Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Tuesday, March 16, 2004--Part I

(Sorry I have been MIA. My PC got a nasty virus. I was always told that as long as I didn't download anything, I would be safe from viruses. So I had very little protection on my PC. Lo and behold, a certain website was a scam for most viruses; malware, adware, spyware, etc. I let one in, and boom, my entire PC was taken over. For two days I tried to save it, but in the end, I decided to just start over. I am finally running properly again, so here is my latest story. Part II will come tomorrow.)


Sheesh, I go from the worst tourney streak to a good one in the course of one tourney to another. Poker is so strange.

Tuesday is the $110 NLHE tourney. Even though we start with LHE, I still call it a NLHE tourney because for the bulk of the the time, we play NLHE. The "real" tourney starts after the first hour, and that is when I usually start playing. No, I'm not going to fold premium hands in the first hour, but I do play more cautiously and know that I will get outdrawn quite a bit.

After the last two months, I felt like my NLHE game was in shambles. I simply could not win a hand post-flop. Sometimes I would go all-in pre-flop (with a short stack, out of desperation or a feeble attempt not to see the flop), and win, but if we saw a flop, I was toast.

At times, I would become so shortstacked that I would go all-in with something like AA, KK, AK, QQ, to get called solely by the BB, who only had to call a chip or two in order to see the river and take a chance of putting me out. For the last two months, playing two hold'em tourneys per week, I had lost every one of those showdowns. It seems impossible, to run that badly, but it happens. Tourney pros talk about it all the time, not winning a tourney in years. Not even cashing for several months. I know it is possible, but when it is happening, it just seems absurd and unbelievable.

Anyway, let's go to the Tuesday night NLHE tournament. I had no high hopes, I had abandoned any thoughts of winning showdowns, getting into the top 20, or the final table. My morale wasn't so hot, even with the turnaround of the last few tourneys (WBT II online Wednesday: 5th place. Omaha8 Thursday: 5th place. O8 Friday: 8th place).

I drew table three. Most of the participants were tourists, which is strange, because the $100 tourney usually has locals. I remember when we first started playing the $100 tourney weekly, instead of monthly (I won the last monthly tourney, and got the last trophy, btw). We couldn't get participants. Sometimes we played just one table! For weeks we never had more than 20 players. Now it is almost selling out! This is the only Belle tourney that doesn't add the $500 from the BBJ drop. So there is not as much extra incentive to play, yet they keep coming, in droves!

Table three was loose/passive. I lost with K7o in the BB when I made two pair. The SB had K8 for a bigger two pair. Then I lost AKs when two jacks flopped. Someone had QJs and had called my raise. Next I lost with QQ. I got six callers when I raised from the button. An ace flopped. There was a bet and a raise before it even got to me, and I laughed as I laid it down.

I figured that things were going as I'd come to expect. I played AQo and split the pot with another ace, when two pair were on the board. AKo won a big pot when I raised before the flop in EP, got a call by the BB, flopped two aces, and he paid me off all the way with A9o. I was back to my original 1000 chips.

On the last hand before the break, Maureen was dealing and tried to put me into the SB, when I hadn't paid the BB yet. Once again, we argued about it. I finally just sighed and said, "Maureen, why would I put myself in the worst possible position by making this up? I swear to you, I was just UTG." Finally the ten seat came to his senses and said, "Yeah, she's right, I was just the SB, I should be the button now." Thank God someone spoke up.

Some people have confronted me about the "mistake" of speaking up when I get out of paying a blind. They say it's not taking unfair advantage or angleshooting. Maybe some people can let the dealer move the button twice, or another player to move the button, then the dealer, and not say a thing, but I just can't. I don't think it's fair. It's hard enough to win a tourney, let alone if one is unfairly put into the blind a hand too soon.

A very LAP in EP raised my blind. I had KTs and decided to see the flop, as the greens would be colored up soon anyway (we don't race off, we just color up), so basically folding and calling were about the same thing.

A ten-high flopped. To my surprise, the SB bet right out. I passively called along with the pre-flop raiser. A king turned. This time the SB checked, I bet, and they both folded. Go figure!

Now I was trucking along at about 1400 at the break.

Right after the break I got AKo and went all-in. No callers.

For the next hour I was dead. No good aces, no good kings, no pairs. Not even pretty, little ducks. So I got blinded down.

For those of you who have forgotten, during four consecutive levels, our blinds double. We do: 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 200/400. Since we only start with 1000 chips, and this is a freeze-out, those four levels are usually the difference between life and death. If you can double up at least once, and had about 1500 to start with, you can usually make it. If you don't find a hand, go all-in, get called and double up, you are almost assuredly not going to make the final table. It turns those 80 minutes into a crapshoot. You absolutely have to get a hand, and get called, and win! Just a small feat there, lol!

Anyway, I didn't get a hand. I did catch a lucky break at the 200/400 blind level, as April moved me from the BB to the CO at the other table. The new tourney rules at the Belle state that if a player is moved, they will be moved from the worst possible position to the best possible position, but they will not be the button. This seems ridiculous, I know. The way they used to do moves was relative to the same position. Then someone would get moved a few times in one tourney, just by coincidence, and gripe and moan about it. So now the person who gets moved gets a much better position, but at the same time, if one gets moved two or three times during a given tourney, he gets to sometimes squeak into the money undeservedly. I have been in that position before, making a final table when I didn't even have a prayer. It's not really fair at all, but it keeps the gripers (Betty) quiet, at any rate.

When I got to the other table (table one), they were shorthanded, hence the reason I was moved in the first place. I got to see a whole round of cards with my final 700 in chips. I got trash hand after trash hand. The BB was 400, so when it got to me, I knew I was going all-in no matter what. We were down to the final 15 or so, and I had to double up, in order to be a contender.

I had J9o. It was passed to the SB, who completed. He had me outchipped, but not by a huge amount. He called my all-in raise of 300 more. I flipped over my hand and said, "I don't have much, but I have to take a chance here." He said, "Um, I have even less!" He had 98o, lol.

I got a jack, and doubled through. Just a few hands later, I went all-in with ATs in EP and stole the blinds. I now had a few chips. The table was much more aggressive than my last table, and I generally have more success stealing from aggressive tables than passive tables.

Then, April, oooh, that girl! LOL, she moved me back to my first table. I proceeded to get nothing for several rounds. Once again, I started getting blinded down. Finally, in my BB, I had to put in 800 of my remaining 1100 chips into the pot. I was dealt 75o, but told JJ, who knows proper tourney strategy and raised my blind, that I had to go all-in. He had Axs, which is a fantastic SH hot & cold hand, but I got a seven, and doubled through again. He knew I had to make the call, but teased me about it all night, nevertheless. He is a really sweet guy.

Just a few hands later I went all-in with AQo and stole the blinds. Then, in the next five hands, I was dealt both QQ and JJ. I got the blinds both times. Now I had some chips!

I made the final table with about 3500 in chips. I told Ed that the only thing that could make me happier was if I drew seat ten. Seat ten is always the button at the final table.

I drew seat ten. I sat down with a smile.