Friday, October 02, 2009

One Lottery Ticket Please Part VI

The prerequisite reading:

part I part II part III part IV part V

And now presented without further commercial interruption: the final installment of my award winning recap of playing in World Series of Poker Event #51.


9:30 PM. I finish level 7 with 6650 chips. 780 players remain. Blinds are at 300/600/75. That's 1650 an orbit. Some nights I might be worried to have so few chips, yet here I feel strangely comfortable. Dare I say healthy? Wealthy? Wise?

Well at least wealthy and wise. I'm not too sure about my health. I'm feeling a sharp pain in my lower back. Am I having internal organ issues or have I just been sitting for too much of the past 24 hours? In these situations you should always ask yourself "What would Eskimo Clark do?"

9:43 PM. I fold the unbeatable king queen from under the gun with 6125 chips. That's how much of a slave to instinct I am. Oh sure she's pretty, but I'm just not feeling it from first position. I know that king queen is strongest hand preflop in poker. It's a monster. Even Rex Reed loves it. But I can't follow through at this moment.

And if you really want to debate this what are my options?

I push all in and hope (pray) that no one wakes up with a hand? I don't like that choice. If I'm gonna make that move I don't need king queen to do it. I can push all in under the gun any time I want with any two cards.

I mini-raise to 1200 and pretend I have aces. This I sort of like because who doesn't like having aces? The fantasy is fun. But the problem is if I get raised I'm pot committed and definitely trailing whatever hand has raised me. Why voluntarily choose to take the worst of it?

I go out of too many tournaments making moves from under the gun. I plan at some point tonight to pick up a real hand. Or at least apply pressure to the blinds from late position. My preference here is to pay the blinds and give myself some hands in better position to find something I can make some noise with. This option sounds better to me than the under the gun push with king queen. At least that's what my appendix tells me.

9:44 PM. My appendix is right. Same hand. Guy in middle position bets. Big blind raises all in. Guy in middle position calls and turns over kings. Big Blind shows queens. Obviously the appendix is a very important organ, with poker foreshadowing skills only matched by the bladder.

9:49 PM. Two hands later I use my tight image to win a pot. The action is folded around to me in the small blind. I raise 3x the blinds to 1800 which is almost 1/3rd my stack. I'm pot committed. The big blind hems and haws and then folds. My 10,4 takes down the pot. Puts me back up to 6950. And yes I was prepared to call here if he raised me all in.

9:54 PM. 690 players remain. Average is 18137. I have 6350. Funny to think that six hours ago I had over 12k. You know. Tragedy plus time. Other players who are not named Robert keep raising from under the gun and putting pressure on the whole table.

On a recent hand a gentleman who has me covered pushes all in from under the gun. I fold king queen from middle position. The blind calls and turns over King Jack.

Obviously this guy in the blinds has lower standards than I do.

He must be staying over at Circus Circus.

The under the gun player shows his cards.

Queen jack. Double damn.

This guy is probably still pissed off The New Frontier closed down and is sleeping in his car to protest.

My King Queen would be way ahead here. Don't make me get out my poker calculator.

I have that wonderful moment that occurs at the poker table where I feel sorry for myself for folding the best hand.

And then dealer turns over a jack high flop!

Which allows me to have that even better moment at the poker table where I get to feel great about myself for having averted disaster!

I would have lost the hand.

But I didn't!


Because I folded the best hand!

I'm the man.

I can dodge jack high flops baby!

This doesn't happen overnight.

The skill you are reading about here takes years to develop.

10:05 PM. 680 players remain at the party. Average stack is 18,404. I've got 5075 chips after paying the rent.

10:14 PM. Concerts were held. Passive resistance occurred. Amnesty International got involved. And you know what? It worked! They finally broke my table! I've had that nemesis guy to my left for six hours and now I'm finally free! I might get to play poker again tonight. A new table!

10:15 PM. Like Pete Rose receiving a base on balls, I hustle my way across the room to find my new seat. There are 640 players left. 297 get paid. I started this tournament with 4500 chips. As I sit down for my first hand at this new table I have 4775. I don't want to brag but I think that's what you call winning poker. There's no denying it. I'm up 275 chips in only 10 hours of play. I'm winning 27.5 chips per hour hour. At this pace I should win the tournament by February 2091.

10:17 PM. I'm taking in the sounds and smells of my new table. What a different vibe! It's a bunch of polite nerdy looking guys. Probably earned their tourney buy ins from the tech start ups they were involved in back in the late 90s. My other table was full of dudes who peaked in junior high school. I recognize one tight aggressive pro sitting two seats to my right but otherwise it all looks good. Much less ego going on here.

10:18 PM. Under the gun. I look down at ace 9. It's 1650 a round. I have no image. I push all in. Everyone folds. It's no accident. People get out of your way when you're an Aqua Velva man. Finally the respect I was looking for.

10:20 PM. Very next hand I'm the big blind. Guy in late position raises to 2000. I look down at ace king. Has there been a mistake? Have I accidentally taken the wrong seat?

Ace king? Me? It's looking so beautiful at this moment in time.

Meanwhile I'm the same guy who just pushed with ace 9. How does one play ace king after this occurs? Are there books I can read?

Unfortunately I don't have enough chips to get clever. Come to think of it, maybe I am fortunate. I do recall the last time I had ace king in the blinds it ended poorly.

For the second hand in a row I push all in, satisfied to win the blinds, yet not disturbed by the opportunity to double up. It's gotta happen at some point.

Mostly I'm happy not to have to make a decision with a small stack out of position on the flop. I'm easy like that.

