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A Not So Triumphant Return

December 19, 2008

Just a few days after donking my way to fourth place with a group of poker bloggers at the Venetian, I found myself back in ornate poker room with a stack of tournament chips in my hand. This time though, things didn’t work out as well.

I hadn’t been planning on playing the Venetian tonight and was, in fact, on my way to the Hard Rock to check out their new nightly deep stack tourney. But plans change. While navigating my way toward the Strip, my friend Brian called to tell me about a special event at the Venetian. $100 buy-in. 220 players max, and special bounty prizes for things like getting quads, royals, and winning at showdown with the Hammer.

OK, I’m in.

Since I was already on my way, I reached the Venetian with nearly 90 minutes to kill before the tourney kick-off at 8PM. What to do? Play $2/$5, of course. I quickly bought in with $500 and realized I was just about the shortest stack on the table. These guys must have been playing for hours, as the average stack looked to be somewhere in the neighborhood of two grand. Despite the big stacks, however, play was pretty tight with only one player getting felted during my time at the table when his nut-flush draw failed to hit against a set of 8s. I played about five pots and walked away with a small profit – enough to cover my tourney buy-in and an extra $80 bucks in pocket cash. Not great, but certainly not bad.

After cashing out, I wandered over to my tournament table where I was met with usual assortment of locals and visitors. The woman in the two seat looked like somebody’s wife who was playing her first-ever event. The guy in the 3 seat was doing a full on Hellmuth; glasses, hat, black and yellow clothing. An obvious fanboy who copied his idol’s prickish behavior to a T, including berating a fellow player for enticing him into a call by over-betting the pot with a made full house. It was beautiful and I’m only sorry I didn’t get involved in a pot with him.

As for me, I played fairly well, but got myself in trouble with a nut flush draw of my own as the blinds started climbing. After flat calling pre-flop with A-8 clubs on the button, my opponent bet out 1,000 on a 7-high board with two clubs. After brief consideration, I raised to 3,200. My opponent tanked for about 45 seconds before making the call.

When the four of hearts fell on the turn, he pushed and, being committed at that point, I called. He turned up 7-4 off-suit for two pair and hit his boat on the river for good measure. Ah well. Having decided that I’m still not a huge fan of the Venetian’s poker room, I decided to pocket my small profit and call it a night. Tomorrow, the Hard Rock. Maybe.

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