Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Colossal Failure (Part 2)

I apologize for the delay in getting this second (and final) part posted.  To refresh your memory of how we got to this point, you might want to read part 1 again (or for the first time, even) here.  We pick up right where part 1 ended, right after I my set of 9’s had been beaten by a straight. 

They had been breaking tables before this and sure enough, as soon as this hand was over, the broke ours and a couple of more.  I was in the Brasilia room and we were given bags to put our chips in.  I later found out that bags (instead of racks) meant you were moving to a different room, not just a different table in the same room.  And because they were moving several tables at once (at least three, might have been more), we all had to wait for the last hand to be completed at all of the tables they were breaking at this time.  So we were ready and we just had to wait around for all the other tables to finish their hands and gather all their belongings.  In the meantime, there was a woman in a red shirt telling us that when we started moving to follow her, and that we were headed for the Amazon room.  

After a few wasted minutes—and remember, the tournament clock is still ticking during all this—we finally started moving, but we were following some guy, not the woman who told us to follow her.  I dunno….maybe she was now at the end of the line, but it didn’t seem like I had any choice but to go with this group, at least there were players from my table in this group.  When we got into the hallway, we sort of almost got mingled in with a different group that was coming from a different room and headed to a different room than we were.  I have no idea if I even ended up where I was supposed to be.  But it seemed like it took forever to get to the Amazon room, where the guy who led us there, couldn’t seem to find anyone who know where we were supposed to go.  Eventually a floor person showed up and started handing us seat cards and I managed to find my seat.  Sheesh.  That took not an insignificant amount of time.

At my new table, there was a lady in the center who was getting a massage, and honestly, for a few minutes, I thought she it was a guy.  Not that she was unfeminine looking.  It’s just that she was buried into the chair (and the cushion the massage girls use) completely covering her front.  She had long red hair but it was wrapped around her face so that at first glance it looked like it might have been beard.

Anyway, in late position I opened to $275 with King-9 of hearts.  Only the bearded lady called.  The flop had two hearts on it.  The lady donked out $525 and I called.  The turn was a blank and we both checked.  I hit the second nut flush on the river and the lady bet out $1,025.  I just called, although it was unlikely she had the nut flush.  She showed a busted straight draw.  Sweet pot.

Back to $5900 at the start of the 3rd level, with blinds of 75/150.  The only hand I noted from this level was a raise with Jack-10 of diamonds and taking down the blinds. 

That took us to the first 20-minute break.  I had considered taking a bathroom break during play, knowing that the Men’s Rooms would be mobbed at break-time.  But when I saw how fast they were breaking tables, and how they were doing it, I decided not to.  I couldn’t imagine the hell that would result if they broke a table and someone was away from their seat at that moment.  Would they wait to do the march to the next table until that player returned?  Would they take everyone else and just a leave a note on the chair for the missing player?  Would someone be assigned to move the person’s chips and all their belongings to the new seating assignment?  I didn’t want to find out.

The lines were ridiculously long at all the Men’s rooms near the venue.  This was one time it when there was much less of a line (if any) for the Ladies room.  I thought if I just walked all the way into the Rio, I’d find a Men’s room without a line.  But a lot of other people had that idea too.  By the time I gave up and got into a line, I had walked all the way to the Men’s room nearest the Rio poker room (if you know the layout of the place, you realize that’s a really long walk—any further and I would be peeing in the parking lot furthest away from the WSOP venue).  At least this line wasn’t too long.  The trouble was that by the time I was done and heading back to the convention center, my 20-minute break was almost up!  I walked as fast as I could without actually running and missed about two-three minutes of the next level, one or two hands.  At least I wasn’t one of the blinds and the antes hadn’t kicked in yet.

Started level 4 (100/200) with $5,450.  After a player limped in, I raised to $700 with Ace-King off.  The limper called and we saw a flop of King-Queen-x.  He donked out $700.  With stack sizes what they were, I thought I should just shove so I did.  It was my first all-in of the night and he folded.

Then I stole the blinds from the cut-off with 8-7 offsuit.  First in, I raised to $500 and took it down.

Started level 5 (25/100/200) with $6,750.  I three bet Ace-King of spades from $500 to $2K, and didn’t get a call.

Not sure how I got down to $6,100 at the start of level 6 (25/150/300) as I didn’t write down any bad hands.  Was it just from blinds and antes? 

Midway through the level they were breaking tables again, and it appeared my table was not long for the world.  Sure enough, they came by with chip racks—meaning we were all moving within the room, not moving to another room.  I got my seating assignment and it was two tables over from where I was.  In other words, the table they sent me to would be breaking real soon.

And in fact before I had even finished getting my small supply of chips out of the rack, they were moving my new table, where I had never played a hand!  They were moving a bunch of tables at the same time, and we had to hang around and wait again for a few other nearby tables to break.  This time we were given bags, meaning we were moving to a different room.  Finally we were ready to march to our new location.  Guess what?  They were taking us back to the Brasilia room, where I had started out!

