Donkament at the IP, Bad Structures in General

Headed up to the saturday tournament at the IP. Big Smoove and I planned out a day of tournament action but his littlest one got sick so I went solo.

The plan was threefold play some small buy-ins at the IP, the Isle of Capris or Hard Rock, and then check out the Island View at six. I got about 1/3rd through the plan and bailed--ie I played one and went home.

Not much to say. I started out on a table of alternates and basically blinded away 1/5th of my stack. Lots of novices splashing around with weak hands. I figured out who I could steal from but was never first into the pot. It's charming to see inexperienced players trying to play correctly but not quite doing it.

Yes, they get that aggression is important but applying it is often a problem. They'd make min raises on draw heavy boards, or flop the stone cold nuts like AJ and hit AAJ and go all-in. Their opponent folds and they show their hand proudly. Yes, you essentially had all the outs you can't get paid that way buddy.

Or even better in a limped 5 way pot they'll throw out a little bigger than a min-raise with a hand they should be pounding to isolate one opponent. Then they'll c-bet (or donkbet) some ridiculous holding.

It made me reminscence about how far I've come as a player, was I really that bad once (yes, I was probably worse) and also made me imagine what a higher level player must think of my decisions. Do they also cringe at my relative inexperience. I see people struggle over no-brainers, to my own interior anguish, and wonder when I go in the tank if people are flumoxed by my Hamlet impersonation with a hand that would be on insta-action for them.

Anyway, I get moved and the new table has the jackass kid without a clue that he's got a horseshoe wedged up his ass and is believing he's the new Phil Hellmuth. I was kind of entertained. He makes one terrible play after another and gets rewarded for it. He makes terrible bluffs considering the texture of the board and runner-runners his way to a huge chip stack.

It's funny how a lucky player is a hated player. My side of the table groused every time and wished the kid ill in every pot. Yeah, he's bad but lucky. Personally, I couldn't think of a better player to have the chips if not me. His luck will change and he'll stay bad.

Not many notable hands, I called an all-in from the BB with pocket 9s, but I had the guy covered. My 9s held. Then I realized just how fast the structure was. 15 minute levels and no antes until 500-1000 (100 antes). They jumped to that from 300-600. Egad. I was playing my entire stack at the 300-600 level but I probably would have played even more agressive if I had known in one level we'd all be short stacks.

I began picking on the horseshoe kid. If he raised preflop he'd be willing to play for anybody's stack no matter how ill-advised the strategy or holding (A7 for one) BUT like many players he limped with his garbage. He'd still call a lot of raises UNLESS it was for a players full stack. That's how I was building my stack before the blinds turned the tournament upside down. Shoving on his limps and everybody afraid of the all-in. I wanted to outplay people after the flop, but I wasn't getting the cards nor did I have the time.

I said this is a strange structure to the dealer. Strange how, she asked. How strange? It's quite fast. She replied we were lucky because they used to start the antes earlier. Lucky? Who wouldn't prefer the chips be forced into play a little earlier to be able to handle this level? Instead the pots to start the action jumped from 900 chips to 2500. This after being 600 before 300 before 150 before and well... you get the idea. In two rounds you don't win a hand you've pissed away your starting stack.

In defense of the IP, they have a promotion where if you play 4 hours of cash the day before you get a free entry into the tournament so it's a bit of a freeroll. I didn't know that at the time, but I have no quibble with a fast freeroll. Course I wouldn't have bought into a fast freeroll either.

In the bb I get a limper UTG who is a solid player but I've gotten him to fold for two levels so I'm halfway wondering if he's limping with a monster. Horseshoe kid, who has done nothing to endear himself to the table by aggressively showing bluffs to folding opponents (to make it funnier when it was obvious he was bluffing with the best hand), also limps. The button a nit also limps.

Action to me I look at the paltry A4 o/s. Pot is now, 5500. I got a couple k more than that in my stack. I decide the hell with it, if the UTG limper was on a big hand so be it. I shove. He stews. He keeps eying horsehoe and the button.

I think he clearly planned to limp and call my shove from the BB. With two players to act, and me putting the squeeze on him he reluctantly skipped that play. Horseshoe kid instamucks. The button is stewing.

Bad news for me, I know he's got me beat. His friend comes over to tell him he just busted. Worse news, that's the pressure release he can call and almost bust and then after a hand or two get up and play blackjack with his buddy. He says he's making a bad call and turns over 8s. No Ace came. Under the gun is irate. Pocket 9s, Pocket 10s? Odd.

Oh well.

I'm usually good about analysing a structure before playing but this time for some reason I didn't. Can't make that mistake again.

I decided to pass on the 3 pm tournament and get home to the wife and get some extra credit for making it a short day. I went home and played some online, because the wife who was delighted that I would hurry back, by that time was to tired to take advantage of our saturday.

So, I pop on the computer and start looking at online structures. The tournament structures there are so much easier to find. I mean two clicks later and I can see the general structure is a reasonable one like this:

Blind

1 10 - 20
2 15 - 30
3 25 - 50
4 50 - 100
5 75 - 150
6 100 - 200
7 150 - 300
8 200 - 400
9 300 - 600
10 400 - 800
11 500 - 1000
12 600 - 1200
13 800 - 1600
14 1000 - 2000
15 1500 - 3000
16 2000 - 4000
17 3000 - 6000
18 4000 - 8000
19 5000 - 10000
20 6000 - 12000
21 8000 - 16000
22 10000 - 20000
23 15000 - 30000
24 20000 - 40000
25 30000 - 60000
26 40000 - 80000
27 50000 - 100000
28 60000 - 120000
29 80000 - 160000
30 100000 - 200000

And at any tournament lobby there is a button for you to review the structures. It's not that hard to get a posted blind schedule at the IP but it's also not at the buy-in window (good for them it's not) or sitting by the tables. What's also good about say, bwin's tournaments is also they don't have a SUPER level where a round isn't suddenly almost 3x the previous one.

As I ramble about structures, I truly hope Harrahs realizes how bad things will be if they don't take Jason Lipscomb's parting structure submissions. I think a lot of players will just go elsewhere this time around. I know a lot of people from New Orleans that will play the better structures at Harrahs' sister casino in Tunica rather than play in their home city.

It's a shame the May Event is mostly $500 buy-ins. Right now the smaller events are drawing people in everywhere as everybody is "saving" by moving down a level or two. Get some massive fields and you'll have captive blackjack players that might not have enough confidence in their poker skills to throw down $500 or a $1000 but will come in town to play some $200 or $300 for fun. Even better they'll spend the bulk of their time in the pits. Seems like a profitable strategy.

Course, in the chase of the almighty buck, poker led by casinos have been overfishing the waters. You seeing fewer people taking their shots? Thank your local brick and mortar and the idiots at the tables that chastise novice bad players with big bankrolls. Sit down and shut the f up and take your beat like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as. Even better congratulate the play.

www.gulfcoastpoker.net



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