My friends and I got into Lima the day before Day 1 of the Main Event and stayed at Hotel Estelar (which was across the street from where the tournament was being held). I ended up sleeping pretty badly that night because our room was facing a street that was very loud with traffic both late at night and early in the morning.
Despite sleeping badly, I felt fine the morning of Day 1. After some breakfast, we went across the street to Atlantic City Casino and went upstairs to find our tables.
Dealing with the Language Barrier
I discovered right away that only a small number of dealers spoke English and that everything at the table was in Spanish. I know this shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but I assumed that the dealers would at least be able to speak English if necessary. This was not the case.
The only time the language was a big problem for me was when someone threw out a single large chip and I didn’t know what the amount of the bet or raise was because I didn’t understand what the dealer said.
As time went on at my table, I figured out which players spoke English and they were able to help me when necessary.
As far as actual poker went, my stack stayed the same for almost the entire day. The structure of the tournament was quite good, so the 20k starting stack didn’t start to become shallow until multiple hours into the event. I went up to 30k and back down to 20k multiple times. At one point I think I got as low as 11k chips at 300/600 ante 100.
My table wasn’t extremely tough, but the worst players got busted during the first half of the day. I could tell by raise and bet sizing that most of the people at my table were at least competent, and I remember thinking that I would love a table change.
I also knew that my table was never breaking, though, and that I was almost certainly going to be stuck there until the end of the day.
First Double of the Day
I finally doubled my starting stack around 7 hours into the tournament. I raised K9 in middle position, got called by two players and was treated to a flop of KKT rainbow.
I made a small bet on the flop, and then check/called both the turn and river until I was all-in. I’m fairly sure my opponent mucked a T.
My stack was 41k at the last break which wasn’t overly impressive but still above average in chips. At this point my night of bad sleep was beginning to catch up with me, and I was starting to feel pretty tired. I remember level 9 going by extremely slowly.
I still managed to increase my stack, though. I got up to 52k chips by raise/calling preflop with KJ, calling a QJx flop, checking behind a flush draw turn, and making a small value bet on the river.
Then during the last level of play, I raised as many hands as possible because the pots were huge thanks to 200 antes at 600/1200 blinds. Add in the fact that many people were mentally checking out since it was so close to the end of the Day 1, and it was wildly profitable to raise a wide range at my table.
Reviewing for Mistakes
I played one hand particularly poorly during the last level on Day 1. One of the stronger players at my table min-raised in late position with around 28k in his stack, and I flatted in the big blind with T9.
The flop came K77. I checked, and my opponent checked behind. The turn was a K, I checked again, and my opponent also checked again. The river was some small card and I made a bet that was slightly over pot sized. My opponent tanked for several minutes and finally made the correct call with QJ.
The way I played the hand was unfortunate because my opponent’s stack would have allowed me to bet the turn and then overbet bluff shove the river. He would have had to fold almost everything if I’d played it like that, and I instantly knew I made a mistake when I checked the turn.
Nevertheless, I finished the day with 64k, which was just above an average stack. Overall I was pretty happy with the way I played for most of the day, and I was glad to have an average stack considering I sat on starting stack for 7 levels. 122 of us made Day 2, and 56 players were scheduled to make the money.