Monday, December 30, 2013

Package Update Again

Email I sent for those that bought a piece of me:

Fired several bullets to win our way into the Main Event on my own dime through Megas.  Those did not go well.  Several times I was a couple of spots away from the seat.  I also tried to arrange to buy a seat from a cash player that had won it to save us a little money in the package.  He asked for 1k and I hoped to get him down by negotiating.  Unfortunately, we missed each other (he no showed the first meeting) and when we finally did meet up I had to leave in the middle of one of my megas and rush over to the cash room.  
(One of the floor people had been trying to help me out with this and called me when the player got there). 

I told him let's discuss the seat.  He said sorry.  Despite committing to the floor person who set things up for me now he had changed his mind.  Now, he had been able to get off work for Saturday and was going to play.  (**I saw him bust and rebuy on his own dime on Saturday--looks like he lost my 1k and 1125 of his own money).

Nonetheless we'd go in full price on the Main Event.  However as mentioned last time, in the package details I listed it around $1600.  It was actually $1125.  Thus we've freed up money for at least two more tournaments.  One of those tournaments I already played and I took third in, unfortunately, it was not a huge score but I'll get to that.

So, predictably the only events worth playing at the Harrahs tournament were the rebuy and the Main Event.  Turnout has been atrocious.  The rebuy we finished 36th in.  I also jumped into a nightly earlier in the week only to discover barely anyone was playing.  We chopped that which made a tiny payout to the guys with the Half shares.  The Main Event didn't go so well.

I liked my table.  I also liked my image and despite losing an early pot I had been able to chip up over starting stack and things were going well.  I had three or four other players who seemed like they'd supply the rest of us helpings of their chips.  

Mike Horchoff (congrats to him just won his first tournament the event before hand) was in late position when I'd be in the blinds.  He's an active aggressive player who can put his stack in on a cold bluff.  Blake B also joined the table, who like Mike is a very talented player and can put you to difficult decisions with nothing.  Mike recently made a WPT final table and Blake has three rings I think.  Other than them and the talented Danny Doucet (another experienced winning player) I liked my table.  I figured for now, we'd be fighting over the other players chips.

Nonetheless Mike and I did mix things up.  I opened with 87spades in early position.  Couple of callers and he called in late position.  I flopped second pair on a 9 high board with a straight draw and didn't cbet. I liked my hand but wanted to see what everybody else did.  Checked to Mike who bet.  I called and decided I'd check raise him on the turn, after the others folded behind me, to test him.  Turn was a low brick.  I checked.  He checked (okay, he didn't have much).  River was a Jack.  I figured I'd check call a possible bluff out of Mike.  Thought if I led, he'd just fold anything but something that would beat me, and didn't want to give him the option to raise my third pair.  Feel I'm good there most of the time.

Unfortunately, I checked and he overbet the pot.  I didn't like it.  It screamed Jack or nothing.  In his eyes my hand is fairly transparent.  I flopped either top pair (9s) or second pair and maybe didn't like my kicker, so I checked called the flop.  His big bet if he hit the Jack is made knowing I might call.  Thus, I considered folding (I know that he knows that I know...).  However, as I've said before I know he's capable of firing and even shoving with air... which makes his bet even more effective.  I considered a raise but his bet size was going to get me to commit too much of my stack.  If he had a bare jack he might fold, but then again with the pot bloated he might not or worse he might raise.  Ultimately I followed my plan and called, he had QJ and rivered me. 

After taking that hit and bouncing back, I was really comfortable on the table, but then made a mistake.  At this point, I should have recognized my table was still giving chips away without too much conflict and there was no need to stir things up or make too many moves.  Not yet anyway.

Nonetheless, I decided when I'd be under the gun, with Mike on the button, I'd go into my Main Event bag of tricks.  There is a move I like to do which is a fairly safe way to accumulate some chips and I'll usually do it once at every new table I'm at... if the dynamics work.  I limp under the gun usually with a rag hand I'd fold 100% of the time.  Get some limpers and then let the aggressive player try in late position and steal all that free money.  Action to me, I reraise. 

