A trip to Atlantic city yielded a $65NL at Bally's and a $120NL at Borgata. The Borgata was the superior structure, and I had >20 big blinds all the way down. At Bally's, I was playing "situational" poker, just knowing when to play a hand and when not to. When you are not deep, this is a big skill. But alas, I only could finish at about the 20% mark. I dont think there was a single memorable hand.
The $120NL at Borgata was a different story. 150 runners + rebuys through level 6 put total buy-ins at 210 or so. I was at table 4, so I got to study opponents. most were simply OK locals. But the guy 2 to my left was a weird duck. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but later it hit me. He was playing the Kill Phil strategy. He would call from OOP and if the flop had no card Jack or Higher, he would shove and each time take down the pot. Later in the tournament with about 34 left (so we are 8 handed), I raise from the button with KdTdand he calls from the BB. Flop is 8d9d3s and he shoves with little hesitation. I look again at my hand of two overs and a flush draw and figure I am in ok shape if he actually hit anything here. I have $50k behind (avg is about that) and he had about $45k, but was playing as if he had about half that. I figure its not that often I am going to catch a guy shoveling in that many chips as we get close to the point where I want to make a final run. If I take down this pot, I'll have $110k when the avg is half that. I call. He shows Js6s for a Stone Cold NADA. Turn is a black seven and the river is a black Ten and he one-card-straights me to short-stacks ville. Interestingly enough, I refused to die and made the money! With 26 left, I shoves my AdQd into what turned out to be 33 and that sent me packing. Winning that had would have restored me to avg.
Happy with my play, I came home to play in the Monthly Foley league and felt good going into an event that historically I just cant concentrate at. But today I did. Entire night, I got my money in behind just twice: 6 handed I ran AQ in AA and because of that and a short stack, I had a steal go GOOD, where Any Two came from behind to beat a solid BB calling hand. Even after the AA crippling, I refused to die (as it should be) and in the end it took an AJ to come from behind to knock me out holding AQ. The difference in this game, was timing. I choose the 2 or 3 spots that I ran scary bluffs very well, and got away with the ones I needed to get away with. Sometimes you can put you opponent on a hand. Good for you. I really want to get better at that part of the game more than any other. But I am a savant at situational awareness, understanding how a bet size in relation to the table and your stack tells a story, as does your timing and other ancillary information.
Ok, having patted myself on the back, here is the silliest blunder ever. I am concentrating so hard, I completely flam-boozle myself. I raise with QcJc and guy on my right calls. The flop is AcKcXc, so I flop the nuts. wow. I bet and then watch him carefully as he thinks. I am starting at his hands and thinking about his decision time. Its longer than I expect and what does this mean? Probably if he calls, I can make a value bet on the turn, but how much. He folds. Ok. I am in the 9 seat and move my cards towards the dealer and go to rake the pot. The dealer stops me and I look over to the left and a player had RAISED me after I bet on the flop! I did not know we were even 3 handed! (I hate the 9 hole). So I take my cards back and he protests that they were mucked. Now they had not touched other cards in the muck, nor had the dealer touched them, so I felt I was good in picking them up. We saw FAR WORSE in the WSOP last year. Director agreed and I call.
But something happens in my brain and I BLANK OUT for a moment. He bets and I call and sit there waiting for the last street. Then I look again and there is a full board out there! He turns over 44 for a bluff and I turn over the nuts! No raise (penalty in the WSOP) and no explanation to give. Players tell me when I turned over the QJ, my face was so sullen that assumed I had lost. But then why would I call with Q high? More hilarity ensued, well after I racked the pot. How I got so lost is unknown, but later because I mishear a "call", I'll slow roll someone with KK. He had actually shoved and I had not looked at my cards yet. So I had to look (but everyone assumed I already had looked). Thus, the perceived slow-roll. More fun.
In the end, I finished 4th and even then it took AQ making the dreaded counterfit 2 pair with Ace kicker on my 44 to knock me out.
I am going to take some time to reflect on why I was so in the zone this week and concentrate on that in all upcoming events. Including a 90 field $200NL MTT next weekend.