Sunday, August 10, 2008

Plans don't always work out

I had planned to play two tournaments this weekend. Friday night I trotted over to Harrah's Casino to play in their 6 p.m. tournament. Talk about card dead. I lasted nearly 2 and 1/2 hours, but it was only because I played tight which allowed me to steal once in a while. The only pairs I had were 44 once and 66 once. The best high-card hand I looked at was AJ off.

Here is a description of the hand that I busted out on. The antes were T400/800/50, so there was T1700 in the pot preflop. We had played around 2 1/2 hours. I don't remember the exact number, but I believe about 80 players entered and half of them had been eliminated. I was in the small blind and my stack was T8700. (We started with T10,000) There was a limper to the button who limped also. I had 6 6. The pot was now T3300 and I moved all in. I was hoping to pick up the pot right there, but if I was called, the maybe it would be a race. My stack was still big enough that it would sting anybody who called. I didn't want it erode even further, though.

The big blind folded, the early limper folded, but the button called. He had me covered and turned over A Q. I would have raised with his hand to thin the field, but I wasn't too surprised. I see this all the time. Don't forget we are playing mostly with tourists.

The flop came with both an ace and a queen and I didn't improve, so my night was over.

Sunday, I headed to the Goldstrike for their $100 buyin at 1 p.m. I left a little late and when I was close, they had my lane closed off with state troopers and flashing lights. I turned right toward Harrah's and then detoured over to the Goldstrike. I found out later that a Harrah's bus was taking 40 players to the airport and had crashed. There were three (some reports said four) persons dead. Sketchy information is available by clicking here and here.

I was likely going to be late, but now I certainly was. You can still enter as a late play, but I found myself getting agitated. To calm myself, I took my headphones and MP3 player. The right sort of music mellows me. When I arrived at the registration desk, I was in for another surprise. They had a special tournament today and it started at 12 noon. What they hey? If you have a special event, why not start at 1, the usual time? They were paying the price, too. The tournament was tiny. In fact, there weren't many cash game tables in play, maybe six.

I decided that if I couldn't play in the tournament, I'd try the cash games. They had one seat in a $1/2 NL game, but there was a guy in front of me and he grabbed that. There was also a seat in the $3/6 Limit game. That's the game at which I originally learned how to play poker, so decided to give it at try.

The first hand I looked down to see A K. The guy to my right raised to $6 and I reraised to $9. I've found that they will limp in for anything, even for $6. A raise to $9 usually limits the field and increases your chances to win the pot. Too many players, and somebody will hit two pair or pick up a flush or straight draw and hit it. Two others called, however, and the raiser completed. Four of us saw this flop: A K 8. It checked to me and I bet $3 and the other three called.

The turn was a nice card for me: A, giving me a boat. I bet $6 and all three of them called. This is crazy, of course, as they have to see they are beat. I forget the river card, but I bet $6 and two of them called me. I showed and the guy to my right showed his A Q.

Now an amazing thing happened. The guy with AQ asks the other guy who called at the river, "Did you have an ace?" The other guys says, "No, pocket jacks."

Two questions: 1. Didn't the guy with jacks think one of us had an ace? 2. How many aces are there in a deck. The guy asking the question had just looked at all four of them! But, that's poker in the 3/6 Limit game -- I'm just sayin'.

I didn't play very long because I was bored and disappointed about missing the tournament. While playing, we heard about the bus wreck. I happened to have my camera with me, so had it out and ready on the way home to get a shot for both of my blog readers. When I passed the wreck area (the north-bound lane was okay, it was the south-bound lane that had been closed), however, everything had been cleaned up and there was nothing to take a photo of.

For those of you who don't get to play live poker tournament often, here is what I do:
1. When you sit down, count your chips. I'm not kidding. I've had them give me the wrong amount before.
2. Familiarize yourself with the chips. By that I mean, learn what color is what denomination.
3. Use a card protector on top of your cards when you are in a deal. If you don't have one, put a chip on them.
4. Keep your larger denomination chips in sight. You're not allowed to hide them in the back in you have multiple stacks of chips.
5. When they call the break, put you card protector on top of your stack. If you have more than one stack of chips, put it on top of the one with the higher denomination chips.
6. The T500 and T100 chips are similar in color. One is black, the other a very dark purple. Most players put their T1000 chips on the bottom, then T500, then T100 etc. with the T25 (and red T5 chips if you use them) on the top. I rearrange them slightly. Because the 500 and 100-chips are so similar, I put the T500 on the bottom and the T1000 on top of the T500 to separate the T500- from the T100-chips. you don't want to grab the wrong one in the heat of the moment. Call me anal, but it could save you from a costly mistake by doing this.

When I got home from the Goldstrike today, I entered an online tournament. I was on the "right" side of a cooler on this one where I had KK to my opponent's QQ. I flopped a set and it was a good thing, too -- look at the river card.

Image of a showdown in an Ultimate Bet online tournament. I'm Memphis-Mojo, and you can click to enlarge.

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