Monday, January 24, 2005

Tearing up the cheapies

I played poker on Saturday. A lot of poker. Spent about 8 hours online, raising, bluffing, mucking, and making others tilt. And I did it all in a freeroll and a dollar entry tournament at Pokerroom.

I don't know why I do the freeroll on the weekends. It is a big crapshoot for the first hour as people push on just about anything. 2200 start. Not common for 500 people to be knocked out in the first 15 minutes. After the jokers are cleared out, those who have the huge stacks tend to just glide to the end, if they stick around. They usually leave the table for the next hour or so. I guess I do it out of force of habit.

The freeroll wasn't all that exciting from my standpoint. I chipped up nicely to 4000 in the first hour. Not bad but not great considering the top stack were at 30000. But 4xs the starting stack of 1000 means I am around average. I continue to do pretty good, building up an ok stack. Never being huge. I knock some small stacks out when I am catching the premium hands. I also do a nice amount of blind stealing on smaller stacks. But I don't really gain any significant ground on the leaders. I am usually sitting in the 28th. Top 45 ($10 to start) pay so I don't mind. I keep thinking it is some good experience as well.

When we finally get through the bubble delays (that is a sad story in itself), play zips along rather quickly. Long story short, I came in 17th and collected 18 bucks. I didn't care for the manner in which I went out though. Being short stacked, Itried to make a move with 7 7. UTG limped in. Next guy pushed all in. I had the second guy covered and hoped that he was just going with A high. Unfortunately for me, two guys behind me with bigger stacks pushed as well. The limper went away. They all showed face cards, which worked in my favor, but they paired up the K on the flop. No 7 came my way and I was done. My gut feeling initially was to fold the sevens. When the second guy went over the top, I felt I was probably beat. He ended up showing A K. But 3 went out on the hand. I could have stayed around and possibly made the final table. Oh well.

I did piss off a guy in the freeroll. Somewhere in the second hour, I bluff my way to a good pot. I showed my 9 5 off when he folded on the river. I didn't personally like the move and even apologized saying I didn't mean to be a dick. Instead of accepting, it the guy types back "too late". Well, ok then. But then I noticed something. Even though he was 4 players to my right, every time I was in the big blind, he raised the bet. Like clockwork. It took me a while to realize it but it was apparent he was out to get me. What sucked was that I wasn't catching any hands to play against him. I tried to defend the blind and call with anything decent but the flops would miss me.

Until I caught 7 7. I re-raised him all in after he made his bet. He called after a pause. With K 8 off. He got no help and I doubled through on him. How do you call with that? I guess I really pissed him off that he had to try and knock me out. I don't usually show cards, but I will if I think I can set someone off. Though this one was unintentional, it paid dividends.

At the same time I was doing the free roll, I was also playing a qualifier for a bigger event. Having played quite a bit the previous week (where I took my drunken tirade depleted account from $93 to $212), I had a ticket to play a turbo event where all you had to do was place in the top 260 out of 1300 to go to the main event. Didn't seem like that would be too hard. Within the first 5 hands, I jumped up to 4100 and 15th place. This was going to be a breeze! But then I would slowly lose half of that over the next 15 minutes. I stayed aggressive and stole blinds while I could but was getting caught a lot as well. When it got down to 265 people left, it slowed up dramatically. Everyone was trying to keep time on their side, hoping a different short stack would get blinded out. At this point, I was sliding down and was at 255. Uh oh! The blinds were coming right at me.

Being a turbo event (blinds go up every 10 minutes) they were sitting at 1200/2400. I had 2365. Shit! But something interesting started to happen. The table worked together to try and get people into the big tourney. Big stacks were stalling so the little guys could have a chance. Words of encouragement were bandied about the table. They helped me out with one very smart play. The big blind would hit me on the next hand. There was 261 people left. It was possible that I would post the big blind and go out. As play went around the table, someone told the small blind that he had to call. Both small and big blinds were big stacks. It was pointed out that if the small blind calls, there will be a flop which will take more time. That would help out the small stacks. Since the blinds were big stacked and already in, why not see cards to slow the game down some more? It was a moot point as the bubble person went out when the flop hit. But I did find it amazing how everyone tried to help each other win a tournament ticket.

So after doing some shoveling, I came back just in time to register for the Lucky Dollar. One buck gets you in with the top prize being about $1500. Not bad if you win. But it would pay only the top 15. I didn't sign up right away but after looking at the snow piling up outside, I figured I might parlay might freeroll play into something bigger.

And better. I finished in 14th place and won $30. Once again, I played for 4 1/2 hours. Yeah I cashed a little bit but I wanted to hit the final table this time. Even finishing 5th would have paid well too. Instead I went out when I tried to steal with A 10. Not a bad attempt on my part but I was called down with J J. No ace and I was done. I was in last at the time, but I wonder if I could have waited around for a premium hand. I had about 60k or so and blind were 4000/8000 so I had time. If I hadn't overplayed 7 7, I most likely would have made the final table.

I had moved to 170k when I got caught stealing. Just after a break, I raised it up with J 8 of diamonds. The big blind though called me. Uh oh. Flop came 10 7 K and only one diamond. He checked so I bet it out again, just over half the pot. He called. Hmm... Next card was a diamond. Now I have the gutshot straight and a flush draw. But still just a draw. He checked and I fired the second bullet. He called again. Shit! River is a 9. I can't believe it at first. Now I have the nuts. I luck into the straight and push all in. I get called by the pair of kings and jump up to 8th. But I would then get caught with the sevens and lose to the same guy who re-raised me all in with 9 9.

It was a good run for the day. Plus, I still have a ticket to a bigger payout tourney.

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