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Old 11-28-2007, 02:32 PM
Foucault Foucault is offline
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Default Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

Man I hate live poker tournaments. Only the biggest buy-in events have a reasonable structure, such that even when you're playing for thousands of dollars, you don't get a lot of room to play poker. But every now and again I tempted by them, because the atrocious play does kind of make up for the bad structure. Generally I feel like my time would be better spent playing live cash games, though.

Anyway, my starting table was about as good as I could have hoped. Jonathan Little (2p2's Fiery Justice, currently 2nd in Cardplayer's Player of the Year rankings) was a few seats to my right, but mostly the table was comprised of middle-aged wannabes who operated at various levels of cluelessness. They weren't very animated or talkative, though, so I've just got a few hands to mention, no good stories from the first table. But hang in there, there's a real character at my second table.

Slow and Steady

We started with 25/50 blinds and 3000 chips. The guys on my left were kind of loose, so I was playing very tight and straightforward poker for a while. The first real pot I played, I raised to 150 with 99 and got three callers, including the BB. I bet 400 at a K85hh flop, and only the BB called. He was the player I thought would have the most K's in his pre-flop range, and I figured I was probably beat. The turn was a T, and we both checked. But then a 9 came off on the river, and he checked, called 1000, and mucked when I showed my set. That provided some breathing room for me right off the bat.

I folded some garbage for a while, then re-popped the guy on my right with ATo when we were both in late position, taking it down pre-flop.

After one hour of play, the blinds doubled to 50-100. The first pot I played at this level, I opened to 300 with TT in relatively early position, and the SB moved all in for 1250. Live players are notoriously nitty, but I'd already seen this guy open shove UTG once (he wasn't called), and he wasn't giving off any strong tells. Also, he was Asian, and absent evidence to the contrary, I always assume Asians are about 20% more aggressive than their Occidental equivalents. So I called and won a race against his AQ.

Jonathan was raising a lot of pots, but he also seemed to be getting a lot of good hands, and I wasn't really interested in tangling with him anyway, since almost everyone else at the table was bad. The only pot we played, I re-raised him with QQ and he folded.

Spotting Tells

I just finished reading Joe Navarro's Read 'Em and Weep (review coming soon to the Books and Publications Forum) and was trying to make more of an effort to spot people's tells. I never picked up anything really blatant during a pot in which I was involved, but a few things I spotted during other pots seemed to be accurate, so I was feeling confident about that. For example, I twice saw players in early position raise their eyebrows and sit up a bit in their seats before limping into the pot, and both times they ended up reraising. Though I didn't get to see the cards of either, I think it's safe to say they were both pretty strong.

The only move I tried to make based on a read did back-fire, though. There was an early position limper, and I completed something like T4s in the SB. The flop came AJ2, and the action checked to the limper, who bet 200. I generally don't give early position limpers credit for an Ace, though that's a better assumption online than live. In this case, though, the guy had stared at the flop for a long time when it came out, which both Navarro and Caro say is a sign of weakness. This is a decent spot to check-raise bluff anyway, since the limper will often stab at this flop with anything, so I raised to 550. Unfortunately, the BB cold called the raise, so I had to give it up on the turn. The limper did fold, though, so my read on him may have been correct.

Next orbit, an early position player limped in for 100, and I raised to 400 with KQo from relatively early position myself. One of the looser players on my left called, as did the limper. The flop came KJ5, I bet 800, the loose player called, and the limper folded. I wasn't particularly concerned about being beat, but I felt the best way to get in two value bets would be to check the turn (it was a blank) and value bet the river. To my surprise, though, the guy bet 1500. This was a bit troubling, because he was kind of passive, but I just couldn't lay down top pair second kicker yet. I called, we checked through the river, and he showed me AK. This is a spot where I feel like a really good live player might be able to get away on the turn if he had enough trust in his read. It was a big blow to my stack.

The same guy won a small pot off of me a few hands later when I raised KQ again and he called. The flop came 983r, not a great board for a c-bet, but he was calling such a wide range pre-flop that I had to try. Unfortunately, he called. The turn was an 8c, putting a flush draw on the board, and we both checked. I checked again on a river T, and now he bet 1500. When he checked the turn, I figured he was probably drawing, but his most likely draws (76 and JT) both just made something, so I folded, and he showed me 76s, having also picked up a flush draw on the turn.

