Well, I have one more tournament experience to talk about from my most recent Vegas trip, so here we go.
This took place a mere two days after the Aria WPT 500 tournament that I wrote about here. It was the fourth of July, as it happens. You would think that after all the bad things I’ve said about tournaments here, and after that last horrific bad beat that killed me in said Aria tournament, I wouldn’t be ready to get back on the horse so soon. But as I said, tournaments make me crazy. It was my last Saturday in town for the trip, and the end of another big Vegas summer tournament season. I had to take one last shot.
The tournament of choice was Binion’s $160 affair, one of the last days of the Binion’s Classic. It was now or never. And once again, I vowed to really go for it, be aggressive early and try to get a big stack—and if I busted early, so be it. But you know, I always say that to myself and then when I write up these tournament summaries, I wonder if I ever was really doing that—at least on a consistent basis. If I go deep in a tournament, it always seems to be with a short stack anyway.
The starting stack is $20K and the blinds for the first level are 50/100. First hand I got involved in was Ace-2 off from the big blind. It had been min-raised to $200 so I called. It was heads up. The flop was King-Jack-2, I checked/called $250. There was no betting on a blank turn. Ace on the river so I bet $600 and took it down.
From the small blind I complete with Ace-9, six-ways. King-10-9 flop, no betting action. I bet $600 on the turn, an Ace, no call.
I open raised to $275 with King-Jack and no one called. I tried raising with the same cards a few hands later and was called. I had to fold to a donk bet on an Ace-high board.
I raised to $325 with Ace-10 off and had two callers. The flop was King-Jack-x, I made a c-bet of $700 and had one call. I checked a blank turn and the other player bet $1,200, I folded and she showed a Jack.
Level 2 (100/200), $19,625. I opened to $350 with Queen-Jack offsuit, four players called. The flop was Jack-9-2. A guy donked out $1,125 and I called, as did one other player. This guy had already convinced me he was a bad player when I saw that he had called a preflop raise with Queen-5 off (although he ended up winning that pot). The turn was a 10 and there was no betting. The river was a 4 and he bet $2,200. I tanked and then called. Good call, he had a 9, that was it.
I called $1k, then a raise to $2,200 (cuz I was already in for the $1K) with pocket 3’s. Didn’t hit and had to fold.
I limped in with Ace-10 offsuit and six of us saw a flop of King-Jack-x. I called $700 but then there was a re-raise to $2,100. The original bettor folded, as did I.
Level 3 (150/300), $22,725. I raised to $1,100 with King-Queen offsuit on the button. The flop was 9-8-3, two spades. I had no spades. It had been just heads up, and the guy donked out $!,800 and I folded.
Last hand of the level, I raised to $800 with pocket Queens. There was a caller and then a shove for $5,500. I called and the other player folded. The short stack flipped over Ace-King off. The flop was Jack-high. The turn was a Queen. The river was another Queen. At least the guy could say that it took quads to bust him.
But note the hand….runner-runner quads. This tournament took place the day after the story I told here, where I was playing cash and had runner-runner Queens for quads. So, in less than a 24-hour period, I went runner-runner for quads twice. And even more amazing, it was the same quads—Queens both times. Very freakish.
Level 4 (200/400) $27K. But I basically sat that level out and went to level 5 (300/600) with $25,500. I lost a bunch of chips calling a raise with 8-7 of spades and then chasing a straight draw that never hit. Then I raised to $1,600 with Ace-Jack off. One caller. I flopped a gut shot and c-bet $2,500. My opponent made it $5K. I decided to call to see one more card. It wasn’t one that helped me and I folded to her shove.
That took me down to $13,200. I raised to $1,600 with King-8 of hearts. There was one caller. There was an 8 on the flop (middle pair) and my $2,500 c-bet wasn’t called.
I limped in with Ace-7 of spades and it was 7-handed. The flop was 2-2-7.and it folded to me, so I bet $3k, one caller. Ace on the turn and my $5K bet wasn’t called.
Level 6 (400/800), $21K. I get the dreaded pocket Kings in the big blind. There were some limpers then a guy made it $2,800. I made it $6K. Folded back to the raiser and he went into the tank. Finally he folded pocket 9’s face up.
Level 7 (500/1000) $24K. With Ace-Jack offsuit I made it $2,700, one caller. Ace-high flop, I bet $5K and he called. The turn was a blank and I shoved, he folded.
Then came a key hand. I had pocket Kings again, in late position. There was a normal raise, then a guy in front of me made it $6,500. He had just come from a broken table so I had no read on him. He had me covered. I actually considered just calling, something I never ever do despite my headaches with KK. But no, I decided to shove so he wouldn’t call me with a mediocre Ace and then hit. If he had pocket Aces I’m probably dead no matter what. It folded back to him and he tanked forever before finally calling. He showed pocket Queens. The window was a low card but the other two cards were more interesting. One was a King, and one was a Queen. So I had just called we would have both gotten it all in on the flop anyway. Interestingly, I saw the King first but the lady next to me (not in the hand) said she saw the Queen first and kind of gasped. The guy didn’t hit his one outer and I took in a really nice pot.
I offered him some insincere sympathy as I stacked my chips. I even said, “Yeah it was tough for you because you had just gotten to the table and had no read.” So he said, “Well, at this point in the tournament, I’m never folding Queens.” Really? Then why did it take him so long to call? It sure took him plenty of time to never fold Queens.
