Friday, November 16, 2012

Rub It In!

My most recent visit to Vegas was definitely a “working” trip.  I had to keep with my AVP responsibilities while there, as well as work on my next Ante-Up column.  Thus, almost all of the weekdays were spent in my room, working.  When I did get out, it was mostly to meet the managers of various poker rooms around town (in most cases, at their invitation).  That was certainly fun.  But almost all of my poker playing was thus confined to the evenings, except for the one weekend I was there.
One exception to that was playing in a tournament at Caesars one Thursday afternoon.  Actually, it was because of my position with AVP that I decided to play in it.  You see, as part of my duties, I was entering the information for Caesars’ “Poker Classic” special event into the AVP database.  This was a 2-plus week tournament series held in October that culminated in a Championship Event to begin the Friday of the first week of my Vegas trip.
That championship event had an entry fee of $1080 with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool.  Well, that’s too rich for my blood.  The entry fee, that is.  The $200K prize pool I could handle!  But the day before the final event, they were running a series of satellite tournaments with the prizes being entries into that $1080 final.  As I was entering the details of those satellites, I started to realize that the structure of the satellites was quite appealing to me.  It was very similar to the $125 tournament I’ve played frequently at the Aria, and had some success with (see here, for example).  Most satellites that offer entries into bigger tournaments have really fast structures, low starting chips, short blind levels…..not really what I enjoy, or have ever been very good at.  But this satellite had 30 min levels with a 10K starting stack.  Not bad.  I could see myself winning a seat to the championship event with that kind of structure.
By the time I finished entering the info on AVP, I had pretty much convinced myself to play it.  The thought of playing in a $1080 event (with that $200K guaranteed prize pool) for a mere $150 was just too tempting to pass up.
So I made my way to Caesars that Thursday for the 3:00 PM satellite.  Unfortunately, I was pretty much card dead the entire time.  I barely made it through the first break (after four levels).  After the break, I shoved with pocket 4’s and a very short stack.  I lucked out there because someone called me with K8 suited.  He had a big stack but it was still a silly call if you ask me. He didn’t catch anything and I doubled up. 
That still left me short-stacked so I shoved light a few times and chipped up a bit because no one called.  Then I was dealt a pair of 9’s.  By now I had enough chips so I didn’t have to go all in, so I made a good size raise instead.  A very aggressive young guy raised 3 times my bet.  Based on his play, he could have had anything, but I didn’t care.  In my situation, I wasn’t folding and my shove was not all that much more than his raise.  He insta-called.
Of course my fear there is that he has a bigger pocket pair.  Anything else, I’m very happy with.  In fact, he had Ace-King, which was fine with me.  It’s a race, and he’s got two live cards, but I’m ahead and actually about a 55%-45% favorite to win the hand. 
So I thought I had a decent chance to double up and get right back in the tournament.  And then, the flop came.  There wasn’t just one Ace, there were two of them.  Yeah, two Aces for him right off the top of the deck.
I groaned and started to get up.  The turn card was a blank, but the river card…..the river card…..was merely another freakin’ Ace.  Yeah, the case Ace.  I could have just lost to a pair of Aces, but no, I had to lose to quad Aces!
I was already standing up when that fourth Ace hit the board.  I let out a “Whoa!” and then said, “Quads?  You had to get quads there?  Really?  Rub it in!  Rub it in!”
Some of the other players gave me some sympathy and even laughed at my “rub it in” comment.  But the guy who busted me said nothing.  He had no reaction.  He just started stacking his chips.  You know, the ones that used to be mine.  It was like he busts someone out with quads every day.
I only played one other tournament during this trip.  That was my regular visit to Binions for their 2PM tournament on Saturday (see here).  Just one of the reasons I like this tournament is that Heather is almost always dealing there. Yes, I like having her deal to me even though it wasn’t that long ago that she dealt me one of the more horrific bad beat endings to a tournament I ever encountered, (see here) for which I took to calling her “Devil Woman.”  And of course, this new story took place just a few days after she accused me of liking boobs (see here) right at a poker table (can you imagine?).
