Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"I Have to Call"

As far as my own personal poker play during the WSOP, I managed to cram in a few tournaments at Caesar's (mostly the crapshootastic 11 PM cheapo tourneys they were running during the WSOP), plus a handful of hours at the $1-$3 and $2-$5 NL tables. Basically broke even for the tourneys and ended up down a buy-in at the cash games, so it was close to a wash as far as my poker play goes.

It was interesting, though, playing live tournaments after solely playing SnGs and MTTs online for the last year or so. It's easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom surrounding the status of online poker in the US during the last nine months, but worthwhile to take a few steps back and remember that there's a whole other world out there, as far as playing live.

I tend to forget just how bad most live tournament players are and, ironically, how insanely lucky you have to be to wade through the field (especially when the structure is fast). It's ultimately encouraging, as far as poker continuing to attract large tournament fields with absolutely terrible players plunking down hundreds of dollars to enter, but you also have to temper your own expectations, as you're forced to deal with the absolute nonsensical from time to time.

Case in point. I was playing the $200 noon tournament at Caesar's, which had a much better structure than the other daily tournaments they were running. I managed to stay patient and chip up early, get a couple of timely doubles here and there, and was sitting with an above average stack with about 25 players left, with the top 15 getting paid. We were about 4-5 hours into the tourney, with a lot of the crazies already washed out.

I was sitting in the 9 seat, with about 20,000 chips, and there were a few folds in front of me. I look down to see, for the first time in what seemed like weeks, AA. Blinds are 800-1,600 (I think, in that general vicinity). I'm pondering exactly how much I want to raise, when the 1 seat, thinking I had folded, announces a raise and starts reaching for chips.


The dealer stops him, tells him I still haven't acted, and the guy impatiently exhales/sighs and waits. I actually pondered asking the dealer if he was commmitted to raising anything I bet after verbally declaring a raise out of turn, but didn't want to call any more attention to the strength of my hand; I was already worried that I'd chase him off by raising at all, after he tipped his hand by trying to act out of turn.

I finally raise to 5,000 and he insta-calls, and everyone else folds. I was obviously hoping that he'd come over the top with something like 1010-KK, but just as obviously like the call. He's barely got me covered, so we're both playing for all our marbles here.

Flop is 9 4 2, rainbow. I've got 15K and the pot is ~ 13K. I ponder being cute and betting 7K or 8K but that seems to scream monster pocket pair, so I just shove all-in, hoping he thinks I have AK or a smaller pair to his 1010-KK and assumes I'm trying to push him off the pot.

"Well, I have to call" he says, pretty much immediately, with a bit of resignation in his tone, and lumps in the rest of his chips.

Now, dear reader, what hand do you suppose he has? I would have wagered lots of American dollars that based on all of the above, he would roll over JJ or QQ. Maybe 1010 and maybe KK. Maybe maybe maybe AK. But I fully expected to see QQ, for all the reasons you should expect to see it.

His actual hand? J7 offsuit. J high, no straight or flush draw. Just J high. The hand that he called a decent raise with pre-flop (after he'd acted out of turned and tried to raise), and the hand that he basically called off all of his chips with on the flop, holding J high.

He nods a bit at the sight of my aces, sadly says "Yep", and then sits there silently as the dealer peels off a J on the turn, and a third J on the river. The guy next to me makes the appropriate "Jesus fucking Christ" comment as I stand up and leave, but all my opponent has to say is "That's why they call it poker" as I walk off, steam boiling out of my ears.

(And it took just about every ounce of self-reserve I had to keep walking and not stop and say "You fucking fucknut, that's not even the correct fucking phrase. It's "That's why they call it gambling" you moronic fucktard. Because that's exactly what you're apparently fucking doing, playing like that."

Except, really, he was right. He is right. That is poker, for better or for worse. Absolutely non-sensical in many cases, but also inevitable. And, as much as it pains me to say, hopeful. Once you manage to shrug off the personal pain from beats like that it's hard not to be encouraged to play more live tournaments, as the donkaments have most definitely not left the building, UIGEA be damned.

1 comment:

P0kerFan said...

How right you are.
"Offline players" can be really bad players ;->