Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vegas Day 4

"Vegas Day 4"

Today was a pretty good day. My buddies Sean and Brent made it into town. They’ll be here the rest of time I’ll be here too. If you’d like to follow their twitter antics, you can follow them here:

I woke up today and for some inexplicable reason, I felt like playing in the $30 1pm tourney. I played in the $20 tourney the day before. And it was basically a luck fest. But while the $20 was an $18 + $2 tourney (The “house” gets $2 from every entry,) this was a $25 + $5 tourney... which is *worse*. The blind structure and starting chips are the same. But there I was... paying $30 to get in.

Session 1: Excalibur Tourney $30 buyin
I’ve always been an aggressive tournament player. That’s what probably makes me pretty successful at tournaments. With such a quick tournament structure, aggressiveness isn’t a style option, it’s a necessity. If you find yourself calling more than a small percentage of the time in fast tournaments, you’re probably doing it wrong. Outside of the blinds, I think I entered two pots that I didn’t raise.

This worked fairly well at the beginning. I stayed above the chip average (it’s nice to have stats available to you on the fly when you’re at an electronic table) through most of the early rounds. If I caught a decent Ace or a face card and another card that was sorta close (KT, QJ, K9s, Q8s etc.) I’d raise four to five times the BB. If they lead out, and I had missed, I’d fold. If they checked to me or I sensed any weakness, I’d make a 1/2 to full pot-sized bet. It worked really well until the blinds were so high that the only move that made sense was All-In.

So about the 4th or 5th round I became Mr. All-In. I wasn’t short stacked, but I saw no reason to raise anything less when the blinds were 600/1200 and people had like $4000-8000 chips. I had around $12000 and was the chip leader on a small table of about 6 players. We started with 4.5 tables and by this time we were already down to about 15 players on two tables with my table being the smaller table.

My table began to fear me. I stole blinds quite often, and when I did get a caller, they were up against my AT or my small pair. I knocked two people out and were down to the final 10 players. They told us to take a 10 minute break after which we’d come back to the final table.

I started watching an old Cowboy’s game in the sports betting room, and became a little too engrossed in “Emmitt’s Greatest Game.” I ended up rushing back to the poker room just in time for the game to resume. I looked at the chip stacks and saw that my $17k was good enough for 2nd biggest stack at the table. One guy had $18k and the rest were between $4k and $12k. To give you an idea of how short stacked you are in this tournament, every player started with $3k in chips and there were around 45 starting players. The blinds at the final table started at $800/$1600 and the biggest stack was only $18k to start. Not a lot of wiggle room. Every hand ended up with the winner being the new chip leader.

I decided that I wasn’t going to slow down and was going to continue putting people All-In. I want to amass a huge lead and pound the smaller stacks into submission. I wasn’t about to try to fold myself to 5th place so I can win $55. I put the smallest stack pretty early on and lost a coin flip. I was down to about $11k. I put in the next guy and lost another coin flip. Now I was a short stack. I was down to about $5k and in the $1600 big blind. I announced to the table, “Don’t even think about calling. If you’re coming in, you might as well put at least $5k in there because I’m not letting you see a $1600 flop.” They all got a kick out of that, and all but one guy obediently folded. Raising to $4k when I had $5k was stupid, but at least he raised. I looked down at QTo. I pushed. He called with a pair of eights in the hole. A coin flip! Better than I thought! Yeah, no. I lost. Oh, well. I played for 2 hrs, and it was pretty fun pushing those guys around for that long. 10th place.

My next session was another 50c/$1 cash game.

Session 2: Excalibur 50c/$1 NL Hold ‘Em
I only played in this session for about 30 mins before I got a seat a the $1/$2 game. Not much to say. I bought in for $100 and cashed out $122. Moving on…

Session 3: Excalibu $1/$2 NL Hold ‘Em
I’d been buying in for the table max of $300 at every Excal $1/$2 game and decided to go with that again because only one guy was at $300-ish. Everyone else was $150 or below. Just like I like it.

Like most sessions I’ve been playing. I start out by being pretty aggressive from the start. This allows me to feel out the table and if anything sets me up to look like a table bully... buying in for the table max and starting to raise everything out of the gate. If it works, I continue to go with it. I’ll raise with stuff as low as J8 from middle position and almost anything in late position. If I catch a lot of resistance and re-raises or check raises, I slow down and tighten up.

