Thursday, December 29, 2011

Does size matter?

Above: The tournament poker area at Foxwoods Rainmaker Casino about 30 minutes before yesterday's tournament started.

They say that the Foxwoods Casino is the largest one in the U.S. in terms of gaming floor space. I'm in Connecticut on a holiday visit and decided to check it out. Let's see what an old man from Memphis can do.

Very Josie conveniently posted a schedule of the tournaments at Foxwoods and a Wednesday tournament caught my eye: a 6 p.m. $230 Super Bounty Deep Stack ($20K starting chips). (See here for the schedule.) $100 went to the prize pool, $100 was your bounty (collected by whoever knocked you out), and $30 went to the house.

There were 186 runners who signed up and 20 got paid. The blind structure was good. Example: When we got to blinds of 100/200, they next level was a repeat of that with 25 ante.

I doubled up early when a someone overplayed A-K on a flop of A-8-2. I had 8-8 in the hole and doubled up. After that, I was able to pick and choose my spots and play my typical nitty old man game. (Note to self: blogspot spell-check doesn't like the word "nitty" -- what's up with that?)

When we got to the final table, some players wanted to chop. The three short stacks would get $1000 and the rest would get around $1500. There was a huge stack and he (rightfully) didn't go along with that plan.

When we got down to four, the aforementioned big stack had 1,200,000 and the rest of us had in the 450K to 550K range. The blinds were 60,000/30,000/10,000 and I raised to 150K from the button. The big stack called from the big blind and looked reasonably comfortable. The flop was A-7-2 (good hand for the hammer) and he checked and I checked. The turn was a second ace and the big stack bet 200K. I pretended to think and finally called. The river was some low card and the big stack moved all in. I called and showed him A 9 to double up and take the chip lead.

My trap had worked. He couldn't conceive that I had an ace and didn't bet the flop. Against an aggressive player, why bet? Let him bet it for me was the plan,and it worked. Never underestimate tricky old men from Memphis.

Now, the former big stack wanted to chop! He proposed that he and I take an extra $500 and then divide up the rest equally among us. That, along with my four bounties, was a nice payday, so I decided to agree.

Did I mention the tournament was well-run? It was. The TDs were on the alert and stayed busy. I love rulings. Here's one where they called the floor. See what you would do.

The guy on my left was the small blind. On this particular hand, the big blind and the guy to his left were knocked out. The button moved (to the guy on my left) and now they brought in two new players from another table to replace the two who were eliminated. Would you make them take the small and big blind? Would you make them sit out until the button passed? How would you rule? Leave your answer in the comments section, and, after people get a chance to respond, I'll tell what happened. Here's a clue: What they ruled is probably not what you'd expect.

The tournament ended around 2 a.m. (after eight hours of play). We had to get our vouchers, and take them to the cage to get paid. Then I had to find my car. This place is huge. I didn't know which of the five casinos that comprise Foxwoods held the poker room It was in the Rainmaker Casino and my car was in the Grand Pequot parking area. After asking, I was able to find it and got home around 4 a.m., tired but happy.

Above: The blinds and antes were sky-high when we stopped play. There were four players, not five -- the clock had not been updated.

I had the dealer take a photo of me with my one million chips (mostly 10K denomination), but it was fuzzy, darn it. Shots taken with my P&S.


  1. If you invited a certain fine woman to join you, you would've had someone to guide you throw the gargantuan place. I'm just sayin'.

    Congrats on a great day and cash!

  2. This is getting so usual that you are starting to look like -J-o-s-i-e- a luckbox. :)

    Nicely done, Sir!

    As to a guide, I think I'd go with an Indian pathfinder ala J. F. Cooper. And, they have a much better reputation for stoic.

    (-J-o-... indicates strikethru)

  3. "Never underestimate tricky old men from Memphis."

    LOL! (or anywhere else.)

    Congrats on shipping the cashola!

  4. I dunno what "nitty" means. But I think I have discovered a tricky old man from Memphis and if I ever decide to play poker, I'm gonna look him up!

  5. Your great 2011 run continues. Geez -- you have had quite a year. Congrats, Dave!

  6. what a story and congrats on the win. very impressive. such strategy and patience. i like the photos but would have liked to see you with all of the chips. Happy Holidays!

  7. So, what else is new? Great run this year... Happy 2011! Onward!

  8. I just re-read this post. Did you ever answer the question about "size"?


  9. @Josie: Would have loved to have had company, but this was a last minute deal.

    @KenP: Thanks. Luckbox or not, I'll take it.

    @DiverJoules: Good to hear from you again -- hope things are great out in Cleveland.

    @LuckiDuck: LOL

    @Lowell: Nit is a term for a VERY conservative poker player.

    @Pretender: I wish.

    @Lightning, @Julie, @Bastion @PokerDAve -- thanks for your thoughts and comments.

  10. Funny, I played in a similar tournament at this casino the next day. We JUST missed each other!