Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mutiny on the Bounty

I arranged my September trip to Vegas so I could attend the latest AVP event, AVP XIX, which was held at the Aria on September 15.  The previous tournament AVP event was successful, both in terms of giving me not one but two blog posts (see here and here) and rewarding me with a min cash for my efforts.  This one was not nearly so successful.  I played less than two hours, got just this one measly blog post out of it, and unlike the last one, no one had an orgasm.

Ok, maybe someone did have an orgasm and I didn’t hear about it. It’s possible.  But no one I know tweeted about having an orgasm, anyway.  

The event was quite a success, nonetheless.  Over 260 players registered.  The Aria graciously dedicated 18 of its 24 tables to AVP for the tournament, and replaced their regular 1PM tournament (which I have played and blogged about numerous times, here, for example).  And on a busy Sunday afternoon no less, when the poker room (and the bars, and the sports book) were filled with players watching the day’s NFL games.   They sold out the 180 seats long before the tournament started, and the rest of the players were alternates who made it into the tournament.  Sadly, I was one of those original players who made it possible for an alternate to play.

One of the nice things about playing in an event like this is meeting people I know from AVP, or perhaps meeting people who know me from the blog but I’ve never met before.  I said hi to a bunch of old friends.  And before the tournament started, Erin & Jeff came over to introduce themselves.  They know me from AVP and Twitter but they also know me from the blog. Erin did tell me that she doesn’t “always read the blog.”  That’s ok, I told her, I’ll take what I can get.  Besides, I don’t always read the blog, either.
I’m not sure how they recognized me, but they had actually noticed me the day before when I had dropped in on the LVH poker room to see Mark, who runs the room and was at the Riviera before they closed the poker room.  I first met Mark when the Riviera hosted the TBC tournament last year (see here), and earlier this year I did a big piece on their promotions for Ante Up Magazine.  Unfortunately, due to the financial condition of the Riv, the room was unsaveable.  I’m happy to report that things seem to be going well at LVH, and I hope to do a piece on the room when they move into their new location soon.
I can’t recall if it was before the tournament or during the break (which sadly, happened after I had busted), but a British fellow came over to me and introduced himself as Ben.  He told me how much he enjoyed the blog and that as “Mrben09” he had made numerous comments here, and of course I remembered his name. He was visiting from across the pond and was lucky enough to be there to play in this AVP event.  I think he recognized me from my name tag.  Always a thrill to meet a blog reader from another country who happens to be visiting Vegas! 
There was something different about this AVP event than previous ones I’ve played in.  For the first time, I was a “bounty.”  I believe they’ve had bounties in the past, but not since I’ve been working for AVP.  So a bunch of AVP staffers, including myself, wore big stickers with targets on them (and our names) to indicate that the player who knocked us out of the tournament would get a $50 bounty.  This actually comes into play during the tournament.  In addition to the big sticker, I had a token which I was to hand over to the person who did the dirty deed (ie, knock me out of the tournament) so they could claim their $50 prize.
There’s was actually another person wearing a target (and thus had a bounty on him) at my table.  His name was Barry and I didn’t recognize him.  AVP is expanding like crazy, and although I’ve been to the Vegas offices a few times, I couldn’t recall meeting him.  One of the drawbacks of working remotely, sometimes you’re the last to find things out.
Based on the conversation, I realized that Barry was the brand new COO of AVP.  Wow!  Good thing I found that out before I did something really stupid, like knock him out of the tournament!
