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Tournament for One (AC Trip Report Pt. 2)

After my grilled cheese brunch, I made my way over to the poker room for the 2pm $100 MTT. There were a good 6 or 7 tables set up, and I made my way to table number 17, seat 7. Ever since getting a hammerific table 27, seat 7 during my first WSOP Circuit event, I seem to always get a table with a 7 in it, and usually the 7th or 2nd seat.

I took my seat with less than 10 minutes to go before cards were to be dealt. A young guy sat in the 9 seat. The rest of the table was empty.

With three minutes to spare, two more players sat down, a fat Hurley-looking guy on my immediate right and his buddy in the 3 seat. By the first hand, we were the only four players at our table. All other tables looked to have about 7 players or more.

The dealer was a young Eastern European girl. She looked around to the floor man and asked what to do. "We only have 4 players." "Just start the first hand." I turned around and saw that the timer said 18:30. We had already burned 1 minute and 30 seconds of the tournament without a single hand played. I even assumed that the timer in the back did not apply to us, since there was a concurrent 11am game finishing up in the back of the room. But in short time, I realized that it was one clock for both tourneys. I was annoyed at the slow dealer, but I was ready to play.

We were still 4-handed when I was dealt KJo. Since we were so short, I bet out 250 (blinds of 50/100 to start, 10k stacks). I got one call from the BB. The SB was not present. The flop came down KJX. I bet 500 and he called. The turn was a blank. I checked, since I felt confident that my opponent would take the initiative if I gave him the chance. After all, we were all thinking the same thing, play loose while we can eat up the free blinds. In situations like this, everyone loosens up, so I was hoping to play the role of the guy who over-loosened-up and now fears that he made a stupid continuation bet on a crappy flop. My opponent obliged, betting 500. I decided that it was enough for me to take down the hand or at least maximize value. I thought for a moment and bet 1500. He folded.

A little while later, we were up to a good 6 or 7 players. In EP I was dealt QJc and decided to raise to 300. The table seemed to be quieting down and players were a lot less likely to play hands. In MP/LP, a generic looking guy about my age, with dark hair and a bewildered expression (he actually looked a little like TripJax) tossed a 1000 chip onto the felt and, after the chip clearly landed on the table, announced, "raise." I spoke up as soon as I saw this, since I clearly did not want to face a raise out of position with QJc. "Um, dealer, isn't that a string bet." The dealer, the same Eastern European girl, looked confused. Someone not in the hand piped in, "He said it as the chip was hitting the table." I replied: "Actually, no, he threw in the chip and then afterward announced raise." I looked at the dealer who was clearly not paying attention to the action when it occurred. "Sir," she looked like she was pleading with me, "he called it out at the same time as he placed his raise." I realized I was not going to get anywhere, so I fell back into Plan B. "You know what, it doesn't make a difference. It's all good, and I don't even mind the raise. I just thought it was late." By then the action was back on me. "I call."

In my experience, there is often lots of opportunity to exploit these sorts of situations. I figured a 700 call was a bit much, but with over 12k in front of me, I could more than afford it. I also figured my opponent for strong cards, so I might get paid off if I hit my straight or flush.

The flop came down ATx. It was an ugly flop, so I checked. He checked as well. I could tell by his demeanor that he did not like the Ace. The turn was a blank, and I thought for a moment about betting out to steal the pot. I realized, though, that this was a poor play, so I opted for another check. My opponent, obliging, bet out 1000. I thought for a brief moment once again, selling the image of a guy who is setting up a play, and then raised to 3000. He thought for a while before mucking.

Hours later, we discussed the hand again. He admitted that he had KK, and I admitted that I was trying to slowplay my flopped top pair. Of course, I was lying, but he clearly wasn't.

A little while later, we had a mostly full table. I made friends with the guy on my left, a skinny, white-ponytailed, sunglasses-wearing, Air Force vet. Meanwhile, the guy on my right, the Hurley-lookalike, barely looked in my direction. I don't know why, but I instantly disliked the guy. My friends used to use the word 'squib' for someone you instantly dislike for no discernible reason. Hurley was a squib.

