Sunday, April 29, 2018

Project Phaser - Phase 1.4 (Lucky Chances $230 Turbo)

Another day, more Battle of the Bay! This time it was $230 buy in with 20 minute levels and we started with 200 entries and a 1st place prize of $12,600. My last tournament was the day before and it was a real grind as I played for 7 hours bookended by over an hour each way in rush hour traffic As a result I almost bailed on this one, but decided to stick it out. In the end I figured with the faster structure I'd probably go broke in time to beat rush hour or make the money.

4 levels in I was down to 17K from a 20K starting stack, but shortly after coming back from the first break I doubled up in a pretty standard way. I raised to 1,200 with QQ, got one caller, the big blind made it 4,500, I shoved for 17,000 and he called me with AK suited. The board ran out jack high and I was up to 35K!

Still in level 5 I had a flop that was pretty good for my hand but I misplayed it. I was on the button with 65 of clubs and the cutoff who was a very active big stack made it 900 to go with blinds of 200/400. I made the call and both blinds called as well. The flop came out 6 5 5! By pretty good I mean I hit the bat shit out of that flop!

The big blind fired out 1,600 and the raiser called. It's not often that you flop and full house and have multiway action and people betting into you and I wasn't really sure what to do. There were two diamonds on the board so this was a really draw heavy flop. I decided to just call and hope my opponents made something on the turn. When the 9 of diamonds rolled off I was hoping someone made a flush, but they both checked to me.

My big mistake was not betting here. If either villain had a 5 or a big diamond I get action for sure, but I checked kind of hoping one of them would have a diamond and hit it. The river was a total disaster - a black ace. If one of them did have a 5, A5 was the most likely and now I couldn't beat it. More importantly if someone had been hanging on with a pocket pair it was now only a bluff catcher. They checked to me, I bet 5K and they both quickly folded.

Over the next few levels I had a couple of big pair hands. On the first I raised KK to 2,500 and got one call. The flop came out 986 with two spades and I made a big bet of 7K into a 7,500 chip pot. My opponent moved all in for what I thought was about 17K or 18K and I called without hesitation. He rolled over JT with no spades, the board ran out 8 2 and I took it down. When I counted it down I discovered he actually made a 26K shove and maybe I should have thought a little longer before calling!

Doing a shitty job of visually inspecting a stack of chip and quickly tallying it is exactly the kind of problem that Phase 1 was geared toward helping me identify.

On the second big pair hand put a guy all in for 18K over his late position raise to 3,700. Unfortunately he had QQ and I didn't get any help.

The way this all shook out was I had 50K chips which was dead on average with 80 players left going in to the 1K/2K with 2K big blind ante blinds level.

In my first hand at a new table I got dealt KK again. This time I made it 16K to go over a 6K raise and my opponent went all in for 24K. Of course I called and I was bummed to see he had AA. But I finally got lucky and flopped a king! More bat shit flops!

My good luck continued in the next level. A player to my right limped in for 2,400 and I decided to just call with 99. Both blinds came along to the flop which came out a beautiful J 9 8 with two clubs. Not only did I have a set, but this board connects with a wide variety of hands so I'd almost certainly get some action. When the action got to the limper he casually chucked four 5K chips into the pot! A couple of hands earlier I'd raised this guy lite and he'd blown me off the hand with an all in so I was hoping he'd read me as a frequent bluffer. With that in mind I moved all in for 51K. He tanked for a long time before finally calling me with KJ no clubs.

I knew that more than half of the deck would have him drawing dead on the turn and his only way to win was a runner runner full house or straight. I was hoping for a deuce, but instead got the worst turn possible - a jack! At that point the guy to my left seeing that I'd made a full house, but clearly not thinking it through said "It's over!"I thought something to the effect of "Oh sweet lord! This son of a bitch has put the hex on me! Why would he say that I'm doomed!" As I've mentioned before I am not superstitious but to clarify I mean that in the sense that my actions don't change based on any superstitions and I believe 100% in randomness, but these thoughts do occur to me. Happily I was not forced to murder Mr. It's Over and I got the pot when the river was a meaningless 3.

I was up to 125K which was double average with 62 players left.

Generally the structure was really good in these tournaments with the exception of going from 1200/2400 to 2K/4K. That is a big jump and a full third of the field went broke in the 20 minutes of that level.

As we approached the money bubble I moved all in for 135K with AK over a raise to 22K and my opponent folded TT face up! Then while I was in the big blind at 5K/10K the small blind just called. He was an older guy with a 100K stack and as the cards were coming out I told myself that I was going to ship it dark if he just called.

Sometimes a tricky player might just call in the small blind as a trap, but I didn't think this guy was capable of that and I knew if he had a hand he'd be willing to go with this close to the money he'd raise it. When he called I was going to make a show of looking at my cards, but then I actually looked at one and it was a 7. Not wanting to look at the other one and find a 2 which might make me chicken out, I moved all in and after a slight hesitation, during which I discovered a nice wave of self doubt, he folded.

Now I was really rolling! I had 190K and was feeling great!

Then I had kind of medium sized hand go south and it was the beginning of the end. The most aggressive player at the table who had me covered made it 22K to go under the gun. I looked down at AJ and made the call. The flop came down K 8 8 and I was ready to surrender, but after I checked he quickly checked it back. In retrospect this was highly suspect as an aggressive player would bet a K high dry board close to 100% of the time vs the big blind. I should have continued my surrender, but I took a shot at it betting 35K into the 62K chip pot and my opponent snap moved all in. Drat! Hopefully this hand will stick with me (along with the 65 full house hand) and I'll avoid this easily avoidable mistake in the future.

I did managed to sneak into the money, but not before a fair stretch of getting no cards at an active table and paying a few costly rounds of blinds and antes.

In my last hand the blinds were up to 8K/16K and I got dealt KJ off under the gun with 85K in my stack. At this point the blinds and antes amounted to 40K per round so if I folded I'd be putting in half my stack over the next few hands and I thought I had enough to still have some fold equity. I moved all in and the player to my left immediately moved all in over the top. As per usual he had AK! You would think by reading this blog that people get dealt AK every other hand, but on a given hand each player has a 1 in 135 chance of getting AK. No miracles materialized and I was out in 16th.

16th place paid $360 so I made $130 on the day. It felt good to make the money, but it is annoying to be so close to winning thousands and to walk out with a min cash.

In the 4 Battle of the Bay tournaments I managed to get my starting 20K stack to 40K+, 100K+, 100K+ and 190K. That is a shitload of equity that I generated and it's a little frustrating to not really realize it to any significant degree, but it's a certainty that if I continue to put myself in a good position in the early and middle stages that I'll bring in a big result eventually. I'm really happy with how I'm playing lately.

My $10,000 bankroll is now at $10,670.

Next on my official schedule is Phase 3 which will be playing 5 tournaments on 5 consecutive days with buy ins of $350 to $550 at Bay 101 starting on May 14th. Although between now and then I will likely post about Phase 2 (playing some online tournaments), Phase 4 (my health and fitness goals for May) and Phase 5 (Playing a stupid long cash game session or two).

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