So we had a nice chat before the tournament started and then, as it happened, she was the very first dealer of the tournament for me.  When I took my seat and realized that she was going to be starting off the tournament for me, I laughed and said to her, “Oh, you’re starting me off?  Well, just go ahead and bust me out on the first level, then I can have the rest of the day to do something else.”
She laughed and said she would see what she could do.  But I survived her down with ease.  As we were about to get started, some young guy, waiting in line to pay his entrance fee, saw her and said hello.  That gave her the opportunity to tell me how she pulled off a great bluff against him in a tournament she won not that long ago.  The guy had trip Kings (one in his hand, two on the board), and when a third spade hit the river, Heather shoved with total air.  The guy had her covered but decided to fold, not wanting to be crippled if she indeed had the flush.  He actually showed his buddy that he folded, who was appalled he didn’t call, and from what she says, has never let him forget it.  The buddy is convinced that he folded to a bluff, but the other guy insists it was a good lay down.  To this day, the guy doesn’t know that Heather bluffed him off the hand (unless he reads this blog).
I actually started out ok, getting some cards to play, winning some small to middling sized pots.  Then I got cold and couldn’t catch any cards, and saw my stack dwindle.  On the other side of the table from me, in Seat 3, there was a guy who went on quite a nice run.  He made some questionable plays and kept getting the card he needed time after time.  Pretty early in the tournament, he raised with QQ and had a caller or two.  The flop was J-10-3, so he bet the flop, another guy raised, first guy re-raised, other guy shoves, first guy calls.  The other guy had Jack 10 for 2 pair.  The guy with the Queens hit a straight on the river to double up and cripple the guy who flopped two pair.
From then on, for the next hour or so, the guy couldn’t miss.  He built a huge stack, and once he had a huge chip lead (at our table) he started bullying the rest of us around, almost always making pretty large preflop raises whenever he was first into a pot.  Of course, eventually the cards turned on him, and his stack started going down, but he had so many chips when his lucked finally turned that he could withstand the hits for some time.
By now, the drip drip drip of my chips leaving was taking its toll and I was getting towards “fold or shove” territory.  So when I got a pair of 9’s, I put aside the painful memory of the last time I shoved  with pocket 9’s in a tournament two days earlier (see above) and moved all in.  The lucky aggro guy I just discussed had me covered by a mile and called with Ace-rag.  Seemed like a needless risk on his part.  He didn’t hit his Ace, and just for good measure I caught a straight on river to double up.
That gave me enough chips to actually play a little poker with again.  So when I was dealt King-Jack offsuit in the big blind, I had some options.  In early position the kid that Heather had bluffed, who had only recently moved to our table, made a small raise, about 2-1/2 times the big blind.  It folded to me.  I figured since I was already in the pot, and the raise wasn’t that much more, I had enough chips to just call and hope that the flop hit me.  The kid hadn’t been too active since he got to the table, so I figured there was a good chance he had a better hand than mine.  I actually had him covered by a little bit.
The flop was Jack high.  Of course, he could have had an overpair, but I remembered the story Heather had told me.  This wouldn’t be bluff since I did have top pair, but I could actually see him laying down pocket Queens or Ace-Jack based on Heather’s story.  So I just went all in.
He thought long and hard, took a long time to decide.  Finally he folded.  I’ll never know if I made him lay down a better hand, but it’s possible.  I might have played that differently if Heather hadn’t told me her story.
Alas, I wasn’t able to put those chips to good use, and for a couple of orbits I was looking for anything even remotely reasonable to move all in with.  But time after time, I had pure garbage and there was a always a raise in front of me.  Under the gun, I looked at 7-4 offsuit.  I could be the first raiser, but there had been too much action at the table for me to think it was likely that a shove there would get everyone fold, especially with my anemic chipstack.  So I folded and knew I was pretty much committed to shoving on the next hand, when I would be the Big Blind, no matter what I was dealt.