That brought me up to around $66K. Sweet.
Note: The guy seemed to take it take it pretty well at the time. Here’s a question though. Since we were face up before the flop, do you think it’s worse for him that we both hit our sets? Or would it have been just as bad if we had both missed and my pair of Kings held? Anyway, later in the tournament he showed maybe he hadn’t taken it as well as I thought. He and I were separated at one point and then I moved to his table, immediately on his left. I even said to him, “Oh, sorry, I guess you don’t want to see me.” He just grunted.
But a bit later, a player who had been at the same table with us when the KK vs. QQ happened shoved a short stack over his initial raise. The guy thought for a bit and then called with pocket Jacks. The short stack had Ace-King. Pretty standard, right? Also standard? The short stack caught an Ace and doubled up.
Here’s the weird thing. The guy who lost started complaining that the guy had called with Ace-King. “You’re never gonna cash in this tournament, risking your tournament life with Ace-King. Really?” He went on for a bit. I didn’t say anything but when he busted out I said to the guy with Ace-King, “What a jerk. You made the most normal move in tournament poker. He must have seen that play 1,000 times. Every other player here would have done the same thing.” The guy wasn’t fazed. He just shrugged, “Yeah, whatever, let him bitch.” And he laughed. Then I said, “I guess he never got over that hand Kings vs. Queens hand from the other table.”
Now who was playing at this new table they’d sent me to? The beautiful and sassy Denise, the Binion’s dealer. It’s been a while since she’s appeared in a blog post. You can learn most of what you need to know about her in the post here. Cliff note’s version: we have a quite a history, dating back to the time I first wrote about her and described her physical assets in less than gentlemanly terms. Turns out that not only was she not offended, she was flattered. She has subsequently mentioned my blog to other players right in front of me. She is very funny, always entertaining, extremely extraverted and sometimes risqué. In other words, she is a great source for “woman saids”—my favorite kind of blog post.
She changed her shift awhile back so that I have to last long into the tournament to see her deal, and for the same reason, I haven’t seen her play in the tournament since then. But I had noticed on the first break that she was indeed present and playing on this day. I didn’t get a chance to say hello to her, but I did notice what table she was at. And so, when they broke our table, I was delighted to see that my new assignment was at the very table where she was playing.
But this was not the usual Denise. She had her face buried in her phone the entire time I settled into my seat, and never looked up. We were on opposite sides of the table. She didn’t say a word for a long time. Usually, she won’t go 5 seconds without speaking. Plus, she was folding. A lot. Usually her game is much more aggressive than this. And she pretty much never looked up from her phone except to look at her cards and fold. When she did play a hand, she’d look at the pot and the players involved and then when she folded (or won), her face would go back to the phone
So for at least 20 minutes, she didn’t even notice me. I opted not to just shout hello over to her, I figured sooner or later she’d have to look over my way and I would say hi. Finally, I did notice her look over at my end of the table and I just waived to her. She said, “Oh, hi Rob! How are you?” I said I was fine and then I said, “Who are you? I haven’t heard you say a word in 20 minutes since I’ve been here. Are you possessed?” “No, I’m just being quiet today.” OK…she wasn’t playing or acting in her usual fashion, that’s for sure.
Now, she was sitting next to an older gentleman—oh hell, let’s call him what he is: a geezer. And at one point Denise took some time to finally fold her cards and then made a comment to the geezer about how she was playing so tight for a change. I think she said something about playing with “scared money.” I didn’t hear exactly what she said next, but it was something to the effect that, if she didn’t cash in the tournament, she’d be out on the street.
Then she added, “Oh I’m just kidding, I’d never be out on the street…….Heck, I know Rob would let me sleep on his couch.”
So I replied, “Yes, of course, I’d let you sleep on my couch……or, you could sleep in my bed.”
She didn’t react to that, and I feared that my comment didn’t come out the way I meant it, so I went on.
“You could sleep in my bed…and I’d sleep on the couch,”
“Oh, right, yeah….” She said.
And I continued, “After all, I am a gentleman!”
She smiled and nodded. “Yes you are. You are a gentleman.”
At this point, the geezer spoke up. “Well I’m not a gentleman. I’d sleep on top of you.”
We all kind of went “whoa” and Denise kind of groaned. In her normal state, I would have expected her to have a good comeback to that tacky line, but she didn’t really respond, other than perhaps shake her head. Someone else said, “That wouldn’t be very comfortable.”
A little while later, someone said something about their hand which was most likely a lie (yes, people do lie about their hands at the poker table). She said, “Yeah….and I’m the Pope’s wife.”
I shouted over to her, “Yeah, how’s that working out?”
Now, I’m not 100% sure what she said in response. But I think it’s entirely possible that she said, “Not good….he f***s terribly.” Then she seemed embarrassed and tried to take it back, and I knew not to ask her to repeat it….but based on her reaction, I do kind of think that’s what she said.
And….that’s where I’ll leave it for now. Haven’t finished writing the rest but I’m fairly sure I can finish this up next time. Y’all come back now, hear?--AND IN FACT, THE FOLLOW UP POST IS READY FOR YOUR REVIEW....SEE HERE.