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My Atlantic City Trip

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  • My Atlantic City Trip

    Thought I would take a few minutes to describe my
    recent Atlantic City report to you.

    The primary purpose of this trip was to play poker
    against "live" opponents since most of my experience
    has been online. I wanted to get some good tournament
    experience under my belt.

    I played in five tournaments from Wed to Fri this past
    week:

    1. 20 + 10 buy in at The Sands (with rebuys and add
    ons)

    2. 50 + 15 buy in at Trump Taj Mahal (no rebuys/add
    ons)

    3. 50 + 15 buy in at Taj Mahal (same as above)
    4. 50 + 15 buy in at Taj Mahal (same as above)
    5. 50 + 15 buy in at The Sands (rebuys/add ons)

    Tournament #1

    This tournament was at 2 pm and had 99 entrants.
    There was a cap at 90 people but 9 alternates were
    allowed to enter the tournament after the first 9
    people to get knocked out elected not to rebuy/add on.
    The alternates were then given a prorated amount of
    starting chips.

    The tournament had only 500 starting chips and
    aggressive blind increases every 20 minutes beginning
    at 25/50 and going up from there. The rebuy gave you
    500 chips but the add on at the end of the first hour
    was 1000 chips. I played solid poker and managed to
    keep myself out of trouble. On my limited bankroll I
    wanted to minimize the number of rebuys/add ons I had
    to make with the hopes of getting a good hand to
    double through a loose opponent in the first hour. I
    bided my time and picked up pocket 3s on the button.
    There was a small raise that I called and the flop
    came 8 8 3. This hand helped me to build my chip
    stack to 1600 by the end of the first hour. I made
    the add on and had 2600 to start the second hour.

    I had not been particularly impressed with the level
    of play so far and had a good feeling. Tables began to
    break up but the blinds were going up so quickly and I
    managed to pick up the hammer (2 7) several times.
    After some time I was down to my last 1200 with the
    blinds at 200-400 and a small ante (cannot remember
    how much). I picked up A3 os in the small blind and
    moved all in. The big blind happened to have JJ and
    called to knock me out in 28th place. First place
    prize money was over 2 grand with the top 10 getting
    money.

    Tournament #2

    This tournament had 5000 starting chips with no
    rebuys/add ons and about 150 entrants. The Taj had
    much nicer tables/chips, etc. and made for an overall
    better tournament environment. The only thing I did
    not like about it was that the TV monitors they have
    do not show any pertinent information about the
    tourney in play (i.e. lacking the number of players
    still remaining, average chip stack). The monitor
    will only tell you how many entrants, how many places
    cash, what the blinds are currently and when they
    increase. In addition there is a second poker room
    where some tables are set up, so in order to walk
    around and find out how many players are left you
    would essentially have to leave your seat and enter
    the second poker room. They also have sit and goes,
    cash games and other tables, making it very hard to
    find out who is actually playing in the tournament.

    The players here seem to be on a higher level than the
    Sands, but still not very strong on the whole. I am
    folding most of my hands and cannot even seem to pick
    up anything worth playing in late position. Blinds
    here start at 25/50 and move up every 20 minutes. I
    see maybe one or two flops in the first 40 minutes and
    am down to 4k in chips when I finally pick up 88 in
    late position. I call a small raise (there was only
    one player in the pot with me) and the flop comes
    down K T 8 with two diamonds. The initial raiser
    fires out a 1/2 pot bet and I figure him for AK. I
    immediately raise because I do not want to give him
    the odds to call for a flush or straight draw. He
    moves all in for 3800 chips and I call. He shows KJ
    os and stands up putting his jacket on, explaining how
    he is going to get something to eat. The turn comes K
    and the river brings a T and I am down to 225 chips.
    He takes his jacket off and starts yelling in the
    poker room, "That's a bad beat....that's a bad beat!"
    I say "Nice hand" and he replies "Not really". The
    very next hand I pick up 99 and move all in. The same
    guy calls me with QJ and gets a Q. He was rooting for
    me to get a 9 though, lol.


    Tournament #3

    Thursday afternoon (1215) at Taj Mahal, same structure
    as before, 107 entrants top 18 get prize money.

    This tournament had an odd mix of players. I saw two
    players all in with AK and JJ and a third player call
    them both with 26 os. As you can probably guess the
    guy with 26 ended up winning the pot with a 9 high
    straight, using only his 6, lol. The whole time I am
    making mental notes of each player, what they play
    from which positions, what they call raises with, etc.
    I notice the tendency of many players to call a raise
    or bet with any Ace in their hand and this single
    observation alone makes me a lot of chips. I pick up
    JJ and with the blinds at 100-200, raise to 600 and
    get 2 callers. The flop brings all undecards and I
    bet the flop/turn/river and am called all 3 times. I
    show my hand and the girl just mucks. Those chips
    bring my stack to over 12k, which is enough for me to
    make it to the final 40 players. Time goes by and we
    are then down to 25 players.

