Saturday, April 28, 2018

Project Phaser - Phase 1.3 (Another Lucky Chances $380)

We started on Wednesday with 261 entrants, $380 buy in, 30 minute levels, 24 spots in the money and a first place prize of $29,220.

If you read my last post you may remember that I went broke with A2 when I ran it into AK in a spot that was debatable (not bad per se, but literally debatable). The universe seemed intent on rubbing this in my face as I got dealt A2 off 5 times in the first 90 minutes.

We started with 20K chips again and after a fair start I had 24K coming back from the first break when I got into my first big hand of the day. With blinds of 200/400 and a single big blind ante of 400 chips I got dealt 33 and raised it to 1,200. This is a little on the aggressive side, but plan A is to have everyone fold and take down the blinds, plan B is to fire the flop and try to steal it and plan C is make the best hand. Anyway, I got one field caller and the flop came down 9 4 3!

When I hear big shot poker players talk about hands like this they almost always say "It was a pretty good flop for my hand" or some other such understatement. I on the other hand would characterize this as nailing the bat shit out of this flop!

With bottom set I bet out 2,000 into the 3,400 chip pot and my opponent raised me to 4,000! Ah ha! This guy did not seem like an especially creative type and I read this raise as either A9, T9, 98 or a pocket pair 55-88, TT or JJ. I decided to be cagey and just called. The turn was a 9 which meant that he picked up some outs if he had a 9 or a pocket pair, but I was sure to get it all in if he happened to have a 9. I checked the turn and he bet out 6,000. I looked down at my stack and saw I had about 19K left. Against an aggressive player, just calling and hoping he'd fire the river would be an OK plan, but this guy seemed like a showdown monkey and I thought he'd check back the river if he didn't have a 9. So I shipped it all in and he quickly folded.

A few hands later I got dealt KK, some dude with AK moved all in for 7K and I took him out! Get out of here dude!

At this point I had 43K chips with 145 players left 3.5 hours after the tournament started.

I managed to work in a bluff at the 500/1000 level. I opened to 2,600 with 97 of spades and only the big blind called. The flop came down K84 with two diamonds and one spade. This was not a pretty good flop for me, but I bet out 3,500 trying to steal it. The big blind called and I figured he probably had a K or a flush draw. He had 13K left and my plan was to give up unless I picked up a straight flush draw with the J,T,6 or 5 of spades on the turn in which case I'd move all in. I explicitly thought exactly that in the moment. But then the turn rolled off the A of hearts and I thought "Oh yeah, if and ace comes I'd be a fool not to keep firing." I grabbed a stack of 5 5,000 chips (which was overkill) and plopped them in the middle. My opponent grumbled about how he should have raised the flop while throwing his cards in the muck. The next day I saw him and he asked me about the hand and I admitted I was bluffing.

A little later with blinds of 800/1600 I opened to 4,500 in the cutoff with 99 and the button moved all in for 27,000! Against an aggressive opponent this would be a pretty quick call, but my opponent was a younger woman who seemed straightforward and a little timid. If she had an over pair I'd be a 4 to 1 underdog, but after counting down my own stack and seeing that I'd have 45K left even if I called and lost I decided to was worth the risk. To my delight the board ran out 8765T and I beat AJ.

5 hours in to the tournament I had 110K chips with 82 players left and the average stack was 63K. This was an excellent situation!

Then I ended up with a totally awful table dynamic. I got squeezed between two good players who were making a lot of moves and both had a lot of chips. The way to beat this type of player is usually to make a good hand, play it passively and call them down, but I was getting total shit.

Also around this time "Bay Area Legend" Pay Lyons got moved to my table. Pat is most notable for winning the Arizona State Poker Champion ship for about $260,000 this past April and then two weeks later for winning a $4,000 buy in world poker tour event for $650,000. He was also wearing a World Series of Poker Circuit Event winner's ring. All of this is obviously very legit. But I'm going to throw some shade at him anyway!

My memories of him are as being part of this small group of dudes, who seemed like a bunch of goofs to me, that seemed to be friends, were loud and kind of smug and were at every Lucky Chances tournament. I thought of them as "Those Lucky Chances Guys" in my head because they were there EVERY SINGLE TIME I went to Lucky Chances. I always wondered what they did for a living because they seemed like break even players at best to me.

