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2 Bubbles & 2 Wins (AC Trip Report Pt 4)

After Mr. Devious, the self-nicknamed, MethodMan-looking, loudmouthed player, left the 1/2 NL game, I racked up and decided to play the 2pm $100 Showboat freezeout tournament. Playing with MethodMan was like waiting for a bus to come only to realize that, eventually, you waited so long that the bus service had stopped running. I saw in MethodMan a vast opportunity for profit, but I never got my chance. At least he finished up in time for the tournament.

I paid at the casino cashier's cage and made my way back to the poker room. On my way, I saw a random familiar face. Alceste was there in the flesh. Where Alceste and poker combine, it doesn't take long to find other familiar faces. Specifically, Dawn and KJ were also in tow and I said brief hellos before heading to table 8, seat 2.

My table turned out to be pretty interesting. In the 1s, on my immediate right, was Robbie Hole. On my immediate left, in the 3s, was a guy who looked familiar. He was black, broad and bald. About 20 minutes into the tournament, I finally placed him. He was the guy that Petey, Roose and I were chatting with the night before outside of the Hilton, Mr. Outside. We immediately re-hit it off and were chatting the entire game.

The rest of the table was an assortment of players, with the most interesting one in the 10s, a Lebanese woman who I dubbed the Widowmaker after a while. She seemed to play with reckless abandon, establishing herself early as a calling station. Later, though, she made plays that a lesser player would bust on, so while my initial opinion of her play was low, I had to adjust my analysis as the game went on.

My first big hand was against none other than Robbie Hole himself. I helf J8o in the BB and three or four limpers entered the pot before Robbie called in the SB. I checked.

The flop was JJ4 and I checked again, setting up the check-raise. It checked around. The turn was a heart, completing a heart flush draw, and Robbie bet out. I considered my options and chose to call. I wanted overcallers, but I also was wary of someone slowplaying a superior Jack or a flush. When there were no other callers, I was a lot less nervous. I knew Robbie's tendencies to overplay hands. The river was another 4 and Robbie bet to me. I re-raised back and he called, tabling a 4, for 4s full of Jacks. I showed my Jack-8 and took down the hand.

I was playing tight, folding comfortably, when I felt the need to steal some blinds. I did so with K8 in LP, getting one caller and then continuation betting the K-high flop to take it down. And, yes, that may not be the traditional "continuation bet" since I actually hit top pair, but I was betting no matter what. I wanted to use my image as a knowledgeable, tight player.

I folded some more until we reached the 200/400 level. On the button, I decided to steal again, this time with KxTd. I raised to 12000 and the BB, a huge stack, decided to call.

The flop was QJX, with the Q and J of diamonds. My opponent checked and I decided to continuation bet my open-ended straight draw. I bet out 2400 and he called quickly. The turn was an offsuit 8 and I considered my options after it checked to me. I could check behind, which would give up control of the hand and require me to hit the river to have any chance of success, or I could fire a second bullet. I went with the second bullet, betting 4500. My opponent called, this time with slightly more hesitation. At this point, I only had about 6k left in my stack and I knew I would have to hit my hand to win this pot. Fortunately for me, I did, rivering an offsuit Ace for the nuts, a Broadway straight. My opponent checked and I insta-pushed in an attempt to appear that I was trying a last-ditch effort to push him off of his hand. He thought for a long while and I saw him lift his cards as he was prepared to fold. That's when I started talking. "Is there anything I can do to help your decision?" I like starting out this way. It gets them to tell me what they want to hear. He looked at me quizzically and I stated, "Your Jack is no good, man. It's no good." He looked back at his cards and thought some more. He finally spoker, "You obviously don't want me to call." I replied with one of my favorite lines, "In that case, your decision is easy. You should call, right?" He thought some more. "I hit that river. I had a flush draw, but I hit that river." I shut up. I wanted to look like I just got caught wiht my hand in the cookie jar. "I call." I tabled my straight just as he showed his AdKd. The table was impressed based on their reaction. I think they enjoyed watching me talk the big stack into paying me off. In this way, I accumulated 35k from my original 10k starting stack.

