Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Steamrollin' Stud 8

Monday, September 6, 2004

For my first Stud event of the month, I headed up to the Four Queens in Vegas to participate in the Four Queens Classic Stud 8 event.

I signed up for the first satellite of the day. I started off strong, winning the chip lead early and not giving back many chips. There was a guy in the eight seat, Terry, who simply played every hand. These guys crack me up, because if they aren't ready to proceed when the action gets to them, they make a big production of looking at their hole cards. Why? They are in EVERY hand! And since he was super passive, barely ever raising, what is the point? Just throw your chips out there if you are going to play every hand and never raise on third anyway. LOL. Terry made the first exit.

I ended up fizzling out when we were down to three. Maybe there are a few hands I should have played, given the speedy structure of a one table satellite. I don't know, it was close, either way. I ended up going all-in several hands, almost in a row, due to the high antes and bring-in's. I really couldn't afford to fold much of anything. My last all-in hand finally put me all-out. There wasn't time for another sat, so I just bought in, and Glenn and I took a walk around downtown cardrooms to see if there was any action.

Only 59 players showed up for the Stud 8 event. Part of the problem were the competing events on Labor Day. Another was maybe just Labor Day itself. The third, and most sad reason we only got 59 participants was likely that Stud 8 is simply not popular, given the overwhelming NLHE craze. Last year this event drew 113.

I thought I was going to make an early exit, when three of my premium hands were outdrawn in the first hour. I jammed the pot with these hands, but was ran down. We started with 1000 chips each, but I only had about 200 after an hour.

Sometimes ya just get help when you need it, right? I knew as soon as I got anything playable, I was going to have to go with it. Rolled up sixes couldn't have come at a better time (the only time I was rolled up in this tourney). An older man at my table had a king doorcard, which I'm sure signified a pair of kings. Luckily he wasn't making any reads of his own, and when I started jamming on fourth, he jammed back even harder. Another person at our table knew what I had, when I began jamming back. He even said it to his neighbor!!! This is a complete breach of etiquette by the way, and against the rules in most tournaments (it certainly was in this one, which followed TDA rules). Please, guys, if you are going to speculate on a big hand, keep it to yourself until the hand is over, or step away from the table. I could have ended up not tripling up that hand, because someone couldn't keep his mouth shut.

At any rate, the older man was completely oblivious to everything except his kings, so he gladly helped me go all-in.

Not long after that, one of our sun glassed, NLHE players decided to tangle with me. I had a premium starting hand, which developed into a four-flush, four low to a six on fourth. I kept jamming. He stayed with me, and even though I caught brick after brick, I bet. On the river, I paired jacks and he looked at my hand for a long time, then back at his hand. He wouldn't lay his hand down, nor claim the pot. I told him not to EVEN slow roll me, if he had the winner, turn it up. He said he wasn't slow rolling me, but simply took longer to muck. I think he was angry with himself for not betting the river. Who knows. He really was a nice guy, he just didn't realize we weren't playing NLHE, and crippled himself on that hand. He was out not long afterwards.

I caught a couple of really good starting hands that either held up, or were won early in the hand, and I found myself up to about 3000.

Our table broke, and we were down to four tables not long afterwards.

I couldn't play many hands at this table. I was at a huge "action" table, where 5-7 players seeing fourth, for any number of bets, was not uncommon.

Terry, from my satellite, was in seat eight again. His stacks went from the felt, to chip lead on almost any given hand. He was playing exactly like he had played the satellite. I guess his motto was, "any three 'til fourth, and never raise!" I figured he and I would get into a tangle, but somehow I stayed out of his way, for the most part.

After about an hour, I found myself getting anted down pretty heavily. I'd come to that table with about 3000, and after having one premium hand get cracked, plus sitting there folding forever, I had about 1700 left. Ugh, some players had close to 5000 in chips!

Terry got moved to another table, in order to balance it, but ended up coming back not long afterwards, in the same spot, to boot! We kept playing, and soon we had two tables.

In one memorable hand, I started with three babies, two suited. I completed, and Terry came along for the ride. On fourth I had A234, three suited. On fifth I had the wheel. I jammed and jammed, but Terry always found something worth calling. Finally I was all-in on seventh. Terry squeezed and squeezed his river card (like it is going to change, if he squeezes long enough), and magically produced his rivered straight to the nine. Split pot.

We kept getting shorter and shorter, but hanging on at the bubble was not as hard as I thought it would be, nor as hard as it's been in the past. We had such an action table, that not many of our players knew, nor cared that we were at the bubble. The other table was sweating it out, but ours just kept ramming and jamming, mostly with completely unplayable hands.