The tournament cost $125, and all but $10 went to the prize pool—but they added on $10 in food comps to your players card, so it was essentially rake free.  You started with 20K in chips, it had 30 minutes and the starting blinds were $100/$200.  No antes until the fifth level (so the good news was, I never had to post an ante!).
Early in the tournament I called a raise to $800 with Ace-Queen suited because I had position on the raiser.  The flop was King high and everyone, including the preflop raiser, checked.  The turn was an Ace so I bet $2K and the other two players folded.  The guy who raised preflop said he had pocket Queens.  Wow.  I was surprised he didn’t bet the flop. I would have folded if he had.  He was from out of town and I assumed then that he was a weak player, but it turns out he had a lot of chips by the time I busted out.  I had misread him based on that one weak play.
Still on the first level, I had Ace-3 hearts in the small blind, no one raised, so I limped in for $100.  Great flop for me, Ace and two hearts.  I bet $500 and the same player I just described, who was on the button, called.  He led out on the flop, which was a second King.  I didn’t really put him on a boat, though the thought of course crossed my mind. Still, without the flush, with a paired board and with a terrible kicker for my Ace, I checked.  He bet $1200, I called.  The river completed my nut flush.  I checked, thinking I would probably check raise.  I say “probably” because I wanted to see if I could pick up anything from how he bet, any tells.  But he checked behind me and showed King-Queen for trip Kings.  I showed my flush and he said, “Nice try” as I scooped the pot. 
Not much else happened until the third level ($300/$600).  I still had more-or-less my starting stack.  It folded to me on the button, and I had Ace-rag.  I bet $1500 and only the big blind called me.  Ace high flop, two hearts.  But I had the Ace of hearts.  I bet $2k and she called.  There was a third heart on the river, and I bet $5k. She shoved, but only for about $3k more than the bet.  It was an easy call, especially since I had the Ace of hearts.  She showed Jack-5 of hearts for the flush. But I missed and she took the pot.
I kept wondering if I should have bet the turn there.  If I hadn’t, I see the river for free and if it’s not a fourth heart, I can probably fold my Aces/crappy kicker (she might not even have shoved, trying to get some value from her flush, or, she might have checked worried that I had a better flush).  OTOH, she had a better shot at getting me to lay down my draw if she had shoved on the turn instead of going for the check-raise, so maybe neither one of us played it right.  Whatever, I was now hurting for chips, less than $10K.
When I pulled out my notebook (and not for the first time since the tournament had begun), Barry asked me, “Are you writing down the hands?”  I just kind of put my finger to lips to indicate that I didn’t want to point that out to people.  I’m still of two minds in letting people I’m playing poker with about the blog.
But during the break I did go over to formally introduce myself to him.  And I mentioned that I was taking notes for my blog. Just then, the aforementioned Erin was walking by, overheard me say this, and shouted to Barry, “Oh, he’s a prolific blogger!”  I suppose that just means I blog a lot, or that my blog posts are too damn long, but I chose to take it as a compliment.
He asked, “What do you blog about—poker?”  I kind of hemmed and hawed, “Oh…….and a lot of things.”  I didn’t feel like telling him about the hookers, or the boobs-mentionings.
With that chip stack, when I got Ace-King, I just shoved.  When I put all my chips out in front of me, I also put the bounty token with it.  I even kind of showed it off before putting it with my stack.  Truth is, I wanted a call there.
So a guy with a huge stack asked to confirm that I really had a bounty on me and how much it was.  And when he found it out was fifty bucks, he called.  He flipped over Ace-9 of spades.  Nothing hit either one of us and I had my double-up.  As I stacked my chips, I asked him if he would have called if I hadn’t been a bounty.  He said no, he wouldn’t have.  Everyone at the table thought he had made a bad play, but I kept thinking that the bounty on my head—which could have hurt me just as much as it helped me—really factored in to my tournament recap.

