Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recent Live Tournament Play, and the WSOP Circuit

So. I've played some poker here and there over the past few months -- maybe four or five tournaments in total, spread out over a few different venues and a few different buyin levels. In general, the story has been the same when I have played lately: lose some early as I play too loose with subpar cards trying to hit a big flop, then find a way to survive, and eventually chip up enough to last through the halfway point of the field. But then, by the time around two-thirds of the field is gone, invariably I find myself short-stacked as I just have not had the cards to be able to win some big showdowns, nor sufficient sack to push as much as I obviously have to be doing in big pots even I know I do not have the best hand. Eventually I try to make a move that is a pretty obvious play given my short stack, I get caught, and I'm out short of the money positions. I'm playing ok poker early on in these events, but I seem to be consistently just not amassing enough chips in the early and middle stages to have enough chip utility to really play poker in the final third of the tournament.

I've written about this many times, but I know why this is happening. I just don't play enough poker anymore. This did not used to be my problem when playing in live tournaments. In general I am surely a much better live player today than I ever was four or five years ago showing up in a casino and hoping to get nailed with the deck like never before. But when it comes down to it, as I've described previously, I can literally feel my instincts being off almost every time I sit down to play these days. I just don't have near that feel for when to push em all in, for when I can take down a big pot with a large bluff, that I know I used to have all the time, and that you simply need to have more attuned than I do these days if you're going to run deep. Short of that awesome deck-smacking I mentioned above, it's the only way to survive deep enough with a big enough stack to make a real run, and I simply have not been able to do that, for months on end, at the poker table.

It's sad, really. Unlike so many crappy players out there, I actually know what I'm supposed to be doing, at least in general terms. I am conscious sitting there at the table that I am not stealing enough, that I should probably bluff this guy here because I know he is bluffing himself and his bet has made the pot a good size. And I just know when other people are doing that move to me, making me lay down with what I am fairly sure is a bluff. But am I going to call them down with AK high just to try to prove them wrong? Am I going to bust early from a tournament with zero pairs, just to try to catch a bluffer who has made a small pot into a big one by firing barrel after barrel, good money after bad?

I've also mentioned this before, but one thing that is clear as a bell from my recent live play is that I play much tighter than the rest of the table post flop. The bottom line is, there are very few scenarios where I would call an allin with just one pair -- any pair, even slow-played pocket Aces -- early in a tournament. Period. Now, I'm never saying never here. But it's just not my thing, busting out from a tournament in the early stages, with less than probably top two pair, or at least top pair and something else very solid. Another pair, a huge draw, something. But I cannot tell you how many times I watch people get it allin with just TPTK, with just the Ace-King on the Ace-high flop, all the way through the first few hours of these large tournaments. And the amazing thing is, these clowns who call down with TPTK seem to be right more often than they're wrong! I just can't believe it. Similarly, I couldn't count the number of true "hero calls" I've seen guys make in the early rounds, calling down a guy they're sure is bluffing, with just their pocket 7s or whatever it is. Again, I seem to see an inordinate number of those guys who end up proving to be right when they do make the call, but in my mind that does not make this a good play necessarily. I mean, who calls down with pocket 7s for all their chips at the river against a guy you are 50% sure is totally bluffing with nothing, very early in a tournament? How do you do that? Can that really be a good play in an early-tournament context? Very rarely, it seems to me. And yet, I see it all the time in these things. All. The. Time.

I'm sure that learning to make donkey calls with weak hands for huge chips based on a hunch is not really what my game is missing these days in order to be able to amass a real stack by the midpoint of one of these tournaments. And yet, it's got to be something. It's too much of a pattern for me not to notice it when I apply my objectivity to the situation. I'm definitely not being aggressive enough, and even though I know that going in and choose to make it a focus, in the heat of the moment I am just not finding the situations where I'm comfortable making a move with nearly the frequency as I think I need to in order to keep up with the table.

