Saturday, May 08, 2004

Bad Beats or Bad Play???

Glenn and I went back to Vegas on Monday, May 3, 2004. I wanted to try to win some more lammers, so I could play in the $1500 Stud 8 event. I just need to win one more sat.

Basically, the whole trip was like a train wreck. I was killed, then I was killed some more.

Stud 8 has a tendency to run in streaks that can be very profitable, or very deadly. I ran into the deadly streak. The "seventh card is going to be someone else's miracle" streak.

I played in some sats, both NLHE and Stud 8. I was usually down to the final three or HU, and every time lost with the best hand all the way to the river. C'est la vie.

I had no plans to enter the Stud 8 tourney on Wednesday without the full three lammers. Then Glenn said he wanted me to play anyway. I guess I should have thrown my ego away and just said no. My mind wasn't in the right place.

To further deteriorate things, I slept horribly all night on Tuesday. I tossed and turned. I usually don't dream about poker, much less have nightmares about it, but on Tuesday night, I had both. It was horrible and I should have just packed it in and said, "Let's go home." Instead, I thought that eventually things were going to turn around, and I'd noticed that some of these 'middle' events were not getting as much traffic as the ones at the start. So I relented, against my better judgment, and played the Stud 8 tourney anyway.

Things started off badly when I was assigned a table in the very back, and seat four, to boot. Ick. Not long after I got my seat assignment, maintenance not only took our table apart once, twice, but three times! Some kind of problem with the lighting fixture.

Finally we were ready to go. We started off fourhanded. I drew rolled up tens the first hand. I completed with the biggest doorcard, thinking that maybe one of the other three opponents would put me on a steal and play back at me. Nope, all folded.

Hand two was hidden aces with an eight doorcard. I completed again. This time both the one seat and the three seat played back at me. Both had a queen. Thinking surely they couldn't both have queens, and even if they did, they were drawing to only a second pair to beat me, I kept pounding them to the river. I had to be a huge favorite here. Both other aces were live, as were all three eights! They both made a second pair on the river, whereas I didn't improve, and the one seat took down a huge pot.

As if that beat couldn't get any worse, just wait. It does. A WCP came over to our table with his card, checked his card several times against the table and the seat he was standing behind, and finally got the attention of the floor. It seems that the guy in seat one didn't even belong at our table! He wasn't even assigned seat one! He just took some random seat, then beat us, and took about 850 chips off the table! This is 850 that we could NEVER recover. He was not given a penalty, he was not forced to leave the chips on the table, nothing. He was just allowed to pick up his ~2300 in chips and leave. I'm not sure if others understand this, but this weakened our table considerably. It left us in a state behind other tables, a state we could not recover from, since it wasn't a rebuy tourney.

The table was pretty hot about the decision. This table was not as clueless as my Stud table had been, and knew the damage we had just suffered. 1500 in chips in this kind of event is not that hot anyway, not given the 30/60 starting level and the remaining structure of the tournament. To have 2300 in chips removed from the table after the second hand can be devastating.

By this time, all eight players were seated. Andy Bloch was in the seven seat. No one was in a great mood after hand two.

I tried to grind my way back up to 1500, but the closest I ever got again was about 1400. It just wasn't my day.

I was rolled up again, which turned into a full house, but I had to split the pot. I never scooped another pot, so I just barely stayed even.

I made it to the first break with about 1200. We would start level three after the break. Antes were 15, the bring-in was 25, limits of 75/150. It was do or die time. I died.

I completed with the highest pair showing, jacks. I had a six kicker, suited. Andy Bloch defended with a low card. I believe he had 53/2. I caught another club and bet. Andy caught a low card and called. I caught another club, Andy caught a five and called again. On sixth I caught another club, giving me a queen high flush. Andy caught another five and checked-called. Seventh was a brick. I had no low, but a queen high flush. Andy had on his board: 2A55. Andy bet, I raised, he reraised. My radar went up, but I believe he would have done that with a wheel, just in case I didn't have the flush. I had seen him do that earlier to another opponent. I reraised, he reraised, I finally took the hint and called.