In the BB, the action folded to Hurley in the SB. He called the 200 (100/200 blinds), and I checked with Q3o. The flop was a beautiful Q43, giving me top and bottom two pair. He checked and I bet 400, trying to keep him in the pot. I probably already had a fairly loose image with my Superman t-shirt, camo hat, and overall chattiness. He called. The turn was a 2 and he checked again. I bet 800 and he called. The river was a Jack. He checked, and for a moment, I considered checking as well. Then, I bet 1000. My thought was that he may be calling me down with top pair of Queens or even some medium pair on the board, since it was just him and me and he may not believe me. He paused for a moment and then bet 3500. I considered my options, but I truly thought I was ahead. I was hoping he rivered a weaker two-pair, or maybe had top pair with a strong kicker. I called and he showed 56o, for a flopped open-ender and a turned straight. My bad.

One of the final late-players at our table was a black guy of some foreign descent (Carribean?) who sat one seat to the right of Hurley. We started to tangle pretty quick when he open-raised from EP/MP to 1600, with blinds at 200/400. When it folded to me, I flat called with TT. I wanted to raise, but I was down to a starting stack of about 8k, and there was already very little play in our stacks. Also, there were many more players left to act.

The flop came down Q82 and the Carribean guy bet out 3000 immediately. Something seemed fishy, so I thought it over until I decided that he missed or at the very least, he didn't hit the Ten. I pushed all-in for about 4,600 more. He wondered aloud if we had the same hand. I thought to myself it was unlikely. He wondered aloud if I had TT, and I began to wonder what the fuck he was talking about. Did he have TT? Whatever the case, he folded and I mucked.

A few hands later, the overanxious Carribean guy made a raise from LP. In the BB with KTd, I decided to call to see a flop. The flop came down K82, and I checked. He bet 3000 again, and I did the same thing as last time. I figured that I was only fearing a stronger King or an Ace (with 88 or 22 a slim possibility). More likely, the guy had a pocket pair QQ or lower, or AQ or AJ and was trying to continuation bet. I also had it in mind that my guy was clearly trying to catch up, since he missed the early action. He called and we tabled our hands, my KT vs. his KQ. Yuck. Then, I rivered a Ten. Whoops!

That us all I have for hand histories, since the action picked up from there and I stopped taking notes on tournament hands (I may still have some cash game hands for later). Our first table broke and I was moved to a new table, where I made buddies with all of the guys near me. We joked around and had a great time while we watched the tables being broken down to eventually the final 2. I was always in the middle or lower end of the pack, but that was fine by me. I employed my shortstack specialist strategy and was able to eke into the final table in 8th or 7th place or so out of 10 players left. 5 spots paid. Sound familiar?

The final table started out slow, as a foolish older guy with a monster stack folded AQ to a shorty's push and a lesser-shorty's call. He would've flopped two-pair, immediately catapulting me to a better spot. The blinds were insanely high, and by the time we were down to 8, only one or maybe 2 players had more than 10x the BB. It was a literal push-fest. Unfortunatley, a couple of shortstacks got lucky. Then I had my turn, getting all-in in a BB/SB confrontation with my A9 v. AJ, rivering a 9. I joked about chopping 8 ways ($4800 prize pool), but did not seriously follow it up. I still liked my chances. Sadly, things don't always turn out the way you want. I ended up busting when my KJ fell to QT after flopping a King. He rivered a Ten. It was against the same guy I doubled through with A9 v. AJ. He apologized perfusely, but then I reminded him that I did it to him first. A few hands later, I got all-in AJ v. KQ, and my opponent hit his Queen. Lemon! I acted like a man, and got up, shook some hands and left.

I have played this tournament numerous times and I have had some great success. I have also bubbled or near-bubbled a couple of times, and while it is a bitter pill, the fact that I make it so deep says a lot, especially since the final table is always such a push fest.

During my tournament breaks, I routinely went into the hallway to call wifey Kim for some support. I also made several bathroom trips, since I was downing Coronas (never enough to get drunk, but enough to have fun). Wherever I went, I took my backpack with me. After all, if I lost my jacket, I'd make do, but everything I needed was in that backpack.

After the tournament, I decided to jump right into cash games. I still felt invigorated. It was about 7pm when I found my seat, a 1/2 table with an interesting array of character. But that's for later.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:19 AM,


At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't wait to hear about the cash games and some hands. In regards to the tourney --- considering you made it to the final table -- about how long did you play for and about how long did the whole tournament take?

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Anon, the next post will answer your questions, but the long and short of it is that I finished the 2pm tourney in 8th or 7th out of 57 people with barely enough time to jump into the 7pm tourney, if I were so inclined (I was not). So, it was just short of 5 hours. If I lasted until they chopped (5 ways), it would've been 5 hours or so, but the tourney can often have 70-90 people, so budget 6 hours, just in case.


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