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Coming back at 2pm for the final table we were met with a huge problem as Caesars hadn't taken into consideration the mass 700+ field for the following mega stack event. After the idea of an 11 handed final table being thrown into the garbage we finally got things going at around 3pm.
With the payouts being very top heavy, everyone was aiming high:
1st - $22,129
2nd - $11,423
3rd - $5,711
4th - $4,997
5th - $4,284
6th - $3,570
7th - $2,856
8th - $2,142
9th - $1,428
10-12th - $857
13-15th - $714
16-18th - $571
19-27th - $428
28-36th - $286
After losing the 11th player we were down to the final table and I re-drew for seat 1 having 120,00 in chips, meaning I was in the small blind for the first hand. With blinds at 5k-10k a middle position player made it 40k to go and was faced with a re-raise all-in for around 200k. Peeling my cards in the small I sweated in the small blind and went POW and shoved my stack in there. With the middle postion player calling and tabling and the re-raiser tabling I did the old 'one time' chant as the the dealer was ready to spread the board. When the board ran out I tripled up to 396,000 and was back in the game.
Play slowed for a while before I knocked out 9th and 8th when I called there all-ins with vs and the board ran out , and vs on a board and was up to 680,000 as play reached seven-handed.
I then eliminated 7th as well when I called his all-in from the small blind with and flopped a 7 against his and was now on 742,000 as we were down to players. With a break on the horizon one of the players (who held the queens earlier on) came over and chatted to me, "look, you and me are going to go heads up, lets just get these guys out of the way and go from there", agreeing with his view we headed to break with chip stacks at:
1: Me - 870,000
2: Semi-donkey - 380,00
4: Fish - 165,000
6: Good player - 560,000
7: Unsure - 159,000
8: Good player - 530,000
As we moved to 5 players I had a stack of 801,000 with blinds at 20k-40k with a 5k ante, and when we reached three-handed play I was short on around 430,000. However I managed to double against the good player (lets call him James) who I was going to chop with.
At a high point I moved up to around 1,131,000 in chips and had around half of the chips in play at one point, however it wouldn't last as I went on to do blow up like an Andy Block (WSOP Main Event 2005) or an Issac Haxton (2007 Pokerstars' Caribbean Poker Adventure). I called a 100k raise from the big blind with from 'James' who was in the small blind, and when the action was checked to me on the flop of I led for 200,000. Now the reason I led for so much was because during most of the final table play whenever I led for full pot I would always show down a really strong hand, however when I would bet around 2/3 pot I was normally semi-bluffing/c-betting. However he proceeded to move all-in for an additional 250,000, and with the amount in the pot I was forced to call and was up against , with a great sweat of the on the turn, the river failed to deliver as it dropped the .
The next hand I was left with around 460,000 in change and James raised the button to 100k. As I looked down at I knew I was way ahead of his range from the button and 3-bet all-in for my whole stack. However when the big blind woke up with and proceeded to move in over the top I knew I was in trouble, and with James folding I was happy with my decision but not my fate as I couldn't out run the tight player in the 4-seat as the board ran out 6-high and I was eliminated in 3rd place out of 368 runners.
3rd place netted me $5,711 for my $235 buy-in, but after being taxed for $1,640 (which is claimable once back home) and shipping 10% to Dane I will have netted around $3,400 in profit.
Looking back at the tourney I was extremely please on how I played as I wasn't blessed with cards as I only saw Aces once, Kings twice, AK twice and my next best hands being 9's and 7's. My only mistake was with the as I should have checked back on the flop or 3-bet pre. However with 1 final table under my belt for a 6k collect, and our fellow housemate Michael Guzzardi shipping 90k for a 7th place finish in Event 34 - PLO with rebuys, us Aussie boys are ready to really hit the felt of Vegas.
So with a day off me and Dane decide to play a deep stack at Caesars Palace. Once Christian had arrived at work and we jumped into a cab to head over to Caesars me and Dane decided to swap 10% in each other - and after the way he had been running so far this trip; it was definately a worthy swap.
Buying into event 22 of the 2008 Mega Stack Series it cost $225 plus an additional $10 in staff bonus we started out with 5,000 + 2,500 in chips. As I found my seat down the back of the poker room on table 62 I slowly settled into the groove while Dane doubled early with Aces vs. AK on a king-high flop - blessed. My first major hand came up when I checked in the big blind, following a button limp and a small blind completion. The flop ran out and I led for 250, with only the button calling. I checked both the and on the turn and river and was faced with a 300 bet from the button when the third spade fell. Pondering for a while there isn't alot that I beat, but decided it was more of an information gathering call and consequently got all the info I needed when he tabled for a flush and I was down to 7,500.
A few hands later I was on the button and was dealt . With a loose player limping under-the-gun for 100, a call in middle postion from a tight player, I decided to bump it to 425 (as you do with Jack-4 yeah . . .) and was met with only one call from the tight player in middle position. She led for 700 on the flop of and going into the tank for a little while I bumped it to 2100. Now the reason behind this was that I believed that this was the only way I could win the pot as I certainly wasn't ahead, also with my raise over a tight players limp it represented strength. My raise to 2100 left me with enough chips behind to shut down if she called and the bet was big enough to push her off the hand. As she folded I announced I had an overpair with a flush draw and scooped the pot and moved back up to 8,700.