Short Stack Ninja

At the end of the second hour, we got a 15 minute break, then blinds doubled again. Like I said, it was a disgusting structure. Having just lost a big pot, I was now down to like 11 or 12 BB's. The guy on my right tried to open limp from the SB, but I shoved on him without even looking at my cards and he folded. I open shoved AT from late position and took the blinds, then did the same thing with a small pair the next orbit. A few hands later I got AK UTG, and even though I had about 14 BB's at that point, I went ahead and just shoved anyway, hoping to get looked up light. No such luck, though I was happy to take the blinds.

Now with a bit more room to maneuver, I opened to 550 with 55 on the button, and both blinds called. I couldn't afford to bet at a 984 flop, so we checked it down all the way, and amazingly my 55 held up. That's one of the perks of live poker: you get to showdown marginal hands that no good player would ever allow you to see a river with.

Accumulation

We'd been busting a lot of people from out table, and eventually another familiar face showed up: Allen Cunningham. I've played mid-stakes Razz with him online a few times, but had no NLHE experience with him. Everything I've heard suggests he's very good, though, and I definitely got that sense from him today. He's a quiet but likable guy and very focused at the table. He just kind of exudes competence and intelligence, which isn't a feel that I've gotten from a lot of the other well-known pros with whom I've played.

He started off fairly short and tight, but then won two big pots and seemed to open up a little. He'd just folded to a re-raise from the SB and opened to 600 the next hand when I found 66 in the SB with a stack of about 4000. I thought for a while about whether he'd be more or less likely to have a hand given that he'd just been re-raised, but then I decided that I had a good resteal stack with a pair against a kinda late position raiser and I was just going to stick it in. He asked for a count but folded before I gave him a number, which was fine by me.

After this hour, we finally got a reprieve from the doubling blinds. They stayed at 100/200 and we added a 25 ante. This was incentive for me to open up a bit, and for some reason the guys on my left started calling a bit less, which was perfect. I stole the blinds a few times, but didn't get into any big pots this level.

After another hour, blinds doubled yet again to 200/400/25. With about 6000 chips, I open completed 98s in the SB against a pretty bad player in the BB. He checked his option, and the flop came AT7. Most players, even bad ones, will raise an A in this spot pre-flop, so I often bet a flop like this with air. The straight draw just made it that much more attractive of a proposition. I bet 700, and he raised to 1400. [censored] you. All in. He stared at me for a while and folded angrily. Yeah I didn't think so, you little min-raising bitch.

"Works every time except the last," he muttered. The other annoying thing about live poker is the dumb [censored] people say. I had my Ipod on, but with the sound on fairly low. Although I heard him perfectly well, I wanted to give him a hard time for mouthing off to me, so I took the ear buds out and asked him to repeat himself, as though I were really interested in this little nugget of wisdom he'd just laid on me. Looking even more annoyed, he said, "That all in works every time except the last." I made a point of laughing really loud as though this was the first time I'd heard that and as though he were trying to be friendly.

A few orbits later, the same clown called an UTG raise from Cunningham and moved all in over a bet on a J75 flop. His AJ lost to Cunningham's 77, and I was tempted to repeat his stupid line back to him, but I behaved myself and kept quiet.

A very tight guy on my right made a donkishly huge open raise to 1800 from kind of late position, and I honestly considered folding AQ, but I just wasn't in the mood. Although this is often AK, it's rarely AA, and the possibility of AJ/AQ/maybe even smaller pairs and worse Aces convinced me I should shove for 9K. He folded, which was fine.

After that pot and a few blinds steals, I was finally sitting on a healthy stack again, and then got a pair of K's, the best hand I'd seen all day. I raised to 1200, and one of the loose bad players called in the SB. Thankfully, he'd luckboxed his way into a nice stack of his own, and I was licking my chops at the prospect of adding it to my own. The 456 flop was not exactly what I was hoping for, but when he led into me for 2500, I had a feeling he was trying to protect a pair rather than semi-bluff a draw, which meant he was right where I wanted him. I asked for a chip count, then moved all in. He called me pretty quickly with 22, and I busted him to win my largest pot of the tournament. It put me over 20,000 chips and probably in the top 15% or so of the remaining players. I didn't get a chance to count, though, as our table was broken and I had to take my newfound winnings over to another table post-haste. That's ok, my work there was done.

