Saturday, February 22, 2014

Long, Long, Day at the MSPT:

Showed up for the 1030 am satellite for the MSPT at the Belle of Baton Rouge.  I had previously won a $60 satty to qualify for a $250 with a seat in the Main Event on the line.  I played so much poker yesterday (all the way to 1:30 am today) that I can't remember much of that tournament early.  I know some good players were at my table and I was looking enviously at the other table, but I had position on a couple including Danny Doucet.  I busted him when he flopped top pair and I had Aces.

When we got to the final table I arrived as the chipleader.  I got some good hands and saw my advantage disappear as we limped toward the four seats they were giving out.  Next thing I knew two or three stacks had swollen up.  One player had no idea he was in a satellite and played like he needed every chip.  Short stacks kept doubling and after hours of play I became a shorty.  Twice I got Aces to get critical double ups including once when on the stone cold bubble.  Ran good with Aces in this event.

One player kept gifting a short stack chips (raise fold or limp fold), when he was supposed to call anything and after a long time of play we were all even in chips.  By this point we were under an hour away from the Main Event start time of 5:00 pm.  I was pretty tired of it.  I felt if we were at a final table, I was quite comfortable.  But we were in a mega and it was now basically shove or fold for most of us.  Gene D had been the stone cold bubble the day before and they round down so he ended up with nothing.

It was going to come down to a cooler type hand to decide things, so I suggested we each pony up $100 for the bubble so at least everybody made some money.  After agreeing one player said he'd take $900 (each pay $225) and we'd get the seats.  Since it cost me nothing (well $60) to play the $250 I wasn't that opposed to it, but I had visions of winning the Main Event off of that $60 satellite--would be fun to do.

Anyway, the other four quickly agreed.  I hemmed and hawed and the dude offered it for $200 a piece.  I didn't really like it that much because I did feel I had an edge and it was only a 1/5 shot that I would be the unlucky bubble boy.  Still he was going to get $300 less than the rest of us and I needed some sort of break before beginning the Main so settled for the deal.

They got 54 in Day 1A and I got to say the MSPT ran a first class tournament.  The Belle's staff was little new to a multi-table tournament of that size but were in good spirits and taking advice/criticism well.  There was some grumbling about their competence but I think it was just inexperience.  They did up the third floor well, and if not for the way too loud slot machines, you almost forgot you were on a boat casino.

Lots of players showed up and I think I landed on the toughest starting table.  I chipped up a little bit with most of my cbets getting through.  In fact, so many were not getting contested by the better players that I f'd myself a bit.  The eventual chipleader Austin "The Kid" Bursavich raised, as he did every third hand, and I spied Kings.  I decided I would call instead of tipping my hand and let him walk me through the pot.

Flop came A99.  To be honest I was almost more worried about a 9 in his hand then an ace.  We went check, check.  He fired the turn which was another Ace.  I thought about raising, but didn't want to bloat the pot.  I felt I had the best hand, but if wrong I'd just be building it for him.  Also, I didn't want him to click back and make me make tough decisions on the turn/river.  River was a 5 ball.

Previously, we played a hand where he bet called all three streets on a king high board.  Then the five hit that time as well and he made a bet with a bit of a flourish.  I called and he had rivered two pair with K5 to win the pot.  When the 5 hit in this second pot he did the same thing, this little confident flourish.

I had planned to call most cards, and knew I might need to evaluate if it came a QJ or 10 (possibly because he might have rivered a better two pair than the board but below my kings so maybe some value in raising where he'd likely just call).  That would also put a straight possibility out there so I would be careful about those cards, but generally I was calling the turn to call most rivers.  Except he did the same flourish.


I stewed for a while.  I felt still he didn't have an A or 9.  Could he have 55?  Ugh.  That would suck.  Would he fold 55 to a raise?  Yeah, in his mind I easily have an A there.  Maybe he had an Ace all along and my read was off.  Would he value bet 55?  Thought that hand had too much showdown value to risk getting blown off the pot .  So no?  Only hands he could value bet 55 into were KK, QQ, or JJ that might get a call.  Though my hand might be transparent to him.

I didn't know what to do but decided my plan was to call most rivers I needed to stick with it and called.  55.

That would be the first of five times he cracked Kings on the tournament.  No wonder he's an overwhelming chip leader.

Big pairs which saved me in the satellite went south on me in the Main, but I got away from them pretty good.  Maybe could have played the hand more aggressively against Austin but I got two outed and most of the time I think I'm getting good value there.  Later against the tightest player at the table I threebet and cbet the flop, for him to shove all in on me.  He had flopped a set of fives.  Then against the same guy, when short I limped Aces hoping somebody picked up something behind me.  They didn't.  He completed from the small.  Big blind checked.  Flop came 984.  tight player opened.  Big Blind called.  I raised.  Tight player overshoved again.  Big Blinded folded an open ender.