Will I go to Las Vegas this summer to play in the World Series of Poker again, after taking my first year off in five last summer? That is maybe up in the air at this point -- though ultimately the choice will be up to me -- but one thing I definitely do plan to do is try to sit in at least one or two other larger tournament fields before the summertime, to get that old feeling back and really to see if I can hone my skills sufficiently so that I do feel like I have enough of a chance to drop the buyins on a WSOP tournament or two this year. I'm not making any rules for myself as far as having to cash in this-or-that tournament or I won't go to Vegas, or having to win my buyin in cash games in order to play in the desert this summer, nothing silly like that. However, I do want to get myself into a real big tournament setting once or twice, and see how I perform "under the spotlight" so to speak, before I make any decisions about Vegas and the World Series.

To that end, the WSOP Circuit is coming to Caesars Atlantic City -- a poker room which I have frequented several times over the past few years -- from March 1-14 of this year, and I intend to be there to sit for at least one of the events of that series. Ideally I would play an event over a weekend, with either a Friday or a Monday built in, so I could play and only take off one day from work to do it, as most of the WSOP Circuit events are two-day events. And although the one-day jobs are always easier and more efficient for me to play in, I think I'd like to get involved in another 2-day event, and give myself yet another try to make just my second-ever Day Two in a live tournament, which to this day is still among my greatest personal embarrassments when it comes to poker tournaments. So here is the schedule for the WSOP-C at Caesars:

2011/2012 WSOP Circuit Event - Caesars Atlantic City


Thu, Mar 1st
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #1: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Thu, Mar 1st
5:00 PM
1-Day Event Main Event Mega Satellites through March 3rd (Non-Ring Event)
Satellite to the Caesars Atlantic City WSOP Circuit Main Event on Saturday, March 10. No 5pm Mega Satellite will be held on Thursday, March 8th. $190

Thu, Mar 1st
7:00 PM
1-Day Event Nightly 7PM No-Limit Hold'em Tournaments through March 12th (Non-Ring Event)
No 7PM nightlies will be held Friday, March 9th through Sunday, March 11th. $200

Fri, Mar 2nd
12:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #2A: No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry
Re-entry event. Players eliminated in 2A may re-enter in 2B. Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Sat, Mar 3rd
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #2B: No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry
Re-entry event. Players eliminated in 2A may re-enter in 2B. Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Sun, Mar 4th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #3: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $555

Mon, Mar 5th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #4: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Tue, Mar 6th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #5: No-Limit Hold'emOfficial WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $555

Wed, Mar 7th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #6: No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Thu, Mar 8th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #7: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Thu, Mar 8th
5:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #8: Limit Omaha Eight or Better
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Fri, Mar 9th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #9: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $1,080

Fri, Mar 9th
7:00 PM
1-Day Event Main Event Mega Satellite (Non-Ring Event)
Satellite to the Caesars Atlantic City WSOP Circuit Main Event on Saturday, March 10th. $190

Sat, Mar 10th
11:00 AM
3-Day Event Event #10A: No-Limit Hold'em Main Event
Re-entry event. Players eliminated in 10A may re-enter in 10B. Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $1,600

Sat, Mar 10th
5:00 PM
1-Day Event Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Event (Non-Ring Event)
$230

Sat, Mar 10th
7:00 PM
3-Day Event Event #10B: No-Limit Hold'em Main Event
Re-entry event. Players eliminated in 10A may re-enter in 10B. Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $1,600

Sun, Mar 11th
12:00 PM
2-Day Event Event #11: No-Limit Hold'em
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Sun, Mar 11th
5:00 PM
1-Day Event Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Event (Non-Ring Event)
$230

Sun, Mar 11th
7:00 PM
1-Day Event Road to the Main Event: 2012 WSOP Main Event Satellite (Non-Ring Event)
Satellite to the 2012 WSOP Main Event at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV $550

Mon, Mar 12th
12:00 PM
1-Day Event Event #12: No-Limit Hold'em Turbo
Official WSOP Circuit Ring Event; Counts in points standings. $345

Mon, Mar 12th
5:00 PM
1-Day Event Road to the Main Event: 2012 WSOP Main Event Satellite (Non-Ring Event)
$1,100


Let me know if anyone thinks any particular event looks good for me, or for you. If anyone in the area (or who can be in the area) is thinking about attending any of these tournaments, let me know and maybe we can meet up there together. Although I have some inclinations about which event to play and when, I am generally flexible as long as they decisions are made fairly soon as opposed to at the very last minute. Preliminarily, I am thinking about that $345 re-entry Event 2A/2B on the first weekend of the series, Event #9 which is the $1080 buyin nlh tournament on the second Friday, or even Event #11, the $345 nlh event on the second Sunday of the weekend. The Turbo one-day event is also a possibility, although as I mentioned I am more interested right now in playing in a more WSOP-like two-day event to try to get myself in as close to a WSOP situation as I am likely to find.

