I thought the best structured tournaments were at The Venetian (the $560s+ are better than the $340s, but both are good).
The Golden Nugget's DSs are a great price and good fields.
Binion's little $125 is a really nice field (watch out for the locals) and I loved the structure.
WSOP Ladies Event - while its starting stack is only 3000 chips, the hour long levels make for a great opportunity to play well. What I saw (granted I only lasted through the first few levels before running Ks into As) was really a lot of straightforward ABC play. I hope to be rolled to play it again next year.
Monday, I played the Binion's $125, which drew about 10 10-handed tables and a first prize of $4k. I was seated between three locals and we were joined by a fourth (GWBH = Guy w/ Blue Hat) after about four hours of play. By then, I was cL at my table. GWBH was seated two to my right, had a stack, and was very active, limping and open raising many pots. I only played three hands against him. One I limp behind his open limp (w/ 5s) and fold to flop bet when I don't hit. The other two, he shoved to my flop cbets. One I folded, one I didn't. Here's the one I didn't fold:
I have ~33bbs and have him covered. Blinds are 400/800/100
As per normal, he limps UTG and pot's 3000. I raise a little more than 2200 behind with KJo, planning to fold to a raise depending on who raised. Everyone folds and he calls, pot's 6600.
Flop comes xQhTh.
GWBH checks to me. I make it 2800 to go. Pot's 9400. He insta-shoves, as he'd done previously, and I have to call 14k to continue.
I knew he was on a flush draw. I didn't put him on the nut flush, but figured I had a better draw than he did, with possibly 14 outs, any A, any 9, any K or J.
- I'm not even getting 2-1 to make that call.
- You never call off your stack on a draw, you force the other guy to that kind of decision - which is exactly what he did. If I was going to make that call, I should've bet enough on my cbet to put HIM to the test and represent that if he did shove, I would call, effectively putting HIM all in to draw (I think he would've shoved anyway and I likely wouldn't have been able to fold, which a good/better player might've been able to do).
- Hoping - which is not playing poker.
- Wanting his chips right then and there because I wanted the tourney.
Wow...writing all this out it's even worse than I remember. Gross.
But let's change the scenario a bit. What if I'd had a made hand on that flop? Do I call a shove raise there knowing he's on a draw? Well...that's the set up for yesterday's $550 game at the Venetian.
I have ~41bbs and have villian covered. Blinds are 300/600/50 and we've just come back from the first break. Villian has come late and is sitting with a little more than his starting stack immediately on my right.
Villian plays his first hand - and pretty much every hand after that, making the comment, "I hate sitting on a short stack (he wasn't even a ss at the table), it's either chip up or go home." His show down hands were 63o, 64o, sometimes showing an A or a 7 when having to fold, which was rare.
I played two hands with him. One I folded to a cbet and one I played to the river and got to see his 64o take the pot. He'd min-raised that from the BU to my SB (QJs).
I adjusted by just tightening up and waiting to play a premium hand in position.
Finally, I get to play. He raises 1350 utg, which is not unusual. I look down at AKo and raise to 3800. Folds back to him and he calls, which is also not unusual. Pot's 9000.
Flop comes xKhxH. He checks and I bet 3200. Pot's 12,200. He insta-shoves and I immediately know he's on a flush draw.
I know someone's gonna say - why did you bet so small on the flop and give him such great odds? Well, my thinking was - given his range and the hands he's played, I feel like I'm good there a billion out of a billion times. Plus, even if he had As, he's played perfectly to get the action he wanted on them.
Aren't these the kinds of hands you have to win to win tournaments? I think I'm making that call 100 out of a 100 times, but given the money, is this a hand I should've folded?
This time, I didn't fade the river heart.
I shoved ~10bbs the very next hand (A8o) and picked up his open raise (yes, he raised again) plus blinds and antes. Shoved 4 hands later with AQs and got called by BBs AK and couldn't beat the flopped K to make a come back. GG me.
I don't think I showed an ounce of emotion at the table, shook hands, smiled and wished everyone good luck as I walked away, but then I had to go stand in a corner, bend over, and catch my breath.
Man, this has been a tough trip.