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Hangin' with my SNGs (Foxwood Trip Report Pt. 2)

When we last left our hero, he had lost $410 playing 1/2 NLHE and had decided to join his pals Roose and TwoDiamondPhillips for a SNG.

The decision to play an SNG was not a light one. I didn't like the fact that I was down $410, but I still wanted to play, and an SNG would have the double benefit of capping potential losses and giving me a chance to win back most of my losses in one fell swoop.

Roose and 2d had played an SNG earlier in the day, with 2d taking third place. I asked about the structure and this is what I was told: The blinds go up fast, every 15 minutes, and at the 100/200 mark, antes kick in.

That sounded damn fast to me, but it was nothing new, either. I have played in all sorts of structures, from tournaments that seem like they will never end to tournaments that can't get through an orbit before the blinds go up. Each game requires a different strategy and more importantly, a different attitude. To play a turbo SNG requires an acceptance of the increased role of luck. It also requires a strategy that combines selective aggression with fearlessness.

We all bought in and hung around, waiting for the SNG to start up. It was probably a good 20 minute wait, while I thumbed through PokerPages magazine, skipping, as I always do, right to Pauly's column on online poker.

When the tournament was called, I grabbed my seat in the 8s. Roose was somewhere around the 4s. 2d was in the 6s or so. To my immediate right was a long-haired, tall guy, who could've passed for Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson's stunt double.

In the first hand, 2d got tangled up with Ferguson's stunt double when 2d's flopped set of Tens on a KQT board ended with a rivered Jack, giving Fegie a set of Jacks with his pocket JJs. Lemon! Amazingly, though, 2d held onto most of his chips, probably in large part due to the threat of a straight.

I played tight to start, hoping to let players eliminate themselves. Meanwhile, I chatted lightly with stunt man Fergie and a guy on my left, a greek, guy, probably in his late 50s or 60s, with a small, skinny frame, a craggly face, and a white t-shirt, the kind that appears like an undershirt. He had on jeans, and his whole demeanor from the neck down seemed to be that of a much younger man. He sat on his feet in the chair. He had a pack of smokes tucked into one of his sleeves. He spoke with a heavy accent, but seemed pleasant enough...until he started raising me.

But first, I should mention that fairly early on in the SNG, I made a big hand, allowing me to gain a large chip lead in the early-goings. I didn't keep notes on the hand, likely because I keep audio notes on my cell phone and I didn't have time to walk away from the game. However, if memory serves correct, I hit a strong draw and stacked another player.

Whatever the case, my larger stack afforded me with the ability to fold with reckless abandon, allowing the table to eat itself. Eventually, we were down to five players, including me, Roose, 2d, some young guy, and the Greek. The Greek, meanwhile, was driving me up the fuckin' wall. It wasn't anything he said, it was his play. When I would raise, he would push all-in. It happened probably five or so times, and each time, I had to fold, since the Greek had also accumulated some chips which, while less than me, was still a good portion of my stack. I didn't need to gamble, so I'd fold the marginal hands that were good for a raise to take down the blinds, but not good for my tourney life. Meanwhile, on other hands when the Greek would enter the pot without me, Roose, who had position on the Greek, would raise, and the Greek would fold. Initially, when the Greek was over-pushing on me, I thought he was full of shit, but his patience against Roose led me to believe that perhaps he really was just getting big hands against me.

It was with this conflicting read that I called an all-in from 2d or Roose with AQ, one of my better hands, only to have the Greek push all-in after me. It sucked, but I considered my options and realized that even if the Greek was pushing with KJ, he was still nearly a coin toss to win. It didn't seem necessary to look him up, so I folded my AQ and he showed A5o! Roose or 2d had a better hand preflop, but the flop was AQQ, giving the Greek two-pair. It would've given me a full house, busting the Greek and the other player and putting us in the money.

This was frustrating, especially since we were now down to four-handed and the Greek was still making seemingly crazy plays. Now I knew he had a crazy range, even calling an all-in with T8 or something. However, even T8 is has an almost 40% chance of winning against AQ, for instance. So, unless I got amazing cards, and I didn't, my play was severely constricted by my Greek neighbor.

