Advice

Portland Players Club Main Event (10,000 chips)

This was probably the most “interesting” game I’ve played lately, but not because of the cards. The field was small, about 20 players and I was at the middle table in seat 1. Seat 5 had a burly guy named B who everyone knew and  who had amassed a big stack of chips by a couple of hours into play. S was a woman seated down at seat 7. Seat 9 was a hyperkinetic kid I’d run into earlier in the day in another tournament who I could imagine calling himself a “baller” and who kept up a steady stream of patter meant to burnish his image as a man in the know.

Blinds were climbing, I picked up 9x9x in early position and three-bet with about half my stack after an all-in from seat 9. Action folded to B who moved all-in with more than enough to cover me. When it got back around to me I called and B triumphantly flipped over JxJx. Unfortunately for him, a 9x came on the flop and I doubled up with my set, carving a big chunk out of B’s stack. “You weren’t supposed to call me!” he bellowed. “Not with nines!” His friend S joined in the affirmation that it was a donk call. I half-jokingly mentioned that I was pot-committed and they proceeded to tell me I shouldn’t throw around terms I didn’t understand. Just to defuse the situation, I said that I’d meant it jokingly, but since when does having half your stack exposed not make you pot-committed? Then they started in on how far behind I was. I said I wasn’t that far behind, and they didn’t like that answer at all, claiming that I was a 4:1 dog.

Of course, that’s the truth if you look at the numbers in an absolute sense. At the time he went all-in, B didn’t know what I had. I didn’t know what he had when I called. He could have been trying to bluff me off and take my raise with a drawing hand. If I’d had KxKx, I would have made the same bet, but he didn’t know that. Where the conventional wisdom is wrong, though is that in terms of relative strength, with three players in the hand (as we were) JxJx loses 39% of the time. 9x9x loses 45% of the time. The relative differential between the two is quite small.

At the next break the hyperkinetic kid came up to me to offer words of advice about how B & S were big-shot players and I shouldn’t get them riled up disputing odds and poker terminology. That was sort of irritating.

B didn’t have a lot of chips left after that hand and was out before the final table. S and the HKK were there, with S seated next to me in seat 6 and HKK down at 3. I wasn’t keeping notes on this game but blinds were rising up and I picked up 7x7x in middle position. I made a large raise after a not-particularly-great flop, putting me heads-up with HKK who called and then bet in the dark. A 7x came on the turn and I went all-in. HKK called and lost to my set. I mentioned in passing that the bet in the dark schtick wasn’t necessarily a great idea and he went ballistic, saying I shouldn’t be telling him what to do. When I pointed out that he’d been “offering” me advice earlier it just seemed to irritate him further but I just didn’t really care.

4 hours. Finished 5th of 21 players. -9% ROI (including buy-in, add-on, tip).