Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hand Of The Day #69

Atlantis - 03.20.11 - $240 Tournament Level 7 (200/400/50)

It folds to the Cutoff, a Lady who recently arrived at our table but hasn't been active. She raises to 850. It folds to me in the BB. This is basically a min-raise, and I think min-raises in tournaments are retarded. Most of time, I will call and check in the dark without looking at my hand. Why? Because I'm getting at least 3.5/1 pot odds (even better odds with antes). I'm either gonna lose one more BB or I will win a big pot against someone trying to get action with their big pair. So I call the 450, and check in the dark without looking at my hand.

Flop: Qd 8c 3c - She bets 825. I now look at my hand, Q2c for Top Pair + Flush Draw. Sweet! I check-raise to 3100. She thinks for a bit, and calls

Turn: [Qd 8c 3c] 3s - Well, I'm not really sure where I'm at in this hand. She got around 7k left, and I have her comfortably covered. I decide to keep up the aggression, and go All-In. If I'm behind, then I have outs. She snap-calls, and shows 53d for Trip 3's.

I missed all of my outs on the River.

Nice Hand, Sir Madam.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

All-In Main Event: Break 3 (End of Level 9 - 500/1000/100)

Playing in all the little daily tournaments has really helped my shortstack preflop game. Knowing when to push, when to call, and when to fold is critical for playing a shortstack.

Another critical component is getting some cards, and I haven't been seeing any. The only pocket pair I've had since Break2 was 44 UTG, which I folded. I have been doing some preflop raising with other cards, and have had mixed results. When I raise with AQh or KQc, everyone folded. When I raise with hands like 97o from the Cutoff, I either get 3-Bet and have to fold, or I get three callers and airball the Flop.

I was able to hang around for a while, but never got over 9k chips.

Finally, with about five minutes left to go in the 300/600/50 level, the Dude raised to 1500 (standard raise for this table). Three players called. I'm the BB with 76s, and ship it for 5075. I fully expect to get called, but the extra 1500's makes it a good time to gamble, especially since the blinds will be going up soon. The Dude just calls, leaving around 5k behind. Another player, a young lady who's experienced, goes All-In for 25k. Everyone folds back to the Dude. He thinks for a while, and surprisingly folds. She shows AJo, and I'm thrilled that I'm getting such good pot odds with live cards in a pot that's close to 20k. Flop was Tc 8c 8h, giving me the Straight Draw. But the Turn & River were bricks, and AJ-high sends me to dinner somewhere around 65th place.

It is so frustrating the every time I make even a small mistake, the Poker Gods punish me by not giving me any opportunity to get back into the tournament. It happens way too often.

However, the good thing about living in a Casino town is there's always another tournament. The Peppermill is starting their tournament series this weekend. I'll be playing in whatever the Noon tournament is tomorrow, which is probably a $230 NLHE.

All-In Main Event: Break 2 (End of Level 6 - 200/400/50)

They've broken a few tables, and have around 85 players. They are playing 11 spots, with 1st getting $33465.

It's much easier to be patient and play Small Pot Poker when things are going well. The wheels came off for me.

There is one guy at my table who is Dead Money, and he was down to around 3k chips. But he's playing most hands, and started hitting all of them. He would bet small on Flop or Turn, and overbet the River. After he did this a few times, I finally called his 4300 bet with 2nd pair, because I knew he didn't have Top Pair (K). I was right, but he hit his Set on the Turn (3). Later, I flopped Two Pair with 87 (A87). He called my Flop bet, but fired big on Turn and River with a Straight. I shouldn't have called the 5k bet on the River, but I called quickly out of frustration.

After that, I went very card dead. Every time I attempted to raise, that Dude called me because he was on my Left+1, and because he was calling everyone. I think I won my first pot since Break1 about 3 minutes before Break2, and it was just the Blinds & Antes.

I have 7175 chips, which is about 12 BB. I need to stay patient. This is a very slow structure.

