Archive Jun 2008: Possibly too level-headed

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Last couple of days

Not much to report. I very uneventfully busted from the 2K (there was some hilarious stuff at the table, but not much of it involved me), then felt a little under the weather today and skipped the 1500 - not that it made any difference, because it was apparently sold out long before I would've gotten there. I'm also skipping online tomorrow (Sunday) to go meet a few people I've been planning to talk to for a while, although, if the stars align and I get out of there early, I might get to enter the 1500 HORSE event at 5 PM only an hour or two late.

In other, only tangentially related news, it turns out there are actually some HU razz SNG's going off on FTP at fairly high stakes. My record so far is a nice 14-6 and only about 3 people I played against haven't been terrible/I felt like I had a small edge vs. the #2 guy on the leaderboard for the year, so it seems like I'm gonna be doing a bunch of that along with a bunch of PLO. NL is dead to me :p Along with being much tougher than it used to be, almost every other poker game allows for more creativity. I may change my mind if I ever get into HU NL, but so far, midstakes PLO is a much more action-oriented game that leads to much tougher decisions if you like playing big pots than those at the equivalent NL stakes games.

Next week's schedule loosely looks like this:
-$1500 NL Monday (if no HORSE tomorrow/I don't make day 2)
-$1500 limit shootout Tuesday

Several days off (possibly playing that energy drink freeroll thing Wednesday...seems +EV?) There's also a Cardrunners party in the middle here, and I'll also be grinding some sats if I can make it to the Rio.

-Main event Sunday. For a few different reasons, the house has collectively decided on Sunday registration. In other words, I'm guaranteed not to bust out before roughly 3/4 of the field *and* save yet more money on online buyins :p

One thing about these summer poker boot camps that spring up around the WSOP - everybody goes home having learned a bunch of new things. Seeing as how I've chronically busted out too early to actually play any poker, I don't know if I'm better at tournaments than I was a month and a half ago...but I am definitely way better at three separate non-NL games and will make it a goal to learn more about all of the facets of HORSE when I make it back home.

(Except stud high. That's pretty much the devil.)

Anatomy of a donkament: the 5K 6 max

Out of this one in about 6 hours, but did play a bunch of interesting hands. I'm going to post pretty much everything I remember from memory without much comment and see if anybody feels like replying. So, here we go:

First table: Random T6 sponsored Swede/Rizen (seat 1), Joe Hachem (seat 2), Jeff Madsen/Gabe Kostner (3), me (4), a decent LAGgy internet pro whose name I forgot but finished 2'nd to shaundeeb in the yearly TLB (5), Victor Ramdin (6)

1)25/50 - Early on, I have a very tight image (Seat 5 is playing ~60/40 behind me) but just raised the last hand when Seat 1 raises. I 3 bet red AA from the small blind to 500. He calls. Flop 9 8 3, I bet 725, he calls. Turn 2, check/check. River 2, I value bet 1400 (possibly better off betting more), he calls and mucks. 12K.

2)50/100 - I bust Jeff Madsen with a standard AKs > TT hand when he's short. 16K.

Interlude: Joe Hachem open limps the button. SB (Gabe Kostner) completes and I check some random cards. Flop 865r; Gabe checks, I check, Joe (who has about 6K?) bets, Gabe CR's, Joe tanks and eventually shoves, Gabe calls with 66. Joe has...J8o. The deck is short a jack because someone else folded one, but it doesn't matter because Joe gets there anyway.

3)I 3 bet Joe once already when he opens to 600 from the CO. I make it 2000 with AQ. He eventually calls. Flop K52, I bet 2625, he calls. Turn x, river x, check/check, his KQ is good. 10K.

4)I bleed down to 9500, then call Hachem's CO raise with A 7 in the SB. Flop AK7 with 2 spades; I check and Joe relatively quickly checks. Turn 7x; I lead 800, Joe tanks and calls (leading me to think he has very little.) Turn 5x, I take a few seconds and check, Joe checks behind JJ. 11K.

5)I still have a tight image when I raise J 9 to 600 on the button. Victor Ramdin calls in the BB and we see a Q 7 2 flop. He instachecks, I check it back. Turn x, he instachecks, I bet 800, he instacalls. River K, he checks, I bet 2K, he tanks and eventually folds. 13500.

