Friday, December 30, 2011

IP Main Event Part Two

So day two, I knew I had some work to do.  I don't remember too much of it early.  I know Michael Brawley, the gregarious Beau Rivage dealer was at my table, and being active.  We never really played any hands together and he got busted after what looked like some bad luck.  The rest of the table seemed an improvement from the night before and after an early hit to my stack I grinded it up.

Later I got on a table with an Internet kid and the player in the 1k who I think gave me the compliment about not tilting after that big hand.  I'm sure ya'll remember that from a couple of posts ago (ha).  I got shortish with some active players chipping away at me and then me and that gentleman got in a hand together.

With KQ or KJ, I flopped I think a flush draw with a gut shot and two overs.  I'm sure I'll be criticized for this but I didn't get it all in there.  With the stack sizes and the read of strength I got  I felt he was calling any shove so I lost my fold equity.  I would have called if he had pushed but witrh my tournament life on the line I opted not to.  He bet I called.  The turn missed, he bet I called.  The river bricked and he shoved.  With most of my stack in there, I folded King high.  I saw the internet kid shake his head and some of the others at the table quietly discuss in wonder how I could fold there.

I felt this was a crucial hand for me.  In retrospect, I had bought my self a chance.  I didn't think I could get the guy off his hand so a shove on anything but a card that made my hand would have been fruitless.  My opponent intimated he flopped a monster... it didn't matter, ace high was good and having played with him in the 1k I knew he had more than that.  I also thought back to the novice the night before who was criticized by "Wes" for leaving most of his stack in the pot.  I assured myself I did the right thing.

I won my first double up, against the same opponent when AJ held v. A10. 

I saw the Internet kid get bad beat and shove his chips in like John D'Agostino at the Taj and leave.  I felt that pang of shadenfreude that you sometimes get in poker and thought to myself at least that wasn't me.

Then I went on super grind mode.  I sat at or about 10 to 15 BBs all the way to the money bubble.  I won hands when I needed them.  The bubble saved me a little bit because I folded hands that normally I'd shove that ended up getting crushed and somehow I made it to the money.

Pokernews came over and did chip counts and asked what I had.  I told them next to the nothing and my friend sweating me, via text said they posted something like not applicable.  I watched several players fall and won a hand or two in the meantime still grinding.

Lots of good players remained including Rex Clinkscales, Kenny Milam, Mohammed Moeini, Jacob Naquin, Mark Eddleman, Cameron Ainsworth, and John Holley.  I don't know Jacob too well but I like and admire the guy and know a slew of people that hold him in respect.  We kept saying to each other at the break that we were going to go 1-2 as encouragement, although we weren't ever on the same table except for one brief moment. 

At some point when we were down to maybe four tables, I looked down at a baby pocket pair and thought my relentless tightness might be enough to win me this hand.  This was another memorable hand as I was blinding down to next to nothing but I thought in live poker I might have just enough fold equity to shove based on the preflop action. 

Michael Nasserazad, who played wide open popped out a bet as he did just about anytime action was folded to him, and was called by John Holley on my right.  In the small blind I looked at 66, I think, and I shoved.  Nasserazad stewed and eventually called, a critical 50/50 decision that had my eventual tournament success completely in someone else's hands.  Holley called because Nasserazad did.  Holley told me if Nasserazad folded, which he almost did, he would have folded and I wouldn't have tripled up.

The flop came two hearts and Nasserazad led out.  Holley folded.  It didn't matter to me at the time that Nasserazad was betting because I felt like I had to hit a set to win.  I hadn't yet but there were two cards to come.  The turn brought the miracle 6 (I know I need to rethink my definition of a miracle if I call a two outer that but it sure felt like it).  The river put four to a flush on there which neither of us hand.  The guy who did have the flush was Holley.  Wow.  Fate couldn't have played that hand any better especially with Nasserazad betting him out before he got the improved draw on the turn. 

With chips, I started to finally get out of being card dead and drag some pots.  Before I knew it we were down to two tables and it was getting late.  At some point I sat next to Cameron Ainsworth and he told me about a big test hanging over his head and needing to study. 

Interestingly enough, I never once looked at the money and the payouts.  I didn't want to know what each pay jump was worth or what we were playing for.  I only wanted to make correct poker decisions.  I knew the money was in the top three and I was looking to get there.  And I knew my work was cut out for me.