Well, at this game, I didn’t get a lot re-raising, I was getting a lot of callers. Way too many. The kind that just won’t fold. I tightened up pretty quick. It worked pretty well. I was up about $100 or so for most of the time.

The most memorable thing about this table was the talkative and getting-increasingly-drunk player at the opposite end of the table. He was doing well and playing loose-aggressive. He was also showing almost every hand too. He hated that me and another player never showed. His rationale was that he showed every hand, we should to. After yet another gripe about how the other dude didn’t show, I finally called him out on it. What did he want us to do? Show every hand because he wanted us to? He started to get belligerent and went off on how this was a low stakes and and it was ‘just cards’. And I agreed, it was ‘just cards’ so let us play however we wanted to. He go a little nasty, and I very nearly called the floor on him. He came off looking like a total douchebag to the table, and he knew it. But at least it worked, he finally shut up about it.

Inevitably, after a couple of hours, the game started to get short handed. I didn’t really wanted to be around Mr. Douchebag anymore, so I got up and took my $130 in profits with me.

By this time, Sean and Brent’s plane had come in. They had tickets to go see NIN at Planet Hollywood a few hours later, so we decided to have dinner at Rain Forest Café and head over to Planet Hollywood so they could see the show, and I’d kill time playing $1/$2 in their poker room.

Session 4: Planet Hollywood $1/$2 NL Hold ‘Em
I started this game with $200. The table max was $300. I’m not sure why I choose to buy in for less than table max at places other than Excal. Comfort level? A feeling of familiarity at Excal? Dunno.

The first thing I noticed is how pissed off and annoyed our dealer was. The table I got on was just starting. Our dealer was not happy to have been assigned this brand new table. It’s pretty common to come across dealers that complain about being overworked or on a 14 hour shift, but this guy wasn’t even attempting to hide it. That’s what I wanna see. This is why I love live poker with live dealer’s right? Electronic tables suck! I want real dealers like this guy... pfft. Luckily, after we all got our chips, another dealer showed up and relieved him before he dealt the first hand.

I started off aggressive again and met immediate resistance and re-raises from a guy at the far end. Plus, there were two Brit friends sitting next to each other that loved action. Before I knew it, I was down about $70 in about 20 mins. Tighten up time. I dunno if I’m contagious or what, but when I’m playing tight, my side of the table tends to tighten up. Either that or the loose players that sit next to me bust out, and I end up sitting next to tight players longer because, well, they last longer. In any case, my side of the table was running pretty cold. After about 2 hrs, Mr Bad Attitude dealer came back. Oh, no.

Still looking pretty grumpy, Mr. BA counted up the box, mumbled something to himself, took a deep breath put on the fakest smile ever, and started dealing. I’m was thinking... dude, if you’re gonna psyche yourself up and paint on a fake smile, do it BEFORE you get to the table. We all saw you.

Still down about $50, Mr. BA dealt me my first AA in a long time. There are two things that I’ve noticed about my Vegas trip so far. I’m not getting dealt AA very often, and my % for hitting sets on the flop is waaaay below the average. I’ve hit some full houses, but they’ve been with two unpaired hold cards. I think I’m due for a lot of sets pretty soon. Anyway, I got dealt AA and one a decent sized pot. Then the next round, I got dealt AA again. Both time I had them in the Small Blind and both times I took down decent pots. By the time Mr. BA left, I was up over $100. I forgive you Mr. BA. I forgive you.

Within 30 minutes, NIN let out. I cashed out up a bit over $150. Not bad.

By now Sean and Brent wanted to play poker. We decided to head back to Excal so they could check out the electronic poker tables. I gave Sean and Brent the tool of the room and introduced them to the poker room crew. They still have about 6-8 people running the room. Most of which I recognized from the old days. Anyway, after getting them situated, I was able to get into a $1/$2 game.

Session 5: Excalibur $1/$2 NL Hold ‘Em
This game was a tough one. In fact, all my $1/$2 games at Excal have been tough. It’s like the 50c/$1 game is equivalent to the $1/$2 games at other places, and the $1/$2 is like $2/$5. Which makes me wonder, why don’t I just play $1/$2 and make more at other places? Well, I know the answer, I keep winning at Excal. ;)

Anyway, this game was up and down for a while. I somehow managed to get to +$23.50 after a couple of hours and was happy to have it. Again, it was 4 handed before too long, and I got out of there.

I was up $400.50 for the day. My best day so far. Time to start Day 5 now. Until next time...

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