I was in Vegas for four weeks and now back to Finland a few days ago. The trip was good, had success in the games and good times outside the tables. I was supposed to play 4 events but ended up playing just two. I started with the 10k PLO championship which went really well, I finished 2nd, Ben Lamb getting the bracelet. He is having an amazing world series and nothing seems to be stopping him. Sick results and now even the Main Event final. I think he is a good player and I wish him best of luck in the November nine.
Let's journey back and see if I can still remember what happened along the way in the PLO event. A little bit before the money bubble I managed to get one of the top stacks in the tournament. Obviously in PLO the stack goes up and down constantly but I was in a pretty good shape all the way from that. I was all-in once with just a gutshot when there was about 8 players left. UTG limped in (I actually missed that,there was just one big blind so I thought the limp was BB) and I had KK95 on the button. The blinds were so huge (Average was like 22bb) and I didn't have too big stack at this moment so I could commit myself by raising the pot. I made it 175k (25k/50k blinds), actually I could've made it 200k but still thought I was against SB and BB but no big deal, wouldn't really change anything (I wouldn't think that particular guy would limp aces and 25k doens't make much difference). The flop came 568 rainbow. Both checked to me and I had less then the pot left, I pretty much have to go with it and hope they haven't flopped set or straight. Ben Lamb called me and the UTG guy limper mucked. Unfortunately Ben flopped the small straight (74xx) and I had only 3 outs. The magical 7 came right away on the turn, but still had to sweat for his... I think 7 outs (two pair and gutter for a nine) but he missed. I think from this hand I had it in good every time and won all except the last one. When the heads up started between me and Ben he had 6.65 million against my 4.18m. I grinded a few pots and we were soon almost even before thefinal hand. I minraised the button (like I did with every hand I played, we were about 50bb deep) with a really nice hand AQK7 double suited and Ben called. The flop was A93 rainbow. Ben check-called my continuation bet on the flop and the turn Qs gave me top 2 pair. It also opened backdoor spades. He checked and I bet again. He tanked a bit and then asked how much I had and then quickly announced "pot". I knew he could've slowplayed a set of 3's or 9's like this, but the quick potsized raise definitely got me thinking he is on a draw. Not that it really matters, I probably have no way out anyways with 50bb deep with top two but now I was sure what I want to do. Still didn't feel too good to put it in with just top two but had to do it. Ben called the rest and showed 6542 with spades, giving him 40% with the nut low at the moment. I couldn't stop the Ben-run on the river when 5d landed filling up his straight. Sick 60% for bracelet + additional $310k, doesn't happen every day. In fact, I might never be that close to a bracelet anymore (can't get much closer really). To be honest, he would've had like 1/10 of all chips if he lost so he would've still had a small chance to win if I won the pot. The river didn't come my way this time, but I don't feel too bad about it. Obviously I ran good until that and 2nd place (and $503k) is great too.
The second tournament I was supposed to play was 10k 6-handed NL, but it was already started when we finished the PLO, and I definitely didn't feel like starting another one yet so it was easy to skip that. Unlike Ben, who I guess saw his chances to win the player of the year title and went straight to that one. And it was the right decision.
I skipped the 5k NL triple chance too, just didn't feel like going and was just going to focus on the Main Event. A couple of interesting hands that comes to my mind: First one was on day 1. On 100/200 level an active young player opens to 450, one guy calls in position and I put the extra 250 in the middle with my Kh8d. The flop comes AKJ with two spades. Check-check to the last player who bet. I thought I shouldn't call (and almost never do in this spot) but it looked like an automatic bet in position which I've seen before from the same guy. And I wasn't too worried about the guy in between us. I made the call and so did the original raiser. This was not good news. The turn was Q of spades and I realized I must represent flush/straight if I want the pot. I bet 2400 (into like 3700) the first one called and the guy in position mucked. Maybe I was right about him not having it, maybe not. That didn't matter anymore, I had to worry about the other guy. He called my bet pretty quickly and I put him on AT/AQ, maybe KQ/QQ. The river was meaningless red 7. I knew he had a strong hand but I didn't think he had a flush. He is going to fold two pair and a set if I bet, but if I bet big enough I think he will not call with a straight either. I shouldn't have any bluffs at this spot, I represent flush and I pretty much have to have it after this kind of action. I bet about 13700 (into 8500 or so). He thought about it a bit and then open folded 96 of spades. The third nut flush! That is beyond sick, right. That was not the hand I tried to outplay for sure. I guess it might be actually a good laydown there, my betsize sure represents nut/second nut flush more that a smaller one. But I'm sure he didn't feel too good when I said "big laydown" and showed him the 8 of hearts.
Another interesting hand was an important hand on day 6 (my last day of the Main). UTG opens, I call from CO with KcQc and button calls too, the blinds fold. The flop is A92 with two clubs. UTG makes a small C-bet, I call and button folds. The turn is 4, the flush doesn't fill up. We go check-check. The river is a Queen. He bets out 250k leaving 400k+ behind. I put him on AK/AJ/AT. I decided to put him all-in (I had about 400k more than him). Not a standard play for sure, and pretty dangerous. I did this for a few reasons. First of all, I slowplayed a set earlier and I'm sure he remembers it. I opened with 33, two callers behind and flop came 843. I check-called and after that we checked it down all the way on turn 8 and river 6. This is of course a totally different kind of spot but it shows that I at least sometimes slowplay big hands and it gives me some credit on this spot hopefully. Other reason for this play is that I had more chips than him and therefore I don't risk my tournament life completely with this bluff. And third of all people don't want to bust at this point of the Main Event. He knows that I might bluff here and there aren't that many hands I can have that beats AK/AJ/AT which I was hoping he'd have. But he knows that he can only beat a bluff there and I hoped it looked enough like "no one would be crazy enough to bluff here when I have this little chips left". I guess the most likely value hand I'd have here would be AQ. I could also have slowplayed QQ, Q9s or a checked-behind-set (which doesn't really make much sense but still possible). Well, he didn't take much time before calling with AQ. That is sick that he has the hand that I'm supposed to have. If he had a set or called down with one pair that would've been OK, but that was sick when I had the blocked Q for that hand as well. I don't regret that play but this is the one thing that I could've done differently. I still think he would've ended up laying down AK/AJ/AT but now I can't never know for sure.
After this I had only a little over 10 big blinds left. I survived another half an hour or so without getting any hands to go in with. I picked up like a suited ace but then there was a raise and an all-in before me so couldn't do anything. Then I was UTG+1 with 7bb and peeled a K5o. I couldn't survive the blinds anymore and it was better than average (better than shoving any two on next hand) so I moved all-in. The button tanked awhile and then called with A7s (the blinds folded). It was good and correct call by him giving my situation but it seemed like he almost let it go. The flop was Q85, I hit a king of the turn but he picked up a flush draw. He made the flush on the river and I busted 111th. Unfortunately Jens Kyllönen busted almost the same time (113th), from about average stack and there were no finnish players in top 100 this year. At least we got $55k. I'm not too greedy, I'm quite happy with that giving that I have been doing really well in tournaments this year.
Tournaments are nice when you run good, and exhausting when you run bad for a long time (I don't play that many tournaments so the long run is REALLY long). Finally, after a few years of live tournaments I have gotten some nice results and I'm looking forwards to the upcoming tournaments later on this year. There is EPT Tallinn and Barcelona which I think I'll play. There is Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, WSOPE (also in Cannes this year) and perhaps WPT Paris unless it overlapses with another one.