Meanwhile, the Widowmaker was earning her name, busting people as if it were her job. She was clearly a calling station, at least early on in the proceedings, but it was working to her advantage. I do not recall particular hands other than her call from a short (but not tiny) stack's all-in with A2c. What I clearly do remember, though, was that it was annoying Mr. Outside as well as some of my other neighbors.

As usual, I saw the conflict and set forth determining how I could use it to my advantage. I agreed with the complainers at my side of the table to build comraderie. I also hoped to build up their general resentment against the Widowmaker. It would make tilt come faster for them and keep me off of the radar.

After a while, though, I changed tactics. It was clear, by that point, that the Widowmaker would pay me off if I hit a big hand, so I hinted quietly to my compatriots that we should cut down on the table chat. "I don't want us shaming her into playing better. Right now she is in that sweet spot of, 'Fuck those guys. I'll do what I want.' I don't want her moving on to, 'Fuck those guys. I'll tighten up, play better and show them.'" It's a fine line.

Sadly, my requests fell on deaf ears and my compatriots, Mr. Outside particularly, kept berating the Widowmakers' play. By then, Robbie Hole was gone from the tourney. To combat the bitterness sent her way, I occassionally called out "nice hand" to the Widowmaker. I wanted her to feel comfortable and continue playing A2c to a push. She didn't seem to react to my comments, but I couldn't tell as the dealer sat between us, obscuring my view.

Amazingly, a hand occurred that got me to re-evaluate the Widowmaker. Widowmaker raised preflop and was re-raised by a guy to the left of Mr. Outside who we'll call Mr. Leftie. Mr. Leftie was an unassuming Caucasian guy who had amassed a stack about equivalent to the Widowmakers' table chip leader stack. I don't recall how he amassed chips, but I knew it wasn't from me. I was still playing tight with selective aggression.

After Mr. Leftie's preflop re-raise, the Widowmaker called. Before the flop could be dealt, Mr. Leftie announced, "All in, blind." The flop came down Jack-high. The Widowmaker took a lot of tme, so long that Mr. Outside called the clock. The floor came over and gave the Widowmaker 60 seconds. At the end, she folded QQ face-up. Mr. Leftie showed KK and was then immediately informed that he was to move to a new table. When he left, Mr. Outside and I discussed the hand at length. He felt that Mr. Leftie misplayed the hand. Any blind push in that spot has to be KK or AA, so he was not going to get a call. I argued that he misplayed it because he was only going to get called by superior hands and most inferior hands fold there. However, I tempered that opinoin with the fact that until that point, we all thought that the Widowmaker would call with any crap pair, making the play slightly better, even though I still didn't like it. Whatever the case, the lesson to be learned was that the Widowmaker had some discipline, and I had to reconsider her past plays in light of what I had just seen. (For what its worth, ultimately we agreed that the hand was misplayed because Widowmaker's loose image meant she may've called preflop with any Ace and if that Ace hits, Leftie is busted. He would have been better off waiting for the flop and then acting accordingly. At the very least, he could've squeezed more chips out of the Widowmaker).

Quick sidenote: While playing the tournament, Mr. Outside was greeted by two of his friends he had bumped into at the room. Mr. O was apparently a regular. He proclaimed several times, usually to the Widowmaker when they were sharing words, that he was a professional. "I make my living doing this!" His two friends were riding the rail, literally just outside the poker room, when the KK v. QQ decision was placed on the Widowmaker. From the sidelines, they called out "Call! Call!" I turned to them and called over. "Hey!" Once they turned, I gave them the thumb across the throat signal for Cut It Out! They looked at me annoyed, shocked that I would tell them to shut up. "Don't mess up this guy's hand." They looked incredulous and started talking...until the tournament director, who was placing a new player at our table, turned to them and confirmed what I said. "Off of the rail guys. Keep moving."

After the dingleberry railbirds were gone, I turned to Mr. O and lightly apologized. "I don't mean to be a dick to your friends, but I didn't want that to happen during one of my hands when they induced action that I don't want." He agreed generally. Besides, I have a feeling their "friendship" was the type you can only make through comraderie at low-limit professional poker; its a friendship of convenience, and not one that would withstand the tests of time or fortune.

By now, I was openly stating that I was avoiding hands with the Widowmaker and we joked back and forth. Players busted and new ones took their place.

