Chopped first place with two other players last night in my monthly live tournament. Really felt I was on my game, actively hand reading the entire night and almost completely playing the other players and not my own cards. A few highlights/lowlights from the evening:
Second hand of the night I verbally called a players' holding. He's an older guy who only raises very big hands, limps everything else. Also is somewhat of a "tricky" post-flop players and has more than once in the past remarked that his monsters always get sucked out. He's in BB immediately to my right. I open raise UTG with 44 to 2.5x, get three callers, then he clicks it back from the BB with a min-raise. Ding, ding, ding... he's got a big hand. Probably something like QQ+ or AKo+. Getting good implied odds, I call. Flop is K-rag-rag rainbow. He sits up vertical in seat... and then checks, first to act. I'm no dummy, so I check behind. Some mid-fielder comes in for 1/3 pot size bet, others fold, and villain promptly check raises big. I obviously fold. Mid-fielder then folds a K face up and Villain slumps in chair with a sad look. Another player not in the hand says to villain, "You bluffing this early in the game?" Villain starts to slide his cards to muck, and I say, "that was no a bluff. Why don't you show your big slick to the table." Villain looks at me, then sheepishy turns over AK and complains he never gets paid off. No, not when you're that transparent you don't. In hindsight, probably should have kept my big mouth shut, but my big mouth didn't cooperate.
Two hands later I take down a moderately big pot, calling off what is clearly villain's busted flush draw hopeless bluff on the river with my own ace high, which I table with just a dash of ego mixed in. Wooooooooot! Losing player scowls at me and asks nastily if I'm new to poker. I respond by saying, "Oh, I thought I had a pair of aces. Guess I need to look at my hand more closely next time." In your face!
Had a couple of coolers then set me back (KK ran into AA, and QQ ran into AK), then hit a set of threes against a really aggro player (who has given me fits in previous games; I usually play terribly against him). When he bets the flop, he can have anything, but when he fires turn and river I know he has at least TPTK and he loves to put pressure on players along the way. I'm OOP, so I let him bomb away on all three streets, with me check-calling and thinking I'm Marlon Brando with my acting skills, pretending I'm chasing some kind of draw, which of course never gets there. I check-raise all-in on the river, however, and get paid off.
Me big stack. Be big stack bully. Me run over table. Me really like poker!
Me take a big beat with another flopped set getting runner-runnered for a crazy inside straight. Me back to average stack. Me not so happy with poker.
Me get AA two hands in a row. Me no get paid off on either. Me more unhappy. Boo hoo, me.
We final table around 8:30pm, with nine players left and only four spots getting paid. I'm sitting to the right of two really good players, each with big stacks. I go card dead, and just turn into a folding monkey for lap after lap. Meh.
We then get into a weird hand, where a player tanks for at least 5 minutes after facing a big turn bet. He tanks and tanks and tanks.... and then calls the clock on the other player in the hand! He's been thinking all along he's the one waiting for the other guy to act. The entire table goes nuts, demanding that the game clock be reset the original five minutes, which in fact is what happens.
We're down to seven, and I get KQs UTG. I open to 3x. Action folds to a competent lady on the button, who cold calls. Both blinds call. I cover everyone, but not by much. The villain lady is a decent player and usually quite tight, fully understanding the gap concept. Ergo I know she has a real hand. Flop comes J-T-3 rainbow. Both blinds check. I lead 1/2 pot with a semi-bluff and she quickly re-shoves all-in on me. Blinds fold. Damn. I'm getting (barely) the right odds to call, but it's my tourney life on the line... so I decide to fold and live to fight another day.... when I literally hear one of the ex-players standing on the rail behind me whisper to another that this lady is the evening's secret player, with a nice cash bounty on her head in the tourney. When I factor that money into my pot odds, I realize I have to make the call. So I do. Not real happy when she turns over AA. Quite happy when the river brings a nine and I double up-- and win the bounty. Woot!
I go back into fold-my-way-toward-the-bubble mode due to terrible cards and super aggro action from two of the remaining players on my left.
I forgot to mention that this game takes place in the courtyard area of an upscale restaurant in town. The owner of the restaurant sometimes plays, but often just kibitz's around during the tourney smoking cigars, drinking wine, and acting like the big shot he feels he is. Anyway, we're down to five players at this point when said restaurateur sits down next to one of the big-stack aggro players at our table and literally starts looking this player/friend's hole cards and commenting on play, whispering in the player's ear, commenting on the action, etc.. The guy who runs the game (who is also dealing (and is also still in the game)) says, "Uh, Bob, you can't actually do what you're doing. We have a one seat, one player rule." The restaurant owner gets very miffed and replies, "This is my fucking restaurant, Fred. If you want to leave, you can at any time." Uh, okay. He makes a point of playing another couple of hands with his friend before standing up and pretending like he has other important business to attend to. Not cool. (At one point earlier in the night, the restauranteer came to another table that I was playing at and sat down in an empty seat (next to me) and commented on board texture and the like. The dealer at that table tried to shoo him away there, but big shot clearly didn't give a damn and just continued doing what he was doing. Weird.)
Some terrible bubble play ensues between two other players, who get into a dick-measuring contest with each other. Ther rest of us sit back and let one of them kill the other off. Which they do. And we're in the Money four-handed.
I bust out one of the other three finalists with TPGK on a very dry board, and we're now down to three.
We play a couple more orbits, but then the blinds really start sky-rocketing. Someone suggests a chop, so we do. I tip the dealer, then sit around and jaw with some of the guys for while. Drive home with windows down and moonroof open on a crisp fall night.
Nice way to end an otherwise long, tough day.
All-in for now...