Monday, July 13, 2009

Las week in Las Vegas

Followed pretty much the same pattern as that which went before - online profits balancing out live losses.

Monday: Played the Stars 6 man STT thing. Actually 5 man as 1 guy didn't show. Since the win included entry to an $800K freeroll expected to have only 100 qualifiers, it was well worth taking seriously, which I did. Unfortunately, Stars understandably didn't want them to last very long, so it played out like an online turbo. As might be expected, the standard was high, with everyone playing more or less perfectly optimal STT poker: supertight till the blinds were significant, then shove or fold. I played one hand in the first portion and unfortunately lost just over one quarter of my stack with a baby pair that flopped an open ender. Another quarter went in blinds before I shipped AT from the SB and the BB called with J4. By the river I was drawing to a gutter which didn't arrive.

Tuesday: Day 2A of the main event was a short one for me. First hand I look down at A9s and ship it into JJ in the BB. He flops a house and that's it for me this year. I walked over to Caesars and jumped into Day 1B of their main event. Tough enough table with some Internet hotshots to my left. I gradually accumulated chips and then one nice hand that I'd been setting up. An utg raise, a call, and I look down at AKs in mid position and decided to go for a squeeze inducer, figuring if I just flatted, one of the Internet guys would be able to resist all the seemingly dead money in the middle. Even if they just flatted behind, AKs plays well multiway and would be well disguised. As it happened, internet kids A and B flatted with their presumably atc, and C went for the squeeze with AJ only to find to his horror that I was waiting to snap reshove my AK.

Wednesday: Went back for day 2 with a very healthy stack of just over 100K. First hand I play, I raise to 8K with AA. An English maniac ships for 85K from the SB, with Q8s, flops a gutter, rivers a straight, ouch. Crippled down to 15K, I recover back to 50K after a loose utg limp, utg+1 raises, and I ponder my options with 88. Given the average Americans penchant for raising any pair, I figure 88 plays better against an early position raise than it would back home, and with only 5 bigs I may not get a better spot, so into the middle sails my remaining 15K. The raiser calls with 66 and I hold.

With about 55K, I call a shorty shove for 25K with AQ on the button. He has 23 and flops trips. It's not that I run bad: merely that my opponents run well. Ship back up to 60K only to lose to another shorty ship, this time AK < A4. My exit saw me check shipping AQ on a Q73 rainbow flop and getting two callers, one with TT, the other with AJs. Pretty good shape and I even hit trips on the river only for it to complete a runner runner flush for the AJs. Funniest moment of the trip: as the beats piled up in quick succession, I was reduced to laughing (well, it was that or crying), which prompted a conversation between my English nemesis and my Canadian neighbour about what a good sport I was and how Americans in particular could take lessons from me on how to take beats. 5 minutes later, the Canadian gets it in with AQ v KJ and a K on the river does for him. Cue a chip-spraying pound to the table, a kick of the chair, a jumping up and down in rage "How can you call with KJ" hissy fit before security hauls the erstwhile champion of Sportsmanlike Conduct kicking and screaming from the poker room.

That was it for me and Vegas this year. I railed some of the boys who were still in. A big well done to Nicky Power in particular who produced a textbook performance of how to grind out a result.

Left Vegas with a strange feeling of disillusionment with live poker. I actually played a lot less of it than last year. I think last year I played 23 live tourneys in 14 days. This year I stayed 10 days longer but played 15 tourneys less. An MTT result would have been nice, but the small profit garnered from live cash, coupled with the bigger ones from live STTs and online meant it wasn't a total disaster.



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