All-In Main Event: Break 1 (End of Level 3 - 100/200)

Looks like I was a little off on my guess for tables  as there are 11 tables. This is a Re-Entry tournament. Players can rebuy up to the 1st Break, but will be seated at a new seat. We have 115 entries.

There is also a camera crew and photographers doing some shots of the tournament. Mostly, they are focusing on Jen & Marco.

My table has been wonderful. No Action Guys throwing chips around, and nobody who worries me as a "Pro".

I plan on being here long past Midnight. I'm going with the Small Pot strategy, and it been going well. I'm keeping my VPIP low, trying not to play too much Bingo Poker, and not calling raises out of position. One time, I did fire the 3rd Barrel on the River for 2500, and an Old Guy folded. I also called a 2000 bet on the River with AQ-high, and it was good.

We started with 20k chips, and I have 31875.

All-In Main Event: "Shuffle Up & Deal"

Got to Atlantis at 11:45, and there's something big happening at the Convention Center next door. The was no parking at the back lot, so I had to park in the big lot out front and hike it.

I finally got to the Sign-In room to get my seat, and there was a long line. It's really obvious that this is their first Big Tournament, as things are rather chaotic. I bought-in on Wednesday, but there's still one line for everyone to stand in. As much as I want to blame them, it do live five minutes away, and could have easily been here earlier.

I finally got my seat, Table 1 Seat 4. I got to the table, and they were already 2 minutes into the tourney. The tables are 9-handed, which is nice. I'm not sure how many tables there are, but I'm guessing seven.

There are now eight players at the table with a dead stack. Nobody at the table that I recognize, and so far it seems like a good table draw for me.

It's currently halfway through Level 1. My very first pot was me in the BB, and winning a nice pot with 62c ( flopped Trips).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Live Blogging II - The All-In Main Event

I have tried Live Blogging before on my iPhone, and it was a failure. Well, I've figured out a different way to do it, so I'm gonna try it again on Saturday.

The Atlantis All-In Main Event is Saturday and Sunday. It's a $1080 buy-in, ($970 + $110). That buy-in is a little too high for me, but I'm still gonna take a shot. I did play in a mega-satellite on Sunday night. I did get to the money, but I didn't win the seat (finished 7th out of 61 entries). But with my win in the Cash Me Out tournament, that was sort of my satellite for this event.

The levels are 45 minutes long, with a break every three levels. I'm planning on posting a blog entry every break. 

Atlantis is hosting the taping of High Stakes Hold'em this weekend, and the Final Table will also be filmed for future broadcasting. Of course, the same thing was said about the US Poker Championships at the Trump Taj Mahal back in November '09, but there is still no sign of it being aired.

Because of the TV coverage, there is expected to be some online pros in attendance, along with Jen Harmon and her husband, Marco Traniello.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


About six weeks ago, I was at the Atlantis on a Saturday night, and I played in a $1/$2 PLO game that they were trying to establish. Last night was my first visit to the Atlantis on a Saturday night since then. Not only was there a PLO game, it had evolved in to a $1/$2 PLO-8 game. Even though I went there to play $3/$5 NL, I decided to sit down in the PLO-8 game.

I've played a lot of Limit O-8, but I've never played PLO-8. The good thing about being a Mixed Games player is that some basic concepts translate from one game to another. In Big Bet games, you have Position, Isolating, and Value Betting. In Split Pot games, you have Scooping, Quartering, and Freerolling for Half the Pot.

One of most important concepts in PLO-8 is Quartering. For all of you "TV Poker" players, Quartering is when you only win 1/4 of the Pot rather than 1/2 of the pot. The most common example is when one player has a High hand that get 1/2 of the pot, and two players have the Nut Low (usually A2) which gets 1/2 of 1/2 of the Pot, or 1/4 of the pot. In Limit, it's not terrible to get Quartered. There is usually enough Dead Money in the pot from all of the limpers, and players who called on the Flop, to keep you from losing money by getting only 1/4 the pot. But in PLO-8, you could get your entire stack in the pot, and lose half of it by getting Quartered by someone who win the High and 1/2 the Low. One way to prevent getting Quartered in a big pot is to have some "Ands" in your hand. (Something like an Overpair AND a Flush Draw AND a Nut Low Wrap) The more of your stack that gets in the pot, the more "Ands" you should have.

