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Old 12-23-2005, 08:34 PM
grandgnu grandgnu is offline
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Default Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

Since I had been a good little boy, Mrs Claus (aka Jenn) permitted me my trip to Foxwoods today to play in the 8am $100 tournament. Like a child awaiting his holiday presents, I tossed and turned, and wound up leaving at 2:30am, having lost the ability to sleep.

The drive down was unremarkable, and upon arrival I took it upon myself to enjoy a hearty breakfast in the Veranda Café, which is the only 24-hour restaurant at the Casino. Service was passable, but nothing spectacular. I was left waiting a bit too long when I was ready to check out. With a $10 bill I opted to leave $3 for the holidays. Usually I’d leave more, if the service was better. But 30% isn’t a bad tip either.

After breakfast I headed down to the poker room, figuring I’d get in on some cash game action to bide my time until the tournament began. Passing by the two 7-stud games going, a young black man asked me to join them at their 7-stud table, which was short-handed. I continued on to the cashiers cage, and bought $160 in chips, planning to play the $1-5 seven-stud game to pass my time. But it was full, so I wound up sitting at the only other 7-stud table going, with the young black man, which was $1-3.

7-stud used to be my game of choice. I found this short-handed table to be rather passive. They’d all limp in and check every street until they caught something. Play went back and forth, and usually there was one player willing to call your bets down, as they chased their straights or flushes. A few times my Aces got rivered by flushes or straights, especially when I’d hit two pair. Up and down my chip stack went.

My table was a colorful cast of characters. The young black man looked like he had been up for 72 hours. He lamented how he had been playing at Foxwoods for 2 years and had only won once. He received the low-card bring-in quite frequently, and tried changing his seat in hopes of changing his luck.

At the far end of the table sat an old man with a bunch of missing teeth. He was difficult to understand when he’d talk, and would often scream out some type of guttural noise when playing, as an expression of excitement. Next to him was a white man in his 30’s who looked pretty down on his luck as well. He and the old man would go back and forth with the yelling, kinda reminding me of back when everyone was yelling “Waaasssszzzzzzzuuuuuupppp” from the beer commercials.

I would lay one hell of a beat on the white man, when we both got involved in a hand where we each had a pair of Aces and a flush. I had the K/Q/10/8/2 flush and he had the K/Q/10/6/4 flush, so my 8-kicker crushed him. He friggin’ freaked out, calling it [censored], whining that it should be a split pot, etc. I tried to contain my laughter as he stormed off the table.

The old man busted, but another man had joined our play since the 1-5 game was full. We were three-handed. Eventually it was getting close to tournament registration time, so I told the guys I’d be right back (they could see the line from where I was) and they decided to take a break while I was waiting to register. After arriving at the cashier I predicted to her that I would receive table 3, seat 7. I even offered a prop bet. I wound up pulling Table 13, seat 6. If you remove the 1 and add it to the 6, you get my seat 7 and then you’ve got the 3 left over for the table number. She told me it was too much of a stretch. Ah well, I tried.

Returning to the table it was just myself and the black man, and the other guy never returned. As people would pass by I would try the hard sell, shouting out “open seating, 7-stud!” when it was obvious we had open seating with only two players at the table. Most of the passerby’s were Hold ‘Em monkeys, incapable of playing a more complicated and skillful game. Eventually we got an older asian man to join us, but he was under the assumption that the other guy would be coming back, so we’d have four players. He didn’t want to play 3-handed. Two young guns passed by and we snagged them to try their luck, since they had time to kill before the tournament began. They were relatively inexperienced, but their arrival helped to improve our table image and we soon received another three players, producing some great action and pots. My starting $160 had shrunk previously, but I built it back to $140 before leaving the table with a slight loss.

Going to find my tournament seat, I was actually in the main poker room, since so many players had signed up, the tournament area had to overflow into another area to accommodate the players. We had 250, a full house for the tournament. This meant 30 places would pay, with 30th receiving $160 from what I recall, and first place a nice $5,000. I had my heart set on a top 3 finish, that was what I was playing for. I wasn’t going to choke up around bubble time and get scared, I was going to play as best as possible and try to make it happen.

My first table was all-male, including the dealer and our “waitress”. I lamented the lack of eye candy openly, and the dealer seemed upset that he wasn’t my type. Being the sociable midget that I am, I yapped it up and quickly made friendly with the table, getting everyone comfortable and relaxed. Players of note included Mr. SlowPlay to my left, and to his left was Mr. Sleep Deprivation.

Early on I picked up a few small pots, with blinds at 25/25 and starting chips of 2000, there was some wiggle room at first, to play marginal holdings and play them a bit more tricky. I was able to build up my chips by a few hundred extra, nothing to write home about, but nothing to sneeze at either.

