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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Humble Beginning....

My last couple of circuit events both started with an early cash. Not the case here in Vegas. Good freaking gawd. I was so happy when the first day here finally ended. It started with such promise. It was a beautiful sunny day. I was up early. Got all my weekly 'Tuesday Stuff' done...punched out a blog post, and even did some situps and pushups, before walking the entire 2.2 miles (so measured on my iPad map) to the casino, arriving at 8 minutes past noon...which is perfect, because anyone who arrives between 5 and 20 minutes late is almost always guaranteed of drawing seat 5...which is what I shoot for. Mission accomplished. Seat 5. 

I sit down and in one hour pounded about 6 or 7 Perrier's. Noticed right away that I was at a table full of complete maniacs. One guy, looked like a smaller version of Antonio Esfandiary. Oh they were all plenty friendly. No douchebags among the group. Just...well, fucking wild. Any two cards. Position was dictating the action more than any hand strength. I hate tables like this. In tourneys like these. Because it causes you to pick a strategy early. This tourney is a real eye-opener after only playing WSOP events the past year. Those structures are so long and drawn out...and start with the same amount of chips (close, anyway) as Venetian. Only thing is...they START at 50/100 here...and it never slows down. By just level 6...we were already at 200/400 and half the field was gone. After starting with 262 players, there were only 55 remaining at the dinner break! No offense to the nice folks at the Venetian...but these events they stage need to be renamed...because they are SO NOT a Deepstack event. They are borderline turbos. 

I realized a lot about how I'm going to have to play here this week. Not like I usually do...which is to see a LOT of hands in the first three levels, try to chip up...then just sit back and play relatively tight poker while maintaining an above average stack. Hell...you have a large majority of the players here opening for way too much, and their c-bet always seems to take the pot to a place where they can never leave. So any semblance of 'pot control' is non-existent mostly. Flopping a set with a draw-heavy board is a nightmare...because, while you want to (ideally) maximize value from flopping a set...your first bet usually returns the information you are seeking, 'is he on a draw?' Well...about the time you bet out 450 into a 600 pot...and this yo-yo makes it 3000....you are backed into a corner. You know you are ahead. And you know you could still improve. But now this guy, who has left 4200 behind his crazy raise, has pretty much told you that he isn't folding for the rest of his chips if you put him all in. And what are you going to do? Smooth call his 3k, then wait to see if the turn completes his draw? Then what? Check? So he can go all in? Or maybe he plays it really stupid, hitting his draw, then checking...hoping to draw you in on the river (best case scenario) only to let you either (a) fill up with a boat, and whack HIS ass or (b) missing your boat, or quads...and merely check-folding to Captain Obvious who will likely make some stupid river bet that you're never going to call?

It's a plethora of bad players playing bad poker. The propensity with which players will limp in for, say 100...then call when a late-position player makes it 600...is mind boggling. I had a couple of players that just mystified me yesterday. On my second bullet of the noon $300 tourney...I sit down at my new table...and on the first hand...this fool...and yeah, I'm calling him a fool, because he was a fool! I'm not showing you the picture I took of him. I am not naming him. So, for you haters who complain that I 'call people out' and 'make fun of people?' Suck it. This guy...wearing his camou ball cap, with the crooked bend...raises (at 100/200) to 900 UTG. Yup...900. Then does that stupid move where he lowers his head...so that you can't see his eyes over the bill of his hat. Then spreads his arms out in front of himself...and splays his fingers..like a 3-toed sloth. Cocks his head to the side. My stomach immediately turns. What a fucking turdball. I ask the guy next to me...."Really? 900? Utg? Is that common for this guy?"  

"Oh yeah. He's really aggressive. His stack has been all over the place the whole tourney."

Mmmmm hmmm...could have guessed that I guess. So...it folds around to the small blind...who decides to re-raise the guy. Now see...here is a perfect example of what this over-betting bullshit does to the game. Had this bozo made it 550 or 600...it would have allowed the small blind to re-raise to say, 1500. Or close to that. But his ridiculous bet meant that this guy had to raise probably more than he wanted to...so he makes it 2200. Now, I should add...that this guy makes this 3-bet while leaving only about 4200 behind. So...if you have .16 cents worth of common sense, you could deduce that this guy isn't probably going to fold his hand. Right? So what does dipshit do? He does his best Durr immitation...glowering into the eyes of his nemesis, looking to the dealer, and essentially whispering, "I'm all in."

He then accuses the guy who snap called with the aces of 'slow rolling' him. No...fuckbone...he wasn't slow rolling you. He just couldn't HEAR you say all in because you were trying to play to the cameras that don't exist. You jackhole. So genius smirks, knowing his 'big play' just blew up in his face. Yeah...he was sitting on A9 off. Nice play. He flops a nine...and I'm thinking...'please for the love of God do NOT let this idiot hit another 9.' He didn't, thank god. He doubled back up a while later...but then predictably made another moronic play to eliminate himself for good. It's these guys...who just play like shit...bust, laugh about it...and move on to whatever they are doing next that make me hate poker. I mean...we show up with the intent to play well (most of us), and to get deep, and to win money to get by in life. Then you have these pinheads...who play like fucking morons, and will take out a handful of players like me, before donking off all your chips in circus-like fashion to the rest of the table. 

I was SO card dead in that noon tourney. I never had a pair bigger than 99. And when I got really low...and a lady raising utg with three callers for 1200, I look at AK in the SB with 5400 chips in my stack. All in! She calls and we get heads up. She has 99. First card I see in the window is an ace...and I feel pretty good, and hopeful that I'm about to get up to about 12k and have a shot now. All that was wiped out when, after sliding out the flop...the second card was a damn nine. Son of a bitch. Busto. Nice hand maam. 

