Sunday, July 23, 2006

Palms $80 NLHE Tournament

I cashed out of the big NLHE game ($40 max buy-in ;) and took my seat in the tournament. I was glad to see only one other woman at my table. Poor Glenn had four at his. Women in Laughlin tend to be very passive calling stations. Sometimes I'm sitting and pounding them with chips, as they mildly, passively call, only to be shown the absolute, stone cold nuts by them. It gets frustrating. They play monsters the same way they play trash. Call, call, call.

My table had a nice mix of some very young newish guys and older guys who have been around poker for a long time. No one really knew how to play except one guy who got moved away first. Then I was able to dominate the table easier.

It's hard to wiggle around much if opponents won't fold to a bet, a bluff, a raise, a check-raise or an all-in. If they are really new enough to think that maybe top pair no kicker is good, they will hunt you down for all of their chips. They always think trips are a set, and always think any straight, flush or full-house must be the nuts. So when I play in these types of events, I always have to choose my spots more carefully. Like stealing the blinds in late position. Betting a scary board when I have a feeling my opponent has something like a pair.

It doesn't always work out, and sometimes I get crippled early by making a great play that simply looks stupid in the eyes of my tablemates.

I had some chips early, but then made two plays that put me down to about 4x the big blind. In one hand, I was in the BB with AQs. One player limped, another raised for all of his chips and then the action got back to me. It was only about three more big blinds to me, so I smooth called. I could have re-raised in this spot, to get the limper out, but I knew that the small blind and the limp were virtually nothing as a side pot, and wanted to see what would happen after the flop. Plus, the limper would only have one blind left (four black chips) if he called the raiser, so pushing him for a decision pre-flop would gain me nothing.

The flop came down something like KJ9 with two of my suit. I went ahead and checked, to see what the limp/caller would do. He put in the rest of his chips. I called. He turned over A9 and had flopped bottom pair. The original raiser had 44. The turn brought a four, and I never got my flush or ten. Oh, well.

Right after that hand, I had J7s in the SB. I was allowed to limp, and I believe five of us saw the flop. Jack was the high card and I fired out a bet smaller than the pot (maybe 1000?). Only the button called. He played just about every hand, and I had never seen him raise even once. Likewise, I had rarely seen him fold, ever, even on the river. I was wary and decided to slow down. He could surely have a draw, but he could also have top pair, two pair, trips, a set. Virtually anything, in other words.

The turn paired the board and we both checked. He looked kind of deflated. Now I was almost sure I had him. The river was a total blank, so I fired again. He hesitantly called me, only to turn over pocket queens! Okay.

So here I was, crippled, down to about four big blinds left after my awesome plays, lol ;)

The cost of this tournament was $40 with a $40 optional add-on (one only) and a $5 dealer's add-on. We had fifty opponents.

I managed to stay afloat by making a few successful steals. I had maybe five big blinds when our table was broken and I was moved to Glenn's table. All but one of the women were out, thank God, due to their call, call, calling. I took the place of one of them in the two seat. Glenn was in the nine.

It was at this point that I started making some mistakes. Having not really played Hold'em tourneys in a long time, and even other tourneys, I had forgotten some things. It's not like a bicycle, where one can get back on, wobble around for the first few yards, and then get right back into it. Constant practice is the only way to play a mistake-free event.

I was really short stacked after going through the blinds. The big blind got moved to balance tables, and, and the dealer accidentally moved the button forward twice. Now the guy who should have been the small blind was given a free pass to the button, while I lost a position. I protested, but the dealer kept dealing anyway. I protested more loudly. No one said a word, not even Glenn. I tried and tried to keep him from dealing out the hand. He argued with me.

