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Daniel - Poker Journal

Down to 30 in Foxwoods

14 Nov 2006



Ok, so I started the day below the average, but not so much so that it was a big problem. In fact, since the dinner break on day one all the way to the end of day two I’ve been below average chip wise.

Early on I was able to pick up a few blinds and antes getting my stack up from 67,600 to about 100,000. Then, an early position player limped for 2000, and next to the button I also limped with 6d 3d. The small blind folded so it was three of us to the flop: Qs 4d 5d.

That’s a beauty if I ever saw one! The big blind bet out 7000 and the first limper called. I looked over at both of my opponent’s chip stacks and noticed that I had them covered. If I went all in and lost I’d still be left with close to 40,000.

Now, the big blind bettor was an extremely tight player pre-flop, but I didn’t know much about his post-flop play. I was hoping that he may be tight enough to fold the Queen on the flop, but figured he’d obviously call me with two pair.

I looked over at the first limper, and his hand actually scared me a little bit. I didn’t think he had a set, but I was worried that he also flopped a flush draw. In an attempt to maybe get him off the hand, I raised 20,000 more. If the big blind had a hand, I figured he’d go all in behind me, leaving me heads up with a monster draw that is now live if I got the better flush draw out.

The big blind did go all in, for another 32,900. The first limper agonized, but then finally mucked the nut flush draw. I called, and was VERY surprised to see that my opponent had AQ? I didn’t think he’d put all of his chips in in such a potentially bad spot. His best case scenario wasn’t very good. His worst case scenario… well, he’d be drawing virtually dead against.

When all the money went in, my hand was a 56% favorite. A great chance to win a monster pot and become an aggressive contender. The turn was a 6, adding a 6 and a 3 as outs. Even then I was 45% to win the pot. River King, and it’s back to the drawing board… *sigh*

I wasn’t about to quit, and nursed a short stack for hours patiently waiting for good spots to pick up a blind here or there. I was always, and am currently below the Mendoza line, but I think my experience after the flop deep in tournaments helped me stay calm and focused. Never panicking by sticking it all in with any old raggedy ace. I hate those hands.

Here is an interesting fact: on day one I re-raised pre-flop precisely one time. That was with QQ and I folded to a third player who re-raised it again. Well, today, I re-raised another pot with JJ. In that hand, the small blind raised and I was the big blind. I didn’t think he had all that much of a hand and was prepared to play for it all if need be, so I re-raised him. He folded.

Then, with the blinds at 4000-8000 with a 1000 ante an early position player made it 30,000 to go. I knew this player a little bit, and knew that he opens from anywhere with a lot of hands. So, after looking down at AK I decided that if I played the hand I needed to be committed and went all in for 100,000 more.

He thinks, and thinks… then says,, “Well, I might have you beat,” and calls me with… AJ. I immediately said, “Just for the record buddy, that hand will have me beat in that spot precisely 0% of the time.”

Anyway, the flop was Jh 8h 4h. So sick. A bad call by my opponent and I figured I was done for. The turn, though, was the Kh! Yeah baby, back in action. Doh! The river came the Ah and we chopped the pot with a flush on board. Yikes, that was my chance at some chips.

From there I anted down to about 50,000, but picked up AK in back to back hands. The first time, the button made it 40,000 on the button, and I went all in from the SB for another 38,000. He had AJ too, but the AK held.

The VERY next hand, Clonie opened the pot for 45,000. On the button, I looked at Ad Kd and went all in for 140,000 more. She folded, and that’s how I’m up to 261,500 now.

One other goofy hand that happened today at my table: UTG limps for 4000 and has 38,000 total. Button limps, I limp from SB with KJ. The big blind, a player who seemed to hate seeing any flops at all raised it another 13,000. The UTG limper goes all in and all fold back to the BB who calls.

Can you guess the hands? What do you think? How about this, I’d give you three guesses at either hand. You hit either hand you are a complete genius! The hands will be revealed at the bottom of the blog

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On another random note, there were three pure look-a-likes in the room. At my table, was a dead ringer for actor Hal Sparks. On the rail, his friend, was a Sylvester Stallone clone! Then, walking through the poker room, I could of sworn it was Phil Hellmuth. I yelled at the guy to turn to his profile since it looked more like Phil from the side. I said profile and the guy just kept spinning round and round, lol.

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Anyway, on to a more serious note. I was absolutely pissed off tonight about a few things. I’ll go over all of the things that have bothered me about this event. Before I do that, I want to say that I have always loved playing at Foxwoods and it’s always been good to me, however:

1. A 15 hour day 1 followed by a 13 hour day 2. That is totally unnecessary and totally unfair to the older players. This should be a test of skill not a test of endurance. Poker is a game for all ages, races, and genders, but playing schedules like these are simply not fair to players in their 50’s and up.

2. A 4 day event. Unless you took a look at the schedule you’d be confused into believing that it was a 5 day event. That’s not really the case. Day one saw over 400 players eliminated and by the end of day two we were down to 30. Day three will get us down to 6. Day four is a day off? That just doesn’t make sense.
Surely the 6 remaining players will be tired, but why would they go out of their way to give the final 6 players extra rest rather than appeal to the masses? The last 60 players were put to a grueling test having to play long on day one and day two.
If they would have adopted a better model, a la the Bellagio, they could have gone with a shorter day one, a shorter day two, get down to 27 on day three, day four down to six, and day five is the final table. A much more balanced schedule that doesn’t kill your players.

