Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Last Summer Tournament (Part 2)

Part 1 is here and we pick up right where we left off in my last Golden Nugget tournament recap.

Level 8 (100/400/800), $11K.  I open shoved with pocket 7’s, no call.

This was the last level before the second break.  Late registration ended after that break.  So with 8 minutes to go in the level, I was really surprised they broke our table.  I mean, really?  They couldn’t have waited until the break?  Now, they had opened one more table after mine, and they had broken that one somewhat earlier.  I was wondering how/why they would break a table when there was still over 20 minutes to go before registration ended.  What if they had  a more than a few players who wanted to late reg and suddenly they didn’t have any seats available?  I guess they have some kind of formula they use to determine that they are unlikely to have too many players for the seats available even after breaking the table.  But that close to the break, it seemed rather odd not to wait.  And of course, it was rough for all of us to lose that precious time so close to the next level when the blinds would naturally increase again. I was not happy, and then, to make matters worse, I had just posted the blinds at my old table and then got moved to under-the-gun at my new seat assignment.  Grrr.

In the small blind, last hand of the level, I had pocket Aces. A player raised to $1,700 in front of me so I shoved.  He tanked, and finally called with pocket 7’s.  My Aces held.

I guess I should mention that before the table had broken, my buddy Bruce had busted.  And I don’t think I really got into any hands with him, so he wasn’t the problem I was afraid he’d be.

Level 9 (200/600/1200), $22K.  First hand back from the break, after one limper I made it $4k with Ace-9 off.  Three of us saw a low flop. It checked around (I felt anything I bet there would have committed me and I had nothing).  The turn was a second 4 and I folded to a big bet, the guy showed a 4.

Under-the-gun, I shoved with Ace-4 of diamonds and took it.

In the big blind, I had Ace-King of diamonds.  A woman shoved for a bit more than $5K.  I shoved.  It was heads up and she showed pocket 5’s, I flopped a gut-shot but missed and her 5’s held.

On the button, I open shoved with King-9 and didn’t get a call.

After one limper, I shoved with Ace-5 of clubs and didn’t get a call.

My table broke just as the level ended.  I took $20,600 to the new table, level 10 (200/800/1600).  First hand of the level, I open shoved with pocket Queens.  No call.

In the small blind, I had King-9 of diamonds.  There was one limper, I shoved.  No call.

After level 10, they had the dinner break.  Another mad dash to the Subway at the Plaza.  Just my luck, there was an elderly couple in front of me and they sure took their sweet time getting their sandwiches made. They were obviously southerners.  “Let’s see (long pause)….a little lettuce (long pause)….maybe some tomato (long pause)….oh, and some mayonnaise….no the other kind….”  Yeesh. But I got my meal and gulped it down in time.

Level 11 (300/1000/2000), $24K. My tournament “M” there is less than 5, so It was frustrating that I had to take the dinner break, knowing how close I was to busting. I had been hanging by thread for some time, and just couldn’t find enough spots to chip up.

 A lady with a big stack made a raise (didn’t note the amount).  There was a call.  I was in the big blind with Ace-Queen of diamonds. With my stack, that was more than good enough to shove with, so I did.  The lady tanked, then called.  The other guy folded.  She had pocket 5’s and it looked like I was dead when the flop had a 5 on it.  But there was one diamond.  I caught runner-runner diamonds to make my flush and take the pot.

That put me back in business with $50,400.  Near the end of the level, I had pocket 10’s.  The guy on my right made a raise.  I had him covered.  I shoved with my 10’s.  He called and showed King-Queen.  The flop was Jack-9-x, giving him a gut shot.  All he needed was a 10, and coincidentally I had two of those.  He said, “Give him his 10, give him his 10, give him his 10!”  Instead, the turn was another 9.  On the river, the guy got his wish, the dealer gave me my 10.  The guy was happy as a clam, hitting his straight.  Until the dealer informed him that I had a full house.  And then the dealer said, “Hey, you asked for a 10.”  Busted, the guy meekly said, “That was before you put the second 9 out.”  Heh heh.  You know, the way I just told the story, it sounds like the dealer was rubbing it in to the guy, but it didn’t feel like that at the time.  Of course, easy for me to say.

That got me to level 12 (400/1500/3000) with nearly $84K.

Now the guy on my left at this table was actually at my original table where I busted out after 15 minutes, set-over-set.  He hadn’t said a word in the brief time I was with him then, and since we’d been reunited at this table he still hadn’t said a word.  He didn’t exactly display a jovial personality.  Or any personality whatsoever, for that matter.  But at one point, he got a Face Time call from his little boy, who must have been under 5 years old.  We could hear him tell his boy, “I’m still in this poker tournament.  I don’t know when I’ll be home.  Hopefully not for awhile.”  He didn’t step away from the table to take the call but he wasn’t in a hand at the time.  He then turned the phone around and showed his boy the table he was playing at.  He was a cute kid and the players not in the hand all waived to the kid.  The trouble was that there was a hand going on and finally the guy whose action it was had to tell the dealer that it was inappropriate to have the guy talking to his boy and disturbing him during the hand.

