Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another Live Tournament Recap

I had the opportunity to play in a Labor Day nlh tournament at a local establishment, and it was one of those funny tournaments where some people just seem like they can do no wrong, no matter how hard they try to play bad poker. There were three tables in play, and one of the last guys to show up at my table -- sitting two seats to my right -- had the look of a guy who plays a fair amount of live poker, so I immediately pegged him as someone who was likely above average compared to the rest of the people at my table. As is often the case with non-casino events (or, frankly, even any random casino tournament with a buyin of less than $300 or so), the people around my table were really, really bad, like, painfully bad. They tipped the strength of their hand regularly, they grabbed for chips about 5 people ahead of when the action was coming to them to raise or call, and most of all, they seemed willing to limp with just about any two cards preflop. Those of you who know how I play will note how totally different that is compared to the way I approach the game, as you will not see me limping preflop often at all, and there are really only a few hands in the deck that I would ever limp with before the flop in most cases.

Suffice it to say, I was salivating at the thought of running over this table, save for Mr. Experience I mentioned above who seemed like a guy who has played the game a bit before. He had the earphones, the chip tricks, and just generally gave off the vibe of an experienced player, where most of the other clowns at my table gave off the exact opposite impression. We started with stacks of 10,000 chips and blinds of 25-50. Blind rounds were 20 minutes -- about average for most random live tournaments I find around the area -- and the structure was aggressive with doubles of the blinds every round for an hour and then an ante kicking in as well starting in the second hour, so this was definitely not a tournament created for the tighties to wait around for the pocket Aces they so desperately love.

Given the mix at my starting table in this thing, I immediately went to work trying to create an aggressive image, and I lost a few chips c-betting against two players in pots where they could not have made it more obvious that they were strong after I c-bet, so I managed to get away with the minimum lost after that point in both of those hands. Otherwise I didn't see any good cards for the first hour or so, and as bad as that was to deal with, I had to sit and watch Mr. Experience quickly demonstrate that he did not know nearly as much about tournament poker as I had originally thought, and yet just get paid off again and again and again.

Within the first five minutes of the tournament kicking off, Mr. Experience doubled up against a guy at the other end of the table when Mr. Experience instacalled all in on the Ten-high flop while holding JT, besting the mighty T6 of his opponent who exited early as he turned out to be the ultimate any-top-pair guy at the table. The instacall with just top pair Jack kicker for what amounted to about 180 big blinds was my first clue that Mr. Experience was probably not quite the seasoned poker pro I had read him to be. My second clue was maybe ten minutes later when he insta-pushed allin for well over 150 big blinds with T7 on a QT3 rainbow board. Of course, this time he got called as well by a player holding Q9s (I mean, how could he ever fold that for 100 effective big blinds?), and then, of course, Mr. Experience spiked a 7 on the river to eliminate his second player and swell his stack to over 30k in chips through just one level of blinds in this tournament.

Fast forward another 15 minutes to the end of Round 2, and Mr. Experience again found himself pushing allin -- this time for about 200 big blinds -- with 96 on a Q97 flop, got instacalled and found himself to be up against Q7 for flopped two pairs, and then proceeded to cut out the 10k in chips from his stack to pay off his opponent as he watched the turn and river come 6-6 to give him the miracle runner-runner boat, and to lift him to over 40k in chips when second place in the tournament at the time was sitting at around 15k -- and that 2nd place guy was me. I had been down to around 8000 chips before open-raising preflop with QJs, seeing an all-suited flop (wrong suit) of J93, and then leading out with a standard c-betty looking bet and getting called by one opponent who had been actively calling a lot of streets in a lot of pots without raising much at all, so I figured my top pair was likely to still be ahead here. On the raggy turn card which still left me with top pair, my opponent checked the action to me again but it was clear to me from his mannerisms that this was not some guy sitting on a flopped set and trying to string me along. He clearly did not want me to bet, so I did bet out again, confident that my top pair Queen kicker was ahead, and he called again after a few moments of hesitation. At this point, blinds had just increased to 100-200, and as I mentioned I was down to around 8k before the hand even started, so I had at this point more than a third of my stack in the pot, and when the river brought an ugly-ass Ace, I was about ready to spit. I just knew this guy had been calling me down with AQ or AT or something and had spiked his card on the river to beat my one-pair. But then a strange thing happened -- my opponent, who had check-called all the way through the hand to this point, waited literally no time at all before picking up his entire stack of chips and slamming it down really hard in the middle and announcing all-in in a faux-confident manner. The whole act was so ridiculous and so over the top to me that I instantly defined it as an act. I figured he did not have an Ace after all, and since I never thought he had a Jack either, all I could put him on was a bluff or some kind of middle pair or other. I hated calling off my last 20 big blinds or so with just second pair Queen kicker with an Ace on the board, but my gut kept telling me I was ahead all along and that I didn't trust his lead bet now either, so in the end after a good 20, 30 seconds to consider, I figured what's $100 if I'm wrong, but I thought I was ahead so I called. My opponent immediately slammed his cards down in disgust when I showed my Jack, flipped up a 9 for third pair. This brought me up to around 15k in chips, where again I was in second place in the entire tournament, behind only Mr. Experience two seats to my right who continually got in behind and made indefensibly silly bets in this and yet was sitting on around 42k in chips not even 45 minutes in to the tournament.

