I felt a bit of a degenerate driving alone to Foxwoods by Zipcar, but my two traveling companions bailed, so off I went to scenic Ledyard, CT, home of the looming behemoth that casts a shadow on the Connecticut countryside, Foxwoods Casino and Resort. I had never been to the FPC before, but a comfortable $200 by-in with 40 min levels seemed alluring enough.
Let's start with the fabled WPT Poker Room at Foxwoods, where I played a little warm-up NLHE before the tourney began. First off, it is huge - I think it has to be bigger than the Borgata, but to get there you go down some stairs, and while some tables are exposed to the atrium way above, some are hidden away in low-ceilinged little lairs that are just plain cramped. Plus, it's mayhem down there. Nothing seems particularly organized, and it is LOUD. The sound travels up to the atrium and just bounces around willy-nilly. I lost about $15 and then it was time to head over to the Grand Ballroom where the event would take place.
This ballroom was ugly, stale and largely unattractive, but certainly quieter. And talk about a quiet starting table...it seemed no one uttered a word for the first 30 minutes. I was the only one wearing St. Patty's day green, so they certainly weren't the festive sort.
So, everything up until the dinner break was pretty garden-variety. Caught some good hands and played tight aggressive and chipped my original 5,000 up to about 12K. I think I might have called two PFR the whole afternoon, but then right before the dinner break things got interesting.
22 in the BB. 3 limpers, I check. Flop comes 2 -6-8, two spades. Now, I'm at about 11K here, and blinds are now 400-800-50. So, I shove. If someone wants to chase those spades, they'll have to pay for it. I quickly get an all-in for less. DOINK! Crap, what could he have? He flips over 2-8. The turn is a 6 that gives me a boat, and I'm suddenly on a 20 K stack.
Now here is where, effectively, I should have left the tournament. Still 400-800-50, I raise UTG with AA to 2600. This way too light a bet for this table, and I knew it the second I put it out there. I didn't want anyone to catch anything on the flop, but I wanted to extract some value too. A guy across from me who is a self-proclaimed cash player calls sheepishly, and I put him on a connector of some kind, and well...that's exactly what he had.
Flop comes J-10-x and I've seen enough. I fire out 5K and he immediately shoves over the top. So, of course, I'm fucked here, he's got J-10, and I'm suddenly feeling like I'd rather go back downstairs to the poker room and play some O8. Although I think he has two pair, he could just as easily be bullying me around with A-J, or KK, QQ, so I call for all my chips and he tables J-10. Then, like a bolt of lightning from the sky....turn is a 7. River is a 7, and I get the better two pair. This guy took it well, but obviously tilted. He shoved the rest of his chips with someting like Q-7os and was gone the next hand.
So, I was comfortable for a bit with 45K, but the blinds were escalating. After dinner I noticed that my new table was kind of short stacked, so I went into small-ball mode, firing at almost anything marginal and met my quota of about 60% folding around. This got me up to about 85K and then I went card dead completely...I mean, not even playable smallball hands. Some might argue that any hand is a playable small ball hand, but we're talking 9-2, 8-3, 7-2....for at least a good level I saw no face cards. So things start to get dicey again. We're at 4000-8000-400 and my M is dwindling. So starts my shove fest. Uncontested, I shoved with these hands unopened during the next level
People were getting sick of me, but no one would contest, which is really what I sorely needed. I didn't want to just cash this fucker, I wanted to go deep(28K first prize) but no one bit, not once. Then I went cold again, but judging from the tables breaking down I saw the bubble looming. Could I hold on to at least go home with something? Fuck that, I said. Who cares about the bubble. And those words, dear readers, is just how I roll.
I'm at about 5BB and I pretty much have to shove with any two, so I do that. Q10s came and I shoved, another short stack tables a8, and I don[t get there. Bang. 12 out of the money.
For over 700 runners I wasnt upset with my play, but I have to say it was especially harrowing and taxing. I've played many smaller tournaments and big events, but this experience was especially exhausting for some reason. I think that people are jyst plain getting better. As I shifted tables and went deeper, the play was pretty tough..tougher than I experienced in AC or Vegas. I've still not made a big cash in a big event(my ONLY cash coming at the Borgata Winter Open two years ago) although as the smaller tournaments go, in the about 15 tournaments I've played in a 3 yr period in AC and Vegas, I've cashed in 5 of them, and won 2 of them. Granted, that is just simply not enough tournaments to play for a decent result, and I've estimated my ROI to be at about 2-3%.
In today's aftermath I don't want to see a deck of cards or a poker table for a week. But just a week. I'll come back refreshed and ready to kick some ass at a later date.