Sunday, June 23, 2013

One Benjamin

There it sat, in my wallet - 1 crisp, mint green $100 bill.  It had traveled with me from my last stop out of Vegas at Southpoint(see previous post), 4 hours west to LA, and there it sat still - untouched, un-deposited - pristine, almost virginal.  Oh, dear Benjamin, I've been contemplating corrupting you, sending you to that Lion's Den, the Airplane Hangar where $100's go to die - the Commerce.  There, at the $100 2/3 table, would you meet your end, as so many of my $100's have before, or would you come out with new brothers and sisters?

Time to buy a new house, Benjie.

It's true, my record at Commerce has not been stellar.  The oft-mentioned 'non-destination' locations in LA have been -EV for me over this past year, but I reckoned that a Saturday at Commerce would be as good of a day as any to hit the felt, and I was 100% correct - well, actually 400% correct, as you'll see.

After a leisurely meal of Veggie Pad Thai at the Wood Dragon and a 15 minute wait for a seat, I sat down at 7:45pm.  My initial assessment was that the table seemed soft enough. The first five hands or so went without nary a raise.  Two guys at 3 and 4 seemed utterly disinterested - young studious Asain in 6 was the most active, and this dude in 7 - who had an accent similar to Malkovich's in Rounders, just looked tilted.  And I was right.

After a sea of limpers I get JQss in the 9 seat and raise it to $15.  Malkovich calls. The flop comes x-Q-x, and M checks, and I make it 20.  M calls.  I'm not seeing much on this board that he'd be playing, but I decide to keep barrelling - at 2/3 with $100 stacks, you sometimes just have to take the high pair and go with it. He checks the turn, I make it 35, he calls, the river brings a gutshot possibility but he checks, and I check behind.  Pot goes to me.  Malky goes tilt, and for the next couple of hands, both of which I was involved in, he pops it ridiculously high to induce folds from all of us - but I could tell it was one of those chest-thumping ego-fests, and he would become my target when his ego takes control.  I find QQ.  He opens to 15 and I raise to 45.  He calls.  Qxx with a diamond flush draw.  He bets out 25, and I call.  I dont see him with diamonds, this is his ego talking. The turn pairs the board with a 3, and he checks.  I make it 60 with my boat, and he puts the rest of his stack in.  Silly rabbit.  I call, and he tables 55 with one diamond. He says he was coming back, but he doesnt (sad) and I'm up to about $260.

Two more hands summed up my night nicely - I get a little gambly with 78os, limping ahead of two other limpers.  The BB, a nice guy who I had just had a pleasant exchange with about something, I forget, checks. The flop is 356 rainbow, and the BB opens to 12 everyone folds to me.  This guy had not been getting much out of line, fairly quiet.  I am sure he has hit the board somehow, especially since he was checking any 2 in the BB.  I figure him to be on an up and down draw, but that I was on the higher one, so I didn't even bother to worry about it. I call.  The turn brings a sweet sweet 9.  He checks, and I decide to check as well.  His check told me that he probably had the 4, no set, and no viable flush draw so I'm ok with seeing one more card, hoping it catches him somehow, and the river brings the 7.  He bets out 20 and I shove.  He says "Well, I think we have the same kind of hand, but you've got me beat."  He tables 2-4.  He flopped it!  Good read, but he took a bad line there. I am now tripled up and then some.

After some solid non-showdown play, I was sitting on a $400 stack and was contemplating getting up after 2 hours, but then I get KK.  I bet 17 and gt one caller. The flop? Bing! K-10-8, two clubs.  I get a check, and I make it 25.  I'm surprised when he calls, so I suspect a flush draw.  The turn brings a brick non-spade, and he leads out.  ?  Hm.  Well, I have the best hand here, so I pop it up to 60.  He shoves for not much more.  OK!  Nice guy, but he had the case K, and a 10 for two pair, classic cooler.  One orbit later, and I leave the table at 10:30 with $515.

So, I think the weekend is when you hit these places.  Although I hit the deck hard in that session, it bolstered my confidence about playing places like The Bike and Commerce.  While sharks do swim in these waters, my Benjamin found a family out there.

Monday, June 10, 2013

WSOP Trip, June 7-8

Quite honestly I was a bit worn out after the 1st two days, so I didn't really do anything until the $235 Deepstack at the Rio at 3pm.  IT turns out ckbwop(Carol) was playing in it as well, so it was nice to finally meet her!  15K chips, 30 minute levels, 1240 runners.  I really cannot complain about my play, even though I lasted only 5 hours, finshing around 400th.  I hovered around 15K in chips through the first break until a set of 9s filled out to a boat that jumped me up to 35K about 3 hours in.  After some considerable up and down I was at 22K with the blinds at 800/1600/100 when I get QQ UTG.  I ship it and get called by a splashy girl, who had 10K behind.  No biggie, happy to play against her - but then sunglass wearing mullet guy ships it in for 15K!  I have them covered, and sure enough I am ahead preflop. Girl - AdKs, Mullet - AxJx.
By the river I had come in 3rd place behind the girls flush and the guy's straight, and I suddenly find myself with 3BB left.  Two more hands and I was out.  I don't fault the ship here with about 15BB on a weak table.  Nevertheless, it was a tad demoralizing.