    Since the top 18 places cash (winning about 100
    dollars) I am desperate to make it to this level since
    a 65 dollar buy in for me is still a lot of money. My
    stack dwindles down to 7k when a key hand develops. I
    have K9 in late position and there has already been a
    mid pos raise followed by a late position call of that
    raise. I had seen the mid position player make this
    raise with small pairs and less than premium holings,
    i.e. A/rag, QJ os, etc. and narrowed his holdings to 3
    possibilities: small pair, (66 and below), A/rag or
    QT, QJ. The late position caller had been playing
    solid poker, but passed on his opportunity to shut me
    out of the pot. I assumed that his hand could not
    have been much better. In the best case I could up up
    against two Ace/rag hands in could win a big pot by
    tripling up if I hit one of my two cards.

    The action came to me and I moved all in. The look of
    disgust on both of their faces let me know right away
    that I had at least made the correct read. The
    initial raiser moved all in and was called by the
    other player. Initial raiser showed 44 the other
    caller showed A3 and I had K9 os. The flop came Q 5
    2. The turn came 8 and the river a 9! As I raked the
    in the pot the A3 guy starts to get very angry and
    stands up complaning about how he had the best hand
    going in, etc. I just ignore him and say nothing.

    I now have over 20k in my stack and manage to fold my
    way into the money (nothing playable here) when my stack dwindles down to 14k
    again (which is not much with over 500k chips in
    play). The blinds increase at a rapid rate and I am
    forced to go into all in mode, where I will only play
    a hand for all my chips. I pick up QQ, which is
    enough to win me a pot and take me off life support
    for a while. One more double up with A9 (hit the 9
    again) allows me to make the final table. A quick
    look at the prize pool shows that 1st place is over
    2000 dollars, 2nd is over 1000, 3rd is 500 and then a
    big drop off. I decide that now that I've made the
    final table I am going to open up my game and become
    much more aggressive. I move in several times when I
    am FTA with QJ suited, K8, etc. or anything else I
    find worth playing that I feel will cause the rest of
    the table to fold.

    Each time I do this it allows me to survive one more
    orbit at the table. I fold hands such as these when
    others have acted or called in front of me. I have a
    high degree of equity in hands that I am not involved
    in. The 26 os guy I was talking about earlier is
    still in the game and I feel confident that he will be
    donating some of his chips to me later, lol. A few
    showdowns, AK vs. AQ, etc. and we are then down to 6
    players. I move in with A9 again and catch a 9 to
    eliminate another player. I notice here that among
    the remaining players, the one with the biggest stack
    will frequently put all his chips in on draws and
    likes to gamble. This observation helps me later in
    the tournament.

    This player manages to make a few of his draws and
    knocks two players out. One of the other players then
    knocks the short stack out and we are down to 3
    players. The blinds are now at 3000-6000 and I am
    down to my last 20,000 in chips (over 500k chips in
    play). I notice the prize money again and think about
    offering a deal where I may be able to get them to
    give me 700 dollars (as opposed to the 500 for 3rd
    place) to stop playing. Neither player seems very
    interested in making that deal and seem to indicate
    that they want me to go out so they can discuss a deal
    between themselves. I understand their position but
    figure on playing extremely aggressively.

    I am all in more times than I care to remember with
    JT, A5, K4, etc. Any face card becomes playable, an
    Ace and any card, any pocket pair, etc. I fold only
    on obviously unplayable trash. I manage to catch a
    few lucky cards and get myself up to 140k in chips
    again. The draw man at this point has about 220k,
    with the other guy at about 175k. I look down on the
    button to find TT. I announce that I am all in and
    draw man calls with 33. I double up and am now the
    big stack in the game.

    Draw man laughs and tells me that just a few minutes
    earlier he had been discussing a deal with the other
    guy that did not include me. The blinds are really
    starting to get unreasonable now at 10k-20k. In order
    to minimize the variance I again bring up the subject
    of making a deal. There are 3500 dollars in prize
    money available and only 3 of us playing. A crowd of
    people has starting to gather around to watch us play
    as we had been playing for over 6 straight hours. At
    the point when my second offer for a deal was rejected
    I decided that I was just going to bully the two of
    them with my stack with anything playable and try to
    come away with the win. I had to start folding some
    hands just for a break in a hand so I was not playing
    every hand and concentrating, etc.

    I win a big hand against the medium stack and on a
    subsequent hand draw man knocks him out of the
    tournament. I am now heads up against draw man with
    over a 4-1 chip lead. I call to see the flop with the
    blinds now at 15-30k. I catch a small piece of 3
    flops and after betting he folds. I move in on him
    with J2 os and he calls with 6h7h. He turns up his
    cards and tells me, "I always play suited connectors".
    What a valuable piece of information for him to give
    me. This tells me that I am going to win the
    tournament right there because I can move in on him
    with any face card and he will call with small suited
    connectors.

    The math will force him out of the tournament sooner
    or later. He catches a 7 on the flop and wins that
    pot, but the information I had was better than winning
    that hand to me. I move all in 3 hands in a row with
    nothing and he folds each time. Then he is forced to
    go all in with 4 9 and my Queen high wins the pot. We
    shake hands and the tournament director gives me my
    form to pick up my $2057 from the cash cage.