I had a little part in that too. I had continued playing tight, with selective aggression. I hadn't shown down any hands since the KT that turned into Broadway, when this hand happened. UTG+1, a timid player with a shortstack limped. UTG+2 pushed all-in with his slightly larger shortstack. It folded to me and I looked down at 99. I called as did UTG+1, putting himself all-in. I assumed that I was in trouble, given that I called a raiser and then got an EP caller with a shortstack, but I was okay with it since I had both players well covered. As it turned out, UTG+1 had AJ and UTG+2 had AQ. Neither hit the board and I took them both out, pushing me to over 50k in chips. I was still second or maybe third in chips at the table (Widowmaker was still first), but I was building a comfortable stack. I was also having fun with the table and we were all getting along and joking about the game. I had worked my stack up to over 70k with aggressive play and no showdowns. It helped that I had room to breathe whereas everyone else was beginning to feel the pinch.

Finally down to two tables, I was moved from my original seat. My new table was a pleasure to behold. The 1s was Petey Pablo, sitting on a comfortable 50k or so stack. Dawn was in the 3s, nursing a shortstack. I was in the 4s or 5s. Roose was across the table at the 8s. The Widowmaker joined us as well in the 10s. Half the table were friends!

And then came the Aces. I hadn't seen Aces all weekend, and after being moved to the UTG position, I was dealt them immediately. I raised the blinds to 10,000. I think they were at 1500/3000 at the time or even 1000/2000. I was new to the table, so I wanted to use my initial appearance. I was sporting my Superman shirt, camo cargo pants, sunglasses and cap. I hammed it up, announcing my bet as though it were a lot of money. Ten Thousand Dollars! UTG+1 folded and UTG+2 paused. I decided to ham it up some more, hoping to induce action so I could re-raise. I steepled my fingers as though I were some evil mastermind seeking a ransom in exchange for shutting down my weather machine. Ten Thousand Dollars, Bwah hwah hwah hwah hwah! "All-in." I heard it and immediately started Hollywooding, in case anyone else wanted to jump into the fray. I had probably 80 or 90k. My opponent held a solid 45k at least. When it folded to me, I called quickly and confidently and tabled my AA. He showed JJ and my hand held up. I was up to over 130k, and it great shape.

From there, I played tight poker, watching the field slowly dwindle. Dawn busted and was replaced by KJ. He busted too before Roose busted on the bubble. I thought to myself that Roose bubbled this tournament and I effectively bubbled yesterday's Hilton tournament. If the pattern remained true, I should take first, just like Roose won yesterday. I thought it was an amusing thought, and I was in striking distance, but I didn't want to get my hopes up.

The final table was interesting. I was reunited with Mr. Outside, in the 2s nursing a smaller stack. The guy to my left was a friendly early-20s guy from Long Island who had ironically made buddies with Robbie Hole during a smoke break. We made friends quickly at the table. To his left was the Widowmaker, some other dude and then Petey Pablo. Other than that, the table was an assortment of white males of varying ages. All were friendly as we started the final table.

Just before the final table, I had called over Robbie and Randy Hole from the rail. They knew about Roose's tourney win the night before, but we didn't really mention the whole negotiation tactic we utilized. "I need you to start running numbers for me. What would be an even chop when we get down to 6 players." I asked for a laundry list of chop possibilities so I could be prepared for different contingencies.

As the final table started up, it was clear that there was little play left in the game. Preflop bets generally took down pots, and a lot of players were nearing push/fold mode. Meanwhile, Randy and Rob were reporting different scenarios to me.

Someone at the table, it may've been Mr. O or the L.I. Kid, suggested a chop. It was clear, with 10 people, that this would not be an easy thing. That's a lot of people to agree and with varying chip stack sizes, an even split would be silly. I suggested that we split based on chip count, but no one really commented on the idea. The L.I. Kid suggested a tiered format. I told him I was ok with it if I could have numbers for the tiers. Just then, the tournament director told us we couldn't discuss deals at the table. We would have to wait for the break, which was happening in 2 minutes. One thing we did accomplish: we agreed to each give $10 out of pocket so that the bubble 10th place got his money back. I wanted to protest, but I already planned on working out a deal and I didn't want to set a bad precedent.