I got into a pivitol hand where I 3bet AQ from the blinds after an early postion tight player led out and called me.  Flop came AQ10.  I bet it and he raised.  AK made a lot of sense there and as I had AQ I wasn't that afraid of a monster set.  I shoved and he called.  KJ.  Oh.  The turn brought relief even as I was standing up to leave with a Queen ball.  I never hit those.  And twice in a night?  Wow way to run good in a main event!

Then the kid got up and left and the dealer insta shoved me his chips even though I thought he had me covered and I was trying to leave a second before hand.  In the moment, I didn't think about it but after the evening was over I wondered if I had him covered and if the dealer had bothered to check.  PokerNews came over and took a pic of me thinking I was the chip leader.  How quickly things can change when you are hitting two and four outers.   

Mark Eddleman and I mixed it up when I had Ak.  He bet, I reraised he shoved, and I folded.  He said he had KK and told me good fold.  I think he was being honest.  Later, with the clock almost on the break for the evening Mark told me to fold slowly, I did but I didn't quite use up all the time and we had one more hand.  Showing how cruel poker can be, I looked at AK again, I opened, Mark three bet me, the tournament chip leader Jeremy Drewery (pictured) reraised and I mucked.  Mark shoved and Jeremy called.  Mark had KK again and Jeremy QQ.  Actually, John Holley might have 3bet in there and Jeremy 4bet now that I think about it.

Flop was nothing and I was telling folks on the rail what a good fold I made when an A hit the turn.  Uck.  Then a Queen ball on the river gave Mark a bad beat, gave Jeremy an even bigger stack, and gave me a nice burst of confidence for the next day when we'd play 12 handed.  I felt bad when I let out a little exhultation when the queen hit and quickly apologized to Mark.  I wasn't trying to celebrate his elimination or bad beat, but in the moment I was just glad to know I folded correctly (from a results oriented perspective which is totally the right way to look at poker).   If I had just stalled a little more Mark would have joined us the next day and everything would have been different.  Cruel game.

I regarded Jeremy, as one of the better players in the field so him with a lot of chips was not a good thing.  Several players were sporting Circuit rings so I knew I wasn't playing just a bunch of luckboxes (like myself).   In truth even with the redraws I never really played with the guys at Jacob Naquin's table.  It was almost like two tournaments were merging again as my group really hadn't played with his.         

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On to the IP Main Event...

Lots of people, surprisingly and flatteringly, have asked when i was going to wrap up the IP series... I haven't even gotten to the Main Event.  I'm going to do so today. 

One quick sidenote, that I  meant to include before, when I was at the table with Captain Tom and Kathy Liebert, shortly after I called her down with Queen high, and then she got bad beated (I believe) she remarked to him, "Remember when we used to be good at poker."

Nice little self-deprecation there (once upon a time I'd confuse the words self-deprecation with self-defecation which is an entirely different sentiment but anyway...).  Obviously, she was joking and I'm confident she knows she still has "it" but Captain Tom wasn't on the same wavelength, he informed her he was still pretty good and started rattling off some scores in the past year. 

Okay, after an aborted nap I went to down to see Gene play.  Somehow the donk chipped away at him and then prevailed.  I felt bad for Gene as it was so close to being a ring on his hand, and it just didn't happen.  He had nothing to hang his head though as he played brilliantly all tournament and all seires.

Later the guy who had 15% of me, asked me if I wanted him to buy me in.  I had to think about it and told him maybe I'd just sale of piece of me.  Again, with a satellite win in my pocket the buy-in wasn't a concern.

We decided on the terms, and I went upstairs to try and nap again and buy-in late to the second flight of the Main.  I slept too long, it felt like I just closed my eyes.  The LSU-Bama game had just started.  I awoke and went down partly to show up early enough in the tournament in case my backer busted out early so he could see I did indeed play.

I got to my table and I had a kid in the 1 seat I didn't recognize but was steamrolling the table a little bit with an internet style that I struggle against.  Bev Cheney (pokernews pic above) one of the leaders on the circuit points chart, who had just finished second in a prelim event at the IP was in the three or four seat, and then the rest of the table was fairly inoculous. 

I went to the 10 seat, and to my left in the 9 was a super nice guy from Atlanta (by the way you owe me an email), who was getting his feet wet for the first time in a tournament and really enjoying the experience.  He brought a lot of life to the table and agonized over several tough decisions.  Somehow he put 95% of his stack in on a hand with pocket queens when the board fell apart on him and he folded on the river face-up to the internet kid.  

