Sunday, July 26, 2015

"You Should Have Bet More"

This was supposed to a post about a bad beat, about a horrific call my opponent made, and about his comment later that showed he didn’t understand that he made a horrific call.

Then I wrote the post.  The entire time I had been thinking about this hand, for the past month, I never thought about the implied odds the guy had.  When I wrote the post, it suddenly hit me that the implied odds might just change the way I thought about the play of the hand.

So now I’m a bit confused, much more so than before I wrote this.

Since I’m confused, I’m going put this out there and ask readers to let me know how they feel about the hand.  So let me have it, good or bad…..

In my last post, I reminded you that I spent a lot of time playing limit hold’em (usually 2/4) before relatively recently switching to NL.  While I think playing a lot of limit was very valuable for me in my poker education, I have to admit that I may have learned a few things that I had to unlearn when I started playing No Limit.

Specifically, I “learned” some things about NL from the limit players I was playing with.  It seemed, more often than not, I’d find myself playing the limit game with players who had experience playing NL.  And I can’t tell you how many times I heard a certain expression.  It was after someone lost a pot where he or she was ahead and someone ended up hitting their draw to take it down.  And the loser would say, “I couldn’t bet you off the hand.”  Then they would add something to the effect that, if we were playing No Limit, he could indeed have bet enough to get the other person to fold their draw.  There were variations of this, like players complaining they couldn’t “protect” their hand in limit.

No matter how much I read up and studying NL when I switched to it, I couldn’t get the idea that you had to “bet people off their hands” out of my mind.

And every time I’d get my Aces or Kings cracked by someone playing 9-4 offsuit, I’d think, well, I just didn’t bet enough.  I should have bet more to get them off their hand.  But no, when I told these stories or posted them on the blog, I would get the voice of reason as feedback.  “You want them to call.”  Of course that’s true.  You want people to make bad calls.  The odds are in your favor and most of the time you’ll win.  But since there’s luck involved, sometimes you’ll lose.  But as long as you always get the money in “good”—when you are the favorite—in the long run, you’ll win.  So you don’t want to bet some huge amount to get people off their hand, to protect it.  You want to bet enough so that your opponent has bad odds to make the call—and you hope they do make the call.  You want them to call when they have bad odds, right?  If they fold and you take down the pot, well, ok, you’ve won a small pot.  But you win bigger pots when you give them bad odds to call and they do so anyway.

In the short term of course, that guy calling with bad odds may hit his hand.  In the short run, that sucks.  But you’ll come out ahead in the long run.

Of course, that reminds me of what the famed British economist John Maynard Keynes said a long time ago.  “In the long run we’re all dead.”

Which brings me to this hand from last month, which is more interesting for the post-hand commentary than the hand itself, though it was sort of a brutal bad beat (everyone loves bad beat stories, right?).

I was playing my usual 1/2 game in my usual place.  The guy on my immediate right was Norwegian and a fairly typical European aggro.  I had about $240 in front of me (from my $200 buy-in).  The Norwegian had me covered.  An early position player raised to $10, there was a call, the Norwegian called and I called in late position with pocket 4’s.  So there were four of us in the hand.

You could say I liked the flop; it was 10-10-4. I was disappointed that the preflop raiser didn’t c-bet. It checked to me, last to act. I decided to check.  I had a monster, the flop didn’t seem to hit anyone, and I had to hope that somebody would like the turn card enough to give me some action.

The turn was some harmless looking card, an 8 or a 9, whatever.  The first two players checked, but this time the Norwegian bet out $30.  I took some time to consider my action.  I had planned to bet this time if it checked to me—you have start trying to build a pot some time, right?  But now that the Norwegian had led into me, what do I do?

I considered just calling.  I really thought that, based on his play, he didn’t have much and was just trying to steal it.  If I raised, I didn’t think he call.  Perhaps I could induce another bluff if I just called?

But I did decide to raise.  I made it $90.  The other players folded immediately and the Norwegian tanked.  He took a good long time to decide.  I really thought he was going to fold.  We’d been playing together for a couple of hours.  He surely had noticed that I had been playing tight.  He had to know I had a big hand if I was raising.  Finally, after a long time, he called.  I was certainly fine with that.  I didn’t read his hesitation as deciding whether to call or shove with a bigger hand than mine.  I was sure he came real close to folding which meant I was in great shape to pick up a nice pot.

The river was a 5 and he quickly moved all-in.  I honestly didn’t think about it at all.  I snap-called.  I’m not folding a boat there.  If he had slow-played quads until then, well, sucks to be me.