On to the Omaha 8 or Better. $300. And...a typical Omaha event. Get in. Determine the table sucks. Run over table. Go from 10k to 16k very quickly.  Get to Level 6...then at 300/600...when raising with hands like AA23....A2K3...AKK3...am getting called by shit like J-3-7-10.....4-6-K-Q....and losing them all. I've got a guy who raised...ALWAYS raised...whenever he had position to raise...and then calling my re-raise...with SHIT. Missing on the flop...but betting anyway, and CALLING the check raise. On one particular hand...I had Q-J-4-4...double suited...and just called his repetitive raise from the BB. The flop comes K-10-4. Nice. Open ended with a set. I check. He bets 600. I raise to 1200. He calls. For the record...on this hand? He has A-3-10-6. The best he has flopped is a gutshot...with an unlikely low draw. The turn is a 9..giving me the nut straight...along with my set. I bet 1200 again. He calls, still with nothing. River? A seven...which gives him an emergency low...allowing him to split what should have been all mine. Fucking stupid. This kind of shit kept happening over, and over and over. Lousy hands. Rosy outcomes. Very frustrating. 

I would bust out of the Omaha around 8:30 after two disastrous orbits where I got rivered three times to lose all of the pots. While that was going on...the Presidential election was in full steam...and taking place at the table was some of the stupidest political conversation I've ever been privy to. How are some people so incredibly ignorant of what is going on in this country? I honestly think that half of our society retreats to their homes after leaving the casino...which happens to be a gigantic stone, that they slide to the right...crawl into a hole, and slide the rock back over the top of themselves.

So yeah, I busted out of the Omaha, and was now stuck (3) buy ins for the day, all for $300. Not good, Monkey...not good. Oh speaking of monkey...I've made a decision to stop using my monkey on the table. It was noticed by about 4 dealers. "Where is your monkey, Monkey?" Had to explain that I've just decided to start trying to not be so...uh...noticeable while at the table. If people don't know who I am...which a lot of them figure out when they see 'my monkey'...then the harder it will be for them to player-hate on me later. To them...now, I will just be any other player. I've got to do something to get this fucking target off of my back, and I think maybe that is a good place to start. As I sit at these tables...I wonder, how many of those assholes that were posting shit on 2+2 are here? How many, who were so brave with their comments on there...are amongst this crowd? It makes me feel almost like I just want to destroy every single stack at the table...assuming it could be ANY of them.

I played the nightly. Fortunately I never had to rebuy. It was the usual shit show. Terrible, terrible play. Worse...but not by too far, then in the noon tourney. During the nightly, they were holding a charity tournament that John Elway was involved with. I always knew Elway had a big head...but man...I mean...that thing on his shoulders is like...just huge. Freakishly huge. Guy sure has had a helluva career though, hasn't he?

There were about 125 in the nightly. I would get down to 45...and like an idiot, fold AQ when this kid behind me shoved all in...at 600/1200 and me with 5800 in my stack. Stupid. I get in in later...flop trips...against KK (me QJ) and get rivered by a king. That sucked. So that was over. FOUR buy ins....

I go buy into a $100 sit n go. While waiting I buy into the 1/2 game for $300. I would lose all of that. Lose KK to A7. Lose 10-10 to AA. Lose 77 to 99. Call guy's reraise with AQ...flop Q-10-4...and check raise him all in...only to find him holding KK. Fuck. Nice session. 

Go play Sit N Go. Get a $20 last longer going with 5. Won't bore you. Won some hands. Lost some hands. Got a big stack. Lost that big stack. Was short on chips. Sucked out with AQ vs AK. Had 88 hold up against AJ. Won the last longer. Won the SNG. Pocketed $415 after tipping the dealer...and left the casino with my spirits lifted just a little bit, at least. Treated myself to a $12 cab ride back to my hotel. I was still sore from the 2-mile walk that morning! Plus I'm not big on walking on poorly-lit streets with 8k in my pocket. 

So...in summation? It's going to take some slick maneuvering to win a tourney here. I'm going to have to make damn sure to get to every tourney on time...well between 5-20 minutes late (ideally) and try to play somewhat aggressively early. You have to. If not...you will get eaten up by the structure. And if you are below 5000 when it gets to 200/400...which comes quick...they don't consider that a good shoving stack. If a guy has 18-22k and raises to say 1200...with something like KJ? And you shove 5200 with 10-10? He is almost NEVER folding. Not here. Not these guys. Nope. So you need....badly, to get your stack to a place where they can fear it. Otherwise? You are just praying. And I don't like playing poker where I am relegated to praying. When playing with good players, in tourneys with good structures? You can play a nice patient, plodding game. Some might find that 'super nitty' or 'boring' but there is a very simple formula to it, and its successful...over a long run. But you just can't play like that here. So if you are card dead for four levels? Or missing every flop and not even able to take pots down by bluffing because the guy either blasts out a 'too-big' bet on the flop, or check raises the shit out of you when you have air? You are fucked. Definitely a different game in this house. 

Okay, well...wow...that's about as much 'poker-talk' as you are ever going to get out of me in a blog post. Might have even gotten a little carried away there. It's 9am now. I might try to take a little cat nap before getting up and getting ready. Today is another $300 buy in..with a $200 Big Bounty tourney at 3 (or maybe 4?) if things don't go my way in the nooner.

MONKEY

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