Monday, December 08, 2003

A Great Day in Laughlin

What a great day! In every way, this was truly wonderful.

Now let's go off to the Belle to play a hold'em tourney. I have heard that Mondays are rocking at the Belle. We missed last Monday's tourney, so I was not about to miss this one.

Sure enough, although we called in early, then arrived by 5pm, the place was packed, and our names were still about 20 down for any live games. I have to play cash games before the tourneys, so I can get advanced seating. If I wait until the seats go on sale, they will be sold out before 6pm.

Glenn decided to take the plunge back into poker with the $25 tourney. Everyone in the poker room who knows the situation just accepted that Glenn was back. None were too surprised.

Somehow I got seated in a $2-5 spread limit game. Ugh! Oh, well, I only had an hour before I needed to cash out for the tourney anyway. I actually had a fun time, which I haven't had in a long time, at a spread limit game. I only made $20, after tips and the rake, but it was fun, and back to elementary poker, for me.

I drew a small table for the tourney, once again. I got the two seat, and my table was very aggressive. What I find funny about people-in-poker (I find all people in poker absolutely fascinating and can never stop studying them), is that loose-aggressive players (LAP) sometimes get more respect in tourneys. People will fold to them more than someone like me, a virtual ROCK during the limit portion of the tourney. I usually get two or more callers when I raise BTF. A very loose-aggressive player, who was playing almost every hand, would either steal the blinds or get one caller at most. I have attributed this to the fact that when a rock like me raises, the callers "know" what they have to beat, that they have to "outdraw" me. With LAP's, they have no idea what the "maniac" might have. If the flop comes T66, the maniac might already have a full-house, LOL.

At any rate, during the first hour of the tourney, I had lots of Group I hands, and all of them were outdrawn. Surprise, surprise, surprise, as Gomer would say. NOT! What is surprising, however, is that I didn't have to do a rebuy! I never lost my original 100 in chips, because my stupid hands won pots. My stupid blind hands, which saw a free flop. Go figure! :smirk:

I received a ton of pocket pairs in the first hour. 77, KK, JJ, QQ, 55, 77, 33. The fives flopped a set against the female LAP at our table, and she paid me off all the way. My 76s in the BB turned a straight.

At the end of the first hour, I was down to 75 chips. No sweat. I purchased the $20 add-on for 500 chips and clamped down, ready to play my "A" game, No-limit Hold'em.

Nuttin' happenin' honey, not for a long while. Nuttin and more nuttin! I started getting blinded down. A couple of blind increases, and I was down to about 225. Yipes!

I went all-in BTF with ATs, and even the big blind folded for 125 more chips! What the heck? Good thing they have no clue, cuz I probably would have been walking back to Houston.

Nuttin' more for a while, just junk hands like 84o, 73o, blah, blah. The blinds increased to 100/200 and I was down to my last 400 in chips. Time to do something! My last couple of hands before the BB were worse than the average random hands, so I decided to take my chance in the BB with anything.

Someone in EP raised my blind, and it was folded to me. I hadn't looked at my hand, but said to the raiser, "I pretty much have to go all-in with anything, at this point. So unless I have the worst hand imaginable, you're going to get my chips." :p

I looked down to see Q7s, and, indeed, went all-in. He flipped over AKo. I got a queen, and doubled through.

Now get ready for this!

The very next hand I was dealt AKo. ALL-IN! Doubled again. The next hand, on the button, I got AQs, folded to me, ALL-IN! The big blind was a little desperate, and only had about 400 chips after paying his blind, so he called with KJ. He flopped open ended, but queens held up, and he went home.

Just a couple of hands later, I had QQ. Someone went for a steal, and I went ALL-IN once again! He had junk, and I sent another one packing. Now I was a menace, with about 4000 chips.

On the button I was dealt A9o. We were shorthanded, by that time. It was passed to me, and I raised to 1000 (BB was 200). Both blinds folded.

Our table broke, due to losing so many players in such a short time.

I was given table II. The female LAP drew table I.

I was sitting next to a young Asian. He was on my left, and had just stolen with a raise BTF. Russ was also at our table, and although he only had about 2000 chips, he is always a force to be reckoned with. Pat was also at my table, and playing well. In fact, there were four of the original seven women at our table!

