Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another day at the office

The Venetian is running something called the "Deep Stack Extravaganza" over the next two weeks. Their $340 buy-in gets you 6000 chips and the $550 tourneys start out with 10,000 chips. Hence the "Deep Stack" title. I have to commend them on the concept and structure. Alot of tournaments in this town turn into pushfests by the second hour. Here you get at least a few hours of play before things turn ugly.

I went down yesterday to play in the $340 event and for the first time since I've been here went on a card rush. Within my first two orbits at the table I had pocket queens twice, ace king and even hit a gut shot straight on a hand when I was semi bluffing. My 6000 chips magically turned into 14,000. In theory I could have gone to lunch and come back in an hour.

It was interesting to be a big stack so early. I love pushing around the table and am getting much better at picking my spots. However it's hard to do too much damage when the blinds are still only 25/50, 50/100. So I was sort of waiting for things to get bigger before going into bully mode. No need to double someone up.

There was one hand that I may have played too weakly. Then again it may have been a good laydown. With blinds at 50/100 I got ace king in early position and limped in. I'm getting more and more into purposely misplaying my hands preflop. I love the idea of mixing up styles to keep players confused. It gets folded around to the button who bumps it up 400. I start to salivate. I'm more than excited to call this raise out of position.

Here's where it gets interesting: big blind reraises to 1200.

I think about my options and decide my best move is to fold. I only had $100 invested in the pot. I want to protect my stack until blinds get bigger. His reraise could easily be kings or aces so I might be drawing slim. In a best case scenario for me he has something like jacks or queens and I'm flipping a coin. I suppose if I reraise all in here it looks like I limped with aces. But I certainly think he has a real hand. He didn't just reraise with nothing.

I mention this hand because it's fascinating in poker how your stack determines everything. Like if I'm low on chips I'm gonna beat him into the pot with my ace king. Alot of players would probably beat him into the pot in my spot as the big stack as well. He had around 6000 chips so the worse case scenario is I'm back down to 8000 and still up 2000 on the day. And of course if I win the pot and take his chips I'm up to 20k. So there is certainly merit to that argument. But with blinds so small I figure it's better to look for better situations than calling a reraise with ace king after someone just showed strength. At least for me it is.

The other interesting thing about the hand was that the guy who bumped it up to 400 folded as well. So I was correct to drool over his initial raise.

A little while later the seat to my left opens up and in comes Shawn Rice who I played against last September at the Ultimate Bet Classic in Aruba. Shawn likes to raise alot of hands. He plays that Hellmuth style where he keeps trying to win alot of small pots with alot of small raises. Meanwhile I had Susie Isaacs to my right the whole day. She plays a much tighter game. In a perfect world I would flip them and have her to my left and Shawn to my right but the world sure ain't perfect. The other problem was Shawn had me out chipped and so his presence (getting to act after me on each hand) slowed me down once the antes kicked in.

The key hand of the day occurred with blinds are 200/400 with 25 ante. Susie raised to 1200 in early position and I looked down to see two red kings. I can't slowplay here. But I also don't mind if she calls. I just don't want a group of us seeing a flop. I bump it up to 3000 total. I'm giving her good odds to call. 1800 more to go after a 5000 pot. Plus the way she plays she's gonna fold unless she's really strong.

But a funny thing happens on the way back to Susie. Some dude in middle position goes all in for a little more than 6000. Susie folds. It's another 3000ish to me which means that even if he flashes me pocket aces I'm getting the right price to call.

The total pot has over 14,000 in it and I still have around 6000 still behind the line. Winning this pot will put me up over 20k. This spot is sort of similar to earlier in the day when I laid down the ace king. Except this time I have the goods. I have pocket kings.

Only problem is other guy turns over the pocket aces. I get no help and with blinds going up to 300/600/50 (1400 a round) I'm suddenly down to that 6000 I mentioned I had behind the line.

I really had no reaction to losing this hand. It's strange how numb I've become at the poker table. It makes no difference whether I'm doubling up on the first orbit or giving away half my stack with pocket kings. I maintain the same bored look. I guess that's a good thing.

So many players give away the rest of their chips after they lose a big hand. But I like to stick around and find something fun to showdown.

I hung around in the 5000 range for an orbit or two. Then I doubled up to 10k when my king queen suited found a way to get past ace jack.

By now there were 80 something players remaining from the 239 that started the day. The average chip stack was over 16k so I needed to find a spot to double up again. I was in the cutoff seat when I looked down and saw ace jack. Everyone had folded to me so I just needed to get past 3 random hands. I decided to push all in figuring that if I raise to something like 4000 and I get reraised I can't afford to fold.

Small blind calls and turns over pocket queens. Not so good for me. I'm around 30% to win the hand. The crazy part here is that if I do manage to win this pot I'm up to a healthy 20k and back to playing poker.

Driving home I was a little down on myself for going out with ace jack. But it wasn't in early position. It was first into the pot from the cutoff seat. Then I criticized myself for pushing all in instead of raising to 3 or 4 thousand but like I said above I don't think I can fold there if I get reraised. I think I just got unlucky to run into pocket queens.

Just like I got unlucky to run into pockets aces.

That be poker.


Darren said...

how do you remember the hands. you take notes during the tourney?

EskimoQuinn said...

You just remember. I would have never believed it a couple of years ago. When I first started playing this whole story would have just been “my kings got cracked by aces.” But as time goes on I can’t help but remember all the specific details (position, who bet what, pot size, etc) of every hand because these pieces become the reason I did whatever I did. This is why there's no correct answer to a question like "how should I play pocket jacks?" It all depends.