It did suck to me, but not because he had pocket 10’s.  He flipped over pocket 5’s!  Ouch!  He totally sucked out on me, hitting his four-outer.  I was in a bit of shock as I reached into my pocket to get another $200 to re-buy.  I can’t recall if I managed to utter the totally insincere “Nice hand,” or not.  But he did say to me the equally insincere, “Sorry.”  Actually though, he was a pretty nice guy and to the extent that any poker player means it, he maybe might have.

But then he added, “But you didn’t bet enough.  You should have shoved there.  I wouldn’t have called a shove.”

I try not to explain my actions at the table—or give poker lessons—but I couldn’t help responding, “That would have been a horrible bet, shoving there.”  He just shrugged and said, “I wouldn’t have called if you had shoved.”

Well that may be true, but that would have been a bad bet, not getting value for my monster.  It would be like shoving preflop every time you get pocket Aces—that would really reduce your chances of getting them cracked.

I didn’t say anything else.  But what I wanted to say was, “Sir, I wanted you to call there.  You made a horrible call.  You wouldn’t have called a shove?  You shouldn’t have called for $60 more. I was a 90/10 favorite when you called.  I wanted you to call…….I just didn’t want you to hit your four-outer.”

Instead, I took a walk to clear my head.  When I came back, he patted me on the shoulder and apologized again—in his own way.  “I’m sorry, man.  You didn’t bet enough.”

I was now totally silent.  But it wasn’t lost on me that the guy had tanked a long time before calling my turn raise.  Was he calculating the odds?  That’s would I would have thought.  How did he calculate them?  He must have known his 5’s were behind at that point.  What hand that I would bet with was he beating? He had to know he had to hit something on the river to win.  In fact, he could have been drawing dead—what if my pocket pair matched the turn card (an 8 or a 9)?  The way the action was, it was totally logical for me to have a bigger boat than he was drawing to.

Not much later, talking about another hand where he had a nice catch, another player commented on it.  And then said, “And you got lucky before when you got that full house.”  And he replied, “Yes, but he didn’t bet enough.”

He was a nice guy, as I said, but this was annoying.  I really did feel like telling him that I wanted him to call there.

Note: this is where, when doing the first-draft of this post, I started thinking of the implied odds.  Because I did call his shove,  And he won more than the $60 raise that he called.  But….still I was making a value bet, I wanted him to call, and you know, how could I possibly fold a boat on the river, especially against this specific player?

Sigh.  I paid him off.  Was it a good play by him after all?  Should I have shoved the turn?  Note: I might have gotten out of this if I had bet the flop, but I don’t think he would have folded to any reasonable flop bet I would have made.

Poker is not an easy game.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I had one of those sessions over the weekend that makes me wonder how they do it.

The “they” is the professional poker player.  Not necessarily the big names you see on televised poker, but the grinders.  The folks who grind out a living playing 1/2, 1/3, 2/5.

I mean, how do they deal with the variance without going crazy?

You’d think I’d understand by now, be used to it, but honestly, it’s not easy.  I’ve been playing poker for quite some time.  As long-time readers will recall, when I started this blog I was almost exclusively a limit player—low stakes: 2/4 3/6 and the occasional 4/8.  It seems like just yesterday I switched to NL cash games, but it’s been over 3-1/2 years!  So why aren’t I better at poker and why aren’t I used to the wild swings that happen in these games?

For my first post-Vegas trip poker session, I once again chose Player’s Casino in Ventura (see here, for a refresher on the room).  When I arrived around 1PM this past Saturday, the place was absolutely packed.  There were long lists for every game.  The guy at the podium said they would open another table as soon as a tournament table broke.  There were a couple of empty tables but no extra dealers.  I suspect the weather had something to do with the crowd.  An extremely rare July storm was passing through Southern California. It never rains here in July.  Never.  But somehow, there were heavy thunderstorms on and off all weekend.  I suspect the inclement weather kept people away from outdoor activities and encouraged them to head inside for some poker.

One of my few issues with Player’s Casino is that they don’t take call-ins to get on the waiting list. So I had to wait an hour for a seat in the 2/3 game. It was a new game (the second game they opened since I’d been there, the first one was a bigger game).  I grabbed a seat and I actually recognized one of the players.  I recalled playing with him the last time I was there and remembered that he was kind of a maniac.  The other players were all new to me, as best as I could recall.

