Monday, April 24, 2006

Ken Rock's WSOP

I played a live WSOP tourney on Sunday. It was held at Ken Rock Community Center in Rockford run by Rockford Charitable Games. It was probably the last one I’ll play for awhile……at least until next year. Don’t get me wrong…….it’s a very beatable tourney and I love their new structure and hope it stays the same. I just think they take WAY too much for “charity”. I’m all for charity……played in my share of poker tournaments for great causes…..donated money to this and that.

The buy-in for this tourney is $60. That gets you T1500. You can get T500 for $10 for the dealers (who knows if it all actually goes to the dealers). You can then re-buy in the first hour one time for $30 or $50. The $30 re-buy gets you T2000 and the $50 re-buy gets you T4000. Most people at the tables I’ve been at get the $50 re-buy along with the $10 dealer bonus chip. There are a handful that don’t re-buy at all and a handful that take the $30 re-buy. I always get the maximum re-buy and do it before the first cards are even dealt.

They are running a shootout structure now, which I absolutely LOVE! They can handle a max of 500 people but haven’t getting more than 300-350 and that’s with people buying into multiple sessions. They have three sessions now starting with a shootout format where you win your table and move onto the second part of the tournament. Yesterday there were 320 total people. They paid out a little over 16K in cash and prizes with the top prize being 10K in World Series of Poker credit to be used for any of the WSOP events you want along with like $750 in cash for travel. Second place dropped to $1500. Third was $1000 and down from there paying top 10 out of 320.

You do the math. $60 times 320 is $19200. That’s with zero re-buys. Forget about the $10 dealer chip. Even if only 200 out of 320 took the full re-buy that’s an additional 10K making the total $29200. Only 200 taking the full re-buy is a very conservative number. With total cash and prizes of just over 16K that leaves 13.2K to pay the workers and the rest goes to charity. Is it just me or is that steep? Somebody please call me out if I’m being a jerk-wad here.

The thing is that the play for the most part is terrible. But it isn’t worth it if you don’t win it.

So I sit down at my table yesterday and don’t recognize any faces from previous tournaments. The guy sitting to my immediate left however is a friend of guy I’ve played with several times here who is a good player. That doesn’t mean he’s a good player but I make a mental note to stay out of his way until I get a better read.

In the shootout format it’s like two tournaments. You have to win your table before moving onto the freeze-out portion of the tourney to determine the money. So it’s a single table sit and go that you have to win. I love it. Once you win your table you come back later with everyone else that won their table and play a freeze-out.

Me, my Dad, and my brother played the middle session. They had three sessions. (One session at noon, one session at 2:30pm, and one session at 5pm.) My brother made it down to three handed at his table before going down. My Dad made it heads up and lost the heads up match after battling back from being out chipped 6-1. My table was the last one still playing of the session.

There were two tight aggressive players besides me at my table, several loose passives, and one guy who I just couldn’t peg. My chip stack fluctuated early as I called and raised with some marginal hands to see if I could flop a monster. When we got to 5 handed I called a raise with pocket 7’s along with two other players. The raiser was all-in for three times the blind and the flop came 7 7 2 with two diamonds. I was loving it and was in middle position of the three of us hoping to create a side pot. It was checked to me and I checked. It checked through. I wanted someone to catch up and hoped an Ace would hit or someone would catch a diamond flush. The turn was a non-diamond 9 and we all checked again. The river was a non-diamond 6 and I bet half the pot when it was checked to me and no side pot was created when they both folded. I then tabled my quads and took the main pot. The guy to my immediate left said, “I’m sure glad I didn’t hit my flush.” To which I replied, “Gee, I sure wish you had.”

I another pot when it was five-handed 4 times the big blind with A J off-suit and the lady in the small blind went all in for just less than double my bet. The big blind went all-in for slightly more. If I called and lost I’d still be second in chips at the table so I made the call hoping they both had a mid-upper pair. I was right on the ladies hand as she had pocket Jacks and the gentleman turned over A Ks so I was screwed. The case Jack hit and I thought I might at least win the tiny side pot from the guy but when the Ace hit the turn I was drawing dead to both pots.

I feel there were two key hands when we were four handed. I was second in chips and the chip leader was the guy on my left. I was staying out of his way for the most part but took a couple pots away from him as he wasn’t using his bigger stack effectively and still playing solid even four handed. The guy on the other end of the table who had been chip leader due to some lucky catches was bleeding and still waiting for premium cards. I had Q 10 on the button and called. We all saw the flop. The flop came Q 10 4 rainbow. The lady who was big blind bet out ¼ the pot and I just called (probably a mistake). The turn was a King and she bet out ½ the pot. I called fearing a K Q or A J holding. The river was a blank and she bet out the same exact amount she bet on the river. I just called and she showed A Q and I took it down a nice pot with my two pair.

