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My Huge Salami

Once upon a time, there was a magical place filled with ogres and talking donkeys. Hidden in plain site on the mean streets of New Yorkia, this magical place flourished, adding new ogres and donkeys to its peaceful population. And then one fateful day in 2006, a man entered this magical realm, and over the course of the next two years, he brought that realm to its knees, crushing the donkeys and ogres and forcing them to pay homage in the form of little clay discs. I am that man, and Salami is my kingdom.

Picture a dictatorial kid transported to Candy Land and you'll get an idea of the fun I have at Salami. I have mentioned the crazy action on more than one occassion, but its more than just that. The $60 tournament with $40 rebuys and a $40 add-on is the exact type of tournament where I excel. It has a homegame feel, most players are gambling it up, and I'm able to take advantage of my precisely timed aggression. The results are actually quite impressive.

In the eight sessions I've played at Salami this year, I moneyed four times. I also bubbled on two out of the four occassions where I lost. And when I money, its usually a chop for the first few spots, if not an outright win. Overally, I've profited over $1000 from those 8 sessions, not an astounding amount, but impressive nonetheless when everything is taken together. I haven't checked my 2006 stats, but I expect them to be as good, if not better. After all, I can rarely remember a time when I felt like I couldn't get a grip on the Salami game. Sure, there was one occassion when I rebought three times (at the time, each rebuy was $60, for $180 total) within the first 30 minutes before giving up, but that was simply bad luck. I accepted it and realized in most of the occassions, I was getting my money in ahead.

So, let's get down to specifics. I arrived at Samali last night after a long hard day at work. I grabbed a PB&J on the way from Peanut Butter & Company and called Skidoo as I neared the poker room. He was still uptown, so I entered the room to get out of the blazing heat.

To my amazement, a full cash game table was already under way. Following the recent busts around NYC, it seems that a slew of players, mostly fellow 'Brew (you know, members of the Tribe), started going to Salami starting at 1pm on the weekdays for a 5/5 NL game. I toyed with the idea of playing. After all, my roll is larger and I imagined that it played similar to a 2/5 game. As I watched (the table was full, but I would have sat back and watched anyway) I realized that Salami was as loose as ever. In a 5/5 game, a preflop open raise of $75 should not be called five ways. But here, $75 was seemingly standard, so I decided that I would be crazy to bet more preflop than my entire tourney buy-in. As I waited, I watched some crazy hands, including a straddler who raised to $80 after he got a few callers. One guy called his $80 raise, and they saw a 37T flop. The straddler was first to act and bet out $125. I took that to be a weak bet after the straddle raise, so I put him on a steal attempt. I figured he was stealing preflop when he raised his straddle (that's how I would've played it and explained his high raise preflop), so he missed the flop and threw out a weak continuation bet. The opponent picked up the same read and flat called. The turn was another 7 and the straddler checked. It was clear that his steal attempt was thwarted, so the other player said, "all-in". Straddler called quickly and tabled T7o, for a full house. Growns all around. That hand was worth at least $400 in pure profit.

Skidoo arrived before the tournament started. I also received a text message from LJ, who was escaping the office to join us. By the time we were seated though, she was nowhere to be seen. Luckily, Salami allows late buy-ins and I think she was there within the first two hands.

The game started out fine. I played tight-ish, calling from the SB with A7o. The flop was A4T, and I checked. Someone bet out $300 into the $300 or so pot, and another player raised to $800. By the time it got to me, I was happy to fold, since someone had me outkicked. The turn was a 7, and I silently damned myself as both players got all-in and showed A4 and A5. The river was a 5, allowing the A5 player to suckout. It could've been my hand, but who the hell re-raises on that flop with A5. Oh yeah, ogres and donkeys.