Usually, it's an insta-fold because every time I've seen somebody else do this move it's always aces (popular play is to limp raise them under the gun).   Thus, I also only do this move against good players that recognize it, Mike fits the bill for that.  Even better, my image is perfect for it as I'm a "tight" middle aged player--just the kind of guy that does this.  Granted there are times the loose player will pick up a hand but he'll either fire back at me pre-flop or just call.  Unless I smack the flop I'm just willing to fold that hand away.  That's the point of doing it with a garbage hand like 72.  Suddenly, you are getting value from that hand, and if the other guy wakes up with a hand you can get rid of it real easily.  As the 2+2 crowd would put it, I kind of polarize my range here, so since this has seen print, I guess I'll have to sprinkle in some other holdings too.

So I decided to pick up some free money and knew I was limping any two under the gun.  I spied A6 suited, which, to me is a fine hand to limp with anyway.  Say the loose player doesn't take the bait.  I don't like playing out of position, but there I'm looking to hit a flush or a couple of sixes.  I'm also not going nuts if I hit an ace.  Predictably I get a couple of limpers behind me.  I see Mike think and fire out a bet from the button.  Everything is going great.

I reraise and I don't think he likes it.  I suspect he's giving me credit for the type of hands I'm representing AA or KK.  So far so good.  Then it blows up on me.  The guy right behind me is short stacked and decides to shove for slightly less than my bet.  Didn't see that coming.  I decided not that big a deal, if he just limped initially, I'm not too worried about it because my Ace is probably leading most of the time there.   I don't like that I have to show I limped raised with Ace rag but whatever.  I might get more action from the other players at the table after this showdown, and I won't even be risking the total of the raise that I was willing to lose.  So not terrible.

Then it gets back to Mike.  He doesn't like it but asks how much the short stack shoved for and it's almost the size of my bet.  I realize he's priced in to call with a lot of hands.  I don't like that.  I think I started the hand with 17 or 18k.  Mike made it a little over 1k and I fired out ~3.5k for the resteal.  Short stack had less than 3k.

He calls.  Flop comes J high two spades.  That's a great flop for me.  Hard to put Mike on a Jack, I've got an over and the nut spade draw.  I also have a line that indicates I have an over pair to that board.  There are very few hands Mike can call with.  I bet 6k of my remaining stack basically indicating I'm committed to the hand expecting to take it down.  I can tell Mike doesn't love it but puts his stack in.  Gross.  I never like to put all my chips at risk on a draw.  Hate it.  I also try to play these Main Events with as little variance plays as possible.  Basically, I'm trying to minimize the spots where I let chance decide my fate.

Here I've blown things up.  There is over 9k in the pot before I put my 6k in.  Then Mike shoves and I have roughly 8k behind.  So now the pot is almost 30k.  Call 8k to win 30k.  I'm almost getting four to one on my money here and it's likely at a minimum I can win with any spade.  It's also possible any ace wins it.  Let's say Mike has QQ I win almost 50% of the time.  Let's say he flopped top set, I still win 27% of the time.  I'm priced in even against his best holdings.  Plus, should I win I'd have a great stack for my style of play going forward.

Then there are weird hands like a straight draw (can't remember if there was one) or second nut flush draw that I'm already beating and my equity is even better.  Unfortunately, because things got weird, I'm can't fold.  I knew that when I saw the flop and made my bet so I called pretty quickly.

One of the hands I didn't want to see was what Mike turned over KJ of spades.    Here I win only 40% of the time.  I didn't improve and I busted the Main on a draw. 

The funny thing is from Mike's perspective he's probably shoving thinking he's behind but has too much equity to fold.   He believes his flush draw is live and possibly can hit another jack or king to win too.  If I have Aces or most overpairs with a spade he's only a small dog.  If I have the overpair with no spade it's 50/50.  There is way too much "extra" money in the pot for him to fold his hand regardless.  He's trapped and I'm trapped.  If I have Queens he's a favorite.  The flop was a real cooler for either of us.

