Monday, September 18, 2006

Sir, Your Table Is Ready . . .

Had a nice table draw early on . . . Yesterday took what will likely be my last shot at trying to sneak into that WCOOP Limit Hold ’em event over on PokerStars scheduled for this Friday. Had visions of a massive post detailing my success in outlasting 246 others to win one of the six spots being awarded in that FPP rebuy satellite yesterday afternoon. Didn’t happen, though. I played fairly well for the first hour at least, and was still sitting with an average stack once we’d gotten down to 70 players. But I ended up getting bounced out in rapid, fairly mundane fashion, really, and so became instantly less inspired to revisit the whole affair here.

I will share one observation, however, about table draws in tourneys. I had the unique experience of sitting at the same table for nearly two hours before getting moved for the first time yesterday. Making it even nicer was the fact that while some players came and went, the core group at the table were all fairly easy reads. Most were passive players doing a lot of folding and calling. In fact, only one player even bothered to rebuy at the beginning. For me the opening rebuy is usually automatic (as is taking the add-on), but in this case I actually didn’t since there was only one other player at the table against whom having more chips would matter. (It could be that others at the table followed the same logic, actually . . . I don’t know.) And I did take down a couple of pots early, thereby nullifying the rebuy option for myself.

We had a couple of players who were frequently sitting out, including one to my left who sat out at the beginning and never returned. Thus the few times the table folded to me in the SB, I got to take his blind uncontested. Nice, right? Well, I saw a player on the other side of the table watch the table fold to him in the SB, then he folded to the BB who was sitting out. Even nicer!

My favorite hand of the whole tourney was the very last one of level 4 (blinds 100/200, stakes 200/400), the final hand of the rebuy period. The player to my right -- HerkyJerky -- had suddenly woken up and been preraising about two-thirds of the hands for the last ten minutes or so. When he showed down, he’d usually have paint or an ace, but nothing special. I tangled with him a couple of times, losing a big bet or two to him overall. Despite not catching much in the way of premium hands, I’d held steady at around 3,000 for most of the hour. On this particular hand I was at 2,790, and HerkyJerky was down to 1,090.

The message announcing that the break would be starting at hand’s end had already appeared when the player UTG raised it to 200. A mid-position player called, as did HerkyJerky from the button. I was in the SB with a pair of eights and just called it. I suppose I could’ve made a reraise here, but I was sure all three of my opponents would be coming along -- particularly HerkyJerky, since the rebuy period was still open. The BB folded, and the flop came 8c6sQd. It checked around to HerkyJerky who bet, I raised, he reraised, and I capped. Clearly we were going to the river with this one. The turn was the Jh and HerkyJerky soon had all his chips in the middle. The river brought another jack, and HerkyJerky showed his queen for top pair. I was up to 4,380 in chips, above the average stack. Meanwhile, HerkyJerky surprisingly chose not to rebuy and left the tourney having finished in 178th.

In fact, out of 252 entrants nearly 30% dropped out during the rebuy period -- terrific for those of us for whom leaving early is not an option. I took the add-on, giving me 6,380 chips; the average chip stack at the end of the add-on was 4,254. That put me 30th out of 175 players.

I stayed at my table for a two-and-half more fifteen-minute levels, building my stack to 7,580. Then, after 119 hands, I was abruptly moved to a new table. And I knew immediately I didn’t like it. The average stack at my new table was well over 10,000 -- more than three thousand above the average for the tourney. The player to my immediate right had over 20,000, putting him in the top five overall. Three others had over 15,000. So strike one for Shamus.

I had to wait a hand for the button to pass me, and witnessed four players cap the betting preflop and post-flop, then two more taking it to the showdown in a hand where the winner had middle pair. More aggression here in one hand -- from big stacks -- than I’d seen for the last 90-plus minutes. Strike two.

Then comes my first hand -- pocket-friggin'-jacks. (Strike three, right?) First big pair I’d been dealt the whole tourney, actually. Mr. 20,000 reraises my preflop raise, and when a queen flops I end up letting it go (a decision I second-guessed immediately). I’m down to 6,080 -- not too far below the tourney average, but well below that of this particular table.

Almost every hand is going to showdown, so I decide I’m going to need to take a stand in here somewhere. Before my first orbit here is done I pick up pocket tens in early-position and raise it. The player to my left -- the short-stack of the table with 3,560 in chips -- instantly reraises me. We end up getting almost all of his chips in once the flop comes 4d4s7d, then the last bit of ’em on the turn (a king). Alas, he has kings in the hole -- crushing me with a boat -- and I’m down to 1,770. Next hand I play I flop top pair and lose the rest to Mr. 20,000’s set. And that was that. Ten hands total at my new table, and I was done.

An okay tourney, I suppose, but I clearly didn’t handle the table change very well. I frankly didn’t have much of a plan at all once I realized the new situation, and folding the jacks that first hand didn’t help the confidence much, either. All in all, a pretty clear lesson that whatever the competition will be like at the WCOOP event, I probably ain’t exactly ready for it. Will be sticking with ring games for awhile, I think. You get to pick your tables there.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh well.

Good effort anyway.

A nice bit of advice I picked up is that when you move table, don't play a hand for a round and simply watch.

Moving to a table where everyone has you out chipped was always going to be a problem.

Those Jacks. I wouldn't have folded them I don't think.

Good luck at the tables.

9/19/2006 4:23 AM  

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