I was eventually moved to the second table once we had enough players. We played 7-handed, which is great for me. One player was playing horribly (Mr. A5) but constantly getting lucky. There was an all-diamond flop with a King and Jack and he bet out and called someone else's all-in with 79, with the 9 of hearts. The other guy had flopped two-pair, KJ, but the turn was a 6h, and the 79o won the hand. He called with nothing but a 9-high flush draw. The guy to my left was getting annoyed, but I was happy to see the donk get the chips. It'd be easier to get it from him later. I played mostly tight, laying down a hand to Mr. A5 after I bet preflop (I don't remember the cards) and he took the lead on the low flop. He could have anything and I missed, so I decided to save it for a better spot. A little while later, in the CO, I call with J9c. To my left, the player who was steaming from watching Mr. A5 chip up raised from 150 to 450. We were just outside of the rebuy period, during which I rebought once I was 25 chips short of a starting stack and took the addon for $140 total (including the $60 buy-in). Mr. A5 in the BB called, and I decided to call and take my chances, especially with A5 in the hand. The flop was a beautiful J9X, with two diamonds. It checked to me, I checked, and Steamy bet out 1200. Mr. A5 folded and I raised 2500 on top. He grumbled and then said all-in. I called. He showed AJ and I took down the pot. He was somewhat miffed, but seemed consolated by the fact that it was me and not Mr. A5 that busted him. He did ask, "How can you call my preflop raise with J9c? I barely played any hands." "It was mostly because he was in the pot." I motioned to Mr. A5. The truth was, his preflop raise was too small to push me off. After that, he hung himself (I did, however, supply ample rope).

I don't remember any other major hands until the final table. When I arrived, Skidoo and LJ were still plugging along. I, meanwhile, had amassed a stack of chips from pushing around the players at my first table. Once I busted Steamy, I was relentless. This is where I do my best work in tournaments.

At the new table, I was maybe covered by one other player. I was also placed on the immediate left of Guy, my number one nemesis in these games. If I money 1/2 of the time, he moneys 3/4, or so it seems. Whatever the case, I was glad I had position, and played fairly tight early, hoping to get wait for my shot. It was at this point that I started to chuckle to myself. For all of my hard work, I had not had a single pocket pair, nor AK or AQ. I was playing well with crap cards, a hallmark of my experiences at Salami. Skidoo went out around 8th, I believe against Mr. A5, who was in constant flucuation between a big stack and near felt. I eventually took out LJ in a hand that, later in the night, she texted, "I can't wait to see your post about how bad I played it."

Here's the hand. I had AQ UTG+1. A player only has 200 left and the antes alone are 100. The blinds were probably 300/600. I raise to 1800, hoping to isolate the desperate player on the button. Oddly, when it folds to him, he FOLDS! Crazy, I know, but I guess he really wanted to hold onto that 100 chip. Whatever the case, it folded to LJ in the BB and she pushed all-in for about 2500 more. I felt priced in, and regardless, I had great cards, so I was happy to call. She showed T8d and after I flopped a Queen and she failed to hit, I won the hand.

Do I think LJ played this hand poorly? No. Actually, I like her play. Here's why. When I raised to 1800, it definitely could've looked like an isolation steal. In other words, it looked like I bet into the hand merely to steal the 700 in blinds and go heads up against the random two cards of the shortstack for an additional 1k or so that constituted the antes and the amount of the blinds he could cover (100). I wasn't raising a lot, but when I was, LJ was in the blinds, purely by happenstance. But to her, it probably seemed intentional, especially since I refered to her as my play thing (in a purely cat and yarn sense) during the Hoyazo home game about a month ago. So, LJ, thinking that I was on a mere steal, made a very logical play pushing all-in. It was likely that I had crap or at least was weak enough to balk at LJ's push. After all, she wasn't playing aggressively, so the push had extra potency. As it turned out, I actually had a decent hand AND enough chips to take a chance. But I don't knock LJ for her play at all. With the information available, I think it was probably the correct play. Even if she was wrong and I had AK or AQ, her low suited cards would be live. She was really only worried about a high pocket pair.

