Friday, May 23, 2008

Flashback to September 13, 2006

Playing poker this week I bet in middle position with ace king suited. The big blind, a very tight player, raised me to 45. I called. In some ways this hand is similar to the Hot Grinder on Grinder Action hand that I'm going to announce the results of in a highly anticipated November blog entry.

The big difference is this time I've got the ace king and my opponent has the pocket pair. My opponent has played SO TIGHT that I'm slightly concerned he could have aces or kings. So it wouldn't have been absolutely crazy to muck ace king to his raise here. Not in terms of how many hands this guy plays an hour.

However I'm in position. I also happen to write a poker blog so of course I'm gonna call. Otherwise what are we going to talk about? You don't want me to start sharing personal stuff.

Flop comes ace king jack. They say we fear the thing that has already happened to us. Well holding ace king and seeing an ace king jack flop has already happened to me. Kind of like a character on Lost going into flashback mode, my mind cuts to a Borgata Open event I played back on September 13, 2006.

It was a Wednesday. Definitely a Wednesday.

This was the most expensive tournament I had ever paid cash to enter. 173 of us put up 5k each. 1st place was 285k. 2nd was 150k. Looking back on it now, it seems insane. Despite the potential payday this was clearly way too large of a percent of my bankroll to spend on any one tournament.

But there I was. 11 o'clock on a Wednesday morning and I'm sitting in Atlantic City with way too many familiar faces. Truth be told I'd have gotten a much better value on my money to have actually spent an additional 5k and played in their 10k main event.

The Main event was a WPT event and would be televised so there were lots of satellite winners in there. A much weaker field. This non-televised 5k event was mostly for pros. Every table had 6 or 7 recognizable faces. Barry Greenstein. John Phan, Gavin Smith, Hasan Habib. Sitting at my table to my right were Kathy Liebert, Chad Brown and Allan Kessler. Later on Erik Lindgren was moved over. It was fun to get a real hand on his first big blind, raise it up and get the stare.

Early on in this tournament I picked up ace king. I'm talking level 1 early. I bet and was raised by a guy in middle position who immediately warns me he has a big hand.

Well so do I.

I call and the flop comes ace, king, jack.

Looks good right?

I think we started with 15k in chips- whatever the amount was I would lose one-third of my stack on this hand because my opponent had pocket jacks. I was grateful it wasn't more. However he nickeled and dimed me with 2k bets on the turn and river and I paid him off. Would the pros around me have gotten away cheaper? Or would they have lost more? Both seem possible. For me, this was an acceptable loss with top two pair.

This whole sequence flashed before me this week when the ace king jack flop came out at the Venetian. I flopped top two pair yet felt fear.

I felt the Borgata.

This Borgata Open story almost has a happy ending. After the dinner break we were down to 5 tables. Around 40 something players remained when I picked up pocket queens. I bet and was raised by a guy with pocket kings. I called. I got incredibly lucky when a queen flopped and got the rest of my chips in. I got even more incredibly unlucky when a king came on the turn to knock me out. Oh dear.

I still have the complimentary Borgata baseball hat they gave all of us that day. You know. The one that cost me 5 grand. Oh sure I have a few Kangols sitting around the house but this Borgata cap is still by far the most expensive chapeau in my closet.


Memphis MOJO said...

My noobie analysis:

Let's see, if the other guy is a tight player, he should be afraid of you too. I would play the hand cautiously. You can beat pocket QQ or 1010, but are losing to KK or JJ or AA. From a probability standpoint, he's more likely to hold one of the two hands that you can beat. From a betting standpoint, he's very likely to have the set type hand (AA or KK). I rule out his holding AK; out of position he would probably just call a raise and see a flop.

What did he do after the flop?

FreeFormCoder said...

Alright, enough of this cliffhanger crap Vegasboy! We're paying good minutes of our lives to read this blog, and you owe it to your regulars to finish the hand out. This is like telling the first part of a joke without a punchline....not that you've ever done anything like that. ;)