Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

May Tournament Summary

We had our monthly tournament last night, and I think I have to declare myself the best poker player in the Chicagoland area. The details from last night are going to be a little more fuzzy than normal (yes that’s possible smartass). I usually try to write these things up as soon as I get home while its still a bit fresh, but I didn’t get home until after 3 AM. My normal bedtime is about 11 these days, and I had gotten up early and spent all day trying to run a ¾ inch piece of electrical conduit from my basement to my attic, so I was a bit tired when I got home. So, anyway, here’s approximately what happened. Warning, this is long.


Things started off badly. Someone (thing?) didn’t want this game to happen and tried to block nearly every road into Plainfield from Chicago. There were overturned semi’s causing miles worth of gaper’s block, followed by numerous fender benders and other assorted accidents. I think I could have gotten there faster if I had walked. I was a little worried because they said they were actually going to enforce the “If you aren’t here by 6 we’re starting without you and blinding you in” rule. Luckily most people had to take the same route as I did, so hardly anyone made it on time and we started late as usual.

We had 22 people for our first game which made our host real happy since he made three really nice tables and we haven’t had enough people to use all three yet. There were a lot of new players, since the guy that organizes these games switched jobs a while ago and has recruited a bunch of his new co-workers. Since I suck at remembering names and such I’m not going to list off the seating arrangements. I started out at the center table along with three new people, my project manager, Paul, Eric, who is a regular at these games, and The Shmoo, who is semi regular-despite not having any poker knowledge other than knowing the rules, and what beats what.

I played some of my best poker in memory at this table. I pretty much destroyed it, taking out three or four players. There wasn’t anyone at the table that concerned me, so I was able to relax a bit at the start which helped. Paul and Eric are both decent players, but have I played with them enough that I know what to expect, and I’m sure I can beat them both. One thing that I did much better in this tournament than in previous ones is claiming pots that no one seems to want. Usually when I miss the flop I’m not real aggressive, but this time I would make decent sized bets and usually everyone would fold which earned me quite a few extra chips.

The first big hand of the night for me came against The Shmoo. He had just tripled up from his super short stack but he still didn’t have much left. I was dealt big slick, which I got way more than my fair share of that night. I made my standard preflop raise, and only he called. A couple of limpers and the blinds dropped out. The flop was Ace-rag-rag, and he bet. I raised, and he called. Now he could honestly have any two cards here. I’ve seen him min bet his trip jacks all the way through the river when he know he had the best hand, and I’ve seen him call a pot sized bet on a busted flush draw on the river when he knew he wasn’t getting any more cards. So I’m not as confident as I would be against a normal player. He could have two underpair, or trip aces for all I know. The turn is another rag, and we do the same thing. He bets, I raise, he calls. I think the river was Jack. He goes all in and I call. I give him decent chance at having two pair, Ax or even xx, but he turns over A7, and I out kick him.

My next victim is a new guy. I’m in the small blind with J5o and he’s in the big blind when it’s folded around to me. I’m raise, hoping he’ll just fold, or that I can convince him that he’s beat with a follow up bet on the flop. The flop is 6?5. I bet figuring that if he calls, I’ll probably check fold the turn. He does call, but the turn is another 5, so now I’m way ahead. I bet and again he calls. The river brings a 6 which I’m not too pleased with. I could see him sticking around with x6. If he just made a full house and I screwed myself by not pushing harder on the turn I’m going to be upset. I put him all in anyway and he calls with nothing. I really don’t know what he was thinking, but he’ll have a few hours before the next game starts to replay his decision.

My third or fourth victim was Doug, who is a regular at these events. Doug is a decent player but he tends to go on tilt way too easily and often, which doesn’t help him much. More on that later. He got moved to our table a few hands earlier and apparently he had suffered a beat beat or two at his previous table. He was short stacked and on tilt. I’m dealt big slick again, with him in the big blind, and I raise it 3x. He goes all in for a little bit more, and turns over A2. Neither of us improves, and Doug is eliminated. I’ve got the majority of the chips at our table, and I think I’m second in the tournament overall.