Anyways, the play at my table was, well... interesting. There were a couple of players who knew what they were doing. But most of the players were TV Poker players who were trying something different, and enjoying the big pots and action. One lady had a Starting Hands Chart propped up against her chip stack. There was an older couple who are regulars in the $4/$8 O-8 game at the Peppermill. The husband is a Super Nit, but wife is a Calling Station.

There was a lot of limping preflop, with up to seven or eight players in many pots. Even when someone raised, there was still 4-6 players who called. Nobody was betting their draws, but they would call almost anything for a draw that was for just 1/2 the pot. And often on the River, they would just check a hand to get to Showdown, even though they really should have made a value bet.

So with all this Dead Money at the table, that means I had an awesome session, right?

Nope. I ended up losing $600, two buy-ins. The main reason for this was because I tried to bluff players who had no clue what they were doing, which was an incredibly stupid thing to do. You don't beat No0bs by bluffing them, and trying to muscle them out of a pot. You beat them by using Fundamentals, and playing smarter then they do. Hopefully, I'll play smarter next time I'm in that game.

Here are two hand from the session:

Hand #1: Some players limp in. I'm the Button with Ax Qx Th 4h, and raise to $5. Four players see a Flop of Js 9h 5s. All check to me. All I have is an Open Ender and some backdoor draws, but I still make a bet of $20. Only the SB and the UTG+1 call. The SB is an aggressive Kid who knows what he's doing. UTG+1 is an older gentleman who's a regular in the poker room, but very new to PLO-8.

Turn: [Js 9h 5s] 7c. They both check. Well, I now have a Low Draw, but I'm not counting on my A4 Low to be any good. I fire the second bullet, $50. They both call.

River: [Js 9h 5s 7c] 4d. They both check to me. Obviously, my Pair of 4 and no Low won't win the Pot, so I "empty the clip" for $100. The SB quickly ejects, but the UTG+1 calls almost as quickly. He has AJ92 for Top Two Pair and the Nut Low, which is a very strong hand. I can't believe he just checked & called with it, especially when he hit the Low on the River. If he had even flinched towards his chips on the River, I would have saved $100.

Of course, it may have been a mistake by me to try a bluff against two players in a Split Pot game. Someone is likely to have something, even if it's for half the pot. That's a situation where some experience would have been helpful.

Hand #2: Someone raises to $5. A couple of players call, including me in the BB with 9c 5c 3x 2x. Not exactly premium holdings, but I am already in for $2.

Five players see a Flop of Ks 4s 4d. Since I airballed this Flop, I check. UTG bet $10. He is a 50's gentleman who just got to our table, and already has "Dead Money" stamped on his forehead. He has played every hand and played them horribly bad. In a previous hand, I raised preflop to $5. He 3-Bet to $10 with Th Ts 8h 8s. Surprisingly, he didn't win the pot.

Anyways, two players call the $10 bet, and it gets back to me. UTG's bet is very weak, like he hit Top Pair (K). The two callers are also weak, like they have a Flush Draw or just a Pair. I decide to check-raise POT ($70), and take down all this weak money. UTG calls the extra $60, but everyone else folds.

Turn: [Ks 4s 4d] 9h. Well, I have a Pair now, which means I have some outs. I bet $100, representing at least a 4. UTG called rather quickly.

River: [Ks 4s 4d 9h] 2c. Once again, I can't win this pot without betting, so I bet everything I have left, $154. UTG goes into the tank, and thinks for almost a minute. I really think he's gonna fold, and I'm looking forward to showing my bluff. But he finally calls, and shows his hand, KQ72. He actually calls out his hand as Kings & Twos, even though his 2 doesn't even play. I really think that if the 2 doesn't hit the River, then this dweeb doesn't call.

Of course, I'm the dweeb who lost $324 by trying to bluff someone who is completely clueless. So which one of us is the bigger bonehead?