A guy named Glenn was two seats to my left, and had the chip lead. He was loving the bubble, making the best of his stack. He picked his moments well, knowing how loose our table was, and that Terry would call with...well, anything. He would only fold on later streets if he had no draw to anything, which wasn't likely. Usually he caught at least a pair, lol.

There was a woman in the seven seat who was wearing a poker bracelet. It wasn't a series bracelet, I could tell that much, but from another event. She played pretty well, but played too many hands, and ended up going from chip lead, when we were at four or five tables, to bubble girl. We were in the money.

I came to the final table as the chip dog ($1675). No complaints here, I'm used to that spot, and find myself in it often. The structure was pretty good, with a lot of room to maneuver and play, so I wasn't too worried. I'm usually good at picking my spots in Stud.

We were asked to complete a questionnaire and give a chip count. I drew the eight seat, so I wasn't so happy about my POV, but, on the other hand, I had the chip leader, Glenn, directly to my right in the seven seat with $19,205, and the next chip lead, Wayne, in the six with $14,925. Glenn was more of the bully type, using his big stack well, and picking his spots carefully. Wayne was a little more patient, but knew when to make moves, and played to win, not to place. This was Wayne's third final table since the Four Queens Classic had started. He couldn't believe how well he was running.

Four of the eight at our table were women. Had the other woman not gone out on the bubble it would have been five! There were probably less than 10 women in the whole tournament.

Seat one was a casino employee who was way too tight, given the circumstances. She was always just trying to outlast someone and move up. She would constantly ask how much so-and-so had left, then fold her premium hand, praying to move up one spot. She had $2775. When she did go out, she had anted herself off to her last $200. Ugh!

Seat two was a guy who was extremely worried about the bubble, and making it into the money. He was the second chip dog, behind me ($1925). He, like the casino employee, played too tightly, under the circumstances, IMO.

Terry made it to the final table, and was in seat three. He was in fourth place, with $6500.

Seat four was an older woman, who was fifth in chips and had $3775. She had just come in third the previous night, in the women's event. She was touting women's events, and we were all talking about it during a break. I told her I would never play in one, and the reasons why. She seemed kind of offended at first, and argued with me about women's events, and why they were good for poker. She then proceeded to make my case for me, telling the table that the juice was atrocious (20%), that the structure was awful, they were given no chips and the blinds went up at lightening pace. She said there was virtually "no play" in the women's event, due to it being such a horrible set-up. I just sat there, letting her make my case. If women's events are so great, WHY ARE THEY RIPPING WOMEN OFF??? At first, the other women had been on the fence about women's events, but I noticed the more she condemned the Four Queens event, the quieter we all got.

A woman who knew how to play was in seat five. She had no fear, and used her stack. She was third in chips with $7725.

I've already discussed seats six and seven. So concludes our final table line-up.

I didn't take long to start making moves. I couldn't hold out paying $50 antes and $100 bring-in's for long. The betting was 400/800 with only 23 minutes left. I kept doubling up, then sitting on my chips until the next playable hand. I did this probably five times in the course of my final table play. I played only premium hands with a lot of potential.

Glenn was the donator for most of my doubling up. He would make one of his frequent steal attempts with the big stack, only to have me go over the top. Sometimes, if I was the bring-in, I would limp, in the hopes he would go for a steal if Terry didn't come into the pot. He would almost always let me limp-reraise, and then feel obligated to call, due to his overwhelming chip lead and my tiny stack. I kept scooping pots against him all night, and he was getting progressively more agitated about it.

Terry had tightened up a miniscule bit, but was still in most every hand. He folded maybe 10% of the time.

The casino worker in seat one managed to move up one notch in the money by constantly folding. One time she tried to limp into a pot, and was completed by Glenn. She agonized over her decision for about a minute, finally flashing A34 with two diamonds as she folded. The good playing women and I immediately met eyes and gasped in horror. Her hand was so live! She had NO chips. I don't know what she was thinking, but I could never play that way.

The tight guy in seat two tried to hang on as long as he could, but finally went out in seventh place.

We didn't lose anyone for a couple of hours, and the limits rose to 1000/2000. We had a $200 ante and $400 bring-in. Naturally I had to keep going all-in whenever I was involved in a hand. Due to Terry being a calling station and one of the two chip leads feeling the need to be the table sheriff, I was usually called down, just like the other short stacks. The difference between me and the other short stacks was that I only went in with versatile hands, and I didn't wait until doubling up wouldn't really help me anymore. I took many more chances than the other short stacks, and scooped quite a few pots. I even managed to steal a couple here and there, when the chip leads had either already folded, or knew they had absolutely nothing to call me with. My stack fluctuated between about 3000 and 6000 at any given time. I knew if I could win just one more big hand, and triple up again, I would be in the running for first place.

