Back From Disney World

Did it seemed like I just upped and disappeared?  Well, I did.  At a very late moment we made a family decision to go to Disney World.  Found a cheap trip through the mouse and instead of waiting a year or two for another time, made the most of the last week of my wife's maternity leave.  Sorry, I left this blog dangling in the wind (so too GCP) but despite my intentions to update things during my two year old's naps I discovered two year olds don't take naps at Disney World.

But I'm back...  Surprised by the number of hits I've gotten in my absence so I must reward those of you who have been checking in.

Anyway, with my memory a little less clear let's get back to the 1k.  They move to a table with Chris Tyrba, (who's on fire this year), bracelet winner Captain Tom Franklin and on my left maybe the best women's player ever, bracelet winner Kathy Liebert.  I love her outspokenness on twitter and I respect her chip on the shoulder and her game.  She's also fun at the table.  The other players also seemed pretty capable including a young kid I traded chips with but kind of felt like he had my number.

Early on I three bet him from the blinds with AQ and he called from the button.  The flop was babies and I check raised him and he called.  Whoops.  On the turn, I checked and he shoved.  I told him AK was good.

Kathy said "If AK is good you definitely weren't winning that hand."  For my image, I had hollywooded my decision trying to convey I was laying down an over pair but for some reason I still felt like he was weak, but he had taken all the leverage with his shove.  So, in opposite of my postering I changed tactics when he started to muck I made the Ak comment just to see if I could get a read on him.

Now in a hole, I informed Liebert that sometimes I just suggest a junk hand I didn't have.  The pro wasn't buying it.  Which was correct in that spot, but not in all spots because, that is a strategy I employ when I fold.  I might suggest I was thinking of a hero call (when not) hoping to induce the victor to show the nuts or close to it.  You'd be surprised how often this works and I can pat myself on the back for making a marginal fold.  I explained the gambit to her and she didn't think much of it.  At that point, I didn't care, I'd rather her think I didn't know what I was doing.

I reinforced that when the tabled folded to me in the small blind.  I had noticed a lot of players thinking better of messing with Kathy's big blind.  I looked at Qx (garbage) and remarked "Everybody's scared of you Kathy... but I'm not."  I completed. 

Then to my surprise Kathy did a move many lesser players make when I complete in the small blind that tells me how weak they are.  It wasn't that she raised but how she did it.  Oh... wow.  I like to just call from the small blind sometimes because of this "tell" and recognize I can steal out of position with a lot of flops, but that wasn't my motivation for calling Liebert initially.  I wasn't ready to raise with that hand in a clear stealing spot but I was willing to test the waters.

The flop comes AKx which is great for my hand.  I check and she duplicates the move with a bet.  I suppose if I had real guts I should have just raised and taken it down there but like the call on the flop I wanted to play a little bit of pot control with her and calling looks stronger for me to steal later.  I didn't think it was a good idea to keep reopening the betting for her either.  She didn't win 5 million + by betting and folding.

The turn pairs the board and I check call Lieberts next barrel (again same read).  The river was garbage and I checked and mulled over shipping it should she fire again (yes with queen high) but decided my hand had a lot of showdown value.  She could have caught the last card but I knew she didn't have the A or the K and didn't think she had trips on the turn.  I felt like my  queen high was the best hand.  After a while she checked behind and showed a Queen with a better kicker (that didn't play because of the paired board) to my surprise.

She was miffed that I played her with that hand and put a lot of my stack at risk.  She was almost tilted by the hand as I think she though she just ran into some donkey who chopped a pot with her being a donkey, though my read was pretty close to dead on.  Much later on in the tournament a player at my table who saw that hand despite seeing me show down mostly tight hands since then stewed on a call of me (when I was in fact stealing again... lol) said "I've seen you put most of your stack in with Queen high, so I know you are full of it sometimes."  He folded.

