Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday night's all right

I planned to play in the Saturday evening (beginning at 6 p.m.) poker tournament held at the Goldstrike. It's a sweet deal. The buyin is $110 (counting a $10 toke to the dealers) for which you get T6000 in chips, 20-minute levels and the casino adds $1500 to the prize pool.

I had to go into work this afternoon to take care of something. When I finished I had intended to run some errands, but by that time I could either run the errands or play the tournament. Hmm, let me think: Poker or errands, errands or poker. Well, you can guess which won out.

The casinos in Tunica are (basically) situated in clusters. As you can see from the sign, Goldstrike is near the Horseshoe, the Sheraton and Bally's. (Click on any of these images to enlarge.)

As I entered the GS, this band was playing. They sounded pretty good and I was 15 minutes early, so I listened to them for a couple of songs.

There were 45 donkey tourists runners who signed up to play. The top five positions would pay out.

I prefer live tournaments to online by a factor of some. In person, you can see how they look, watch how they handle their chips, etc. With some of them, you are almost playing with their two hole cards face up! I'm just sayin'.

I had few good hands, so had to fold, fold combined with more folding. I probably looked like the tightest player on the planet to any at my table who were watching. I played K J for a limp. The flop came with A Q 10 rainbow. I made a small bet and everyone folded. I showed my hand. Why? Early in the tournament these small pots don't matter, but at some point in the tournament (call it an inflection point or whatever), the blinds start to rise and you absolutely want to win pots uncontested. I had developed a tight, conservative image and (later) when I started to steal, they caved in.

I could tell the button was going to fold (by how he was holding his cards), so I limped from the cutoff with J 8. I forget what cards were in the flop, but I made a bet and won a small pot.

When the blinds were T300/600/50, someone limped in front of me and I limped with 9 8. Both blinds called. The flop was 10 6 4 rainbow and it was checked to me. I checked. The turn was a 3 and it was again checked to me. I fired T2100 into a ~T2800 pot and it folded to the other limper. He thought for a while, then said, "Will you show?" I never know what to say, so I usually say nothing. This time, however, I said, "I'll show if you call." Everyone laughed, and he folded mumbling something about I guess you hit the straight. Um, right.

The dealers at the Goldstrike are pretty good, but not so good in this case. We were on break and they were coloring up the black (T100) chips. That means they were taking them off the table and the odd ones were being what they call "raced off." There were two T500 chips to go to the two highest cards. Three of us had kings. I had the K and the other two kings were clubs and diamonds. The dealer gave the two T500 chips to them. Whoa!! Time out! I questioned him and he confirmed what had happened. I asked for the Tournament Director who straighted it out. There are no suits for flushes or for poker hands. A royal flush in spades and one in diamonds are tie hands. But for race-offs, for dealing for the button, etc. they do have a rank. The spade suit is highest, then hearts, then diamonds and clubs are lowest. My stack was around T12,000, so T500 was significant.

At this point, the players were playing tight, so I upped the aggression. I raised all in from late position with K 10, basically a cheese hand. I made a similar move again the next hand (I forget what I had). Two hands later, from under the gun I again raised all in with big slick. Again everyone folded, but I decided that I better show my cards. Players get suspicious if you are too aggressive.

When we got to the final table, there were only 9 players. Normally, there are 10, but in this case two had busted out on the same hand (when there were 11 left). Two short stacks busted out within one orbit, then another.

We were down to six players, and the short stack asked if there were any chance we could save a little for sixth place. Nobody feels good about playing all evening and bubbling out. The other side of the coin is that we can wait and he would not be around long, unless he got lucky. One of the big stacks suggested we give sixth $200 ($100 from first-place money and $100 from second). We all agreed. Sure enough, he was the next player out.

Unfortunately, I was card dead. It gets old to fold, fold, fold, but what can you do? Sorry, I don't have more hands with some details, but there just weren't that many. During the course of the evening, I had AK the one time I mentioned above, I had AQ once and raised and made a continuation bet (winning a small pot). I had low pairs twice, limped in, and was raised off my hand both times. That was it! Mainly I just tried to stay out of trouble, which isn't a bad plan, by the way.

One hand was cute. I was in the big blind and three players limped. I held 8 2 -- not quite the hammer. I considered moving all in to try and steal, but with three players (and two of them big stacks), it looked risky, so I checked. The flop was 6 4 2 rainbow. I moved all in. One big stack called me, oh oh! But he turned over A 5 for two overcards and a gutshot straight draw. My hand held up. I had blinded down to T12,000, but now had more than doubled up!

At this point we took a break.

The bottom numbers from 1 through 5 show the prize money payouts. There is a huge difference between first and fifth.

When we came back from break, one of the big stacks asked the TD how much if we chopped the prize pool, and $945 was the answer. Everyone seemed agreeable (especially me -- heh, heh). I mentioned that, "You know, I'm the short stack, but that can turn completely around in one hand." This is true, of course, and it doesn't hurt to remind them.

The blinds and antes had just gone up to T2000/4000/1000 at this point; even the big stacks had reason to be concerned, so we chopped. A great deal for me given the size of my chip stack. (I think my M was a little more than 3!!)

As I was leaving, I saw there was a different band, so I took a photo of them too.

There were two singers. The female looked to be Korean. Maybe CK has a new job and didn't bother to tell anyone?

Here's how the Goldstrike looked as I left.

I drove away, then pulled over to take this shot through trees.


  1. Uhm, so how did it end? Did you bust out in 5th?


  2. We split the money, so I tied for 1st through 5th.

    Sometimes, they "chop" most of the money and leave a little bit to play for, but not this time.