Another long march through the hallways of the Rio convention center.  When I finally got to my new seating assignment, I had easily lost 15 minutes of the 40-minute level.  Umm, that really sucked.  Sure not playing saved me some ante money, and maybe even some blinds money, but I couldn’t afford losing the opportunity cost of not playing any hands for that much time out of a 40-minute blind level when I was desperate to find a way to pick up chips.

I was still trying to get my bearings at my new table when I thought I saw an opportunity to steal.  It had folded to me on the button so I raised to $800 with Ace-4 offsuit.  The blinds folded, but somehow, I had missed the fact that Under-the-Gun had limped in.  Damn.  I probably would have made the same move if I had noticed, but I would have raised to a bigger amount if I saw the limper.

And then the limper made a big raise (the ol’ limp/re-raise!) and I had no choice but to fold.

The level was coming to a close and we were about to take our second break.  My now less than $5k stack was going to be pathetic at the next level (50/200/400).  So I was quite happy to look down at pocket Queens as I saw the tournament clock tick down under a minute.  This was the first decent hand I’d seen in a long, long time.  A player with a similar stack as mine went all-in in front of me.  I really had no read on him since I had just gotten to the table, but it didn’t matter, no way could I do anything but go all-in with the ladies.

It was heads up and he flipped over Ace-King offsuit, which was ok by me.  It was a flip and I had a slight edge.  The flop was something like 7-7-6.  Another low card hit the turn. Only one card standing between busting and a double up. And then a damn red Ace hit the freaking river.  The dealer counted stacks and he had a few more chips to me.  The break had started and my tournament was over.

So I gathered my stuff and headed for the parking lot.  It was after 11PM and I was through with poker for the day.  Too tired and frustrated to even consider heading anywhere else, I knew it was back to the room for the night.

On the way out, I happened to pass by The Trooper who was hurriedly heading back to the tournament area, still alive at that point.  We said hi but he was rushing to make it back to the tournament, so we didn’t really talk.

If you follow this stuff, you know there was some controversy at the end of the event over the prize pool distribution.  First place turned out to be “only” $638K, with the total prize pool being $11.1 MM.  Some of the game’s more well-known pros howled about first place being such a small percentage of the pool.  That’s less than 6% of the total pool.

Really, pros, really?  That first place was 1,130 times the buy-in.  Seems like a pretty good ROI to me.  This was always supposed to be “the people’s tournament,” a tournament for the masses. I don’t think any of the big name pros bothered with this, this was a bracelet event for the rest of us.  Once you realize they have to pay out 10% of the entrees…a whopping 2,241 people… much do you think they were going to pay first place?

I’ve ranted before about this (see here), the problem is that they pay the bottom too little, not that they pay the top too little.  Go ahead and try a winner-take-all tournament and see how many paid entrants you get.  I actually almost approve of the min-cash for this tournament… $1,096.  That’s close to double the buy-in (but not quite), which to my mind is the absolute minimum the min cash should be for any sizeable tournament.  So anyone who isn’t happy to collect $638K for a $565 buy-in should just not play it next year, and shut the fudge up.

A few days later I was happy to learn that my retired blogging buddy Chris Abramski was not stumped by the tournament, and finished 977th, to take home $3,300.  Nice going, Chris!

Things to come: One of the reasons for the delay in getting this second part posted was that I was involved in another tournament—a long one.  For the first time ever, I actually made it to day 2 of a multi-day tournament and had the experience of “bagging and tagging” my chips!  I had a nice payout and it should make for a few epic blog posts in the hopefully near future.


  1. "I don’t think any of the big name pros bothered with this"
    I had Mike Matusow at my table and I'm told Antonio Esfandiari was playing that day as well.

    1. You call those big name pros??? :)

      Thanks for the correction, did you do? How many bullets did you fire?

    2. I only fired one bullet and played poorly. I didn't get many real hands to work with, the only truly premium hand I got was KK, and misplayed them when I should have been able to figure out they were beat. I tried to make a couple of position moves with marginal hands, but I either had my c-bet raised when I held only 2nd pair, or faced a donk lead from a tricky player when I had no pair, no draw and a stack I felt was too shallow to float or bluff-raise with. Probably missed a couple of spots where a squeeze play might have worked, if I could have executed confidently.

      I probably would have benefited by playing some local dailies or DSE events as warm-up, my tournament game was a bit rusty.

    3. Sorry to hear. Yeah, cash and tournaments are two different animals. A little practice might have been a good idea...even online.

      Sorry about the dreaded hand. Obviously not surprised. :)

  2. missed about two-three minutes of the next level, one or two hands.

    If I really have to go, I leave with 60 seconds on the clock and beat the masses. Only do this, of course, if not in blinds or in late position.

    Regarding the flap about not a huge payout, poker players will complain no matter what they do, Actually, I think they do a pretty good job of figuring out what's best for poker for the long haul. You agree?

    1. LOL....the thing is, I really didn't have to go at the break, but I figured there was no way I'd last to the next break, so that's why I went. They made you leave the room anyway and the hallways were jammed, so you were better off walking away from the convention center anyway than just standing in the mob.

