Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Big Money

My name is Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht

I'm a sucker for the big score. I play the lottery when it goes north of $50 mil. I fill out my March Madness bracket every spring thinking of hitting all 63 games and a million bucks.

I know this is not realistic. However, the price to pay is small. And for my $5, I get to dream about actually hitting one of these things, which can be rather fun. At it's most basic, I'm paying money to let my imagination run wild. Charging myself for my own thoughts. Don't judge me.

It is that same impulse which drives me to the Bad Beat Jackpot tables on Party when the amount hits $300K. Which is where I found myself last night. Now, doing this causes me to move up a level. While I have the bankroll for 2/4, I'm most comfortable at 1/2 right now as far as limit ring games. But the lowest for the BBJ is 2/4. While I hesitate to call my play at 2/4 "optimal," I have had some decent results there, though not the one which brings me there time and time again.

Within minutes of sitting my table, I get pocket 3s on the button. Several limp and I call. I flop the set, though there are two hearts, an ace and a 10. A bet from the SB, calls all the way around and a raise from me. An agressive play, as I'm not going to push out the flush or straight draws, but I want to charge the ace-rag and/or second-pair holders. Turn brings the King of hearts and it's checked all the way to me. I've not been on the table long enough to know if a trap is being set, but there's only one way to find out. My bet is raised by the SB (crap) and folded around. I reluctantly call. Hello! The river is a 10, filling me up. I raise SBs bet and (sadly) he just calls. Broadway straight NO GOOD.

It soon became clear the SB from the previous hand was a hyper-agressive maniac. I saw him make the same play over and over, smooth calling the flop and check-raising the turn. Got a number of people to lay down their hands. He fared about 50-50 when it went to showdown, and I got to see him show a couple hands where his signature play wasn't warranted. I waited to pounce.

I was up about 11 BBs inside an hour after flopping top two pair in another hand, when the make-or-break moment came. I was in the SB and caught AQo. It was folded around and I raised. Mr. Hyper-Agressive called. Here we go. Flop comes A J 9 rainbow. I bet and am called (shocker). Turn is a King. I bet and am raised (shocker). I re-raise and he shows his true worth by simply caling. I've got him. I know I'm ahead and put him on Ace-rag or King-rag. River is an 8. No harm to me, I think, and bet out. He raises. Is this guy kidding me? He's trying to bet me out of it when I've been leading out the whole way? Still, for the first time in the hand, I get a gnawing feeling at the base of my skull. And I just call. He flips A8 for the river'd two pair. I proceed to pull my hair out.

That hand cost me 7 BBs and I pretty much treaded water from there on out. Walked off with 3 BB profit, which I gladly accept, but oh, what might have been. I only showed down four hands in almost an hour, winning three of them. Could have been a big night. Still, I finished on the plus side and I felt real comfortable at the table. My reads were right on the majority of the evening and I let go of the hands I needed to let go of (I tell ya, small and medium pocket pairs are damn near useless in these games). Since I'll spend a bulk of my time in Vegas at the 2/4 tables, the session gave me a little boost of confidence.

Sadly, I couldn't carry that feeling over into the SnGs. Played a pair last night and finished with a third and a fourth. During both, I felt like I was walking though a minefield in over-sized shoes. Do you ever get those tables that are real chatty and there are a couple guys who feel the need to have a dick-size contest:

"I've got a $28,000 MTT win at Tunica. What's on your dance card, fish?"

Et cetera.

I'm always amused by it (when our Tunica champ went out in 7th, there was further merriment) and I never believe a word of it.

But I digress. The reason I had so much time to enjoy the chat was because I had no hands to play. Saw one flop from the BB and that was it. In the first 27 hands. Still had not pulled a pot when the blinds went to 50/100, so I basically had to play fold or push from that point on. Naturally, the chip leader was just to my right, so he put the pressure on when I was in the blinds. I came over the top once with not much of anything and got a fold. Hmmmmmmmmm. So I switched gears. And started throwing my chips at everything that moved. Much to my surprise, it worked. I got no action and chipped up to nearly T1600 and was back in it. I'd like to think it was because they noticed how tightly I'd played the first 4 orbits.

It was more likely because it was simply a pretty meek group on the bubble. A lot of folds all the way around, folds to raises, not any action at all. I was barely the second-highest stack, both 3rd and 4th less than T200 behind me, trying to fold into cashing. As I've previously mentioned, I'm not timid on the bubble. I'm here to win. I like being agressive. I'm still not sure if it's a good philosophy or a leak. One of these days.

Anyway, in the BB, I get 8s. As is his wont, the SB--and chip leader--raises me 3x. Now, odds are I'm in a coin flip situation here. I can stand to fold. It'll leave me with only 5x the BB, but others are in similar straights. Or I can double up, virtually assure myself of the money and draw even with the chip leader. I think I have to come over the top. Making a play at first, instead of hoping for third. It's how I feel.

So, I'm all-in, SB calls and shows J10o. Well, coulda been better (A5o, for instance), but I've got the coin flip. For a moment. Flop is J J 10. Gee, thanks. I'm gonna stand by my play, though. Anybody wants to talk me out of it, I'd be more than happy to hear your thoughts.


At 5:35 PM, Blogger poker_ghost said...

That was a bold move for you. IsoP

I'm not sure all-in was the way I would have played it though, especially against the chip leader without the nuts or at least a very strong hand. I know he made a bad call, but I wouldn't have wagered my entire stack that he would, plus (like you said) you thought he had Ax (I was thinking KQo). But I think if a table is that tight, you might want to concentrate on building your stack with aggressive play against the smaller fish b4 taking on the large stack (like you were). Or at least wait until you know you have a stronger hand.

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