Me. I should know better, and hopefully I will play more disciplined next time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cash Me Out

I played in Peppermill's 6:30pm Sunday tournament, which was a $95 Cash Me Out tournament. For those who aren't familiar with the Cash Me Out tournaments, the quickie version is the players who make it to the Final Table have their Tournament chips converted to Cash chips. The players then have the option to "Cash Me Out", and part of the prize pool is held back to play for. The exact details of the How and When they can Cash Out varies at each casino (Seneca Allegany used to run these, but I never played in one). I'm not sure how it works here because I haven't made the Final Table in my previous four attempts. My best finish was last Sunday when I bubbled the Final Table in 11th place.

I had a good feeling about this tournament, so I did a Running Log of it.

"Shuffle Up & Deal" 5500 - The buy-in structure for this tournament is you start with 2500 chips for $35 ($25+$10). You have two $30 Rebuys for 3000 chips each, and you can use them anytime up to the first Break. I bought my first Rebuy when I sat down, so I can be over 100 BB to start. Almost everyone saves their Rebuys until they absolutely need them, even if that means they sit there with just 1000 chips. Some players don't even use the Rebuys; they just leave after their initial chips are gone.

I start at the 5th table. There was a LIPS event at the Peppermill this weekend, and there are a lot of women in this tournament, including half of my table.

The levels are 15 minutes long.

End of Level 1 (25/50) 4700 - There are some Kids at my table who are friends and are drunk. I lost chips by limping with AA UTG. I had to fold on the River. Someday I will learn not to make plays like this.

Level 2 (50/100) 7725 - I limped on the Button with 9h 7d. The SB (one of the drunk Kids) raised to 650. The Cutoff called, and so did I. Flop was Td 8c 3d. SB goes All-In for 1800, and Cutoff folded. I'm getting just over 2-1 with a Combo Draw, but there are a few hands I really don't want to see (AxAd, AKd, TT, etc). But I make the call, and he shows TT for a Set. I hit my Flush on the Turn, and he missed the River. 

Level 3 (100/200) 18875 - I was getting hit by the deck for the whole level. The biggest pot was me limping in Early position with AKh. A lady in Mid position raised to 600. The Cutoff 3-Bet to 1200, and it folded back to me. The Mid has 2500-ish behind, and the Cutoff has around 5000 left. I decide to ship it All-In. Mid folded, but the Cutoff called with 99. I won the race by hitting a Flush.

Level 4 (150/300/25) 20500 - One player limped in. The Button raised to 1000. I'm the BB with KK, and decide to just call. The Button is a tight player, and I don't want to chase him off. Limper called. Flop 8 8 2. I bet 2100, and they both fold. 

BREAK - We have 54 players for this tournament, and there are still five tables. Even though I'm over 20k, I decide to use my last rebuy for 3000 chips. I really want to make it to the Final Table, and there will be a lot of coin flipping soon.

Level 5 (200/400/50) 23600 - At this point, the Running Log comes to an end for a few reasons. First, it's much harder to do an entry every 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 30 minutes. Second, the Dealer started yelling at players for touching their phones, even though no other Dealers had a problem with it.

And finally, I ended up sitting at all five tables. When our table broke (#5), I got sent to Table #2. Two hands later, I was moved to Table #4. When that broke, I went to Table #3. And, as you can guess, when that broke, I went to Table #1.

Anyways, there was some Good, some Bad, and some Annoying. My chips stack hovered in the 12k - 23k range.

When I got Table #1, there were two tables left. Shortly after I got there, I was dealt JJ, and raised. The player after me was the only caller. It was a 60's Lady, and she had the Monster stack. The Flop was K Q x, so I just checked and folded to her bet.

This left me shortstack, so I waited for an opportunity to ship it. While waiting, I noticed that the Lady liked to call with her Monster stack. Finally, it folded to me in the SB, and I shipped it All-In with K4d. (I don't remember the specific amounts or Blinds. I had around 6000 and it either 700/1500/200 or 1k/2k/300). The Lady called rather quickly with 92c. Fortunately, this is not a Bad Beat Story, as the Board missed both of us.