Btw, the short stack who blew up my plan to take an extra 1500 or so of free money had 87 suited.  And thought he had good equity against a couple of overpairs like Mike and I could have had.  I prefer a fold there if I were him but it's not necessarily the wrong move.  However, it ended up costing my tournament so I was a little bitter.

Sidenote:  I jumped into a cash game to wait for the 5 pm event to start.  That same player was there and took a big pot off of me when we both flopped sets.  I liked him even less.

I played the 5 pm and steamrolled it.  Got a lot of cards and it was smooth sailing.  Again with a stack I cruised over people.  Literally had 40% of the chips in play at the final table.  Paid three.  When we got three handed I had 70% of the chips.  I would have asked for almost first place money with a chop, but the other two stacks were so uneven.  A girl player had almost no chips and the dude at the table had the other 25% or so.  He kept making eyes at her stack and I knew he'd be fine with an equity chop after we busted her. 

She was like MRSA and wouldn't go away.  She'd get short and double.  Finally, after a while, I felt the momentum turn on her and knew she was about to get it in bad.  Just that sense you have.  Then the other guy who had chipped away at my stack a little bit (out kicking me when we'd flop top pair and other brutality) started asking if we could take a break so he could he piss.

I didn't want to give the girl a break.  I said no, because I felt things were going to be over soon.  It was 70 minutes until the next break.  At the same time he was a super nice guy and I didn't want to be a dick and make him run to the bathroom.  Also, if he did do that with his blinds unprotected I didn't necessarily want the girl to open up things and me feel forced to call.  I pressed to continue playing.

Then a couple of hands later I caved in.  I regret it.

We stopped and did a bathroom break.

Predictably the woman had regrouped and the dude seemed completely reenergized too.  Hmmm... wonder what he did in the bathroom.  Bastard.

She went back to being patient but then maybe got too patient and slipped to four big blinds.  I min-raised an Ace from the button.  She called (half her stack in) from the small blind.   The dude in the big blind (folded?  WTF).  Flop came 955.  She shoved and I called as I would have any flop.  She had a pair of nines.  He folded... 95.  At that point it would have been over.  And I would have taken about 2200 (first place paid 2600) second 1500 and third 1k.  Or maybe we would have set some aside and played for the rest with me as a heavy chip favorite. 

But... he folded.

It was like the break turned everything upside down.  Then I proceeded to get Aces three times.  You can guess how that went though I never doubled anybody fully except for the girl who got it in bad with King high against my ace preflop.  I also kept hitting second best on the flop and within two levels became the short stack.  He was big she was second in chips.  I looked at KK in the big blind.  He limped from the small.  I shoved and he called with Ace rag.  He hit an ace.  They quickly did an equity chop before I even got to the payout table and I felt like at least 1200 or so had slipped through my fingers.

I went to the cash table and joined in a game with the dude from Game of Thrones who plays Jaime Lannister.  Almost didn't recognize him at first because he had both his hands.  Have to watch the show to get that one.  It was hard to spot him for real because his hair was over his face and he wore reading glasses.  I've seen him on Jimmy Kimmel and knew he was Danish so his accent gave him away a bit. 

Like his character, he had a ton of money in front of him, and I quickly got a seat change to be on his left.  He tilted hard as he made a transparent bluff that got picked off by a cash game regular and was giving some of it away.  I had a ton of Game of Thrones references and jokes run through my head but didn't bore him with that.  Instead we started talking and I was encouraging him.  He turned things around.  I wanted him to have chips, because selfishly from  a player's perspective I had an edge on him and position.  That being said, he was a nice guy so I was kind of rooting for him as well.  

 I never broached the subject of who he was.  I feel a lot of times the actors and athletes that play at Harrahs frequently when in town, feel comfortable in the cash games, because nobody harasses them.  They are just another player with money--usually a lot of it.  Think it's kind of an unwritten rule for the regs to never go fanboy.  So, I didn't blow his cover, but I do think the kid on his right quietly told him he knew who he was and was a big fan.  He seemed genuinely appreciative but remained low key.

