It’s been a busy couple weeks here at Mutant Poker Central, as I get ready to head down to Las Vegas to see if the minor success I’ve had in Portland can finally translate to an out-of-town venue. So far, I’ve struck out at Foxwoods, the Venetian (twice), and Pendleton, but the number of events I’ve played too small to be statistically significant.
So much to do with plans to be in Vegas for two weeks. First off, my venerable card cover—the helmet off of a figurine of Professor Frink from The Simpsons—has seen a lot of wear over the past couple of years. I’ve been hoping to find a way to get it machined in aluminum and asked a friend with a CNC machine shop about it but, as expected, he said it would cost an incredible amount of money to get it made. He did mention that there were 3D printers who did metal pieces, though (he has a plastic 3D printer) and when I looked into it, I found Shapeways.com, which will print your 3D designs in just about everything from plastic to glass to silver to a stretchy polymer. All of my 3D design software is on my old pre-Intel Mac, and at first I was a bit stymied about how I was going to develop the model but eventually I managed to pick up enough about the free, open-source 3D tool Blender to get my model done in a day. With a couple of missteps, I managed to get an order in for copies in alumina and stainless steel and hopefully they’ll arrive before I set off for Vegas (didn’t happen, but they arrived in Portland the night I left and someone special is going to ship them). If you’re from Oregon and you see the cap, say hi to the Mutant.
Then I got an offer of a free room from MH—Portland player and fellow college alum—for nearly half my stay, so that was fine. I spent an evening running an alumni tournament with him during the annual reunion weekend. Paying bills up, getting some decent summer clothes together (it’s supposed to be 108° in Vegas next week). A lot of stuff to do. Since I’m driving down (and it’s supposed to be 108° in Vegas), get the car checked out for its 50,000-mile service.
Plus, of course, there’s the last-minute drive to build up the bankroll a little bit.
Encore Club $1,800 Guarantee Freezeout (T8,000)
I wasn’t taking perfect notes on this tournament, but I hit something in the first ten minutes on a 7
I played K
UTG1 with A
At the 45-minute point, I called a 1,025 chip all-in post-flop holding Q
SB with T
T11,100 at fifty minutes.
BB holding 6
In SB with 6
CO two hands later and I got 9
At the break, I have T24,350.
My first big hand after the bread was A
I made a flush on the turn with J
UTG with K
Raised to 1,300 from SV with A
In UTG3, called a UTG2 raise to 1,600 along with the BB but folded to a UTG2 bet on a low flop.
Just after the hour, I was down to 39,200 (average: 14545). 33 players left.
Raised with K
UTG with K
On BB, I folded A
My count when the button came around at 140 minutes was T37,100, still more than twice the T16,000 average. Half the field was gone.
I laid low for a couple of hands, then played K
UTG with A
Two-and-a-half hours into the game and I was back up to T43,200. 25 players left and the chip average was T19,200.
A raise to 2,500 from HJ with 7
UTG ten minutes later with 7
By the time I was BTN again five minutes later, there were only 19 players remaining, I was holding steady at T44,600.
Fifteen minutes later, I noted that I knocked out a player but couldn’t remember with what. In any case, the number remaining was down to 17, and I had reached T63,000, 223% of average.
I promptly lost over 10,000 holding 2
Raised to 5,000 from CO with K
Then I lost 13,000 as CO with Q
Fifteen minutes before the end of the third hour saw me below the average stack for the first time since the beginning of the game, with just T28,000 (70% of average).
Then, about ten minutes later, I picked up A
Just after midnight (four hours), I’d clawed up to T30,000. With 11 players remaining, that was still losing ground, though, at 69% of average.
The blinds were eating away at my stack. Without much in the way of what even I consider playable cards, I was down to 25,500 and then 19,500 after the next two passes of the button.
UTG with 8
Next hand, an all-in with A
In the course of the next round of the button, I was up to T113,000, above the average of 80,000, with six players remaining. I was the chip leader by 1,000. We did a 6-way ICM chop; my lead (0.21% of the chips) was worth an extra $5 0.14% of the pot).
Five hours. +925% ROI. Six-way ICM chop, 60 entries.
Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee (T9,000)
Fifteen minutes in, I call a raise to 250 in a 3-way pot from UTG2 and get a 9
UTG1 with Q
UTG with A
On CO (what? I didn’t play two hands?) I raised to 250 with A
I raised UTG3 with J
I saw the flop with both my blinds; by the time I was on BTN I was back down to T5,500.
