New Orleans trip re-cap
So far, we haven't done too much. We left Wednesday nigh after watching the Mav's game in Dallas. We stopped off in Shreveport to get some sleep, then continued on to New Orleans early Thursday morning. We rolled in around 3:00 pm.
First thing we did was bring out the cards and chips for a quick $20 Sit 'N Go. I had a pretty crummy run of luck and went out fourth of five. Then a few of us went upstairs to get a quick workout before we headed over to Harrah's to play some satellites.
I decided that the $65 one-table satellites would be my best bet. The sat pays out a $500 tournament entry trip and $50 in cash (the vig. for the tourney). In my first one, I ended up playing with three of the guys I drove out with. That was pretty silly and we vowed never to do it again. There's just no point in four of us battling it out for one seat against six other people. The main problem was that the four of us were probably the four best players at the table. We hadn't been seated together intentionally, but we'd need to go out of our way to make sure we didn't get seated together again.
Anyway, I busted fourth because I caught no cards. I had TT once, played in conservatively and got out as cheaply as I could when an opponent with KQ flopped top pair.
Next, we went to dinner at Besh Steakhouse and had a pretty good time. "Time" being the operative word because we were there for over two hours. Service was really, really slow and I'm pretty sure it's because the hotel hasn't been able to staff enough people since Katrina.
After dinner, a few of us decided to try another satellite. This time, only three of us were at the same table and one of the guys was directly on my left. I ended up getting heads up with one of my buddies and we chopped it down the middle. We basically had an even chip stack. If I hadn't been heads-up with a friend, I probably wouldn't have chopped.
So now we're going to register for the $500 tourney and get some breakfast. I hope to do well in the tourney, but it's going to be a crapshoot. We start with $1500 in chips with blinds at $25 and $25. There are 40-minute levels. I guess we'll have to see how it goes. I'm in for $350 total.
$500+50 tourney re-cap
Well, the $500 didn't go as well as I'd hoped it would. I played to the end of the fifth level, but just couldn't get anything going. The structure was a bit fast, but nothing crazy. We started with 1500 in tournament chips and played 40-minute levels. The following is a list of all the "good" hands I got (I'm obviously stretching a little bit with some of these): 33, 44, 66, 99, JJ, JJ, QQ, AK, AK, AQ, AQ, ATs, KJs. That's it. I had suited connectors--87s--once in the BB, but UTG+1 raised pre-flop and bet out on a flop that totally missed me, so I dumped it.
I figure I'll just go through and describe what happened with all the hands I listed above. That should provide a pretty good summary of how the tourney went:
Early on, the guy to my right showed a pretty nasty bluff. UTG had made a decent raise pre-flop and this guy cold-called. Flop was JJ7, UTG bet out about 3/4 of the pot, guy to my right pushed. UTG thought for a long time and finally folded. Guy to my right showed 44 (obviously convinced that UTG had laid down AA or KK).
So, the guy to my right was pretty LAGgy. Blinds were 25/50 and he made a standard raise to 125 from UTG+1. I had JJ, so I re-raised to 400. Guy two to my left thought for a while before folding (after the hand, he said he had 99). Everyone folded back to UTG+1 who thought for a while and showed me AJ.
Fifteen or 20 minutes later, almost exactly the same thing happened, only I had QQ this time. Same result, but guy to my right didn't show this time.
Some time in the 50/100 level, the guy to my right raised to 275 and I made it 700 to go with JJ. Guy two to my left called and everyone else folded (including the original raiser). Flop came all under cards and I moved in. Guy two to my left folded and said he had AK.
Everyone folded to me on the button with ATs. I raised to 300. Both blinds called and the flop came down KTx. The SB checked, the BB checked and I bet half the pot. Only the BB called. The turn was a Jack, the BB bet around 1/3 the pot and I called. The river was a blank, the BB bet 1/2 the pot and I folded.
Later in the same level, the guy to my right limped UTG+1. I limped behind him with AQo (I respected his UTG limp a lot more than his UTG raises). Two or three other called and the flop came down all low cards. I check-folded. Not long after that hand, we got moved to a different table in a different room. We kept most of our players, though.