My streak of good, stealable hands continued. I kept increasing my stack. The Asian on my left started to get short. In the BB he was dealt an ace. An EP player had gone all-in before him. He hemmed and hawed, then showed me his ace and folded. Folded???? That left him with 400 chips! What the heck was he thinking? He seemed to want to know what I thought about his fold. I told him that with only my 400 chips in the BB, plus another 400 sitting in front of me, at this stage of the game, I would have gone all-in with any ace, especially since I was head's up. He complained that his "kicker" was no good, only a nine or a ten, he couldn't remember (???). Okay, so this guy is pretty clueless.

Anyway, of course he had to go all-in the next hand, in the SB. He was luckily dealt JJ, but there were two all-in's before it ever got to him, and naturally he was outdrawn.

What are these people thinking? Did he really think that his 200 chips were going to do some damage at those levels? Well, whatever these people are thinking, I love them, and hope they continue to think the same way!

Our table quickly got shorthanded, as the 200/400 blinds are brutal, given the total number of chips on the table. Most hands, at this point, were all-in hands, by one player or another. I was able to eliminate a few of these players, and my stack kept rising. Now I had about 7000 chips or so. The action got so fast that I couldn't take notes anymore, so I have forgotten some of the key hands. I was involved in so many pots. The deck was simply running over me.

The LAP from my first table was seated to my left, to replace a busted player. She was very, very short by this time. Surprise, surprise, she had turned into a super tight NLHE player. Amazing. I am quite the opposite. I am a virtual boulder during the limit portion of the tourney, trying to hold on to my 100 in chips, instead of doing the $10 rebuys for another 100. I don't get much value out of those rebuys, so it's better to just hang on to my original 100, and get blinded down if I don't get premium cards. Then, when things switch to NLHE, I kick it up. I become much more loose and aggressive, going all-in with hands like A9, or any ace, when it has been passed to me on the button or one of the blinds. I pick my spots carefully, I am no fool, but I am most definitely playing FAST and hard. There is no real middle ground. I either make a bet so big that a player will have to go all-in to play, or I go all-in myself. Call me "simple," but that is my strategy.

She, on the other hand, had played virtually every hand during the limit portion of the tourney. For instance, in one hand, she called UTG with 87o. I raised with pocket kings. The flop came all rags, with an eight. She stayed in, although I kept betting. The turn was another rag. The river was an eight, and her three eights beat my pocket kings. She actually apologized, citing that she hates to get premium hands outdrawn. Funny!

Getting back to the latter part of the tourney, when we were down to two tables, she was moved to my left, and very short. She went all-in UTG when I was the big blind. It was only a couple more chips to me, so I called with some kind of horrible hand like J4o. She doubled through me. I think she had AQo or something similar.

She went back into her ultra-tight mode for a while. I was very surprised.

Soon our table was down to six. Five women, and Russ. LOL. All of the old dudes kept coming over to our table and telling him to "keep his chin up," and all of that blather. Hahaha!

The only other woman left was at the table I. When it was down to six at our table, and five at her table, she busted out. Now we were ten, but five of us were women! I was so shocked, since there were only seven women entrants to start. Gooooo, Girls!

Russ was still hanging in there. His stack wasn't really increasing, but he was holding his own, with very bold cardplay and good steals against women who were too tight in the blinds.

I drew the five seat at the final table. We were all in the money, and I was the chip lead by far. Here was the line-up:

A deer-in-headlights man, tourist, was in the one seat. He was shortstacked. I had never seen him before. Betty was in the two seat. Poor Betty deserves a post of her own someday. She is a sixty-something retiree, to the best of my guesstimation. She is very intelligent. I am told she has a doctorate from MIT and worked for NASA for many years. But poor Betty is unhappy. Unhappy all the time. She is too tight in both tourneys and cash games.

Jeez, I can't remember who was in the three seat. Early-timers, I suppose, LOL.