I watched as Mr. SlowPlay limped UTG with pocket Queens, someone in LP raised with pocket 10’s and he just called with his Queens, out of position. A Jack high flop and he check-called, letting the 10’s do his betting, and then turning on the betting himself on the river. While he may have thought of himself as “tricky” for limp-calling with pocket Queens UTG, I thought he was quite donkish. His play might net him some chips from unsuspecting opponents, but it could also allow someone to outflop him and he’d be unlikely to give up his overpair when someone might flop two pair.

Mr. Sleep Deprivation was on only a few hours sleep over the past few days. I didn’t know this at first, so when I saw his shaking hands, I mistook the tell as that of a monster hand and got out. Turns out his hands shook the whole time, so I was able to ignore that after a bit.

I got involved in a pot with Mr. SlowPlay where I raised from EP with A/Q and he called me from EP with 2/2. A flop that didn’t help me and I led out, and he called against the overcards on board. The turn was no help, we both checked. The river brought my Ace and I value bet it and he paid me off! So he was now known as Mr. SlowPlay Calling Station, excellent!

One key hand would see me raise from EP with A/K offsuit. Getting two callers, we saw a flop of A/2/6, all diamonds. One of the callers was an out of position blind, and he immediately fired 500 into the pot. I had the King of diamonds and pushed, the other caller folded and luckily for me the bettor had A/Q with the Queen of diamonds. He got all his money in and I sent him packing.

Over the course of the next hour or so, I built my starting 2,000 chips to around 6,500. Then a key hand came up. A player limped UTG, I had seen this player make a number of questionable plays. He’d push all-in pre-flop with 8/3 sooted to try and steal the blinds and would just generally overplay terrible hands or top pair, weak kicker. Folded to me on the button and I opted to just smooth-call with position with my K/10 offsuit. The BB, who was Mr. SlowPlay Calling Station rapped and we saw a flop of Q/5/K rainbow. The UTG limper led out for 500 after Mr. SlowPlay checked. I figured he didn’t have a hand, so I pushed, figuring I’d take it down. But it wasn’t to be, as Mr. SlowPlay once again had pocket Queens he had slowplayed out of position, and his set wasn’t going to fold. He called, the turn and river brought two more 5’s, but my full house was no match for his, and I doubled him up and was knocked down to under 2K in chips. Down, but not out, I vowed to not give up and make whatever comeback I could.

My final hand at that table I pushed in EP with A/K offsuit for close to 2K. Blinds were around 150/300 with a 25 ante from what I recall. The next to act player said “oh wow” and got all his chips in. I was worried I was up against one of the hands that could crush my holding, but when the cards were flipped he had K/Q sooted. He started shouting for his Queen, but it never came and I sent him packing and doubled up to over 4K.

Our table broke and we were moved back into the main tournament table area, which meant the 25 starting tables had shrunk to between 10-12 tables. We still had a ways to go before the money, the final 3 tables.

My new table was Table 5, seat 1, putting me to the left of the dealer. Not an ideal location for viewing all the action unfortunately. My new tablemates were relatively friendly, and I continued to yap it up. A player two to my left indicated by his talk that was a student of the game, and we got into a little discussion about 2+2 and other such things. I figured I might be more likely to steal his blind in the future, if he saw me as a tight, thinking player.

The pressure from the blinds continued to increase, with antes going up as well. It was pretty rough, and I was wishing I still had close to 7K in chips, but had to make do with what I had. The chip leader was to the right of the dealer, so I couldn’t get a good look at him for a stare down, and he was playing aggressively and taking down a lot of pots. But he was also showing some strong hands as well.

He had been on a tear, and it was folded to him in the SB, he raised and I looked down at Q/9 offsuit. I was shorter-stacked, and the chips in the pot and the antes were quite important to me. I couldn’t just call, since that would commit me to the pot anyway. I figured I could gets heads-up, and I believed I had the best hand. But, I also had enough chips that I could wait for a spot where I might be able to push pre-flop and get others to fold and allow me to take the blinds and antes uncontested. I flipped up my Q/9 and told him I thought I had the best hand, but I was laying it down. He flipped up his 7/2 offsuit and showboated. Yeah, we’re all impressed buddy. If I was on the monster chip stack, I could pull that off too.

On the button with A/6 offsuit and he’s in the CO and raises. Once again I figure my hand is best, but opt to wait for a better spot. Eventually the blinds and antes have got me in a spot where I’m down to maybe 3-5 BB’s at best. An LP player raises and it’s folded to me in the BB, with A/10 offsuit. I don’t have much of a line on this player, and I’m concerned that I may be at best coin-flipping and at worst dominated. But, I talk myself into the all-in, since I cannot allow myself to blind down any further, I need to make a stand now. I have him crushed when he flips over 10/J offsuit. The flop makes my heart drop as it comes 2/2/K and I almost believe the King is a Jack. He doesn’t suck out and I build my stack back up.

