Friday was the $1500 NL at the Bellagio. I arrived around 11:55, having never had a problem registering at a Bellagio tournament before. Of course I had never played a $1500, so it was very busy and I ended up 38th alternate. I wasn't seated until 9:00 left in the first level. The first pot I played was when a LP player open limped, the button made it 150, and I defended the BB with T9. The limper called and the flop was T94, it was checked around. The turn was a 7, I lead for 325, both players fold.
A few hands later I am on the button with 54 and limp behind a bunch of limpers. The flop is KQ7 rainbow and its checked around. The turn was a 6, and the BB lead out, one other player called, and I called. The turn was an 8 it was checked to me, I bet and they both folded. So I was up to almost 3700 or so at that point from my 3000 starting stack.
During level 2 (50-100 blinds), David Matthews open limped UTG. The player to my right also limped, I made it 550 with AsKs, folds to Matthews who jams for 1050 total. The other limper folds and I of course call and he has AhQx. The flop is all hearts with a queen, and obviously I lose the hand. I've played with Matthews twice and I have yet to be impressed with how he has played one single pot. You know, its only 1050 chips, but instead of 4700 I have 2700, and I spend the rest of the 50/100 level just blinding away, until I have 2025 going into the 100/200 level. Now I'm in push or fold mode, but when you are at exactly 10 big blinds with no antes, its very hard to justify being real push happy. Ideally you'd like to push in overtop of a raise with a monster hand and be isolated against one player that might have a pretty big range of hands. So I basically folded a lot of hands, down to about 1600 or so, I did open jam with QJ and won the blinds... Then I blinded down a bit more, again to 1600. A player limped under the gun for 200 and I had K9 and decided to go with it. He figures to have a lot of small pairs here as well as JT/QJ type hands, and I think he might fold a lot of the time. Of course, he insta calls with KQ and IGHN.
Today's $2000NL was even worse. I never found a rhythym at all. We were playing 5 handed at first, and the 5 seat opens for 250 and I fold QTs behind. Later, on the button, he opens for 325, and I fold A8s in the BB. I'm not sure about this. It seems obvious that these could be dominated hands , and not worth putting like 8% of my stack in preflop with. But when things are going bad maybe I have to re-evaluate ??? So, finally it folds to me and I have KQ and open for 150, and the BB makes it 550 and I fold. The next hand, I get AQ and make it 150, an Asian player behind makes it 775 and I fold. Am I running into aces every hand or playing way too tight? So maybe 5 hands later, the very active 5 seat makes it 225 after a limper. In the SB, I make it 725 with AK. He thinks for a bit and makes it 1500 more. I think the previous hands of folding to the re-raises and how active this player was already really factored in, I ended up jamming which is probably a marginal play, and of course he has two aces and I bust.
I'm really struggling in these preliminary events. I have never cashed in one, and I just feel lost. When the structures are bad (Bellagio smaller events and the World Series events), it feels like I am playing too tight, but whenever I loosen up I get punished. Maybe its just running bad, but I'm sure my play can improve also. Anyway, tomorrow is $2500NL hopefully that goes better.