Off the Radar and Basement Silliness
I'll be off the radar here for a few days -- back later in the week. But a short tale of when donkeys -don't- suck out. And this one worked well for me.
In preparation for a stressful next week, I took a few hours early on Sunday to go to a small private tournament that I had learned about up in McHenry, a half hour north. All three private games I attend are up in the McHenry area, and they all generally draw from the same large group of players.
This one would turn out to be a smallish gathering, as the tourney was a $50 buy-in with re-buys and add-ons. 2,000 chips per, except the add-on after three levels was for 3,000.
I did a re-buy early, then won a nice pot to jump over 6,000, then hit one of those hellish stretches where nothing goes right. Had several pairs that never caught a set, got run down twice on the river, once after getting all in way ahead --- you know the drill. The most frustrating part was that we had 14 players, seven each at two tables, and at my table the three guys to my right had lots of chips and collectively weren't much for players. One guy was brand new and totally out of his league even at that level, and after six buy-ins he good-naturedly gave it up. The other two accumulated big stacks basically by getting run over by the deck early on. One of them was over 20,000 by our first break, and he'd be around at the end.
I was in for four re-buys and my add-on after the third level and had barely 7,000 in chips, so things weren't looking well. Still, I'm a halfway decent grinder and had hope.
After the break, my cards ran a little better, and I first doubled through one of the two loose cannons to my right, then picked off a short-stacked player who was probably the best player in the room. That's the way it goes some days. I held tough around 16,000 in chips as we consolidated to one table of ten, with three getting paid. I figured there was still a healthy grind to go, and as I was in fifth or sixth at the time I figured I'd need a break to make the money.
Darned if collisions didn't occur right and left. Soon enough there were four players left, me among them. I'd been between 12,000 and 18,000 the entire time, blinds had only just reached 400/800, and we managed to get rid of six players in less than two 25-minute levels.
With four left I'd have taken my chances against the other three any day, given equal stacks. The leader was the host, a nice middle-aged men who plays a steady but predictable game. He had about 60,000. In second place was the player who'd accumulated the early stack, an aggressive player who lived for the draw and tried continually to bet people out of pots. He was on my left by this point so that was a bit tough. He was all over the place in chips but generally had 45,000 or so.
I and the fourth player, a very nice older man who I've become friends with (but an incorrigible calling station and a cash-game ATM), each had about 15,000 in chips. I proposed a $150 save between the two of us, to which he readily agreed, since third was $500 and fourth was the same as 14th -- bumkus. I had also added in the proviso that if both of us should somehow survive into the money, the save was off.
Not long after we resumed play, he doubled up, so I figured I'd be the one getting the $150. Meanwhile, however, the two deep stacks kept pounding at each other. The host won most of the hands because he was getting hit by the deck, and there was a hand when both of them got it all in with K-10 on a K-Q-10 flop. Interesting stuff. The host had diamonds, a third was in the flop and the ace of diamonds came on the turn, but a baby club on the river mean no freeroll win for the host and no backdoor cash spot for me. I figured the wild player would recognize the risk he'd just taken and back it off, since I was whittled down to about 10,000 with no good hands in sight.
And then he blew up, and put me in the money. Well-covered by the host but still with about 35,000 in chips, he managed to get them all in just a few hands later, with nothing but a draw to the nut flush after the turn. One of his overs was live, so he was looking at about 11 outs (I'd tossed one of the suit), but with me on the ropes he had no business pushing a draw so hard against the host, who had re-raised himself and showed no signs of going away. The draw-pusher's three-bet put him all in, and the host quickly called and opened top pair and a K kicker. It was way good at the moment and when the river blanked I suddenly had third-place money with my meager remaining chips.
The aggro player looked at his busted flush draw, then at me, and said, "That was really terrible bankroll management, wasn't it?"
And I had to look at him and nod, and affirm it to him: "Yeah, I'm afraid it was."
He didn't hang around long, and I couldn't blame him for that. He'd run well all day but had been unable to take his foot off the gas when it most mattered. And for once, the profit in the mistake went to me.
I'd like to tell you I then went on a run to take the thing down, but that didn't happen. I made a stand with K-9 suited from the big blind after the small blind (calling station) limped in to me, as he was wont to do. This time he had slow-played pocket tens, and they held up; I was out in third. The last two chopped soon after, for like $1,180 and $900.
Odd, though. I had not much going on all day, but just found a way to hang around. The truth about poker is that one's profit in the game always comes from the mistakes of others. It's unusual, though, to see it demonstrated so clearly.