Larry, my favorite old goat, was in the four seat. He had some chips. I was in five with the lead. Six was another senior, I can't remember his name right now, but he is pretty tight. Seven was Pat, the friendly lesbian I've gotten to know over the past few months, and like quite a bit. We talk regularly, as we are neither the most "feminine" women in the world, haha! Eight was the LAP from my first table. She was still hanging on. I found out her name is Joyce. A male retiree was in the nine seat. He is a strange bird. At times, he will play so tightly that he is throwing away winning hands. I know he has to be. Then he will play some trash hand, and play it hard, going all-in, or close to it, when there is no chance he can win the pot. I don't get him. He has no rhyme or reason. These "moves" are not when the time is right, or to steal, they are just done at random, stupidly. Go figure.

Russ was in the ten seat. He was holding his own, but not in a great chip position.

Roll the dice and let the games begin...

I lost the chip lead a couple of times, but kept getting it back. I just got the right cards at the right times. Mostly I let the other players fight it out. For whatever reason, lots of players were going all-in, right from the start of the final table. No problem with me, I'll sit back and let them knock each other out. What was weird, is that they were usually short stacks vs. other short to medium stacks. The bigger stacks weren't trying to bully the short stacks at all. Strange!

The women started pulling ahead. Pat, Joyce and I were outplaying most of the guys, and the girls, for that matter. Betty was folding everything. I have no idea what she thought she could accomplish by folding so many hands, but she did work her way up in the money a few notches, by just refusing to play.

Larry tried to make a move with JTo. He had a nice stack. Joyce called before he could finish saying "all in," and produced KK. She had about five more chips than him (500). Larry started to get up, he knew he was busted. But then, as happens in poker so often, the flop came down TTx. Larry sat back down, exclaiming how lucky he'd just gotten. Joyce didn't take it too badly, but she obviously wasn't pleased. We all figured she would be the next out.

As things would go, there were lots of premium hands coming up. Most of them were not in my greedy little palms, but dealt to other players. There were many all-in hands. The final table shrank quickly. I increased my stack little by little. I was staying pretty tight, but very aggressive. If I was in a hand, I was IN. I had AKo a couple of times, and once was called by an inferior hand, who went home in fifth or sixth place.

Poor Larry started getting good hands beat by better hands. His previous JT suck-out came back to haunt him, as his 33 got called, and beat by KK. Then the coup de grace was when he went all-in, in EP with 99, only to be called by Joyce's AA and another player's KQs. Larry went home.

Joyce was now a force to be reckoned with, having a big stack. She had been pushing for a deal since we were five handed. This is when things get sticky with Joyce. I have to report the truth, and my observations, so here I go, unpleasant as it may be.

Joyce smells bad. Her hair is greasy and unkempt. She doesn't look like she showers often. She lost a finger on one of her hands, and it looks like it was fixed at one point, so that two knuckles were merged into one finger, down the middle. She doesn't seem quite "with it," and maybe has a drug problem. I don't know, this is pure speculation, but I think something is most decidedly wrong there. Even when she was the shortest stack, she was begging the rest of us to chop with her, because she "hadn't paid her rent and was broke." Russ refused. He was nice, but stern about it.

Now the deck was hitting Joyce like a freight train, and she was almost even with me. I was happy for her, she was playing well. I rarely saw her make an error in play.

Russ raised in EP. It was quite a substantial raise, about 4x the BB. I pondered his face. I looked at my SB, to find AQs. We were four handed, by this time, I believe. I was given lots of time, because the dealers have learned to know when I am thinking, and not to push me. The more I looked at Russ, the more I felt he was on a pure steal. I simply called his huge raise. I had him outchipped, but if I went all-in, and lost the hand, he would be the lead, and I would be about tied with the shortest stack. With Russ, anything is possible, so I wasn't about to be crippled with little slick.

The flop came KQx. I had to act first, but I took my time, studying the effect that the flop had on Russ' face. I couldn't get much of a read, but my initial feel must have been correct, because when I bet 3x the BB, Russ mucked faster than I could even finish the bet. Now Russ was in trouble.