    Tournament #4

    Taj Mahal (same as above)

    Cannot pick up a hand to save my life and am blinded
    down to 3300. Finally get AsQs in late position. The
    player sitting to my right moves all in for his last
    1500 and I call. He shows JJ but I cannot catch
    anything and my stack is crippled. I manage to double
    up some time later and get back up to 2300. There are
    three callers (blinds at 300-600/100 ante) before me
    when I move all in with A7. The small blind calls and
    then the big blind moves all in on him. He folds and
    shows his hand 44. The big blind shows KQ and I am
    happy that I am ahead in the hand. He catches a Q and
    I get a 7 on the river but I am out. Played the same
    solid strategy but just did not have the cards.

    Tournament #5

    The Sands, Friday night, 1000 starting chips unlimited
    rebuys in first hour with a double add on after the
    first hour (double add on gives you 4k in chips)

    The field is 32 players. With add ons/rebuys in the
    prize pool 1st place is about 2000 dollars. The field
    here is the weakest I have seen yet. The aggressive
    blind increases in the first hour alone make it hard
    to play a hand without committing to a rebuy. I make
    it to the end of the first hour with 25 chips, even
    though I am losing my chips because people are calling
    when they shouldn't. I pay 150 dollars at this point
    for a rebuy and double add on, taking me to 5k in
    chips. The tournament paid the top 9 places.

    I notice some particularly weak play and make a full
    house with KJ winning me a lot of chips. I manage to
    make the final table as the short stack but still feel
    good about how I compare skill wise to the remaining
    players. I also have played in a few tournaments and
    am feeling more comfortable in this situation. I move
    all in with QJ and almost double my stack just by
    getting the blinds and antes. I knock a player out
    with my AQ vs. his J7. I play conservatively until we
    are down to the final 4 and I have 24k in chips with
    blinds at 4k-8k. I am one off the button with 9dTd
    and debate whether I should raise or move in with this
    hand. I simply call and then the button moves all in
    for 42k. I am in the midst of trying to calculate the
    pot odds when I start to think about what he might
    have.

    After some thought I decide that he has AK and I
    should fold, even against my better judgment. I
    regretted the call in the first place but figure that
    I still have 16k to work with.

    So I start calculating the pot odds and somehow put
    him on AK and fold my 9dTd. He flips over his cards
    and shows AhKd. The poker calculator says that AK is
    a 3-2 favorite at this point, so maybe I should have
    made this call (he's all in for 42k, I had 8k already
    in and the blinds both folded their 12k; so we're
    looking at my remaining 16k for a pot of 20k, which
    doesn't seem like good odds).

    I would be interested to know what others would do
    this spot. At any rate after that hand my cards went
    cold and I picked up 8 3, 9 4, etc. I folded both of
    these hands when the blinds came through and was left
    with 4k. I blinded down a bit and doubled up with JJ
    and then KQ. What bothered me here was that all of
    the other players here were discussing what their
    hands were openly at the table and plotting to split
    the top 3 prize money equally after busting me out.
    They would discuss what hands they had preflop to see
    who would have the best chance of busting me.

    Despite this obvious BS I kept getting my money in as
    the favorite and buying myself one more hand. I was
    finally all in with JT against 9 3 and the other
    player caught a 3. After the tournament I just stood
    up and left the table without saying good game or
    anything. I told the tournament director that I felt
    it was inappropriate for the other players to be
    discussing their hands and colluding against another
    player (I'm not sure if this is illegal, but it sure
    seems like it should be).

    At any rate, I busted in 4th place making 376 dollars.
    First place was just over 1800. This was the weakest
    field by far of any of the tournaments I played in and
    I am confident that over time any 70 percent pso
    player could make a lot of money in the long run
    there.

    The only drawback to this is that it can become very expensive. The original buy in was 50 + 15, one add on I made for 50 and the double add on for another 100, bringing my total for this one tournament to 215. The only reason I decided to make the additional rebuy was that I felt I was one of the better players there. But if you are in Atlantic City I would definitely recommend playing at least one of these events there. Feel free to PM me if you want.

    It felt very good to get that first tournament win under my belt though, considering these 5 tournaments were the first live tournies I have ever played.

    See you at the tables,

    Chris

  • #2
    Nice report Chris, and a big congrats on your win! :roll:
    2 Time Bracelet Winner

    Comment


    • #3
      Well done Chris. Well played down to final 3 in your tourney win. And about your final tourney, yes it does dound like collusion. Next time, call the floor (or tourney director if there is one) and explain the situation. If they don't do anything about it, then that is extremely bad on their part.

      Comment


      • #4
        Congratulations Chris great win and a couple of other good finishes

        I have got alot of respect for your game and hopefully this win will be the first of many.

        Alan.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks

          Thank you all for your support. I am certain that I would not have finished this well if not for the countless hours spent on PSO, playing against some very good players.

          I did mention something to the tournament director at the Sands after my 4th place finish when he was filling out the paperwork for me to see the cashier. He did not really respond at all, but I was just happy to get out of there with my modest winnings.

          Chris

          Comment

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