At our new table, the first hand I got was 99. I raised it from middle position and took the blinds.
Later, the guy to my right limped UTG, I limped behind with 33 (again, I respected his UTG limps and suspected the rest of the table did too). Several others also limped. When it got to the BB, he moved in for a pretty big overbet. He'd bee doing this sort of thing all day (moving in on limpers, check-raising all-in, limp-re-raising all-in, etc.) and he usually bet a lot more than he should've. This time, as soon as he moved in, I thought, "He has junk, but I can't call with 33." Fortunately for me, UTG moved in over the top of the BB and the rest of us folded. BB showed K5o, and UTG showed 99. UTG busted the BB with a set of nines.
Next time I took the BB, I had KJs. The player in the CO made it 450 to go, the button called and I called. The flop came down King-high and I checked it, hoping to check-raise all-in. Unfortunately, both the CO and the button checked behind me. The turn was a blank and I thought for a few seconds before moving in. I took it down and had about 2200 chips.
A bit later (with the blinds at 75/150 and my stack around 1800), I had AQo in early-middle position. UTG raised it to 450 and I realized I'd either have to move in or fold. I took a while studying UTG and decided he was pretty strong (I put him on 99+, AQ+). I laid down my AQ because there were still several people to act behind me and I knew UTG would call if I moved in. I didn't want to race if I could avoid it. As it turned out, the button woke up with AK and moved in; UTG called with TT, but lost when a King hit the board. I felt that I made a good read and made the right laydown given the circumstances.
A couple orbits later, I got AK in the SB. Of course, everyone folded to me and I raised it to 600. The BB folded showing trash.
A bit later, I got moved to a new table. We were just starting the 100/200 level. I folded my first hand, then got 44 in the BB. Several people limped around and I just checked my option. If I'd known more about the table, I probably would've moved in here. My problem was I didn't know how strong the limpers were and I had no idea if any of them was trapping. On balance, I thought it would be risky to push into a possible trap and I liked that several people limped so that my implied odds were very high if I hit a set. I checked, the flop came high cards and I check-folded.
Two hands later, I was on the button with 66. The CO moved in for about half my chips (I think I had 1700 left at this point) and I moved in over the top to isolate him. I figured my 66 was good and I was probably racing, but I figured it was also possible that he could have a smaller pair, or a very weak Ace. Even if I was racing, I was getting a good overlay as a 10% favorite and I was only risking half my chips. Anyway, the guy turned over A7s. He flopped a flush draw and turned an Ace to double-up and leave me with about 900 chips.
Two hands later, I had QJ in late-middle position. Everyone folded to me and I moved in. The BB called with A8 and I doubled-up when I rivered a straight. I was now back up to around 1800 in chips.
Next time I was UTG+1, I picked up AKo. I made a raise to 600 and the player two seats to my right began counting down his chips. He eventually moved in and had me covered. When it got back to me, I called and he turned over QQ. His QQ held up and I was out.
Psychologically, I felt very prepared for this tournament. I wasn't the least bit nervous or intimidated by any of my opponents. Some of the people playing were really awful poker players. I felt I played well considering I was card dead for two hours. I didn't take many flops because I just never had cards that liked flops. I only had suited connectors once, and they totally whiffed. Most of the time, I was getting junk (Qx, Kx, Jx, unsuited two-gappers, etc.) and I had very few spots to make any moves. I also couldn't win a race, and everyone knows those are key to going deep in a tournament. My best hand all day (post flop) was a straight, which won me very few chips. My second best hand was top pair, second kicker. I never flopped a flush draw or a straight draw, never made two-pair or trips and generally just missed every flop.
Overall, it was a great experience and I feel like I played well. I was reading people very well, but my read usually told me they were strong, so I saved chips, but rarely made chips because of my reads. I ended up busting about 230 of 606 after about four hours of play.
And the rest of the weekend...
After the $500+50 tourney, I went to watch some friends play the WSOP Texas Hold 'em Bonus table game. It was pretty entertaining. The house makes a killing on that game. After a few hours of that, we all went to the buffet to get dinner. One of us was still in the $500+50 and doing pretty well. After dinner, I decided to head back to the hotel to unwind. Playing tournament poker really takes a lot of energy for me.