It didn’t take me long to confirm my suspicions.  The very first hand, this guy open raised to $25 in middle position.  The big blind raised to $50, the first guy called.  The flop was low and the three-better shoved.  The original raiser folded but the three-better showed his hand: pocket Jacks.  Hmm….seemed like an interesting table!

I believe the next hand I was the big blind and it folded to the small blind and we chopped.  Next hand I lost the small blind folding to a raise.  So my starting stack of $300 was missing only two bucks when, on the button, I woke up with pocket Aces.  There were a couple of limpers so I made it $20.  Three of us saw the flop, which was King high, two spades (I didn’t have the Ace of spades). It checked to me and I bet $50.  Only the guy to my immediate left, the small blind, called.  Another low card on the turn and this time the small blind bet $100.  Hmm.  He only had another $20 left, which was odd.  I shoved and he of course called.  As the dealer was in the process of putting out the river card, the guy was turning over his hand.  He had pocket 3’s for a set.  I thought he might have had a set but he didn’t have enough money to get me to fold my Aces.  And then in the microsecond I was considering the fact that my Aces were cracked by a set of 3’s, I noticed the river card was an awfully nice looking Ace!

So suddenly I had a nice big pile of chips in front of me, less than 10 minutes into the session--$509 to be exact.

Not too much later, maybe an orbit or three, my old friends the dreaded pocket Kings showed up.  My first thought was “OK, here’s where I lose all that money the AA suckout got me.” I opened for $12 and there were four callers.  On a Queen-high flop, I led out for $45 and only the guy to my immediate left, the guy who had the set of 3’s earlier, called.  The turn paired 4’s and I put out $100.  He tanked and then finally muttered, “I don’t think my kicker is good enough,” and folded.

At this point I had pretty close to a double up.  If only I felt like calling it a day after less than an hour of poker and driving home in the thunderstorm.

I still had over $500 in front of me when the next significant hand occurred.  From the big blind, I called $13 with pocket deuces.  The raiser was that guy I mentioned at the outset, the guy I recalled being a maniac.  He had already rebought at least once, possibly twice.  And five of us saw the flop.

Said flop was Jack-7-2 two diamonds.  First to act, I checked.  The preflop raiser would be second to act, and I wanted to see what he’d do, as well as the players behind him.  I was absolutely certain it wouldn’t check through and about 99% sure the preflop raiser would bet.

But the guy next to me, the set of 3’s guy, led out for $35.  The preflop raiser just called, as did one of the two remaining players.  Time to unleash my check-raise.  I made it $150.  Too little?  Too much?  The first and last guys had not that much more than that, but the original raiser had close to a full $300 buy-in. 

To my surprise, after a few seconds, the guy to my left announced all-in.  Damn.  Did he have another set?  I wouldn’t be so lucky this time.  If he had a set, it had to be bigger than mine and I’d have a one-outer.  The original raiser folded.  The last guy tanked forever. 

Eyeballing his stack, he didn’t have all that much more than the bet, so it seemed to me if he was gonna stay in, it made no sense to just call.  He tanked forever, and I could practically see the calculator running over his head.  Finally he announced “call.”  Really?  He didn’t have that much behind, but oh well.

It was only $26 for me to call so of course I did.

I wasn’t 100% sure the board pairing would help me, unless it paired the deuce.  But I knew for sure I didn’t want to see a diamond.

So of course the turn card was a diamond.  The guy who had tanked happily put all the rest of his stack out.  It was around $60-$70 as I recall and I couldn’t fold for that.  Assuming the other guy didn’t have a set, I was getting great odds to draw to a boat.

After I called, the guy who had just shoved said, “Don’t pair the board.”  Funny, that’s exactly what I wanted to happen.

But it didn’t. The river was a brick.  The second guy—the one who had tanked—showed the nuts—Ace-9 of diamonds.  The other guy showed King-Queen of diamonds. My set of deuces was only good for the bronze.

Interesting discussion afterwards.  The guy now stacking all the chips said to the other guy, “I never would have called if you hadn’t.  If you had folded that’s an insta-fold for me. But you priced me in. And….if I had known you had diamonds, I wouldn’t have called.” 

Obviously I was unlucky there, but I’m not sure if I played it badly or not.  Thoughts?  I mean, I could have just open shoved the flop, which might have taken down the $60 pot, but that’s not the right play.  You want to get value for your set.  But would the King-Queen guy have folded?  Maybe not, he seemed eager to get it all in with his second nut flush draw.

I guess once it got back to him after my re-raise, with his stack size, his call/shove makes sense.  Not sure I like his $35 donk bet.  What do you think about his play?

