Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oh Sweet Jebus He's Really Posting About Poker for Once

It's true. An actual post about actual poker.

So things went downhill quickly the last part of the recent Vegas trip, as I managed to dump a couple of buy-ins at $2/5 NL and went 0-3 in the tournies I played, finishing 8th, 8th, and 9th in the Caesar's tournies, with top 6/top 7 paying. Mmm, bubblicious...

But it was fun to play live poker again, and I couldn't help but remember a certain fondness for poker in my heart, especially live tournament poker. I tend to get a bit burned out playing online tourneys, feeling like I'm on auto-pilot, but playing live adds a welcome element of thought to the proceedings.

I'm still amazed at the table coach phenomenon, and the inability of some people to simply keep their mouths shut. I mean, I get it, but it's just weird, especially when the situation directly refutes 95% of what you have to say. If you drag yourself out for a juice-riffic $90 + $30 tournament at the ungodly hour of 11 PM that won't finish up until 4 or 5 in the morning, don't even try to pretend that you're going to "play all the major WPT and WSOP tournaments next year". Espcially when you can't get away from hands like KJs facing a raise and a re-raise all-in before you act.

I did have an interesting hand or two, though, that I'm still not sure about, that Coach gave me a hard time for thirty minutes or so (and might have been right about). We were down to about 30 players, with top 6 spots paying, and UTG (directly to my right) pushed all-in for less, something like 275 chips. Blinds were 150/300, with a 25 ante.

So there's nearly 1,000 in the pot and I look down to find 10 10 in UTG+1. I've got about 4,500 chips, but blinds are set to go up to 200/400 with a 50 ante next hand. The structure in these is super fast so there's some pressure to make something happen.

I actually pondered for quite awhile, as my first impulse was simply to call, seeing as I'm in early position, UTG is all-in for less, odds of everyone checking it down who calls pre-flop is high to try to knock him out, yada yada yada.

But there's also nearly 1,000 in the pot, and that's not an insignificant amount to potentially add to my stack. With UTG about to blind out next hand, he seemed more disgusted when he threw in his chips as opposed to strong, and I was pretty sure I was ahead of him. While calling would increase the chances he'd get bounced out (as far as letting in at least the BB to take a crack at him), my own odds of winning the not-insignificant pot would drop pretty drastically.

But if I raise to try to take the pot down, what do I raise to? If I raise enough to pot-commit myself I'm very likely only getting called or re-raised by a hand that I'm way behind, which defeats the purpose of intentionally pot-committing myself.

So I ended up raising to 1,500 (and insta-folding if someone came over the top of me) and Coach immediately blew up and started lecturing me about providing him protection, that that was the stupidest raise he'd ever seen, yada yada yada. He also debated calling himself but finally folded. Everyone else folded, UTG rolled over Q9, and turned a Q to stay alive. Coach exploded when a K hit the river, as he claimed to have K10s, and wouldn't stop talking about what an idiot I was, that the gained equity from knocking out UTG was much greater that what was in the pot, etc.

I just kept my mouth shut, as arguing with an idiot is pretty idiotic, but at the time I was pretty certain he was wrong. The more I think about it, though, the more I wonder. The chance to increase my stack by nearly 20% seemed more valuable at the time than eliminating a player with 30 remaining, but that was just my gut talking, and my gut can be an idiot at times.

The funny part is exactly the same thing happened about 2 hours later, with the same exact player going all-in for less from UTG for his last 600 chips. It folded around to me in the SB (we'd been moved to a new table) and I had QQ. Blinds were something like 400/800 now, with a 100 ante, I had about 30,000 in chips, though, and there were 12 players left. Gut said that was an easy call, and I did, and the BB and I checked it down and my queens held up to knock UTG out. Coach was long busted by then, so I didn't get to show off what a quick learner I was.

The other funny hand was from Coach Junior, who was at the same starting table in that tournament. Young guy, very much a balla wanna-be, wearing a Full Tilt hat and letting everyone know about silly prop bets with his friends, such as someone paying him $10,000 if he grew out his scraggly goatee to a foot in length. He wasn't terrible but he immediately assumed the wingman role for Coach, and insisted on calling everyone's hands, showing off his mad poker skillz.

I'd donked off about half my stack early on and was down to 2,500 or so when three limpers came in before me with blinds of 150/300 and I went ahead and shoved with AKs. It folded to Coach Junior in the BB, and he went into the tank, reading my soul, and he finally called. All the limpers got out of the way and I flipped over my hand. He did a double fist pump, banged the table, and screamed "I READ YOU PERFECTLY! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I PUT YOU ON!"

So I'm assuming he's going to turn over a mid/big pair of some sort and that we were off to the races. That is, until he turns over 5c 7c. Mmkay. And the fact that I flopped a K and won the pot only seemed to reinforce his call, as he kept saying "THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I PUT YOU ON!", even as the dealer pushed me the pot.

Nice read, sir, nice read...

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