Thursday, October 12, 2017

Long Day's Tourney Into Night (Part 3)

You can find part 2 here and part 1 here.

Picking up where we left off, we start with....

Level 13 (300/1K/2K) $75K.  I opened to $5,500 with King-Jack off and didn't get a call.

With Ace-King in the small blind I just called a big stack's open to $6K.  He had just come to the table.  Carol was the big blind and she came along too.  I checked the flop, Ace-Jack-x, and the other two checked as well.  The turn was a Queen and this time I put out $13K and Carol immediately raised to $26K.  The preflop raiser folded and I tanked.  From my observations of her game to that point, I just didn't think she would min-raise there unless she could beat top pair/top kicker. As I folded, I said to her, "Ace-Queen, huh?"  She didn't say a word or react in any way.

I opened to $5,200 with King-Jack off, only the big blind called.  The flop was Jack-high, I bet $7K and got a call.  The turn was a King and I bet $14K and he folded.

The last hand of the level was a crucial one.  I opened to $5,200 with Queen-10 of clubs.  There were three callers, including Carol.  The flop was pretty nice I thought—Queen-Queen-3.  I bet $12K and Carol made it $25K and it folded back to me.  Did she have a Queen with a better kicker?  At that point, I wasn't going anywhere with trip Queens.  I shoved, she tanked, ask for a count  and then called.  She still had a shitload of chips.  And she turned over Queen-Jack.  Ugh.  Looked like my tournament life was about to end.  But the turn was a 3 and suddenly we both had the exact same boat.  The river was blank and we chopped it.  Phew.  That's the kind of luck you need from time-to-time to run deep in these things.

As soon as the 3 hit the turn said, "Oh, are you lucky!"  She said it a few more times as the dealer was dividing the pot between the two of us.  Then she added, "Well, you could have caught a 10 there.  I can't complain. I'm happy with the chop."

Level 14 (400/1200/2400) $70K.  I opened to $6K with K-10 of spades.  Carol called.  Carol was another one of those players who seemingly called every bet I made.  But the aggro calling station next to her shoved, and two more players shoved after that!  I folded, as did Carol.  Well the biggest stack (the second shover) had two Queens, the first guy had Ace-Jack and the last guy had Ace-King.  The Queens held and we lost two players including that aggro that had been a pain in the ass the entire tournament to that point.  Carol pointed out that she had Ace-10 and would have caught a straight if she had called.  Just the 10 was needed for the straight.  I would have caught it too, but of course neither of us could have risked our tournament lives with our hands.

Card dead, I headed to level 15 (500/1500/3000) with just $56,500.  This was the last level of the night, if I survived this I'd be coming back for day 2.  But that was a pretty meager stack and even if I just stayed with that stack for the rest of the night, I'd be pretty desperate at the start of level 16 the next day.

I realized there was no point in just  hanging on to return next day—at 11AM—so I could just find a hand to shove with and get bounced after playing maybe one hand.  I figured I needed to take some risks to try and build the stack and if I busted out instead, I could live with that.  I'd rather bust out now than return tomorrow with a desperation stack.  I likely could have folded my way to day 2, but there was no money in it if I did that—no payouts until day 2.  I wasn't sure how many players I'd have to outlast on day 2 to get money—that info wasn't posted yet, but it was clear I'd need some kind of stack if I came back to have a shot at any money at all.  Of course, I wanted more than just the min-cash, whatever it would be.

I should have been more aggressive earlier but there were always one or two players behind me who always seemed to call every bet or raise I made.  Now Carol was playing that roll for the aggro who had recently busted. 

So in the small blind with Ace-Jack, there was a raise in front of me and I shoved.  There was no call.  Two hands later I opened to $7K with Queen-10 off.  But a big stack who had just moved to our table shoved and I folded.

Then, on the button, I got the dreaded pocket Kings. First time since the first round of the tournament.  Well, I figured this was it.  Since it was Kings, I expected to bust out there.  But obviously it was a great time to get them and if I could win a big pot I'd be in much better shape for a day 2.  A guy with a big stack who wasn't as aggro as maybe you'd expect with his stack had raised in front of me.  I didn't even pay much attention to the amount, I had one play.  I shoved, it folded back to the preflop raiser who asked for a count.  It was $59K.  He had chips galore and he tanked and then called.  He had pocket 7's.  There was an Ace on the flop because of course Kings are "Ace magnets" but this time the Ace didn't matter.  I was thinking it was pretty sweet that he hadn't done that with Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  No 7 showed up and believe it or not, my Kings held.  I got my much needed double-up and I had the not-so-dreaded pocket Kings to thank!

