Friday, December 5, 2008

Being patient often isn't enough

The image above is of the entrance to the poker room at Harrahs's Casino, and was taken just before 6 p.m. tonight. It was already dark -- DST is tough.

Forty other poker players and moi paid their $100 to enter the Friday night tournament at Harrah's Casino in Tunica. That meant five would get paid and first was around $1200. The crowds haven't been good because of the economy. I wonder if more players will come during the holiday season? We started with 10,000 in chips and the levels were 20 minutes.

I don't have a lot of hands to report, because I didn't play very many. When the blinds were 25/50, I was in the big blind with Q Q. The button raised to 200 and I raised it to 1100. Everyone folded to the raiser and he called. The flop was three lowish cards, rainbow. I bet 1900 and the other guy folded.

During the fourth level, the blinds were 200/400/25 and I was on the button. An early position guy raised to 1200. My stack was around 10,350 and my hole cards were: K 10. This isn't a great hand, but having position is worth something, so I called. The flop was A-10-4. The original raiser bet out 3,000, but something about the way he did it was unconvincing. I decided to float, and reevaluate the hand on the turn. Fourth street brought a low card that I don't remember and the other guy checked. I made a pot-sized bet and he mucked his cards.

I won one other pot when it came to me in the small blind. I made a min-raise that was called. The flop included an ace and I bet two-thirds of the pot and he folded. My hand was Q 9.

When the blinds were 800/1600/200, We were down to two tables of six players each. The under-the-gun guy (a Tunica regular from Memphis who is sort of a friend and also named David) moved all in for 5,000. It folded to me in the small blind and I had A A. I just called. Normally, you would reraise to drive out the BB. Your goal is to win the pot at all costs. Because my stack had dribbled down to 10,500, I decided to take a chance. The pot odds should have been irresistible to the BB, but he folded. This shows the lengths you have to go to in a tournament. I couldn't afford to play it the safest way.

I turned my cards over and the other guy did too. "Give me two pair, dealer," he said as he showed Q J. The flop was a nightmare for me: 10 9 8, he had flopped a straight! Another 9 and some low card came on the next two streets, and my stack was chopped in half. Most of the time, the dealers don't say anything, but this guy (his name is Marcus) was funny. He said to the other guy, "Sorry, I didn't deal you two pair."

The very next hand the betting came around to me. Before I looked, I announced, "I hope I have the same hand." Marcus asked, "Are you sure?" Heh heh, okay, very funny, but don't quit your casino job just yet. I looked and saw I had drek, and so folded.

Then the next hand, the blinds advanced to 1000/2000/300. A guy limped in for 2000 and I held A K, so I moved all in. Now a guy behind me with a big stack started thinking. Please, don't just call, move all in I was thinking. Sure enough, he moved all in and everyone folded. He turned over A J -- SWEET! The flop was a pair of queens and a 4. The turn was a rag, and the river was a jack! Yuck.

That shows the problem with playing tight poker. I was never able to build my stack up high enough to withstand anything bad happening. I wished everyone good luck and collected my coat and left. You can't win every time, but there's another tournament tomorrow (at the Goldstrike). Lemme at 'em!

One more photo from tonight. This shot was taken (with my cheap point-and-shoot camera) as I walked under the canopy crossing the water to the casino door. It's basically a closeup of the first photo. Click either image to enlarge.

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