Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Viva Las Vegas!

YTD: +$28368.85

Well finally one of those tournament things paid off. Last Saturday night, I played a Winner-Takes-All satellite to the $1500 PLO event at the WSOP and managed to stumble my way to victory :-) Hopefully I will be another fat bloke talking about how I turned one hundred bucks into hundreds of thousands on ESPN...hold it, maybe I need to lose weight!

I almost didn't play the event itself as I was feeling quite under the weather with a man-cold that I haven't been able to throw off. But because it had been organised by one of the immortals on the 2+2 plo forum, and occasionally here, Acesover8s, I gave it a spin.

To be honest, I didn't pay a whole heap of attention to the early stages as I was having some big swings on PLO8b on Stars. There was a lot of play though, and after taking an early lead I then bluffed off a few too many chips and had to get into waiting mode.

Even this didn't really pay off, and with 13-14 players left I had less than 2% of the chips in play. In these kind of stages the way to play is very simple - make sure you have enough to make a raise...and make sure you raise and don't call off your chips so at least you have two ways to win. I trawled through this mud for quite some time, building back up, but never enough where my stack had any real kind of play to it beside allin. Eventually this tight aggressive approach got me to the final table, but only with 7 big blinds. So again my approach was dictated for me...wait for hands, make cheap moves where possible and be aggressive if I played at all. The game was being played to a very very loose aggro style, and it simply didnt make sense trying to play flops with such a short stack. I ended up passing a lot of hands that I would play in a cash game and it seemed I was the only one really making that kind of adjustment. This doesn't mean I was adverse to making a steal or two with something like Kh,2d,Js,Qs for example...but these were position moves only.

My first big break was when I raised with Ad,Jd,Ac,4d and got a caller who also called for a reasonable allin bet on the flop of 10d,Qh,5d. The fact I was called by Ah,7c,5h,7h showed just how loose the table was playing. Kind of a hybrid PLO/NLHE combo :) This gave me room to breathe, but I was still playing a tight game, for example I passed a medium suited pair to a raise in my big blind. All the confrontations would be of my choosing, if I could help it.

I ticked along in this fashion for quite a while. One of the things I was lucky with was that when I did get my raises called, I tended to hit something on the flop, even if it was only a good draw. This meant it was much easier to follow through and bet the flop. Then I made my first real bad mistake. I called a very loose raiser from the big blind with Ah,8s,9d,4c and the flop only brought me Jc,7s,8c. Now I could actually be in front here, and I do have a half-assed draw, but I felt I needed more in this spot, especially and perhaps paradoxically BECAUSE he was a loose raiser. I hung tight for a while until I got a chance to make a nice move to make up for my previous poor one:

With only $3100 in my stack I called 1800 more from the small blind from the same loose raiser with 8d,7c,Jc,7d. Yes, CALLED. You guessed it, I was going to bet regardless of what came on the flop, which was an ok Kd,4d, foe passed.

Only a few hands later i found myself headsup facing over a 5 to 1 chip disadvantage. I would have to get lucky. What was in my favor was that my opponent was playing very, very fast. Now some people prefer trying to finish off a tourney in this way, a quick murder. But I don't like it. Especially when the antes are large enough and my stack still of a size that if I double up a few times, I'm the chip favourite. There was no point in limping as he would I was happy to let him limp and if I was in, I was firing. I lost some ground, then doubled up with kings. Immediately I bet out the very next hand with bottom two pair on the flop, and passed to a raise. Again, I wasn't going to try and get lucky on a call.

I was then lucky for 9c,As,Kd,2d to stand up against Jc,Kh,10d,Qh allin preflop. The power really shifted when I reraised with 10h,4s,10s,2c against 10c,3d,Ad,7d and won on the flop when nothing came. To be honest I don't like either of our plays in this tens action is too extreme and he should really pass to the reraise.

Now I was chip leader the difference in approaches was very apparent. I didn't give him much action at all, I was looking to grind him out, and when he raised I only called with Qh,Ad,3h,Ks. The flop came a very nice 10c,6s,Js and I check raised him allin with his 7s,4d,7c,Jc and I hit my str8 on the river! My opponent played a great game, considering his inexperience but I feel he tried to close me down too quickly instead of just anteing me out.

So, adorned in livery, to Vegas I shall go!


Div said...

Nice one Dave. Just reward for a good blog.

Anonymous said...

Well done Dave. Couldn't of happened to a better guy.

chaos said...

Well done Dave, forget EV you'll have to play more tournies just for the trip reports!


ps that title didn't require too much thought huh!

chaos said...