That was the last hand of "normal" play.  What they did then was new to me.  The clock showed 12 minutes left and they froze it.  They waited for the hands to stop at every table.  I believe there were five tables left and we were now playing 9-handed.  And they announced that they were just going to play six more hands at every table, run 12 minutes off the clock for those six hands.  They wouldn't move any players to balance no matter how uneven the tables may get.  I guess they want to do that to make sure that some players aren't stalling just to run out the clock to make day 2.  But I really don't think that's necessary since there is really no incentive to get to day 2—not with a really short stack.

So we played six more hands, the dealer at each table kept count.  With the Kings double-up, I felt I would be coming back to day 2 with a workable stack.  With only six hands to go, there was a good chance I wouldn't get another hand to play unless I wanted to take a needless risk.  Of course getting Aces then would have been nice.  But since that Kings hand was my button, I wouldn't have to post another blind that night.  That KK couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I folded garbage for five straight hands and then on the final hand of the night, I got pocket 5's.  I figured I could take a small risk and limp in with them, planning to fold to any raise.  But it was a limped pot.  It was five-ways and believe it or not, I flopped a set.  I wasn't going to try anything cute there.  I lead out for $13K and took it down.

And so the bagging and tagging started and I bagged $126,500. While we were counting, they finally posted the final numbers.  I almost forgot to look before I left.  But it was weird during the last few levels of the tournament, seeing the "number of players left" figure keep going down, and then reminding myself that it didn't really mean anything this time.  Ordinarily at this time in a tournament I'd be looking at the number and seeing just how close I was getting to being in the money.  But this time I knew that no matter how low that number got, it didn't really mean I was getting close to the money—at least on this day.  So I tried to stop looking at it, but I couldn't help myself. 

Anyway, the final numbers showed that over the two starting flights, there were 474 players, with 76 players left to return on day 2.  They were paying 54 players, so I had to outlast 22 more players to get in the money.  But here's the killer. The min-cash was $597, well under the double-the-buy-in figure that I think should be the minimum min-cash for this type of tournament, as I've mentioned many times  Very discouraging but I guess not surprising.  Perhaps worse, nine players would get that pathetic min-cash.  Nine!  The first pay jump was 45th place for $650—still not double the buy-in!  Again, nine players would get that.  It wasn't until the next pay jump—36th place—that the payout reached $717, slightly more than double the buy-in. And again, nine players were getting that.  Then, starting at 27th place, three players make the jump to $889. 

The total prize pool was $132K.   First place was getting $28.5K, second was $17.5K and third was $12.6K.  Couldn't they have taken a little off the top 3 to give more meaningful money for everyone who played two days of poker and cashed?  Guess not.

It was like 11:15 PM when I left the Venetian and headed to my room. That's 11 hours of poker!  I was exhausted, mentally and physically.  I needed to get to bed quickly to make sure I was at the Venetian the next day for the 11AM restart.  So of course, for my convenience, there was a problem at the hotel I was staying at and as I was getting ready for bed, a terrible loud, squealing, high-pitched siren erupted out of nowhere.  It was not coming from my room.  I had to throw my clothes back on to check it out.  It seems there was some repair work being done on the hotel's water pipes and when they turned the water back on the sudden pressure set off an alarm.  It was a false alarm and it went quiet as I was talking to them about it.

Impressively, the Venetian already had the chip counts and seating assignments online by the time I got back to the hotel.  I was actually in pretty good shape, my stack was just about right in the middle of 76 remaining players—the 40th biggest stack.  Plenty of players had fewer chips than me.  And I saw that my buddy Carol and her still big stack was at my new table, but this time she was two seats to my right instead of on my immediate left.  Unfortunately, the player on my immediate left was one of the chip leaders for the entire tournament and the chip leader at our table.

I couldn't fall asleep—I was too amped up.  And when I finally did fall asleep, I woke up after about three hours and was still too amped to get back to sleep  I dragged myself out of bet when my alarm went off but I had only been barely dozing on and off for the most part.  I was going to have to cash in this tournament functioning on three hours of sleep.

And that's the end of part 3.  Part 4 is now posted here so you can see if this story has a happy ending.


  1. i played very few live tournaments in my life but i thought everyone who reaches day 2 always get paid. plus, with 3000 big blind, u had 59000 thats not desperatiion thats like 20 bb

    1. There are different types of tourneys, Tony. Some that have two days do pay out on Day 1. Typically tho, those payouts are very small. It's actually more common that you don't reach the money until day 2.

      As for "desperation" well, if I took that $55K stack (assuming I didn't lose any of it) into Day 2, level 16 the BB would be 4K, so about 13 BB. However, I pay more attention to the tournament "M". My M there would have been exactly 5, which is the point where you have no choice but to fold or shove.

  2. Nice playing Rob, your tourney went much better than mine.

    1. Thanks, Neo, sorry you didn't do better in your tourney.