Monday, December 19, 2005

A Bit Off the Snide

It has continued to be a rocky road for me lately, particularly online. I helped myself a bit on Friday night late: with Weak Player sweating me, I managed to finish 13th out of 421 in a 50+5 on Stars. I suffered a very nasty bad beat at the end--QQ losing to 55. I would have most likely made the final table with some very large cash prizes, but I can't really complain as I had enjoyed one major suckout to survive that far (KT cracking AT).

Bad beats in smaller tournaments on Saturday had me far down including an insane post-flop call of a check RE-raise: board 7-8-T two hearts, 1400 in pot (200-400 blinds), I checked, villain bet 800 with 20,000 behind, other victim with 25,000 behind raised to 3500, I went 11000 all-in, villain called, other victim put villain all in and villain called. I had flopped top straight with J9 off (big blind), other victim second straight (dead on main pot except 3 chop outs, very live in side pot) with 69c, villain top pair with a jack kicker and a 3-out gutshot (only to a chop on main pot) with JT off. Villain caught running eights, busting me and crippling the other victim with a boat.

So I decided to take the day off online poker on Sunday, but with my wife still buried in her academic paper, I figured I'd go play my club's weekly 250+25.

That's a bit big when I'm down on myself, but I think these larger buy-in live tourneys generally offer a lot of play value--this one in particular with deep 10,000 stacks, starting blinds of 25-50, 30 minuted blind levels (40 at the final table), and anywhere from 10-30 players.

Yesterday was my 4th time playing one of these, with a first place and a third place to my name. This time the field was my biggest, with 25 ponying up and a nice top heavy payout for the top 4, with 1 taking more than half and 4 basically getting a rebate. There were many familiar faces and the typical ratio of dead money, about half the field is my rough estimate, with the typical mode of deadness being tight weakness rather than mania (with one notable exception but he was not at my table).

We got started at 5 and I felt I had my A game through the first 2 1/2 hours. I avoided major confrontations, built my stack up to about 25k with some good post-flop situations, both timely hits and occasional bluffs.

Down to 11 players and about to consolidate to the final table, I made a massive blunder that probably earned me my cash. With me in the small blind (200-400), a medium stack (about 15k) on the button who clearly had been trying to go home (he even said so) with some aggressive bets that were not working out for his plans (he kept sucking out) bet 1200. I had fishhooks and figured I'd give him another chance--making it 5k to go. At this point, the big blind, who had me covered by about 5k, raised me to 15k. The button got out of the way, which is clearly what I should have done as well. But I didn't. Push or fold was my mentality. I pushed.

He insta-called and I knew I was in trouble--quickly confirmed when he flipped over American Airlines. Fortunately for me, he was hijacked on the flop. Get it? American Airlines? HiJACKed? I KeeL myself. Suck-out artist and punster supreme.

On the very next hand, the now cutoff raised me again and I looked down to King Kong. I pushed again, and the now crippled small blind called. It folded around to the cutoff, who agonized before calling with 99. The big blind with some irony had JJ, but was not able to return the favor as I knocked out two players and headed to the final table with the biggest stack.

I got a pretty good seating situation, with the other big stack, an older tournament only player with a white mane of hair, two to my right, a medium stack that I knew well way back from Playstation as a solid but very tight older female player on my immediate left and a very short stacked though very good English player two seats on my left--the same guy who took down the tourney with his micro stack the time I finished third in the tourney I played with FTrain in September. The table dropped the first three players off fairly quickly and passed the bubble in one fell swoop as the lady cracked TT and KQ in the same hand with her set of sixes, leaving us the final four.

I had about 80k, the maned guy about 85k, the woman about 65k and the English guy about 20k, with blinds at 1000-2000 with 100 antes. The English short stack proposed a deal but was shot down when he asked for a fairly outrageous amount. Plenty of deep stack play left, we spent an enourmous amount of time swapping blinds. The short stack had gotten chipped down when he started the Harrington push mode. I tried to pick him off on one UTG all-in, but his 88 held up against my A7d. Then someone else doubled him up, leaving us with 4 reasonable stacks with me in second. Still no deal as the chip leader demanded a very large proportion of the pool.