Just after the first hour, I raised 450 from late position with A
I’d been moved to the same table as my poker league capo, DV, and when I limped UTG with K
Say you’re in a tournament and there’s going to be a chop of $100,000. You haven’t got a large stack, so you’re not going to get the bulk of the money, but you’re offered a choice of $12,000 or $15,000. Is the $12,000 just as good because there’s only a $3,000 difference? No! $15,000 is much better than $12,000, because it’s 25% more, in relative terms.
Of course, where that explanation breaks down is in the fact that poker odds are a zero-sum equation. It doesn’t matter in a chop if you’re taking money from someone (unless you really hate them), but when your hand’s odds improve in poker it is at the expense of your hand losing. If you have a 12% chance of winning a pot, you have an 88% chance of losing. That’s a ratio of 1:7.33. If your hand improves to 15%, it can only lose 85% of the time, which is a ratio of 1:5.66. That’s considerably better. The math skills of my fellow Americans dismay me.
Anyway, I was up to T8,450 at seventy-five minutes; not quite back at starting stack.
At the half-hour when I was UTG1 again, I was up to T10,100, and I bought the T6000 add-on at break.
I laid low for most of the first half-hour then flopped Broadway heads-up with Q
UTG with A
That gave me a little momentary fred, so when I raised to 1,300 from HJ with Q
As the button approached again early in the third hour, I’d managed to get up to T29,525, almost 40% above chip average, with 93 of 117 players remaining.
The third hour was quiet, with me picking up some small pots but no major hands. Half-an-hour in, I was up to T32,425. Then ten minutes later I tried a raise of 1,800 with 9
UTG with Q
Didn’t do much for the first half-hour; when I was on the button after three-and-a-half hours of play, had T73,600.
Then, as CO, I called 1,600 with Q
Ten minutes later, I lost a chunk trying to draw a straight with Q
UTG with A
I call a raise to 6,000 with J
T65,000 at midnight, after four hours of play, but a quarter-hour later I’m down to T52,800. Then I move tables again.
In SB, I call 12,000, flop 9
BTN a couple minutes later, all-in with K
In UTG3, I’ve got 36,900, with the chip average at 56,314. 35 players left, blinds 2,000/4,000/500.
UTG2 with A
BB with Q
Blinds up to 3,000/6,000/500 and I called an all-in with J
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. UTH with A
At the end of the fourth hour, I raised from CO with K
Still, I’d climbed to T143,50, more than twice the average stack, by the time blinds got to 4,000/8,000/500.
I called 18,000 with Q
I raised UTG to 16,000 with K
Have I ever mentioned how much I like dark checks? Not that I ever do them. UTG1 and I raised to 18,000. BB called and the flop was ten-high. He’d checked dark and I shoved, which I might have done even without the ten.
Another ten-high flop fifteen minutes later matched my K
In SB with 4
1:45am. Nearing the end of five hours of play we consolidate to two tables. Blinds are 8,000/16,000/2,000 and the chip average is 109,500, for an M of just over 3, well in the Red Zone. Even at 162,000, I’m in the Red Zone, with an M of 4.5.
I tread water for fifteen minutes, as two players fall by the wayside, then open-raise from CO with A
Another middling ace in HJ, A
Another all-in from a short stack and I called with A
About 2:47am we set the final table. I didn’t have much to work with, and with the blinds as high as they were, I lost 100,000 chips just to blinds and antes in half-an-hour.
Then at the end of the top of the hour, BTN just calls ahead of me in SB, I call, and BB shoves. Oddly, I didn’t record what I had, but note that I was up against Q
My last note from the game is that I had T343,000 with the chip average at 394,200, which meant five players were left. People were getting tired, and while I could easily have gone on, with everyone more or less evenly-stacked, we decided to take our money and run.
Seven hours and fifteen minutes. +1,690% ROI. Five-way even chop, 117 entries.
I could go on, like with a story about how I walked into a PLO8 game 45 minutes late while my car was getting serviced and managed to win it without buying the add-on; or the last two $10K games I played before I headed out to the WSOP, but the road between Reno and Las Vegas awaits and it’s way past the time I could be getting on the road here.