I push later in EP with K/Q offsuit and get another shorter-stacked player to go all-in with pocket 9’s. My Queen on the flop holds up, when he catches a gutshot on the turn but doesn’t complete by the river. I shake his hand and wish him the best.

My stack is finally back up to a respectable amount, a little over 8 thousand in chips. But with blinds at 400/800 and a 75 ante, no one is safe. We’re talking 1950 in the pot pre-flop, which is pretty significant. I get the opportunity to steal the blinds and antes a few times, and stay alive, eventually building my stack to a respectable 12K.

We go from 6 remaining tables to 5 and then 4. The top 3 tables get paid, but I’m not playing to just get paid. Yes, I REALLY want a win ticket to add to the wall hanging at my home, since it has one nice little hole waiting for a stub. But I’m playing to win 5 grand, not to “just cash”. I’m in the CO with Q/10 of spades and raise it up to 2K. One of the blinds min-raises me (I [censored] hate that [censored]) and leaves himself maybe another 1800 behind. I figure he’s pot-committed himself and wants a call, and I opt to lay down and wait for a better spot.

A player pushed all-in, the chip leader called and I look down at pocket 6’s. I believe my hand is best, but laid it down, good thing, since the chip leader had A/A. I would’ve outflopped him and the other player who held K/Q offsuit, with a 6 on the flop. The board made a straight on the end, but also a four-flush and I would’ve flushed out on both of them, since neither had a Spade.

One hand that may have been crucial for my later results (since it kept a player in the game that likely would’ve been eliminated, changing the flow of the cards). A player pushes, the chip leader calls. The dealer mistakenly mucks his hand, and the floor is called. His hand is ruled dead, but he’s allowed to pull his call of the all-in back. His mucked cards? Pocket Aces again.

I watch as he raises from MP later with A/8 sooted, gets pushed against and calls. He’s up against Q/Q and he spikes an 8 on the flop, and his Ace on the river to send the poor guy packing. Those Queens are brutal, and I don’t know just how brutal yet.

After the break we move to 600/1200 blinds and a 100 ante. Back and forth the players go, a blind steal here, a blind steal there, here a blind, there a blind, everywhere a blind, blind!

I know that an average stack will be in the 17K range by the time we make the money. Unfortunately this Foxwoods structure becomes an all-in fest quite soon, down to the final 50-60 players. It’s unfortunate, because I enjoy being able to make plays and not have to pot commit and push and pray. But that’s what it’s become. This lends itself well to blind/ante steals however, as success hinges on being able to accumulate those valuable pre-flop pots or get heads-up and win.

Blinds move to 800/1600 with a 200 ante. At this point, our table is 9-handed, so I’m looking at 4,200 in the pot pre-flop. With “only” about 12K in chips (and most of the players at my table are hovering between 6K-18K) those chips become extremely valuable.

My final hand is quite depressing, as an EP player (the one who had pushed with 10/J offsuit previously and doubled me up) pushes again. I look down to find pocket Queens and push as well. We get it heads-up, with enough money in the pot that if I win this I’ll be up to around 30,000 chips, allowing me to push others around on the bubble. He has the A/K offsuit, so I can’t fault his push and like my chances pre-flop.

But, when the flop comes K/10/rag I’m all but drawing dead. Another rag on the turn and I’m left drawing to two outs, the Jack on the river and my opponent claps his hands together, shouts “YES!” and celebrates his victory. He has me covered by maybe 2K in chips, not even, and I’m sent packing around 35th place, a few spots from the money.

I didn’t choke on the bubble, I was willing to die in order to build the stack necessary to make a run at the final table. I opted to emulate Greg Raymer, when I knocked an opponent out I shook their hand and didn’t celebrate, since inside I’m happy I’ve got the chips and I know they’re hurting from being eliminated. Having to listen to that guy celebrate his out-flopping me was a bit tough, but I can’t fault his or my play. I had an opportunity to make something happen and got a bit unlucky.

I’m happy with how I played, it was quite rare that I got into a hand with someone where I was behind, usually they needed to outdraw me. I made a few mistakes, and I know I didn’t play “the best poker of my life”. The blind structure goes so fast in these Foxwoods events that it’s difficult to play tricky against your opponents. I believe I played excellent technical poker, but I didn’t get as many “reads” on opponents as I’d like. I did keep track of players who played marginal holdings too strongly, and tried to take advantage of that when the opportunity presented itself.

I’m looking forward to giving the PokerStars deep-stacked tournament sometime in the near future, maybe within another month or so. I’ll save SO much by not having to buy gas for the car, put 200 miles on it traveling back and forth, pay for meals and tips, etc.

If I lived closer to Foxwoods, I’d probably play some more of their weekly tournaments. But as it stands right now, it’s just too far to travel to do it consistently, despite the weak players. The structure is terrible, when you’re forced into push or fold mode still needing to eliminate half the field to make the money.