So, no, LJ, I won't write about how poorly you played the hand. Even though the results weren't good, I still give you credit on making a smart play. After she was gone, I continued to plug along. Guy had amassed a tower of chips by Mr. A5, who called Guy's all-in with J90, after hitting top pair, 9s. Guy had K9s, for top pair and a better kicker, which told me that (a) Guy was being aggressive, and (b) he's a lucky mofo for getting so many chips gifted to him. But I was making waves too, betting more preflop to take down the juicy antes and blinds. In the hand after busting Lana, Guy and I tangled in the SB and BB while going after the tiny 100 stack. It folded to Tiny Stack who was already all-in with the antes. It folded to Guy and he called. I checked with T5o. The flop was T5X. Guy checked and I checked my two pair. I would've liked to get more money into the pot, but it wasn't happening on this flop. The turn was some random card. Guy checked and I bet out 1200 or so. To my surprise, he called quickly. The river was a Queen and Guy bet out 2500. I flat called and showed my two pair. He had a Queen and some sorta double-belly-buster-inside-straight-draw. That got me above Guy and brought him down to size. The fun was that we were ostensibly playing for the side pot. When I checked the flop, I figured, what was the point. On the turn, though, I saw that the side pot was as big as the main pot, so why not go after it. As you see, it all worked out.

We were down to four and someone mentioned a save for 4th. I don't get this. Unless I'm in 3rd or 4th, I'm saying no. Why would I give away my money to some spot I most likely won't get. At this point, I was the big stack, against a dark skinned Hispanic guy named Anthony in close 2nd, Guy in 3rd, and a kid on my left in 4th. Thankfully, 4th place didn't think it was necessary, so I didn't have to object. I eventually busted the kid after constantly pushing all-in preflop when it folded to me. His stack was so low, I'd be okay with any two cards.

Three way, Anthony eventually busted Guy, and we were heads up. The payouts for 2nd and 1st were $400 and $800. I had about 45k in chips to his 30k, so I offered $500 to him and $700 to me. He denied it, saying that he felt good about his chances. He eventually offered $550 and $650, but I didn't think that it was worth it to me. We began heads up play.

I whooped ass to start. He was folding to any raises, so I raised literally 5 out of 6 hands, regardless of what I had. He finally got annoyed and won a hand, bringing him to 30k again. Finally, I was dealt KK and raised 5000 on top of the 500/1000 blinds. He called. The flop was all spades. I didn't have a spade. I pushed all-in, he called with J9s, and I lost the hand. I was trying to push out any loose spades out there, but he had the one thing I feared. The way he called me preflop (mostly he folded to those raises) didn't make me place him on suited spades, but it is what it is. From there, he had 60k to my 15k or so. I wasn't catching cards, and eventually got all-in on the dog end of a cointoss. I lost and took my $400.

I really consider the KK v. J9s to be the losing hand. I wish I could've pulled back from it, and I should have been able to, but it is what it is. I still have a great record at Salami, and I expect great stuff in the future.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:42 PM,


At 6:38 PM, Blogger lj said...

couple points - i was there for the K9 v. J9 hand. i couldn't believe it, i was sure one would turn over 76 for straight. guy had raised w/ K9s, i def tucked that info away. i think that's the key to these tournaments -- opening up game a lot more, and raising w/ crappier hands. unfortunately for me, aside from 77 and KJs which i played, and AJo which i folded to a big raise, i got no cards. no pairs. no paint. no suited connectors. not even 1 or 2 gappers. just nothing.

that said, i still don't like my play. i was getting short and had to make a move soon, but i was about to be on the button, and had another orbit to make my move and be the first raiser. i had so few chips left that you basically had to call, and there isn't much i can beat besides a complete pre-flop bluff by you utg. not THAT likely.

there was one hand a few earlier, where everybody limped and i was on button w/ J6s and i def shoulda pushed, and just hoped i at least had two live cards if anyone called. oh well.

congrats on your cash.

signed, your plaything

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

I was only 60/40 ahead. By pushing, you had a good chance of picking up the pot, or possibly be a 40 underdog. When you're short, I don't mind the move.

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come play the cash game; it's fun!

-- carl / buddha

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Brez said...

Wouldn't worry bout the KK hand. Odds of flopping the flush are around 120/1, coupled with the fact you had KK, just call it a bad beat from the start ;)


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