Sorry I’ve been so long in getting this up. A lot of people expressed interest in it after I posted about Day 1, which I appreciate.
My Day 2 starting table was probably above average. It featured Harrison Gimbel (youngest ever winner of the PCA main event, now 23) and Russell Thomas (of 2012 WSOP main event final table fame), but both were across the table from me, and the rest of the players were pretty weak.
Early on I lost a biggish pot to Gimbel. Blinds were 500/1K, and I opened to 2K, with a little over 100K behind, UTG+1 with AQo. The big blind was an especially tight player, which I think is significant in terms of how Gimbel will perceive my opening range. One of the weakest player at the table called my raise in the HJ, and Gimbel made it 7500 on the CO. He covered me by quite a bit.
Given whose blind I’m raising and who the caller is, this seems like a really good spot for him to squeeze. Still, I wasn’t eager to get in 100+ BBs against him. With AQs I’d probably just flat, but AQo seemed like a better hand to 4B-fold (expecting there’s a fair chance he’ll call the 4B with a range I’m ahead of, even though playing post-flop can easily get tricky). I made it 19K, he made it 38K, and I think when he does that he’s functionally shoving – I can’t see him folding if I shove 105 or whatever and he’s getting better than 2:1. Who knows what his range is but it ought to be quite strong – I folded. Obviously I’m getting good odds to call but if I’m right about his range it will be hard to get money in good postflop, because a lot of it dominates me or won’t pay off when I flop top pair. I never saw his hand, and to be honest this one still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I it’s also not clear to me what I could have done differently. If he really was light here, I guess I can take solace in the fact that he’s underestimating the strength of my range and was lucky to run into the bottom of it. Cold comfort, that.
I got in a very similar spot a few orbits later against Thomas. This time I’d opened A9s in the same spot, the same player called, and he squeezed for a comparable amount. I also gave him very little credit, but he had only 80K and I didn’t want to 4-bet-fold or 4-bet-call so I just called. The woman called as well and we got an awesome A99 flop. We checked to Thomas who bet about 12K. I called, and the third player folded. The turn was a blank, I checked, he bet 23K, and I called. The river was a K, I checked, and he shoved 40K with 96o. Really unlucky spot for him obviously but that’s what he gets for squeezing 96o!
So that was good, and I took about 180K to my new table when that one broke. The new table looked bad but wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. The only really good player was Scott Baumstein, whom I’d seen running around the bigger games at Borgata and hanging out with some other tournament sickos but whom I didn’t know anything about specifically (not even his name, at the time – if I’d had the chance to google him, I probably wouldn’t have made this next fold). He was on my immediate right but still managed to be a tremendous thorn in my side.
At 800/1600, he opened to 3300 in the HJ and I made it 8800 with AA in the CO. He called. The flop came 963r, and I checked it back with the express purpose of underrepresenting my hand and strengthening my checking range. The turn was an 8 that put up a flush draw, and he overbet like 22K into 17K, which instantly made me regret the check. Basically I know that checking opens me up to this sort of thing, and it’s just not something most tournament players (or any players, really) are capable of. After some thought, I called. The turn was an offsuit 5, and he bet 38K into about 60K. To be honest I had no idea what to do. I basically never have a 7 and while I do think he could have some I was actually more worried about a value bet from a set or two pair. I had the sense that a fold would be exploitable but everything about the spot just felt like he had it and in the past not believing big bets has been one of my more consistent mistakes. His river sizing felt value-y, he seemed confident, etc. I folded and he showed Ad 4d for a whole lot of nothing.
My bustout hand is another kind of questionable one. UTG was an older guy who was on the tight side (which doesn’t necessarily make him a bad squeeze candidate, as he may respond tightly/passively to 3bets). He opened to 5100, a guy with about 300K called, I overcalled with AQo in the CO, and then the BB, who was friends with Scott and seemed like a pretty capable player in his own right, made it 17.5K. The other two folded, and although I didn’t feel great about the spot, there was nearly 20k in dead money (including my call) in the pot, and I could certainly see some TT/JJ in his range as well as not seeing any reason why he shouldn’t sometimes be a little light here. I shipped it for 80K, and he called and won with AKs. FWIW, I wasn’t going to fold getting nearly 3:1 in position, and there was an A on the flop, so probably the result would have been the same even if I’d just called.
That was shortly before dinner, and Carlos wasn’t playing anything at the time, so I suggested that we leave AC immediately. This as the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and bad weather was in the cards, so the I-95 corridor was likely to be a mess if we waited until Wednesday. In fact, the alternative to leaving immediately would have been to leave at something like 5AM, as Carlos had a flight out of Baltimore-Washington International at 9:30 Wednesday morning (though it was with Southwest so easily changeable). For my part, I was going to visit my family for Thanksgiving, and my mother lives about 15 minutes from the airport, so it was easy for us to get the drive out of the way and have Carlos spend the night at her house.
Despite some rain, it was a remarkably easy drive, no problems to speak of with regard to traffic. We left around 6 and got to my mother’s house shortly after 10, despite my driving slightly below the speed limit as a result of the weather (#nitcast). She and Carlos got on well, as they had some common interests in veganism, nutrition, and yoga. You’ll have a chance to hear more about the trip on the next podcast, where Carlos, Sean, and I share some stories.
Thanks for following along!