Where to start, where to start...
So I got up pretty early on Thursday morning, rolling into the Coushatta in Louisiana at around 2 or so in the afternoon. Grabbed some lunch and played a little blackjack, just to get in the gambling groove. Little did I know that I managed to randomly sit down at the same table as Professional Blackjack Player™ Mourn. I hit a nice little run after he left and finished up about $200 or so, and made my way to the poker room.
They'd renovated the poker room since I was there last and it was much, much improved, no longer crammed into the corner by the eerie Circus of Slots section. Was a little disappointed to see they only had two tables running, both 3-6-12 limit HE. I got on the list and managed to return $60 or so of my blackjack winnings by playing video poker at the nearby bar. Got called, bought some chips, and sat down, discovering shortly thereafter that Mourn was indeed Mourn when he got called to the other table they had running.
I then proceeded to spend the next ten hours or so in a state of amazed bafflement. Not so much because we routinely had 7 or 8 players seeing a flop, or that half the table was playing any two cards, but that people wouldn't bet or raise made hands. Not out of trickiness, trying for a check-raise, but that they simply wouldn't bet, for fear of imagined monsters. Three or four times I saw people check-call with the biggest full houses possible, fearful of quads. One guy even check-called with quads, for some reason I can't fathom, as he knew how to play and was aware of the fact that he had quads. On the flip side, people would go nuts with draws or overcards that didn't hit, trying to push people out of hands.
I was basically stuck the whole time, couldn't hit any big hands, barely got any decent starting cards, and was lucky to finish up just down $100. The only decent pots I won were out of the blinds, taking down big pots with Q4o and Q2o when I was in the BB and got to see a free flop. The Q4 hand was pretty funny, as this ancient, angry lady who kept rebuying got pissed at me, as the board came Q 4 7 and she and I went to war. Turn was 3, more betting and raising, river was 4, more betting and raising. She rolled over Q3 and proceeded to lecture me for twenty minutes, asking over and over how I could play a hand like Q4, what kind of idiot was I, etc. I just kept my mouth shut, choosing not to point out that I was, umm, ahead the whole way, even pre-flop.
I finally decided to cut my losses and call it quits. Wound things down with a little nickel slots play, donated a little money back, and went to bed.
Friday didn't start off much better, as I pretty quickly got stuck a rack in the 3-6-12 game. Things were a little more sensible but I just couldn't get anything going. Recovered a bit and finished up down $50 or so, when I cashed in to take a break for dinner. Mourn and I had planned on playing the Saturday tournament they run, but discovered they also have a Friday rebuy tournament, which we decided to sign up for.
The structure was a little odd, as it was a $10 entry which bought you 200 chips. You could rebuy, though, if you were at 700 or below, getting 500 in chips for each $20 rebuy. So for $50 you could start with 1200 in chips, which I went ahead and bought in for.
The catch, though, is that it was limit until the first break, so it wasn't your normal crazy rebuy tournament. I didn't get anything playable until right before the break, when I flopped a set of 9s and took down a big pot when KK didn't improve and kept betting back at me, leaving me with about $3,000 at the break.
The add-on at the break was $50 for 3,500 more chips, plus a $10 dealer tip/rebuy that bought you an additional $1,000. Everyone was buying both so I did the same, putting me at about $7,500 when we started up again. So it basically ended up being a $100 + $10 buy-in, with most of the 109 entrants hanging around after the break. The structure also switched to NL after the break.
I got moved a few times as tables broke and never really picked up anything to play. I stole the blinds a few times, had everyone fold to my BB once, and was basically treading water. I finally ended up at table 1 with about $9,000, which was probably an average stack at the time. There were a few big stacks at the table, including a really old guy to my right who barely seemed awake. People were playing pretty tightly, and three times when I was in the BB everyone folded to Sleepy Old Man, who made some ridiculously oversized bet. I was catching absolute crap but was getting a little tired of it and decided to come over the top with the first playable hand I had. Same situation, folds to him, he bets $4,000 (blinds were 400/800) and I pushed with Ac Qc.