We played on and on without losing a player for another hour if you can believe it. I took a nasty hit when my blind steal with ducks was called and my move was raised all in by the lady on a A99 flop. I knew she had me beat and coudn't even call 17k on a 50k pot with 2 weak outs. I still had about 50k but I was smarting. I had the ominious feeling I was heading to the kissing cousin cash level at 4th, which was basically net 100 over the buyin, which would have been really, really disappointing. I tightened up, which is probably not the thing to do there given the overlarge 1st prize (3845 gross), but I really wanted to do better than 4th.

Finally, the English guy and the lady got into another confrontation and her AQ held up over his KT, busting him. The maned guy had about 120k, she had about 85k and I had about 45k. 1st paid 3845, 2nd 1375 and 3rd 810. Deal talk resume. The chip leader immediately demanded 2800, which I thought was a bit steep vis-a-vis 2nd since it wasn't that big of a lead. The blinds had just went up to 2000-4000 400 which made me quite short but not quite dead with an M of 6.5. Not exactly sure what the right distribution was here. I think we were fairly evenly matched as players, but it was 10 and I think we all really wanted to end there--each of us recognized that the chance element was becoming more and more important.

I proposed to take 1375, equal to 2nd place. The woman scoffed at me at first, until I reminded her that we all had 3rd place guaranteed and my request for 565 of the 3500 or so we were still fighting for was not particularly overreaching. In fact, I really think I should have gotten a bit more given the skewed upside between 1st and the other two levels (one double up against the big stack and I would be chip leader), but after getting chipped down from chip leader didn't feel like I had the heart to push my cards like I would have needed to maximize my chances of finishing 1st and the other two were clearly not going to offer more. So the three of us quibbled for a few more minutes and we finally chopped at 2700-1930-1300.

This was really a maximin chop decision rather than true EV--if I were running really hot and thus willing to take the "loss" of cashing 3rd, I would have played on, but I just wanted to book a decent win. It at least influenced me that last time in this tourney when I turned down what I saw as a bad deal proposed by the English guy in third with a chip distribution of 50-50-10, I soon got into a massive confrontation with the other stack (a crazy moron if ever there were one), had my top two get administered a brutal suckout by a runner runner flush and finished a steaming 3rd.

So I'm happy with the 3rd+ finish.


At Mon Dec 19, 04:44:00 PM 2005, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

The $250 tourney sounds interesting, but I really don't know if I can afford it, especially given the payout structure and potential field.

Do you play in any other tourneys? I'd be interested in a $100 buy in, but above that, I'd need to wait until I can work my bankroll up to take that type of loss. I mean, I plan to win the thing, but you know what they say about best laid plans...

At Mon Dec 19, 06:18:00 PM 2005, Blogger SoxLover said...

Thursday nights I believe they spread a 100+10; reasonably good blind structure but not as good as the Sunday night.

At Mon Dec 19, 11:05:00 PM 2005, Blogger Weak Player said...

Why do you hate America?

At Mon Dec 19, 11:06:00 PM 2005, Blogger SoxLover said...

Just Atlanta.

At Mon Dec 19, 11:06:00 PM 2005, Blogger Weak Player said...

Me, too!!

At Thu Dec 22, 02:40:00 PM 2005, Anonymous ellas(& now evans)papi(too) said...


Which club do you play in regularly and what is the tourney sched? Just a name or general location is good enough (don't worry I have played with and know Pauly, Derek, F-Train, Rooster, Ugarte, many others).

I'm a regular at Brooklyn Players but since they changed locations only the top players know about the new place and the games and tourneys are no longer juicy.

-- Also a Soxfan somewhat smarting today about the loss of my wife's favorite player.

At Fri Dec 23, 03:27:00 AM 2005, Blogger Veneno said...

Hope the road gets better. We should take lessons from your pal Weak. He seems to be doing something right.

At Sat Dec 24, 06:52:00 PM 2005, Blogger Veneno said...

Sox..I just like to play with ya! You finally asked about my comment and you noticed I could not stop laughing. The truth is I could take notes from both you and Weak...(except for HU..there I can hold my own). It is great playing with you and chatting with you. Hope you finish the year with a bang! And have much more success stories in the upcoming years.

Oh..And keep working on the blog. You are showing some potential to make my top ten one

At Sun Dec 25, 06:24:00 PM 2005, Blogger Veneno said...

Have a Merry Christmas!!


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