Friday, April 15, 2005


King Of The Nippers

Tuesday - $285 Single-table, Bellagio. 5/10, -$285. Alright, 3 strikes and out of here. Although this was the best value of the three to date, it still wasn’t much. I trod water, won a 50/50, then raised all in with 56s on the button only to run into JJ in the BB. Apart from anything else I’m not going to learn anything in these. I know how to play the things. I’m better off having a look round the other card rooms to see what’s on offer. Already today I have found that the Aladdin are having a $500 tournament on Saturday and a $1000 on Sunday. They are running single tables for these, which should be much juicier. The tournaments themselves could be good value - the $500 is probably worth a punt at least. And I shall have a bash at the Mirage this evening, $130 + $100 rebuys. No antes in the Mirage unfortunately - but let’s see how much of a difference that makes.

Tuesday - $130 + $100 Rebuys, No-Limit, Mirage. 40-odd/100, -$430. Off to the Mirage for some rebuy action. I lose a hand with Queens, rebuy twice, add on and I’m in for $400. The overall standard is a bit better than Harrah’s and Binions, but not as good as Bellagio - as you might expect. I manage to inch back up to around 2000 when I am moved tables. I raise in early position with AJ - marginal, but this is how I’ve been inching in the first place so let’s keep going. Avner Levy calls me. Now anyone who has ever played tournaments in the US knows this guy. He is the King of the Nippers - he makes Stander and Arjen look like kids asking for pocket money. He is also a complete pain in the arse at the table and a very unpredictable, aggressive person, never mind player. So it’s just me and him. Flop comes T77 rainbow. I bet around half the pot. He goes all in, 900 more. At this point there is 1400 in the pot plus his 900 so I’m being laid 5/2 on this call. Now if he has a pair or a Ten, I’m only 3/1 against winning anyway. No way he has a 7. There are a few hands I’m worse off against (AT, AQ) but not many. And I have seen this guy play before. He bluffs a LOT. I’ve seen him limp-reraise pre-flop with QT offsuit (and outdraw KK and have a virtual fit). So I call him.

He has K9 suited. Calls for the King and the 9, doesn’t get them, and stomps off. As he’s passing me he’s going “Ace Jack how can he call with Ace Jack”. I shouldn’t do this but if anyone deserves a rub-down it’s this guy, believe me. So I say “you can’t bluff a mug mate” as he’s passing. He comes back. “What you say ?” - “I said you can’t bluff a mug. Meaning me.” - “[Unintelligible gurble] I don’t even know who you are”. Stalks off again, for good this time. Well exactly. We’ve played before, I remember you, but you don’t remember me. That’s how I made the correct play. Judging by how popular I was on the table after this coup, he hasn’t changed much either. I ought to be careful with this, I have heard stories of this guy swinging for people and being carted out in handcuffs frothing at the mouth. So I’ll just blank him next time. If he remembers me anyway.

Fun being over for now, I keep inching until I find AK, raise it, one caller. Flop A93 two clubs, I bet he raises all in and I call fairly quickly. He has QcJc and hits it. No problemo. I make a rather more dignified exit and we’ll try again tomorrow. I think I’m playing better than I ever have, I really do. The system I am now playing in these tournaments, it’s amazing how it keeps me out of trouble. I can accumulate slowly but steadily, double up when I find the right hand, and then get to work when the blinds start to bite. Something more may be required at the $1500 level but so what. That’s just for taking shots. In bread and butter games there’s plenty of jam on offer, if that makes any sense.

Wednesday, $60 + $40 Rebuy, No-Limit, Aladdin. 13/60, -$60. A few things about this structure take away from the value. For one the rebuy is too expensive (for the chips it buys) so it's best not to take it. Any inequity in the rebuy/original buy-in chip cost is good, as plenty of people will make mistakes, but when the rebuy is too expensive your variance is increased. I prefer it when the rebuys are cheap. Also there were no antes. I trebled up with AJ against QT, KT but lost the lot with TT against AK.

Wednesday, $130 + $100 Rebuys, Pot-Limit, Mirage. 25ish/48, -$330. Pot-Limit tournaments are awkward over here. Half the field seem to think it's mandatory to bet the pot, which stops them from making a lot of mistakes (of course they can't overbet the pot now whatever they do). Half the dealers don't understand it, so they slow the game down and (much worse) tell people how much is in the pot without them asking. All in all, not great value and I couldn't beat TT with my AK this time. Also in the Mirage when there are less than 50 runners they have a terrible flat payout (30-25-20-15-10) which favours dull, defensive play. I did bump into the legendary Fast Francis though, unfortunately he was flying back the next day.

Thursday, $40 (1 Rebuy) NLHE, Harrah's. 3rd/55, +$350. These tournaments kick so much ass, they have to import colons from other countries to meet the demand *. These tournaments rule so much, the Queen's not allowed to turn her back on them **. 3rd again, would have been 4/1 on to win if I hadn't misread one hand. The geezer bets into an empty sidepot on a flop of K73, I figure my KT is behind and pass. Frankly I thought he had a monster, the way he reluctantly called my raise pre-flop and then bet small on the flop. Unfortunately it wasn't an act, he was just unsure, and turned over AT damn him. I still had time to keep my head above water and find 55 3-handed, only to run into AA. Never mind.

In four tournaments with antes, I've finished 2nd, 3rd, 3rd and 3rd. 40-60 runners in each. People just have no idea. They look at me funny when I call from the BB with 48s getting 7/2 against an all-in raiser (and river a straight to beat 99 hehe). And they pass for 4000 in the same situation when there's 17000 in the pot. So who's the fish ? Not I, said the pig.

Bumped into Joe in the Bellagio and scored a free buffet, more importantly we skipped the line ! Bellagio buffet is good I have to admit.

* As Maddox would say

** But that's an original. That's me, original and funny, just never both at the same time.

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