 Cash wasn't going well for me, and I've made the mistake of waiting for hands against a table of bad players that never came before so it was about time to go.  Despite the game being Juicy, I was about to pick up until a guy I know who won a bracelet last summer at the WSOP sat down. 

He's super nice and always makes me laugh so I played a little longer, just to shoot the shit.  Glad I did because suddenly I found some hands, I won with Kings three times and Queens once.  Needless to say I chipped up and this time the actor was encouraging me.  We had lost together and now we were both winning together.

Anyway, it was late and I had to get home so.  I was tired and not willing to put my new found winnings at risk, so finally I said my goodbyes.  My phone had died but a friend volunteered to covertly take a picture of the actor for me on another friend's phone.  My wife is a big fan, we both love Game of Thrones, so I wanted to show her why I was later than normal.  You know how I like to be low profile with celebrities?  Well, the dude peered up at the person taking the photo and then saw me looking at the phone afterwards.  

So much for that.

Anyway, as far as the package goes we have at least two bullets to fire at the 500k guarantee Jan 3rd.  and a 340  tournament to play.  Obviously, if we advance to day two in the big one, we'll play something else later in the week as an alternative for the second bullet.            

Thursday, December 05, 2013

IP Update

MY Package Update email:

Hi all,

Package update.  Every time I use the word package one of you Beavis and Butthead fans shoots me a text telling me how you enjoys me talking about my "package."  You probably giggled at the name of Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix.   Well giggle some more because I'm talking about my package again.

Some small good news for those that bought enough of the package to include the side action, but that comes last.  

Now for the bad news.

Anyway, the first three events went bad for different reasons, though a three on the turn was responsible for two of them.  
1A 50k Guarantee:  
Simply got coolered three times by fishy plays.  
1.  Flop top two pair bet. Guy calls and hits his set on the turn. Think it was set of threes, I flopped K9.  Just call his river bet, lose minimum.

2.  In Big Blind with A4.  Multi way pot.  Flop comes 774.  I Bet one guy calls.  Turn is a ten.  Check.  Check.
River is another 7.  Check call guy's river bet.  He has pocket queens.  Ugh.  Maybe I can fold there
but not many people check a 10 on the turn (or limp QQ behind other limpers--yuck).  Hard to give him a bigger pair and figure I can beat A highs, bluffs and all but some mid pocket pairs that also were played kind of fishy because of no effort to protect his hand.  

3A.  Get dealt a Queen face up.  Sure enough in my replacement cards another queen.
I fold, my crappy kicker (instead of betting pocket queens if not for the dealer error).  Two players get it all in on the turn.
The turn was a... Queen.  One guy flopped a set of tens the other the nut flush draw that didn't get there.
Yeah... my triple up right there.  Dealer apologized.
This unfortunate turn of events is only important because the very next hand I get AQ and we had openly discussed what "should" have been and me having a big stack.

3B.  I raise with AQ get called by button and big blind.  Flop is Q82.  Checked to me.  I bet and am called twice.  
Turn is a three.  Checked to me.  I bet.  Button folds.  Big blind ships it.  He's been pretty tight and solid all day.  Still it's hard to give 
him more than top pair on that board (or a set of 8s or twos).  I call not really having enough chips to fold.  He shows 23.  Yeah...  No idea how he called the flop (or even preflop) after a bet and a call on that flop with bottom pair bottom kicker.  My only conclusion is he thought I was tilting from the previous hand.  That doens't really explain him calling after the button did (even if he could beat me unlikely his twos beat the button) but that was my tournament.  Gross way to start.

Event 1B: 50K Guarantee.

I called preflop with KQ on the button against the most aggressive bad player at the table.  
Flop came Q high.  He checked.  I bet he raised.  Ugh.  Let it go.  Then I see him play every hand, badly just
firing chips into the pot at a rate that suggests he was on air most of the time.  Wish I had the hand back.

Later I had Queens and was determined to take my stand against him.  He bet all the way and then hit a King.  (He had AK--of course his only hand was against me).
Probably, I should have pushed back at him somewhere earlier in the hand, but I like guys like that to fire three barrels into me with nothing.  That way they can overbluff the river (though they can also connect).  