Pat seemed kind of like the ring leader and one thing I can say for sure is that dude was poker obsessed. After he went broke he'd hang around to see what happened in the tournament! No one does this. To his credit he always seemed to be enjoying himself no matter what. On the flip side I once saw someone offer him $20 in all seriousness to "Shut the fuck up" when he was hanging around the final table of a totally meaningless $150 daily tournament at the Oaks (at midnight on a weekday!) after going broke.

My memories and impressions are all 10+ years old at this point, but when I saw that he won the Arizona tournament I thought "Holy shit! THAT guy just won $260K!" and I couldn't believe he followed it up with an even better win.

One of my favorite songs lately is "The Man" by The Killers that has an fantastic video. Watch it here -

When the video starts it looks like the main guy is an awesome guy. He's hanging out in Vegas looking tough, with beautiful women singing about how he is the man! Sweet! But as it goes on you realize that he was also looking tough outside a mobile home, cooking a steak on a grill with just a fork, checking his hair in a busted mirror, shooting a can from 10 feet away while feeling pleased (i.e. proud of such and easy shot) and watching VHS tapes in a shitty hotel room. You start to think, maybe this guy ISN'T The Man? Then you see him performing and people yawning. People wouldn't yawn the actual man would they?! Then the beautiful women leave. Finally he's playing roulette and losing horribly to the point where he bets his car. This guy is NOT THE MAN AT ALL! I think this is all brilliant.

I always assumed Pat was kind of like that guy in the video where he was walking around thinking "I'm the man! I'm the man! I got news for you baby you're looking at the man!" but in reality not so much The Man as not the man at all. With this in mind you can imagine how my eyes bugged out when I saw his results.

Anyway, congrats to Pat on his success (I might be shouting boo here, but as they say, they don't boo nobody's) and on to my failure!

I got totally stalled for close to 2 hours as the blinds went from 800/1600 to 1K/2K to 1200/2400 to 2K/4K  and finally to 3K/6K.

At this point I still had 90K left despite no real hands of note, but with blinds of 3K/6K and a 6K ante it was costing me 15K every orbit and if I didn't do something soon I'd be toast.

On my first big blind of that level I threw 6K into the middle for the ante, posted 6K for the big blind and had 78K left behind. To my surprise the under the gun player called, the cutoff called and the button called. All these calls were highly unusual this late in a tournament.

I looked around and oddly all of the callers seemed to have about 50K in their stacks. With all of those calls there was now 33K in the pot and I decided if I looked down at anything remotely strong I had to try to steal it. I had enough in my stack that if I got called and lost I'd still have some chips left and if they were't raising they really shouldn't want to call off their whole stack. When I pealed back my cards I had A5 of diamonds which was plenty good to shove, but the stupid small blind beat me to it moving all in for about 50K! I actually considered calling here. I'd have to put in 46K to win 80K which is a good price and this guy could be on a total steal, but I decided that was too loose. I folded, one of the players in the field who had inexplicably limped with AJ made the call, the raiser showed KQ and the board ran out K high...with three diamonds! Ack!

On the next hand I was in the small blind with 75K left. The button inexplicably just called the 6K. Every now and then someone will limp on the button with a big hand to try to induce a raise, but my read on this guy was he just didn't know what the hell he was doing and probably had JT suited or something similar. I looked down at A2 and moved all in expecting to pick up with 21K in the pot without a fight. To my shock and horror the big blind instantly went all in behind me.

At this point I took a closer look at the situation and had a horrible sinking feeling. I had A of diamonds and 2 of clubs which was exactly the hand I'd gone broke with in my last event. There were 44 players left. I got 44th place last time. I lost to AK last time. This time the damn button folded KJ face up and it turned out the big blind had, you guessed it, AK! The board ran out garbage and I was out in 44th again with A2. It shouldn't matter, but the exact repetition of the situation added an extra sting to the loss.

My $10,000 bankroll is at $10,540. Next up is $230 Turbo No Limit at Lucky Chances.

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