Sunday, March 06, 2005

Posted by Junelli 9:58 PM
It's always a good feeling when you finish a winning session of poker. Dollars aside, winning gives me a renewed vigor for the game. I enjoy playing more, and in turn, play better. When I lose however, I don't enjoy the game, and usually don't really look forward to the next one. And when I lose several times in a row, I sometimes begin to question my ability and skills. But all those thoughts and doubts quickly disappear when you book a solid win. That's where I am after this weekend.

Dabney had wedding & baby showers all weekend, so Morris and I escaped to Louisiana. We initially intended on our normal routine: NL at Harrah's all night Friday, catch a little sleep and then play in the "$10,000 Guaranteed" tournament at Harrah's on Saturday at 12pm. However, while en route, we decided to check out the new poker room at Coushatta.

The poker room is very nice. Although it has a lot of tables (~25), it is extremely spacious. The tables are beautiful (see picture below), and the room was bustling with activity.

They were spreading 2 games when we arrived $1-$3 NL ($200 max buy-in) and 3-6-12. The NL game was 3 tables (a Must Move and a Must Must Move), and we sat down after a few minutes.

We also decided to enter the 7pm NL tournament. At $10, the buy-in was extremely low, but they had unlimited $20 rebuys for the first 2 hours (you could take 2 rebuys at the beginning). I did the 2 re-buys at the very beginning, and bought the $50 add-on at the break, putting a total of $100 into the tournament. I like this kind of structure because I could play very aggressively and not worry about losing a big buy-in if I was eliminated.

The tournament was huge (100 players) and lasted a long time. It started out with 5 levels of limit poker, and then switched to NL at the break. I personally don't like these kind of tournaments, but it doesn't bother me too much. I like limit play generally, and it's a good way to build the prize pool without allowing the maniacs to get out of control.

I took an early lead before the break and was in pretty good command of the table. My stack was pretty volatile, but I hit a nut flush on the last hand before the break and tripled up. I started the tournament with $1,200 in chips, but had about $7,000 by the break.

Shortly after the break, people began being eliminated. My table was broken down, and I was moved to Table # 1 (what would later become the final table). I stayed there the rest of the night. After I was moved, I fell into a rhythm that felt great. I was the most aggressive person at the table, and clearly had everyone on their heels. I eliminated at least 7 people over the next 2 hours, and seemed unstoppable.

By the time we consolidated down to the final table I had nearly 25% of all the tournament chips in play. I had $97,000 out of a possible $425,000. The total prize pool was approx $9,600.00, and 5th - 10th place would each get $200. Not the best prize structure, but I would have to really screw up to get knocked out 5th-10th. In any event, we all agreed to save an extra $100 for everyone, giving 5th-10th $300 each.

We then played for about an hour until we were 5 handed. I was no longer the chip leader, but still had a decent stack. Since we were all pretty even in chip stacks, we decided to chop it 5 ways, taking $1,475.00 each. Not bad for a $10 Buy-In tournament! I'm particularly pleased that I was able to navigate through a field of 100 players, which gave me some crucial confidence for the upcoming $1,000 Bellagio tourney in 3 weeks.

We left Coushatta at about 2am, and I went to the hotel in Lake Charles. Morris went over to Harrah's to sit in the NL game, and he ended up winning about $100 in an hour or so.

The next afternoon we both won at the $5-$5 NL game at Harrah's. I won about $550, and Morris won about $300. It was a good weekend for both of us.

4 Comment(s):

Posted by Anonymous tenacious, at 10:16 AM, March 07, 2005  

congrats, sounds like a lucrative trip for you. did morris play in the tourney? did the new poker room have drink buttons at each position on the tables?


Posted by Anonymous RJ, at 8:49 AM, March 08, 2005  

Congrats on the play. Your blog brings up a question I have that I would like some input on. What do you really think about chopping up at the end and splitting. It's my understanding that this is a regular occurence at the LA boats, I hate it but it obviously happens. Junnel, did you want to chop or get the peer pressure?


Posted by Blogger Junelli, at 3:50 PM, March 08, 2005  

I went into the tournament saying I was not going to chop, because I wanted the competition. However, at the final table you quickyl realize, that because the blinds are so high, it becomes a "move-in" game. You can't get to show-down for at least 50-75% of your stack. At that point, skill doesn't matter as much as the cards. Either you get them or you don't.

For example, I went from $95,000 to $30,000 in 2 hands. The way the payouts were structured, there was a very good chance that I could be eliminated quickly and only receive $300. The chances that I finish 1st or 2nd are only 1 in 7 (with seven players left). Therefore it makes sense to cut a deal and book a profit. Sure I could've made more, but I also could've made a lot less.

People like doing these deals because after a long day of playing (7.5 hours) everyone wants to make a little money.

In my experience, almost 99% of all final tables cut a deal. There are some pros that refuse to do it (Negreanu). I've never seen a tourney at the boat play until the end. I presonally want to play to win, but it's hard to pass up a sure thing.

Also, players typically divide the prizes according to stack size. The chip leader will take the lion's share and the rest can divide it up.

At the Coushatta tournament, we were all approx. even in chip stacks so it made sense to divide it evenly. Everyone had an equal chance at winning.


Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 10:33 PM, March 08, 2005  

Is it possible that you could replace Morris as my hero? Naaahhh, but this helps..

Big congratulations. I think you made the right call in chopping. Chopping isnt wrong per so. No is is it necessarily right. You have to look at
- your chip stack
- position of the button
- prize structure
- relative skill of remaining players
- and more.

It seems to me that you made the right call to cash out if you were just below average in chips. Well done.


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