Late in the fourth level, the last one before the break, a lady came to the table to replace someone who busted out.  She noticed that a bunch of the players had this nice, AVP card protector  (looks like a poker chip but larger) that had been given up as part of the goodies that were handed out to all who registered before the tournament started.  Once the tournament started there was no one to give away the goodies.  I not only have one of these that I’ve been using as my card protector for some time, but I had a bunch of extras on me to give out to players who admire them whenever I play.  She liked it and was disappointed that she hadn’t gotten one.  Barry told her that he would see that she got one.  But I did that one better.  I reached into my pocket and gave the lady a spare one I was carrying around.  She was very appreciative.
I now had enough chips to actually play poker with, so I was looking for my spots.  Before one came, I was in the big blind with King-3 offsuit.  Two people limped in, the aforementioned woman I had give the card protector to, and the lady immediately to her right, who was short stacked.   I got to see the flop for free.  If only that wasn’t so.
I thought I liked the flop, it was K-4-3, rainbow.  I guess I had about $14k or so in chips.  The blinds were $400/$800 and I guess I bet out about $2500, close to the size of the pot.  To my surprise, the short-stack went all in.  I dunno how much she had—I don’t think it was even double my bet—I didn’t get a chance to ask.  Before I could, the lady I had given the card protector to also announced all in.
Now since she had just gotten to the table, she still had pretty much her starting stack, so she had me covered.  And I hadn’t seen her play a lot of hands—or any—so I had no idea how she played.
Of course, I thought she might have a set, but I also thought she might make that move with just a pair of Kings.  I’ve seen plenty of people do it in that situation.  I thought about it quite a bit, and of course, I sure could have folded there.  I would have been pretty much back to fold-or-shove back if I had, but I could do it.  But I just couldn’t see myself folding two pair there.  This was just too good a chance to get more than a double up and really get myself a very nice stack I could work with.
So I called.  Let me know if you think I should have folded there.  Of course, my worse fears were realized, the lady with the card protector—my card protector—had a pair of fours for a set.   The short stack had pocket Aces, which she had limped in with!  I didn’t get the King I needed and my tournament was over.

As I said “nice hand” to the woman, I asked for my card protector back, which she did indeed toss back to me.  I of course said I was kidding and gave it back to her.
I hung around during the break to be sociable, but all I could think about was that the short stack had limped with Aces.  If she had raised there—or shoved—I never would have been in that hand.  I don’t call any raise with King-3 offsuit.  Damn.  She made the bad play and I lose my stack because of it?
Actually, though, I totally understand her play, I can’t really fault her for it.  At that point, with her short stack, she has to gamble there.  If she raises, she likely gets just the blinds.  She needs a big score.  She limps, hoping someone raises after her, in which case she can shove.  If not, she shoves any flop, as she did.  I’ve seen other people do it, and frankly, there have been plenty of times during tournaments when I have the same strategy—I just never get Aces then to try to pull it off. 
I had a good time, but I sure wished I had played a lot longer.  With 266 entries, there was a $30K prize pool and first place was nearly $6k.  And I wasn’t the one who limped with Aces…..


  1. Thanks for the shout out Rob and the blog link. Funnily enough, or not (if you are me), I believe it was Erin who knocked me out, when her jq took down my 1010 on a post flop shove with 9jq on the board. So circle completed. I'm back over at Xmas, and will be taking another shot at the Aria, hopefully with better luck.
    Good luck


    1. Thanks, Ben. Interesting that it was Erin who knocked you out. I should be back in town Xmas time, maybe we can get together for some poker.

  2. You are putting in real names now? Is that allowed in your blog? Can we talk politics, too?

    1. just dont talk about health issues or home improvement projects .LMAO.

    2. my real name is D B COOPER and i always travel with a parachute

    3. Well, sometimes I have to use Twitter links....but you know, some people don't use their real names on Twitter so,,.,,,

      No politics here! I was actually gonna petition the govt department that controls this, asking them if I could discuss politics, but there's no one to take my petition since the govt is shut down.

    4. know, I just did a book review so I guess anything's possible. I'm sure most of my readers assumed I had never read a book....

    5. I'm not surprised.... :)

    6. LMAO.also books with big boobies,poker,big caliber revolvers,and books that r about the human and socio economic condition. but mostly books with BOOBIES

    7. Gee, anger, I think I've figured out why you read my blog.....

  3. lmao. true. keep up the good work,sir

  4. Sorry Rob, easy fold there. Pocket 3's are probably an easy fold, too. A better decision would have been to go for a check raise. Then with two all-ins in front of you, you can safely fold. It's too easy to read you for having two pair there with the donk bet.

    1. Thanks, Herb, I appreciate your input. You're probably right, I should have folded there.

      However, to some degree, this represents how my attitude about tournaments has changed recently. I'm really looking to places to be more aggressive and take more chances in tournaments. I'm getting tired of playing hours and hours and either bubbling or just getting the min cash, so I'm willing to roll the dice a little more than maybe I should. The thought of being stuck there short-stacked again just didn't appeal to me. I was looking for the big score that would give me some chips to play with.