Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing hooky

It's Thursday morning and I decided to take a vacation day from work and go play in a poker tournament called the Mid-South Poker Open at Harrahs Casino in Tunica.

Images are high resolution, so you can click on them to enlarge.

Each day there is a tournament that starts at 11 a.m. and another in the evening at 6 p.m. The entry fees are reasonable -- today's is $340 (usually something like this starts at $540 and goes up).

The blind structure for the tournament is excellent, especially for the morning event. You start with T8000 and the levels are 40 minutes. Click here to read a thread on the 2+2 forums that discusses this tournament in terms of blind structure and other information.

EDIT: I'm back from the tournament. There were 85 runners who signed up. For the first three levels, nothing much happened. I did build my stack up from T8000 to T9000.

Then, with the blinds at 100/200, I had 5 5 and limped in. The button raised to T600 and I called. The flop was 4 4 2 and I checked to the raiser and he checked. The turn was the Q. I bet T900 and the button called. The river was the Q. What would you do? I checked and the button bet T2000! I had no idea where I stood on the hand, and finally folded. The button showed A Q for a boat. Grr, maybe I should have bet on the flop and tried to take the pot right there.

We had a break after the first two hours. We were down to 69 players and the average stack was T9971. I had T7535. Level four was a repeat of the T100/200 blinds, but with a 25 ante added.

Early after the break, I had this adventure with 8 8. I limped from under the gun. Would you raise? The table had plenty of action after the flop, but was passive pre-flop. Two players limped with me along with the big blind. The flop wasn't what I wanted to see, two overcards: A K 4. This was checked all around. The turn was the Q and again it was checked all around. The river was good for me: 8, giving me a set. It was checked and I fired out T600, fold, fold and now the big blind saw my T600 and raised T3000 on top. What would you do?

I thought a long while and finally decided that I would have enough chips to continue to play effectively if I folded, and so I did. The guy showed J-10 for the straight that he hit on the turn. He didn't play that well, in my mind. He could have bet a little on the turn, then a little more on the river. He could have checked like he did, but then check-raise me maybe only T1000 after I bet on the river. I might have called that and he would have taken some more of my chips. Also, there was a lot of showing of hole cards going on. I do it once in a while, but I don't do it as much as some of these players.

Our table was broken and I moved to a new table, sitting just behind the big stack. After one orbit or so, I was on the button with about T4500 in chips. My hole cards were: A J. An under-the-gun plus 1 guy opened for a standard raise to T900 and it was folded around to me. This is a trap hand, but it seems weak to fold, and raising is crazy, so I just called to see the flop. The flop was A 5 3. The original raiser checked. What would you do? I checked behind. I'm either way ahead or way behind and one more card shouldn't hurt me. The turn was the 8 and the raiser checked again. I bet out T1500 and the other guy raised me to T3000. I had this sick feeling, but I called for two reasons: (1) my stack was low (2) I had bet the hand such that he might not believe I had an ace. We were all in and he turned over A A and I was out of the tournament.

You feel like a dope when this happens, but some days, that's how it goes.

Harrahs at Tunica is big and spread out. Here is the right two-thirds as you face it. I've heard it's the biggest casino in the U.S. between Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

The casinos are all on canals that connect to the Mississippi River. Riverboats were legal, and so this is how the lawmakers were able to bend the rules to allow the casinos to build.

There's more water here, too. Can you see the walkway to get from the parking lot across the water?

If you look past the walkway, you can see the canal. It's fairly large, almost like a river.

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