Apart from chasing a first prize of $225K, my aim in this event was to try and obtain some TV exposure for Poker Plex. Apart from making the final nine, there was also the possibility of making the featured table. Having failed to do this at the Commerce - I was determined to hang on as long as possible.
First disappointment of the day, with five tables starting day two, I missed out on the featured table. I jokingly asked the production crew what it takes to get on the featured table -they just to told me to keep hanging on. Down to four tables. I miss out again. Down to three tables, I miss out again. Finally, down to two tables and I get my wish - Poker Plex could at last get some real exposure.
Just before this, with three tables remaining, my chip stack had not moved much - I was at around 25k. It was then a case of déjà vu with Cris Bigler. At the Commerce, with three tables remaining - Chris had limped in first position. Although I had a strong feeling that that he had done so with A-A, I committed myself to the hand by raising with QQ. Chris obviously re-raised and I eventually called after several minutes in the think tank. I hated that call at the time. I always try to trust my feelings. But somehow, I went against them that day.
Here at Bay 101, with blinds of 500-1000, Chris again limped in first position. This induced two further limpers before it was my turn to act. Looking at T-T, I decided to join the party and prayed for another Ten on the flop. No Ten came, but when everyone checked the flop of 6-6-4, I liked my hand. I bet 6000 and Chris Bigler moved all-in. Not again! Had he slow played A-A?
This was a test that I did not enjoy. And although everything suggested that he did in fact hold A-A, I pondered the call. Luckily, I took long enough to pick up a tell from Chris. I suddenly realized that he did not have the Aces. I called and Chris's A-K did not improve.
I arrived at the featured table with about 50K and some hope. This eventually grew to 84K as we made the final nine. Having gone through about nine hours of play without hardly any hands, I now needed some help as the chip leader had well over 330k. With seven remaining, I had not moved. The problem was that the blinds had now reached 3000-6000 with 1000 antes. It was a very bad time to go card dead. But someone has to finish on the bubble - it was just my turn.
Overall, days like these are tough to handle. When you can only count 4 hands during 10 hours of play - you know it's not your day. No gripe here - just fact. But I was not alone. Paul Wolfe had a similar story.
Paul was opposite to how I started. He had built up a nice stack early, and played it very well. But in the later stages, he had two unlucky hands that forced him to test his short-stack play. He did this with a great deal of skill. How ironic that when he finally moved all-in with A-K, he was faced with Q-Q and A-A.
There was also Steve Brecher, who probably had even less playable hands than I did. Full credit to him and his patience for finishing in 8th place.
I recall the interview afterwards - it seems that they expected a very disappointed poker player. But the truth was, I had probably played as well as any tournament that I had won. Sometimes, good performances go by un-rewarded - it happens in all sports. But guess in poker, it just happens more often and to more players.
Until next time - play well get lucky and enjoy life!
Peter "The Poet" Costa