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king_spadez1

/Mar/2012

My 1st Casino Tourney

By: king_spadez1 @ 16:01 (EDT) / 329 / Comment ( 1 )

I’m not a stranger to gambling, and playing poker; 30 years ago I was involved in an on-going game of $1 - $2 limit, dealers choice, casual home game. I now realize how big a fish I was, but having said that I was among other fishes; I was able to keep ahead of the game. I was a frequent visitor to Atlantic City from 1980 - 1995, playing (counting) BJ, and later added craps to my table games. When BJ shoes went to 8 decks with a less than a 2/3 cut, it was time to stop counting cards. Comps were flowing in the early 80’s, it was nice; the late 80’s comps were harder to get unless you played the slots. In the 90’s I switched to casual limited gambling, added video poker. Now A.C. is more a resort for my pleasure, where my girlfriends (and later on wife), went to enjoy the beach; walk the boardwalk; see the Miss USA pageant contestants; relax and enjoy the entertainment; experience the dinning; and occasionally get a suite with a Jacuzzi.

I’ve been studying NLHE, and playing on-line for just over a year. I still haven’t played for money, because of the Black Friday freeze-out. My son is a semi-reg NLHE player; he plays at the Borgota in Atlantic City. This past week he convinced me to start playing live. He feels I am good enough, especially for the Saturday crowd, which sports and good amount of ‘fish’ along with the ‘regular’ predators. However, I was still a bit leery; after getting a PM from one of my mentors about a recent post, I replied, adding a side note asking: could he give me some advice on live play and keeping track of the pot as well as the villains stacks – also his take on tells. He gave me some good advice, as well as encouragement.

I’ve been playing a lot of turbo 6 max, as well as ‘super turbo’ deep stack at a PS home games club. This same home games club, offers a deep stack ‘turbo’, which will mostly compare to the Saturday event I was going to enter. These games get about 100 players daily; unfortunately it starts at 8:30 p.m. and lasts around 3 hours. It was Friday, the night before my A.C. tourney; I knew I had to be up by 8 a.m., but figured I’d be able to play the on-line simulation, and still get enough sleep. Long story short, I took down the tourney (2nd time out of 6 tries, this month).

Saturday morning my son and I talked poker all the way down to A.C. (about a 2 hour drive). He was giving me advice, and letting me know that I could easily handle the switch to Casino NLHE. Up until now I’ve only played a few NLHE tourneys, and some small stake NLHE cash games. Funny I should say ‘small’ cash game; I recall a .05 / .10 game that had the two chip leaders playing a pot that had over $50. We got to A.C. and had a quick breakfast, then registered just as they started dealing. The registration fee was $150 + $30 for a turbo (20 minute levels), semi-deep tourney (12K).

The following references include heritage (which may be a factor – I hope I was politically correct). My evaluations are a mixture of play style; dress attire; demeanor; table chat, and approachability:

I get to my more than ½ empty table, just as the first hand was ending. As the table starts to fill up, I’m already trying to place my opponents in categories, and looking for tells. I had two uneventful orbits of folding, mainly due to the two LAGgy players, directly to my left. But, I did evaluate my table - Seat 1, open; I’m in Seat 2; Seat 3, LAG / Somewhat sloppy play, older European man; Seat 4, LAG, that is always getting involved when Seat 3 is playing a hand, older man; Seat 5, open; Seat 6, Loose / Casual reg, gets involved in cheap PF, and post-flop hands; Seat 7, showed up late, started eating his muffin at the table (the dealer asked him to put it away or leave the table – he took another bite, and put it away), LAG / Serious reg - willing to mix it up, middle aged man; Seat 8, Loose / Serious reg, was willing to mix it up, middle aged woman; Seat 9, Tight / Passive, older man; Seat 10, Tight / Passive, young man.