Had it not been an ace or king I would have fired back giving him enough room to stack off.  As it was, I guess I lost the minimum.
I got unlucky that I was in a flip.  I had no idea he was as strong as AK, so even if I did push back earlier possible he just comes over the 
top (all he knows is he has an Ace and King and that looks like a good hand)  and we play a swollen pot that I lose.  Predictably he goes bust.  Not before I was down to 1400.  Starting stack of 10k.

Blinds were 50 and 100 and I look at JJ in the big blind.  I fold.  What?  14 big blinds and fold Jacks?  Yes. There was a bet and reraise (by a short stack that didn't shove--Monster alert).

Two players get it all in AA (there's the monster) v. 88.  Good fold.  Happy about that, hard to lay down a pair of face cards preflop with that stack.

Then I mounted a comeback and turned that 1400 into 14000 after scooping small pot after pot.

Thought it was going to be my day. Just as I allowed myself to believe...

Then I couldn't catch a hand for four levels.  Also had a player on my right beating me into pots
any time I sensed weakness or a stealing opportunity.  Gross.  Didn't really have enough to 3bet fold to him and I wasn't about to stack off with a garbage hand so bided my time.

I was in the big blind with 92 and short again, mid position and small blind limp to me. I check.  Flop came three hearts (one a deuce) ten high.
I take a stab with a small bet.  Called by mid position.  Turn a 9.  Now I got two pair.  Again bet small and get called.  River was a 8.  I bet small again.  He puts
my stack in.  I hate this spot.  So many times a big stack chasing a flush with a bare big card is frustrated he missed he flush his over cards outs and will bluff in this spot.  Or he flopped a flush.

I stew.  I decided despite my efforts to pot control I had put too much of my stack in, and two pair wins a lot of the time against many of his hands.  Really should have checked the river in retrospect.  Likely he shoves there anyway, but maybe I can fold.

To his credit he showed a flopped queen high flush, which I thought he played well.  Many players will push back earlier in the hand without the nut flush fearful of an Ace
of hearts running him down with another heart on the board.  So, in that respect, I kind of only get beat by the nuts the way the hand played out most of the time.  So I'm calling against the nuts or bluffs.  Not this guy though he played his flush well and his shoving river range was a little wider.

Event 3A: 75k Guarantee
(sorry for the ensuing tangent)
My daughter caught the flu and Saturday woke up with a blazing fever. Why do my kids only get sick on weekends and holidays? I took her to urgent care to confirm she was flu-ridden and to get Tamiflu.  Sidenote:  Urgent care sucks  Opens at 9.  Parked in front waiting for the doors.  Two people there before me.  Then in short fashion two people after me.  Doors opened, and I imagined I'd simply file in third behind the people there first.

I guess like Black Friday, it's just a free for all when people are sick.  Alright, I told myself as these near dead people suddenly sprinted to the doors, if they want to share a crowded waiting room with a soon to be crying/screaming miserable two year old that's their decision.

Of course, the young and more healthy who arrived last raced to the door.  Thankfully, this wasn't a sinking ship because the old, the punctual, and the tiny children that require a little more time to get out of the car were dead last.  Inside they handed out the paperwork and then it became another race to finish that.  Sure enough with me trying to corral a two year old trying to touch everything, three more newcomers came in and filed their survey first.

As some of the newest arrivals got ushered back before us, I grumbled to myself.

Course, I had the ace in the hole.  At about that point my daughter lost it after a long period of waiting. The teenage girl at the front desk smacking her gum was rolling her eyes at the sick child.  Harper didn't stop being miserable despite ruining that poor girl's morning.  It was a good thing as we were called next with her obviously slotting us in before the latecomers just to get Harper  out of the waiting room.

By the way, I thought I was dramatic when I was sick. Yet, as whiny as I am, these people were either all dying and in need of immediate emergency care, or the biggest babies in the world.  Even my soon to be crying daughter for the first hour was manning up more than this batch of wheezing, groaning, shivering, non-hand to mouth covering coughing, sneezing, near death dramatists.  For a second, I thought I was coming in early on a pandemic.  Influenza of 1917 part deux. Based on the zombies in the waiting room, I considered calling my wife and telling her to shutter herself keep the still well baby away in the house for a month.