A guy next to him who called himself a pro but looked like and probably played much like "Wes" the red-headed hot-headed meat-headed roid boy from MTV's Real World said that was the dumbest move he had ever seen. 

In the back of my head, I thought it is unless you are sure you are beat, and unfortunately, probably due to the way the kid played it he was beat.  "Wes" like his TV lookalike was a total team player.  He quickly went to the head of my "I want to bust you list" as he endlessly complained to the dealer about how card dead he was and tirelessly rolled his eyes at the inferior play before him.  I thought to myself it's a long tournament you can't win the Challenge in the first episode bra.

My buddy in the nine seat ended up in several hands with me.  Doubling up when he caught a long shot on the turn but being hesitant to call with a big hand.  Finally, I busted him and was sad to see him go.  Before he left, he asked Bev if she was Annie Duke.  His earnestness and humble behavior will always be memorable to me

The table broke and I landed on a table with Mark Eddleman (see GCP's Who's Who) who was nursing a shortish stack and playing pretty tight.  On my left was a guy who has owned me in the IP events.  I don't know why but he always beats me.

In my first hand, shit wish I remembered this more clearly, I dumped a big portion of my stack to him.  Unopened I looked at a decent hand and saw him getting ready to bet behind me.  I put out my bet and he 3bet me quickly.  I thing he must have seen me coming and started to salivate.  Generally, I've laid down to his agression in the past but this felt forced.  I decided my ~Ace Queen or Ace Ten (I think) was the best hand and called.

Flop came out paired but all babies.  I checked to him and he insta fired.  Whoops... I didn't think the hand had changed with the flop.  I raised him leery of the spade draw on the board.  He called.  Turn was a jack.  I led out and he called.  River was a baby spade, I couldn't figure out how I was beat but felt beat and checked to him, not sure if I would call a bet.  He turned over a Jack four of spades for a flush.  Nice hand sir.  He got up to get some ice cream and I asked the guy next to him if he was frustrated or something.  He said probably.  I didn't see him threebet out of line too much more.

At some point I hear some cheering and see Les Miles get gatorade dumped on him on the TV.  I wondered why they'd give the coach a gatorade bath at halftime.  Uh... guess I slept much later than I thought on that nap.  That was confirmed when LSU and Alabama fans stormed into the room to play a sit'n go.

I chipped up a little bit and then they dropped AJ Jejewolo at my table.  He immediately started three betting everybody and hitting sets and winning everything.  His chip stack swelled.  I promptly donked off all of my profit for the day when I got in a hand with him and went below starting stack as the evening came to a close.  Had I bought in at the very end of the night I would have been starting with 900 chips more as my day on stack ended at 19.1k.

BTW, I'm writing the rest of this episode out tonight but will schedule the remaining portions on later blogs, so it'll be up here soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Saving the environment and charity cons you fall for every day...

Way overdue on my follow up... unfortunately, I just got time for a short post (which turned into a long off topic rant)  been tied up with other stuff since the IP tournaments.  I'll explain later.  Now, I'm just going to bitch.  Hope I don't sound like a 99%er (cause I only agree minimally with a small portion of their complaints... like 1% of them). 

Anyway, todays rant is about rampant coporate greed and conning you by citing the environment or charity everyday and most people not even seeing it--three complaints:

1.  Starbucks doesn't issue receipts, locally.  Used to be they'd ask but the last few times now you have to ask.  Other stores are following their lead.  Yes, they are saving minimally a small portion of printing costs but it adds up with all their franchises.  They'll tell you they are saving trees.  Why this is bullshit.  Ever worked for minimum wage?  I have and of my co-workers probably 1 out of 4 would or did steal if they could get away with it.  That means shorting you on the change, stealing from the register eating on the job, drinking on the job whatever.

I go to Starsbucks and these barristers probably make a little more than minimum wage, and I give them my debit or credit card and you want me to feel comfortable with them just handing it back without a receipt.  I don't think so.  No offense, but user error (which they have plenty of) is enough to fat key a mistake, and hey, with no receipt you won't ever catch it.  Or maybe you will when you get your bill and then you got no proof you didn't order 10 drinks but just one... casue you don't have a receipt

Course, today when I requested my receipt they couldn't find it.  Or print one.  Or offer an alternative because they don't have official starbucks paper.  Is that even legal?

Why don't they give you a receipt?  The answer is to save money though they'll pitch it to you under the guise of saving the envirnoment.  Oh, I'm a bad person because I want to cut down more trees by asking for the receipt?  No, I just want to make sure you are doing your job right. 

