Thus far, since I’ve been in town, I’ve played in three tournaments and cashed once. Unfortunately, that was in the smallest of the three, but you take what you can get. And oddly enough, so far this trip,Pocket Kings have been pretty good to me. I’ll get to that one in the near future. For now, I want to talk about last night at the Orleans. It’s been a while since I’ve played there, but I kept hearing that the Friday night, 7PM tournament is possibly the most attended tournament of its type in Vegas. They supposedly are getting upwards of 250 runners every week, and usually sell out, and the tournament lasts until 4, 5, 6 in the morning! So I just had to check it out. The structure isn’t that much different or better than the regular daily tournaments at Aria that I play, but for whatever reason, the locals in the Vegas poker world just love turning out for this one.
Sure enough, soon after I hit the Orleans, about 45 minutes before the tournament began, I saw two people who have been “stars” in previous blog posts of mine. First, I noticed the infamous “Poker Genius” talking to someone. I wasn’t at all surprised. I’m pretty sure I remember him talking about this tournament and bragging about doing well in it. Of course, he talked so much, it was hard to keep track. But pretty sure he was one of the first folks I’ve heard talking it up. Now, he didn’t see me, and I doubt he’d know me from Adam. I never was at his table, but I did take some comfort from seeing him bust out before me. We had no interaction whatsoever.
The other person was “Kathy”, the lady whose cleavage was photographed by her friend, Jeanriders (originally named “Maria” by me, but since she commented under her own twitter ID, she has “outted” herself). No, Jeanne (Maria) wasn’t there, or at least I didn’t see her. And no, I didn’t go up to Kathy and thank her for giving me such great material. I’m sure she doesn’t know me and I dunno how you go up to a woman and say, “Thanks for giving me such a great blog post when you pulled your shirt down a few weeks ago at Binions so your friend Jeanne could take a picture of your cleavage.” Despite what Prudence thinks, my testicles just aren’t quite big enough for that. However, I will point out that I did run into Jeanne my first night in town and not only thanked her again for the great material but also for promoting my blog to all her friends and twitter followers. Thanks again, Jeannie, I hope I haven’t let you down.
So I had no interaction with Kathy either. But yet a third person who’s been mentioned on this blog, albeit most briefly, was there as well. The floor person (Tournament Director?) from Binions was there. He’s the one who interceded when “Poker Genius”, another guy, and I, all started bickering about PG berating me. He is a very nice guy and was doing his job expertly and I have no ill feelings towards him whatsoever. But I did find it amusing that he was at the table I was at when I busted out, and of course he recognized me from Binions and said hi, but I doubt seriously he knows me from the blog or even knows about the blog. And I didn’t see him talking to PG but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had, I’m sure PG is well known to him.
Anyway, they had 307 runners last night, which was announced as a record. I saw a lot of familiar faces there, just folks I’ve played with before at various tournaments around town.
I started out doing very well, doubled up early. In late position I had 44 and was able to limp in. Flop was Q94, two of a suit I think, giving me a set of 4’s. Led out with a smallish bet and a guy in early position checked raised me! Since it was limped I doubt he had pocket Queens and I didn’t think he had pocket 9’s either. I was thinking of coming over the top, but decided to just call and try to get more chips out of him. Turn was another Queen, filling me up. He bet around $3K (this was first or second round) and I thought about what to do. I was going to just triple his bet, but that would have been too close to me being all in, so I just shoved. He insta-called with K-Q. Someone said to him, “That’s what you get for check-raising with just top pair.” River was a blank and I suddenly had a lotta chips. He had me covered by a bit and busted out a few hands later.
Unfortunately, that was the high point of my tournament. The guy immediately to my left was the classic Loose Aggressive player, raising most hands he was in and often with absolute crap. He won a lot of chips that way, but also lost a lot that way too. He made it clear it was going to be impossible to limp into any pots he was in, and he even told me that. Sure enough, I really couldn’t do it. I haven’t learned yet how to best handle a guy like that in a tournament.
I did raise some times when I ordinarily wouldn’t. My favorite time was when it was folded to the two of us in the blinds. I had Q5 off. Instead of folding and giving him a walk, I decided to test the theory that you can always bluff a bluffer. I made a pretty big raise. He called. Shit. The flopped missed me, but I made a big continuation bet like I had the nuts. He folded. That was great.
But another time I had a marginal hand and wanted to limp. Thinking he would raise if I just limped, I raised and he folded. But another guy called, turns out he had QQ and hit his set on the flop. Fortunately, when he raised my c-bet I threw my hand away, so I didn’t lose that much. The guy kindly showed his Queens, that’s how I knew.
Didn’t take long before my double up was gone and I was getting short-stacked. By the time they broke our table and I finally got away from the LAG guy who was messing me up, I was near-desperation. I made some moves to get some chips, but mostly my all-ins were folded to me. I did pick up some chips when I shoved with AK and a lesser stack (just barely) called with pocket 7’s. I hit an Ace on the flop and took the pot.
Finally I had A9 suited and was really down in chips. I had been looking for a hand to shove with for a long time, this was it. I actually got 3 callers (one shoved with less) because I was so chip-poor. I flopped a gut-shot but it didn’t hit. The guy who won the pot called me with A-6 off, but there was a 6 on the board (part of my gut-shot), and I was gone. The TD from Binions was also in that hand but he didn’t show (the two non-all-in’s just checked it down). I would have preferred if he had been the one who busted me out, it would have been a better story.
It was after midnite when I was busted so I definitely got some play for my money and had a good time. And I didn’t want to hang around until 7, 8 AM, or whatever, to win the thing, did I? Well yes, 1st place was over $7k. They paid 35 and I was out around 70th. Next time…..