I never, ever get this. I just don't understand it. It seems to be epidemic in Laughlin and even Glenn used to argue with me and other customers when he was in the box. It's like a Laughlin thing. I don't experience it much, if at all in Vegas, LA, Foxwoods, etc. Only Laughlin. The dealer will make a mistake. A simple, little thing that we all do, every day. But instead of stopping the action, or calling the floor, or a myriad of any other course of action they could take, they suddenly start arguing with the player!!! Yes, the person who pays them, the customer. For three years I have watched this behavior by Laughlin dealers in virtually every cardroom in town, and no one seems to know why it happens, or why it's allowed. Dealers have been known to call players "stupid," "retarded," "ignorant," etc, and there is never any action taken against these dealers. The same people who pay the salary of the dealers in town are the ones constantly getting yelled at. I just don't get it. Glenn says he doesn't either. He says he has no idea why he argued with me and other customers in the box. He says he saw other Laughlin dealers do it for two years, so he just started doing it, too, regardless of whether the customer was right, or he was right.

Anyway, back to the tournament. I'm begging the guy to stop dealing, but he won't, and he's yelling at me that I don't know what I'm talking about. I explained it again and again, and finally someone at the table had the balls to speak up and say that yes, the button was moved twice, and the hand is a misdeal. I think it also helped that the TD was out and about at the tables and knew I was correct, he himself having moved the BB off of the table.

I think the dealer apologized, but this is where things went bad for the guy sitting to my left. He was obviously pretty new, but had built up a lot of chips, and was trying really hard to play correctly. He made the fubar mistake of looking at his dead hand in the cutoff before the action got to him (and the action never got to him because finally a misdeal was declared). He had pocket tens. He groaned.

The very next hand, with the button now in the right spot, I went all-in with nines and he overcalled with AQs. This is where I totally made a mistake and screwed him royally.

I said something like, "Well, I can't wish you luck in this hand, I hope mine holds up! I have pocket nines, what do you have?" He flipped over his cards, as did I. What we neither one realized is that during the whole commotion with the previous hand, an EP limper (the only woman left, and a call, call, calling station) was still in the hand! So she could see my cards and his cards. She still opted to call the all-in anyway, with the third best hand.

The flop came down Q9x, two spades. He still could drive action on his hand, but I'd pretty much killed his action, because she could see his cards and the only way she would call him is if he was beat. The turn and the river were blanks, with no flush possible. So the guy next to me would have gotten all of her chips. Why? Because she had the KJ of spades!

I apologized profusely, and he took it well, but I knew he was thinking that my big mouth screwed him out of two hands. I can't even remember the last time I did something like that. Years, most likely. But like I said, tournament poker is not like riding a bike. I was flustered and didn't even notice the meek and mild calling station trying to limp in, in EP, during the end stages of a tournament! Oy, vey.

I'm not going to go through every hand, or how I got to the final table, because I have two, much more interesting tournament and cash game stories to write up. But I did get really lucky to get there. And I screwed the poor guy who had been on my left twice more! This time, though, it was his own fault, most likely due to him being flustered, like me, and also being somewhat of a new player.

He got moved to balance the tables and I didn't expect to see him again. However, when he got moved back to our table, he was in Glenn's old seat, the nine seat, which Glenn had just vacated due to two icky beats.

At any rate, he wasn't playing that well, and in one hand I was so short stacked in the BB that I had only two chips left (half of a blind). It was folded to him in the SB and he LET ME HAVE IT ON THE BUBBLE! Wow. I was so shocked I just sat there. I didn't rake in the chips, I didn't give my cards to the dealer, I just sat in stunned silence.

In the next round, I was UTG when he was the BB and I pushed with 44. It got back to him, and he finally did the right thing and called with 88. The guy to my left told me he'd folded a four. I got up expecting fully to be the bubble, and caught a four.

That poor guy was so screwed. He went out only a hand or so later, on the bubble, after having had so many chips earlier. It was like that mistake just rattled him so much he could never get any momentum going again.

So I got to the final table, and basically got my money back. I was the shorty, and pushed UTG with JJ, only to be called by UTG +2 who had KK. IGHN, but I netted $10 and had a cash again, after playing 28 hours and bubbling in those two O8 events. Still feels good, even though the field was smaller and softer than anything at Orleans or Rio, lol.

Next up, two more tournaments and running over cash games!

Felicia :)