6)I 3 bet a bunch of times (most were real hands although not all), then bust a shortish stack with AK > A8. 20K.

7)I'm up to 23K playing well at 200/400 when the floor tells us the table's breaking. Meanwhile, we're 4 handed, with Ramdin, Hachem, and a DeucesCracked pro whose name I can't remember to my right. I raise KJo UTG; Ramdin calls on the button and the pro overcalls in the BB. Flop K53r, DC checks, I bet 2500ish, Ramdin snapcalls, DC folds. Turn 8; I second barrel 4500, Ramdin snapcalls again. The river bricks off and we check through; I lose to KQ. 15K.

8)My new table is a random Internet-seeming young guy I don't know (seat 1), random FTP pro (2), Anna Wroblewski playing everything with a nice stack and busy bluffing a bunch of it off to seat 1 when I sit down (3), a vaguely familiar face that I think is a well known online Euro? pro (4), me (5) and another vaguely familiar face to my left (6). For the first orbit, I fold some hands while Seat 6 raises from EP twice. At that point, I pick up 9 7 and open complete from the SB planning to call a raise and reeval; Seat 6 checks.

Flop A 9 7; I bet 600, he quickly calls. My read here is that PF = he basically cannot have an ace. Turn A; I check, he bets 1200, I call. River Q; I check, he bets 2800, I decide everything missed, hero call and lose to Q T. 9K.

9)I fold down to 8K when Anna raises UTG. The Euro in MP coldcalls the raise with a 7K stack, I find A T in the CO and snap shove. It's folded back to Anna, who tanks, counts out the chips and eventually calls with K Q. Unfortunately, the Euro beats her into the pot with 2 of the other 3 aces, leaving me the 2K (5 BB) sidepot. I bust a few hands later.

Seems like I played most of this reasonably well, but I can't decide on a couple of them. Comments?

The Scotty Nguyen story

Taking a couple of days off between NL events (I think my next one will be the 5K 6 max on Thursday.) In the meantime, here's the Scotty story I promised earlier:

My first table of the 1500 had an empty seat on it for over 2 hours. If you've played any WSOP events, you know that an empty seat at your first table is *always* a pro running late, but usually, they tend to show up within an hour. This time, the stack was being blinded off all the way to the 100/200 level, so by the time the pro - who turned out to be Scotty - showed up, he was already down to 1800 chips.

Naturally, Scotty was unhappy about that and asked the dealer why he didn't have 3K. But at the WSOP, only late registrations get their full 3K chips (and get seated in Seat 10); everyone else gets a regular seat and then gets blinded off if they're late, which is normal. Scotty, though, obviously didn't like the idea of starting out with a 9 bet stack, said "I'm not playing", and went off to find the tournament director. I think he just wanted to be allowed to unregister, but instead, a couple of minutes later, the floor showed up with a full stack and gave it to him. On the one hand, this is pretty much blatant cheating - it's a free 1200 chips that nobody not named Scotty Nguyen would ever get; on the other, I a)kinda sympathized with the guy and b)personally was of the opinion that I was better off with Scotty having 15 BB at my table than him having 9. (Don't get me wrong; he clearly plays well. But much like every other live pro, the guy's not particularly math-oriented and doesn't know short stack strategy.)

Also naturally, he then owned my soul by proceeding to suck out on me when he pushed A5 into my queens. Whatever; no harm done, and I guess vaguely condoning the floor cheating meant I had it coming? Heh.

The better part of the story is why Scotty was late. Apparently, his young kid opened the cage containing two very rare, $6,000 capuchin monkeys. The female stayed in the cage, but the male immediately ran off to the nearest tall tree, and the three fire engines Scotty called to his house couldn't get him out. By the time Scotty finally gave up and showed up at the Rio, the plan was to leave the female monkey outside in the cage in hopes of luring the male back there. I've got no word on whether the plan was successful or whether the Las Vegas wild monkey population just increased by 1, but if you do, I'd totally love to hear it!

