Monday, November 27, 2006

Something from Nothing

Had one of those relatively rare low limit hands yesterday where I not only ran a successful bluff (winning a medium-sized pot), but did so from early position against multiple players. A very fortunate hand, as it turned out. I was dealt QcKs in the small blind. One player limped, then there was a raise in late position. I called, as did the big blind and limper. So four of us saw the flop come 3cTc6c.

The table checked around to the preflop raiser who bet. Knew I was behind, but I raised anyway to see if I might chase one or both of the others out (and to see what I was up against across the table). Unfortunately both called, as did the preflop raiser. The turn brought the Ts, and I bet out again, representing trips. This time two of the remaining three players called. By now I was hoping the flush would not come. When the river brought the 6d, I took a chance and bet again. The first player quickly folded, and the preflop raiser lingered a moment (wondering if his ace would play, no doubt) before folding as well.

More fortunate than skillful, really. We all likely held overcards, and the one who took the lead ended up taking the pot. As it happened, being in early position probably was preferable.

Winning a pot with the worst hand is, of course, one of the undeniable delights of poker. Doing so illustrates in miniature what is really a fundamental pleasure of the game, namely, the chance it affords for one occasionally to feel as though he or she is getting “something from nothing.” One could argue that taking any sort of profit from the table, even a single pot, gives one a taste of that highly-tempting “romance of personal liberty” Al Alvarez writes about in The Biggest Game in Town. Alvarez, of course, is speaking of those high stakes players whose entire lives are examples of being able to “survive spectacularly well outside the system.” But even the low limit punter gets to understand -- in relative terms -- the momentary joy of feeling as though one has duped the universe (for once) into letting him or her have the best of it.

Speaking of making something from nothing, I have finally decided what I am going to do with that windfall of tournament dollars I talked about winning several posts back. Having won one of those PokerStars FPP satellites to the Sunday Million (36 players, 375 FPP to play, Turbo NLH), I found myself with 215 “T$” and what I considered three options: sell the T$ for cash, take a shot at the Sunday Million, or use the funds to play smaller buy-in tourneys.

I much appreciated the feedback I received when discussing my options here a couple of weeks ago. I also posted the dilemma as a poll question over on the Card Clubs Network Forums and got some genuinely thoughtful responses there as well (for which I was grateful). In the end, I decided on the latter option -- to use the winnings to fund entries into smaller buy-in tourneys.

I seriously considered trying the big one, then realized I simply wasn’t prepared to do so. Looking over my last couple of months of play, I noticed I’m playing tourneys (MTTs & SNGs) less than once per week. Seemed reasonable to wait until I had a bit more tourney experience under my belt so as to increase my chances should I ever decide to play the Sunday Million.

I also came close simply to selling my funds to Pocket Fives. (I even put in the request, but cancelled it an hour later.) Finally I decided I liked the idea of being able to “freeroll” my way through some tourneys as a way to gain experience (and perhaps some extra cabbage, too). Have been eyeing those $25K guarantees that run every night (the $5.00+rebuy tourneys) that seem to offer a decent prize pool for the investment. Anyone have any other favorite tourneys they play (in the $5-$20 range)?

So here I am again . . . in early postion, with a fairly decent holding. Might win, might lose. Getting something from nothing, either way . . . .



Blogger Swifty said...

I'd go with the lesser tourney buy ins as well. More fun that way and anything you do get is tangible reward. Despite the deep pay out in the Sunday million speaking personallly I'd be far too tight to enjoy it too much, at least until I'd cashed.

Good luck - as ever look forward to reading your beautifully constructed posts.

I may not post very often, but I'm always reading :)

11/28/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Hey, thanks for them nice words, cell!

Most of those who voted in my poll over on Card Clubs said they'd play in smaller tourneys as well. All comes down to the player & what s/he wants out of poker, really . . . .

11/29/2006 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shamus my friend

I have to disagree I'm afraid. When you entered the tourney, was your intention to win the $TS or to get a place in the sunday million?

I would have had a go at the sunday million but I can understand why you decided to have a go at the littler ones.

I agree with Cell. A beautifully constructed blog that is truly a pleasure to read.

Keep it up.

11/30/2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks, bud! Yes, a couple of folks on the forum (in response to my poll) asked why play the satellite if I didn't intend to play the big one. Clearly I wasn't completely sure what I would do if I won when I entered . . . glad to have been forced to decide, though!

Seems to me this is going to be a common issue next spring when people start qualifying for the WSOP Main Event via poker sites, then have to make that decision whether to take the $$$ or go to Vegas. Let's hope we get to make that choice, too!

11/30/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $3 rebuy on Stars is a great way to boost the bankroll. The first hour is a total crap shoot but if I had the roll for it it would be one of the tournies I played every night. The price pool is huge for such little outlay.

I've only played once where I rebought from the off to give me $3k in chips and then added on at the break. I only got $24 and came 120 ish from 2or 3k but I'd have come much higher if my 77 could beat AK and my AK could've beat TT.

Try it, even if you go crazy and rebuy 10 times it's only $30 for the chance to win literally $$$$!

12/01/2006 11:45 AM  

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