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Why I went broke with one pair in level 1

I guess I should talk about this.

For one thing, I can’t leave that embarassing ski-slope graph as the top entry on my blog.  I only need 14 more posts to push it off the bottom completely…

I lost my stack with one pair in the first level of a major tournament.  I completely suck.

It was actually the very last hand of level 1, for what that’s worth, and I had realised this as I’d posted my small blind for 25 just before the clock ticked over.

That’s only significant, because I’m not sure whether or not the villian has also realised this as he made an early position raise to 300.  Was he looking at the clock to see how much to raise, or at the blinds on the table?  Did he think that 300 was three or six times the big blind?  I really can’t be sure.

There were two callers ahead of me before I looked down at pocket queens.  I’d already lost a couple of small pots and was down to 8600 in chips.  Everyone else involved covered me.

I didn’t like the idea of just calling out of position in a four-way pot with a hand that is very vulnerable, but still probably best.  With a nice chunk of cash in the pot already, I made it 1500 to go, hoping to take it down – or be able to lay my queens down if a better hand did decide to speak up.

No such luck (well, obviously).  Villian just called and the player on the button also called.

The flop couldn’t give me a tougher decision to make: 852, all different suits.

First to act, what to do?  The pot is already way too big (4,850) for a pair of queens.  I really hate the spot.

I can’t check/fold.  I just can’t.  But check/raise might not even be an option, and if it is I’m only called if beaten.  That leaves taking a stab at the pot, and I fired 3,000 - leaving me with 4,000 and a remote possibility of getting away from the hand if the other two players go nuts.

The original raiser immediately moved all-in and the button got out of the way.

So I have an overpair to a very low, uncoordinated flop.  I only have to call 4,000 to win about 15,000 but surely I can’t be ahead?  I really really hate the spot now.

So what does Villian have?  The game’s only been going an hour and I don’t have much information, but he seems to know what he’s doing.  And he has a pair of sunglasses.

Pocket 8s, 5s and 2s are all crushing me and would be glad to get it all in right now, but I give him enough credit to be able to pass those hands to my pre-flop re-raise, even if he had raised with them in early position.

OK, there is a possibility but only a very small one, and any set here is a huge enough hand that just calling to try to keep the 3rd player around would be a better play anyway.

Bigger overpairs have me in big trouble too.  Aces and kings would all raise from early position, and may over-raise (if he did so knowingly).  But in this pot, I would expect him to put in a third raise to force out the other two players.

Why would he want to take either of those hands against three other players, especially when he only has position on one of them?

Could he have pocket 9s, 10s or jacks?  The big pre-flop raise is a particularly popular weak-ass move with pocket jacks, and those hands all look pretty good here.  But are they worth going broke with?  Not really.  Maybe if he gets to do the betting or raising, but they’re certainly not worth a call all-in.

But he might figure I can fold some hands that beat his, or factor in the chance that I’m making a play with AK (which I would often play exactly the same way).  He could even be making a move with AK himself.

The pot is simply too big and what I thought was a worthwhile pre-flop stab and a compulsory continuation bet has turned the hand into a disaster.  I should have just mucked those queens, or just called to try to flop a set, then waited another couple of hours for a better spot.

But what matters now is this decision.  Can I be ahead often enough to justify calling for the nearly 4-1 pot odds I’ve ended up with?

Obviously I decided yes, and I obviously was wrong.  He had two kings.

I blame the other players in the hand.  If they hadn’t called along pre-flop, I could have made my re-raise smaller and the pot would stay under control.  Also, if they hadn’t been involved I’d have given villian much more credit for a big pocket pair.

Oh my god it’s an awesome trap.  Oh noes he got me.  He got me good.

But although he won my chips which clearly makes it genius, I hate the smooth call with KK there.  Talk about giving yourself the best possible chance of losing.  Either I have pocket aces or I don’t, and the flop made no difference to whether his hand is best or second best so why wait until then to get the money in, after giving two other players a chance to catch up?

He has much more information pre-flop about my hand than I have about his.  With some certainty he should know that I don’t have 2s, 5s or 8s and so, by that reasoning, I should have been able to narrow his range for making this play down to almost exclusively AA.  If that was the case, I’d gracefully admit that I got it wrong and fell for a clever trap and write "nice hand".

As it is, I’m just going to say "Kings? What the fuck?".

It’s not a great deal of consolation to be honest though.