Anyway, I hung out and watched basketball all night. A few of my friends went out to experience the New Orleans night-life and experience it they did. Aside from basketball, a lot of my entertainment for the evening was watching them act like idiots.
While all that was going on, my friend was busy making the final table of the $500+50. They wrapped it up around 1 am when they had 9 people remaining. The final table was scheduled for Saturday at 4:00 pm.
Saturday, we all woke up late and had a plan to go watch our friend at the final table. We all grabbed breakfast and tried to prep him for his day of making big money. Around 3:30, we all went to the theatre at Harrah's. The final table was on a stage with a single video camera mounted above it to capture the action.
The final table began around 4:00 and our guy busted around 4:08. He had AJs and moved in on the turn when the board was 445A with two of his suit. Unfortunately, his opponent had A5 and he filled up on the river. He finished 9th and cashed for $5500.
After that, we went to get dinner on Bourbon street and then went back to the hotel to play a $1/2 NL cash game. The five of us all bought in for between $100 and $200. I ran my $100 up to over $180 before I caught some bad luck. I ran into trips and sets FIVE times in less than half an hour. This was only a five-handed game where we were self-dealing. I figure we probably played less than 20 hands in this time. Anyway, I went from $180+ down to $60 and then they decided to quit. I was pretty peeved because 1) I had been running so badly and 2) if I'd known we would up and quit after only an hour or so, I would've taken my $80 winnings and called it a night.
So, I went back to my room and the other guys decided to out on the town. I watched TV for a bit, then went to bed about 11:00. I didn't wake up till 1:00 pm the next afternoon. Apparently, I missed out on quite a bit including one of the guys breaking his foot after he decided to run and jump down a flight of stairs. Sleeping seems much safer.
Sunday, the big winner decided to stake a couple of us to play satellites for him. First, all three of us bought into a 1-table $125 satellite that awarded $1100 to the winner. One of my friends sat directly to my left and knocked two guys out in the first few minutes. I hung in there for a while and eventually doubled my initial stack. I ended up busting after I made a solid read on a guy and moved in on him with A4s after he min-raised in EP with J9s (same suit as mine). He spiked a 9 on the flop and took most of my chips. The other guys didn't make money either as they both took nasty beats to bust out. The guy who ended up winning the satellite was all-in at least three times with a dominated hands and he survived anyway. There's a lot of luck involved with winning one of those satellites.
After the $125, I went to a $65 and did about the same. I didn't play a hand for the first two levels (which is an eternity in a short-stacked satellite), but I got lucky to double-up then knock a guy out with AKs and AQs within a few hands. I ended up busting when I bluffed off my chips. I had KTo UTG and raised it up. The SB immediately said, "Not too much!", which I'd heard him say earlier in a similar situation when he called with J9o. I said, "Not too much. One-fifty is just right." He called and everyone else folded. The flop was 666 and he checked to me. I bet out about 60% of the pot and he moved in. I did the math and realized I had to call because I was getting 3:1 on my money and I figured I had 6 live outs. At first, I thought maybe he put a good read on me, but I think maybe he just went with a hunch that I didn't have a pair. He had 33 and I didn't improve. I don't really like him check-raising there because he is almost guaranteed that he'll have to fade the turn and river cards (if he's not already behind). Anyway, I busted on that hand. Later, I realized I should've just kept my mouth shut when he said something to me. I think I gave away too much info by answering him pre-flop.
After that, we all went to get some dinner. During dinner a few of us decided to go back and play some blackjack and Bonus Texas Hold 'em. The guys each gave me $100 so I could try my luck with card-counting. They made it clear that they didn't care if I lost it all, so I didn't mind gambling their money. I played a $15 table with $300, which is a pretty short stake. The count only got moderately high once and I lost all my money within about two hands. My friend was sitting to my right and hit a blackjack on both of the hands while I got dealt a 12 and a 14 (both with my first card as a Ten). I think I can do well at card-counting with some practice.
After that, we all went back to the hotel and crashed. We got up at 7:00 Monday morning and started our trip home. We got back to Dallas about 6:30.