Sunday, September 19, 2004

Wrap-up of the Four Queens Tournament

"Any game where there's more decisions to make is a more skillful game. If someone can master seven-card stud, then they can master any poker game."

--Chip Reese

I've been running bad in single table sats. Yeah, I know they are streaky. That is why I don't even think about it.

A majority of the problem is that I try to get head's up in a sat. Well, when it works, it really works, but when it doesn't, and we are three-handed, with the other two players having tons of chips, and I can't sit around waiting anymore, well...that is when I usually get creamed. I am 3rd place more than any other place in a STT.

We went back up to Vegas a day in advance, so I could play some sats. Big mistake, I guess, because I never cashed in even one of them, lol, and had to buy my way in anyway.

Lucky me, Glenn played another NLHE sat, and chopped it, so he reimbursed all of what I lost in my own sats.

I played in the 10/20 Razz game and/or mixed games (Razz and Stud 8) quite a bit on this trip. I won all but one session, although the wins weren't earth shattering or anything.

The Razz players were pretty much the same crew, day in and day out. Luckily, not enough of them were good, so I always had a bit of an edge.

I have written about the Razz tournament that took place on Tuesday. I don't have too much to add to it, except that in Razz, it is the hands that are very close in value that really kill you. I think, perhaps, I'm going to get out of more of those hands in tournament play, instead of taking them all the way, knowing it's going to be a horse race. Usually it comes down to the second, third or even fourth card. Is it really worth it for me to see fifth street when I know I'm neck and neck and don't catch something on fourth that will give me a much better draw to my low? I don't think so.

Since readers say I don't discuss theory very much, I'll give you a good example.

I have A6/4, the four is my doorcard. This is a great Razz starting hand.

My opponent has xx/5, which means he "could" have a great Razz starting hand, one even premium to mine. He could have three cards to a five.

Now say that I decide to see fourth street, which is almost a given (because if I had to act before him, I assuredly came in with a completion. If he raised, the pot was certainly big enough to see fourth). I notice the cards which are out are: six, four and five (besides my board and his). This is pretty good for my hand, but might also be pretty good for his, especially if he's got a six and/or four underneath.

Say on fourth we both brick up. Now, rats, I've got to see fifth.

On fifth, I catch a seven, he catches a deuce. Now I have a draw to a seven low, but he might have a draw to a wheel. Then again, the deuce might have paired him. It's so hard to give it up at this point, in the light of heavy betting that most likely went on at third.

I catch a trey on sixth, he catches a seven. Now I have my seven low (A64x73), but he could have me beat badly, if he has what he is representing: A35x27. That six makes all the difference in the world. I have to catch perfect on seventh in order to jam him, and even then, what if he catches his wheel?

This is what I mean by playing hands so close in value all the way to the river. Yeah, a lot of times when you call them down, they say, "You got me, I double paired" (or "bricked up," "didn't make it," etc). But a lot of times you also hear that they had exactly what they were representing, and nothing in their body language gave it away. So you are crippled, or worse yet, eliminated from the tourney.

That is Razz.

So what is the solution? Well, not getting too deeply involved in hands that are this close in value, but where it is conceivable that he could have a better low draw than you in the first place? I think so. Not in a cash game, but in a tourney, yeah.

When we both bricked on fourth, and he still bet out, just get out. There are better fish to fry than this horserace!

Now getting back to the tourney itself...I had an early lead, then experienced a couple of these type hands, which pretty much put me out of the running for the money. Sure, I could have gotten a few miracles, doubled up a few times, and gotten back into the running, but I surely wasn't expecting that to happen, I live in the real world :)

That is why I said in my last post, about the cheating players, that I had no personal stake in exposing these guys. I wouldn't have made the money, and neither of them took advantage of me, as I was sent to their table very late in the tourney, and had so few chips when I got there. I had only one "all-in" hand at that table, very soon after my arrival, and was busted by an elderly man in the three seat whom I'd played Razz against quite a bit. I believe I had three cards to a six, and he had three to a bike. He was ahead from the beginning, stayed ahead, caught virtually perfect, and I believe I ended up with either a bad seven or eight, completely dominated. He was a player who limped in to a lot of pots, yet never completed on third. He played the cash game in the same fashion. So it was hard for me to tell where I was in this hand, especially given that he never looked at his hole cards on third before limping in with a small doorcard, lol. For all I knew, he could have either a premium hand (which he did), or be rolled up! I would play it the same way again, especially being so low in chips at that stage.