Anyway, I now no longer had profit from this session, I was losing. That big stack was gone.  And of course, I had been drawn out on.

Now logically, I had no right whatsoever to complain.  Even though I had 75% equity when we got most of the money in the pot.  After all, the beat I laid on the guy to my left with my rivered set of Aces against his flopped set of 3’s was much, much worse.

But I sure did miss those chips.  And all I could think of was, if I had won that huge pot, I’d have a big score, I would call it a day and book the win.  I’d have pleasant thoughts to keep me occupied while driving home in the rain.

But no.  I kept thinking how ridiculous it is where one damn card means so much.  One great card in the early hand and I’m really happy.  One bad card on this latest hand and I’m miseable.

Again I ask, how do the grinders do it?

A number of orbits later I had Ace-2 of spades in early position.  I raised to $12 and it was four to see the flop.  All three cards were spades.  I bet $25 and the maniac shoved.  He had about $110 or so left.  Of course I snap called, it was just the two of us.  He had a baby flush.  So with that, I now was back to having a small profit for the day.

But not for long.  On the button with Ace-Jack of diamonds, I called $15.  It was just heads up.  The flop came Ace-King-10, rainbow.  The raiser led out for $20, I called.  The guy who had raised was one of the least aggro players at the table, so I thought he could easily have Ace-King, Ace-Queen or even a set.  I didn’t want to raise but my hand had showdown value, plus I had the gutshot to Broadway.  The turn blanked and I called $30.  The river was another King.  Ugh.  I couldn’t dismiss the possibilities of quads.  But when he bet $70 I thought that was small enough to call just in case he had a worse Ace or maybe the same hand as me.  Nope, he had pocket 10’s for a boat.

And that was the last hand I noted.  I don’t think I won another pot.  I didn’t lose any more money in spectacular fashion.  Just the normal way.  And my once nearly $300 profit was close to a $200 when I hit the wet freeway to drive back home.

And the whole drive home—when I wasn’t worried about the terribly visibility due to the storm—all I could think about was variance and what a bitch it is.  And how one damn card can be so damn important.

I should explain the pics I’m using here.  I Googled “variance” just to see what it came up with.  It turns out there’s actually a line of lingerie called “Variance.”  No kidding.  I believe it’s a French company which is I suppose why I had never heard of it.  So all the lovely ladies in these pics are modeling Variance lingerie.

Now, I could have just included one picture in this post, as I usually do.  But I decide to include multiple pics because…well, variance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Return Trip Was Worth It After All

Golden Nugget $150 Tournament, Part 4
At last we come to the final chapter!  See here,  here and here for the first three parts.  We pick up immediately after we lost the first player from the unofficial final table and were down to 9 players.

The TD polled us about continuing, and, as I expected, two players immediately vetoed the idea of continuing for the night.  It was past 2AM and we were bagging our chips.   I bagged $88K and was clearly the short stack.  Worse, that bust-out hand had given the guy on my immediate left the big chip lead….he had nearly $700K.  The next smallest stack was $123K and there was a $188K stack and everyone else had at least $200K.

And when I looked at that and then reviewed the pay scale for the umpteenth time, I kind of regretted the decision to maybe play a little bit more towards trying to get the tag & bag experience rather than busting out so I didn’t have to return.  It seemed overwhelmingly likely that I would be the next player to bust and that would get me $635.  If I had busted 10th that night, I would have gotten $514.  Was the $120 extra even worth the inconvenience of making a return trip the next day (and thus skipping work for that Friday!)?   Oh and by the way, Sam and I had a nice chat after part 1 of this epic came out.  He's not mad at me for what I said about his structure being "too good."  But he did tell me that after he left, new management at GN did change the pay schedule.

Hmm…..the tag and bag experience was ok, nothing exciting but it was just nice to finally get to experience.  It didn’t seem like a lot of the other players had done this before either.  Basically, you just count your chips, fill out a form with your name, table # and your chip count, pull one copy for a receipt and then put the chips in a sealed plastic bag.  No one else counts your chips to verify, but since you are gonna get that same bag back, I guess it doesn’t matter.  In theory I could have written down that I had $2MM chips and it wouldn’t have made a difference.  Pretty sure everyone wrote down the right count.

It was after 3AM when I left downtown, and like 3:30AM or so when I pulled into my hotel’s parking lot.  And remember, I had to be back at the Nugget the next day at 2PM.