Hi Dave,

You've mentioned two-plus-two a couple of times and I'd thought I'd look it up.

I posted there a couple of years ago about twice, if I recall. There was a hand discussion about what to do with 33 on the button when a cut off calls. The debate was whether or not to call or fold.
Fold unsurprisingly won. Anyway, I suggested the 'R' word. Silence. It seemed that everyone was afraid of suggesting something a little risky, that might send out of the club. The 'R' is down to a few things but is certainly but of the mix. I prefer it to calling for sure, but it's usually a fold. Anyway, that's by the by.
I decided to take another gander , and it seems, judging from my sample size of one thread, things are worse!

The thread was in the short handed and HU section. I had to check this repeatedly.

Scenario: 5, yes 5, FIVE handed limit holdem.

a good player raises in Mid Position (a 2+2'er allegedly)

Big blind (a 2+2' er) has K8s and calls. He hits two pair....wins... not sure how well he played it etc.

Anyway, this guy rips into him saying that the call with K8s is terrible. WTF and says he can't understand this obsession with blind defence. Fuck me and this guy plays 10-20 SH (the other lambasted chap plays 2-4).

Another guy says it is a probably losing call 5 handed in the long run. Well it would have to a very special game or a player for it to be a loser. Even if it was folding has very negative implied value.

How can anyone play SH and not see the importance of blind defence. It sure ain't mandatory but K8s! G

I've only red a couple of posts but here is the link

In SH poker you simply cannot break the decision down into hand EV's. It's like applying Newtonian mechanics at high speeds.

Big Dave D said...

Tx guys for the kind words!



Big Dave D said...


2+2 is problematic. There is almost no where that I know of that you can have a sensible poker discussion on the web anymore. 2+2 sufferred greatly from the ESPN/WPT/Party explosion. Basically anyone half coherent with a browser suddenly started to fill the high limit section full of fairly meaningless junk. After all, they were high limit players. The problem was they prolly knew less than the micro limit guys of old. This pissed off a lot of the old timers, as what was once fairly high level discussion very quickly became how do u play AK when you miss. All the forums on 2+2 now have this malaise. The PLO remains less tainted by this as less people actually play the game and we have had a handful of players who play the game to a good standard, although several of the most interesting like Gift of Gab and Pete F have since retired.

The best way to use 2+2 is to focus on authors. Just do a username search and see what they have written instead of ploughing through tedious S&M junk. In the holdem forums I would like at Tommy Angelo, Clarkmeister, mikel, and im sure a few others...Ive just forgotten their names.



Andy_Ward said...

n1 Dave. When you're there, don't forget to fumble your chips, say "check" in the Small Blind and generally act like you've never seen a pack of cards before.

Seriously ! That's what I'd do. Hopefully you can get off to a flier before anyone realises what's going on.


Milkybarkid said...

Well done.

Can i buy a stake in you? ;-)

Diamond Dave said...

Good one and I hope you do well when you get there.

Also thanks for writing such a good blog. (I've been lurking for ages). You always have something worthwhile to say, that is interesting and thought provoking.

Thanks also to other regular contributors such as Chaos and Andy Ward, who certainly enhance this blog. I'll keep reading and may even post something useful sometime.

All the best


PS Did you used to play at 'Stars as Bid Dave D??

chaos said...

To be fair there were a couple of sound heads in the thread. It seems to me that there is a strong and understandable desire to solve holdem - at least with respect to starting hands. This certainly isn't unreasonable in ring games, but still you must have a mix of strategies for a hand. I have to admit I'd be very interested to have access to masses of internet data, to plug the the inevitable leaks that you wouldn't think of plugging.

I need to get out and about on the net a bit more and see, but there is so much dross.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a site where users recommended threads on forums of other sites, and they were in turn rated according to the quality of threads they rec'd. Trouble is, I guess, as soon as they were rec'd to the masses they'd deterioate quickly!

chaos said...

Thanks for the compliment Diamond Dave.

Anonymous said...

From Peter B

Amazing that Chaos should mention this pair of threes situation. I had no knowledge of the thread, but a couple of weeks ago almost exactly this situation came up. I then decided that it was an interesting limit situation and wrote it up for a Stan James article (yes, advertising enters the fray).

Chaos will be pleased to know that I also decided that raise or fold was correct, depending on the natur of the players in the blinds.


"It's no use making two-way bets against opponents who only play one way."

chaos said...

Glad to hear it Pete. GL with the writing at SJ.

hackmage said...

Nice win! Now I'm kinda glad I skipped that tourney, I don't think I coulda butted heads with you even if I had made the final table.