Someone smiled on me though, as I found a $100 bill on the casino floor and that covered my loss, w00t!
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2005, 11:16 PM
Army Eye Army Eye is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

Nice report. Sounds like these tourneys are a good deal bigger than the last time I played 'em. I'll have to head back soon and play a few.

Structure is rotten and they're at an ungodly early hour but, hey, what choice do we have for B+M tourneys.. :P
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Old 12-24-2005, 12:14 AM
grandgnu grandgnu is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

[ QUOTE ]
Nice report. Sounds like these tourneys are a good deal bigger than the last time I played 'em. I'll have to head back soon and play a few.

Structure is rotten and they're at an ungodly early hour but, hey, what choice do we have for B+M tourneys.. :P

[/ QUOTE ]

They cap it at 250 players, so that first place maxes at 5 grand and then they don't take taxes out. Just disappointing to drive all that way, spend all that time, play that well, get that close and have a shot at having a chip stack that strong, and still falling short.

Ah well, maybe I'll be more fortunate with a deep-stacked tourney on Stars in the future.
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Old 12-24-2005, 12:41 AM
MrMoo MrMoo is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

Sounds like a fun time. I wish I could have joined you.
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Old 12-24-2005, 11:45 AM
daryn daryn is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

wow, great report! serious detail..

one thing though...

[ QUOTE ]
One hand that may have been crucial for my later results (since it kept a player in the game that likely would’ve been eliminated, changing the flow of the cards).

[/ QUOTE ]

come on man... [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2005, 12:08 PM
grandgnu grandgnu is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

[ QUOTE ]
wow, great report! serious detail..

one thing though...

[ QUOTE ]
One hand that may have been crucial for my later results (since it kept a player in the game that likely would’ve been eliminated, changing the flow of the cards).

[/ QUOTE ]

come on man... [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

It's "tha' truth!", it was rigged against me!

Eh, I won the flip with my K/Q against the pocket 9's, which would've severely short-stacked me had I lost, and sent a guy packing. Guess it's only correct variance that my Queens fall to the A/K. Those Queens were killer though, seeing Mr. SlowPlay limp with Queens out of position twice and catch me once with them. Then watching a guy at my final table lose with Q/Q against A/8 sooted on the river and then my Queens getting killed too.

Oh yeah, I didn't see Mr. Slowplay in the final four tables, so his constant slowplaying probably cost him when someone saw a cheap flop and outdrew him.

And that 2+2 kid two to my left was in the BB, folded to me on the button with J/9 offsuit and I pushed. Folded to him and he goes into the tank and thinks for quite awhile before folding. I say to him "you have two paint cards?" and he replies "I had an ace". I respond "I had an Ace!"

Then I say "guess your kicker wasn't so strong?". And his reply was that he felt he could wait for a better spot to get his money in. "Fold equity?" I say, and he replies "exactly". Thank god for thinking players, I could've been in trouble that hand, or outdrew him. I certainly didn't want the call. Also stole from them with my 10/7 suited earlier at the table.

Some really great opportunities to steal when there's 3-4K in the pot pre-flop and it represents 1/3rd to 1/2 of each players stack!
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Old 12-24-2005, 12:42 PM
daryn daryn is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

i was just talking about your comment.. i mean come on. if you had waited one more second before folding the previous hand, the cards would be different too.
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2005, 12:49 PM
grandgnu grandgnu is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

[ QUOTE ]
i was just talking about your comment.. i mean come on. if you had waited one more second before folding the previous hand, the cards would be different too.

[/ QUOTE ]

If I had just scratched myself one more time, it all coulda been different. Nah, I'm happy to get all my money in as a 57% favorite, after that it's up to the variance to make things happen.

I'm hoping to go back to multi-tabling Omaha hi/lo cash games on party in the near future.
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Old 12-24-2005, 12:52 PM
BarronVangorToth BarronVangorToth is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

[ QUOTE ]
i was just talking about your comment.. i mean come on. if you had waited one more second before folding the previous hand, the cards would be different too.

[/ QUOTE ]


And a hand that wouldn't've been won otherwise is won by a man who stayed longer than he would've and he otherwise would've impregnated his wife that night and that child would grow up to save the world... instead, he stayed longer at the table and died in an accident he would've otherwise avoided.

Barron Vangor Toth
BarronVangorToth.com
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  #10  
Old 12-24-2005, 01:34 PM
Toro Toro is offline
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Default Re: Foxwoods Trip Report (long) December 23rd, 2005

Nice report AJ. I laughed about the part where you woke up at 2:30 A.M. because you were so excited at the prospect of playing you tossed and turned and couldn't sleep.

That was me, 5 years ago, used to get all keyed up to play.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hannuka(sorry about spelling).
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