I can’t seem to get started, the guys on my left are not stealing candidates, and the blinds are to small at the moment to be forced into making any moves. A middle-aged, Middle Eastern man fills seat 1; he sits down as the cards are being dealt, and is UTG (he is talking on his cell phone). The dealer asks him twice to get off his phone, but he’s too consumed by the conversation, he doesn’t hear her. She mucks his cards, which now he notices and objects. She states that it’s against the gaming rules to be on your phone while at the table; therefore you must forfeit your hand. He continues to sit, and quickly finishes his phone conversation. I hear someone say that he could have been disqualified from the tourney, by insisting on staying at the table to finish his phone call. We get to the first break; there is a break every 3 levels. There will be no dinner break for this tourney, which should last a little over 6 hours. There are 83 entrants, most are still playing; only 9 payouts, top is $4200, and bottom is $380 (I’ll get more info later on payouts if needed).

Shortly after the first break, Seat 1 is crippled, calling down 2nd pair. A few hands later he shoved AI PF and was eliminated. My stack has gone down to 11K; not bad considering 3 levels of minimal play on my part (mostly folding). The start of level 4 (100 / 200 antes 25), same table: Folded to me, I’m MP1 and get 88, I decide to limp, which allows me to call a raise, and still be able to call for set-mining. Seat 3 calls, as well as seat 6 (BTN), 7, and 8 (1200 in the pot). The flop comes KT8 (2 hearts); I’m leaning back in my chair contemplating how much to bet, when Seat 3 throws 700 into the pot. The dealer gives him back his bet, and tells him it’s not your turn to bet. She points to me for a bet, I’m not sure, but I think his bet stands if I check; I really don’t want to draw attention to myself, but ask the dealer what the rule is. She’s not answering me, and asks me to bet or check. At this point I ask for the ‘floor’; the dealer calls the floor person, who still doesn’t answer what happens to his bet, and asks me to bet or check. Finally I say if I check does his bet stand, finally she says, “yes”, but if I bet, he can take his bet back. I check, his bet ‘stands’, followed by the BTN folding, Seat 7, and 8 calling. I’m a little upset that I drew so much attention to a hand that I wanted to just blend in with. I still get a good result, villains hands possibly ranging from a solid to medium King, maybe two pair, KT – T8, and lots of draw combos (flushes and straights). As I reach for chips, the floor person says to me, “If you raise now, Seat 3 can now pull his bet back”; now I’m totally confused! She said it’s a quirk in the rules (later when my son spoke to her – she said she didn’t say that). I should have asked someone else about the ruling before I left the casino (rules are floor persons’ ruling is final). By this time I was afraid to ask if the callers also had the option to pull back their bets; I just called (4000 in the pot). A ‘brick shows up on the Turn; the action is on me, I tried to clear my head and recalculate the pot, but forgot to add 1 of the callers and the antes (I thought there was just over 3000 in the pot). I led out for 2000; Seat 3 folded, as well as 7, but Seat 8 (BB) called. The River pairs the King; at this point the two hands that are beating me are KT, and TT. With the hubbub that surrounded this hand, maybe she (BB) put me on a hand like two pair or a set, and has eliminated the possibility that I was drawing. In that case she may have slow played her TT, waiting to trap me on the River. I decided that I could still get paid by Kx (that doesn’t complete a boat), and T8, or with any pair tens or higher, if in the rare case she felt I was on a draw. In retrospect, I should have been asking myself, what would I do if she raised, and made up my mind, if I was committed or not, before deciding to bet. The whole hand was a debacle. I decided to thin value bet < ½ the pot. I bet 3000 (I thought the pot was 7000 – it was actually 8000), she folded. Toward the end of level 6 the floor person came over and said they’re breaking the table up after the break.

Level 7 (400 / 800 antes 100) started up, and we had lost ¼ of the field, I had just over 19K (just over average). I had to start evaluating the players at this new table; my son was the only person I knew. Seat 1 - 8K, Tight, older man, (hasn’t played a hand); I’m in Seat 2; Seat 3 - 15K, Tight / Passive, young kid (clean cut, honest – seemed to play honest poker as well), he let me know I wasn’t properly protecting my hole cards, when I looked at them. Seat 4 10K, Tight / Latin older man; Seat 5 - open; Seat 6 my son 9K, Tight / reg; Seat 7 - 50K, Tight / older Afro-American; Seat 8 - 70K, LAG / was quite willing to mix it up – but played sloppy, middle aged Afro-American; Seat 9 - 14K, Tight / older man; Seat 10 – 12K, Tight / young kid. The previous Tight evaluations could very easily be players that were ‘card dead’, and for some, playing short stacked as well; we have only played a handful of hands.