I showed my Aces to Mihail who was next to me and mucked, tight player showed top two and I think would have called a pf raise so I got a little lucky.

Okay, life as the short stack.  I hovered around and under ten big blinds.  Finally, I got called by Austin when I had 4k with blinds at 300-600.  The hand made PokerNews.    It was about the only thing notable about my day after the suckouts and coolers.  Short stacks don't garner much attention.

Then unexpectantly, I went on a little rush, don't remember the hands though and got up to just under 30k when this hand happened.

Ben Thomas opened under the gun to 1200.  I looked at QQ.  Thomas didn't open many hands and was pretty solid yesterday in position so I knew he had something.  I was willing to go with QQ though, especially after exchanging some messages with Jeremy Gaubert about when to press in that structure and the need to chip up.  As I considered my option, I noticed Austin's brother who had just been sat to my left get his ~7k in chips his hand and felt he was ready to ship.  I immediately decided I'd call, he'd ship, and if Thomas tried to isolate with a shove I was calling.  If Thomas tried to reraise I was shoving--which I was hoping would happen.

First part went all right because Austin's brother shoved.  Then things got funny.  Justin Truesdale, who was won a circuit main event, pushed all in for 17k on the button.  I don't think he's ever light here even though you could make an argument it's a good steal spot.  Michael Horchoff does it that's different.  Thomas who had me covered went into the tank.  If he had insta called/shoved I might have folded.  When he finally tanked,  it look authentic, not a hollywood job to induce me, I thought I might have to get it in fourways.

Eventually he folded but before he did Truesdale gave me a little more information about his hand.  He starting talking to Thomas and I was confident he wasn't sitting on AA or KK.  His hand was vulnerable.  That meant Ak.  The short stack likely also had an ace and maybe Thomas did too.  I felt it was a great spot for Queens and called.  I was right A10 for the shorty and Ak for Truesdale.   Flop was clean.  Turn harmless and then Ace ball on the river.  Ugh... good bye five minutes of safety... back to the grind.

And grind, I did.  For hours and multiple levels I survived always threatened to bust by only being able to shove.  A couple of times going to showdown but most times just pulling in the blinds and a limp or the blinds and a raise.  Fortunately, I got some good hand to shove with but never got callers. Means I'm still alive but never could chip up.

One hand of importance came right after an uncalled shove.  The break started just after the hand was dealt.  Normally, I try to steal here as everybody decides to just go to the bathroom instead of getting involved in a hand, but whenever I try that I always get crushed on those hands.  So I stopped "break-stealing" and have cursed whatever book I read that in as a good strategy, as it just hasn't worked out for me.  When I saw AA, knowing some are aware of the stealing before the break, I had just enough chips to put in a small raise but could also limp.  I opted for the shove thinking they would put me on a steal, especially the new players to the table who hadn't seen my other shoves get through and were watching me shove two out of three hands.

Nope.  None of that thought.  People mucked and ran off the table.  Oh, so that's what a "Break Steal" is supposed to look like.

I survived until the end of the night and bagged up a paltry amount.  Which I hate because I won't have time on Sunday to condition my table that I'm shoving a narrow range and invariably run the risk of getting called early and making that trip to Baton Rouge for nothing.  I will need to shove fairly early in the day.  Still, on the bright side of things, I have chips and many young guns came with big stacks to my table and busted while I just nursed my short stack hoping/waiting for a run.  A double up or two early on Sunday and I'm back into the thick of things.

Friday, February 21, 2014



I just read your pitch for the low juice at the $1k tourney in Baton Rouge.  I’ll take your word on the 11% juice for this particular tournament and that sounds good on the surface.  However, I’m a bit confused as follows:
1.  You only mentioned the $1k tourney.  The series actually consists of quite a few other tourneys, none of which actually pay cash winnings, only entry to the next level of play.  What is the juice on them?
3.  The vast majority of the entrants into the $1k main event will probably have “won” their way into the tourney by way of the “qualifiers”.
4.  MidStates will be taking juice from the qualifying rounds too, right?  (11%??)
5.  A lot of the people in the “qualifiers” will probably have “won” their way into the “qualifier” tourney through satellites.
6.  MidStates will be taking juice from the satellite rounds too, right?  (11%??)
7.  As a result of the above statements, it looks like the vast majority of the people playing in the “main event” will have actually already paid juice at least once and probably twice.  Their entry into the main event will constitute a third round of juice.
8.  Therefore, the total average juice collected from the entrants to the main event will probably be more on the order of 25% and could be (theoretically, if all entrants qualified through satellites and then qualifier) as much as 33%?
If I’m right above then you either have missed my simple mathematical line of reasoning or you’re intentionally misleading your readers.  I have doubts that you misinterpreted the math and certainly don’t want to believe you’d mislead your readers.
Please tell me I’m missing something and explain to me what I’m missing.

