Magic 10s, A Victorius Iggy, and Week Recap

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark. “
–Barbara Hall
Well it was a wild week for yours truly, culminating in the Monty Memorial Blogger tourney, in which the mighty Iggy took first (with Monty’s help, methinks). With a miraculous hand that nearly quintupled me up, I managed to get knocked out 21st by none other than the tourney winner (he hit a runner-runner straight with his QJ against my A7 after I pushed all-in with my short stack). I was crippled the hand before after raising with AQ in late position, only to have the BB push all in with AK. The queen hit on the turn just to mock me, and the king came on the river, and my stack was gone. Three players from my second table ended up making the final table, so I guess it was a tough table. Luckily for me Grubby was seated at my table, and he kept track of the fast and furious action much better than I did:
“And the final hand. h0trod11 raises the equivalent of me all-in (I think T895), I call with JJ. Hdouble raises all-in with 10-10. I think one other person calls. h0trod11 calls with QQ.
And Hdouble more than quadruples up when the board gives him a set! HD invoked the name Varkonyi for Kahrhoff’s early luck and running over of the table, but he ended up with magic 10s (a previous hand where he doubled up had him push with 9-10, a caller with KQ, and he hit a 10). Here’s hoping he 10s all the way to the top.”

Ironically, I thought that the extremely aggressive Kahrhoff was Grubby (the mystery player), but it turns out that Kahrhoff was far too lucky to be the grub himself. My repeated Wendy’s jokes were no help in determining Grubby’s true identity, which is a shame because I would have done a jig had I known I knocked him out with an inferior hand.
After I busted, I chatted with Helixx who took a string of bad beats worse than any I’d ever seen. His stack was swallowed up by the table over a string of 5 hands, when he finally was knocked out with AK vs. AQ. He also had the fortune of running into AA with KK, and the poor guy played perfect poker only to bust out on the bubble. That’s tournament poker for ya.
I won’t recap the final table (you’ll find better writeups from the bloggers actually at the table), but basically Iggy just dominated the rest of the tourney. I did win a $20 bet with The Fat Guy, by correctly predicting that the final table would take less than an hour. So since the tourney was a freeroll (thanks Iggy), I ended up ahead $20. Interesting note: the only bloggers to crack the top ten were The Blogfather, Maudie, and Johnny Flopboot. Maybe I should spend more time reading blogs and less time writing them. Check out Maudie’s site for an excellent writeup of the tournament.
Congrats to the tourney organizer, who in the end managed to get us a freeroll (even if he rigged it so he’d win) with all of his hard work (and the help of many angry bloggers). I’ve been wanting to play a heads-up blogger tourney, where 64 players fight through the brackets to reach the final showdown, so maybe that’s next on the menu…
While we’re recapping the tourney trail, another big congrats goes out to my protege Monk, who cashed in $555 for his $72 entry fee in a monster field, finishing 18th out of several hundred. Pretty soon I’m going to be asking for advice…
Week recap or Variance sucks
Monday: With my new dedication to 4 tabling (scroll down to the previous post for a more detailed account), I started off with a bang, winning $300 in just over an hour. The cards were good, and I was able to avoid too many beats. Poker the way it’s supposed to be.
Tuesday: Uneventful. 2 hours of 4 tabling leaves me down $10.
Wednesday: Again uneventful. 2 hours of 4-tabling leaves me slightly down ($40). A couple bad beats where my 2 pair loses to a set.
Thursday: Disaster strikes. My worst $3-6 session ever, I get demolished for $400 over 2 hours. Never have I lost on all 4 tables. The bad beats were ridiculous, and by the end of the night, I had won 3% of the 400 hands I played. That’s 12 for 400, and a few of those were hands where I stole the blinds. You wonder where that 300 big bet number comes from? It’s somewhere around the maximum number of big bets that a winning player can lose if the poker gods are unkind. Losing 67 big bets in 2 hours was pretty painful, but I’m happy to say that my concentration didn’t slip and I played all of those 400 hands as well as I could. I guess I’m getting closer to tilt-proof, which is a good thing. On the other hand, the “thrill of victory” has somewhat disappeared. The Poker Chronicles has a great post about this, I recommend it to anyone thinking about the evolution from a gambler to a hardened poker player.
Luckily I have PokerTracker to reassure me that I was on my game, and it was only cruel variance that plunderered the bankroll. After a night like that, it’s tough not to be results-oriented, but looking over the bad beats reassured me that bad luck and not bad play was the culprit.
Friday: Another uneventful day. I end up down $30 after a quick half an hour session (most of it losing to a runner-runner flush after flopping two pair).
Saturday: Live poker at Hollywood Park. I pull a Mike Caro and do the “poker olympics” while looking for a good game. I start out at the $15-30, and drop $300 quickly before coming back and ending up +50 in about an hour of play. The table is tough, so I bail out for a new $200 NL game, where I plan to sit tight and double up. That table is also very tough, so I try a $50 satellite for the pot limit tourney that night, but end up getting 3rd when I run into AK. On to the $100 NL, where there look to be a couple soft games. I don’t catch any cards, and finally make some money when I flop K Q J to my KQ. A good player who I’ve played with before calls me down, and ends up having QJ. But the table tightens up, so I take my $50 winnings to what looks to be a soft $6-12 game at the adjacent table.
And like Moses in the desert, the Poker Gods finally reward me. In three hours I was able to hit some flops (and yeah, a few rivers) on the loose-passive table, and I walked away up 40 big bets to the good. I even laid a bad beat on none other than Maxwell Smart himself, who happens to be a decent poker player despite his old age. All kinds of people at Hollywood Park…
So what did I learn this week? Well, $3-6 is not exactly a cakewalk (I think the games have gotten slightly tougher than they used to be), and despite popular belief, it is possible to lose money there. Second, my “tilt armor” is a lot stronger after absorbing some terrible beats at $15-30 and $10-20 short. The unlikely arrows of the poker gods bounce off harmlessly, and I’m able to forget results immediately. Third, table selection is everything. A lot of authors have been saying this forever, but in the world of online poker, it’s a lot more difficult to sort through the identical virtual tables to find the best game. In the live world, you have familiar faces, stacks of chips, and a variety of other visual cues to help you pick a live game. The lesson is that the extra time spent on diligent note taking and careful use of PokerTracker is time well spent– without it you’re missing out on a lot of big bets donated by the fish.
Thanks for reading and spend more time picking a table before you sit down.

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