I’m much more relaxed at this table because there are a lot less regs, and I have Tight players to my left, not to mention the big stacks are weighing down the table far away from me. I begin chatting it up with Seat 8, he seems to be my best chance to doubling through (my new friend). He’s eating a huge salad over the table through the 1st couple of hands. The dealer hasn’t said a word; I mention that the salad smells good, and suggest he share it; we both laugh. He puts the salad away shortly after, when he sees a hand he likes.

Toward the end of the 7th level, my stack was down to just over 12K. My friend in Seat 8 (UTG +1) limps in for 800. I looked down, and finally after 7 levels catch KK in the CO. I’m trying to determine if I can get all my money in by the flop (the pot started with 2100), without chasing anyway my potential cash cow. I need to make a bet that would increase the pot to a size, bigger than my remaining stack (after my bet). If I bet 3.2K (4X), and he calls, the pot will have 8500, leaving me a pot size shove on the flop. I don’t like this option, just a bit too strong; maybe I’ll get a call from behind to build the pot; Tighties behind me, maybe not? Revised plan, get it in by the Turn – 2K, 3K, 7K – a bit more risky (but I need to double up, NOW); 2K (2.5X raise – over limper, looks like it wants action - hmmm), and call (how could he not call), pot 6100; Flop bet 3K and call, pot 12100; 7K AI on the Turn – maybe by this time I’ll push him off a draw (which I’ll be ok with as well). Not the best plan, but this is a live game, I don’t want to take too long, and scare him. In retrospect, I need to bet a bit bigger on the flop – lesson learned; I need to formulate a plan for getting a 15BB stack in by the Turn. I bet 1900, Seat 2 folds, as well as seat 3, and 5. My friend calls me; the flop is Q76 (two spades); Seat 8 checks, I continue with my plan; I bet 3000, Seat 8 calls. The turn ‘bricks’ out. Seat 8 checks, I go AI, he calls. As a side note: During the Flop and Turn, I’m chatting it up with my friend in Seat 8; asking him how much does he like his hand, and he’s smiling, and laughing with me. The moment of truth: I show my KK, and my new friend turns over, T8s (spades). He Flopped a gut straight flush draw (12 outs). Facing the River, I’m a < 3:1 favorite (actually, it’s a flip on the flop). I fade the River, and now have a 29K stack.

Level 8 – 500 / 1000 antes 100. It’s folded to me in the BTN; I have already prepared a steal plan, just in case it is folded to me. Seat 3 (SB), is sitting on a 15K stack, and I know he will fold like an accordion, if he doesn’t have a top 10% hand. Seat 4 (BB), is sitting with just over 5K. I don’t need to shove; this will get me in trouble if the SB wakes up with a hand (if he shoves, I fold). If the BB is willing to playing the hand, he will shove. I’m not really concerned that he will play the hand, because I will priced in by that time (part of the risk, when stealing). As a bonus to my steal, I feel I have FE against ‘this’ Tight villain (even though he’s short). It is folded to me, I look down at J5o; I proceed with my plan, the SB folds (later he told me he had an Ace – Tight fold, just like my read), the BB shoves, and I call. He shows ATo (SB woke up with a hand – if not, I’m sure he gives it up, as per my read). As I expose my J5o, my friend in Seat 8 (who just doubled me up), is laughing and kibitzing me (in a good friendly way), he blurts out. ‘I love this guy. He’s crazy!’ SB’s hand holds up, and I’m down 5K.

The table has been extremely tight; my friend in Seat 8 (CO), open / raises 2.5 – 3X (can’t remember exactly). It folds to me, and I ask him if he wants action? He says it’s up to me. I can’t get a read, but it doesn’t matter, because I look down and see 72o. I tell him, “I really want to play this hand, but will let him have it” – as I twirl the cards face up on the table. He proceeds to expose his J7o, and the whole table gets a good laugh.

