Saturday, December 03, 2011

WPBT 2011 Winter Trip Report

In lieu of not actually being in Vegas this weekend with the rest of the poker blogging community, I decided to make a game-day decision and hit the 11am poker tourney at Tulalip on my way up to the parents' cabin to chop some wood.

I've been waiting a long time for a hot streak at a casino, mostly due to me never playing at casinos anymore... but it seems like every time I go, I'm always the one with the hard decisions and mediocre hands. The first few hours of today's tourney I got my hot streak--man do those feel good! It wasn't all luck, but that rare combination of good play, good cards, AND a little bit of luck. I wouldn't say I was a card rack, but I did get KK,QQ,TT, AKx2 and AQx2 in the first two hours and won every hand, most seeing at least a flop (so not just picking up the blinds). I knocked out five or six people before I busted, which is a record for me in a live tournament, and the most I've knocked out in any tournament in probably five years.

This morning, when the tournament started, I think I did a good job of assessing who I was up against, where the soft spots at the table were, and who to look out for. At some point in the second orbit, a lady in her 50s or 60s and a guy in his late 20s or early 30s were in a hand. The board had run out all hearts, and the guy had position and had been betting each street. It gets to the river and the lady looks like she doesn't like the river card, but leads out for the first time, which surprised me a bit, and the guy pops it 3x her bet. She re-raises all-in. Warning bells?

At this point I am fairly certain that she has hit her inside straight-flush draw on the river, and that he has the Ace of hearts. He deliberates for a minute or two before calling and being shown the 4h for the rivered straight flush. He slams his ace on the table.

He was aware of the warning bells, but not able to lay it down--not sure I would have either. Probably not. But with that read, and seeing the hands, I decided my poker sense (spider sense) was keen enough to start opening up my game and trusting my reads.

I ran over the table. It was amazing. I started growing my stack by applying as much pressure as I could to the weaker players, which worked perfectly. It gave me a chip advantage over the other good players, which had them steering clear of me. Every race I got into except one in the first two hours I was ahead, and I was pretty certain I was ahead going into the race (also, I was the one raising 80% of the time). The only time I gave someone a bad beat was AJ v. AK aipf, but by that time my stack was at 25k and his was at about 3k, and he had been the BB coming over the top of my initial raise, so I wasn't folding.

We started with 5k, I was at 30k after an hour of play and 50k during our second break, which would be my high point. Just before going to break, the dealer said, "well, you're a shoe-in for the final table." Mother fucker. Jinxed me good.

I get back from break and we're down to 3 10-person tables from 90 starters. I get in a blind vs. blind battle with the fairly amateur poker player to my right. I'm BB and he raises 3x, I call with A9c. Flop comes AAT, he checks, I bet about 1/3 pot, he calls. Diamond flush fills on the turn and he winces, checks his cards, and jams on me. It is about 11k more, which is about the size of the pot before his bet, and I call. He shows the flush and I don't fill up on the river, which cuts my stack in half to 25k. In hindsight, my biggest and really only mistake of the tournament. Both of the hands I've described have been the "oh shoot, that pesky card!" and then the person jamming. Actions speak louder than words!

Lost two more flips, one where I had 88 vs. AK and A6 aipf, would have knocked them both out and been up to 50k again, if not for the Ace on the river. And then my bust out hand a few hands after we consolidate down to the final two tables is 99 v. AK, Ace in the door and no more help.

Felt like I played really well except for the one hand, although I did get into a lot of flip situations and got lucky early, unlucky late. Wondering how optimal my play was... I know you need to race in the quick blind tournies, but not sure how much racing is necessary. Time will tell!

Headed up to the cabin afterwards, got the chainsaw going and continued adding to the wood pile for the rest of winter. Hoping to get as much wood sawed from fallen trees and chopped to dry before the rain really hits. This week was unusually dry, which made today a great day to get up to the cabin. Looking forward to more poker and wood chopping days in the near future!

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