Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Another Long Run, Another Close Call

As I explained in the post here, my plans for tournament play on this past trip went askew even before I arrived in town.  But the unexpected Stratstack tournament gave me a viable tournament to play on Saturday, and I had a pretty good run, if you overlook the fact that I didn’t cash.

Once I realized that Aria wasn’t a viable option for a weekend tournament, I did come up with another plan, before I found out about the Stratstack.  I decided I would play the Aria 1PM, $125 tourney on Monday, when they returned to their regular schedule. Keep in mind, when I visit Vegas these days, it is not a vacation.  I generally only play poker on the weekends and in the evenings.  During the weekdays, I work.  So I’d be taking a day off from work (real work, that is, for PokerAtlas and/or Ante Up, not what the famous TBC means by “work.”).  Fortunately, I make my own hours, so I could do it.

I suppose the Stratstack might have scratched my tournament itch and made me reconsider playing Aria on Monday.  But since that session at the Strat remained the best poker session I had since I got to town by the time Monday rolled around, I decided to go ahead with the original plan and take the afternoon off and play in the tournament. A nice tournament cash could turn things around for me in a hurry, if I could only get some cards to play.

I didn’t make a note of the payouts or prize pool for some reason (that’s kind of a giveaway that I didn’t cash in this, isn’t it?).   Fortunately I was able to find the details on Herndon Mob.  According to that, there were 105 runners and a prize pool of a bit more $10K.  They paid 13, with the bottom four spots getting the min-cash of $194.  So yeah, I wasn’t thrilled about that.  The final result of the tournament showed the top three getting $2,434, $2,180, and $1,995, and fourth taking $866.  Obviously a deal was made among the top 3 by chip count as there’s no way the top 3 spots were that close in the original pay scale.

The tournament starts with a $10K stack and blinds at 25/50.  The very first hand I was the small blind with pocket deuces.  It was three-way and I bet $150 on a low flop, had one call.  Didn’t bet again and my deuces held.  Unfortunately, the fact that I won the first hand was not an indicator that I wasn’t still card dead.

In fact, I got to the third level (100/200) barely playing a hand, with slightly under the starting stack.  But I had a few hands in that level.  Limped in from the button with pocket 5’s, four ways.  The flop missed me, but it folded to me, so I bet $500 and took it.

Ace-6 of diamonds in middle position, I raised to $500.  It was 4-ways.  There was a 6 on the flop, no diamonds, I c-bet $1,500 and took it.

I raised to $500 with Ace-Queen and it was heads up.  I bet $800 on a blank flop and he called.  Caught an Ace on the turn and bet $1,200, this time he folded.

Level 4 (25/100/200) it folded to me on the button.  I made it $500 with pocket 5’s.  Only the small blind called.  The flop was 10-9-2.  He checked, I bet $800 and he shoved.  I folded, and he showed a set of 10’s.

Under the gun I raised to $550 with Queen-Jack of hearts.  Two players called and then someone shoved.  The shove was over half my stack, so I insta-folded.  The nice looking blonde girl called the shove, she showed Ace-Jack.  The shover had pocket 8’s. An Ace on the flop gave the pot to the girl. I would have had nothing.

By level 5 (25/200/400) I was down to about $6K and pretty close to desperate. I raised to $1,100 with Ace-Jack of clubs.  A guy with a similar stack to mine shoved and it folded back to me.  Sigh.  I figured if I folded I still had one move left (a shove with enough chips to get some respect) and that I didn’t really want to make my last stand with Ace-Jack.  I folded.

A smaller stack than I had shoved in front of me when I had Ace-10.  I was thinking then that I should have called with Ace-Jack.  But I reasoned that open-shoving a smaller stack likely meant a much wider range than shoving over a raise with a bigger stack had.  So I shoved myself.  He had Ace-5 of diamonds.  I caught a 10 and busted him, and got my stack up to $8,175.

I opened to $1,100 with 9-7 of clubs and didn’t get a call.  But raising the same with pocket 4’s and then pocket 8’s didn’t work; both times I had to fold to shoves.

In the big blind with 9-7 of diamonds and no raise, it was heads up (not with the small blind, it was a limper).  I flopped a gut-shot and there was no bet.  The turn gave me a flush draw too and I called $1,100.  I caught the flush on the river and shoved.  He called with only a pair.  Nice pot. 

Level 6 (50/300/600), $12K. I had pocket 7’s in the big blind.  Under the gun raised to $1,900 and the cute blonde called.  So I called.  The flop was 7-6-2.  I checked.  The preflop raiser shoved.  The lady tanked and then folded.  I called.  He had pocket 8’s.  My set held.  He had a slightly smaller stack than I had.  Got me up to $22K.

Pocket Jacks, raised to $1,700.  Only the lady called.  The flop was Queen high, I c-bet $2,500 and took it.

Then pocket Queens, raised to $1,700 again.  Same lady calls.  This time the flop was Ace-high.  I bet $2,500 but now the lady made it $6K.  I let it go.

Didn’t note a hand in level 7.  Level 8 (100/600/1200) $17K,  We got down to 4 tables and my table broke.  Called a shove from a stack less than mine with Ace-King,.  He had Ace-10 and I caught a King on the river.  Brought me up to $22K.

Last hand of the level, I look down at the dreaded pocket Kings. I raised to $3,600 and had two callers.  The flop was Queen-high, two hearts.  I shoved.  First guy folded, the next guy called with Queen-7 of clubs.  The Kings held.

Level 9 (200/800/1600), $44K. Raised to $5K after one limper with pocket Jacks.  One caller.  I folded to a big donk bet on a King-high flop.

