Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Houdini and the Technicolor dream coat (aka my WPBT trip report - Part 2)

My draw for starting table was challenging to say the least. BG to my left, Fuel on my direct right. The Fuel lay-downs first…

If there is one thing I am known for in NL, its being an escape artist. I always seem to know when I am behind. It’s a strange skill, and often gets me into trouble in larger tournament fields as I am reluctant to gamble. If I have A8 and I know the other player has a pair 99-KK, I will almost always fold, even if I have ¼ of my stack in there.

In this case, I had missed a few flops and this time flopped a flush draw. I had position on Fuel, but he bet out and I called. The turn did not bring my flush, but added an OESD. But Fuel correctly put me on the draw and pushed all in. Although I had him covered, losing this pot if I called would all but eliminate me. Not only that, I figured out that he had figured out that I was drawing, so it wasn’t a bluff (I don’t think it was at least). Reluctantly, I folded.

Then I FINALLY flop top pair. I have AQ, but the board if AKJ and there are 2 other players (Fuel and tworags). I bet out, two rags raises and Fuel re-raises all-in. I am done with the hand. It was set over set and Fuel was crippled.

It’s the First break, I have a measly 2300 in chips (of a starting 6000). The end is near.
I waited patiently but really had no chips to maneuver. I had to pick up a big hand. It was folded around to maigrey on the button and she raises half my piddly stack. I wake up with KK and when I push, she is force to call. I double up to about 4400.

Despite my previous luck, maigrey continues to attack my blinds from the button. I notice that if it’s folded around, she is raising with what I suspect is close to ATC. Now, I make a VERY tight fold with A6s just to make sure I am right. I KNOW my blinds look weak now and I am prepared. A couple of rotations later, she moves all in for about 1200 and I insta-call with A8s. I luck out as she flips over A3 and I am now just short of starting stack size at 5900.

I win a couple of hands, lose 1 and I am around 9k. I had an interesting question from BG. “So, do you watch how each of us plays online and build a catalog of it in your brain?” “Yeah”, I reply. “Although I never really played with you. But I also catalog how you play live and take that back with me also.” I wasn’t really thinking about BG when I said it though, I was thinking of Jordan. Having watched him play live, I have a much better appreciation for what he does online.

It’s the Second break and I am going to have to move all-in next hand. I will be the UtG player with 9k and the blinds are 1k-2k. There is no way I can lose 3k in blinds now. But just as I return from break, Falstaff gets moved and now I AM the Big Blind. Change100 moves all in on my BB and I fold it, despite expecting to have to call. Next hand, I move all-in with my SB, everyone folds, and it’s close to a wash. But I still desperately need chips.

Time passes. This is the dream part of the night. I start to make a small run, but honestly can’t remember a single hand. I think I may have busted someone during this time, maybe not. I think I both won a big hand and lost a big hand to Jordan. I picked up some other chips, but I can’t recall any details.

Suddenly it’s getting time for me to leave for my red-eye plane back to Detroit. I had Lions/Cowboys Tickets and thus had booked the 10pm flight back, expecting to be done by now!

After some time, Jen finally says she can’t wait any longer. She leaves for the airport wishing me luck. Oh, and by the way. In the coolest and classiest move of the night, Grubby throws me a comp room card in case I have to miss my plane and get stuck in Vegas. Now how cool is that?! Very. The WPBT is a special group of people and don’t you all forget it! Appreciate it while we got it!

I do miss my plane, but I manage to swing a later departure (1am) by paying $210 in change fees and increased fares. But I bought myself 3 hours. AS I AM ON THE PHONE FINALIZING THIS, I get dealt AQs under the gun. Because I can’t concentrate on a hand like this from here and on the phone, I simply pitch it. Two players get all in and I would not have won the hand. Nice break. I am Houdini in the Dream-Coat.

21 left, I run to each table to see stack sizes because talk begins of paying 20 places. Since there is no agreement, I end up moving all-in. Maybe here is where I busted change100? Not sure, but I did make it to 20 left.

With 2 tables left, I begin to steal while avoiding conflict. My numerous “Mondays at the Hoy” has trained me well for this stage. Again, time passes in my dream-coat and I remember no particular hand. Just a feeling of dodging and waving like a running back going off-tackle, looking for the hole…

Somewhere, at the other table, I hear an Asian Jew shakes someone’s hand and depart. I bust a short stack Biggestron who had lost a lot of chips already in the hand where I folded AQ Utg.
Suddenly, Table collapse! I am 1 of 3 short stacks at the final table. Instant Tragedy and Pokercats are the other 2. Otis’ stack is enormous. But I made the FREAKING FINAL TABLE when I had 2300 in chips! Blinders came by to congratulate me on getting there, as did a couple of others including Weak Player. That was cool.