I believe that I placed 11th in the Razz tourney.

The next day we had our Stud 8 tournament. This was the final Four Queens event that I would play.

I decided to try two sats. I have said before that I was completely off my game. I was tired from lack of sleep, and very disturbed by the events that transpired at the Razz tournament.

I came in third place in both sats. I had a massive chip lead at one point during both sats. This should tell you something ;)

I might have gone all-in with the best hand during the end game of both of these sats, but my play up until that point was not my best.

The Stud 8 event drew 28 players. Many more than we expected, given the other events of that day, both at the Four Queens and around town.

Once again, I took an early lead. Pete Kaufman, the 2nd place finisher at this year's WSOP Stud 8 event, and someone who came back time and again as an overwhelming chip dog, to give Cindy Violette a run for her money, was at my table. He played well, but just didn't get anything going on, and all of his bluffs and/or semi-bluffs were called down. Some days...

There was a player from Canterbury at my table who played way too many pots and vastly overestimated his hands. He ran a few of us down, and ended up taking away my chip lead in a hand he should never have been involved in. I didn't know his name, so I have no idea how he finished in this tournament.

I was crippled by a later beat by this same player, on the river, and never could really get much going on after that. I stole a few pots, but my head was not where it belonged, and I wasn't playing my best. I believe I finished 14th. For a tight player like me, I HAVE to play my very best, knowing that I never build up enough of a chip lead to withstand cruel rivers time and again. I have to stay on top, 100% on my game, or there is no way I'll win a tourney.

I just don't play that "Awww, shucks," loose type of poker. If I am playing Stud 8 and have a pair of nines, another player is showing a king, no one has an ace doorcard, I do not keep calling every street on a hope and a prayer that the tight player with the king doesn't really have kings. I simply don't. I don't even call third, much less to the river, praying for a miracle two pair, trips, or to back into a low.

If I played that way, sure, I might win a tourney here and there, I might win more often than I do now, but I would bust out fairly often, fairly rapidly, and definitely not make the money as often.

Going back to my Stud 8 tourney, though, I have to say I wasn't concentrating hard enough. I wasn't playing my "A" game. I was distracted and disturbed by the previous day's events. People kept talking about it. I kept talking about it. Dealers who had been there kept talking about it. I couldn't get it out of my mind, and I let it cost me the tourney.

Glenn and I drove home, discussing it the whole way. I was exhausted. My head was overloaded and I felt drained.

Being hyper-aware during poker is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, it is great that I can remember door cards that were folded on third, even when we're on sixth. It is wonderful that I know where the button was before the break, and that the dealer forgot to advance it. It is beneficial for me to be able to read hands. I notice telegraphing, I don't miss many tells...but it is also my curse. I can't just say, "Yeah, these guys cheated, so what?" and go on with my day. I don't work that way. I get enraged, offended. It is blight on the legitimacy of poker. I get so hurt that I'm crippled in my subsequent play. I can't just "let it go," like so many players suggest. My make-up is not like that. It is inside of me to simply go ballistic until there is a resolution, and even then, to warn others about this behavior until it is erased from humanity (haha, like it ever will be). That is the way "I" work. I can't just turn it off like a faucet, at will.

So it costs me some wins.

Tournament poker carries with it a weight of variance. Variance unlike cash games. Only very strong constitutions can mentally survive months and years without a big score. My advantage is that I can handle that. I just can't seem to handle the injustices of poker, and that is where I veer off the path of "A" play.

Something to work on, something to know. Introspection is always a good thing, even if it is the result of something so atrocious and repugnant as my experiences on Tuesday.

I will carry on, and I will become a better person for this. I will continue to fight for the legitimacy of tournament poker.

Felicia :)