Yes, you guessed it, he caught three running fives, for four fives.

I was crippled severely. I went all-in on the next hand, which was 5K/A with a suited AK. I was called by a low draw and split the pot with fives for high.

I kept going all-in on any low, any pair, anything, basically. I ground my way back up to about 400.

I caught KK/7 and completed. The bring-in defended with a deuce. We were all-in by fifth. I had KK/7JJ. He had 65/23x. Yes, you guessed it again. You win the booby prize. He caught a four on sixth, just like it was meant to be.

I was probably one of the first fifty eliminated. I was out by 2:30pm.

This was the most shook I have ever been in a tournament situation. After enduring three days of being beat hand after hand, with the best hand usually until the river, I'd just had enough. I wanted to go home, I wanted my dogs, my bed. I wanted to curl up and stop thinking, stop dreaming, just lay in a void and let it go.

I felt like I'd been mugged, robbed, attacked. My entire body hurt from the constant pummeling.

Since then, I have been hiding out at home. I played solitary games. Games against only myself, my own wit, cunning and just the luck of the draw. No poker.

I'm almost back to myself again, but I still feel as if I've taken a huge beating. Things just aren't the same anymore. I crossed some kind of threshold that I'd never had to pass. I knew one day that would happen, and that day finally came.

I guess had I been severely outplayed and outclassed, I'd have a whole other set of problems to be facing now. I was lucky, in a way. I did not feel like a huge underdog in any of the sats or the tourney. I was able to hold my own in almost any circumstance.

I can remember one of the Stud 8 sats. There were several excellent players. I was intimidated during the first fifteen minutes or so by their superior play. Tony Ma was sitting to my right, so at least I had position, but I was just overwhelmed by their play. Some of these moves were brilliant, like the stuff I'd read about in transcripts and in the 2+2 books. I went into check-call mode in one hand, early on, and got outdrawn on the river. It was a hand I should have kept pounding at, instead of being meek and mild, if I was going to play it. It was marginal, but if I was going to play, I should have been as aggressive as him. Instead, he rivered me with two small pair, while going for a low.

Right away I changed gears. I had to, I wasn't going to get pummeled by these great players just because I was a woman, and I was relatively new to Stud 8 and satellite Stud 8. So I switched on a dime, suddenly becoming even more aggressive than them. I never hesitated to 3-bet, 4-bet, check-raise, even in a game where the earlier streets are usually more passive than this. I showed down some superior starting hands and started to get a little respect. Now one or two of them were crippled, instead of me. I used my rock image to steal a few pots that no one was really fighting for.

One at a time, the great players fell. All of the players who tried to run me over in the first fifteen minutes were busting out. Soon it was down to me, Tony Ma, and this guy who absolutely had no clue how to play. Naturally, he was the chip lead. He played about every hand (even when we were eight), regardless of the amount of bets. He tried to steal when stealing was impossible. He didn't understand the structure, the limits, etc. Hon wanted to make a deal, since the structure had gotten so horrific, and we were not greatly varied in stack sizes. This guy was clearly not going for it. He kept repeating over and over again that he had just gotten in town, and was giving it only one shot to win his way into the Stud 8 tourney. Tony and I just looked at each other. What could we do?

Since he absolutely refused a deal, I went hyper aggressive for the rest of the sat. I had pocket fives with a nine doorcard. I completed his bring-in. He raised! I reraised. He called and said, "I'm just-uh kiddin', I don' really have nuthin." Yes, he talked that way :)

He called me all the way. I was in on sixth with fives and fours. He had defended the whole way with 27/2, lol. He caught another seven on the river and I was out.

I didn't stick around to see what happened. I imagine he won, since Tony only had about 1000 in chips, and he had the rest. The next day I saw him at the Stud 8 tourney, so that kind of sealed Tony's fate. Too bad, Tony could play rings around the yokel.

It was very nice playing against Hon. There are certain WCP I like to study, and he is one of them.

So that ends my nightmare trip report. I wish I had a better ending, but I surely don't. It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. It was poker.