After I posted the $300 ante and the $2000 big blind, I had about $15K left.  So I was delighted to see my first Ace in at least three orbits.  Unfortunately, there was only a deuce to go with it, but at least the hand was suited.  The aggro guy with the dwindling stack raised to $5k.  When the blinds had gone up a level or two ago, he made the statement that now the blinds were definitely worth stealing, and he got even more aggressive.  He raised virtually every time it limped/folded to him preflop.  He didn’t have to show a lot of hands but it was clear he wasn’t raising with much. 
His stack had dwindled, but he still had at least 3-4 times my stack.  It folded to me and it was a very easy shove.  The guy asked for a count of my all in bet and then went into the tank.  Here’s the thing.  He didn’t have so many chips that the extra 10k or so it would take to call me wouldn’t hurt.  So you would think he’d have to have a reasonable hand there to call my shove.  But no…..he finally called and as I turned over my Ace-deuce soooted he flipped over….five-deuce, offsuit.
Really?  Really?  I understand the initial raise. He was raising anytime he could get in first.  But to call there when he didn’t have to?  I guess I just didn’t have enough chips to scare him. 
I could also maybe understand it if he was still in that middle of that hot streak he was on at the beginning of the tournament.  But Lady Luck had left him at least an hour and a half ago.
So I was really happy to see his hand.  The fact that we both had a deuce made it really sweet.  He only had one live card.  Outside of a lucky straight or a freakish flush, I was looking real good.  I was a 3 to 1 favorite to win (although, I admit, it seems like I should have been an even bigger favorite). 
I don’t remember the first four cards to hit the board.  They were all totally harmless.  No flush possibility for me, no straight possibility for him.  I was just about to relax when the dealer flipped over the river card.  I swear he called it while it was still in his hand, before he put it down on the board.
“Pair of fives.”
Yes, dammit, the river card was a friggin’ five and he took the damn pot and knocked me out of the tournament.
I groaned or sighed or something.  The other players shook their heads.  As an aside, I’m pretty sure that the other guy had made some enemies at the table with his incredible luck and his aggression, and I’m sure everyone was disappointed that he didn’t get hurt there, and instead chipped up.  That despite the fact that, at that point, you want to see people busting out, as we were slowly but surely getting toward the money (but still a ways off). 
Before I had a chance to leave (this time I was sitting until the end, thinking I was good), the Tournament Director was already behind me picking up my seat card.  He knows me—in fact, we’ve even played together (see here).  I was still in a bit in disbelief. 
“Did you just see that?” I asked the Tournament Director
He too shook his head.  “Yeah.  That was pretty sick.”
I could not disagree.


  1. I see you are done flirting with relatively short blog posts. : o P

    1. You are right, Lightning. This post was way too short. I shall endeavor to make my next post at least twice as long. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. Yeah, I stopped my one paragraph rambles Mr. Novel... ;)

    1. You know, Coach, I'm getting real tempted to do a post which will be an in-depth analysis of my posts, comparing the word counts in each to 1)other blogs, 2) other posts of mine. 3)Tolstoy's War & Peace.

      Then I will compare the size of the posts with the number of pageviews that each post gets.

      And then I will talk about breasts.

      It will be my longest post ever.

    2. But certainly not his most boring, Coach.

    3. No, Ken, I'll have to study your blog a lot more to get there.

  3. My most recent visit to Vegas was definitely a “working” trip


    You need to invest in a dictionary.

    1. I guess you're too old to even remember what "work" is. That is when you do something for a person or a business and you get paid for it. I'm sure back before the Great Depression you must have had a job at one point in your life.

  4. Yeah, I vaguely remember all that. Nose to the grindstone. Not going to Vegas for extended stays all the time. Now I am a drag on the economy. Glad to see you got honest work. Talk about TARP working.