The Story Gets Good

Naturally, when I took my new seat, there were several dumb comments about how many chips I had. I heard one person say, "You and the 10 seat should play a big pot. Then we'd really have a chipleader." I glanced over to the dealer's right and saw a middle-aged guy in a beard and a Las Vegas hat sitting on a stack at least twice the size of mine. Then I saw the beer in his hand. Then I saw the way he was swaying in his seat and slurring his speech. Good lord, he was drunk off his ass and sitting on about $20,000 of cash equity! I was literally salivating as I stacked my chips.

Unfortunately, he wasn't playing as many pots as I expected, though he was making an ass of himself in other, often humorous, ways. For one thing, he was trying to flirt with a skinny but otherwise unattractive middle-aged dealer and asked her if she didn't use to do interviews for Cardplayer's website (if you've never seen their 'reporters', they are mostly attractive young airheads). She sort of laughed awkwardly, and he slurred, "You did, didn't you?!" and touched her shoulder. She jerked away from him quickly.

Then he tried to hit on a very attractive Eastern European woman who was serving drinks. He was tipping well and ordering a ton of drinks, so she would usually give him a little shoulder pat and a few seconds of conversation when she came by. All that friendliness evaporated pretty quickly after this interaction:

Drunk: "You've got a beautiful accent."

Hot Waitress: "Thank you."

Drunk: "Where are you from?"

Hot Waitress: "Ukraine"

Drunk: "Where's that, like Russia?"

Talk about the wrong thing to say. The look on her face was priceless. To her credit, she handed him his drink and walked off without another word.

I decided I should get on Drunky's good side, so I asked where he was from. "Right here. Well, Pahrump," he responded.

"I've been to Pahrump," I told him, which was true. My girlfriend and I had lunch there on our way to Death Valley back in February.

"That's where all the..." he kind of trailed off, as though he were about to say something inappopriate, and the whole table started laughing.

I quickly figured out what he was talking about: Pahrump has legalized prostitution, and it's brothels are a popular side trip for a particular type of Vegas tourist. I laughed and nodded along with him as though I'd known that all along. "Yep, I know," I assured him

The rest of the table assumed something else from this. "Of course he knows," I heard someone on my right say. "Why else would he have gone to Pahrump?" I may have tarnished my reputation, but I succeeded in getting on Drunky's good side.

He was also constantly forgetting when it was his turn to act and how much he ought to be betting or raising. Once, without even looking at his hand, he announced that anyone who tried to steal this pot was going to be in trouble. "Even you, Boston," he warned me with a smile. Everyone must have believed him, because the action folded to him in the SB. By this point, he'd lost interest and was looking around the casino. The dealer tapped him on the shoulder. He swiveled in his seat, teetered for a moment, regained his balance, and asked, in all seriousness, "Did I win the pot yet?" The whole table laughed, he raised, and the BB folded.

What Goes Up

The last significant pot I played at this level occurred when there were three limpers and I checked 52o on my BB. The flop came K74, and I figured I was done with the hand, but the action checked around, and a turn 3 brought me an open-ended draw. There aren't a lot of K's I'd expect anyone to be limping at this level, there were no flush draws on the board, and there weren't really even any plausible two pair hands for any of them. I, however, playing as the unraised blind, could have absolutely anything. I led out for 1600, and only the first limper called.

The river brought an 8, and I decided to follow up my bluff with one more big bet, thinking I could get him off of like 99 or 76 or something. I bet 5000, and he tanked for a while before moving all in. Whoops. A few players on my speculated that he might have had KK for a slow-played top set, which seems plausible.

The next blind increase was less than double for once, jumping only to 300/600/50. I tried opening AJs UTG to 1650, but an aggressive and seemingly competent young guy in the SB reraised to 5000, and I had to fold. I thought he might have been from 2+2, and after the table broke, he did indeed introduce himself as JP OSU.

I finally got to play a pot with Drunky when he raised my BB. Even though we weren't that deep anymore, I decided I was going to call him with anything and check-raise all in on most flops, simply because he was playing so erratically. He made it 2200, and I called with T8s. We went heads up to a K95 flop, which was ideal for my plan, assuming he'd bet anything but only call all in with a K or better. I guess I was wrong, though, because he checked behind.

A turn J gave me an open-ended draw, but I still wanted to check-raise all in, so I checked to him again. To my frustration, he checked it back again. A 7 on the river gave me the nuts, and I decided just to bet out 4000 and hope he'd feel obligated to call since he'd played so passively up to this point. Infuriatingly, he folded.