Mr. Position raiser folds and after paying my small blind the next hand I have 8400 chips.

10:29 PM. The last hand of level 8. Guy in early position raises. I look down at ace queen. Where are these cards coming from?

I ride the rush of brainless poker and push all in, again. I'm that guy. Sometimes it's fun to disrespect the game by reducing it to preflop poker.

Calling my all in will cost this other fellow around half his stack. He had around 17k at start of hand. He hems and haws. It's the second time today someone has hemmed and hawed in my presence, which incidentally is an expression I use all the time in my sewing blog "The Denim Year."

I sit in silence. Looking back on it now, I wish I had done me some talking and shown him how comfortable I was. Cause the reality is if he has ace king he would have already called. And if he has a pair, I'm behind and technically want the fold. The only hand I want a call from here is ace jack or worse.

After what felt like hundreds of seconds, he calls and turns over ace queen.


We chop up the blinds and antes.

This sure would have been a nice hand to have had ace king.

I end level 8 with 9400. I'm a rich man.

10:31 PM. We take a half hour break while the poker authorities remove the 25 value chips from play. Our new blinds in level 9 will be 400/800/100. 2100 a round. 590 players remain. Roughly half the players remaining will make the money.

At this point in my life, and by life I mean poker career, I'm not focused on cashing and winning $2733 which is what they're paying places 253 to 297. The $2733 figure is actually misleading. It's really only a $1233 profit since we bought in for $1500.

(Well $1243 profit if you include the turkey sandwich.)

I've driven to Vegas this weekend to come in first place and win $664,426. That's not always the case. When I came out to play in 2006 WSOP my goal was to cash. I needed to achieve that milestone to feel good about my poker career. Rationalize how I was spending my time.

But not now. Not this year. In 2009 I don't need to convince anyone of anything.

All I want is to win six figures so I can buy me some Nikes and stay in town for the Main Event.

The phone lines are open and it looks like we got a caller from NYC.

Hello you're on the air.

Hey Robert. First time, long time. I'm enjoying your recap and got a quick question. Why would you play so tight for the past six hours and fold hands like king queen multiple times if your goal wasn't just to cash? It seems like there have been plenty of opportunities to either double up or go home and you've passed on them.

Good question. Excellent point. I'm especially impressed by your ability to get a phone call into written text format. As for your question I fold some of these hands because I need to get to this point. I need to get myself close to the bubble. Then I can take chances. Now is the time to build my stack and start getting chips. Lots of these players will tighten up to protect their stacks because they really want to make it to day two. They've come this far and they want to make the money. I want to make day three.

11:00 PM. Level 9. I take out a piece of paper before I sit back down and write "Boy would this would be a good time to go on a rush." The 9400 chips sitting in front of me are the most I've had since that ace king versus pocket 5's hand back in level 4. The average is 21211.

My plan is to double up and go to sleep tonight with 20k. Accomplishing this would be pretty amazing. To get myself back on track and suddenly make the struggle of the whole day disappear.

At some point I'm gonna pick up a big pair again.


Although part of me thinks (knows) that maybe it's better this way.

Maybe not getting too many big hands keeps me out of trouble.

11:03 PM. Early position raise. I fold king jack and feel real good about it.

11:07 PM. I fold king ten from early position. And yes I want a cookie.

11:10 PM. Guy at my table in late position looks at his cards and announces to the table "I fold." However he takes no action in terms of returning his cards to the dealer.

Why do people do this? How does this speed up the game? Do they expect action to continue beyond them without them returning their cards?

Actually the better question here is why does this behavior drive me so nuts?

11:14 PM. I'm under the gun and see pocket tens. I'm 0-1-1 today with this hand. I chopped with the lady to my right at the last table when she had the same hand. And I lost calling an all in from a smaller stack who held pocket jacks.

I'm not going to fold but how do I play it here?

All of the usual under the gun problems exist.

-I push all in and just hope no one has a bigger hand.

-I mini raise but that's sort of silly because I'm not going to fold if it gets raised behind me and mini raising gives the blinds a cheap look at the flop.

-I raise a healthier amount.

How would I play it if I really had aces?

I decide that anything more than 3x the blinds looks like a medium pair. So I slide out 2400. 3x the blinds. That feels right.

A big stack sitting directly to my left in second position raises to 5000.

Like Clay Davis on The Wire I can hear my appendix mutter "Sheeeeeet."

Action gets folded back around to me. What to do?

I don't think he has aces or kings. I think he would have raised more. His mini raise smells like ace king to me. Or perhaps a smaller pair.

With multiple big stacks at my table, I think the purpose of his bet was to give himself room to fold if the wrong player (bigger stack) came over the top of his bet. He wants to make it to day 2.

If my read is right and he has ace king I'm 57% to win this. I can get my remaining 7k in the middle and if my hand holds up there will be over 20k coming my way.

Or I can fold and eat the 2100 loss. Probably bad poker. But I'm mentioning it because I'd still have 7k in front of me and guarantee staying alive.

However if my tens hold up and I win this hand, I will most likely make day 2, hit the money with some chips, and put myself in a position to do some damage.

I trust my read.

Big stack does have ace king.

I got exactly what I wanted.

Right up until the ace, 9, 9 flop.

There's no miracle for me on the turn or river.

Just like that it's over.

At this point everything went black.

There was silence for a few seconds.

Then Journey's Don't Stop Believin' started playing.


CounterClckWise said...

A real pro would flop a set here.

diverjoules said...

Great write up. Wish you wrote more often.

NewinNov said...

Nice. I know that feeling at the end but who doesn't?

OES said...

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