      I agree Dave....although I have lots of issues with tourney payouts in general, I think this time they pretty much got it right. You want to encourage people to play. You want people who think they have zero chance of finishing in the top 5 but at least SOME chance of finishing in the money to have a reason to play.

  3. Nice report, but I have to give a D-minus boobage score. Congratulations for cashing in a tournament - looking forward to reading about it.

    I'm going to London next week - a city that actually has some poker. Might get in a session or two...

    1. Really? D-minus? For those COLOSSAL boobies??? That hurts, and I am counting on you now that anger is no longer grading them. I think he's given up on boobies, too much 420 for him to appreciate them any more.

      Well, at least I gave you three times the boobies in Part 1.

      Good luck in London! Cheerio!

  4. IDK... if you are going to outlast that many entrants, you want a million... should have guartd. 1 million for first. I do agree with the double your buyin min cash. Screw the people in the middle!

    1. Yeah, I suppose if I had a shitoad of time on my hands, I'd sit down and analyze the entire pay structure and come up with a "robvegaspoker - approved" version. Until then, I'll stand by what I wrote. Tho it is possible the problem could be solved my making the whole scale flatter after the very top.

    2. I think something like this would have been more appropriate:

      1st: 1 mirrion dollars
      2nd 800K
      3rd 600K
      4th 500K
      5th 400K
      6th 300K
      7th 250K
      8th 200K
      9th 100K

      thats just over 4mirrion and leaves 7 million for the rest of the cashers.
      It guarantees a million up top and 100K for final tabling...and I didnt do the math on the other cashers but I am sure you could mincash a ton of people at $1200 and spread the wealth appropriately up the ranks

    3. At first glance that looks reasonable, sounds like you would have just a very flat pay scale at the bottom, with a huge amount of people getting basically the min cash, or very few pay jumps. I wonder how such a scale would affect play? if you had the min cash and it would take you like 100 people busting out before you'd make a jump, how would you play as opposed to being able to move up with every bust out? I dunno, just wondering.

    4. It will play just like any tourney after the bubble bursts only faster. If you are short stacked you'll be shoving alot to try and build a stack...if you are average stack you will look for spots...big stacks will try and pick off some easy chips from shorties...etc

      athis was discussed on the pokernews podcast ...I think many of the mincashers would reinest into a $1K or $1500 the money would flow back in to the lower buyin events

    5. Good points, bill, appreciate your input. Now if we only get the tournament managers to see the benefits of this.

    6. I mean....think about it...what's the difference between a $1200 mincash or say a $2K cash with more steps laddering up? This is Vegas and that $800 can be spent in the blink of an eye. I really don't think a flatter payout at the bottom will have much effect other than to speed up the rest of the tourney...which is a good thing. Then the people who are staying in town for a while will reinvest in another small buyin event...and those who are flying out will leave with a smile on their face! " I cashed an event at the WSOP!"Can you imagine the bragging rights at the local home game? IMO it's win win for the WSOP and the players...and should you make it through that massive field and final get a nice 100K payday for your trouble.

    7. Excellent points. TD's, are you listening?

  5. You seem annoyed with the table changes. You do realize this was the largest live tournament in history and I am sure an absolute nightmare t coordinate?

    I just think its kind of silly to enter an event called "The Colossus" and get pissed when small annoying things happen.

    As to the prize was really bottom heavy...a guy from 2p2 finished in the top 900 I think? and got $5K. I see both sides of want a mincash to be decent...but if you get through a field like that over days...I would probably want more up top. My biggest issue with it is 2nd place got $400K and the final table only guaranteed a $67K payday! Really? $67K for final tabling the largest live tourney ever? I dunno...I think it was "OK" but could have been much better.

    1. See my comment above regarding the payscale....I guess it's fair to say they were in a situation where people were going to be unhappy no matter what they did.

      Regarding the table changes....I believe I did give them credit at the outset for how they handled some of the logistical nightmares.

      But you know, my posts are (usually) about what happens to me, and pointing out how the way they handled the breaking of the tables affected me is an important element in relating my tournament experience. I believe my readers would expect that and that's certainly they way I want to do my posts.

      As to whether or not that was the right way to do it, well, we can debate that. The fact that the wanted to do "waves" instead of accepting alternates one by one was I guess the reason they did it that way. But even so, they could have broken all tables in the same room into the same room until much later if they had chosen to do so, reducing the randomness of some people spending a lot of time moving between rooms. There would have been logistical problems with this, but there were logistical problems with the way they did it as I pointed out.

      I didn't even complain about the fact that I had paid my entry fee back in March--one of the first to do so--and still was stuck moving for a rather arbitrary reason in the second level. It's not like our table was short and had to be broken up. We were full, they just did it based on a choice they made before the thing began. I could have easily griped that as an early registrant, I should have been assigned to a table that wouldn't be broken so early.

  6. Okay, it's time for you to start writing about your nice payout in your multi-day event and put every other post on the back burner... Congratulations in advance, after the fact! ;)

    1. Thanks Coach....and thanks for the marching orders. I'm in Vegas for awhile longer, and I honestly can't say when I'll get to the that post. It should be long even by my standards, and I want to take the time to do it justice.