Level 10 (300/1000/2000) $31,500.  In early position, I shoved with Ace-Jack of clubs, no call. 

It folded to me in the small blind with pocket 9’s.  I shoved and took it down.

Under the gun, I shoved with pocket Kings, no call.

I reached level 11 (400/1500/3000) with $33,900.  We got down to two tables….18 players in fact.  Just five away from the money.  But I was definitely still in shove-or-fold mode.  When I had a chance to open a pot with King-Jack off in late position, I shoved.  Unfortunately, a big stack called with pocket Queens.  I did catch a Jack, and even had a straight draw on the turn.  But I needed him to catch his set of Queens to give me the straight and it didn’t happen.  I was done.

I had played 6 hours and felt oddly good.  Ordinarily, playing that long in a tournament and getting nothing back frustrates me.  Not this time.  It seemed like the best poker session I’d had all trip.  I thought I played pretty well, and actually got some cards to play.  And it was definitely the most fun session I’d had, poker wise.  Are tournaments more fun than cash games?  Maybe.  It depends. This one was fun.  Just getting more than one hand to play every hour may have helped. You know, the second best session I had was the Stratstack.  As I said, maybe I’m a tournament player after all.  Just wish they wouldn’t make it so hard for me to play them.

I was actually encouraged after the tournament. I made a decision right then that my next two nights, I’d play the Aria 7PM tournament instead of cash games.  I couldn’t take any more time off work but they have the same tournament at 7PM. They get small turnouts, so smaller prize pools, but still, I thought that would be the most productive use of remaining two days in Vegas.

But in the end, I didn’t follow through.  I caught another bad break….I took ill.  All during the Aria tournament, I had this occasional dry cough.  I didn’t think it was a cold, I chalked it up to “Vegas throat.”  By the next day though, it seemed more like a cold.  I kept coughing—not a lot mind you, but enough to be annoying.  And I knew that it was possible I’d start coughing a lot any time.

So, I didn’t want to get locked into a tournament.  I didn’t feel that bad, and I didn’t have any other obvious symptoms like sneezing or runny nose, so I felt I’d be ok to play cash knowing I could stop any time if I got worse.  With a tournament, I’d be stuck.  Also, if I did have a coughing spell, easy to take a break away from the table in a cash game.  In a tournament, not so much.

So it was just another instance of my bad luck that I didn’t get any more tournament poker in on this trip.

18 comments:

  1. Do you feel there's a difference in the caliber of play you experience at the different tournament venues?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really hard to say, Coach. Sometimes it seems like Aria is tougher, but other times, not so much. Honestly, it's more a question of luck of the draw on any particular day and your particular table rather than venue, I think.

      Delete
  2. I had a nice cash run when I went to Aria last August. I have also thought about taking trips to Vegas for tourney's but I feel like the winnings in a normal daily tournament doesn't really justify the trip unless you grind for a month straight. When I decide to get serious about it, I think I'll plan a trip for the WSOP and go in for some big satellites and main event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes...tough for someone to play all tournaments on a quick trip to Vegas, good chance of leaving empty handed. I might suggest playing mostly cash but trying to hit a tournament or two for variety, fun and just to check them out.

      The way I was running in cash tho, and the runs I've had in tourneys, I think playing tourneys two nights would have been a good thing to do. Oh well.

      Delete
  3. Hi Rob. Another fine post as usual. But I have a question. What is up with the poker Atlas site. Seems to be no activity at all since March 28th? Only asking because you mentioned the site above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I noticed that too. No idea. The site is working fine. Just no activity. I'm sure it will pick up soon (note, there was a recent post or two in the AVP forum section).

      Delete
  4. Rob, even though you stated you didn't cash up front, I was still hoping you told us a small lie and by the end of the post it would say that you did cash! As for what's more fun tournaments or cash games: tournaments are more fun once you are in the money and fighting up the pay scale. Cash gives you more freedom. You show up, you play. You get an urgent phone call, you rack up and leave. Enjoyed the hand histories (wish I didn't know you didn't cash at the beginning. Was rooting for you to make it).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, nice to know you are rooting for me like that. Sorry about the spoiler, but I really thought I'd made it clear both on twitter and in my earlier posts that I didn't cash any tourneys this trip.

      Also....I do kind of think it's maybe unfair to ask people to read a long tournament summary and give them the false impression that it turned out well when it didn't. Although in this case, I did leave the tournament feeling positive.

      Delete
    2. Since I enjoy reading tournament summaries, cashing is just a bonus at the end of a story. Better luck next time.

      Delete
  5. B++++++++++++++ cuz only 1 pic #FuckLA #Sharks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One pic but TWO boobies at least.

      There will be no hockey talk on this blog until the Kings win the Stanley Cup again in June. That's the way to bet, degen.

      Delete
    2. So you're saying there will never aging be hockey talk on this blog?

      Delete
    3. The Kings have the Sharks right where they want them, Nick.

      Delete
  6. Yeah, just like the Blackhawks, right?? Chicago is done, they've turned into St. Louis BLUES teams of past, self-destructing and losing their composure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I said no hockey talk. Honestly, I don't really follow the sport. When the Kings get in the playoffs and have a good run, I watch....cuz I'm a front runner.

      Delete
  7. If UTG raises to $1900 and a cute blond calls you have no choice other than calling and then hope you get to shove it all-in with the cute blond. Then it would be funny if the flop hit you both and you had a bigger set than she had!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Letter, it would have been really tough to have had a bigger set than the blonde. She paid good money for her set, and got her money's worth.

      Delete