Worst Beat of the Day

My worst bad beat of the day had nothing to do with the cards I was dealt. It was having this second table break and getting moved away from the drunk with the massive stack.

I was still unracking my chips when I got dealt JJ. Someone in early position raised in front of me to 1800. A quick count told me I had about 16,000 chips, an awkward size. I decided just to call the raise. I was still getting my bearings at the table and hadn't even taken a look at the raiser or his stack.

We went heads up to a T53 flop, and he bet out 3500. Ugh. I looked over and saw he had about 9000 behind, meaning that his pre-flop raise had been for more than 10% of his stack. Ugh. If he was a knowledgeable player, he wouldn't be raising so much without a strong hand, and he wouldn't be betting this flop with like AK for 25% of his stack. Ugh. Maybe if I'd been at the table for a bit and knew something about this guy, I could have laid it down, but I'd put in more than 10% of my stack pre-flop as well, and now I couldn't bring myself to fold an overpair to one bet with such shallow stacks. I moved in, he called with QQ, and I was crippled.

The next hand, I open shoved 77 for less than 2 BB's and lost to KQ.

There's a $3K prelim event on Friday that I may play, but frankly I'm tempted to just to go play cash games instead. They had like three tables of 10-20 NL going yesterday, plus at least one 25-50 and 50-100, which meant that the best players weren't going to be at 10-20. I'm 90% sure that would be more profitable than the tournament, but for some reason I feel a strange compulsion to play the tournament anyway. We'll see.

By the way, JP OSU has final tabled the tournament along with Layne Flack, Nick Binger, and Pocket Fives' Basebaldy. He's 4/10 coming in, and they start play at 3PM today. Goooooooo JP!
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2007, 02:46 PM
JP OSU JP OSU is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

Thanks for the well wishes sir... good read...

Also I had AKo that hand I repopped you...

And that was Basebaldy on that K8743 board...
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2007, 02:54 PM
RonFezBuddy RonFezBuddy is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

[ QUOTE ]

"Works every time except the last," he muttered. The other annoying thing about live poker is the dumb [censored] people say. I had my Ipod on, but with the sound on fairly low. Although I heard him perfectly well, I wanted to give him a hard time for mouthing off to me, so I took the ear buds out and asked him to repeat himself, as though I were really interested in this little nugget of wisdom he'd just laid on me. Looking even more annoyed, he said, "That all in works every time except the last." I made a point of laughing really loud as though this was the first time I'd heard that and as though he were trying to be friendly.


[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not done reading this yet but I had to stop and LOL for a bit at this passage.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2007, 03:02 PM
Annulus Annulus is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

great read and very well written. gl the rest of the way/
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2007, 03:08 PM
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

great read
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:30 PM
tedtodd tedtodd is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

Good stuff man. GL in the cash games!
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2007, 03:49 PM
ianisakson ianisakson is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

[ QUOTE ]
And that was Basebaldy on that K8743 board...

[/ QUOTE ]

basebaldy never has KK in that spot, most likely 88 as played
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:51 PM
JP OSU JP OSU is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
And that was Basebaldy on that K8743 board...

[/ QUOTE ]

basebaldy never has KK in that spot, most likely 88 as played

[/ QUOTE ]

Ya that really is true cuz he loves to raise from EP w/ a wide range so It'd be dumb to limp...
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2007, 04:34 PM
greg nice greg nice is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

cash games are good if you like playing like a nit and being bored out of your mind. the 5-10s yesterday where a zzzfest. most profitable is to just stay home and multitable online. live poker is the worst if you are actually trying to make money.

but, if you want to have fun and piss off grumpy old nits and raise them off top pair every hand and have them wishing flat tires and car crashes on you, then its a good time
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2007, 04:36 PM
Foucault Foucault is offline
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Default Re: Trip Report: $1500 Bellagio Prelim

[ QUOTE ]
cash games are good if you like playing like a nit and being bored out of your mind. the 5-10s yesterday where a zzzfest. most profitable is to just stay home and multitable online. live poker is the worst if you are actually trying to make money.

but, if you want to have fun and piss off grumpy old nits and raise them off top pair every hand and have them wishing flat tires and car crashes on you, then its a good time

[/ QUOTE ]

I actually do really enjoy that. See you Friday!
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