Saturday, June 16, 2007

Event 27

It was a minute or two after twelve when I finally found table 170 for World Series of Poker event 27. Despite the alleged noon start time the cards had not yet been dealt. The words "Shuffle up and deal" had not yet been spoken. I thought I was late but I wasn't. The tournament was.

In fact it appeared I could benefit from the late start. I needed to send an email and suddenly I had an opportunity. I took out my "Treo." For all I know it might not even be a "Treo" in my pocket. If you're an electronics company and want your device to be the thing I was sending messages on let me know. You definitely should. Because your device works so well. Much better than my old "Blackberry." Those things suck. That's why I switched to your product.

At five after noon the Rio cameras above us look down on me typing frantically with my thumbs. Suddenly from across the table I can hear the dealer lecturing someone that they can't use their phone to check messages. This dealer sounds a little crazy so this should be a fun one. I gleefully sneak a peak to see who it is she is lecturing and immediately see that it's me.

She's a cocky woman in her 50's and she's telling me over and over again that I won't be able to use my Treo once the tournament has begun.

Inside my head responses are flying.
I don't see any cards being dealt. Why is she bothering me? Isn't RIGHT NOW the best time to check messages?

Outside my head I only offer silence. Which worked well because she didn't stop speaking.


She said it in the kind of tone that one would use if I were arguing with her that I needed to use my phone during a hand. I didn't bother to look up from typing. I just wanted to finish as quickly as possible.

She kept going. At some point she finally paused to breathe and over the canned laughter in my head I snuck in a passive aggressive: "Look when I take out my phone it just means I want to fold."

I figure she hasn't heard that one yet from the dealer I told it to at Caesars.

According to the Nielsen ratings I have one fan at the table. One witness. The gentleman in seat 1 who seems to be getting a kick out of this dealer harassing me. (Note to Blackberry and Treo- This guy will buy WHATEVER phone I tell him to. I'm happy to steer him towards your product. Just me give the word.)

Maybe she's showing me that I'm not tough enough. Maybe I don't have my game face on. She wouldn't try this shit with Men the Master.

However as far as I'm concerned I'm the Zen the master. I'm not about to lose my cool over this woman. Not when it's so much easier to ignore her.

I can't stand people who are rude to dealers. Some people really give them a hard time. Some people are really cruel. They don't get paid enough to take that abuse. I don't want to join that vicious circle. I refuse to be someone who berates dealers.

By now we're almost ready to start. There's an announcement over the public address system welcoming everyone and going over a few rules. One of the things they tell us is that we can't text message at the table during hands.

Then the guy probably ended his speech with the classic "Shuffle up and deal." I say probably because I'll never know what he said. How could I? I couldn't hear his words because my dealer was leaning forward pointing at me yelling "DID YOU HEAR THAT?"

I looked away and stared at the back of Johnny Chan's shirt at the table situated diagonally across from me.

As for poker on the day- I may as well have kept sending messages on my phone. It was a long run of cold cards.

In the first hour the
only hand that I voluntarily put money in with was 8,10 suited from the big blind.

That was the best hand I saw. In fact I was psyched to call the extra 100 when the button made it 150 with blinds at 25/50. It was 100 to
win 225.

Now I'm already a sucker for hands like 8, 10 suited. You really don't have to talk me into playing that hand. If anything, sometimes you probably have to talk me out of it. But after seeing 2,6 virtually every other hand that 8,10 suited sure looked real good.

Unfortunately no help came with the ace flop
and I ended level 1 about to be in the small blind with 2550 in chips.

In that first level I probably saw around 45 hands. This was alot for a live playing hour but players were playing fast. We didn't see many flops at this table. I might normally try to get involved somewhere based on position but my table had no limping. So when someone keeps coming in for a raise in front of you, it's hard to do much with your 2,6.

2525 is however still plenty of chips for when the inevitable double up occurs. At a certain point in every tournament you usually either double up or go home. I want to have as many chips as possible for that moment.

The first hand at 50/100 I pick up 7 8 suited in the small blind. Cut off seat makes it 300. I call the 250 more trying to make something happen and when big blind completes, I'm officially getting 2 to 1 with my 7,8 suited.

Flop is 9,10,queen. One of my suit.

Button and I check and cutoff makes it 900 and we both fold and I’m down to 2225. I might have led out with a bet if I was truly open ended. But against 2 players that darn queen took away my jack outs.

I still have plenty of chips. We orbit around and I pick up pocket jacks in very early position. Still at 50/100 I throw out 300...the first time I’ve done anything offensive today. Unless you count my calling raises twice from the blinds.

The guy to my left, who has been raising more hands preflop than one would think is realistic, reraises me to 825. There’s 1275 out there and I need to call 525 to be a part of it. Favorable odds are more than 2:1. In a small stack tourney it’s hard to get away from big pairs. Yes I could be up against a bigger pair here. And yes that would be a disaster. But I could just as easily be up against ace king and holding the better hand. I peek at the guy. I don't think he has aces. He doesn't seem to really want the call.