As the third level drew to a close I raised to 500 from late postion with blinds at 100-200 with and was faced with a raise out of the small blind to 1000. Calling the min-raise, my opponent bet 2,000 on the flop of and I thought for a while before moving all-in for an additional 4,800 more. He folded his and I moved up to 11,000.
My table broke and I moved to a knew table where my first impressions were that it was extremely limp happy. After limping I was going to 3-bet over a button raise with AQ but decided not to - and was pleased when the flop came down 4-high. Knowing I was at a limp happy table I decided I should try and open with a wider range of hands and woke up with in middle postion and bumped it to 1,000 with blinds at 200-400. I was met with four callers including two big stacks with a loose image in late postion and both the blinds. The flop fell and after the action being checked to me I threw out a bet of 4,000 and was met with only one caller out of the big blind. We both checked the turn of the and when the river of the landed, I was faced with a 4,000 chip decision. Looking at the hand, a better jack either raises me on the flop or checks the river due to the King dropping, a bare 5 raises the flop or bets the turn at least, and there is no real reason why a king would be in there. So with my checklist satisfied I call the 4,000 as the big blind tables and I take the pot down and move up to 23,200.
Having a good size stack of 20k and being amongst the chip leaders on the table I still wanted to remain fairly tight and just wait for my chances to take peoples stacks. However this hand came up that made me double think myself (which I never do, or should do). With a limp in early postion from a player that is equal in chips to me and is very loose I decide to just call from the small blind with knowing that the big blind is short and may shove; now if she did I would call only if the ep player folded. With her checking I led for 2,100 on the flop of and was met with a call from the loose ep player. When the hit the turn I lead for another 2/3 pot bet of 4,500 but was met with an intant all-in raise for my tourament life (as it would have left me completely crippled). Pondering for ages, so many hands ran through my mind. This player couse easily have me beat with AQ or a set, but what was more likely (and more scary) was that a Q5 or Q4 was a distinct possibility. However I eventually made the call and he tabled and when the river bricked with the I jumped up to 41,700 in chips and was definately amongst the tournament chip leaders.
A few hands later I made a raise under-the-gun to 2,100 with blinds at 400-800 with and was met with a call from the button and the big blind. The action was checked to the button on the flop of , all the while I stared intently at the button player in seat 1 trying to gather information. Watching him closely I noticed that his eyes were darting everywhere over the board, looking left to right quickly, and with that I realised that this guy hadn't connected with the board at all; a flush draw, up and down, anything but a made hand. Once the big blind folded I snapped his 5,500 bet and checked the on the turn to him. As he lined up 10k or so in chips I knew that whatever he bet I was moving all-in - thats how confident I was. Once he checked behind, I just pleaded for know Ace, Queen, Jack or 9. BANG the on the river, quick to check, he followed to and tabled and I took the pot down and moved up to 50,900 as we headed into our third break.
Once the break was over I moved to one of the final tables and knew that I really had to get use to the table as we were second last to break. Second hand back I raised with from late position and was met with a re-raise all-in from the button for 2,700 more, with the action folding around to me I was priced in to call and was a long shot to out run his . However with our household being blessed of late the board ran out and I moved up to 58,000. Later on in the level with blinds at 800-1600, I called a 4,600 raise from the big blind with and check-raised all-in over a 8,000 bet on a board reading . With my opponent facing another 15k more he made a sick call with , but having a billion outs I hit one on the turn when the fell followed by the and consequently eliminated him and moved up to 89,000.
Following that hand an interesting character moved to the table who placed a somewhat daunting card protector on the table. Being greeted with, "excuse me, but have you won a bracelet?", I peered up from under my sky blue full tilt cap, and sat up straight adjusting my un-ironed white shirt, replied with, "sorry mate, I think you have me confused with someone else" and went straight back to my music and the task at hand; shipping the tourney. With Dane recently eliminated after he made a move from the small blind I sat tight for a while not seeing any hands under I stared down at under-the-gun and made it 4,000 to go. Getting four callers I bet 12,000 on a flop of and they all folded as I stacked my chips to 96,600.
With a wierd payout structure of the top 36 players getting paid, and table re-draws every 10 players lost from 40 onwards we re-drew with only four players needing to be eliminated before we all made the first money payout of $286. As we re-drew I landed a table with a ton of chips, but still remained seconde in chips with 105,800. Learning alot since bubbling the WSOP main event last year I stepped up and played 12 of the 15 hand-for-hands on the bubble trying to accumulate chips knowing that everyone was playing fairly tight just to register a cash. My stack went up and down as I raised hands ranging from , , , and , but eventually the bubble burst with me stuck on 113,500.
Having a nice stack with 30 players remaining I sat on around 150k and by 22 players were left it had slowly dwindled down to 120k. However I stepped it up a few gears and moved up to 204,000 with 19 remaining and a guarentee payout of $428. Then an interesting hand came up; with the under-the-gun moving all-in he was met with a call from the the big stack in middle position and I sweated 10's in the big blind. Flat calling and checking it down on the 9-high board, my hand was good and we lost another player. My only issue though is whether or not I should have re-raised pre or not . . .
With a final table to be drawn at 10 we were stuck on 11 players for nearly a full two levels before the 2am deadline came to a halt. With the only option to bag our chips and come back the next day, I was sitting bottom range with now only 138,000 in chips.
Once our chips were bagged, I met up with Slippers and the others as they played some cash games at Caesars. I made the dreaded phone call to Garry that I had a final table the next day and would be late for work. After he ok'd it, we headed home so I could get some rest for a potential $23,000 pay day the next day.