Shortly thereafter I called from the small blind after it was folded to me and the big blind checked. I was holding 6 2s and the flop came 4 5 J rainbow. I checked and he checked. The turn came a 6. He bet and I called. The river brought a 3 with no flush possible. I bet and he doubled my bet. I simply called with the bottom end and said, “show me your 7.” He had the seven and took down the pot. I think I could have lost more money here…….or gotten him to lay it down with a bet on the flop or bigger bet on the turn.

In the end I was heads up with the solid guy on my left and he had a slight advantage over me. We were the last table of the session as we traded chips back and forth. He didn’t fall into a pattern of raises, or calling, or folding and I think I mixed it up well too. I ended up taking him down with K 2 when he checked to me after a flop of 5 6 8 rainbow. I checked and the turn was a deuce. He went all in and I thought for a moment before calling. He had J 7 for the open ended straight draw that didn’t come on the river. It was a tough call with the deuces but I was confident he would have bet any pair on the flop and figured if the two helped him I was either running into a flopped two pair or two pair that included the deuce.

If any of you have made it this far I owe you a sincere apology for the lack of details with regards to stack sizes and what not. I did not take any notes and am simply pulling it from my memory banks as best I can.

So I won my table and have a seat in the finals starting at 8pm. My brother and Dad bought into the 5pm session and tried to get seats for themselves. My Dad went out fairly quickly when twice his top two pair didn’t hold up to a flush draw. My brother again made it down to three handed before going bust. It was going to be just me representing the family tonight……and while I wished they had gotten seats, I was prepared to take it down.

In the freeze-out portion everyone started with T60000 and the blinds started at T1000/T2000. There were 32 players with top ten making the money. First prize was the big one and a serious drop off after that so I was definitely playing to win. We had two tables of 11 and one table of 10. I asked why we didn’t start with 4 tables of 8 and they didn’t have a good answer. I drew seat 5 at one of the tables starting with 11. The table started out playing really tight feeling each other out. The other tables weren’t doing the same because several people got knocked out in the FIRST blind level and we lost a couple players as they balanced the tables.

I picked up the blinds and a limper or two a couple times with position raises. Then during the second orbit I proceeded to put the guy sitting in the 11 seat on TILT. I wish a hammer story was coming………it isn’t.

I called the T2000 from middle position with one limper already in the pot with 8 9 of hearts. The 11 seat raised from his small blind to T6000. The first limper folded and I called along with a guy in late position. The flop came Q K 3 with the King and Queen being hearts. The 11 seat bet T6000 and I flat called. We lost the other guy and it was heads up. The turn was the 10 of hearts giving me a 9 high flush and gut-shot straight flush draw. I was confident I had the best hand and was confident he’d bet out. He led out T6000 again which was a small bet at this point. I figured he didn’t like the third heart and could have a hand like A Q with the Ace of hearts. I just called (mistake?). The fourth heart hit the board on the river and it wasn’t my Jack. That gave me the third nut flush with my 9 and I was prepared to let the hand go to a big bet here. He then checked. I thought for a quick moment if he would check with the Ace of hearts and guessed he would have put in a value bet if he had it so I fired T 20000 into the pot. This is when the TILT began. He began talking out loud about how I called him down with my Ace of hearts and sucked out on his two pair. He said out loud how he had a 7 high flush and two pair. He finally mucked his hand stating those are his chips and he was going to be coming after them. I was smiling inside but wished I had bet smaller. It was possible however that he had the Jack of hearts and I wanted to represent the Ace just in case…….maybe a smaller bet would represent the Ace better in some games but in this game with these people it would just get called…….and my T20000 bet wasn’t out of line.

Then he wouldn’t let it go and talked about it…..out loud…..constantly. Up to that point I had called a bunch looking to flop a big hand so it looked like I was a calling station and only bet or raised with a big hand. Every time I called he’d look at me and say, “That good of a hand, huh?” I never said a word, as hard as it was not to and by the second blind level changed gears and began raising anytime I entered a pot. Everyone else must have been listening to his talking because my raises were getting mad respect. I kept hoping he would try and chase after me but it never happened before we combined to two tables.

We were down to 20 with top 10 getting paid and I moved into seat 8 with just under T60000 and the blinds at T3000/T6000. I had lost a decent size pot with middle two pair to top two pair just before our table broke bringing me back to about even. After one orbit we were down to 17 players and I looked down to find pocket 8’s. I raised when it was folded to me in middle position to T18000. This was 1/3 of my stack and the blinds were going up to T5000/T10000 on the next hand. The button called and the big blind re-raised to T36000. I had folded to a re-raise twice in my first orbit at the table. If I called all of it was going in on most flops. Calling also might bring along the button who had a bigger stack so I was either folding or re-raising all-in. I thought it would be a coin-flip or I’d be dominated.