When we get to 16 players we condense down to two tables and redraw for seats. I end up at table two. Seated immediately to my right is Chris the chip leader. I haven’t played with Chris a lot, as he only attends the events in Plainfield, but he always seems to have a ton of chips when we get to the final table. At least he’s on my right so I can try to avoid pots that he enters. To my left is Noah, who I’ve probably played against more than anyone else here. I’m pleased to see that he’s about down to the felt since he has probably won more tournaments than anyone else.

I try a few times to push Noah all in when he’s in the blind, but he doesn’t bite. He’s down to $T100 with blinds at 30/60 when he goes all in with AQs getting three callers. He wins that pot and quadruples up. I’m not a fan of this occurrence. Noah is the type of player who won’t play a hand for the first five rounds of the tournament, and then all of the sudden he’ll double up two or three times, and before you know it he has more chips than everyone else combined. I’d much rather see him on the rail than seated at my table.

A few hands later I get AQo in the big blind, and Noah limps. Everyone else folds, and I raise T$150. He goes all in. Either he thinks I’m trying to steal or he has a pretty good hand. I give him credit for AK, AA, KK or maybe QQ. None of those hands leave me in good shape, and I can’t afford to let him double up, so I lay it down. Anyone else and I might have called. He later claims he had wired tens, which I guess I believe. At the time I told him I would have called if I knew he had tens, but now I’m not so sure.

I’m glad that I didn’t call him because a few hands later, after the blinds went up to 50/100, I get JQo in early position, and decide to play it for a raise. Everyone except Chris in the BB folds. The flop is JxQ. Chris checks and I bet $T300. He thinks for a second then goes all in. This is exactly the situation I don’t want. I just made a pretty good hand against the chip leader and he went over the top of me and went all in. If he has a set and I call I’m out of the tournament. If I fold I can probably coast to the money. This is why I try to avoid going heads up against the chip leader, because I don’t want to be in a position where I might have to play for all my chips without the absolute nuts. What could he possibly have? I can’t rule out a set, but really don’t think he has it. Maybe he has kings or aces and thinks he’s slow playing me. I end up calling and he turns over Kx where x was not on the board. He said he figured I was going to keep taking $T300 chunks from him so he’d decided to be the one to make the move. I guess folding wasn’t an option for him? It turns out I had him covered and now I have a mountain of chips.

We break for pizza and combine to one table with eight remaining. I don’t remember a whole lot happening at the final table. I continued to get some pretty good cards, and then was content to sit back and let the smaller stacks knock each other out. A couple of the players from the other table that I originally didn’t think were very good made a couple of strong reraises on pots I was trying to steal, which caused me to play a little tighter than I would have liked. I did put a pretty good bad beat on one of them when I called his all in my AJo against his AQo. I made a flush on the river to knock him out in fourth place.

Andy knocked off the third place finisher, and we were down to heads up play. Andy is a pretty good player, although I don’t have a good read on him other than that. He is frequently at or near the money, although usually it is just barely holding on to get there. He has also knocked me out quite a few times that I can remember. Still, I have a huge chip lead over him, so I’m not too worried.

Despite the fact that I seem to be a horrible heads up player online, in live games I’ve fared pretty well lately. I think I did exceptionally well here. I stole blinds and ragged flops at will, and basically just ground down his chip stack. He really didn’t stand much of chance and I went on to win tournament number 1. First place paid $325.


For the record, I’m usually in favor of paying out more people, and making the payouts a little more balanced. We paid out four with the fourth place player just getting their money back. I would have liked to pay at least five, or have fourth win more than their entrance fee. Whenever we have to decide on the payout structure there is always someone who pushes real hard for paying out as few people as possible and giving as much as 75-90% to the winner. The person pushing for this is usually someone who has almost no chance of ever making the money, let alone winning the whole thing, so I’m always confused because I think they would want to pay out as many people as possible. I don’t know why I care, since I’ve been the beneficiary of this arrangement three months in a row, but people are stupid.


