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Printing Money

Tuna-scented money. I returned to the Tuna Club this afternoon, hoping the threepeat after winning the same tourney the last two weekends for scores of $1000 and 500 profit, respectively. And threepeat I did, chopping the tournament four ways for $650, a $490 profit. Even though we chopped it four-ways, I took 1/3 of the pool, since the two shorties agreed to chop a third between them. Ka ching!

Once again, the game just flowed naturally. Early on, I won two decent pots, the first with JJ against a calling station and the second with JT, after I flopped TP and got into it with the player on my immediate left who ended up outkicked with J9.

I did notice, though, that somewhere in the middle stages of the tournament, I was limping in way too much and folding to action. It's one thing to see it and another thing to actually stop it. At the first break, I was my table's chipleader. There were only 13 players (and 2 rebuys amongst the 13), so we were playing on two shorthanded tables for the beginning of the game. That definitely played to my strengths, since I like to play a lot of hands and I could focus my reads on the few players at the table.

There were a few familiar faces. I really would love to go into the details of the players, but I fear they may find or already know about HoP. But what is the point of a poker blog if I can't be honest, so here goes, with my advance apologies to my opponents and to myself for giving away a lot of my reads.

In the 1s was Fedora, a caucasian guy in his early 30s who often brings or wears a fedora. I have a lot of respect for Fedora's game. He's aggressive and willing to make moves. He's not an ideal player to have at your table, but at least I know his abilities.

To his left was Old Dirty Angleshooter, who I played with last week. ODA is pretty tight, loves to complain and question play, and is generally a pain in the ass. But he's also a known entity and he was as far away from me physically as possible, so I was glad to see him. He's practially a non-factor.

To his left was a chick. I don't know how to describe her, really. She's white, probably 20s but could be 30s, short dark hair. In the last couple of weeks, we've been pretty friendly and since I've played with her a lot recently, I also knew her general style. She's another decent player, but I know her rhythm and abilities, so she's not a bad person to have around.

To her left was a black guy who kinda reminded me of a skinnier Donnell Rawlings. Donnell was one of those players who share too much. In one particular hand, he had black Aces and when ODA raised him all-in on a board of JcTd9c5c, he held his cards up high enough to obviously show them to me. I see this a lot. People want to share their misery. He made a big show about his decision before folding. He only had 1500 left behind, with blinds probably at 50/100 or 75/150. Before Donnell folded he asked, "Will you show it to me if I fold?" ODA agreed. After Donnell folded his Aces face-up, ODA tabled QQ, with no diamond. Donnell tortured himself and most of the table agreed that he made a bad laydown, but I don't agree with popular opinion. I, frankly, thought that ODA might have QQ or KK, but regardless, it was too likely that he had a flush or a flush draw, which could be fatal since Donnell would have to be all-in. ODA wasn't the type to go all-in lightly, so for all of his chips, I thought the fold was ok.

I was to the left of Donnell. To my left was a white guy with I think a foreign accent. He was thin and shaved bald, wearing a white hoodie or jacket. We made friendly and got along for most of the tourney. At one point, he was down to one BB at the 75/150 level, but made a big comeback, before his eventual elimination in a terrible suckout of a hand. He went out when we were down to 9 players. He held AJ on an A7J flop. UTG pushed all-in, the chick was next and also pushed all-in, and the bald dude pushed all-in last. Baldy's AJ against UTG's A7 (lesser two pair) and chickie's AT. The river was another 7 and UTG took out both of the other players.

Il Gigante was in the 10s at my starting table. He is an Italian guy who is a bit awkwardly tall and lanky. He is also very aggressive at times, openly raising with AT or KJ for large sums. He was also calling liberally pre and post-flop only to open bet big on the next card. He did this enough times that I was thoroughly frustrated. It didn't help that he was two seats to my left. But once you know a player's M.O., frustration has to take a back seat to strategy, and I eventually was able to compensate for his play.

I think I sorta relearned something during the course of play. As I mentioned, I was limp-folding a lot, and I think this caused me to develop a weak table image. I found that as I "played" weaker and weaker, dropping hands to raises, I was pretty much asking for the table to run over me. Ostensibly, that seems like a bad thing, but I have always maintained that it is more important to understand your table image and know how to exploit it rather than control your table image (something I also advocate).

Of course, luck helps a tad too. I had one suckout for the tourney, when I was down to about 6k or so with blinds of 300/600 with a 25 or 50 ante. I held TT and pushed all-in over the bet of the guy on my immediate right at the final table. He had been fairly aggressive, opening a lot of pots to raises, so his 1,800 preflop raise did not concern me much. When it folded back to him, he took his time making his decision, probably looking for a tell, and eventually called with QQ. Lord knows what took him so long. Of course, the first community card was a Ten, and I doubled through him.