As I went to sleep, and then as I woke up, I was more unhappy than happy about the whole situation…having to go back downtown to collect less than a $500 profit.  Was it worth it?  I had a real negative attitude about my chances of moving up, even though I had leapfrogged ahead of the guy who was last out to end Day 1 just by doing nothing.  How long would doing nothing work for me?  Not very long, I suspected.

I envisioned getting a hand to shove with the very first hand of Day 2, and busting.  Really that thought was going through my mind like crazy. Although at my chip stack, there were a lot of hands I should have been willing to shove with, I think in my mind, for that very first hand at least, I was kind of thinking I’d only put it all in with Aces, Kings or Ace-King.  And Ace-King was 50-50!  Then I said to myself that was ridiculous, I have to play smarter than that.  But…..

As I drove back to downtown the next day, making sure I left the Strip area early enough to be able to make it on time even if there were unexpected traffic problems, I started thinking that maybe some of the players wouldn’t show up, or would be late, and I could move up a few spots because they’d be blinded out.  I was actually hoping—long-shot tho it was—that the kid from Australia with the biggest stack—the guy directly to my left—somehow wouldn’t show up.

Of course, when I got there the next day, he was the first person after me to arrive.  I even said to him, “Gee, I was hoping you’d forget to come back and not be able to bully me with that big stack.”  The kid was surprisingly humorless and didn’t say anything.

And so one-by-one the players returned, all on time, except for the one woman at our table.  She had the fifth biggest stack at $234K and was in seat 7.  I was in seat 1.  They just dumped her chips in front of her spot and left them unstacked as we resumed play pretty much on time at 2PM.

The first hand was in fact pivotal.  The missing woman was UTG, the first person to actually act made a big raise, about 4X the bb.  The next guy folded and I looked down at Jack-10 offsuit.  I dunno if I would have shoved or not if it had folded to me.  I think that would have been the right play, but I might have folded because of the “don’t bust the first hand” syndrome I explained above. However, with a big stack ($380K) already making a big raise, it was fairly easy to find a fold.  But a guy with a slightly bigger stack than the raiser, who was in the small blind, called and I got to see the flop.

Initially, I was a bit sick, because I would have flopped a open-ender with a King and a Queen on the board.  There was some betting and we saw the turn card—an Ace.  Ugh.  If my hand was alive I’d be sitting there with Broadway and looking at a sweet, sweet triple up (assuming my shove would have been called in both spots).  More betting, no folding.  But the river was another King.  The original raiser put out a big bet and the other guy tanked forever and finally folded, but he’d lost a lot of chips.  The original raiser didn’t have to show his hand, but he did..Ace-King.  So my straight would have been crushed by his boat. So by results-oriented thinking, my fold was of course the right play. Dunno what the other fellow had.

I should mention that the fellow who called and then folded had already brought up the possibility of a chop—yes, a 9-way chop—even before we resumed play this day.  Well that was never going to go anywhere.  Now if he had suggested it—lobbied for it—the night before, as we were bagging and tagging, to save us all a return trip, he might have had a chance.  But to come back just to chop it up? Not likely.  I did mutter something about doing it by chip-count, and also said, “I don’t think he (pointing to the kid to my left with all the chips) would go for it.”  The kid, again, said nothing.  Another player—one with just about twice my stack—said he wouldn’t go for it, he wanted to play it out.

And just to be a little bit politically incorrect, I will point out that the fellow who was suggesting the chop happened to be Asian (middle-aged tho, not young).  Who says all Asians are gamblers?

The very next hand, the missing woman was the big blind, so dead money in the pot.  And I looked down at Jack-10 again—though this time it was suited (hearts).  It folded to me.  There were still plenty of players behind me, but I thought being first in was a better spot to make my move. Especially since the big blind, perhaps the most likely player to call me, wasn’t there to defend her blind. That made it even a better play, to my mind. I went all-in.  No one called.

Later, I open-shoved with Ace-Jack, no call.  Then I was the big blind with pocket 7’s.  It folded to the small blind, who just completed.  I shoved.  He folded.

That got to me the next level, which I think was level 20 (2K/6K/12K) with about $86K. But here’s the thing.  Somehow, in getting there, I had outlasted three players who had started the day with more chips than me—while never getting a double up myself.  I didn’t take the time to write down what happened to them, how they lost, but one-by-one, they got eliminated.  The first one to go was the guy who I had caught a straight against with Jack-10 to survive against his set of 9’s.  The next guy was the Asian guy who lost a bunch chips on the first hand of the day.  The third guy out was the guy who said he was not interested in any kind of chop whatsoever.