Live updates: GCBPT Liverpool £500 Main Event (Day 1a)

I suppose a rock’s out of the question

This could be the most paranoia-inducing vending machine ever.

"Please dont rock.  Your being watched".  The terrible grammar just makes it even scarier.

I’m not surprised they’ve had rockin’ issues in the past though, having found out the hard way just how much coffee you get for 50p.  It’s barely half a small cup.

In other interesting back-stories that I can only imagine, there’s this sign on the bed:

Bunk beds?  You don’t get them in those regular hotels, but I’m staying in France’s favourite unmanned hotel chain, Formule 1.  Except this one fails in the virtually human-free department because you actually have to check in at the Ibis next door with a real person, rather than just swiping a credit card and hoping all the right automatic stuff happens.

From my room, I have an excellent view of the skate park.

But you just can’t beat a self-cleaning toilet.  They’re pretty impressive, and how they manage to wash down the cubicle but leave the toilet paper dry is still a bit of a mystery.

Live updates: GCBPT Liverpool £200 Freezeout

BYO Chips

So the first tournament didn’t go too well.  The structure actually sucks pretty bad, which is a shame because the next one is exactly the same.  They skip right past 75/150 and 150/300 to get right up to a level where half the players are short stacked in under two hours.

By the time I busted, blinds had just ticked over to 400/800 with 100 ante and the average stack for the 80-something remaining players was about 10,000.  I had no cards and very few stealing opportunities (with several other players already pushing any two cards) so I ended up with little else I could do than move all-in with junk and hope that hands like TJ and 63 would fold.  They didn’t.

I haven’t recognised any poker celebs yet but I was briefly graced by the presence of the Betfred Women’s Poker Tour Champion 2007, Lynne Beaumont, at my table.  I know this because it said the title on her shirt, and I used Google just now to find her name.

Clearly an achievement to be proud of, this award had also netted her an absolutely unpatronising cash prize of one thousand pounds, as well as the chance to be a human billboard for the next year.  Taking full advantage of her free ride, Lynn arrived at the table two hours late and busted on her first hand.

Anyway, as seems to be necessary in all the best trip reports, I won my buy-in back on blackjack/roulette/The Cash (* delete as appropriate).

I had been scoping the blackjack game, and depending on how quickly you earn "Fortune Points" (Gala’s slot club, which also tracks table play) it could be a good gamble, but today it was The Cash.

In fact, this was my first ever foray into live cash games at an actual British casino that is really a casino.  It surprised me a little that the game had a "BYO Chips" policy and was therefore played mostly with folding money.  The dealer didn’t have a rack and the card room wouldn’t sell chips so you had to go and buy them from another table game.

Or you could wait for a sucker like me to change up his entire roll and buy them from him.  Which is awesome, because I love handling cash given to me by strangers in a casino.

I would like to think I was responsible for one mega-tilt hand after my two pair beat another two pair.  He clearly thought his A6 was way ahead when I just called with AJ on a JT6xA board.  With one more player still to act, I was going for the overcall rather than shoving for less than a full raise into a possible made straight.

Next hand he straddled on the button for £4. I think this is a Mississippi straddle, never seen it played that way before and not really sure how it affects the action, but it didn’t really matter here.  The big blind was having none of it and immediately re-straddled for £8 and the pissing contest began.  It went £16, then £32, then his remaining £46 all-in and called.

Finally they let cards get dealt.  Nobody had a £46 hand so we saw J6 race against 52, with a 5 on board to send Mr Tilt off to see if the cashier would let him exceed his ATM limit.

Live updates: GCBPT Liverpool £100 Freezeout

Piece of me

Britney can ask the question for me this time.

I’m selling 1% shares in my action at the Gala Casinos British Poker Tour in Liverpool for £10 each.

I have already registered for the three main tournaments

- Wed 17th Sept £100+£10 freezeout

- Thu 18th Sept £200+£10 freezeout

- Fri 19th Sept £500+£10 main event

The total buy-in is £880 so I’m rounding up a bit to get to £10 per share, but whether I drive to Liverpool each day or find somewhere to stay up there, I’m not going to see much change from a grand for the whole event – if any!

The main event is a two-day event with two day 1s.  I’m confirmed to play on Friday and will return on Sunday 21st if I get far enough.

If you’d like to share in my inevitable winnings, leave a comment, email chris(at)luckydonut.com or contact me via any other means you happen to know.