Sam's Town Redux
Friday, August 20, 2004
Glenn and I are looking for a new car. We no longer need an SUV or truck due to the area we live in, so we would like to get something that has much better fuel economy and a little more power for the mountains that surround us. So we are probably going to get a diesel powered car. Unfortunately, the dealerships around here don't have a wide variety to choose from, so we decided to do some car shopping in Vegas.
We arranged to meet Dave A. at Sam's Town, and play the 7pm NLHE tourney.
I had written a scathing report of Sam's Town a while back. One of the people who reads my journal knows the poker room manager well, as they have both been in the industry for a long time. He was appalled to see what I'd written about ST, so he sent the story to the CRM. The CRM supposedly was also appalled at what I'd written about his room, so he decided to clean it up. I'm sure that poker's popularity, and also Tom McEvoy's decision to host a televised tourney at ST didn't hurt either, lol.
It had been a year since I'd been in ST, having sworn I'd never play there again, unless/until they made some major changes.
Well, the good is, they have made some changes. Gone are the constant floor decisions favoring the locals. Gone are the nasty, ripped up chairs. The tables still have some cigarette holes in the felt, but they look a little better, and the room is cleaned up. They seem to have gotten some new staff, most of which act a bit more appropriately towards each other and the clientele.
The bad is, ST is still a dump. Sorry, but it's true. The room was still filled with people who were wearing house shoes that weren't even new 20 years ago. The players sometimes smelled even worse than their cigarettes, if that is possible. Some of them hadn't had a shower since the Reagan years.
The tournament had changed in the fact that it was much more professionally run, and the rules were a little more consistent. When asked if they used TDA rules, the majority of the answers I got were, "What is TDA?" Some of the rules seemed to change based on the whim of the TD. Nothing was explained, nor was there any flyers provided to educate the players on the rules of ST tourneys. Not that I'm surprised, mind you, but I just thought I'd tell it all, instead of leaving things to the imagination.
The TD seemed friendly and outgoing. Unfortunately, I think the pressure of working in a room like ST must make him a little frustrated and snappy. At one point in the tourney we were down to two tables. We lost a player at our table and had five. I looked over at the other table and counted five there also. I asked the TD if we were down to the final table yet, since we'd just lost a player. He replied no. I told him I only counted five at the other table, then asked, "Or is there one player walking over there?" Instead of answering my question he snapped, "You know, you have been on my case all night long. I know how to run a tournament! I'll tell you when we are at the final table!"
Like I said, he had been friendly and outgoing all night, if a little harried, so I believe that he is probably an okay guy, but just showed strains of working at a dump like ST. I did ask for his full name so that I could report the quote he had given me to my website. His name is Bernie Loger.
While I understand that working at ST could make anyone snap, I do think that a customer should not be treated rudely when he or she has a legitimate question. Yes, I did ask a lot of questions during this tournament. Why? Because there was no place that provided the answers prior to the tourney. Had TDA rules been in use, there would have been fewer questions, if any at all. Their inconsistent rules and floor decisions leave one asking many, MANY questions.
Getting back to the tourney...
I started out well, had a fantastic loose/passive table (for the most part), and had no trouble hanging on. In fact, I may have made a mathematical error by purchasing the one, optional rebuy/add-on. It only gave me 1k in chips for $40, and I already had about 3k. So I think I made a mistake there, but I'm not often in that situation after the first hour.
Anyway, if my first table was pretty good, my subsequent tables were even better! There were six tables in all, with some alternates, and I played at three of them.
The players were much more knowledgeable, overall, at ST than in Laughlin. I don't mind, as long as they are still bad. This seemed to be the case for many of the players.
I was sitting next to a dealer's husband. This dealer is someone I met at the WSOP, who told me that she reads my site. I am horrible with names, so I can't remember her name, but I believe her husband's name is Tim. Anyway, Tim owns a company that runs tournaments. He used to work mostly for the Horseshoe and helped run this year's WSOP. Unfortunately, Harrah's, being Harrah's (read: greedy), sent him an e-mail right after the series, telling him what an awesome job he and his crew did during the entire tourney. They then proceeded to tell him that next year, instead of getting paid, they would be working for free, relying solely on player's tips as salary.
I suppose you can guess what Tim did after getting that e-mail? I'm sure I cannot even spell all of the words correctly that came out of his mouth after he got that e-mail.
Now Tim is going around putting on tourneys at different locations. They are working with Fred at the Sahara to have a huge tourney every March. Players will be given lots of comps, $30 room rates and pay only about 5% juice. Buy-in's will vary. I think the local contingent will be happy to hear this news. Fred runs a good room and is well respected in the industry.
