Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Let's finish up this "How I got here" crap
It's been a few months since I posted, I've gone through a few lifestyle changes since I started this blog up. I want to get this "history of me" done so I can move on to more substantive (and fun) postings.
The tourney was a ten table NLHE shootout, with the winners of each table advancing to the final table. There were three sessions, 8:00 am, 1:00, and 5:00. I had hoped to make the 1:00 session, but missed it by about a half hour, so I signed up for the 5:00 session. I got to watch the tables from the 1:00 session though, and it helped me get familiar with how the B&M thing works.
The tourney was a $150+15 buyin, and if you made the final table, you would get the buyin back, and more depending on how high you finished. It was part of a yearlong series that culminated in a final tournament at the end of the year which would consist of the winners of the monthly tournament at two casinos (St. Louis and Kansas City).
I leave the casino for a late lunch, and get back and the tables are being assembled for my 5:00 session. I draw seat four at my table, and my table is a mix of ages. Seats two and ten were old timers (60+ years old), who definitely knew the game, seat nine was a middle aged man who dressed and acted 20 years younger. Seats one, three, six, seven, and eight were all younger fellas (under 30). But it was seat five, right next to me, that interested me the most.
I was concerned about Seat 5's play for a couple of reasons, the primary reason being position, he was immediately to my left. He looked to be my age (early thirties), but he had definitely had more B&M time under his belt than I did. He had a Bellagio hat on. As we started up, I wanted to strike up a little chit-chat with him, so I asked him if he played at this casino often. He said he did most of his playing in Vegas. I realize now that playing in Vegas does not make one a great poker player, but at the time I was a little intimidated. He was friendly, and helped guide me through a few of the basics of how to play properly in a card room. During the course of the tournament, he would routinely expose his cards to me (mid-hand) in hands that I had already folded out of. I don't know why he was doing this, but it was info that I was glad to see.
I don't remember all of the hand details, just a few, and I'll get to those in a second.
I was nervous as hell as it started. I was trying hard to control the shaking in my hands, but I'm sure those immediately around me could notice. Only thing was, it wasn't just when I was in a hand, I was just flat out nervous all around. Fortunately, after the first break, that subsided.
Blinds went up every 20 minutes, with a break after every three levels.
I remember winning the first hand, but I absolutely cannot remember what I held. I came in for the minimum raise, and was folded to me. On the second hand, I folded, and there were about 3-4 limpers. The flop came K-5-x. Seat three (SB) slammed his stack of chips down in front of him. "ALL IN!". He looked to be about 21-25 years old, and had a very cocky style about him. Before the tourney started, he had turned his chair around, and hogged so much of space around him that Seats 2 and 4 (me) had virtually no room to maneuver.
Seat five immediately called, and the rest of the table folded. Seat three had AA, seat five had K-5 for two pair. The aces didn't improve, and we had our first casualty. He pounded his fist on the rail, and got up in a huff. I very quickly learned from him how NOT to play aces. Actually, it was pretty bad push, and probably an even worse call.
So now seat five was doubled up...great. I don't remember much else until the final hand before the break. I was BB with 9-3 offsuit. I saw a flop for free, and it came 9-9-x (don't remember the x). I placed a smallish bet and was raised. I wanted to reraise, but knocked over my stack. I began picking up my chips and placing them out to bet, but was called for a string bet, and could only call. By now I'm sure my table image was that of a complete novice, which was true, and probably helped me out at some point. The turn brought the case 9. I had quads. I made a fairly sizable bet, and the Seat seven called after trying to look into my soul. I don't remember the river, because it didn't matter to me at the time. I pushed, and Seat seven stared me down again, and eventually folded. I know I probably played this wrong, I've since learned a little (ok, a lot) more about how to play hands for value, etc... But at the time, I was ecstatic, because I was second in chips.
I dragged occasional small-medium pots, and avoided confrontations with the chip leader (seat five) and between the two of us, we pretty much picked off the whole table.
Quite honestly, I don't remember much else until head-up. Yes, you heard me, I had gotten to heads up at the table with...you guessed it, Seat Five, right next to me. He had me outchipped about 6000-4000 when we entered headsup, and I wasn't catching anything. I found myself outchipped about 8500-1500 when he busted me. I pushed pre-flop with K-8 suited, and he called with J-5 off. I felt pretty good when the first exposed card on the flop was a K. Unfortunately, the other two cards on the flop were...you guessed it, a J and a 5. No help from the turn or river and I was done.
He congratulated me, saying that I played very well. I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't add "for a first timer", since he knew that I had never played live before. Hell, I had barely played online at that point.
Looking back, I think the weakest part for me was my headsup play. I really didn't know how to play headsup at the time. And I probably was far too passive.
The TD came over to me, and asked for some information. then handed me a slip and said that he'd walk me over to the cage so I could cash out. I looked at him with a puzzled look, and said, "Why, I didn't win?" He told me I won $100 for getting second at the table. I didn't know they paid out for second, so it was a nice surprise.
All in all, it was fun. I haven't played in a casino since (I live about 2 hours away from the nearest casino), but my online game has expanded and improved.
I now play on a variety of sites, I still play Party, but I've also grown fond of a few others. Budget wise, it's tough. I don't have any money to sink into my bankroll (just married), so I'm working on turning a small amount that I started with ($50) into enough to take advantage of a a little bit of bonus whoring. I'll get there, but it's nice to learn at very low levels. I've turned that $50 into about $140 now. I don't have alot of time to play, so I can't increase the bankroll too terribly fast. that's ok though. I'm in no rush.
I've become a S&G specialist, and have done well in them. I really like MTT's though, and I've been playing alot of freeroll or low buyin MTT's lately, in addition to 1 table and 2 table S&G's. NLHE is still the game of choice, but I'm woking on my Omaha H/L game.
The freeroll MTT's are good training. It pretty much forces you to fold crap early on that you shouldn't be playing anyway. The first half of those things are littered with people pushing with junk. The latter parts of those tournaments are good though, and you actually get into some decent play.
I've finished 12/10,300 in a Bet365 freeroll for a whopping $4.50 the other day. 7/634 in another freeroll MTT yesterday. So I'm getting my MTT game in shape.
Oh, I finished 8/76 in ScurvyDog's Blogger Omaha tournament last Friday. It was blast.
That's where I'm at now. I'l be posting more frequently now that I've gotten this old stuff out of my brain and into this blog. It'll be a mix of personal results (although that stuff gets old for people), strategy, and humor. I don't know where it will go, but we'll take it for a ride and find out.