Striking a little gold in Tunica
I drove over to the Grand Casino, wandered up to that poker room. Two tables there were going, but they looked like they were full of gray hairs that knew what they were doing. Not much money to be squeezed from them, I didn't suppose. Plus the lady behind the poker counter was on the phone the entire time I was there, waiting. I eventually went downstairs to blow the free $5 in slot play they give new cardholders.
I came back to Gold Strike just before 11 a.m. when the tourney started. I had horrible hiccups the entire first few rounds. In the 45-player tournament, I didn't see anyone really imposing- mainly locals who were mainly retirees. Good folk, but no Phil Ivey-types.
The Early Bird tourney is nearly like a shootout. Blinds go up every 10 minutes, so it's not too long before you're facing the move-in zone (5x the bb). Luckily, I won every race I was in. My first one, early on, I raised all-in with KQs utg. I was called by JJ and caught a K on the river. The next time, I went all-in in late position with 33 vs limpers. One guy called, exposing a 3 of spades while another guy was thinking. The other guy folded. I flopped a set of 3s and went on to make a flush with the 3 of diamonds.
When there were two tables left, I was forced to go all-in in late position with KTo. The bb only had to call for 2,000 more. He had K2s and I won the hand! Next, I was in the bb for 2,000 chips and an utg player called with AJo. But the sb only had 3,000 and went all-in for 1,000 more. I was like "Crap!" -- I had 23o and I was forced to call. I only had 3,000 in chips left. But I flopped a 3, pushed all in, and then the utg called. I made 2 pair on the turn- with lowly 23o! The mouse that roared!
That brought me to the final table. A local with the chip lead suggested that instead of having only the top 8 spots play, it was only fair that $50 be deducted from first and second and be given to 9th and 10th. Yes! In the money!
I was perpetually the short stack and when the blinds were 2,000/4,000 I pushed my remaining 7,000 in chips with A7o. An early position player called me with A6s. Domination! I won that hand and crippled the guy, who later busted out.
Soon I had made it to 6th and was really feeling aggressive. People were letting raisers win preflop pots. I felt I only had to be careful for the gray-hair rock to my left who kept destroying people with premium hands. At this point, if I busted out, I'd win $141.
But then the chip leader who suggested that 9th and 10th get payouts suggested we chop- he said "Give me $100 more and we can chop the rest." Everyone agreed, ending the game. We turned in our orange chips and 2-6 received $323- not bad for this little tournament!
It was my third final table for these daily tournaments (I made final tables at the Sahara and the former Horseshoe in Las Vegas last year) and I was really happy for the boost to my cash bankroll while here!