While I tried to get more aggressive with the 50% gain I had managed to the starting stacks in the first two blind rounds, Mr. Experience only got more and more brazen as his stack continued to swell. He raised three or four times in succession after a bunch of people had limped in behind him, at least one time showing down a face card and garbage eventually when he folded to a big raise on the turn, and at one point he reraised a preflop raiser for his entire stack with what turned out to be 97s, got called by pocket Jacks, and then proceeded to flop a flush draw and turn his flush to suckout-eliminate yet another player and jump to around 55k in chips, with me still in second place in the tournament with just under 15k. It was unreal what this guy was doing, the whole table was openly cracking up about it, and I could not wait to pick up a hand and take some serious chippage from this guy who clearly had no clue whatsoever how or when to slow down in a poker tournament.

Late in Round 3 as the first hour neared a close, I got my chance as Mr. Experience was utg and open-raised as he did every single time he was under the gun on the entire night to that point, and I peeled up the corners of my hole cards to find pocket Kings. Being that I was in middle position and that Mr. Experience was likely quite weak given his history to date, and given how positive I was that he would bet big (maybe even 300 big blinds!) on the flop regardless of whether it hit him or not, I opted to just call his preflop raise from middle position, hoping someone would try a squeeze where I could then re-reraise allin, but unfortunately nobody else wanted to mess with the two big stacks in the tournament to that time, especially when one of them had a golden horse up his ass. The flop came down Ten-high, and no sooner had I begun to consider how to get as close to a double-up as possible, when Mr. Experience immediately announced "I'm all in" once again. It was ridiculous, really. Here I am, trying to play this game correctly, and no wanting to end up with 80 big blinds in on the flop with just one pair, but the board was just so raggy and matched up so poorly with an utg preflop raiser's hand, and the guy had shown down so much utter stinking garbage so far on the night, that I felt compelled not to fold, and I simply announced "I have to call you with this hand."
I flipped up my pocket Kings for the overpair, and Mr. Experience showed pocket 9s -- easily the best hand he had shown on the day and thus I suppose better than what I expected, but he was no competition for me as my Kings were roughly a 91% favorite to take the hand over his underpair.

Then the 9 on the river continued this clown's ridiculous spate of luck, and ended my night early. All I know is, when I left this thing, there were I think 24 players remaining, with the five eliminations all having come at the hands of Mr. Experience, and he had around 72k in chips while second place was sitting on around 13k. Think about that for a moment -- and I don't think I honestly saw him make a single play on the day that was not a complete embarrassment to him and an abject affront to the game of poker across the board -- but he literally held more than five times the stack of the guy in second place -- not the average stack, but the second place stack -- not even an hour in to a tournament that was probably designed to last about 3-4 hours overall.

Now I can't say I stuck around to see how this tournament ended up, and the one guy I knew there who had mentioned it to me in the first place busted shortly after and he too does not know how it ended, but how much you wanna bet this guy found a way not to win the roughly $750 first prize in the end? All I know is, for me that is two consecutive live tournaments where my night ended an hour or so in on a river two-outer after being way ahead and even having the patience to wait until the flop was out before committing myself or my opponent. Could pokerstars be moving in to the live poker business?

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Blogger Jumble said...


Two outers suck! But, sometimes that's the way it is!

Any plans for the Borgata events starting Sep 8th?


8:49 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

KK needs to fold preflop it never wins unimproved at showdown

1:43 AM  
Blogger Rakeback Power said...

Nice read and call down with QJ on all flush board. Love the blog, keep it up.

The Daily Donk @ Rakeback Power

5:25 AM  
Blogger Poker Star said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:40 AM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

Hilarious recap, tags might have been the funniest part.

5:23 AM  

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