Then I remembered my son had it all the previous week pretty badly and recovered, so not likely this was Ebola 2.0.  (EDIT: To be fair, I just found out two of his classmates were hospitalized so maybe I being a little harsh on the sick adults in that waiting room spraying contagions--not for spraying the contagions but for being so overt in their distress). 

We have done everything we could to keep our infant from coming down with it--well besides me going to urgent care and that crowd sourced cloud of infection that was misting the waiting room like the dew on grass at Augusta.    Anyway, we've been keeping the flu kids away from the baby and that means me watching one or two of the kids at our house and my wife with the sick one at her Mom's.  So, I thought I might miss the 555.

I prepared myself to play the alt events on Tuesday, and Thursday (see the spreadsheet).  I wasn't too stressed because I saw it as an opportunity to watch the Iron Bowl (both my parents went to Auburn and first sporting event I ever went to as a kid in North Carolina was an Auburn-Wake Forest football game--so guess who I pull for).  Then as the game started I started getting texts.  Only 50 people in the morning session.  They need 150 to meet the guarantee, there was going to be an overlay.  For those of you not familiar with poker, an overlay is when a casino guarantees a certain amount of money, and not enough players buy-in to meet it.  In this case they ended up being 50 players short--meaning the casino had to kick in 23k of their money.

As poker players you live for these rare events, because you get the prize pool of a bigger tournament with fewer players to beat.  Great equity.

I decided I had to get to Biloxi to play this.  No way we were going to miss this spot (considering the paltry turn-out for the non guaranteed events later in the week glad I went) and my inlaws came through for me again helping my wife with the sick and well kids.  The Auburn game, maybe you heard was kind of good.  But as my friend pointed out perhaps Auburn is stealing all their fans run good for these miraculous finishes.  When I arrived for the evening session I see it's a small who's who of the Coast's best players.  The morning session had finished with about one table left.  Without winning any big hands I progressed to just over twenty players left in the night session. I had a couple of interesting hands which didn't really amount to much and played with my favorite Survivor castaway Boston Rob (a regular down here and a decent player despite what his ill fated poker reality TV show might have suggested).  People were talking about coconuts, and coconut flavored things and I couldn't help but study him to see if he had a reaction.  After all that's all he ate/drank for about three months of his life. 

I kept hanging around then spied AK and shoved over a raise.  Guy called with Jacks.  For a moment it was a flip.  QQJ flop schewed the odds considerably in his favor.  So that sucked.


-Good thing is the bigger prizepools in the package are all ahead of us, and we got a lot of tournaments left.

-After whiffing in a mega for a seat (and rebate money for ya'll with the extras in the package) missing it by ~four players.  I had a small score in the nightly on Tuesday.   That's not in the package but gets half shares for everybody eligible.  We chopped it four ways (another overlay in a 4k guarantee on a $120 buy-in).  I got the winners photo as chipleader.  For one thirty minute dealer down I got more hands then I got in all the other tournaments I've played combined.  Gross.

Right before my hot streak I sat card dead in the nightly lamenting my bad run so far and having one of those I-really-hate-tournament-poker-moments, then finally caught some cards that stood up.  I tripled up with Jacks.  Had some maroon shove into my Aces two hands later and I was off.  Once I had a stack, for the first time this week, I bulldozed the table and with twenty left I had almost a third of the chips in play. 

By the time we got four handed I had  taken some beats.   One very good player and two very capable players had almost as many chips as me.  We split it evenly.

Now, on to the Main Event Saturday.  Just need to get a little momentum in that event and I forsee good things.
Oh yeah, some of you haven't squared up yet.  I understand there's been some issues and we've discussed it.  No problem.  But here is a gentle reminder.  Preferably if you can get the money to me by Saturday am I'd much appreciate it.  About to start buying into the bigger buy-in events will need those bigger chunks sooner rather than later.  

Thanks again for all the support and belief.  Good feelings about Saturday.