Welcome back! Sorry this took a little longer then I expected, but I’m back to talk about my Day 2 at the Venetian $600. You can check out my Day 1 recap here.   Leading up to the restart, I was feeling great. I took a look at my seating draw, and saw that five of the top nine stacks were on my table, with three of them on my right. This meant that with a 17 big blind stack that I would have plenty of chances to three bet shove over a standard raise and pick up chips that way. I was feeling good, and ready to get it started!

I quickly took down two pots with standard preflop raises: believe with KQhh and AK to get up to 159,000, but on the third hand, A4, I was shipped on. Had to fold, and when the blinds went through me, I was back down to 122,000. I fall down to about 103,000, when the big hand happens. Guy made it 26,000 at 5k/10k (same guy who had JJ against my AA and AK against my QJ in Day 1), and I look down at two black jacks. Easy all in for me, and when it gets back to him, he makes the call. I flip my hand, and he shows KK. Ugh sick cooler. However, the dealer fans out the flop, and there’s  a JACK IN THE WINDOW! I get lucky, and hold to get up to 231,000!

The next big hand occurs with 21 people left. My stack is still around the same when I’m in the big blind. It folds all the way around to the small blind, a young kid who looks aggressive but has a short stack, and he makes it 22,000 to go. A couple orbits earlier, he shipped on me, so he changed it up this time. I look down at one ace….two aces!! Ok time to think. I have him covered by about 40,000. I decide to raise to 45,000. He could have literally anything, and I thought if he had a big hand, he would commit it pre. Well he does go all in, and I snap insta call. He has AJ, and I hold to get up to 368,000 with average at 297,000 and 19 players left!

I get moved to a very tough table, including the three guys I eventually get to four handed with. The German big stack is two to my left, Joe Kuether is in the middle, and I have position on a good Russian player. Ok here’s a big hand I’d like to discuss.  It folds around to the Russian on the button, and he makes a standard raise to around 26,000 at 6k/12k. I look down at A6dd in the small blind, and I decide to just call. I could three bet here, but the big blind has a stack of about 150,000, and has shown the desire to get it in. If I three bet and he shoves, I have to call off 150,000 drawing very thin likely. Big blind also calls, and the flop comes A59 with one diamond. Good flop but I check to see what the others do. It checks to the Russian, and he bets I believe like 30,000.  I have him covered by about 50,000, but rather then committing myself right now, I decide to just call. The big blind folds, and here’s my plan. If a six, diamond, or straight card comes on the turn, my plan is to check raise all in if he bets. Well the turn comes the 6c! I check to him, and he checks behind. Ugh! Probably missed a bet there. Now I want a non-scare card on the river, but of course, a 7 comes. This puts four to a straight out there, and reduces my hand to a check call. If I bet, and he raises, can I really call him off? I check, he fired 62,000, and I have to call. Just like I can’t call off his potential raise if I bet, I can’t just fold two pair here. He shows A8 for a straight, and I think I saved money by not betting the turn. If I did, he would have called with his ace and straight draw, then gotten more from me when he binked the river. This dropped me down to 227,000, back to below average.

After another orbit, I raise with A9 and it folds to the big blind, who moves all in for around 50,000. I make the call, and he says “I haven’t looked” and shows 53hh. I hold, and I’m up to 276,000 with 16 left: one more elimination to a pay jump. I then pulled a successful three bet squeeze after Kuether raised in early position, and a guy who had the tendancy to call weak called. I looked down at A10 off, and shoved, and both players folded. Kuether can raise light even in early position, and the other guy would have three bet with a big hand. He was the kind of player that would protect his hand if he loved it, so his call looked weak to me.

I get knocked down to about 280,000 thanks to the blind coming through me and getting reraised once or twice, when I double up with JJ vs AQ preflop. Pretty standard play, and the board ran down K10K107. Right after this, we lost the player in 11th place, and we consolidated to the final 10!

From this point,I stayed pretty quiet, and let the small stacks bust. Was more so due to a lack of cards then personal choice. The only hand I raised in the first 20 at the final table was with AK, and I got no action. A couple stacks busted, and we were down to 7 , with me sitting on 390,000. Average was about 750,000, so I needed a double!

I believe blinds were at 12k/24k when I open shoved all in for my last 380,000 in early position with KJdd. It folds to another short stack, who has me covered by 6,000, and he moves all in over the top. Not good. He shows AQ, and at least I’m live. We both hit the flop of QJ10, but he’s still out in front. I need an ace, jack, or a nine, and the turn is an eight. I’m ready to go home in seventh place, when the river comes a 99999999.  I get the double up to 860,000, and I’m above average again! I take a couple hands after that, and for the first time in a live tournament, I have one million chips in front of me. Or as Lil Wayne would put it “A Milli A Milli”. Or as Jerry Yang(who played in this tournament) would say “one mirrion”.

I was fairly card dead for most of the final table. Probably 75% of my hands had a 2-8 card in them, and I kind of had to just sit on my stack while we lost more players. Eventually, we were four handed, and I have no problems admitting that I was the fourth best player there. We had a German who had $220,000 in worldwide earnings, a Russian who had $450,000, and Joe Kuether, a guy who I covered on the Circuit and is a nasty player with over $800,000 in worldwide earnings. I wasn’t intimated at the table, I just didn’t have many cards to play with.

We had a chance to get down to three, but Joe’s 9’s lost to the Russian’s A10. We took a break, and Joe and I noticed that if I double through him, everyone’s stacks would be virtually even at 1.4 million. A four way chop at that point would have been worth $26,000, so that’s what I had on my mind after break. On the first hand of the restart, Joe makes a standard raise to 80,000, and I look down at A6ss in the small blind. I move all in for 800,000, and he snap calls with 55. The board bricked out, coming something like 109994 I think. Looking back on it, I definetely could have just taken a flop there, and maybe waited for a better spot to get it in. On the same note though, I was a coin flip away from an even chip stack, so I can’t complain about that, plus playing out of position against Kuether is something I was actively trying to avoid, especially since i was on his direct left the whole final table.

I end up getting 4th for $13,505. I tweeted after that I had 0 complaints, and it was true. It was probably hte happiest I’d ever been after a bustout. I was walking away with good money, and I ran well the whole tournament. I lost a flip for my chips, and was up against players that were better then me. So I was at peace with my finish.

That does it for me here! Thanks for keeping up with everything, and I’m looking forward to making another post after a deep run at the Legends of Poker in LA next month! Thanks for reading, and as always, I’d love your feedback in the comments or in email at kevinjtay@gmail.com. Thanks again!