Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Live Tournament

John Anderton: That's all, huh? Just walk right into Precrime, go into the Temple, somehow tap into the Precogs, and then download this Minority Report...
Dr. Iris Henimen: If... you have one.
John Anderton: and then walk out.
Dr. Iris Henimen: Actually, I think you'll have to run out, but yes, that's what you have to do.
”Minority Report”

On Saturday night past, we had the first large tournament organised which consisted of all the people I play against in the 2-3 different home games. We ended up with 27 runners and after much organisation we had a small hall for the event free of charge. We managed to get three tables to the event, of which I owned one and built two. It seems a few people were impressed enough with the tables that I might be able to sell one or two in the future…who knows?

We got under way slightly behind time, which was a worry because our normal 8 man tournaments have been known to go 6 hours plus. My table had maybe 2 good players, 1-2 decent players and the other four had no clue.

I was the small blind to begin the game and managed to take down the very first pot. The board didn’t show much, and when it paired the fives on the river, I put out a small bet when first to act. The dealer, who was a very good player. Looked at me and said “You hit that bloody five, didn’t you” and showed his top pair before mucking. I showed my busted straight and felt I had made a good start to the night.

It was a good move – I made a conscious tell on that river card. I knew he was a good player, and I knew he was watching other people’s reactions to the cards. I made a note of it on the flop and turn, and decided if the river missed me I would look directly down at my chips and put out a “value bet” so to speak. I don’t know if he caught it, but he seemed to act like he did.

I managed to get half the stack of one player who just called all the way with bugger all on another hand, and had the guy directly to my left down to the felt early on. After the first two levels though, my cards totally dried up and I spent the next 2 hours folding as all-in fests started. Each player had a five dollar bounty on them (along with the $20 buy in) so there was incentive to call.

I made a terrible play to loose nearly half my stack, when I raised UTG with absolute rags. I got the guy to my left calling and everybody else folded. I bluffed on the flop, he called. I fired again on the turn, and he called for all but 500 of his chips. The river came bringing five over cards to the board. He went all-in for his last 500 and I just could not call despite everyone on the table wanting me too. It was just a terrible hand that probably cost me money in the end.

Even though I got a few players down to all-in or fold levels, I never knocked anyone out, which was disappointing considering the bounties. When the cards dried up, I just folded my way to the final table. I was about the 3rd smallest stack out of the final 9, and 5 got paid.

Then we saw the most woeful hand of the night. Big stack raises to 2000 chips, when the blinds were 200/400. The guy to my left has 2575 total, and calls. Another player in late position also calls. The flop comes AKx, two clubs. Big stack checks, and the guy to my left, Mr “Any two cards can win” goes all-in for his last 575, which I guess he had no choice anyway. The other player calls, and the big stack moves all-in also, and the other guy calls again.

The flip them over – the big stack has pocket Kings, other guy has big slick, and the guy to my left has 73c. Naturally, the 4 of clubs hit the river. To make it worse, the “big stack” wasn’t actually the big stack, and the other guy had him covered by 75 chips. He was automatically all-in on the next hand, and was dominated by the guy to my left.

The beats just got worse from there – I think he was all-in at least 9 times through the tourny, and won only half of them. I was still just hanging around with my stack getting smaller all the time. When the bubble finally burst, I was in push or fold mode.

UTG +1, and I see a regular to my right, also a short stack, get that look on his face. The one where you are in push or fold mode, and you have a mediocre hand and wonder if you’ll see anything better. I know how much he hates pocket twos, so I tell him I know exactly what he has. He says “No, but you’re close”. I was holding pocket fives. Now I know he has either 3’s or 4’s, but unfortunately he folds. I push mine in and I guess I breathes a sigh of relief. This was the first time I was all-in for the night.

The guy to my left is the only one to call, with KTo. King on the flop, and I’m out in fifth. The guy holding pocket 3’s ends up third, and the clueless guy – any two cards can win guy – the “I’m trying to loose because my mates are already busted out” guy – finished second. I picked up $27 for fifth, which was $2 more than my buy in. I went and bought a beer and then I was even for the night.

The whole thing lasted just over 3 hours, so obviously our starting stacks were a little too small. But it ran smoothly, the crowd was well behaved and we had nobody that caused any trouble.

After about four people had been eliminated, the cash games started as was always the plan. By the time the tournament had ended, one player was up $250+ in the cash game. It seemed that was where the action was.

I eventually bought in to the $20 max spread limit holdem game. Before long I was reaching for the rebuys when Queens ran into Aces (which took most of my stack) and then I lost the next all in. I ran better the second buy in, and after a bit of a marathon session cashed out with a profit of just over $30 which I was happy with.

All the Greek guys were desperate to play “Manilla”, which I was definitely not playing with them. The pots seemed to be getting out of hand with them pushing it so often. For those unfamiliar, the game is played with two cards each like holdem, but the 6’s down are removed from the deck. The board is dealt out one card at a time, and there is no “pre-flop” betting round. Like Omaha, you have to use both cards in your five card hand. And because of the reduced deck, a flush beats a full house. Crazy game.

We eventually called it quits and had everything packed up by 5am. On my way home, dropping one more player off on the way, I get a call from my lovely Distraction. I thought it odd, because even though I was coming home early in the morning, this was quite common for these poker nights. However, she explained that when she called earlier in the night I quickly left when the security guards arrived at the hall and we had to make sure they knew we had permission to be here. She said she was worried with me being at a game with 30 people, where cash games would be happening and a lot of people I didn’t know. I thought about it, and she had a point. I’m glad I didn’t think of that earlier. Truth be known, all the people there I didn’t know where personal friends of the people I did know, and everything was safe and above board.

It was a great night, and it looks like we might make it once every three months or so, and I can easily see the numbers growing.

1 comment:

Mr Subliminal said...

Looks like poker (hold'em) got a boost down under due to Hachem's win. Back in my Melbourne days, we were playing Manila and none of us had even heard of Texas Hold'em.

P.S. The answer to my riddle can be found in your post.