Even with the double up, I was still short on chips, so I shoved All-In the next two hands. Nobody called, so I kept doing it. I was able to build up my chips stack with almost no resistance. Eventually, I had enough chips to just do standard raises. In the one or two times someone pushed back, I simply folded and raised again later. The main reason for this was we were getting closer to the Final Table, which is when the chips were converted to Cash. As we approached the Bubble, the players tightened up, waiting for the big hands. I was abusing the Bubble, and nobody wanted to fight back. It was beautiful.

Finally, we were down to 11 players in Level 11 - 2k/4k/500. I raised in Mid with 2 Blue 5k chips. The SB, a young Lady from Canada, went All-In for something in the 20k-25k range. I'm not sure exactly how much it was because I had AKo and I didn't care. She had a smaller Ace. I hit the K on the Turn to pop the Bubble, and get us to the Final Table.

We counted down all the stack for the conversion, and I had 82500. (Remember, I had around 6000 just a little bit ago.) I was second in chips, behind the Lady with the Monster stack, who had 90k. We got new seats, and the Lady was on my direct Right. Sweet!

After the TD did the conversion, he brought over the Cash chips, and explained how this was gonna work. 75% of the prizepool was converted from the tournament chips and given to us. I got $585. We had the option to Cash Out right now, or keep playing with the blinds at $5/$10 and 15 minute levels. At the start of each level, players would be given the option to Cash Out. The remaining 25% of the prizepool was Winner-Take-All, although there could be a Chop when we were down to five players or to the $25/$50 Level.

Naturally, being 2nd in chips, I was gonna play it out. The Lady was in town for the LIPS event with her husband, and he also made it to the Final Table. They were deciding what to do. I gave them my opinion that one should Cash Out to lock up the profit and one continues to play. They finally decided to both Cash Out, since they had over $800 between them. I can understand them wanting to Cashing Out, and I was thrilled that I was now the Monster Stack.

Two other players Cashed Out, and we started with six players at $5/$10 level. Surprisingly, two very short stacks stayed in, $85 and $65. I guess they wanted to get their buy-in back. The other players were in the $100 - $300 range.

Not surprisingly, the play was rather tight. After an orbit, I decided to raise to $25 UTG with QJs. The $85 shortstack then went All-In. She had won one pot, and she was up to around $100. It folded back to me. Since I was willing to raise in this spot, then I gotta make the call, and hope I'm not crushed. Of course, I hated to see her hand, JJ. But I loved to see the Q hit the River, and we're down to five players.

As you would expect, the Chop talk started immediately. I had no interest in doing an even-money chop, as I had around $700 in my stack which was more than double any other player. If we eliminate another shortstack or two, then I might be interested.

But a regular tourney grinder, who's been at these Cash Me Out Final Tables before, came up with an offer. Give me $300 of the $946 and split the rest, which worked out to $160 each with the last $6 going to the Dealers. As I said, I don't want to make a deal, but I do understand what could happen at these shortstack Final Tables. Even though I'm the dominate stack right now, I am just a 2-outer and a Coin Flip away from being in trouble. (It's happened to all of us at one time or another.) This is a fair deal for me, so I accepted it.

I walked out of the Poker Room with $990 after the Dealer's Tip, and I got another notch on my belt.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

5:40 $300 - I walked into the Grand Sierra Poker Room on Friday evening, and got seated at one of the four $1/$2 table that were the only games running. I also put my name on the $3/$5 list. My table is overloaded with chips. One guy named Sammie has four stacks of Green chips, and eight stacks of Red chips for $2800. He's a local player who's always playing in the biggest game around. Two other players have a stack of Green chips along with a bunch of Red chips. I'm one of the shortest stacks at the table, with two other players having about $200.
6:00 $425 - I won two nice pots in consecutive hands with QQ and AK. This table is playing relatively calm. Sammie is playing most of the hands, but not going crazy pushing his stack around.

