Monday, June 30, 2008

No Tournament Birthday Love

So yesterday was my birthday. Yay, me. Creeping ever closer to 35, which is halfway to 40. Jebus. How in the world did that happen?

Playing a $1,500 NL tournament at the Rio wasn't going to work schedule-wise, so I played the $540 deep stack tournament (sorry, Roman overlords, but I refuse to refer to it as a "megastack" tournament no matter what you say) yesterday at Caesar's instead. 50 minute levels and 15,000 starting stacks made for quite a bit of play. Which was good, because I needed every single bit of it to keep my head above water as long as I did.

I was pretty surprised at the quality of play, as I expected it to be similar to the Venetian deep stacks tourneys I played back in April (which had the inevitable dead money but all in all had pretty competent players) but no, not so much. We lost three or four players in the first few hours who called off all their chips with hands like K10 on a K high flop, 88 on a Q 10 4 flop, etc.

I managed to lose a good chunk of my stack in the second level (about 8K) when I flopped top set but couldn't chase out a guy with the nut flush draw, who got there on the river. For the next 8 hours or so, I was rocking a pretty short stack, usually between 5K and 15K, and teetering on the brink the whole damn time.

For most of that time the biggest hand I had to work with was 22, but I managed to steal and re-steal enough to stay on life support. Frustrating, though, as I needed a double up (or three) to have any breathing room and just couldn't get it, or even find a decent enough hand to make a stand with facing early action, as I was more than ready to lump it in with something like 89s, J10s to try to double or end my misery.

I did have sort of a funny hand at the 200/400 level, when I was sitting on about 7,200. It folded around to me in the CO and I had 6h8h, and the blinds were super-super tight older guys. I'd been folding for about an hour myself, so it was a pretty safe assumption that the blinds would get out of the way unless they had a really strong hand.

My only worry was the button, who was the stereotypical clueless poker fanboi, who didn't shut up from the moment he sat down and told some long-winded story about Phil Laak but kept insisting his nickname was "The Jackal", talked about his high level strategy plays such as running a "stop and start", and so on. He was kinda steaming after he got caught bluffing in a hand (after he was re-raised he tanked for a long time, but kept checking his watch while he was in the tank, and finally folded then told the table that the "punishment" for re-raising him was that he'd make you wait at least 3 minutes before he acted) and had been over-shoving a good bit.

My stack was kinda awkward-sized for shoving so I opened for 1,200, ready to turbo-muck if either of the super-tight old dudes woke up as I could still limp along with 6,000 and blinds of 200/400 and raising much more than 1,200 leaves me pretty committed. Button and SB folded but BB instantly perked up and shoved, and I dwelled a bit to look appropriately pained and mucked.

Standard enough, except Fanboi starts clapping and congratulating the old guy, saying something along the lines of "Man, great read. Soul read." And kept on chattering about it for five minutes or so, until I finally couldn't help myself and asked him why he thought it was a great read on the BB's part. Looking at me like I regularly ride the short bus, he says "Because he knew you were on air." Mmmkay, fair enough. Super read, sir. You indeed have your finger on the pulse of the table.

After about 8 hours of short stack misery, I finally doubled with JJ versus AK, then got donkfish lucky right before the dinner break, in the BB with A2s and it folded to the SB, who was short-stacked and had been talking for thirty minutes about doubling or going home so as not to have to prolong the misery through the dinner break. He shoves and while I have him covered, it's only by about 10K (and blinds are 1K/2K after the break). I hate calling with A2s there as I'm very likely to be ahead of his range in that spot but only marginally ahead at best. But fuck it, I called, and he actually had AKo, so I'm looking pretty stupid until a 2 flops and holds up.

Won another big pot after the break and finally, nearly 11 hours into play, I'm close to average stack again, with about 60K and average stack of 65K, with about 80 players left and top 45 spots paying. With blinds of 1,500/3,000 I'm in the BB and look down to find KK, which is the biggest hand I've had all day. Of course it folds around to the SB and I'm mentally muttering and swearing when he instantly says "All-in".

He's got about 80K in chips and has been fairly active but not too crazy, and seems to know what he's doing. I pause for a tiny bit trying to make sense of such a ridiculous overshove giving the blinds and our stacks, but hell, I think I need to stop playing poker if I ever fold kings there.

I call and he immediately says "Oh no," which pretty much rules out aces. He instead rolls over J9o, and I immediately get that sinking feeling of dread. J on the flop, 9 on the turn pretty much confirms sinking feeling of dread, and that's all she wrote.

Not really sure what to make of the end there, as it's one of those odd cases where none of it makes sense. He wasn't an idiot or short-stacked and blinds and antes weren't big enough to make such a move very worthwhile, as his normal raise of 3-4xBB would have done the trick if I had nothing. He decides to pull that move for the first time the one time I have a huge hand, on my birthday, after patiently scratching and clawing away all day to keep myself alive and finally picking up some chips (and poised to pick up a ton more), and it proceeds to work out perfectly for him.

So, err, thanks poker gods. I guess I could have gone on a mad coke and hookers binge if I'd gone on to cash big in the tournament, so maybe you really were looking out for me.

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