Joyce tried to be a little cruel by telling Russ that now he was short, and now that she was doing well, she would NEVER chop with him. She kept baiting him, but Russ is so laid back that he took it well. I think she meant absolutely no harm, that is just her way of talking, but it wasn't so nice, at any rate. :(

Russ would have to go all-in when the next BB hit him. He chose to do it on the button. I was the SB with 98s. I completed. Joyce checked. We checked it down, and Russ mucked to Joyce's pair. We were down to three.

I could tell that I was going to have to eliminate the retired, "strange" guy. Joyce was just playing very aggressively, with no sneak at all in her play. She did not ever attempt a check-raise, slowplay, etc. She just played straight up poker, and he was too crafty to get mixed up with her. So the task fell to me. I knew I had to wait for my chance.

Joyce had the chip lead, but not too far ahead.

I was in the BB with QTo. I didn't raise the blind, as it was only me and the strange player. He was much shorter than me, perhaps only 1/3 of my stack or less. The flop gave me broadway. There were two diamonds on board, but I had one diamond, and I was definitely in the position to trap him, not fearing that he was holding two diamonds. I checked the flop. He looked at the flop for a long time, then he looked into my eyes. That was his downfall. He never looked into my eyes until he had studied the flop for too long. I knew I could get him this way. I always look at my competition when the flop comes down. I don't look at the flop until I either get some type of read on them, or I have to act. He, however, would study the flop, then study his opponents' eyes. Mistake! I knew he made this mistake, having watched him play at the final table for this long, and I took advantage of his weakness. I trapped him.

The turn brought an offsuit six, and I checked again, having seen in his eyes that the six excited him. He shoved all-in. Aha! I did it. He had a six with a straight draw, I believe T6o. I called before he could finish putting out his chips, and he immediately said, "Uh oh!" I turned over my hand and he said, "She trapped me, I fell right into it!" I got his chips, and now I was on par with Joyce again.

Joyce kept exclaiming what a great play I'd made, once he left the table. She seemed genuinely impressed, as if she'd never attempted a check-raise or a trap play in her life. :confused:

As #3 was getting paid, she asked me to chop again. I whispered to her that I would gladly chop (as she was slightly the chip lead, and playing hyper-aggressively at this point. Also, my sugar was low, and I felt that if I needed to leave the table, at least I would be assured of a first/second even chop.), but that I wanted to "play it out," as I had not played out a tourney in a long, long time. I had to whisper because I heard it is against the "deal making rules" at the Belle to chop, but play it out. Don't ask me why. I guess maybe someone renegged once, so they stopped allowing those kinds of deals.

Anyway, we agreed amongst ourselves to chop evenly, but to play it out for the "title." I feel that I am a much better player than Joyce, but due to her hyper-aggressive shorthanded style, plus my ever-perilous sugar situation, I really thought I made the best choice.

Joyce started going all-in, hand after hand. About 50% of the hands, she was declaring all-in. I felt she was just doing this to end the tourney, but couldn't have been more wrong, when I showed her a piece of cheese after her 2nd or 3rd all-in, and she showed me the goods. After that, she kept showing me excellent hands. The deck was clobbering her, and dealing me cold. She showed me ATs, AQo, A9s, etc, hand after hand. I was dealt 94o, 85o, etc. LOL, gotta love poker! :D

At any rate, about ten minutes into our head's up play, she went all-in again. I was getting decidedly shortstacked, folding almost everything to her, either pre or post-flop. I found Q9o, which was the best hand I'd seen since we'd played HU, and called her last all-in. Once again, she had the goods. AJs, I believe, and IGHN.

We split the prize money. First was $1160, second was $584, I believe.

She was so excited, exclaiming she could now pay her back rent, etc. I felt bad for her, in a way, because she obviously has many problems.

My sugar was low, and Glenn had just brought me a protein shake right before my demise. I gulped that puppy down and felt instantly better.

I played really well in this tourney, and had a miraculous comeback from 225 in chips. I was never confused or muddy, as my sugar wasn't low enough to hurt my play.

Glenn kept saying this was going to be the most exciting story I've written, since I came back from nothing, as did Joyce. Two women, playing hard and fast, to overcome the field of about 50 men to 7 women! Five women made the money. Outstanding!

I love tournament poker!

Felicia :)