Next orbit, it folds to me (HJ), still level 8, I looked down at AK; I open/raise 2.5K (2.5X), Seat 3 calls (he has around 15K), and all others fold. Okay, possibly AJ+; TT, 99. Premiums, he’s shoving. I really think he has to shove any PP, does he think that way? The pot has 7400 chips; The Flop is J77 (rainbow), considering that I didn’t hit, it’s not a bad Flop. My plan is to c-bet this Flop, and shut down if he calls or shoves, unless of course he calls and I Turn an A or K. I c-bet, Seat 3 calls; the Turn bricks, I check, he bets ½ the pot; I fold (down another 6K – sitting around 14K).

Level 9 – 600 / 1200 antes 200 – pot 3400. I’m looking for a hand to get Vigorish (get in 1st), blinds are approaching fast, but so are the 84, 73, and 82 hands. I’m getting desperate. I’m now UTG, and again I see a 4, geesh, but wait, it’s followed by its brother (44). I start talking to my friend in Seat 8, as I play with my chips (what’s left of them), and let him know I want his money, I ask him if he’s going to play this hand? I know, it’s probably against the rules, but this dealer has been so lax, and we have been kibitzing the whole time at this table. He tells me he doesn’t know yet, because he didn’t look. Then he smiles, and chuckles, before tilting his head down. I don’t want to hold the game up any longer, and proceed to call AI, as I slide my chips (just under 13K) over the line. It’s folded around to Seat 10 (BB) (Seat 1 was eliminated by this time). The BB calls my AI, and I barely cover his stack. I said, “You’re the only guy I didn’t want calling!” It’s off to the races (I realized he could just as well big a pocket pair, but it was wishful thinking). I show my 44, he turns over AA; I stand up, and announce that I’m hitting my 4; the dealer buries a card under the pot, deals three cards face down in a pile, and as she turns the cards up the ‘window’ exposes a J; she continues to reveal the other cards, and my 4 is sitting in the ‘door’. I still know there’s a 9% chance of him re-sucking out with an Ace – I ask the dealer to hit me again (I hope that wasn’t obnoxious, we have all been kibitzing, and I said it in a non-vicious way). As the Turn card was flipped up, I saw I had gotten the case 4! I went over, and shook his hand, at the same time patting his shoulder, “Good game”. It’s a terrible emotional roller coaster when you get knocked out after getting your money AI good with AA PF, only to lose the hand post-flop. I now had just under 29K. The break came shortly after.

We were down to 28 players (average stack is just over 33K), but with level 10 approaching that should change rather quickly. My son was out of the tourney, and railing me. He liked my play so far, except for the KK hand – “it was too obvious”, he said; in fact during that hand, as I was about to turn my hand over, he called Kings! My son noticed that the levels had changed to 25 minutes levels (director’s discretion). I don’t know when that started.

I hope I made this entertaining enough, I know it’s extremely long.

Level 10 – 800 / 1600 antes 300. It’s a new table (3 tables left), I draw Seat 2 again, and this time there are a lot more polished players. There are two home game beginners sitting in Seat 4, and 5 (both short stacked – talking to their friend, who was railing them), but in order to get their chips, I have to get through a very seasoned young Russian kid, directly to my left. At the moment Seat 10 has another Shortie; Seat 1 to my right is open. It was a pretty uneventful level 10, as I was card dead the whole time. With the blinds and antes chipping away at my stack, at the rate of 5100 per orbit, I knew I had to get involved, but this table was much shaper than the rest. The table seemed to have a lot of big stacks between 70K – 100K+ (not really sure exactly – couldn’t count that high). I was the 4th shortest at the table, but luckily I had two shorter Tight stacks to my left. All I need is a chance to get it in first, or pick up a decent hand. This seemed my only option, since I couldn’t really put a significant dent in the larger stacks.

As I had thought, we were going to see a lot of bust this level (now we are down to two tables). A pleasant middle-aged man filled Seat 1. He brought along with him a lot of chips (oh boy). He only had 1 gray chip (5K – the highest denomination chip). I didn’t count his stack, but it was in the upwards of 100K. Well at least money flows to the left (I hope that holds true). Another middle-aged man filled Seat 8, which was vacant due to an elimination.