We take a short break. I put the dream-coat back on.

I am looking for a place to get chips. I have to take a race. I think I did. I won if I did.
6 left, I have done what I do best to this point, avoiding elimination. Now I look for my spots.
I have a very particular, exact and successful strategy for this stage of the game. With 6 left, assuming I am not short on chips, I am looking to avoid big pots. I am waiting for players to make mistakes. I don’t care if I am in the hand or not, but often a player will get all-in with marginal or race hands here. I want to wait until a couple of players go out and then make my run to the top. NO CONNECTORS at this point.

NO deals for the Rooster. We try to make a deal with 6 left, but Rooster would have none of it. I suck out on Grubby and then he sucks out on Caldwell. Eventually, after some time, Grubby goes out 5th.

5 left and Time to execute strategy #2. After taking a big hand off Rooster and Rooster bluffing off a big stack to pokercats, I am the big stack. It’s time to watch the pieces fall into place. Just like I planned. Just sit back and let it happen…

But they don’t. I am aware of the dream-coat now, only its one of those twilight feelings like when you wake up during surgery. I watch as Rooster (twice), Pokercats (twice), Otis (twice) and Caldwell all got their stacks all-in while covered and won a race to live on. This is not the result I was looking for. My dream-coat peels away and I wake up. I feel a need to push the issue (after all, I have a plane to catch). I lose a big chunk of my stack when I decide to fold A8. It’s folded around to the SB. Blinds are 5k/10k. I open raise Rooster’s BB to 60k. He comes over the top all-in. I know he has a pair. I am guessing it’s better than 88. So, if I call, I am a dog. Despite the pot size, odds, and a flight, I fold.

I eventually finish 5th anyway when I run my 55 into pokercats 77. I am very late for my plane and I stand up very quickly, rattle off a goodbye to anyone who would listen, and run VERY quickly to the director to get paid. (My apollgies to everyone!) I run to the check out table. First the card, then the ID, then paid in chips to exchange, then money. RUN!

The race to the airport starts at a LONG cab line. I run to the front of the line and declare, “I have to catch a flight and I just finished a tournament, can I jump the line?”
The security guard says, “what time”?
“1 am”, I say.
“No way you'll makeit”, he replies.
“I have to try!”

They let me jump in a cab and I tip a $10. The cab driver races to the airport. I throw him a $20 and grab my bags. It’s 12:07am. The terminal check-in is empty. “Hello!”, I yell hoping for some help. After a few minutes, a NW rep appears and explains that I am out of luck. It’s here that I will spare you my begging and pleading for anything so I can at least try to make the gate. In the end I must have looked pathetic enough. I had a stand-by ticket for 7am. I could go to the gate and try to get on my flight. I RAN.

And I ran, I ran all night and day… I practically dove through security. I am standing in line for the tram, drenched in sweat. When it stops, I then make a run to the gate. They had JUST begun boarding, checked my in and begged for a glass of water and thenI walked on the plane. I collapsed in my seat shortly thereafter. I think I slept. If not, then I don’t know what.

All that, so I could watch the Lions miss a short field goal and ruin the perfect upset. But I had a great time with my fake poker friends, took 5th in a tournament field of really good players, and lived to tell the tale. I only wish I had won a waffles commemorative coaster.


PokahDave said...

Nice run Columbo! Not only in the tournament but to the plane. Nice to meet you and the wife....see you on the virtual felt....

SirFWALGMan said...

Nice post and it was good seeing your hat from across the room.. lol. I will have to sit down and chat/play with you next time!! Good job taking 5th.

Anonymous said...

You really are Houdini, live and online.

Great run Ray, no idea how you took that tiny stack to 5th but I'm getting used to seeing you do it repeatedly online.

Great game Ray you definitely got some game.

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Nice playing with you. Although I'm a bit shy and don't tend to say this stuff...your wife is beautiful. Nuff said.

Dr. Pauly said...

Man oh man... nice run. Great to see you and the Mrs. again. Have a great holiday season and new year.

kurokitty said...

Nice playing with someone who knows what a "Sabre-toothed Lime" is! lol. And you didn't mention how you were all-in with The Hammer four times in the tournament -- and everyone folded. lol.

Instant Tragedy: Just Add Water said...

I think I may have a "You Suck- Waffles" Coaster left!


GG my friend.

I knew I should have pushed with 33.