Hell, sometimes your job pays you back for meals and expenses, you mean everybody that's in that spot like salesmen has to request a receipt?  And hope they can provide it.  On my taxes I take out expenses for work trips... if I don't use my credit card how else can I prove I drink $20 worth of Starbucks.  Bullshit.

If you put your faith in the company, fine, but perhaps they should share the savings of "helping the environment" or more accurately their bottom line.  Maybe it's less than a cent, well to incentivise a motive for you to help their cause give you a rewards point or something for every receipt not taken.

2.  Save the environment and don't wash your sheets when staying at hotel.  More aptly save our bottom line and laundry costs.  Same deal, if I don't get my sheets washed I should profit from being enviromental responsible not the hotel.  Put a deposit for whatever that cost is--even if it's one cent on the hotel room and give it back to me when I check out.  If you are going to put those tiresome signs making me feel like a bad guy because that 2 by 2 towel of yours can't get dry and I want a fresh one, you better give me an incentive that's not some transparent bullshit.  They don't care about the environment they care about their bottom line and are trying to con you.

3.  Ever been asked at check out, "Do you want to donate to my charity?" or even worse "How much do you want to donate to our charity today."  How about screw you, and how about this, I want to just buy an item without anybody asking me to donate to some bullshit charity I can't  research in the two minutes I'm at the register, and I want these corporations to stop training their employees to give me a guilt trip about it.  My wife and I give money to four or five charities, we've vetted, where most of the money goes to the casue and not the overhead, the bosses, or annoying fundraising mailers.  The Salvation Army being one.

Why are all these charities popping up at every counter?  Some corporate lawyer or accountant told them that they could collect the money and then get credit for donating it.  Yes, by donating your money and claiming it as their own, their taxes go down.   Their incentive is not to raise money for the charity but essentially for you to pay their taxes.  Nice scam huh.  Hey, readers I'm sending a check to United Way, just send me a check and I'll include it in a bigger one.  I'll also get to claim your money on my taxes.  Yes... so moral of the lesson is ttop paying for charities at the register.

My mother has pointed out well there is a greater good here, even if the business is being shady about it, because there is money raised for a charity that wouldn't normally be given.  People at checkout might never give to charity except in that spot.  I remind her, some of those business have just decided to use those register donations as their own.  So it cuts into the charity profit there.  Instead of donating 1 million of their own dollars, they donate 1 million of our dollars.  Used to be there would be 1 million for them and whatever else we gave.  Now their is just 1 million.  So, there is a loss there.  If everybody would have given anyway (which isn't true but just for example's sake) you've  essentially halved the charity proceeds (2 million becomes 1).  There are folks who don't cut checks to charities any more because they always give at the register.  Sure, one or two people who never give may be guilted into giving but not enough to overcome the other monies.

Then... you have to trust the guy at the register, the guy he gives the money to, the guy he gives the money to, all the way through the chain to get it to the charity without them taking some off the top.  I remember the shady folks I worked with and I don't want a jar of money sitting in front of them especially next to their tip jar.   No... give directly people.  Stop letting the corporations con you.

Obviously, there are some great charities and some great corporations.  Some match whatever is raised...  For those that do... Please donate.  Though don't feel compelled to because it's double the money... usually there is a cap on the matching and it's a number they easily reach.  And remember they are still claiming your donations as theirs.

Still, being aware that companies match is helpful.  Next time you are given the guilt trip at the register ask if the corporation is matching.  And I've yet, to hear an affirmative (either it's ill informed employees or everybody's scamming us in the name of charity... though I know some genuinely match).  If the answer is no or no idea, then cite that as a reason not to give and return the guilt trip five fold.  One clerk told me they don't match but they gave $500,000 last year.  I corrected him... no their customers gave $500,000 and they got a $500,000 charity donation on their taxes. 

If they do match then make your choice.  I advise only donating if you buy using a credit card or electronically as nobody has the chance to get frisky with the pot so to speak before it gets to the right place.  I'd also advise not donating when asked, going home looking up the charity to see what percentage of the money is actually going to the people in need and getting it double the next time you come back if you think it's a reasonable amount.

Wow... so much longer than I thought it would be.... 

**By the way, I found that Humane Image on the internet I have no idea if that is true, so look it up for yourself if you donate.  But it is appropriate considering how many "charites" gobble up your donations on salaries and things unrelated to the areas you want to help.