Sure if he was a tighter player it's more likely he'd have an overpair. If he was an old white guy it might be more believable. But this guy is young. And he’s been raising around 2 or 3 hands per orbit. There's no way I’m folding pocket jacks against him.

I think he has ace king. I think he’s making a move here against me the tight player. He’s seen I haven’t played a hand. He thinks he can get me to laydown here because he MUST have Aces or kings to reraise from early position against a guy who just raised his first hand in 75 minutes.

He figures the only way I can call is if I have aces.

But I'm not going anywhere. The only question now is how to proceed. Raise or call. If I call the 525 I will have 1400 left in front of me with 1800 out there. If I raise and push all in here I think he has to call with ace king. In fact he'd have to call with most hands. There'd be just too much money in the middle.

So I decide to use being out of position to sort of do a stop and go on him. My plan is to smooth call the 525 and take a look at the flop. If an ace or king flops I can get away from the hand. 1400 chips is still plenty for 50/100. But if it comes out all undercards then I'm getting the rest of my chips in there.

If it turns out that he has the overpair then I'm screwed either way. But by my calling and then pushing, if he has two big cards like ace king, I can make a smarter more informed decision for the rest of my chips on the flop. So I call.

Flop comes 2,3,9.

If I'm not going to hit a set then it’s as good as I could have hoped for. No overcards. No paired board. I can check and try to induce a bet from ace king but I also don’t want to give a free card so I keep it simple so I stick to the plan and push in for my last 1400.

I’m happy to take it down if this makes him fold ace king. And of course I like a call from ace king here too.

But he instacalls and I suddenly panic thinking “oh no- was it queens?”

No overpair.

Instead he turns over pocket 9’s.

Which at first seems good. Till I looked again and saw he hit a set.

I think I had to lose my money on this hand. That was my destiny today.

On May 21st I wrote an entry on "running well."

Here is part of what I said:
I've been running real well this week..."running well" isn't getting good cards. It's not even winning races. ...It's...not getting outdrawn by two or three outers when I have the best of it. People hitting take down big pairs....People hitting..runner runner straights. Those kinds of hands. Those are the hands that kill you. And by you I mean me.

I've gone out of back to back tournaments with pocket jacks. Today to the 9's. Last week to ace 10 suited. In both hands there was a point when I was better than an 80% favorite to win. But I didn't. And that my friend ain't running well.

One of these days I'm gonna win that hand. Double up. Get some chips. And play deep.

One good day.


dave said...

Its like playing on the internet dude.

Reraises mean absolutely nothing.

Check Raise Chin said...

Some guys all they need is a "chip and a prayer".

I'm beginning to think that luck is a much bigger factor in poker than solid play.

I was playing in AC last week and twice my KK got cracked by guys who had no reason being in the pot (both times guys were calling raises with gut shots for straights; of which i held their King, and both pulled it out on the river. That was the cash game. Then I played a tourney...where my aces got cracked by a person holding 4/7 spades - he crippled me. It's just strange that's all.

I disagree with the notion that good players will get their suckouts and things will even out over time - the reason is that solid players usually don't have their money in relying on 5-6 outers and thus don't win huge pots. I guess gambling pays off for some people. Curious Rob, what are your thoughts on this??

Robert said...

Yeah "solid" players get sucked out on more often because they're not the one's chasing. You can't suck out on someone if you already hold the better hand.

I think when people talk about things evening out over the long run they mean that the 80% favorites will eventually win 80% of the time. The tricky part to making money at poker is making sure you win MORE money during those 80% than you will lose during the 20% of the time your hand gets sucked out on.

This is much harder than it seems. After all if you hold aces, it's not easy to get someone to put their whole stack in with 4,7 suited unless they've hit already hit something that beats you.

I won't usually lose my buy in at a cash game with pocket aces. Since the blinds aren't going up there's not as much pressure for me to do anything post flop with them. I can lay them down on a scary board.

However in a tournament with blinds constantly going up there's way more pressure to make something happen.

I wouldn't criticize anyone for trying to see a flop with any 2 cards if the price is right. Yes you can bleed off alot of chips playing like this. But it's also the way to take someone's entire stack.

Opponents who only play big pairs are easy to beat at NL hold em since you usually only need to flop a hand that can beat 1 pair to beat them.

Check Raise Chin said...

Agreed, In my case the 4/7 was low stack and in the BB. I was medium stack I went all only cost her a little to call so she did. And that is how the cookie crumbles. Yeah I also agree that the edges only count if the money you put in equals the money that you lose then that 80% wins in the long run, the problem is that I think I've lost many more big pots with AA,KK etc than i've won holding them. Just the nature of the game. Damned if you do or damned if you don' I just think with the way people are playing now a's about 60% skill and 40% luck. Most days it feels like it's the other way around.