Well I started Sunday off at the Hazel Park Raceway for their poker tournament. Hazel Park is about 15 minutes north of Detroit. It was a $250 buyin and had 78 people in the tournament. We start with 10,000 in chips. I knew the guy on my left who is pretty good and the guy to his left looks very familiar. After awhile I figure based on a missing front tooth he is Darren McCarty who played in the NHL for 15 years with most of those with the Detroit Red Wings. I really liked watching him play hockey.
I am on the button and we are at 50/100 with when I look down at KK in an unraised pot and decide to just raise my standard 2.5 times the BB to 250. Darren reraises me to 1250 which is just a huge raise at this level. I think that he is pretty strong here and I am hoping for AK or QQ. His range could be lower though or be on a total bluff thinking that I am just trying to steal from him. He has not played any significant hands yet. I decide to reraise and go allin. With him being a celebrity I think he might just call me with a weaker hand or with QQ or AK. I do think that reraising less than allin is an option but I am thinking that there is a good chance that I can get his whole stack. I think the allin might also appear weak to him like I am just trying to muscle him off the pot. If he does fold I will find out that he is a poker player and can then adjust my game accordingly to him later. He went into the tank for quite awhile and then ended up folding. He might have mucked AK face up on the table but I can’t remember for sure. So I just mucked my KK without showing it to him. Ok he is a player and can fold a hand. He is here to do well. The one thing I didn’t factor into the equation is that he might not have wanted to bust out of the tournament so early to sort of save face. Anyway I won a big pot early and learn a lot about Darren. About an hour later we are talking and he mentions the AK and I told him I just want to find out if he was a poker player or a celebrity sitting at the table and told him I had KK. I had worked my chips up to about 15,000 but am pretty card dead and then lose a big pot to younger kid at the table with a lot of chips who just kept raising. Then at 300/600 the blinds shift down to 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes. So I know I have to start moving some chips. I am in the BB and Darren min raises to 1200 and two other people call. I look down at 86off and decided to call 600 more with like 7.5 to 1 on another 600 leaving me 7000 more. I didn’t want to make the call but I did it for the math. Anyway the flop comes 457 rainbow. Wow I flop the nut straight. I check Darren bets I think it was 2250 the other two players fold. I cut out the 2250 and see that I have like 5000 left and decide to make it look weak and just put it all in like I have no other option. Darren goes into the tank for awhile and eventually calls. I think he had AQ and was basically drawing dead so I double up to around 17k. A couple of hands later we are still at 300/600, I look down see Ah9h and decide to raise to 1500. Darren calls. Flop comes 10,x,x with two hearts. So I have the nut flush draw and decide to bet 2500. Darren min raises me to 5000 and I immediately go allin. I figure that it will be tough for Darren to call since many hands can beat whatever he has. I have already shoved allin on him twice with better hands than he had. I have him covered by only 1400 chips so he is also playing for his tournament life. Also if he does call I still could win the pot with any heart or maybe an ace if that card is live. He goes into the tank for a long time and eventually calls and shows A, 10. Bummer my ace is not live. The turn is a 9 so I get two more outs but don’t hit one of the 11 outs I have and am crippled. Looking back on the hand I would still play that the same way. It is aggressive to a point but the time had come to accumulate chips or leave so I went for it. He could easily have folded and I would have a lot of chips or I could have hit one of my outs. A couple of hands later I look down and see Ad6d and shove my 1400 chips in. Darren hesitates for a minute and I say come on and call that way it will give me a good story I can tell everyone you busted me. So he calls along with the kid. Bummer I just want one caller. Anyway flop comes with a 6 and no one bets. The As comes on the turn giving me two pair. Darren checks the kid bets 600 and Darren calls. I think I might have the best hand at this point. The river is a third spade and Darren and the kid check. Darren flips over 3s4s and wins with a flush and I am out. Bummer. Anyway I had a good time talking to Darren and really liked him. I wished him good luck shook his hand and left.
At this point on the way to the car I am a little bummed and really wanted to play more poker. I decide to head down to Greektown Casino in Detroit and play in the Sunday night tournament since it was only 15 minutes away. The tournament was a $100 buyin and ended up getting 64 players. I had probably one of the roughest table draws that I have ever had. The kid on my right is a very good maniac. The two players on my left are very good players that I have played with a lot before. If I had to say who the best two players in the tournament of who I knew before the tournament they were the two people on my left. I was pretty handcuffed and card dead for a lot of the tournament. Then the maniac kid on my right makes this raise to about 2200 which is half my stack. He has been doing this a lot. I look down and see JJ. I decide to just call and see what the flop brings. The flop is 9s, 8s, 5s and the kid shoves allin. I have the Js and decide this is the hand to go with and call. The kid flips over 10x, 10 of spades. The turn comes with a 10 giving him a set and I just look at the board stunned. This kid has been just sucking out on everyone for most of the tournament. The river comes with a spade and I win with a flush. Wow I can’t remember the last time I resucked out on someone in the same hand. Cool I have a bunch of chips now. I continue to be card dead then the guy on my left gets busted. Then a woman gets put on my left and I think won every pot the two of us were in. The only one I caught cards against was her. We get down two the final two tables I still have Mark two to my left and the maniac kid on my right. I ended up winning a couple of pots to just survive and make the final table. At the final table I drew the button which helped with the high blinds. Like the third hand the woman I have been getting the best of goes all in. She is by far the shortest stack at the table. There might be one other person with a smaller stack than me. I look down at AK and decide to just shove it allin since most of the chips at the table were the three players to my left. I think one of them might call thinking I was just trying to isolate. Mark the guy who was two to my left most of the tournament decided to call. He had AJ suited. The woman who was all in had A3 and my hand held and I had a bunch of chips. I just kind of waited for the small stacks to get busted I ended up knocking out two more myself with AQ and JJ. Somehow we got down to three handed with the maniac on my right who is pretty much just going allin every hand. He ending getting caught on a very large allin with J4 off suit by AK. Of course he hit a 4 on the river to bust the other guy. There is also a very tight kid on my left who is very nervous like he has never been at a final table before. He is almost never putting any chips in the pot. Anytime the maniac folds I try to go allin on the tight kid. Then the maniac goes allin and I look down at JJ and decide to call. The maniac has 9c5c and I double through him. At this point the maniac and I have most of the chips in play. We just have to wait a couple of rounds until the tight kid goes in and the maniac busts him. At this point it is almost 1:00am and I have to work in the morning and I ask the maniac if he wants to just chop since we are close in chips. There is a $1000 difference between 1st and 2nd and I don’t really want to play a coin flip for a $1000. I am OK with playing but I do know that I will play it to win so it is going to take awhile probably a couple of hours. He decides to chop and we each get $1632. Not a bad day. I have chopped for the win for both tournaments that I have played at the Greektown casino this year. Maybe I need to play there more often.