This bust freed me out to attend the TPedge event at PT's Pub, which was a lot of fun.  Played some Golden Tee and pool with the guys, had a few beers, and talked poker with everyone.  I definitely hope to make this kind of trip every year.  Even though my birthday was approaching, I was sooo tired, and was in bed by 1am.

the next day was checkout day, with no clear plan on what I would do.  I decided to do one of those single table $125 satellites, and even though I busted it early(X99 flop and my K9 ended up behind a9), I probably should have added more of them to the mix.  10 pays 2 your buyin back plus $550 Tchips(called lammers) that are pretty easy to sell, or use.  Two wins and you're in a WSOP $1K.  One read of malmuth's SNG book and you have a pretty solid advantage, as it seemed like they were filling up quickly with a lot of fishy people.  I decided that bad beat was enough, and I packed my bags and headed home.

But then I realized - I'd hit bad Saturday traffic in LA if I left now - so - curiousity got the best of me, and I stopped at Southpoint.  I'm glad I did!  First, I got a great sushi meal for free because it was my birthday AND I found an incredibly soft table that I sat down at with $150, and left with $410.  The biggest hand there was getting a 9 on the turn for a 10 high straight against another guy's lower straight.

So, the tally for the trip:
Rio 1/3 -270
WSOP $135 BUST  -135
Caesar's $125 Mega BUST -125
Wynn $140 Bounty BUST -140 +$50 Bounty -90
Bally's 1/2 +220
WSOP $235 BUST - -235
WSOP Satty $125 BUST -125
Southpoint 1/2 +260

With the rooms comped,  I ended up down $496.  Obviously my cash advantage in Vegas has been pretty constant, as I am up almost $1K over 7 sessions since September.  I think a more optimal strategy is to play cash in the morning or late evening, and let my results dictate my tournament play instead of the other way around. While I played an ok cash game this week, I pressed for thin value in some hands and ended up beating variance, and I think I did it because I felt the need to play catch-up.  I don't really have the bankroll to beat variance in the tournaments, so if i plan on making this a yearly thing, I need to let my cash game advantage dictate my temp tourney bankroll.

All in all a fun trip, albeit a bit tiring - I'm still playing catch-up sleepwise, but if you've never been, treat yourself and do the WSOP for even just a few days.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

WSOP, June 5-6

For years and years I dreamed about coming here, and now that I'm here, seeing it all - I wouldn't say it is a let down or anything like that - The Pavilion and Amazon rooms are huge, like you'd expect - the final table sets look just like they do on tv.  You say hi to Jason Mercier in the hallway.  Gavin Smith takes a picture with you.  But in reality, to those of us with small bankrolls, it is almost too much to ingest. The isea of even a $1000 buyin is daunting to me, so us little critters scurry around the big boys, buyin into Daily Deepstacks, satellites and smaller buy-ins off campus at Caesar's, Venetian, etc.   That's not to say I haven't enjoyed that chase (although aside from $75 in bounties, I've busted everything I've played, and only cash games have softened my losses), but I feel somewhat like the bastard child at the Thanksgiving table.  Anyway, a shrt summary -

1. While I decided what to do when I got to the Rio, I sat down and lost $200 on one of the worst bad beats I've ever experienced.  AA v. 88.  I go to 10 with a call.  Flop is x8x, I bet out 35, he calls.  Turn, an A.  He shoves, and I ship it all in.  The river?  You bet.  An 8.  Quads to my full house.

2. I elect to play the $135 WSOP 10pm Daily Deepstack.  I stay about even throught first break, and then a hat trick of hands - aq v a2, jj v 99 and 77 v JQ  --- I lose all of these???and the final one sends me to the rail.  At 3am, no less.

3.  Tired in the am, but manage to get to the Caesars 10K guarantee.  $120 well spent, I think. It was a lot of fun and though I only lasted through half the field of 300, I was having a ball with it.

4  I was, however, bleeding away, and needed some cash to even the ship. Right as rain, I take $150 to a 1/2 table and turn it into $350 in about 40 minutes, mostly with an AQ that made a straight on the turn.

5. I then went to the Wynn, and the lack of runner for this bounty was disappointing.  Only 30 people, 3 paying.  I ran like a god for most of it, but then made a stupid all-in call, really stupid, two pair against what I should have totally seen as a straight.  Out in 9th, but $75 in bounties made it less painful, plus I made a flier bet on the Spurs that put me in the plus territory overall for the day.

Right now I am exhausted and am not sure what my next step is. I still have $460 of WSOP bankroll left out of the $600 I alotted myself.  One certainty, the $75 Turbo Sat at 9am tomorrow.  The other definite, if I have enough, is the $200 Limit O8 tournament on my way out of town on the 8th at Golden Nugget. I'm also seriously contemplating a massage - hey, it is my birthday, after all.