Anybody else planning to play any of the WSOP Circuit tournaments at Caesar's in a few weeks?

Labels: , , , , ,

44 Comments:

Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Preliminarily, I am thinking about that $345 re-entry Event 2A/2B

I played in one of these. They are +EV because they are cheap enough to attract players who have absolutely no chance to do any good (can you say dead money).

10:08 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Well I'm in!

10:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Hammer,

Sorry to hear about your elimination at the recent tournament(s).

There is a DP Classic (Mar 15 - Apr 4th) in March at Delaware Park. Lot of variety and low buy-in tournaments. Check out the schedule on their website.

I am going thru a similar phase where either I am a terribly low stack on the FT or get eliminated starting as a winner on the flop (top 2 or trips etc.,) and loosing it by the river. It is hard to sit thru the middle phase where people go all in with the third pair on the board. It hurts to burn the hours and min cash or getting eliminated before the money.

Good luck with the circuit events at AC.

GolfPro

1:11 AM  
Blogger Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

I played in 3 of the Circuit tournaments at Choctaw in Ok. I was actually pretty surprised at the play, at least at the tables I played. I don't think I recall ever seeing someone get it all in early without a big hand (trips or better). In fact, I saw some ridiculous coolers, that reminded me of online play. One in particular had quads beat by a straight flush, and what made that memorable was that the guy with the straight flush didn't realize he had made that hand! Good thing he tabled it, and let the cards talk for him!

The one sour note is that whoever WSOP has running the events, are a bunch of greedy bastards. Or maybe it is the WSOP, but hot only is the juice ridiculous, but at the table, they offered a $10 dollar dealer appreciation, which was basically extortion. Say you started with 3k in chips, for the 10 bucks, they would give you another 2k. So basically you had no choice, since everyone was taking it! I understand for the main event, which was 1600 buyin, they did the same thing! Think about it...they got almost 1000 runners, and I bet every one took that, which is another 10k in juice, which was supposedly distributed among the staff/dealers. But who really knows? It wasn't spelled out in the buy in or registration process either...you got ambushed with this news at the table! Unfreaking real!!!

Then to add insult to injury, I had the good fortune of cashing in 2 of the events I played, and at cashout, they try and hit you up again for another dealer tip, which I summarily declined!

1:24 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Hey Hoy. I'll be hopefully playing in the Harrah's Chester WSOP-C in early May. Any interest in checking that one out? I may play a Thursday to Friday, 2-day 6-max tournament.

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Blogger Wolfshead said...

Not playing the circuit that weekend, if I play it will be the LO8 event the next weekend, but will be in AC on Fri for the Pink game at Harrah's. Depending on how i feel may also make trip on Sat to check out Golden Nuggets deepstack, 160 for 25k in chips, 30 min levels with a 25-50 start instead of the usual 50-100 and no doubling of blinds after the 200-400 level. Nice structure for a non event type tourney

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Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Nice meeting you today. Good luck in the tournament tomorrow (Saturday).

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Blogger sabreena said...

The one sour note is that whoever WSOP has running the events, are a bunch of greedy bastards. Or maybe it is the WSOP, but hot only is the juice ridiculous, but at the table, they offered a $10 dollar dealer appreciation, which was basically extortion.


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Blogger Ashley said...

I may also make trip on Sat to check out Golden Nuggets deepstack, 160 for 25k in chips, 30 min levels with a 25-50 start instead of the usual 50-100 and no doubling of blinds after the 200-400 level.



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Blogger madman1701 said...

I wouldn't beat yourself up too much. Try to focus more one your game and pay attention to the table. You know what you are doing and not doing. Also, remember that tournaments are super high in variance and you can go a LONG time without cashing. Cheers!

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