This weekend is the $2500 Main Event for Grand Sierra's World Poker Challenge. Deepstacks Live is also in town for some seminars, and some of the Pros will be playing in the Main Event. I suspect that a larger NL game will break out with some of the Pros. There was a $10/$20 game last weekend without the Pros in town.

6:30 $417 - Sammie was gone for 20 minutes. We played six handed for most of that time, and the table was very passive. I won a few small pots, and lost a few small pots. We are now back to a full table of nine players.

7:00 $439 - This table has changed dramatically. Sammie and another big stack left the table, and grabbed their seats in the $10/$25 NL game that will start soon with some of the Pros. The last big stack has also left the table. The biggest stack is now around $600. A few new players have sat down in the various empty seats.

7:30 $577 - The action at this table has been standard for a $1/$2 game. I raised preflop with JTh and ATs, and won both pots. I also won a sweet Hand Of The Day.

The $10/$25 game started in the tournament area. The only Pros I recognize were Grinder, Matusow, and that Silly Bands guy from HSP. There are also some Kids at the table, but I don't know what most of the Internet Pros look like.

8:00 $618 - I raised to $7 with AQc from the Hyjack. SB re-raised to $21. I was the only caller. Flop was A-high. He bet $25. I raised that weak bet to $60, and he quickly folded.

Other Pros are hanging around the $10/$25 game, including Chino, Grinder's brother Eric, and some more Kids. It looks like there may be a second table started.

At 8pm, they started the $3/$5 table in the tournament area. I grabbed a seat, and bought in for $600. Chip stacks range from $300 - $1500. A couple of Kids bought in for over $1k. A hot blonde who's been hanging around Matusow bought in for $500.

8:30 $601 - The table has been fairly calm so far. I raise to $15 with AK, got two callers, and took it down on the Flop. I also called a $20 raise with 76d in the BB, but I airballed the Flop.

The hot blonde is definitely the Mouth's girlfriend. I could tell from the table talk between her and the Kids. One of the Kids looks familiar, but I can't make the connection. I think the guy next to me might be Dmitiri Nobles, of WSOP fame. I've seen this guy around Reno a few times, and his Cash game is significantly tighter than his Tournament game (assuming that it is him).

9:00 $823 - The Mouth's girlfriend raised to $15 UTG+2, and two players called. I'm on the Button, and decided to squeeze with 77 to $70. The BB cold called. He's an 60's gentleman who's dressed in Western wear from a Gun Show going on this weekend at the Grand Sierra. He's also a big Calling Station, from what I've seen so far. Everyone else folded. The Flop was Q-high, and he bet $100. I know better than to try and bluff a Calling Station, so I fold.

Mid player, who's a dealer at this casino, raised to $25. Two players called. I'm the Button with AQo, and 3-Bet to $125. Everyone folded, and I showed for some advertising.

In a straddle pot ($10), I'm UTG+2 and raise to $25 with KK. Only the Straddle called. He's one of the Kids who's been rather tight so far. The Flop was J-high. I bet $40 on the Flop, $60 on the Turn, and $100 on the River. He called me down, but didn't show what he had.

In a pot that didn't involve me, one of the Kids tried to bluff the Calling Station, and lost over $600. The Calling Station has over $1500 in his stack, and I'm eagerly waiting for my chance to take a chunk of it.

9:30 $802 - A quiet time for me. I took a 10 minute break to walk around. The Big Game is going strong, but I don't recognize anyone else at the table. The Mouth's girlfriend left our table, and joined a private table with some of the Internet Pros. I'm not sure what game they're playing. Her seat was taken by someone who played for 15 minutes, and then went to the Big Game.

10:00 $908 - I called a $20 raise with A5c in the SB. The two Kids and I saw a Flop of Ah 9h 6d. I checked. The raiser bet $40. I called, and so did the other Kid. The Turn and River were checked down, and I was good.

The Calling Station made his first good play of the night. He racked up his chips, and took off up well over $1000. Since he was the sucker at the table, there isn't any reason for me to stick around, especially since I have to work in the morning.

