Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vegas Trip Report Part 2

I heard some rumblings the night before, that the blogger tourney would not start till 11:30am, and not be over until 6pm. I wanted to soak it all in, so I got to Ceasars at 10am. They had some poker writers talk about their new books/blogs, and Howard lederer talked about the upcoming legislation to ban online gaming. For some reason the legislation thing is not freaking me out. I don't think it will actually pass, and if it does I figure there will be some work around. With the prisons as full as they are, I doubt they will be clearing room for a .50/1 nl player like myself. It's also hard to believe the law can effect a company like Neteller that is not located in the US and is not a bank. They may be able to stop transactions from Neteller to banks, but there are non gaming uses for Neteller. You can always get the Neteller ATM and bypass the US banks all together.

At close to 12 the tables were seated. I hated my table draw, but some of these bloggers are real good, so many of the tables were probably pretty tough. To my right was Mr. Subliminal, and to my left were Jen Leo, Chad, Hoyazo, F-Train, Hoff, and later Human Head. I had commented in Hoyazo's blog before the trip, that I hoped he would go far in the 2.5k WSOP event so that he would not push my TAG ass around at the blogger tourney. Double bad beat for me. Hoy is out of the WSOP tourney and at my first table. He's a great guy, so I'll reduce it to a single bad beat. The structure of the tourney was great with 4k in starting chips and 40 minute levels. I would try to employ my optimal tourney strategy for this one.

I went card dead early, but was able to take Jen's blind a few times to keep even. Hoyazo and F-Train were open raising and reraising preflop a lot from the other side of the table. My side of the table was much tighter. The first big hand came about 1 hour in when I picked up AA in EP. I open raised 3x to T150, and it folded to F-Train who reraised me to T500. I put on a little act that I was concerned about the raise. I needed to reraise back here, but how much. We were both around 4k deep at this point. I decided to raise it to T1000. I figured F-Train would need to call this, as I was giving him some decent odds to draw to a set. I also didn't want to make it obvious I had AA. F-Train calls, and the flop comes A86 with two spades. I decided to make what looks like a weak lead and bet out T800. F-train calls. I now am putting him on a medium to high pocket pair, or he is just floating me. The turn dropped a blank. With about T4000 in the pot, and with T2100 behind, I decided to just push in here. Anything else would have been to obvious. F-Train folded after some thought. I was happy to scoop the pot, but I was wondering if I could have played it better. If I check the turn, F-Train probably bets if he was floating me. If not, I could value bet the river. I think the flush draw bothered me enough that I just wanted to take it down. I am not sure what he had, but it was a great laydown. If he calls there, I either bust him, or he is down to a few chips. He eventually would win the tournament so nice job F-Train.

The very next hand I get JJ. I raise it 6x to T300 to make it look like I am playing a rush, and Jen immediately rerasies me to T600. It folds back to me, and I ask her for a chip count. She says "it don't matter, I am calling anyways". She did not have enough for me to properly draw to a set, and I got a read that I was probably already behind. I mucked. An orbit later, I open raise 3x (T300) from LP with A9o, and Hoyazo in the BB makes it T1000. I am waiting for a spot to get in with Hoy, but at first it does not feel right, and A9o is pretty weak. I muck, but then start thinking about Hoy's resteal post a few weeks ago. It becomes obvious that is what he just did. We talk about it at the table, and he claims he had a good hand. Later he would admit he had T6o, and would not have been able to call a rereraise. I get blinded down after being card dead for a whole level. I pick up AA again. I have about T2200 with the blinds 100/200 and a 25 ante. I really need to get some chips with this hand, so I decide to limp and hope someone comes over the top. I guess this was a dead give away, as Hoy basically puts me on AA, and folds the button. F-Train is in the SB and is getting something like 8-1 odds to complete. He folds? The BB reluctantly checks, and mucks to the flop (out of turn). Well I stole the blinds, and that is not much of a help.

I continue to get blinded down and am looking for a spot to get my chips in the middle. I fold a couple of decent hands to big preflop raises. One which would have won a nice pot. Eventually I get 99, and go all-in to call a 1500 open bet on my left. There is one other caller. A nightmare board with an A, Q, and J shows up, and I am beaten by both players and eliminated. There were 6 tables left when I was out, so I was about 50ish/120ish players.

I played ok in the tournament, but was clearly outclassed by F-Train and Hoy. My tournament game needs a lot of work, and I only have one week from today before Event #27 of the WSOP. I need to get the preflop resteal with crap move added to my bag of tricks. When Hoy and F-Trian can get away with it over and over with their loose aggressive style, it should work even better for my tight aggressive game. It is also starting to dawn on me, that you just don't get enough good cards in tournaments to make it all the way. You are going to just have to push in marginal situations and hope for the best. That's how tourneys are won. I couple different moves, and I probably could have gone much deeper in this one. I will need to make those moves in the WSOP. I can't really complain abot getting AA twice and JJ once in 2 1/2 hours of play. Other than that, the cards were few and far between which made it tough to stay even. I am seeing some obvious ways to improve my tournament game which is a great take-away from the trip.

I split immediatly after the tourney to rest up for the "storming of the castle" which I will get to in part III.


At 12:36 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Hey Blinders. Great post about the blogger tournament. I'll give you some thoughts to chew on.

