I’ve been taking it slow on poker that past few days as I’ve spent more time trying to train Ace to not destroy the house when I leave.
I did find time, however, to take in the fast-growing tournament in Las Vegas Saturday morning at Green Valley Ranch.
GVR has had a 10AM daily tourney as long as I can remember. Friday and Saturday’s fields were always the best. Any given Saturday you could expect 50-60 players. Through word of mouth (the greatest promotion any poker room can have) the field has exploded the last four weeks. Yesterday the field again cracked 120 players for a $45 buy-in event.
I can’t tell you the exact size of the player count or prize pool because I was bounced in level two. It was just bad luck I ran into aces twice and queen once while holding top pair or two pair each time.
Inexplicably, the field for the Sunday through Friday 10AM tournaments has gone unchanged. Sundays and Fridays have around 40 players. Monday through Thursdays feature around 30 players.
The poker season in definitely in full swing and my rungood summer is still plugging right along, as well.
Since my first World Series of Poker cash in the Casino Employees Event two weeks ago I have been playing significantly more poker. I went fairly deep in Daily Deep Stack at the World Series but didn’t cash the following weekend. That 2PM Daily Deep Stack is getting really big. There were more than 600 players the day I played with $25,000 and some change going to first place.
Saturday I broke through again, as a combination of good fortune and good play help me take down “The Stack” Tourney at The Mirage.
I had the good fortune of my friend and teammate Ben Devlin already playing in the $3-$6 cash game at The Mirage Saturday morning. He absolutely crushes that tourist-filled, river-chasing game on a regular basis. Since I hadn’t really decided where I was going to play yesterday I decided to head to Mirage to say hello to Ben and figure it out from there.
I arrived a The Mirage a little after 11AM. Ben was playing and I was on a waiting list. While I was waiting I found out The Mirage has a tournament called “The Stack.” For $120 ($110 plus a $10 dealer add-on), a player receives 50,000 in tournament chips. The blinds start at 500-500, go to 500-1000 and then 500-1500. The levels are 30 minutes long, and with 100 big blinds to begin it’s a pretty decent structure as far as Strip tournaments go.
Yesterday, The Mirage hosted their biggest “The Stack” Tourney yet. It was 56 players when I signed up. It would eventually climb to 80 by 1PM.
I only played two hands in the first three levels — K-K and A-A, picking up some decent chips both times. By level five I was amongst the chip leaders with 174,000 chips (the average at the time was about 80,000). However, I took a little hit at my new table. Under the gun (UTG) raised all in 47,000. The table chip leader called. I had A-A in the BB and jammed my entire stack in. The table chip leader folded and the all-in tabled J-J. Unfortunately she spiked a jack on the flop and tripled up.
When we got down to 30 players I was in the 10-12 BB area when I put my whole stack at risk with A-Ko. I was called by the table chip leader, who tabled K-Jc. Although he flopped both a flush draw and a gut shot straight draw I faded the outs and doubled up.
From 15 players to 11 players I went on a little run and chipped up to 665K chips. The average stack was 336K. We were all trying to get to the final table, playing 6-handed and 5-handed for more than an hour. Eight places were getting paid.
There I made the call that changed the tournament. UTG went all in — the same woman that cracked my aces with jacks — for 203K. The woman to my left called all-in with a little less. I looked down at 10-10, my favorite hand. I didn’t think I had both players beat but I was sure I had at least one of them beat. It was going to cost me around 30 percent of my stack to call. Even if I lost the hand I would have an above average stack, so I made the call.
Both players tabled A-Ko. They both caught a king in the window one a K-Q-4 flop. The turn card brought and ace to give them each two pair. Luckily for me, a jack spiked on the river (oh, so appropriate!) and my rivered straight took out two players.
We went to the final table with nine players and me leading the pack with 1.1 million chips.
With six players to go the field was trying to negotiate a six-way chop of roughly $1,200. Nervous tourists! I was second in chips to a woman from Switzerland, but not by much. I proposed a chop where her and I each received $1,600, and the rest of the tourists got $1,040 each. It was a no-brainer for them.
The only sour part was typical crappy tourist tippers for the poker dealers. I tossed out my tip first hoping to spur some better tipping. Ugh! The Swiss girl left $10 on her $1,600. One of the other left $5 on his $1,040. The only thing I like about tourists is taking their money!
I was very lucky my buddy Ben was playing at Mirage yesterday as it led to a fine day of poker.
In a tournament Saturday I made a lay down that seemed a little amazing to the average player but was relatively easy to do after watching the entire story unfold.
Blinds are 50-100. My hand: Kh-10h. Villain: X-X.
I raised to 800 under the gun (UTG) +2. An 8x (eight big blinds) raise is a too big here, but this is a tournament where a lot of “fishing” goes on. Players try to get into pots cheap and hit a flop. A big raise scared away the fishermen. After two folds a player raised to 1,800. Everyone else folded to me. I called. The pot has 3,750 chips in it (1800+1800+50SB+100BB).
This is a bad call with a weak hand (K-10) by me and I am out of position. However, I had not seen this player in a pot yet. I wanted to feel him out a little. The flop: As-9s-2c.
Since I missed the flop, I checked. The villain checked. The turn card was Kd. With a pair of kings I checked. The villain checked behind.
The river card was a Kc. I made three kings and wanted to see where I was in the hand. I decided to make a very small bet of 125 into the pot. The small bet can accomplish many objectives. It may get raised and let me get away from the hand cheaply. The raise might freeze a better hand from reraising because it is so suspiciously small. If I am ahead in the hand the bet is so small it will get called my most hands that raised preflop and went all the way to the river. This drags a few more chips into the pot.
The villain raised to 850.
This is where we start to dissect the story. Since my preflop raise was so big, to reraise me the villain must have a huge hand. That already eliminates every pair from J-J thru 2-2, and all A-x hands including A-Q. Why? If the villain were holding 10-10, 6-6 or A-Q he would not reraise me preflop, he would either flat call the big raise or fold. The reraise eliminates every hand except four: Q-Q, K-K, A-A and A-K.
The villain elected to check both the flop and the turn.
When I made three kings on the river and bet, the villain raised me. We know he doesn’t have quad kings because I am holding a king. Q-Q is out since the villain is not going to raise on the river with an Ace and two Kings on the board. A-K is probably out because the villain would likely bet the ace on the flop or two pair on the turn, but A-K is a small possibility. The only hand left is A-A and that makes the most sense here. If the villain is holding A-A he flopped a set and made Aces full of Kings.
A folded my king face up and told the player, “I can’t beat your full house.”
After a few gasps from the table that I had open folded three kings, the villain turned over two aces for a full house. A poker story read perfectly.