After cashing out, I grabbed some free food they serve every night. Tonight, it was pasta with meatballs and sausage. The Silly Bands guy walked by the empty table I was eating at. He was telling someone that he was sitting between Grinder and the Mouth, and he kept getting re-raised. He said he'll never sit between them again. My first thought after hearing this was DUH! The $10/$25 game is small for the Pros, so naturally they're gonna raise a lot.

On my way out the door, I spotted Chino playing in a $300 Single Table Satellite for tomorrow's tournament.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hand Of The Day #68

Grand Sierra - $1/$2 NLHE - 03.11.11

A few players limped in. Cutoff raised to $10. I'm in the SB with 7s 7h, and called. One or two others called. A Mid player backraised to $42. The Cutoff folded, and said he accidentally tossed two Red chips instead of two Blue chips. Even though I'm out of position, I decided to call. The Mid player has been rather tight and quiet so far. He's got around $400 behind, and I have him covered, so the Implied Odds are there. Everyone else folded.

The two of us see a Flop of Ad 9d 9c. Well, that's a big whiff for me, so I checked. He gathers some Red chips and bet $40. That's smells Weak to me, like he hates the Ace. If he had something like AK or even AA, he would probably bet more because of the Flush Draw. I decided to call, hoping that a bad card doesn't come on the Turn.

Turn [Ad 9d 9c] 2c - Perfect. I grab a stack of Red chips, and bet $100. The Mid player quickly folded. As the Dealer gathered up the pot and shipped it to me, I show my 77. A couple of the players say, "Nice move."

Yeah, it was.

I'm a player who is playing best when I'm being patient, and waiting for opportunities. This hand shows that there are other opportunities at the Poker table besides waking up with AA. Good players have learned to spot other opportunities, and that's something that I've been working on during the last 6 - 9 months.

Rants & Raves: If I Ran A Poker Room - Tournaments

This is Part 2 of my "If I Ran A Poker Room" series, and it covers Tournaments. Everything I say in this post would be dependent on State Regulations, as well as "Supply & Demand" issues regarding the players and nearby casinos.

- Daily Tournaments are important to a Poker Room because they bring in players who don't play in Cash games. These are also good for newer players because they will only spend a fixed amount, and the tourneys only take a couple of hours.

There would be a robust schedule, with 3 - 4 each day. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. I may even try a late night tourney on weekends.

Most of the tourneys would be NLHE, but there would be some variety. I would be actively pushing other games, so there would be at least one Limit Hold'em, Omaha-8, and PLO. Also some variety NLHE tourneys like a Bounty, a Rebuy, and a Cash Me Out.

The Buy-Ins would be in the $50 - $125 range. I would like to try at least one higher buy-in each week.

The structures would be on the quick side. I understand that some players hate these tournaments because they become Push-N-Pray so quickly, but that's how it must be. Obviously, the higher buy-in tournaments would have a better structure than the $50 tourneys.

The number of players paid will be (# of tables +1). For example, a one-table tournament will pay two spots, and a three-table tournament will pay four spots. The actual payouts will be flatter than most rooms. (60/40, 50/30/20, 45/30/17/8, 40/25/17/11/7, etc). Most rooms have top-heavy payouts to encourage players to chop and end the tournaments faster. But the players are probably gonna chop anyways, so why encourage it.

- Tournament Series are a great way to bring out-of-towners into your room, which also means they will be spending money in the casino and hotel.

The series would last a week or two, and would have a variety of tournaments. In addition to the tournaments that are run every week, there would also be a Main Event, a Shootout, a Heads-Up tournament, a 6-max, and Mixed Game tournaments like HORSE.

The payouts would be flat just like the daily tournaments, and we would payout 15% of the field. More players would get paid which makes the recreational players happy, and the winners will still get a large chuck of money.

The structures would be much better than the daily tournaments. After running a Home Game for three years, I understand how tournament structures work. I'm definitely a fan of the Matt Savage philosophy, which is "Less Chips, More Levels". There is no reason to ever start a NLHE tournament with more than 200 BB. By not starting with super deep chip stacks, it means that we can add levels later in the tournament when it's more important to have some play, rather than getting to the Push-N-Pray sooner.

