of tipping my hand and let him walk me through the pot.

Flop came A99.  To be honest I was almost more worried about a 9 in his hand then an ace.  We went check, check.  He fired the turn which was another Ace.  I thought about raising, but didn't want to bloat the pot.  I felt I had the best hand, but if wrong I'd just be building it for him.  Also, I didn't want him to click back and make me make tough decisions on the turn/river.  River was a 5 ball.

Previously, we played a hand where he bet called all three streets on a king high board.  Then the five hit that time as well and he made a bet with a bit of a flourish.  I called and he had rivered two pair with K5 to win the pot.  When the 5 hit in this second pot he did the same thing, this little confident flourish.

I had planned to call most cards, and knew I might need to evaluate if it came a QJ or 10 (possibly because he might have rivered a better two pair than the board but below my kings so maybe some value in raising where he'd likely just call).  That would also put a straight possibility out there so I would be careful about those cards, but generally I was calling the turn to call most rivers.  Except he did the same flourish.

F.

I stewed for a while.  I felt still he didn't have an A or 9.  Could he have 55?  Ugh.  That would suck.  Would he fold 55 to a raise?  Yeah, in his mind I easily have an A there.  Maybe he had an Ace all along and my read was off.  Would he value bet 55?  Thought that hand had too much showdown value to risk getting blown off the pot .  So no?  Only hands he could value bet 55 into were KK, QQ, or JJ that might get a call.  Though my hand might be transparent to him.

I didn't know what to do but decided my plan was to call most rivers I needed to stick with it and called.  55.

That would be the first of five times he cracked Kings on the tournament.  No wonder he's an overwhelming chip leader.

Big pairs which saved me in the satellite went south on me in the Main, but I got away from them pretty good.  Maybe could have played the hand more aggressively against Austin but I got two outed and most of the time I think I'm getting good value there.  Later against the tightest player at the table I threebet and cbet the flop, for him to shove all in on me.  He had flopped a set of fives.  Then against the same guy, when short I limped Aces hoping somebody picked up something behind me.  They didn't.  He completed from the small.  Big blind checked.  Flop came 984.  tight player opened.  Big Blind called.  I raised.  Tight player overshoved again.  Big Blinded folded an open ender.

I showed my Aces to Mihail who was next to me and mucked, tight player showed top two and I think would have called a pf raise so I got a little lucky.

Okay, life as the short stack.  I hovered around and under ten big blinds.  Finally, I got called by Austin when I had 4k with blinds at 300-600.  The hand made PokerNews.    It was about the only thing notable about my day after the suckouts and coolers.  Short stacks don't garner much attention.

Then unexpectantly, I went on a little rush, don't remember the hands though and got up to just under 30k when this hand happened.

Ben Thomas opened under the gun to 1200.  I looked at QQ.  Thomas didn't open many hands and was pretty solid yesterday in position so I knew he had something.  I was willing to go with QQ though, especially after exchanging some messages with Jeremy Gaubert about when to press in that structure and the need to chip up.  As I considered my option, I noticed Austin's brother who had just been sat to my left get his ~7k in chips his hand and felt he was ready to ship.  I immediately decided I'd call, he'd ship, and if Thomas tried to isolate with a shove I was calling.  If Thomas tried to reraise I was shoving--which I was hoping would happen.

First part went all right because Austin's brother shoved.  Then things got funny.  Justin Truesdale, who was won a circuit main event, pushed all in for 17k on the button.  I don't think he's ever light here even though you could make an argument it's a good steal spot.  Michael Horchoff does it that's different.  Thomas who had me covered went into the tank.  If he had insta called/shoved I might have folded.  When he finally tanked,  it look authentic, not a hollywood job to induce me, I thought I might have to get it in fourways.

Eventually he folded but before he did Truesdale gave me a little more information about his hand.  He starting talking to Thomas and I was confident he wasn't sitting on AA or KK.  His hand was vulnerable.  That meant Ak.  The short stack likely also had an ace and maybe Thomas did too.  I felt it was a great spot for Queens and called.  I was right A10 for the shorty and Ak for Truesdale.   Flop was clean.  Turn harmless and then Ace ball on the river.  Ugh... good bye five minutes of safety... back to the grind.

And grind, I did.  For hours and multiple levels I survived always threatened to bust by only being able to shove.  A couple of times going to showdown but most times just pulling in the blinds and a limp or the blinds and a raise.  Fortunately, I got some good hand to shove with but never got callers. Means I'm still alive but never could chip up.

One hand of importance came right after an uncalled shove.  The break started just after the hand was dealt.  Normally, I try to steal here as everybody decides to just go to the bathroom instead of getting involved in a hand, but whenever I try that I always get crushed on those hands.  So I stopped "break-stealing" and have cursed whatever book I read that in as a good strategy, as it just hasn't worked out for me.  When I saw AA, knowing some are aware of the stealing before the break, I had just enough chips to put in a small raise but could also limp.  I opted for the shove thinking they would put me on a steal, especially the new players to the table who hadn't seen my other shoves get through and were watching me shove two out of three hands.

Nope.  None of that thought.  People mucked and ran off the table.  Oh, so that's what a "Break Steal" is supposed to look like.

I survived until the end of the night and bagged up a paltry amount.  Which I hate because I won't have time on Sunday to condition my table that I'm shoving a narrow range and invariably run the risk of getting called early and making that trip to Baton Rouge for nothing.  I will need to shove fairly early in the day.  Still, on the bright side of things, I have chips and many young guns came with big stacks to my table and busted while I just nursed my short stack hoping/waiting for a run.  A double up or two early on Sunday and I'm back into the thick of things.

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