He hems and haws, dwells for forever, and I was waiting for him to just get it over with and fold when he says "Allright, I call." It's about $5,000 more for him to call, and he counts out $200 and throws it out there, as if that's it. The dealer tells him that it's more than that, he acts confused, and finally seems to get the fact that he needs to put more than $200 out to call me. This time he throws out a little over $1,000, and seems good to go. The dealer explains, again, that it's more to call. He finally gets the right amount out there and the dealer tells us to show them. I flip over m Ac Qc first, he immediately says "Good hand, son, you got me," and rolls over Ad Kd.
At this point I'm thinking "What the bajebus is going on?", followed shortly by "Fuuuuuccckkkkk me". Two clubs came on the flop, though, and I turned the nut flush, managing to suck out and avoid Sleepy Old Man Disaster. After that I went on a pretty nice rush, busting two more people with AQs again, then another two when I flopped a set with 99.
I was pretty close to the chip lead for awhile and got lucky when we stayed at 11 players for forever, as I was bullying like crazy and everyone at my table was just waiting for someone else to bust, as the top ten spots paid. When we finally got down to the final table we lost four or five really quickly, as there were three or four short stacks and 5-10 paid exactly the same, so people were shoving with very little.
When we got down to five I was 3rd in chips, but pretty close to 2nd, and way ahead of 4th and 5th. I wasn't getting much but I also got a little too cautious, waiting for the two short stacks to bust out to at least lock up 3rd. The top two stacks get firing, though, building up their stacks, and the blinds finally started eating away at me. The guy to my right kept stealing from the BB and off the button, as I was playing passively and the guy to my left was very short-stacked. I was finally like "Screw it, whatever hand I get next I'm pushing when he tries to steal".
I look down to find 94o in the BB, folds to Stealy McGee, and he raises to $50,000 from the SB (blinds were 5,000/10,000). I start to rationalize waiting for a better hand, catch myself, and shove. He dwells for forever and finally mucks.
We basically repeat that exact same scenario the next three times around, but I had decent cards, A2o, K9s, J9s, and I kept coming over the top of him all-in and he kept folding. I managed to chip up, short stacks finally dropped, and the chip leader took down Stealy Mcgee, leaving it heads-up. I had about $150,000 and he had a little over $350,000 when it got heads-up.
He kept putting pressure on me and I just couldn't catch much to play. I was down to $80,000 or so in the BB when I looked down to find 55. He raised from the SB, I pushed, and he finally called, flipping over K4 spades. I was pretty happy to see that, especially when the flop came something like 8 8 6, all red cards. Turn was a blank, and I'm going into my "No king no king no king no king" mantra when the bastard K of hearts rolls off on the river. I stood up, shook his hand, was saying the ridiculous stuff you say when you lose like that when the dealer says "Sit down, sugar, you're not done yet."
It was about that point that I suddenly noticed that a lot of the red cards on the boards were hearts, four of them, in fact, and that I just happened to have the 5h, for the flush. I got so wrapped up in trying to will the K to not to appear that I didn't even notice the possible four flush developing. So, umm, yeah, I sat back down.
We went ahead and chopped it 60/40 at that point, as he had me outchipped two to one but agreed to the chop, as it was 1 AM by this point and I think we were both a little flummoxed after the last hand. After taxes and dealer tips I ended up with $2,100 or so, for my biggest tournament score ever. Obviously happy with the result but I was probably more happy with me play, as far as staying aggressive and not letting things get away from me.
Played a little the next morning but I decided to take the money and run and get home a little early, so I took off at lunch time, basically even that day in the cash games.
All in all, good times. I wish they'd had a few more games running but apparently Harrah's was sucking in players with their bad beat jackpot (which was over $200,000 when someone hit it Friday morning, and Harrah's reset it at $100,000, given the traffic it was generating). Might hit up Harrah's the next time I make the run across the poker border but the poker room at Coushatta was much improved from my last visit and the tournament/room seemed pretty well-run.
Now I just need to catch up on an ungodly amount of work that managed to pile up since last Thursday.