Saturday, May 12, 2018

Project Phaser: Phase 2 (Bay 101 $200) - "You're the Alpha Male!"

I headed in to Bay 101 today coming off a miserable cash game session earlier in the week where I lost to a group of miserable bastards in miserable ways, but looking forward to the Bay 101 Open which starts on Monday. I don't want to say I've never played a tournament at Bay 101, but I can tell you that the last time I did they were in a different building and Bush was President. With that in mind I wanted to get in one daily tournament over there to familiarize myself with any quirks.

I got of out the house late and arrived at 10 for the 9:30 start and ended up as an alternate.

If you squint you'll see that of the $200 buy in, $175 goes to the prize pool and $25 to the house. This is actually very reasonable. It means that the average player will lose $25 playing this tournament. This is cheaper than a round of golf and most of the players are the same types of dudes that would be playing golf on a Friday at 10 am - lot's of retired guys or people who are otherwise self employed. You'll also see that I'm Wes in casino land and not Dave! 

Here is my sad looking starting stack of 15,000 chips: Black = 100, yellow = 500, blue = 1,000, pink = 5,000. We ended up with 83 entries and played with 15 minute levels (Turbo!).

Getting a late start the blinds were already 200/400 with the big blind anteing 400 when I got my first hand at the start of level 4. It was 10:17 am. On the first hand I raised out of the small blind to 1,200 and got called, bet 1,500 on the flop and got called and check folded to 3,000 on the turn. One hand down, and 1/5 of my stack gone!

At the start of the next level at 10:30 I raised A9ss to 2K with blind of 300/600 and folded to a raise of 5K. 

Fast forward to 10:45 and I'm sitting on 8,500 with blinds of 400/800. Down to 10 big blinds, after a little less than 30 minutes without really having much of anything happen? What kind of bull shit tournament is this! A 15 minute limit tournament, that's what kind! 

Here is my imposing looking stack. I just barely resisted putting my name on the cash game lists at this point.

Then I got hot! Call the police and the fireman! I'm too hot! Make a dragon want to retire man!

My hotness started with the unquestionably not hot 74 off suit in the big blind. 4 people just called for 800 and I considered ripping it for 7,700 (as the kids might say) to maybe pick up the 4,800 in the pot, but decided that would be too aggressive when I saw the 74. The flop came out 865 and I did a triple take confirming that I had in fact flopped a straight! After we all checked, the button bet 1,600, the small blind shoved for 20,000, I called, he had 86 and my hand held up. Up to 20K!

In the next level with blinds of 600/1,200 under the gun raised to 2,600, two to his left made it 7,500 and I ripped it with AK! Rip! The first guy folded, the second guy called for 16K total, the flop was 8 5 4 and the turn was a 9.  

If you noted my hotness comment or can see that this post goes on, you can guess what the river was in two tries. It wasn't an ace. King on the river baby!

On the very next hand I raised KQ to 3K and the big blind called. The flop was K52, he shoved for 9K with 43 off and the run out was 5 on the turn T on the river. Don't call me with 43 bro! Just don't! 

It was now 11:17, one hour after my first hand and I had 54K with 55 of 83 players left. This stack looks more respectable!

With blinds of 800/1600 the cutoff limped, I limped in the small blind with A2 suited and the big blind shoved for 9,600 more. The cutoff folded and I looked at the pot. I had to call 9,600 to win 16,400 and this guy could have easily been in desperation mode. This was close but I made the call. Sadly he had 22 which was a big favorite over my hand. The flop came down QJ3 and the cutoff lamented folding JT while I thought that I'd like to see a pair on the turn. The turn was a Q and we all knew how this was going down. I was in seat 7, the guy in seat 8 was all in and the guy in seat 9 started saying "Oh man! Don't do it! Oh man! Oh man" The river came out a J and seat 8 was toast while seat 9 prattled on about how sick it was and how he couldn't help but say stuff sometimes.

On the next hand I made a hero-ish call on the river. I was in the big blind at 800/1600 and there was an open to 3200. I made a speculative call with K6 off. This is a shit hand but I was getting 4.5 to 1 and was the big stack. The flop came down Q96 with two hearts and my opponent bet 3,200. I kind of expected him to follow through with a bet no matter what he had and this was a pretty small bet so I made a speculative call with bottom pair. The turn was a 5 of clubs and it checked through. The river was a 3 of spades, I checked and now my opponent moved all in for 9,600. This did not compute. The flop was super draw heavy and if he had a Q or a 9 or a pocket pair he'd probably bet more on the flop and certainly fire the turn to protect. This felt like desperation! Or maybe the nuts, but probably desperation. After a 30 second pause I made the call and beat KT. Zing!

At that point it was 11:41, I had 83K which was the big stack at the table and the table was talking about hot how I was running. 