Level 11 – 1K / 2K antes 300. We lose a couple of Shorties, but the other short stack doubles up. I’m now the Shortie at the table. Seat 1 has been being Loose and dangerous. He’s pulled in a couple of smallish pots by aggression. He’s not afraid to put his money where his mouth is (yet he is a very pleasant, quiet person). On the flip side of the coin, he’s given a lot back, because he seems to be in a lot of pots. Seat 1 tries a 2.5X BTN Steal, I’m the SB, I see a 7, and then squeeze off another 7. With just over 17K, and all the dead money in the pot, it’s a no brainer, "I’m AI". The BB folds; the BTN turns over A9o (I was hoping he had an under card to my 77); okay, at least I’m on the positive side of a 55/45 flip. Can’t remember exactly what finally turned over, but it was something like, KT6 Q (giving him more outs), 5. Whew, I win the flip, and now have just under 40K.

Level 12 – 1.5K / 3K antes 500 (8 players at my table - 8500 chips per round!). The average chip stack is around 65K. There are 3 Shorties on the other table (around 20K). At the moment I am at least in 12th place. Another orbit goes by, and I was card dead. I had an opportunity to get involved in a family pot; the Russian kid to my left min raised from UTG. I’ve seen him do this before, not always with a hand he was willing to go to the felt with. That being said, he always seemed to know when to risk his tourney, by the use of AI shoves PF, and post-flop. His raise was called by 3 others (SB included); I looked down and see K9o; I have around 21K; I will get >10:1 odds if I call, which would also set up a SPR of around .5 (to my effective stack). I know I need a miracle flop to continue, but it might get me the chips I need to continue. I think about it, but decide to fold, because there are too many players in the pot. In retrospect – this may be the hand I needed to call, or possibly shove; I just don’t know. There’s a lot of dead money in the pot, but there are a lot of players as well (including a PFR from UTG). With my chip stack (1/3 the average, and being in the SB next hand, maybe this was the hand I needed to gamble with; beggars can’t be choosers. I folded, hopefully a better opportunity will come along in the next few hands, but now I need to ‘parlay’ a couple of hands. Here we go, next hand, there is a limper from MP, and it gets back to my SB; I squeeze a bit, but catch 84o, I really don’t feel I have any FE with 6BB, and even with all the dead money in the pot, I can’t get close to 2:1 odds; I fold again. Thank god it’s break time.

Level 13 – 2K / 4K antes 500. The Shorties somehow survived on the other table. After the break, I was visited by my old friends 8 and under, for a complete orbit (at least that what it seemed like). Ugh, how did I let myself get blinded down – I don’t do that ever. I find myself in the BB again, and MP2 (solid player), opens for a min raise. I know I’m in trouble, but with just a 12K stack, I throw my money into the pot, and tell him, we can find out what I have together. As I turn and flip the card onto the middle of the table, it’s an Ace of clubs. Great! At least I should be getting at least a 29% shot at the pot; the next card is the 8 of spades. MP2 reveals QQ; the dealer slows down the pace a bit, rifles off three cards, spreads them out to show a T63; the turn brings a 9. At this point I have already accepted the fact that my tourney was over. If an ace Rivers, I’ll have some kind words for Greenstein, and take my seat. The River was a 5, and I ended the tourney in 15th place. As I left the table, I greeted the player that took me out, with a, “Good hand sir, good luck to all!”

My son and I had dinner, and discussed the tourney. In general he liked the way I played, and congratulated me for lasting 5 hours. After dinner we caught the last hand of the tourney, which lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes. The chip leader was someone I hadn’t played against. He was up against a very good player, who was a seat fill-in late in the 5th level, at my 1st table. The seat fill-in was down in chips at least 30 to 1, and very short. He went AI from the Dealer/SB position with an AKo, and was called from the BB with 74s – a 4 hit on the River, and the match was over!

All in all, I liked my play, and really enjoyed my stay at the second table. One of the late fill-ins at the 2nd table said his table was talking sports, but this table is talking ‘trash’, he loved it. Trash talk was his term for it, but it was much friendlier, like the type of talk Negreanu would have at his table.

LOL - If you made it this far, thanks for listening.

May the cards be with you.
.

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