Side note, I got into two hands with Roose that left him steaming. One earlier in the evening saw me in the BB or SB with AQ. The Greek called (or was the BB and checked) and Roose came in for a limp. I just flat called, trying to preserve chips. The flop was Ace-high and I checked. The Greek checked, which frankly surprised me. Roose bet out and I re-raised. I didn't want to check-raise a friend, but I was trying to get action from the Greek, who took shots at most pots when he was in. Roose looked pretty pissed. Down to four, I busted Roose when he pushed all-in with QJ to my AJ in the blinds. He wasn't too pleased about that either, but at the time, I was fairly short myself, and couldn't turn down the all-in.

It was down to the Greek, the kid and I. The payouts were $200 for 3rd, $300 for 2nd, and $500 for 1st. In a few hands, I was dealt 77 and decided to raise. Surprise, surprise, the Greek pushed all-in and I called super fast. He showed A5, missed all of his outs and busted. I suppose all of the folding was worth it in the end. It gave me a chance to read my opponent before dealing the death blow.

The kid and I played about two hands before someone suggested a chop. The dealer said that a chop would be $400/400; however, I had probably a 3:2 chip advantage on my competition. "How about I give you $50. $450/$350." He accepted and we chopped. It seems like I chop every tourney that I cash in lately. Well, some may see it as a negative, but I see it as an accomplishment. I only make deals when I think it benefits me (it may equally benefit my opponent as well, but that isn't a criteria that concerns me). In this case, the guys were waiting around and wanted to leave, I was hungry, the blinds were high, and a simple double-up would put my opponent in the dominant position. I also had some losses to make up.

REASON #3 WHY AC > FOXWOODS: Raging solo.
Remember our list of why AC is better than Foxwoods? Well, here is the next and probably greatest difference. In AC, all of the Boardwalk casinos are accessible to each other. Even a quick cab ride or free shuttle can take you to/from the separate Marina casinos. Since rooms are more affordable, AC also benefits from allowing players to stay in the casino/hotel without paying an arm and a leg. The result is that if Roose busted from a tourney before me and didn't want to play anymore, he could go up to the room or back to the hotel and I could make my way back later. In Foxwoods, we were staying in some random Ramada, 15 minutes away. The result was that Roose, 2d and I were tied at the hip. If one of us was in a tourney, we'd all have to wait. If one of us was done, we'd all have to leave or that person would have to stay.

After I got my SNG moneys, we walked around the casino to see the food selections. Nothing grabbed up, particularly due to TwoDiamondPhillips' #1 Reason Why AC > Foxwoods: Coke. Apparently, our Native-American-actor/low-card doesn't drink Pepsi and refused to eat at any of the Pepsi-only Foxwoods eateries. So, we hit the road. After all, on some level, we were all burnt out from poker.

While fucking around, I came up with the idea to see the new Batman movie, the Dark Knight. None of us had seen it, so using the Garmin and 777-FILM, we found a nearby theater with a 9:40 pm showing. I find few things more enjoyable than experiencing a local scene, like a movie theater, in a random place with no planning. Strolling into some random Connecticut movie theater in a random strip mall and grabbing a Subway sandwich is the Connecticut version of finding a cafe on the banks of some European river and grabbing an espresso, or finding a random hiking trail in the West. It might not be all that glamorous compared to some of those other places I just mentioned, but it is just as random, and just as satisfying in its own way.

The movie was great, even though it does not live up to all of the hype. As a comic book fan, I appreciated Iron Man more, which balanced the absurdity of super heros with the real world. Batman simply felt like a noir film, and had a few too many endings that were not endings. Still, it was extremely enjoyable and Heath Ledger did a fine job as the Joker.

After the movie, we headed back to the hotel. We hadn't really gotten much poker done, but we had enough to satisfy our cravings. The plan was to wake up early the next morning for breakfast at the 24-hour diner across the street from our hotel. After that, we would play the 9am tourney. And one of us would cash.

Stay tuned, loyal readers, to find out: Who cashes in the tournament? What did Jordan eat for breakfast? When did our heroes return home? Where is this going, anyway? and, How are you doing today?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:12 AM,


At 9:25 AM, Blogger MDB said...

Jesus... you write an epic story! Congrats on the tourney win... nice to get back into the positive... makes ya feel better when you go to bed.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Booby Stealz said...

great story telling Jordan. Keep up the good work!


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