First, nice job on that one hand early with F-Train when you pushed the turn and got him to fold. I did not know you had Aces specifically, but I talked for quite a while with F-Train about that hand both during and after it happened, and here is the thinking: F-Train had a strong Ace, either AJ or more likely AQ (not sure which to be honest). I was surprised that he stayed in for as long as he did with you pushing hard preflop -- that would not have worked on me as it was obvious you were strong and I won't play AQ against preflop reraises for the most part. But for whatever reason F-Train called preflop with his AQ, and then when the Ace hit the board, he felt he had to find out if you were holding a strong Ace (or two of them, as it turns out) or rather maybe you had been pushing another high pocket pair. I liked your flop bet, and I did not like his call. If he was in there with AQ, I think he had to either raise or fold there (but again, that's just me), so you did a great job of reading him and making a bet he would call there.

Now, on the turn when another rag fell, given that you had Aces, I would have played it differently than you. You ended up pushing, making it 100% obvious to both F-Train and myself that you had at least AK, if not two Aces, and he had to fold his AQ (albeit later than he should have, methinks). You won a very nice pot there so it's not like you played it poorly or anything, you played it great obviously. BUT, I think if you had checked there, you would be giving F-Train the impression that maybe you missed the Ace on the flop, tried to steal it fairly cheaply on the flop, got called, and now you were just backing down. Knowing F-Train's aggressive style, I almost guarantee you he would have bet out significantly at you there, suddenly thinking that his AQ was good again for top pair. That's when you move in with the reraise, and he still has to lay it down but you've managed to lift another several thou from his stack if you play your cards right (pun intended). Either way, you won a ton with your Aces there so you played it quite well.

And yikes on you having A9 in that hand where I restole from you. I really did have T6o, would not have considered calling anything if you had reraised. It was probably a decent play to just lay it down, given that, in my view, only fish get busted holding A9 (I mean, what could you have been happy to see on the flop, other than top two pairs?), but I will willingly resteal so you've got to keep that in mind. The gamblor in me says that you believed in your heart that I was restealing, and above all else I believe in going with my reads and acting on them. When you're in the WSOP, I say you make that reraise if you have an honest-to-goodness read on someone. Now it will be hard to get that kind of read on someone you don't know, unlike me who you read and play with a lot, but if you sit at the table with someone for a few hours you should be able to get there. The bigtime players will always act on their instincts if they have a strong feeling, and I know you knew I was restealing there. You just gotta get the brass ones to move on it. I would have folded it immediately and face up for you there man if you had raised.

Lastly, on the second Aces hand you had where you just open limped from EP. First of all, let me apologize again for saying out loud you obviously had Aces there. I definitely had that feeling, as did F-Train who immediately said it to me as well at our end of the table, but I shouldn't have said it out loud. Not cool, that was sucky of me. But as far as the limp goes, there's a very easy way to make this not happen if you want to slow play Aces once in a while -- you have to limp sometimes with other hands from EP as well. That way when you limp from EP with the Aces, it doesn't scream out "ACES! ACES!" like it did to me on Saturday. The only reason I knew is that, seriously, in 90 minutes of playing with you, you (like me) never limped in from EP, not even one time. The trick to disguising the slow-play limped Aces, or any particular play for that matter, is to do that same play with hands that aren't Aces just enough that it no longer sticks out like a sore thumb. Again, that kind of move will work for you in the WSOP next week if you just get out there a little more with preflop limping instead of just open raising every time. Or, alternatively, you can just raise with the Aces like you would any other hand, and then you camouflage them that way, and plus you get the added bonus of not being the schlump who got sucked out on because you slow-played the Aces. I say, in the WSOP where no one knows you or knows how you play, you should refrain from slow playing the Aces there. In EP, why not just put in a 2.5x or 3x raise, rather than the open-limp, and see how that goes. I almost guarantee you you'll have better results overall with that move.

In any event, I had a great time playing and chatting with you at the wpbt live tournament and was glad to finally meet you in person. And I can't wait to hear about your WSOP Event #27 performance. I really hope somebody comes through with a big WSO cash from among our little group here.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

changing betting patterns based on the strength of your hand is a big tell and as Matusow would say: "little bitty cojones!"

At 8:17 AM, Blogger F-Train said...

F-Train did NOT have a strong ace on that hand. Hoyazo THOUGHT F-Train did, but F-Train never confirmed or denied it. Never trust a poker player! ;)

Actually, here's what happened on that hand. I had a medium pair. I knew you had a big hand with the EP raise and the minimum reraise, but for 3 to 1 and not a bad price I figured I could try to outplay after the flop (or flop a set).

When the ace came, it gave me some options. Given the tightness of your end of the table, I could smooth call the flop (rather than raise) and the turn action would tell me what I needed to know. Which it did. The pause in my fold after you moved in was just for dramatic effect. ;)

Raising the flop might have gotten me the same info (if you call or reraise my raise, I'm done with the hand) but I was counting on the fact that you wouldn't fire "the second bullet" without a piece, given how tight your end of the table had been.

Regarding the limped AA, apart from the fact that I thought you had AA, I fold my SB a fair amount. While I have no problems defending my BB with crappy cards heads up, I don't like taking crappy hands into a 3-way pot, and I don't often raise from the blinds without something solid.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Blinders said...

First off, Hoy get your own blog, vs. hijacking mine with an ubercomment, lol.

F-Train, I had you on a medium to low PP. An A was unlikely given that 3 were gone, and the preflop/flop action. I screwed it up and should have checked the turn. It would have looked super weak, and I am guessing you come out firing trying to take it down right there. With the size of the pot and the size of our stacks, you might pot commit yourself on the turn. Anyway, you played great and congrats on the win. I made enough mistakes to keep from going deep, but at least I have identified some areas of my tourney game that need some work.


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