Okay... some more highlights from that table.  Captain Tom broke out his iPad and he and Liebert were talking about sports betting.  She asked if she could place a bet on it and he passed it to her.  Apparently she had never used a touch screen before and Captain Tom said "Just treat it like a computer."  Pretty good advice... just treat the computer... like a computer.  Just treat that Dalmation like a dog.  I laughed in my head. 

A couple of hands later I said, "Captain Tom.  Kathy's looking at porn on your iPad!" 

The joke fell flat because the rest of the table looked at me like I was out of line.  Don't know if it was because it was at the expense of poker royalty in the IP or that the porn line was too risque.  Liebert played along saying "I don't even look at porn on my own computer."  This time I missed her joke.  More awkwardness ensued.

My tournament hit liftoff when Tyrba hit the table.  Captain Tom called him "Mister Fast" and he wasn't kidding.  The dude had a stacked and was bullying.  Watching him at play the strategy was simple trap him.  Sure enough, I catch pocket 7s in my big blind.  He raises and we get a couple of callers.  I say to myself hit this set and snap him off. 

Board comes out 107(yippee)x.   I check.  Tyrba leads out folded to me, I call.  Turn is another baby.  I bet, Tyrba shoves I call.***(I'm not positive on this action because it's been a while but I think that's how it went).  He had A10 I think.  Suddenly I had some chips.

About one round later I'm in a blind again with pocket 8s.  Tyrba raises I call.  Flop is 8 high.  Really?  Been a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time since I flopped a couple of sets in so short a time.  I think I should check, but then I consider a donk bet might look weaker to him especially since I already trapped him.  I'm legitimately indecisive and notice the board had two to a flush out there and recently everybody seems to have the flush cards I can't fade so I start to check and pull it back.

I throw out the weak bet and Tyrba announces all in.  To my amazement.  After our last duel I had him covered and we might have been the two big stacks at the table.  I don't insta-call because I'm surprised by the huge overbet.  Yep, just to make sure, I'm not reading the board wrong I have the best possible hand I call looks like I'll have to fade this flush.  He turns over AK no pair and only one of the flush draw. 

As the board bricks for him he gets up and chastizes me saying "I can't believe you did the "fake check thing."

Now with a stack I'm on cruise control and I'm aware the tables are dwindling.  Gene's still alive with almost as many chips as me.  At about three tables left they put him on my left.  I'm the button and he's the big blind.  Incredibly I catch all my hands on the button.  Usually, folded to me.  I get action from Gene and the guy in the small until I knocked him out almost every time.  I expose a couple of my hands to the table to let Gene know I'm not keying in on him.

Then, he ups his aggressiveness and as two of the bigger stacks we start mixing it up quite a bit.  I felt like, and it may not be true, but I felt like after yet another raise and legit c-bet from the button on Gene (with pocket 10s) that he tilted a bit.  I only saw him make one mistake all tournament and he made a real thin call on a guy a couple of hands later.  It was strange to have those conflicting emotions.  My pressure from the button I felt like had negatively impacted his game.

Obviously, Gene and I are never going to collude but I would say we play things pretty straight forward in hands we get heads up with.  I not trying to bluff him and I doubt he is trying to bluff me nor do we want to collide with such big stacks.

Anyway, at this point we both chip up and up.  I think when we broke at two tables I was the massive chip leader.  I barely remember the bubble but I do know at that point, the maniac from earlier in the day suddenly got plopped down on my left.

I revveed up the aggressiveness even more and me and the maniac starting destroying the bubble.  If he didn't raise I did.  Then he started to raise almost every hand.  I get mad at being shut out of the bubble play and I fire a big bet back at his open when I peel back a hand.  Embarrassment prevents me from sharing the hand or the details of this hand too much because it turns out I made a terrible lay-down.  He calls.  He bets a flop I connect good with and I check raise him.  He calls.  On the turn... he open shoves.  The board is AK9--K.  This is basically for my entire stack even though half is in it.

I stew...  I stew. 

I fold.  He scoops with a wry I got away with it smile. 