Limit tournaments are a different story. Most casinos just take their NL structure, and covert it to a Limit tourney. These structures fail miserably because they have too many Big Bets in the beginning, and accelerate too quickly. The best way to structure a Limit tournament is to start with around 30 - 40 Big Bets, and have the level gradually increase. (For example, 6000 chips - 100/200, 125/250, 150/300, 200/400, 300/600...) I have never ran a Limit tournament, so all of this is theoretical based on my experience in playing Limit tournament. There would need to be some trial and error until I figure it out.

- Promotions are a useful tool to get recreational players in to the room. One of the promos that I see commonly around Reno is giving extra chips (up to 1000) for either playing in the Cash game, or showing a previous tournament receipt.

One thing that I would like to have is something that I've only seen in two poker rooms (Blue Chip & Showboat AC), a Bad Beat Jackpot (BBJ) for tournaments. It would be an extra $5 added to the buy-in, and it would be the same qualifications as the regular BBJ. The $5 would be split like this; $3 for the Main Jackpot, $1 for the Back-Up Jackpot, and $1 for other promotional stuff. The BBJ might be capped at a certain amount, like $25k. I know that the BBJ is a dirty word for some players. But recreational players love the BBJ, and good players love playing against recreational players.

Another promotions would be a monthly or quarterly freeroll for tournament players. You would earn points for playing in tournament, and more points for cashing, based on what place you finish. The top 20 or 30 would play in the freeroll. If it was a $1000 freeroll, the payouts would be something like $500, $300, $100, $50, $50.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March News & Notes

- Having a "Real Job" is putting a big downer on my Poker game. On Wednesday, I was at the Grand Sierra for a little $1/$2 action. I discovered they had added an extra tournament for 8pm that night. It was a $220 7-Game Tournament, which included HORSE, 2-7 Triple Draw, and PLO (why not NLHE, I don't know). I really wanted to play in this, since I haven't played Triple Draw since the last time I played 8-Game in our Saturday night home game about nine months ago. But even if they ended up with 20 players, it would talk at least six hours due to it being a Limit tournament. I have to work at 7:30am, and I don't want to be playing until 1am.

- Another problem with my job is I have to work every Saturday. All of the Tournament Series in town this month means there are various Main Events which happen to fall on Saturdays. Since I'm new to the Reno Post Office, I have no seniority at my office and it's almost impossible to get a Saturday off. I said 'almost' because I was able to get March 26 off. That's when the Main Event for the Atlantis All-In Tournament Series will happen. It's a $1060 buy-in, which is a little large for me. I am gonna try to win a satellite for it, but I will buy-in directly if I have to.

- I've started playing more at Harrah's to earn points for my Las Vegas trip in June (12-19). I'm planning on booking my room later this month. I haven't decided if I will stay at the Rio for the whole week, or if I will bounce around between two or three different hotels. It will depend on what "fabulous" deals that Harrah's Caesars is willing to give out.

Also, I've been able to get Monday, June 20, and Tuesday, June 21 off from work. So now I'm able to stay in Las Vegas for 10 days if things are going well. (Or come home early, and go back to work if the trip doesn't go as planned).

- On Friday night at the Grand Sierra, I hit a K-high Straight Flush at a $1/$2 table for a $378 bonus and the pot. On Wednesday night, I would have had a 9-high Straight Flush for a $599 bonus, but I folded preflop. I had 87c UTG, so I folded because I didn't want to call a preflop raise. The Flop was 9c 6c 3h, and the Turn was the beautiful 5c. But there was only three players in the pot, and it was checked down. Even if I had played, the pot might not have gotten up to the $20 required to win the High Hand Bonus.

In the five months I've been in Reno, I have had Quads seven times, a Straight Flush, and a Royal Flush. All of these have received High Hand Bonus money. It certainly has made up for the numerous $1 Drops in Detroit and at Mountaineer that I never saw a penny of in return.