Those are good points. I meant juice on the main. While many will win their way up, and I will note that on the next update, I've never talked about the juice of any tournament with regard to single table or multi table satellites. If I erred and suggested everything was 11% juice then that definitely was an error and I will clarify. If i didn't, I think I'm being consistent. Say I talk about a $365 and only 291 goes to the prize pool, I wouldn't mention that somebody might have won their way in via a single table and been juiced there too. Either way I will bring up what you said and I hope I'm not misleading anybody. Thanks for the heads up.


You were technically correct in stating that the juice is 11% on the main but that’s only true if you enter the main directly.  I think the big difference in the series in question is that the main seems to be the only tournament they’re actually paying out in cash.  Every other tournament in the series is only a stepping stone into the main.  My point is that they aren’t actually holding a tournament for only 11% juice if most of the participants have actually paid juice up to three times.
It sounds to me that if you enter the main directly you’re getting a really good deal but if you enter a satellite to get into a qualifier to get into the main juice has been taken three times.  Consequently they are actually collecting as much as 33% juice on a lot of the participants (won their way into the main via satellite then qualifier), 22% juice on a lot of others (won their way into the main by directly entering a qualifier), and only 11% juice on the few who enter the main directly.  It’s impossible to do the math unless you know the path taken by every participant but they are probably collecting 25% to 30% juice overall on the entrant pool for the main.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Belle of Baton Rouge/Mid States Poker Tour

I went to the Belle for the first time to check out their poker room and play one of the satellites for the Mid States Poker Tour.  When I arrived they had one seat open.   45 players (including rebuys) meant there would be 9 seats (20% of the field).

The play, ummm, was suspect at best.  People calling off with marginal hands and huge stacks.  Short stacks calling every raise to see flops.  I felt if I didn't get unlucky I'd be alright.  I took a couple of beats and got short right before the first break.  I decided I'd rebuy if necessary, so it was time to double up (or double up by rebuying) and called with J10 in late position. Flopped open ended in a multi-way pot (they were all multi-way pots) and made broadway on the turn with a Ace.  We got it in.  The very next hand one off the button I limped with suited connectors.  A call station raised from the button and then an older fellow in the big blind who called everything stewed and called.  I was ready to proceed very cautiously.  I flopped a flush.  Checked to me.  I led out.  The button shove and so did the blind.  I called, but not too happily based on the action (different players different format I might consider a fold).  Surprisingly, based on they action they held AA and KK (King of hearts).  Both had a story to tell as they got snapped by 56.  Lol.

So, I went from 6k to 40k in two hands.  When I made the final table on the stone bubble 40k was plenty of chips to have.  In fact, I actually had less than that.  I took a couple of gross beats along the way including a guy who shoved with a flush draw and a gut shot.  I had a bigger flush draw and top pair w/ AK (flopped an Ace).  He hit his gutterball.  It happens.  I remember this only because a few rounds later when somebody sucked out on him he was trolling the player and bemoaning his luck.  Short memory I guess, especially considering he called a raise with J4 suited or some such nonsense.

Deep, the play didn't improve.  I watched guys with huge stacks mixing it up when they could have folded to a seat, people overplaying Aces, short stacks with like 8bbs calling every raise and hitting one out of four hands to stay alive.  A good player with a bunch of chips, not paying attention, folded to a shove of 11k, when he was in the big blind with 8k.  He thought it was 11k more instead of 3k.  I made a point after that  anytime a shortie shoved and action got to me, of asking how much the shove was for and asking how much the big blinds were from there on out before looking at my cards to keep people thinking.  One time a lady limped and a guy barely doubled the big blind on his shove.

Somehow the big blind folded (with a ton of chips) but the limper called and won.

They played a cash game afterward where the capped the rate for an abusrdly small amount and promise to do the same during the Mid-States Poker Tour.  I will be back, and be back often to play the $250s.  I believe there is only a ~10% juice on the Main Event.  We all bitch about the juice but now there is finally a tournament with a reasonable juice in our backyard and I'm not sure there will be a huge turnout.

Even if it's a hassle to play, we should go en masse and in force to show all the tour operators how well we'd support a reduction in rake, no matter the locale.  So if you get some annoying facebook message from me do your part and show up.  10% juice.