But my weak image really paid off a little while later. I had about 13k or so and held KK. The guy to my right once again raised preflop to 1,800 and I re-raised to 5k, even. It folded around to him and he called. The flop was Q22, which was pretty nice for me. The only thing I need to fear is QQ.

He was first to act and bet out 2,400 or so. I pushed all-in for about 5k more. It folded back to him and he grumbled. It was then that I knew I wanted a call. In fact, I desperately wanted a call, since this would be the difference between a solid stack and a monster stack with five players left. At first, I tried to keep uber quiet and still. Then I remembered that when you want a call and it seems like you are going to get a fold, you might as well do something, since you have nothing to lose. At first, I just tried to act very nervous. I looked away from the table as though I were afraid to make eye contact. I took a sip of my water. When I felt that wasn't working, I decided to jabber a bit. I don't recall what I said, but it got my opponent to start talking. "If I fold, will you show?"

Now, that's the same line that Donnell asked ODA earlier in the game. "If I fold, will you show?" In fact, it's a common question at poker games, and while I am not 100% sure, I am fairly sure I see a correllation between the answers and the questioners response. Basically, if you agree to show, the player will fold. I suppose it is because they get the extra incentive to fold, that incentive being the ability to say, "Good for me!" or "I shoulda known better!" Really, it just boils down to information. "I don't have to pay and I still get the info? In that case, I fold." I think there is a fear component too. If a player is willing to fold, its more likely that he is going to voluntarily show good cards, rather than showing a bluff. On the other hand, when a player says that they will not show, it's more likely that they are trying to hide their weak hand or bluff from public scrutiny.

Now, ironically, I'm not one of those players who is adamant about not showing. I think showing is okay if there is a legitimate reason for it, like controlling table image or tilting an opponent. But when the guy asked me if I'd show, I said, "Sorry, you have to pay to play." He called about 5 seconds later and tabled his 77. He needed another 7 and only another 7 to win the pot, but by the river, I hit my third King for a boat, Kings full of Queens, and the winning hand.

By then, my opponent was near even with me, and after doubling through him, he was on life support and eventually busted. Down to four players, it was me; a guy who I'll call Joe Cool because frankly he gives off a very cool vibe and he's a good poker player; Harris the Dentist, who I've played with a ton at these games and who I respect as a solid player and nice guy; and the Cabbie, a white guy in his 30s, overweight, who tends to wear a cabbie cap. Cabbie is another good player but always has a look on his face as though he were smelling something aweful.

Cabbie and Harris had about 13k each. I had 27k. Joe Cool had 26k. Cabbie started asking about a "save" for fourth place. I hate this shit. There were three spots paying, $1000, $580 and $370, for a total prize pool fo $1,950. A save would essentially involve taking money from first and second to make a fourth place spot that paid the buy-in back, $160. I never understand why a large stack would ever make that deal. "Hey Jordan, mind if we take money out of your pocket and give it to someone else, to protect you from the 1% chance that all catastrophe will befall you and you will go out next?" Yes, I do mind. I'm here for the money.

And that's what I told Cabbie. "I'm here for the money. I don't see any point of just giving it away." It was about 6:30 and we had been playing for 3 1/2 hours. Cabbie kept trying to push the save and even referenced that "he," being me, wouldn't agree, as though I were doing something morally reprehensible. I'm not against chopping, but I am against giving away free money, so I proposed, "I'm in for a final chop if we can work something out, but I don't do saves." It's the difference between giving away money and paying someone off. I won't give away money so that fourth place can feel good about themselves, but I will pay off fourth place so that I can ensure myself some good money.

Since stack sizes were what they were, we eventually agreed to chop it into thirds, $650, 650 and 650, with me and Joe Cool getting our own $650 and Harris and the Cabbie sharing the other $650. And that's how I came to win $490 for the second week in a row and about $2000 over the last three Sundays at the Tuna Club.

One more thing about "saves". After the game, I was chatting with dealer Dre and he agreed with me that he hates saves. Our conversation brought out another point: a save is like giving permission to the short stacks to play reckless, and I don't want the shortstacks to play reckless, especially in a high-blinds situation. It doesn't take much to double up. Hell, if Cabbie decided to push recklessly with KJo and I have AQ or 99, I'd have to call, and I don't want to be in that position to double him up. On the other hand, if he's scared of getting $0 for 4th place, he may be more inclined to fold, allowing me to build my stack up even more by playing aggressively.

Consider those factors the next time you are asked for a "save". The only thing you are saving is your opponent.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:12 PM,


At 1:06 PM, Blogger BWoP said...

Congratulations Jordan!

Sounds like Tuna Club is pretty tasty for you.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger lightning36 said...

Want to make some real money? Organize trips for bloggers to play the Tuna Club. +EV guaranteed -- although it sounds like you currently have that going for you ...

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Lucypher said...

When you're hot, you're hot. Choo-Choo!


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