During the break, Randy and Rob continued to crunch numbers to aid me in my quest to make a deal. I honestly did not feel confident that I could make a big win (first place was $3000, second was around $1700, followed by a significant dropoff to under $1,000. Shortly after action resumed (and blinds went up), Petey Pablo misplayed a hand where he flat called a preflop raise with 99. He had to fold on the flop. He should've pushed, something he realized after the fact. Sadly, a hand or two later and he was busted in 10th. I was just glad that he got his money back.

At this point, the blinds were ridiculous and I felt very uncomfortable with where we were going. I had about 120k, good for somewhere in the top 3 stacks and there were a few shorties, but they were doubling up and the middle stacks were dangerous to my position. Even though I had 120k+, the blinds were up to 3000/6000 or higher, leaving little room to play for anyone.

Randy handed me a sheet of paper with a tiered system for settling. I tweaked some numbers to give more to the first three places and came up with this arrangement: 9th-7th, $400; 6th-4th, $800; 3rd-1st, $1377. I knew I was in the top tier.

I suggested the structure to the table and started securing Yesses. The structure was actually fantastic. 9th place actually paid $150 or so, and 7th paid $300 or so, so the bottom three players should've jumped at the deal. Middle places paid up to maybe somewhere in the $600s or $700s, so that was a good deal for them too. The real money was taken from the top spots, but admittedly those were also going to be the biggest crap shoots by the time players busted and the blinds escalated.

It took some convincing, but once I explained that, I got all the Yesses I needed. Mr. O and L.I. Kid definitely helped in that regards. The last holdout was the chipleader, but since I was close to his stack and the blinds were so high, he eventually saw the benefit of the deal. I made this perfectly clear though: "I don't want anyone agreeing because they feel pressured. It's your money. I don't want anyone leaving here thinking they made a bad deal." I meant it too. I wanted the chop. I honestly felt ill from not eating and from the adrenaline I had been riding on for 6 hours. But I sincerely believe that people can do whatever they want when it comes to chops, and I didn't want to force anyone.

When we all agreed, all players pushed all-in and mucked to allow the chip leader to "win." Of course, first we checked on the tax policies of the casino. They do not fill out forms for wins under $5,000. We also first checked chip stacks to determine who would be in what tier. Ironically, 6th and 7th were tied, the Widowmaker and L.I. Kid. I suggested that they chop the two tiers for $600 each, and they both agreed.

We all hung out waiting for the T.D. to work out the payment sheets. I chatted lightly with Widowmaker, telling her that I was sorry for the behavior at the first table. She said I was a very nice person and a good player. I also commended her on keeping her cool when people were telling her what to do. "I like it. I don't want everyone to play the same way I do and it's better than a quiet game with no one talking." Nice! I couldn't agree more.

We all got our slips and went to the cage, meeting back at the final table. Since I brokered the deal, everyone looked to me to handle the payouts. I took the cash and handed each person their money from 9th to 4th. Then I paused an looked at the leftover bills. I dealt them out in even piles, resulting in $1377 for me and the two other chip leaders. Naturally, I left my tip and then headed out to the casino. My next stop was to the room. I felt physically wrecked from the game and needed some time to clean myself up.

Roose asked me for his $100 buy-in back and I denied him.

"You won a tournament yesteday and didn't give me my buy-in back."
"You won your buy-in in cash!"
"Yeah, and you might win yours in cash tonight. Besides you won your buy-in back yesterday with the tourney win."

Roose is a ball buster, but this was a real stalemate. On one hand, we had, in the past, reimbursed buy-ins when one of us had won. On the other hand, that's not what happened the other day and the arbitrariness of my cash win didn't sit well with me.

In the end, we agreed to swap 10% action on all future tournaments that we enter. The lesson learned is to always make your deals clear ahead of time.

Back at the room, I took a long shower. Winning the tournament had elated me, but I felt exhausted. Still, it was my last night in AC and I had no time for sleep. There was more poker to be played, but I wanted it to be all fun. After all, I had enough for one day's work.

Coming up, the most fun playing poker ever, with Crazy Prop Bets, Fun Time Dealers, and Random Chicks Joining in on the Action!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:42 AM,

2 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Nice! See, that downswing is history

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Lucypher said...

Nice win, Jordan. It's good to hear about you winning again.
Besides, it's way more fun than losing.

 

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