Monday, October 19, 2009

Can't you smell that smell

Saturday, I headed up to play in the state tournament for my bar poker league. I was pumped, I was psyched and I really had no idea how to play poker once the tournament began. Well, I might have known a little but that's not really how it looked in hind sight.

Curiosity (got a blog yet?) chimed in on one hand that precipitated my decline. She was the "villain" (actually seemed like a pretty nice person, but in forum lingo...she was not me) in basically the first hand I entered from a spot other then the big blind.

Take a deep breath and a step back and let's luck at my plan for the day. My plan was to play the first 190 knockouts as a satellite. The top 20 spots pay the same, so that's a completely valid strategy. To get there, I was going to play tight/aggressive poker like it was my job. Same way I play a token frenzy. Reality was a little different. It's how I played, but I failed to account for two things: 25 minute blinds and mostly passive pre-flop pay.

First problem: 25 minute blinds. This is way more like a turbo then anything. Even with the great Drizz dealing, no way my 10,000 charting chips last long folding like it's my job.

Second problem: really it was an opportunity: passive pre-flop play. There was a lot of people putting money in to see flops. Now, in some tournaments, this would be something of an opportunity to turn on the heat, but this is also a freeroll with a variety of skill levels. Seeing the river is almost a certainty.

I never called an audible and changed the plan. Damn it. I seriously thought about playing more flops from position but I really didn't want to risk chips for later when I would get a better hand, but considering that better hand never came, I'll play for about 4-5 hours for nothin'.

The hand Curiosity was talking about in the comment had to do with a the first big hand I got dealt, KK. A nice hand, even raised it up good pre-flop. Drizz put the Ace out there and I got quite cranky. I knew I was probably beat, but had to know for sure. That value bet on the river was too tempting to not call. It was pretty much how my day would go. Before 1st break, I played a bit more, lost with AK a couple of times to a smaller ace, thus the "Can't beat ace rag..." headline.

These tournaments can be so frustrating, adapting to them has always been a challenge for me. Play too tight, get crazy later, or start a little crazy and stay there. I just never know when to switch.

I stole blinds for quite awhile, hovering right around half a starting stack all day. Never really regaining ground or losing ground.

Much of this post game time has been spent thinking about how I could have improved my game and gotten deeper. Being able to switch gears and finding other spots to gamble would probably be a good place to start. Patience can only get me so far.

My quote of the day came from the lady that devastated my stack. It wasn't so much that she called me, I can see doing it too, but her words just took my breath away.

The blinds were at 600/1200, I'm under the gun. I open raise to 4200 which was just more then half my stack. I think I had around 7700. This bet size had been fairly effective at stealing enough blinds to keep me treading water for a while. It folds around to the little blind. She starts counting out her chips. I'm pretty sure the big blind is just waiting his turn to fold, he can't wait to release.

While counting her chips, she starts talking out loud:
Do I double up now or wait for later. Hm. I know I have you beat because there's no hand you'd raise with that could beat me. I have to be ahead, but do I want you to draw out on me.
If she's got kings or aces, so be it, but what in God's name is taking her so long to do this? Is she slow rolling me with aces?

The fact was she was ahead, I had AKs. All she needs is a pair to be statistically ahead. She moves all-in for her remaining 7,300. I'm not folding here anyways, so I call. Her hand? 55. Presto. The collective jaws on the table hit the floor. The guy on the button asks, "Ma'am, why would you possibly think that no one would raise with a hand that could beat you?"

Her reply, "Ha, this is a pocket pair. Not likely anyone would have anything bigger then this."

Sigh. The poker gods did hate me so, flop came King high. Yep out flopped her, but the 3 diamonds lead to her hitting the turn diamond flush. Poker can be so cruel.

One thing I took away from this was the complete lack of live tournament play over the last year. I don't think I've played a live tournament outside of the bar league Tuesday night game or whiskey club since the Winter Gathering. This has got to change. Anyone borrow me a few hours every week? Sit-n-gos are forming at the casino near me and I need to be there.

Back to the studying this crazy game. Another Tuesday night league is starting tomorrow.


Sean G said...

Ah, playing with pure amateurs. What a minefield that could be. I love that lady's logic... being nervous that her 55 would be drawn out on, since you're obviously going to slow play 66+.

It's amazing what a difference there is between live tournaments and online. A $5 MTT on FTP has more sophisticated play than any of the $150 tournaments I've played live. It's really incredible what a difference there is.

I'm with you in that I have no idea how to play these passive call-fest amateur games properly... there has to be some sort of strategy, but I don't know what it is.

Memphis MOJO said...

Sorry it didn't work out better. Was rooting for you.

Dawn Summers said...

How many people were in this tourney? More than 200??? jaysus! I love that 55 woman. I would have stabbed her.

diverjoules said...

Try playing in a an all womans tourney. THEY SUCK. I won't play them anymore. Just too many awful players, who husbands buy them in to get them out of their own hair so they can play in peace. This happens at Mountaineer all the time. There are a handfull of good women players. The rest think 55 is the nutz. Or they hit their J on a KJ7 board and think their J -deuce kicker are da bomb.

Drizztdj said...

We'll chat on this.

I was trying to hint about it with your fold-fest. ;)