Tim also told me that Harrah's is planning to tack on 2% juice to each of the players, while cutting player's benefits even further. I guess I will only be playing in the series if I win a seat via satellite. I'm not interested in paying 10% juice in these bigger buy-in events.
Tim was on my left, and is a good player, but just couldn't get his hands to stand up. In his coup de grace, he had KTs in the BB, I believe. He flopped TTx and went all-in. A guy with pocket eights called the all-in, even though he hadn't hit the flop in any way whatsoever. Naturally he got his eight on the river, and Tim had to exit.
I was running very well, no complaints here. I mostly stole pots here and there, or hoped someone became pot-committed when I had a monster, which seemed to happen quite a bit. When I wasn't able to get a thing, it was fine because the blinds went up rather gradually at that point, and I had more than enough to sit out for a while.
Eventually a dramatic hand vaulted me into the chip lead position when we were playing shorthanded at three tables. I was UTG with a smaller medium stack. I was dealt JJ and my table was pretty tight. I figured I'd just take the blinds so I went in, being that I only had about 10x the BB. I saw a decent player in LP hurrying to get his chips in before I even finished saying, "All-in," and I knew I was in trouble. Unfortunately, for him, there were still players to act between us, and before he could finish his move, a player in front of him was calling my all-in. Uh oh. Then, the BB, who only had a chip or two more, announced all-in as well! Four of us! Believe it or not, I had the second highest chip count, because by this time the blinds were getting prohibitive versus the total number of chips on the table.
The decent player had AA, just as I'd expected. The guy in between us had AKo and the BB had QQ. I was really a dog here. Naturally I flopped a jack, and that is all she wrote. I got all of the side pots, plus the main pot. Only the decent player was left with any chips. Suddenly I was the chip lead due to suckout city.
I went into hyper aggressive mode, and stole a lot of pots. One steal was with 73o, lol. I was lucky to have a very good read on my opponents, or I never would have tried this move.
Dave went out when we were shorthanded at three tables, and then we were two. I kept the chip lead. I built my stack up to a 28k high at one point, and the total number of chips in the tourney was about 100k.
We got down to the final table, and immediately the locals started clamoring for a chop. Not a deal, but an even chop. I don't have to tell you that I immediately vetoed this. One player only had one chip left, yet the locals kept telling me that it was to my advantage to chop evenly with her. I wanted to fall out of my chair laughing, but instead of responding and educating anyone, much less trying to explain why a chop was absolutely ludicrous, I just put a thumb down, and that was that. The TD tried to keep things going, but in between each hand, and sometimes during the play of a hand, they would keep trying to pressure me into chopping.
Naturally the one-chipped player went out early, in ninth, I believe. The pay was very top heavy, first place getting an even 2k, while fifth got virtually nothing. I was going for first.
The only other player who had even close to my stack was a pure calling station, a newbie, who played every unraised pot, and called all-in's about 50% of the time, with cheese, needless to say. He had about 20k in chips, and went from chip lead to chip dog, in any given hand.
When we got to six, someone proposed a save for sixth, at $100. I agreed to it, knowing anything could happen, and wanting to promote good will. The calling station at first refused the save, but then when he got very low again, agreed to it, and for whatever reason, thought a save was a chop, and put all of his chips in front of him, thinking the tourney was over. I tried to explain to him what was going on, since the TD just stood there. I tried to be nice about it, and he understood, although he still had a look of pure confusion on his face (I'm sure this was his first cash, and may have been his first tourney).
We kept playing at six-handed. He was almost out of chips with horrible all-in calls like Q5s in EP.
I was the button with A9o. It was passed to me and I attempted a steal with 4x the BB. He was the BB and I knew it was possible for him to call with any two cards. I put him to the test, purposely, for half his remaining chips, knowing that I'd probably put him all-in if he didn't hit the flop. Sure enough, the look of disappointment was etched on his face when the flop came down KQx. He checked slowly, after looking at his hole cards a couple more times. I put him in. He thought about it for at least 45 seconds, not wanting to go out on this hand. Finally he decided to call, feeling that ace high might be good. Well, he was right, his ATo had my A9o beat. He got the jack on the river to fill in his gutshot, and suddenly wasn't the short stack anymore.
A few hands later the blinds went up and I was UTG. If I waited to the blinds, I would have to commit six of my eight remaining chips to get through them. I got QJs and decided to go for it. It was passed to the BB who had 77, and was short himself. He called, and his sevens stood up.
Hero to zero in two hands.
I was going for the 2k, and instead I got my $100 back. That is poker. Yes, I could have folded my way into the top three, and maybe that would have been the correct choice. I rarely blind my way into the dust anymore, and this is the perfect example of why my style of play sometimes gets me into trouble.
And so goes my tourney life. We didn't find a car either, darn it! LOL!