Okay, so a couple of days ago I finally won at a new card room. I had just written that I was still playing way too tightly for their structure, and that I hadn’t adjusted enough.
One of the advantages I’ve always had in poker is my ability to switch gears pretty quickly. I’m not a mathematical genius, that is something I’m never going to be able to conquer in the world of poker, but I am good at sizing up a situation and going with a decent strategy, in addition to simply memorizing odds.
So I decided to try again at Riverside.
Although I was about 15th on the alternate list, I was able to get in right away, due to the empty tables (heavy rain).
I played my normal, tight game the first hour. The Riverside has a weird re-buy system which is not necessarily a great deal. Their levels are 20 minutes, and every player is given a re-buy button along with their chips. If they bust, they can use the re-buy button to get back into the game. In the first two levels, it is $10 for 1000 in chips. If they bust again in that level, they are out. If they end the level with their chip still intact, they can take an optional add-on of the 1000 chips for $10, or just hold on to the chip without making any additions. The same for round two. In round three, the chip costs $20 for 2000 in chips. At the end of round three, or the first hour, an optional add-on is allowed at $20 for 2500 in chips. This one is the best value, obviously, and the one I almost always take.
So I got through the first hour without busting myself once, making a play here and there when I could. I think I ended the hour with about 2500 in chips, then made the add-on for 2500 more.
The rest of the tourney was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, which is pretty normal, given the blind structure. We start that second hour at 200/400, then 400/800, 500/1000, 1000/2000, 2000/4000, 4000/8000, 5000/10000.
So we had about 50 players not long into the 2nd hour. Soon, our table broke and I got moved to a tougher one. I didn’t have nearly as good of control over these new players.
Luckily, I got QQ and AA back to back. No one called the QQ, but someone must have thought I was playing a little LAPpy (Loose-Aggressive Player) since I’d just sat down and kept raising, so I got called on the second hand by AKo. No help, and he’s out. Now I have a lot of chips, for the structure, that is.
I stole a few pots with pairs or decent aces and was cruising along okay (believe me, at 10x the BB at Riverside, you feel like a king).
I had to fold forever, never getting the right opportunity to make a play (at this stage, there is no “play” in the tourney, it is all-in or fold, unless one is a total moron or somehow has 50% of the chips on the table). I finally chipped up a couple of times, but was always really short stacked, due to the crazy blinds. I took some chances, but kept coming out on the top end of it.
One time I had 83s in the BB. I flopped an eight, and two clubs (my suit). The clubs never got there, but an inexperienced player bet the turn when a scare card came up, and put the winning player off of his hand with a bluff, keeping me in the race.
Another time, my BB was raised by a LP player who had a lot of chips and could have any two. I saw deuces and went all-in (only about double the BB at this point). This time, he had a hand, TT, but I spiked a deuce and went on.
Every hand I played was all-in. I mean, the average chips were about 10k, and the blinds were 2/4k.
We finally got to the final table. Riverside had adopted this new policy of paying players 6-10 $100 for making the final table. Supposedly it doesn’t come out of the prize pool, and adding up the prize pool, it seemed to be correct.
So I went to the final table short stacked, but then again, just about everyone was short. Maybe three players had enough to get around the table twice.
I drew the ten seat, but the nine had just vacated, so I moved over into the nine.
Players were being eliminated like gangbusters. Since we had no chips, there is no use waiting around. Even waiting til the bigger payouts of 1-5 is tough, being that you will probably be all-in on your next blind. I was lucky to be only two behind the button when we started the final table.
I think I folded until I put in my BB, which was about 1/3 of my stack. The UTG player was an elderly man who had been getting chipped down, then going all-in when he felt he had a decent shot, then getting chipped down again. I knew that UTG he was going to go in with any random hand, since he’d be all-in the BB anyway. So when it was passed to me, and I saw JTs, I figured I probably had as good a hand as him, even heads up. I went ahead and called, leaving me with maybe one BB left.
Sure enough, he had 98s. I flopped a straight, he didn’t fill up, even though he flopped two pair, and that’s all she wrote.
A little later the BB was all-in for almost nothing. Another player went all-in. In LP, I went all-in over the top with KK. A very solid player in the two seat, who was the chip lead, agonized for about a minute. We were only six handed, and I could see that he had something, and was trying to make the correct decision regardless. Finally, in agony, he turned up AKo and mucked. Wow, he really had a good read on me! I doubt I could have made that laydown, especially six handed, as the chip lead.
After the tourney, he went through all of his reasons for laying the hand down, all of them were excellent theories. Dang, I wish I had that kind of ability.
Needless to say, I won the hand, and we were in the money, the real money.
Although first place paid out $1300+, none of us had any chips compared to the blinds. I think the average chip count was maybe 15k or so, and the blinds were 4/8k, lol.
We all decided to chop it equally. I had the shortest stack, and I was going to be the BB next, which would have taken half of my money.
I was pretty impressed that the other players immediately wanted to chop with me, even knowing that fact, knowing that I would likely be the next one out. They sincerely seemed to fear me. I think it’s odd, since it’s such a crapshoot anyway, that no one really has any advantage, save the guy with half the chips (not that there was one in this case).
Maybe I’ll talk about table image next time. I think it’s probably one of my biggest advantages in poker.