He stepped away to finish talking, and when he came back, he was a totally different guy than he had been before. He was bragging about his kid, telling us that his boy was his best friend and how lucky he was to have him.  It was a rather amazing transformation.

I mostly mention this because it almost made me feel bad when I busted him out, and I surely wouldn’t have had any feelings about it if not for the call from the kid.  He open shoved about $19K and it folded to me.  Seeing as I had pocket Aces, it was a pretty easy call.  He showed Queen-9 of clubs.  He flopped a 9, then picked up a straight draw on the turn, but he bricked the river and I had his chips and he could call his boy and tell him Daddy was on his way home.

That got me to over $100K, surely the biggest stack I’d had all day.  And then….

I open raised to $8K with 10-9 of clubs from the cut-off.  A lady shoved for over $35K and I let it go.

Last hand of the level, in the big blind, I had Ace-King of diamonds.  It folded to the small blind, who shoved for $26K.  I called.  He had 8-6 of hearts.  And of course, he turned a friggin’ straight.

So, level 13 (500/2000/4000) down to $65K.  I called a shove with pocket Queens.  I had him covered but not by that much.  He had pocket 10’s.  The flop came 10-3-3.  And thus I was down to $19,500.

The table broke and at the new table, I open shoved with pocket 5’s and didn’t get a call. 

I shoved with Ace-Jack, the lady to my left tanked and then called.  Heads up, she showed Ace-Jack too and we chopped it.

Under the gun, I shoved with Jack-10.  One guy tanked forever, but he folded, as did everyone else, and I took it.

Right before the level was over, I had pocket Aces.  A guy with a huge stack made a big open raise. Of  course I shoved my last $22,600.  He called and showed King-Jack off.  To make a long story short, he picked up a gut-shot on the turn and hit it on the river.  And I was done.

Ugh.  O-for-tournaments this trip. There were over 150 players, with a total prize pool of $17K. The top five would get at least $1K, $4,500 for first.  The min-cash was $230, they were paying 18 places.  I think I busted out 33rd.

It was the end of a disappointing tournament summer for me.


  1. With the short stacks I think you played quite well. I think you might have been more patient with the big stack. When it gets close to the money, people tighten up. When they play they've probably got a hand. Its a time to avoid playing early position strong. Steal or look for more post flop play were you can exit gracefully when you have too. It is as much about stack management as cards.

    1. Thanks Ken, I appreciate the input. I don't think I ever had a "big stack" but merely a stack big enough so that I didn't have to shove or fold only. But I'll comment more in the response below.

    2. Well, a low M is gamble time but you were aggressive with some better stacks. It is time to get more aggressive as you M approaches 10. That doesn't mean being a shove monkey. :)

      Shoving is typically a binary outcome. And one of those sucks. What I don't see you ever mentioning much is position. What's acceptable late is different from mid/early. Coming up on the bubble, position can be as important as the card choice. That isn't saying it isn't always important.

      Remember that a short stack makes it much easier to be called so look at the stacks behind and already in, too. Big stacks can lose and still be around. In a way, you really need to be more selective when short and work all the options.

    3. Thanks, Ken. Good advice, I'm sure I have work to do.

  2. Agree with KenP. In you tourny reports it seems when you finally get a big stack you quickly lose it calling all-ins. Big difference between being the shover vs. the caller. Late postion reraises and shoves to picked up blinds until you pick up big hands might be an area to focus on. With a big stack, why flip? Sometimes you are going to loses the hand no matter what but preserving the stack is a big part of closing.

    1. Thanks, as I said to Ken, I didn't ever have a big stack. Are there specific hands you think I played incorrectly?

      I do know that sometimes I go into "fold or shove" mode a bit before I get down to an M of 5, looking at the clock and how close the level is, reading the players left in the hand (or who bet in front of me).

      I'm sure I made some judgement calls that can be debated, and certainly I made some mistakes. But a lot of the time when I didn't have to shove a short stack I still didn't have all that much working room.

  3. 10,9 and J,10...calling would have been my play.

    1. Well, the 10-9 hand was I guess a close call, but it seemed like to much to risk right after I finally had a pretty decent stack to work with. I figured she had overcards, or a pair, or an Ace, not really good for my hand. But I did think about it.

      Dunno what J-10 you mean. The only I mentioned with Jack-10 I shoved.Are you saying I should have limped in?

    2. I don't know if I could shove J,10 UTG that's all. I was hoping you cash this one.

    3. Well, it sounds like I had about 5 big blinds there. If there's no bet in front of me, I'm shoving any two Broadway cards and a lot worse too.

    4. The T9 hand you need to call 27,000 and the pot is already 51,500. You need 34% equity, which is what you have with T9s vs a top 9% hand.

    5. Thanks, Unknown, I suppose you are right.

      I need to get a fold/shove calculator.