On the plus side, I'm up money from not playing Sundays

Long story short:

I have 70K at 1500/3K and make it 8500 with kings in EP. The next guy to act, with a 60K-ish stack, makes it 20K. I flat because he's folding everything to a 4 bet, pot odds be damned etc.

flop JT3, I check, he bets 15K of an (it turns out) 36K stack, I shove, he calls with AQ, I lose to trip aces, gg lol donkaments.

112'th for $4K or so is definitely not what I was hoping for when seeing his hand. Someday, I'm really gonna have to relearn how to win those 77-23's...

Ship the mincash/freeroll/OMGWTfold

Played 2 tourneys in the last 3 days - the Bellagio 1080 (uneventful, busto, etc.) and today's $1500 at the Rio.

Long story short, I finally have a WSOP cash in '08 and am heading into tomorrow with an average stack. The reason is a reasonably nice call followed by, literally, the biggest fold I have ever made in my life.

The call:

I arrive at my table about 10 minutes late and head off to the bathroom after a few minutes believing it's extremely weak/tight, with lots of folding around. As I get back into my seat (10) a few minutes later, the guy to my left, Seat 1, is busy showing off his K8-high bluff on a 775x board. I make a note of that - not that it matters, because he raises 7-8 of the next 10 hands and no one plays back at him.

At the end of that orbit, it's folded to me in the small blind and I complete A T planning to reraise his (very expected) raise. Instead, he asks me how much I have behind - around 2800 chips at 25/50 - and says "all in". I take 10 seconds just to make sure I'm not crazy, say "call", and find myself to be well ahead of his A 5; the T in the door seals my double up.

Later on, I raise aces in EP and eventually fold the turn face up to a pretty obvious set/straight. That basically establishes my image for the fold.

The fold:

At 100/200, MP, with about 9K behind, raises to 425. He's a middle aged guy wearing a motorcycle shop jacket and said he was sponsored by them (basically meaning he's the best freeroll player at the club - ie, not that good.) The button, with about 4500 behind, flat calls. Button, a middle aged Brit, got to the table about an hour ago and immediately pushed 1800 chips on his first hand at 50/100. At 100/200, someone else raised UTG; while he was counting out his raise, the Brit checked his cards out UTG+1 and pushed his now 9x stack faster than I have ever seen. The floor got called and ruled the Brit could take his raise back (this ruling is terrible, BTW); however, the Brit said "nah, I shouldn't be able to do that", got called, and obviously wound up holding aces. I looked down on 6 5 in the big blind with 7K; given those two opponents and the odds I was getting, I obviously overcalled.

The flop came 9 7 7. I checked planning to (obviously) shove over any bet, but both MP and button checked behind.

The turn was a very nice seeming 8. I bet 775 into 1375. MP played with his chips, briefly seemed like he was going to raise (whoa), then called. Button...immediately instashoved his stack.

At this point, I was getting well over 2 to 1 to call his shove with a made straight and a flush redraw. This couldn't be more of a no-brainer, except that something - I don't know what, how, or if it'll ever happen again - told me I was very beaten by somebody in this hand. About an eternity later, most of which was spent convincing myself "yes, you do have to do this", I went with my gut, said "this is the sickest fold I've ever made in my life", and mucked.

As I was mucking, MP shoved his chips in just as fast as the button had done with aces earlier. The button, aware that he was getting called but still unaware what MP was flipping over, sarcastically said "yeah, pretty sick" and turned over...uhh...Q 6? Had MP folded at this point, it would have basically sent me on instant life tilt and confirmed I'm horrible at donkaments - except that he was drawing dead, because MP was busy flipping over 99. (No, my one out didn't hit on the river.)

Eight hours of total freerolling and actually playing decently later, I ran the 6K in chips I had left after the Fold of the Century <TM> into 40K before bluffing a bunch off on the bubble. The last 40 minutes (just ITM) were good to me, though, so I'll start day 2 with 33000 chips at 800/1600.

I'll update the blog with my finish and a whole bunch of fun stories tomorrow. Preview: Scotty Nguyen takes a bad beat by losing a $6,000 monkey, then convinces the floor to give him 1200 extra chips. (No, I'm not making that up.)

In the meantime, wish me luck!
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