3. 10:00am start times. This is just, well, stupid. Why do they do that? Is it just to be “different?” Sometimes I wonder what logical reasons certain venues have for breaking from the norm. In this case, why are they further punishing west coast players who are already going to be suffering from a 3 hour time zone change as well as a start time that’s two hours earlier than normal. Effectively, the west coast players are starting at 7:00am! Why? Seriously, why? Explain to me, somebody please explain to me, how that makes any sense?

4. 10 handed play. No limit hold’em tournament should be nine handed. Having said that, due to an increased number of players many venues start out with 10 players and then go down to 9 as seats become available. At some point, though, all is returned to normal and play becomes 9 handed. Not at Foxwoods. Here, they simply play 10 handed all the way down to the very end.

5. 75 minute levels. Normally on the WPT players are accustomed to 90 minute levels. Shortening the levels wouldn’t be much of a problem provided that you added levels to the structure to compensate for the shorter rounds. Which brings me to my next point.

6. Tournament Structure. With the shorter rounds I fully expected all of the levels to be there. They’re not. A couple of key jumps occur here:
400-800 100 ante to 600-1200 200 ante
4000-8000 1000 ante to 6000-12000 1500 ante
2000-4000 500 ante to 3000-6000 500 ante

Adding at LEAST a 5000-10,000 to this schedule would seem like a no-brainer. If you wanted, you could also up the ante to 150 and/or 1500. The 2500-5000 level is a nice addition, but not entirely necessary provided that all of the other levels are in place.
I did some quick calculations, and this might surprise you, but at the time we were playing with 6000-12000 blinds with a 1500 ante, had we been playing with the Bellagio structure we’d be playing 1500-3000 with a 500 ante! No kidding! That’s just absurd? Does that seem as though it at all resembles a similar type of poker event.
Think about this, while it’s only 15 minutes less per round, after 8 levels you lose 4 hours of play! After level 16, you are now playing 8 less hours of poker.
A fast structure like this sees the average stack being forced to play “one move” poker all in or nothing. It takes most events three full days to get down to 27 players, at Foxwoods, despite an astounding 609 players… we did it in two days. Albeit, two very long days!

7. Hand for Hand. I realize that hand for hand is a necessary evil thanks to a man named Johnny who used to stall at his table in order to squeak into the money. I realize that cheats and scumbags like that need to be protected against. I totally get it. BUT, they shouldn’t hold so much power that they can cause for the tournament structure to be destroyed. When hand for hand play is going on, sometime it can last as long as an hour. In the meantime, the clock goes tick-tock while the players sit and wait, totally powerless to the fact that the blinds will be raising soon and the cards aren’t even being dealt.
To maintain the integrity of a poker tournament, I have an easy fix solution to the hand for hand problem: stop the clock when the FIRST table is finished with their hand. That way, no table is penalized for slow players at other tables. I mean seriously, why give one man so much power? If one player left in a 37 man tournament wants it to turn into a crapshoot, he can do so by taking a few extra minutes each hand to make a decision. By stopping the clock after the FIRST table is finished, he can think all he wants but he won’t be affecting the structure one bit.
In closing., hand for hand should occur when you are out of the money, but it’s absurd, and frustrating for all the players to play hand for hand at each and every money increase. Wasting an extra 30 minutes between 37th and 36th place is just a waste of time.

I think the WPT made a mistake initially when securing properties for their tournaments. Their agreement appears to be to just film the event, but I think the brand is strong enough to implement some simple standardized rules that all WPT hosts abide by. Let’s start with a small list:
1. 9 handed tables after day one
2. The same structure at all WPT events, including time per round
3. During hand for hand play, the clock should be stopped as soon as the first table has completed the hand.

That’s three easy fixes. Could this become a reality? I sincerely hope so.

End of rant.
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So anyway, I was being very vocal about my displeasure for what was going on. I wasn’t speaking directly to any floor people or and staff at all. I was discussing it with the players, but doing so rather loudly. Mike Ward, the tournament director whom I respect and think does an excellent job then said, “OK, enough of this Daniel, the tournament structure is posted online ahead of time. If you don’t like it you don’t have to play.”

He’s right. He’s absolutely right. Had I known about the crapshoot structure that is reminiscent of the old WPT Tunica structure, I would not have made the flight out. In fact, if the structure is the same next year I won’t be coming back.

Having said that, I was out of line for handling it the way I did. The adult thing to do would have been to talk to Mike about it privately. I was short stacked, steamed up, and annoyed with the hand for hand delays and just lost it there for a minute.

When I cooled down a little bit I made sure to go over to Mike and apologize for handling things the way I did. I later went to the other two floor men and did the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely right about the structure being bad as well as the other things I’ve listed, but I should know better than to handle it the way I did. I didn’t really “freak out” or anything, but I was angry and there is no need for me to have any anger inside me. I am serious about never coming back, though, to play in a turbo style $10,000 event. It’s just not healthy for me to get all worked up about stuff like that and if I don’t think I should put myself through that.

Poker is a beautiful game and I love it. To see it turned into a crapshoot is disheartening to me. It’s frustrating, very frustrating.

Tomorrow, I’m not going to let any of it get to me. I’ll do the best I can under the circumstances and be quiet like a good boy.

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Here is the answer to the hand in question between the UTG limper and BB:

Big Blind: 9 3 off suit
UTG Limper: Q J off suit

Bet you didn’t get that one right did you? LOL!!!

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