We only had 20 for game number two so we only had two tables. I didn’t expect to do too well in this one. I usually play looser and more carelessly in a tournament after winning one. I tend to gamboool it up a little too much. Things start off badly when I get big slick for like the twentieth time in the night. I know you hate getting big slick too and you feel real sorry for me, but you have to play the cards you are dealt.. Well, I make a big raise preflop and get called by Kaiser. Kaiser is usually pretty willing to give his chips away, so I’m not too worried about that. The flop is jack high, and I bet $T50. He looks pained and confused but eventually calls. The turn is another jack. Kaiser checks and I bet $50 again. He thinks about it for a while, grimaces and eventually calls. There’s no way he has a jack. Maybe he has bottom pair or something, but a jack is out of the question. The river is a queen. I think that if I bet again he’ll fold, since he really didn’t seem thrilled with calling before. Maybe another overcard will convince him that he is beat. Well, he checks, and I bet. He calls and turns over the queen that he just paired on the river leaving me in bad shape.

I don’t do much to improve for awhile. At least I have Doug sitting next to me going on uber tilt. He’s still mad from last game, and he’s playing way too many hands trying to get a piece of a flop. The funny part is that he keeps limping and someone inevitably raises him and he folds without getting to see the flop. This then makes him more angry which makes him play more hands which repeats the cycle. Of coarse he finally when he finally does get good cards a queen high flop sees his AQ taken down by Smack’s wired aces. A few hands later he goes all in preflop with AT and gets busted by another guy’s bullets.

I’m slowly bleeding chips away when I dealt a couple cowboys, and see them hold up with an all in. I nearly double up again when I get a pair of aces, and my all in gets called on a king high flop by a guy with AT. I don’t know what he thought I had, but I certainly appreciated his call. Back in business, I get AK once again and again only Kaiser calls my raise. The flop misses me completely and contains to spades. Neither of my cards are black. Learning my lesson this time I go all in when he checks. He says he has four flush but doesn’t want to risk going out to chase it, so he folds and I take down the pot.

A few more players go out, and I make it to the final table near the chip lead again, when the railbirds turn on me. Aaron has been rooting for my demise since he busted out early in the tournament, but now everyone else is starting to think I might end up winning again, and they decide it should be someone else’s turn.

I’m absolutely card dead at this table. I think if you added up my cards, 95% of the time they would add up to eight or less. I don’t have much to say about this part of the tournament. Paul stole my blind every single time and there was nothing I could do about it. Fortunately I had enough chips that I could just sit and wait for a good spot. Every so often Aaron would come up from playing pool in the basement to taunt me and see if I had been eliminated yet. I would usually win a big hand or two while he was watching just to piss him off.

As we slowly eliminated players I got closer to the money. Top four paid. There were a few instances where I had to go all in or I was out, but I managed to survive them. With five players left, there was a three way all in preflop, and the middle stack won the hand, knocking out the fifth place finisher and putting me in the money again. Shortly after that the fourth place finisher went out and we were down to three. Smack was the chip leader by far and Noah and I were clinging to what few remaining chips we had. Blinds were up to 300/600 and I only had $T380 when I was in the small blind. I went all in dark, and managed to win with whatever crappy hand I had. I don’t recall. Two hands later I post a big blind of $T600. Someone points out that the blinds went up to 400/800 last hand so I owe 200 more. At this point I just like “what the hell” and I go all-in dark again for something like $T1100. Smack calls with I don’t know what, but it doesn’t matter because I turn over two Kings, and they hold up. Next hand I push all in again with AKs. Smack calls with a little ace, and again I win.

Somewhere in there the blinds finally get to Noah and he gets knocked out and it’s down to me and Smack. The first hand I have something like J4 and go all in. Smack has me so out chipped that I don’t really think I have much of a chance. To be honest I’m completely happy with finishing second. He calls with K9. I hit a jack on the flop and the railbirds go crazy. The people at work call me horseshoe. Maybe I’ll tell that story one day. I think everyone there might start calling me that too after some of the hands they’ve just seen me win. Anyway, I think that hand gave me the chip lead. A few more hands and I’ve knocked Smack out. To be honest, I don’t remember the exact sequence, but I have the important part down. I won. I won and added another $275 to my winnings on the night. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get to my car without getting mobbed.


I’m sure that in payment for that night I’m going to have to endure months of brutal bad beats but oh well. Hopefully I’ll get invited back.

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At 2:44 PM, Blogger John said...

well done mike - with that scratch you can definately now join me in either Vegas or New Orleans... no excuses now.


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