Thursday, May 30, 2013

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Grand Sierra just finished up their Spring Pot Of Gold tournament series last week. I didn't get to play much due to my work schedule. So I thought I would try something different, and play the two Limit Omaha-8 tourneys that started on the two Saturdays at 4pm. I don't get to punch out from work until 4:30, but late registration is for two hours.
For the first one,  I got to the table about 5:30, and there was 39 entrants. Things didn't go well, as I couldn't scoop a pot to save my life. I busted out around 6:45, and finished in 29th place.

For the second one, I got there just after 5pm. The Main Event was running, so I expected a smaller field for this Omaha-8 tourney. But I didn't expect to see just one table going. I registered as the 10th and final player, and got my 8000 chips in the 150/300 level. (Remember, this is a Limit tournament. The 150/300 is the Small Bet/Big Bet. The blinds are 75/150.)

I was extremely card dead for this tournament, and basically blinded off for a while. It took me almost an hour and half to win my first pot. I hit a Full House with QQXX on a Q66 Flop. The SB bet out. I just called, and so did another player. Turn [Q66] J. SB checked, and I bet. Both players folded, and the SB showed a 6. Drat!

The folding continued, and I wasn't the only one. On my right was a tight, local grinder named Tim. I commented to him that we both seem to be folding to the bubble.

Eventually, someone busted out of the tourney. Being a limit split-pot game, it takes a long time for someone to finally bust. Tim and I were both on the shortstack, and hoping for any opportunity.

An orbit or two later, it was the 600/1200 level. I was down to 1700 chips, and I glanced at Tim's stack, which was just 1200 chips. He posted his 600 Big Blind, and busted out. I commented that I'll be right behind him.

I posted my 600 Big Blind, and there is no Small Blind, Only one player limped in. With 600 of my 1700 chips in the BB, I have to go with this hand, as long as it's not terrible like Trips or Q992. I had something like AJ85, which looked dead sexy at this point. I raised to 1200, the limper called, and bet my last 500 chip in the dark. The Flop was Q77, and the limper had a Q. But an Ace on the Turn gave me a double up to 3400.

Next hand, I folded my SB, and folded around to the next Blinds. I folded my BB on the Flop, but flopped a Wheel Draw (2345) in the SB. I was able to get All-In on the Flop against two players. the Big Stack who's on my Right and another shortstack on my Left. The Turn was a beautiful Ace, and I tripled up to around 7500 with the Wheel with the Main Pot. The other shortstack was eliminated with the Side Pot.

This got me off of Cockroach Mode, and back to Patient Mode. Seven handed play lasted for a while, as the shortstacks kept hanging around. The play was rather tight, as the shortstacks didn't want to play a pot. So I switched from Patient Mode to Tournament Mode, and started attacking the Blinds. It's amazing to me that most players who play Omaha-8 tourneys don't play like it's a tournament. They play the exact same way they play $4/$8, lots of limping and calling bets for just half the pot.

Tournament mode went well for me, as I slowly building my stack. I don't think anyone noticed that I was playing more aggressive, and nobody did anything to fight back.

When we got to the four handed bubble, I was second in chips. The Big Stack was still chip leader, and the other two players were just hanging around. There was some talk on making a deal, but nothing came from it.

Things kept going well for me, but not so good for the Big Stack, as we got into a couple of big pots. First we me raising preflop with two callers in the 1600/3200 level. All I hit on the Flop was a mediocre Low Draw, so I made a continuation bet (1600), and they both called. The Turn didn't help me, so we all checked. The River was a brick. Since nobobdy seemed interested in this pot, I bet (3200). The first player folded quickly, but the Big Stack thought for a bit before folding. Naturally, I showed the bluff, and scooped the pot. It wasn't a huge pot, but the six Small Bets I picked up are a nice boost to my stack at this stage of the tourney.

In the next hand with the Big Stack, he bet (1600) on a Flop of Th 8c 5c. I had Top Two with a Flush Draw, so I raised (3200). He called, and checked the Turn [Th 8c 5c] 8d. I bet again (3200), and he thought for a moment before folding T5. This wasn't a big pot either, but it did give me the chip lead.

Things kept going bad for the former Big Stack, as he lost a few small pots to the shortstacks. The next pot I played involved me raising from the SB with something like AKT4. Two players called, and the Flop was Jh 7d 5d. I bet made my standard c-bet, and just the former Big Stack called on the Button. Turn was [Jh 7d 5d] Jd. We both checked, and the River was [Jh 7d 5d Jd] Ks. I bet out (3200), and the former Big Stack instantly and forcefully raised (6400). He then said that my Flush was good, as he thought I said Call. But the Dealer and myself said that I didn't say anything. I went into to thought, as this was a bizarre series of events.

I don't think this comment was an angle by him, as he seemed embarassed by blurting out the my Flush was good. I can't see him having a Jack, and not betting the Turn. Plus, I did show that bluff a short while ago, so he may think I'm just stabbing at the pot.

As it turned out, the former Big Stack only had 6000, and was All-In. At this point, the pot was too big to fold, so I called the 6000. He had nothing, mucked his hand, and walked away from the table as the Bubble Boy. He was mumbling about this being one of the stupidest mistakes he's ever made at the poker tables.

Now that we're in the money, and I had the Tower Of Power, I restarted the deal making. I suggested that they could chop 2nd & 3rd while I get 1st, $970 of the $1940 prize pool. One of the players (let's call him Rick) said "Hell, No!" and countered with $850. I snickered a bit, and declined.

Play continued, and so did the negotiations between Rick and myself. I crunched some numbers, and tossed a serious offer of $900. Rick didn't say Yes, but he didn't say No. The third player at the table was a Kid in his late 20's or early 30's. He seemed to be confused by all this discussion, and said he just wanted to play.

Play continued, and kept up the preflop aggression. I didn't win any big pots, but I wasn't losing either. I think my stack was slowly growing, while they kept switching places between 2nd and 3rd. Naturally, the deal talk also continued between Rick and me. He seemed to be ok with the $900, but the Kid wasn't interested in all the talk.

Eventually, the Kid asked me if I really had that many more chips than they did. I did a count, and I had 57500 of the 80000 chips in play, or 71%. This seemed to get his attention, and he started to join in the discussion with Rick.

The play continued, and we finally agreed to a deal. I got my $900, with the Kid got 2nd for $550, and Rick in 3rd for $490.

Typical me, winning the small ones. But it does give me some confidence that I actually do know what I'm doing at a Final Table. Now I just gotta figure out how to get there more often.

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