Friday, April 22, 2005

B&M Poker Is Rigged!!!


First the good news. I finally managed to suck out on someone on a 2/4 Party Poker Bad Beat Jackpot table - unfortunately not by rivering higher quads.

The play went like this. I limp in MP with 66. No raise. Six players to the flop. The flop comes AA5. Hmmm. Checked to me. I check. Player to my left bets. Everyone else folds.

I wonder if he really does have an Ace. Decide if he did, he wouldn't bet out. Maybe he has a 5, in which case my 66 is good? I raise. He calls.

This, I don't like. Until the turn brings a 6. Wahey. Full house. Since my raise must have disguised my 66, I bet. He raises, I reraise, he calls. River is a blank. Bet, raise, reraise, call.

He flips AKo for trip Aces - and he is NOT happy, and goes off into a rant about how this would never have happened in No Limit, damn fish would never have got past the flop with 66, etc. I smile, feeling quite content.

Of course I could point out that limping with AK is hardly solid play. Nor is passing the chance to reraise me on the flop - the one time in the hand when he was actually ahead - but I did hit a 2 outer, and it feels good. The boot is on the other foot for a change.

There's something quite satisfying about sucking out on a Party player every so often. The fact he actually went off on one made it even more pleasurable. Because of my playing style, I'm often the victim, but rarely get the chance to do it to someone else.

Mainly playing solid cards means it's not often that someone goes into a flop ahead of me. I can recall a few times I've raised with hands like QQ, been reraised, hit a set on the flop and beat someone's KK or AA, but that's luck, rather than bad play. Hardly the same as the waves of opponents cold calling a raise with 92s that flops two pair, or rivers trip 2s, that I have to endure.

It's similar to the perverse pleasure derived from winning a football game you don't deserve to win. Of course the most satisfying victory is always the stylish thrashing by a convincing margin, but there's a mischievously satisfying thrill in the flukey 1-0 with a deflected last minute winner, or dodgy penalty. The undeserved victory, especially against a team I REALLY don't like, brings a unique sense of glee.

The profit from that hand covered my costs for my first ever foray into live tournament play. The weekly £5($9) Pot Limit Hold Em event at the Gala Riverboat Casino in Glasgow.

To set the scene, Glasgow has several casinos - though none on the mega scale of the Vegas resorts. The Riverboat is probably the most popular. The poker room is tucked away at the back. Six tables, each laid out for ten players. A bit dingier than the main gaming hall, with very rickety tables that sway with the players. Authentically recreating the feel of a Mississippi cruiser bobbing on the waves.

The room was busy. Each table was eleven handed, with a player occupying the dealer position. Yep, the tournament was self dealt.

The structure was not what I'm used to online. A £5 buy in for 1000 chips. Blinds 50/100 fixed for the first 105 minutes, then incrementing quite rapidly thereafter.

Unlimited rebuys are available to anyone dropping below 500 chips during this time period, plus an add on before the blinds escalated.

Only the first three places are officially paid.

There were a range of players from grizzled veterans down to student types who barely looked old enough to be there. Guys who were visibly shaking as they threw their chips in.

The action was mega loose. Lots of really strange raising and calling. Very little positional awareness. LOADS of rebuying from practically the first hand of the tournament onwards.

I never really got going. Seated in the 8s I was pleased that the 9s drew the button, as it gave me an orbit of the table to assess the game, before I had to put any chips in the pot. With the blinds high in comparison to starting chips, and the loose aggressive play, with mostly pot sized raises, I quickly decided I was going to wait for a decent hand then get all my chips in to try to double through. Not my preferred style of play.

I folded through the blinds once, before as the big blind approached for the second time, I found pocket nines, with a limper in the 7s. I made a pot size raise, and got a smooth call from the 9s, folds from the blinds, and a call from the 7s. Please send undercards Mr Dealer!

The flop came A96. Fantastic! I was sure at least one of these guys would have an A, and would call, so when the 7s checked I had no hesitation in shoving all my chips in the middle. No need to go for a check-raise or slowplay I figured.

To my delight, both players called. Since they still had chips the cards stayed hidden. The turn, as I recall, was an 8, and the river a T. No flush but four to a straight on the board. Dammit. As the dealer said, 'Lets see who has the 7!?'

I was already mentally prepared for the rebuy, but imagine my surprise when the 7s flipped TT for the rivered set, and the 9s flipped AA for the flopped set!!! Mine was the worst of THREE sets. So I 'improved' from worst hand pre-flop to 2nd worst on the flop, and regressed to worst on the river. Unbelievable. 'REBUY!!'

I was pretty crestfallen by that turn of events, but still felt my strategy was worth pursuing.

Another round of folding through the blinds, and one piece of decent play that turned bad. In the BB holding AJo I was faced by a raise from one of the guys who seemed more solid, and who had accumulated a reasonable stack.

I knew if I called him I'd be all in on the flop, and I figured he was holding something decent, so I passed and saw him called by another player who ended up all in. Cards were flipped and the raiser showed QQ.

Just as I was congratulating myself on my good play, the dealer threw down an Ace high flop. Aaarrgghh.

On the next orbit, as the big blind approached again, I found AQo UTG. A pot size raise saw the entire table fold to me. So, some of them were paying attention after all! At least that bought me a free orbit.

As the end of the rebuy period approached, I was sitting with about 800 chips and would be first to post the higher big blind. Meanwhile the 2s had accumulated well over 10,000 chips. I didn't see any point taking the add on just to play as a 7/1 shortstack with blinds rising quickly, so I decided to try to double through if I got any sort of hand and quit if I missed.

On the final hand of the rebuy period I found ATo UTG. Not great but still some of my best hole cards of the evening. My pot size raise was reraised by the big stack 2s and called by the 4s. I reraised all in and both called. The 2s flipped KQ, the 4s QT, putting me in front and slightly diminishing their outs.

It didn't stop the dealer finding another Q and no A - sending me out and leaving the 2s with a chip mountain. Oh well, at least I got the chips in while I was ahead.

Speaking to one of the other players later, he said the final table usually do a deal to make sure they all get some cash. He finished 8th a few weeks ago and got £100. His friend won it recently and got £900!!!

There are so many rebuys the cash grows quickly. I reckon most people spent at least £20, some a fair bit more. One guy at our table burnt through his cash so quickly he was tapping his friend for a loan after about 80 minutes.

I'd definitely go again, though not every week. The action was a bit weird, with the blinds too high to start with. I think my tactics were ok, but will need to read up a bit more on how to play pot limit tournaments.

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