With each bust, I moved up on the pay scale, which made me happier and happier.  Starting out the day thinking I was getting $635, I survived that and the $796 payout as well and so, when we were down to 7, I was assured of at least $1,014….breaking thru to that “four-digits” territory that meant so much to me (tho not yet a four-digit profit for the event).  Then, when we lost the third person for the day, I was now assured of at least $1,309—four digits of profit for my 14+ hours (thus far) of poker.

And again the subject of doing a chop started coming up.  This time it was the woman—who had shown up a few hands after I had stolen her big blind—was talking about it.  I really didn’t say much, though I would have loved it of course.  I hadn’t chipped up at all—I was just treading water stealing the occasional blinds & antes—and was now even further more entrenched as the short stack, with the next three shortest stacks all gone.  When I’m that short, I don’t feel right lobbying for something that will help me so much more than anyone else.  But I did say, again, we could do a chip-chop.  I’m not sure if anyone else really knew what that meant.  But the big stack, still to my left, no doubt did and he was incredibly silent on the topic.  No one directly asked him.  I had a feeling that if I could dodge another bust or two, and get to five or even four handed, we could make a deal that might get me a really nice payday.

But I had to stay alive, which meant more stealing blinds and sooner or later, I was going to have win an all-in or two.

In the big blind, there were two limpers and I just checked with the mighty 9-4 offsuit.  The flop was 10-9-3.  First to act, I just shoved with my middle-pair, no kicker.  No one called.

Then I got King-Queen UTG.  Easy decision.  I shoved.  It folded to the lady who was now the small blind.  She tanked for a bit, asked for a count, and then shoved.  The big blind had a big stack, he had the woman covered, and he tanked.  Damn.  Did two players have better hands than me?  How lucky was I going to have to be?

He finally folded.  The lady had Ace-3 offsuit.  OK, not bad.  She didn’t have a made hand.  I was only a 58%-42% underdog there.  Probably as good as I could have hoped for.

But the board was nothing but bricks.  Ace-high took it, and I was finally done, after a little more than an hour of play on Day 2.  BTW, the big blind who folded said he had Ace-Queen.  If he had called he would have busted the two of us and had a whole lot of chips.

I got paid out.  Having gotten twice the money I was expecting when I woke up that morning, I was feeling pretty good right then.

And then….well, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet because I had gotten up so late. So I stayed downtown to eat.  Here’s a tip:  The Subway at the Plaza downtown is overpriced (but not nearly as overpriced as The Subway at the Monte Carlo food court).  I went over to Binion’s to check on whatever tournament they had going over there.  I happened to run into the guy who bested my pair of 9’s by hitting two 10’s with his 10-9 shove.  He recognized me and asked me how I was doing.  I told him where I finished and then said, “I might have done even better if you hadn’t sucked out on me with 10-9 against my pocket 9’s.  He actually didn’t recall the hand at first.  Of course….the loser in that situation always remembers it longer than the winner.

Then, walking around GN trying to find the way to my car, I ran into one of the players from the final table.  He was still alive when I busted.  So we greeted each other and he told me the result.  They played about an hour after I busted and no one else busted.  They kept talking about a chop. At first the Aussie kid with the huge stack was the hold-out.  But guess what?  He started losing a few pots and suddenly he was the short-stack (I believe the expression for this is, “that’s poker”).  And so they did eventually agree to do the chop.  Not a chip-chop.  A five-way, equal chop.  He said they all got $3,500! (Note, I checked online and actually, they all got over $3,600).

And suddenly, I didn’t feel like such a winner any more.  Damn.  If they had made that deal when we were 6, I would have gotten $3,100.  Or if a Queen or a King had shown up on that last hand….maybe I would have gotten $3,600 (or gone on to smash the tournament, even).

I know that’s the wrong way to look at it.  I should be looking at all the hands where I did get lucky on (or didn’t get unlucky on), that kept me alive. I could have easily busted first on this day, or anytime earlier the day before.  I did get my somehow “magical” four-digit profit.

I didn’t play perfect, by any means.  But I think I did well playing a short stack most of the day to 6th place.  I got lucky sometimes and unlucky sometimes.  I got lucky playing at the same table as Santa Claus.

But I ended up feeling bad about about a $1,300 pay day, cuz I came soclose to a much bigger pay day.  And that’s what drives me crazy about poker tournaments!

So knowing how I felt after this, knowing that the top-heavy pay scales drive me crazy, this had to be the last tournament I played up in Vegas this trip, right?

No of course not. I’m crazy, remember? There are more tournaments to talk about. Another day. Another time.