Suddenly, my image of indestructability is destroyed for the rest of the table.  They know my raises can be overcome and even though I get a steady diet of solid starting hands I can't hit a flop and start to bleed chips.  I don't shift gears and recognize my shorter stack isn't scaring anybody and in fact, the other stacks are cognizant that now I have to be wary of their double ups.  The bubble breaks and so do we.  In the break, Gene asks me what happened to my stack and I tell him I lost a lot in the big hand.  I hope he won't share the ludicrousness of my fold.  "Okay," he says, "what happened to the rest of it....  I say "I spewed."  He replied, "At least you can admit it because I was watching you spew from our table." 

Oddly, another player at my table, perhaps in meta-game form, complimented me on not losing it and keeping my composure after folding in such a big hand.  Either he was trying to get me on edge again or he couldn't spot the spewing Gene saw from a table away.  Or maybe he saw enough of my subsequent folds to know I was doing well not to lose more.  I thanked him for it and decided it was best if I treated it like a legitimate compliment and put the bubble play behind me.

Then I went card dead almost all the way to the final table (or whatever number we broke the night at).  When we restarted we trimmed the fat to the final table pretty quickly and Gene and I had both gotten a little short.

I got in a spot where I needed to shove when we were still at 9 but couldn't find a hand.  Then this action happens.  A guy who had played tight all tournament opened, another tight guy three bets, there's a call and action finds me.  It's AQ and it's ship or fold.  I'm pretty sure it was Ace Queen of clubs.  At the very least one was a club, this is only relevant because of the next two paragraphs.  I fold because I'm pretty sure KK or AA was out there based on the players.

I think they went three to a flop, and all probably would have called my stack had I shoved.

Flop?  KcJc10c.

Action?  Bet.  (ugh) Raise (double ugh).  Okay, then it gets normal.  Fold, fold.  Raiser claims KK.  Action would reinforce it but he never showed.

So, I folded either a royal flush, or just broadway with a royal flush redraw in case the sets of kings boats on the turn.  AWESOME laydown bro.  I start to tell my tablemates and then realize who's going to believe me and even more importantly who cares what I folded.

The maniac I gave all my chips to is quietly amassing chips.

A guy shoves on Gene and he wakes up with JJ in the big blind and it holds and he starts to turn a short stack around.  Well, if it ain't me thank goodness it's Gene.

I get folded around to on the button and decide J10 is worth a ship and the big blind wakes up with Aces.  First 30k.  8th... 3.8k  yuck.

So I collect my winnings and do the sensible thing and sit down immediately at a single table sit 'n go for the main event.  We get six to do a $100 last longer.   Playing standard sng strategy I don't mind missing hands to sweat Gene, early.  Late in the event we get three handed all three in the last longer.  This guy Miguel or Michael... he's Greek so can't possibly be Miguel who is wide open in the cash games at harrahs goes on a three handed run where he gets at least one ace for about 15 hands straight.  Crazily, me or the other guy get an ace too quite often.  Even more crazily nobody goes broke despite aces coming out on the flop.

Finally, Michael gets knocked out.  I turn to the guy I'm heads up with and ask if he wants to split the last longer, he says let's split the whole thing despite having me outchipped 2 to 1.  ...okay.  Michael can't believe the deal I just got.

I decide to sweat Gene some more.  I know I'm going to buy-into the Main Event that night in the second session.  I find the guy who took 15% of me and slip him his cut from the 1k.  Four handed it's taking Gene some time to win the thing so I tell Ross I'm going up to take a nap.  I start to close my eyes and he gives me the call that Gene is heads up.  So much for that.  Gene has the maniac outchipped by a large measure.  Wow.  I have visions of Gene's ring photo and know this will cinch the Casino Championship for him.  I hurry downstairs to watch the coronation, so happy for him.  I've legitimately lost all my disappointment in finishing 8th.  Or my desire to sleep.

---more to come.


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