Hello Folks, writing this blog about the APT Manila journey and about a few other things happening around since I became a pro at PokerBaazi.com, India’s most trusted poker website. After putting in a fair bit of time training and planning for the Vegas summer it was a bit disappointing to pull out of world’s premier event due to some personal reasons, but if someone had told me that if I skip WSOP I would FT the APT main, I would have taken it any day happily. Many congratulations to the big Indian contingent for the scores this summer in Vegas as well as for the sweat they gave the rail back home and for carrying our national flag high in such a premier event.
We reached Manila around 1.30 in afternoon only to be told near the luggage collection area by an officer that our luggage didn’t reach Manila from Malaysia and that skipped my heartbeat. Finding clothes my size in Manila would have been close to impossible but luckily they said I should be able to collect at the airport in a few hours. I went direct to the venue and registered for the 500$ bounty event. After a long grind and two bullets, we exited 66th out of 128 odd runners without a bounty when our boat was smaller than villains. Collected the luggage, had some Indian food at a friends canteen very far from the hotel we were staying at and checked in for what was a good rest before the main day 1A the next day.
Day 2 (Main 1 A)
Picked up the seating card and started the event from level 1 only to be busted out early at level 2 where we had marked a particular Korean player to chip up and bloated the pot OOP and did every possible mistake on the hand. The structure was very deep with 50k starting stack and we had 500 BBs to play with. The busto hand: UTG we 4 bet with 9J hearts and made the pot HU with the Korean player who was playing very fishy and aggressive.On a flop of Qd Kd 8h, we threw in a c bet of 5200 into a 6k plus pot only to be tank called by the villain. The turn was a 10d, which completed our gut shot as well as completed FD’s. We again bet 25k leaving behind about 6k, trying to represent the flush, only to be jammed by villain which we obviously called to be taken down by 56d for a completed flush draw, which meant we were drawing dead and just busted the main event in a worst possible style of play.
Was on obvious tilt, discussed the hand with Jasven, Paawan, Bblack and Bhalla, who not only gave a piece of mind but also some motivational words for the second bullet. Went out for a bit and took rest overnight which now was becoming a very serious second bullet.
Day 3 (Main 1 B)
The event was starting at 1pm. Went to the venue at around 2.45 pm to late reg strategically and also to be fresh for what was going to be tough long high-octane poker for the rest of the day. Entered the event towards the close of level 2 and was in a sick table of sorts with Team PKC pros Mark Rivera and Ed on our table. Played some solid poker for the first two levels and had chipped up a bit only to bleed a bit and fold two massive hands back to back when our turned nuts changed on the river in two consecutive hands. By now Rivera on seat 9 was bossing and took the role of table captain. The decisive hand of the day was when Rivera opened 1500 at 300-600 level from UTG making his hand very big to be 3bet by a Japanese player on seat 2 to 3250 and we, at seat 5, 4bet to 7400 with AKd to be flat called by the two players. The flop came 9 6 2 all diamonds giving us the stone cold nuts to come to us checked by the other two players. After laying down two big pots previously on the river and a bit of tilt acting after the hand, knew to an extent that Rivera is going to target us. When it came checked to us and already pot having close to 22k, we bet a very fishy 2300 to try and induce a raise/jam and ola! UTG snap jammed to only see the Japanese player snap fold and for us to snap call. He had JJ over pair plus a J high FD. He had us covered by more than twice and a good double up meant we kept picking spots rest of the day and eliminating a few short stacks in the last level. We finished day1b as second in chips and 3rd from both starting flights put together. We finished day 1 b close to 190k and 3/65 out of the survivors.
Day 4 (Main day 2)
With new table draw for table 2, we started the day as table captain and had Yori, the current APT POY leader for 2016, to our immediate left. Some run good and value bets kept us climbing up pretty consistently in the first two levels only to have a lull period in the middle and drop down the ranks and also being moved to few tables before finding a seat back in our days starting table where we picked up aces in BB. The hand went like this.
3000-6000 blinds MP aggressive reg makes it 15k, we at BB, make it 31000 for the aggressor to call us and flop runs Kc 2c X. We bet 31000 and the villain snap raises to 62000. After a bit deliberation, we shoved remaining 170k chips eliminating KK from his range and putting him on AK, which he snapped and making our ranging right and sky rocketing our chip count to top 5 out of about 30 players left. We were supposed to play down to ITM (18) or end of level 18 whichever was first. We kept picking spots and applying bubble pressure towards the end to bag what was 621k + and returning to what looked like a tough final 18 battle at rank 4.
Day 5 (Main day 3)
We returned to the final two tables. In a matter of 3 levels, we were down to the unofficial final table of 10 players and us sitting comfortably in the middle of the pack. With some FT pressure by Lyn Tran, we were down to 8 players after an hour or so of intense high-octane poker. We finished the day at 362k if not for the last 20 minutes, which were brutal for us. There were spots which we couldn’t avoid. J 8 on SB and a battle with big blind on a board J 2 6 J k only for our trips to be beaten by villains J 10 kicker and again for our top set (KK) to be beaten by runner runner straight for what had the potentials of being a chip-lead pot. Thanks to our small ball strategy, we survived and bagged 361k at 8k-16k blinds and 6 out of 8 remaining runners.
Day 6 (Main day 4 Final)
After a good meal, some rest overnight and responding to a lot of good luck messages from the best rail ever from back home, discussed a bit of player ranges with KP, Dirty who have their own legacy in Manila. Got on a quick call with Jasven, who from being a good friend also doubles up as a mentor. We were all set for what is by far the biggest day in my Poker journey. The RFID table, the lightings, the buzzing media presence, the introduction and few poker businesses approaching me to wear their patch on my shirt made me understand how big this stage was. Having the chip leader to our immediate left and two aggressive chip leaders in the eventual winners and the only lady in the table meant we never defended even our blinds the whole of first two levels. A little bit of ICM suicide and some good short stack maneuvering by us saw us finish in top 3 of the APT Main. Big thanks to the awesome rail online from back home and Piyush and Sam Razavi at the venue. After being eliminated in the third place, went to the organizers desk to sit down and collect my winning voucher only to realize I had tears rolling down my cheeks, the feeling was different and was a bit disappointed I could not go HU and sit on that RFID table with the Indian Flag by our side. This motivated me to come back to the venue next day in spite of being superbly tired to play the Hyper Turbo and ship it with the Indian Flag flying high. #lungi and my first title on a foreign soil and having gone past Kochesi Team Poker Star Pro from Japan was another satisfying point in this Lungi’s diary. Until next time with more WILL, its over and out.
BAAZIGAR VIKRAM KUMAR #LUNGI