I decided to push it and made a speculative raise to 5,500 with 76 of spades in the 1k/2k level. I got cold called by the "Oh man! Don't do it! I say stuff sometimes!" guy and everyone else folded. He had about 20K left which was a little more than the 16K in the pot and my plan was to put him all in on most flops. The flop came down A 7 4 with one spade. My first thought was that the ace was bad, but when I took a closer look I had a pair and some backdoor flush or backdoor straight equity, and a pocket pair like 99 or TT was a likely hand for him to have and not calling a bet. So I went for it tossing five 5,000 pink chips into the pot. He tanked for 20 seconds and I thought that my table image must be REALLY good if I could have a guy call me with an ace, hit it and then fold anyway, but eventually he made the call and showed AT of diamonds.

He stood up and started babbling something about how good I was running as soon as the cards got turned over. The turn was a 5 which was a fantastic card for me giving me a total of 13 outs instead of 5. At this point my opponent started bellowing "You're the alpha male! You're the alpha male!" I've had people call me all kinds of stuff at the poker table, but this was a new one! People do odd stuff when they're nervous. Being the alpha male, I hit the 7 on the river and sent him off to spout nonsense somewhere else.

Still in that same level I opened AK to 5,500 in the cutoff and the small blind shipped it for 30K. I quickly called and since I'm the alpha male he had AJ and the board ran out garbage. Now I had a very nice looking stack! Huzzah!

At this point it was noon and I'm sure my table mates thought I was a dork for constantly taking pictures of my stack. But I was the Alpha Dork! I had 145K chips when average was 45K with 28 players left. I would like to point out that in my post about the Lucky Chances $380 that was Phase 1.3 I covered the first two hours by saying that I got a fair start going from 20K to 24K and got A2 off five times. All of the shit in this post thus far happened in an hour and forty five minutes.

Then I got involved with My Nemesis! My Nemesis is a regular cash game player and he is My Nemesis because he is tricky, sometimes overly aggressive and has a really good read on me. He's not the best player I play against regularly, but he gives me more trouble than almost anyone. He's probably in his fifties, is a retired guy and is not a white guy but I couldn't guess at his ethnic heritage.

At 1.5K/3K I opened to 9K with AQ off and My Nemesis called along with This Goof Ball in the big blind. The flop came down KQ2 rainbow and I made a questionable bet of 15K into the 31,500 chip pot. My Nemesis called. I did not like the call, but I did like the turn card which was an ace. My Nemesis had about 55K left and I expected him to ship if I checked. So I checked and he checked. The river was a 5, I checked and he checked. He said "two pair," and I thought "holy shit, you didn't bet two pair!" I showed my hand and he showed AK for top two! I should have taken a major hit here. I can only think that either I was giving off major vibes that I wanted him to bet or that he figured my check on the turn was polarized and that I had a hand like TT or JJ that wouldn't call or that I had a hand like AA or KK that he couldn't beat. 

Two hands later My Nemisis just called the 3K and This Goof Ball called on the button. I looked down at AQ of diamonds and thought "What the hell are you doing Nemesis!? Why are you just calling here? Do you have AA or KK your sneaky bastard!" I talked myself out of what should have been an obvious raise, and just called. The flop came down J 7 4 and This Goof Ball had 44! I think if I raised he would have come along and I probably bet that flop so I think I dodged another bullet there.

My notes about the rest of the tournament are spotty and really not that much of interest happened. I maneuvered stealing some blinds here and there but didn't have any big hands.  Going in to the final table I had 164K chips and it was 1:23 pm.

I won no hands at the final table. No blind steals, no chips whatsoever. I started my final hand with 75K chips, but I was in the big blind which was 16K and had to ante 16K. My Nemesis who was still in it made it 45K to go from the button and I made the call with 87. My opponents all had between 350K and 500K and it didn't make sense to fold leaving myself with 43K. My Nemesis had JJ and that was it. It was 2 pm exactly and as soon as I went broke they chopped up the remaining prize pool 3 ways. First place was $5,075, 2nd was $3,050 and 3rd was $1,600 so I was pretty close to some decent money, but needed more than one or two breaks to move up significantly. 

Happily despite my card dead final table, my stack carried me through all the way to 4th place which paid $1,160 ($960 net). My $10,000 Project Phaser bankroll is now at $11,630. 

I'm calling this warm up Phase 2. We'll get to Phase 3 the Bay 101 open next week as I play 5 tournaments in 5 days with buy ins from $350-$550 including an Omaha tournament! I think we're looking at 30 minute levels and a good structure so these will be all day affairs and not turbo like this one. Please practice your Peyton Manning style shouts of "Omaha" and your cheers of "You're the Alpha Male!" in the meantime.

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