Glenn was getting so frustrated at his inability to knock me out. I could see him getting more and more agitated. He had lost the chip lead long before, mostly because of me.

At about 8:30, we were down to four. The woman who played well just didn't get much luck towards the end, and her stacks diminished. She never gave me any action, but she got too much action herself, being sandwiched between calling station Terry and the two big stacks. Regardless of her starting hands, she was outdrawn one too many times, and went out at fifth.

Glenn was now the short stack. I was the next shortest, and Terry and Wayne were the big stacks. Glenn couldn't get his momentum back, and went out not long later. We were down to three, and I knew just one hand could mean the difference between my placing, and winning.

Wayne was getting very frustrated by Terry. Every time Terry would suck-out on someone (he rarely ever started with the best hand), Wayne would say "good hand" or tap the table. Everyone was very polite to Terry, given the way he was playing. On the other hand, Terry never said anything when any of us took down a pot. That got on Wayne's nerves. Terry talked about his hands endlessly, yet never said "good hand" or anything kind to anyone.

For whatever reason, Terry didn't bother me at all. Maybe because I'm used to so many passive calling stations in Laughlin. Who knows!

I was up to about 10k, of the 59k on the table. We had only been playing three handed for about five minutes. I had moved into Glenn's seat, the seven, so that I could see. I was dealt hidden aces with a jack doorcard. Terry also had a jack doorcard, and Wayne had a six. I completed Wayne's bring-in. Terry raised, I called. I caught another ace on fourth. We got all of our money into the pot. I turned up my hand and Terry exclaimed, "I thought I was trapping you, and all the while you were setting up a trap for me!" He laughed. I just watched the cards. Terry had jacks, no low draw. I had AAAJ. Terry caught a second pair, jacks and sixes, but he only had two outs to fill. He could catch the case jack (remember, I had a jack doorcard), or the case six (Wayne had a six doorcard).

Although we were all-in, on seventh the dealers still have to deal the card face down. I flipped mine over immediately. There is no advantage to squeezing and slow rolling in this situation. In fact, it is quite a detriment, since the clock is running.

Terry, however, did the squeeze, turn, squeeze, turn, bending the four corners of his card. He kept saying, "I need a jack or a six, baby. I need to fill!" I don't think he had any idea just how slim he was drawing.

Suddenly he screamed, "Yes, YES! A six! I did it, I filled!" like it was a magical feat that only he could perform, and had nothing to do with luck, lol.

I gathered up my stuff and went to collect my money. I think Terry realized just how ugly he was acting, because he suddenly started apologizing over and over again. Maybe Wayne reminded him again of how rude his behavior was. Wayne made sure to tell me how well I played, and that I was a really good Stud player. Thanks!

I collected my $1500 for third and hit the road.

I think I finally found my niche in tournament buy-in's. When I play the local, low buy-in tournaments, I almost feel like it's a joke. Kind of like playing with play money. The players are so slow and new that sometimes a hand takes five, ten minutes. I have to rely too much on luck, and not make any real moves at all.

At the other side of the spectrum are the $500+ buy-in events. Although I won satellites for the WSOP, I felt like a huge underdog in those events. Truly dead money. I was not up to their skills at all. Those players could get me to lay down a hand that I should have stayed in, by convincing me they had what they were representing. Then I would be sucked into a hand that I should have folded, by following the history of the way they played the hand to that point, and feeling I had the best of it. I was zigging when I should have been zagging, as the saying goes. Even at the $500 buy-in events in the California State Poker Championship, I felt outplayed. I hate being in that position. Outdrawn is one thing, outplayed is harsh.

So getting back to my point, I think that maybe the $200-400 events are where my skills are utilized best right now. I definitely felt like a favorite at the Four Queens. I NEVER got outplayed. I had no problem reading the hands of my opponents, nor did I have a problem outplaying them. I manipulated them into calling me when they should have folded, and vice versa. I was doing the driving, not being driven. I prefer that feeling of control, even if the prize pools aren't as good.

Maybe next year my skills will improve enough so that I won't feel so dead in the bigger events. Naturally, I'll keep trying to enter via satellites, so that I am freerolling, but I hope I won't be such an underdog. For right now, the skill set at the Four Queens buy-in levels are probably the best for me. I feel very comfortable there.

Today I read that Terry won the tournament. Everyone has his day. I think if my three aces would have held up, I could have won. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. The reason we win money is from players like Terry playing every hand, and getting the occasional win in order to keep them interested in poker. That is fine with me. Bad beats come and go, but the winners stay around to win again and again.

I love Stud!!!

Felicia :)