So what do I do after thinking AT BEST I was a coin flip? I push all-in. Now the blinds were going to be T5000/T10000 and I would have been left with only T30000 if I folded. I chose to take a stand and look to take the pot down there or double up. I was pretty sure the button would fold to an all-in and he did. The big blind called asking if I had a big pair. I said, “That depends on your definition of big.” I tabled my 8’s and he flipped over pocket sevens! I was pumped until a seven hit the river. I had him covered and was left with T4000. I folded the first hand I saw 5 3o and was UTG for the next hand. I was dealt K 4o and as I tossed in my T4000 said, “don’t be scared by my all-in here boys.” I had one caller and the big blind so I could more than triple up if I hit. The flop came 4 2 2. They checked it down when the turn brought a 7 and the river was another 2 giving me two’s full of four’s and more than tripling up. I folded 9 2o in the big blind to a raise and a re-raise. I was left with T 10000 (I know the math doesn’t work perfectly but I’m working off memory here) and was dealt K 7o. There were two callers and I put my last chips in. I hit a 7 but someone else hit a 10 and I was done. Should I have folded that small blind and picked out another hand in the orbit before the blinds came back around?

If I double up with my pocket 8’s I definitely get in the money and have a shot at winning. It didn’t happen. It was a late night and early morning this morning. The last thing I thought about before falling asleep last night was those pocket 8’s and they popped into my head first thing when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t upset or mad. It happens. Maybe I should have folded the hand. I got my money in with the best of it (surprisingly) and sometimes it doesn’t hold up. I’m happy with the way I’m playing and improving in my tournament play which is one of my goals for the year. It’s only a matter of time before I hit big one.

I’m looking forward to it.

Meanwhile…..I probably won’t be back to Rockford Charitable Games anytime soon. The play is horrible and I love the shootout format but can’t stand the other “stuff”. I just wish I had stayed at the same table as the guy I put on mega-tilt. I didn’t even try this time.

Hope this finds everyone doing well. Not sure when I’ll get a chance to play live again.

Baz Out


Thursday, April 13, 2006

At Empress Without A Princess.....but with a Phlyersphan

I made it out to Empress last night for some 5/10 limit hold 'em. When I arrived I found Shelly seated and looking to take down some pots. It felt good to be able to get back out and play some live poker. Shelly did a nice write up of the night in a nut shell up to the point where she left.......go to Hella Hold 'Em for the first portion of the evening. It was nice to get the seat change next to Shelly as the seat I initially started in was seat 11 (they play 11 handed at Empress) right next to the dealer which I usually love but felt "off" to me this evening. Shelly and I were able to socialize, which is a great thing about live poker, without hollering across the table at each other.

I planned on leaving shortly after Shelly.......was going to only play an orbit or two.......BUT........
we got down to six handed and everyone at the table was still playing as if we had a full table. I started raising with any ace and any any two paint and started taking down small pot after small pot. My stack slowly grew. It was then that we got a couple new players and I again thought to more orbit and I'll take off......halfway through that orbit the 10/20 game which had been playing 4 handed for over an hour broke and they came into the 5/10 game with their big stacks. I figured there's a chance they'd still be in "4 handed" hand selection mode and wanted to stick around to see if I could get my hands on some of those chips. Unfortunately there's not a fabulous story to tell. I won a couple of smaller pots and one good size one when my AQ vs. another guy's KQ won on a Queen high ragged flop.

All in all it was a good night at the tables. Nice to play with a fellow blogger live.........nice to play live.....period.

I look forward to getting back again soon......

Until then....

Baz Out

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Still Here.......

I'm still here.......guessing the minimal traffic I once had has diminished even further.

I haven't been playing as much poker these days for three reasons:

1) Bankroll isn't what it was due to a cashout and bad run immediately following.

2) Family time has been taking up more and more time recently.

3) The minimal time I have been online lately.....a lot of it was prepping for my fantasy baseball auction. I'm really bummed I missed the one DP put together......that would have been a blast. I didn't read about it until it was WAY behind on my blog reading.

I've played in a few home games and a few MTT on Full Tilt along with some RAZZ.

Hoping to get out to Empress this week......Shelly....drop me an e-mail if you're planning on heading out there any evening this week. I haven't been to Majestic II since the bomb dropped and they let go all those dealers........not sure if I will go......if I'm dying to play live on a Friday or Saturday night I might head straight to Resorts.....we'll see.

Gotta Run....Hope everyone is well.

Baz Out