Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Underground Tournament Action

So I've been playing some of the local card room tournaments now and then, without any real success, and decided to give another one a shot last night. Most of these tourneys feature at least an optional rebuy/add on and end up being a little more expensive than I'm willing to play too often, due to my recent brokeness. But I thought I'd give this $60 tourney with one rebuy or add-on a shot.

Structure was pretty good, starting chips of $3,000, plus an extra $500 if you RSVP's for the tourney and an extra $1,000 for a $10 dealer toke (that's pretty standard around here, I assume they do that other places as well). So I started off at $4500, with blinds at 25/50 and 20 minutes levels. There were only 10 people playing, so top 3 would pay, with 3rd basically breaking even.

I played one hand the first level. I picked up KK after about 15 minutes of folding, and got the blinds. It was pretty easy to play super-tight, since I had shit for cards and the guy to my right was very aggressive, with a lot of preflop action. This proved to be a good seat for me all night. There were already two rebuys before I played a hand, but according to the regulars this was an unusual level of action. Most of the pots went 4-5 ways to the flop, with a decent flop bet taking it down. I was happy to just wait for decent hands.

Except I didn't see any for the first hour. By the time the break came around, I'd played about 4 hands, and was looking to be pretty short when we came back, with blinds coming to 200/400 and me sitting at about T4,000. So I, along with everyone eligible, took the add on for an additional 5,000 in chips. Proved to be a good idea since I actually started catching some cards after the break and was able to put a little more aggression into my play. I busted one guy when his AQ didn't improve against my 66 and had a little cushion to play with.

I stayed tight throughout, but focused on the points where I felt like I could apply pressure. One guy in particular had a bad tendency to min-raise my big blind a lot (which was basically a weak cutoff steal from him), and I called him with a wide range of hands preflop.

Most hands go kinda like this. Weak-tighty min-raises my big blind, I call with shit.
Flop comes, I pair my shit as top or middle pair. I check.
WT makes weak-ass continuation bet, almost always the same size bet he made preflop.
I stick in big-ass raise, at least 4x his bet.
He laments, moans, folds.

Orbit, rinse, repeat. After the fourth time he moans about always being in this position with me I tap the glass, just a little bit. "If you'll sack up and put in a real raise, I'll stop calling you with trash and hitting these raggedy-ass flops."


I did push an aggressive Asian kid off a pot with AT on an A-high flop when he went all the way to the river calling my bets. There was a Broadway draw out there, so I was more representing KT than a mediocre Ace, but he laid it down and asked me if I caught two pair. I may have been good all the way, but I don't know. I didn't get into too many big confrontations until my M got very, very red, then I just went into push or fold poker.

There were two hands that I thought were interesting, one push and one fold. In the push, I went over the top of WT's preflop 4xBB raise with Ac8c, figuring that the fold was the safe play, but the push was the aggressive play. Essentially I decided I'd rather win than get third, so I wanted the extra chips and decided to jam. He thought forever before laying it down, but claimed that I was ahead when I showed the Ace. He claimed to have had KQ, for a coin flip, but I was ready to start accumulating chips or be done, so I put him to a decision and got the fold I wanted.

The other interesting hand I had KQ in the SB, there was a raise from WT, who was about even in chips with me, and the chip leader called. Now before the CL called, I was ready to shove, but when he flat-called, I mucked. He had Jack-something, and enough chips to call with, and I would have rivered the nut flush, but felt like my hand was no good against two random hands so I tossed it. That might have put me in a better position on the bubble, but I really only wanted one other person in the pot whenever I pushed.

And there was lots of that going on, but I never once got called on my pushes. It helped that whenever somebody showed they were folding Ace-baby (a mark of respect in these underground games where any Ace can be gold) I showed a bigger Ace or a pocket pair to their Ace-rag. Finally got down to three-handed and the money, and I was second in chips. I didn't have to push every hand I was involved in at this point, so I played a little more conservatively, but did jam a couple on the chipleader when I sniffed weakness. Or as Gavin Smith says "nobody EVER has anything in Hold 'Em," so if I had a piece of the flop I was betting it hard.

I outlasted the third-place guy more on the strength of the chip leader than on my play, but I got to heads-up and shifted gears again, concentrating on small-ball preflop and picking up orphaned blinds when he showed no interest in them. After about 5-6 hands of heads up, he offered a deal (basically giving me an extra $50), I took it since I was still a serious chip underdog and it was close to midnight, took my money and went home. I made about $200 profit on the night after buyin and dealer tip, so I was pretty pleased with my night. I'll be back over there this weekend to play a medium-stakes fixed limit game they've gotten together, so that should be interesting.

Here's a question for folks with more experience than me - do you tip dealers in underground games? I assumed the extra chips for dealer tokes was sufficient, but the host reminded us to "tip your dealer" when we cashed out, so I tossed him another $20. I felt like this was pretty sufficient out of a $350 prize, since I knew he'd already gotten $100 off the table as a whole. The guy that won just planned to tip plenty in the cash game afterwards, but I figured $30/hour for dealing was pretty good overall, so I thought my $20 was pretty good. Was I a stiff or was that okay?

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