Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bust Out!

Well kids, the dream is over... for 2006.

I busted out at about 3 am last night after 14 hours (11 1/2 of actualy playing time.) It was a tough day, but I represented myself well. I was on the short stack (low on chips relative to the other chips stacks and the blinds) most of the day.

I had remarkable cards dealt to me in the first level of play (the first two hours), but took some rough beats and ran into some big hands. I had pocket kings THREE times in the first session, but lost two of those hands. Once running to AA (luckily, that guy had a shorter stack than I did) and the other time running into a guy that called my big pre-flop raise with 55, and hit a thrid 5 on the flop. I also had 10 10 three times in the first several hours and AK twice... but lost most of those hands.

My saving grace was my FOURTH, yes, FOURTH pocket KK hand. I went all-in and got called by... a guy with AA. The odds of running into AA with KK is roughly 6000:1, and I did it twice in three hours. Luckily, I hit a King on the turn and stayed alive, crippling my opponent in the process. He was a good sport about it, and his pain was probably eased by the terrible ass-beatings I had taken from lady luck.

So, from about the end of the first hour of play, I was on the short stack, and I managed to ride it out for another 11 hours, battling back from chip counts as low as 3,200 and 2,7oo to get back around sea level at 10,000.

The table I started on was in a section they chose to dismantle, and my table got broken up just before the fifth (of six) level. I was greeted with a couple of kidney punches as I tried to play hands. I raised in late position, only to be bet all-in (and forced to fold) by the designated table-bully (big stack and using chips to threaten other players.) I limped in (just called) with 77 in late position, hoping to catch a 7 on the flop for cheap. The flop was 10 10 9, a pretty good flop for me, but the chip leader bet heavily and took the pot away from me. I contemplated a call, but didn't want to gamble my entire tournament on that hand, believing there would better opportunities later.

There were.

My stack dwindled, but I took down a few pots with strategic all-ins, helped by my tight play, my bets seemed to have an impact greater than what my stack-size should have allowed. I battled, and found myself with 7,200 chips with 40 minutes to play in round one.

As the hour grew late, I was determined to double my stack, or go down punching trying to double-up. I didn't see the point of changing flights, staying extra days and re-arrangng my life, then limping into Day 2 with 4,000 or 5,000 chips- I needed ammunition.

A new bully joined the table. This guy was scary-looking, with a mountain-man beard, hair everywhere and a purple sun-hat with little shite flowers on it. The silly hat contrasted his manacing glare and ogre-like appearance. This guy and the other bully seemed to neutralize each other to an extent, but he certainly wasn;t afraid to bet. He and the other kid controlled the table, and it was implied that if you wanted to see a flop, you should be ready to surrender all your chips.

I waited and waited, throwing all-in twice, taking down the blinds and come over the top of a raise (with 99 and 88 respectively) to stay afloat. The all-in reraise resulted in an amusing chat between the most colorful player at the table and myself. He was a tall thin black kid with enough jewelry to open his own store. His sense of humor was the only relief in this nest of vipers. He looks at me and says, "now I want you to answer this question, and if you don't answer, I'm gonna read something into that anyway... DO you want the action? (Do you want me to call?)"

I told him the truth, "I really don't care, but I can;t get to where I need to be stealing blinds once every three rounds. I need to double."

The table seemed to get a kick out of this response, a couple of players sounded surprised, saying, "good answer."

He folded, showing Ace-Jack and said, "I feel like I just got stuck up."

To rub it in, I didn't show him my hand (99). Eventually, I told him I had nines, and he seemed satisfied. The next hand I caught 88 in the small blind. The table folded to me and I threw all-in. It was a high percentage move. The guy next to me had a short stack than I and was still chell-shocked from losing with (after misplaying) pocket aces. I showed the 88, lest the table get the idea I was randomly throwing chips around and stealing.

As the session drew to a close, I knew I just needed to hit one all-in double-up to have a shot during Day 2. I had 7,200- not enough to begin Day 2. One double up, with the blinds and antes would get me to around 18,000 or 19,000.

The mountain-man raised the 300-600 blinds to 1500. I was in late position, three players down from him. I looked at my hole cards and saw AK. I knew this hand was my tournament, and moved all-in. There was no doubt in my mind that it was the right move.

He leaned into the tabe and glared at me, as if to say, "are you kidding? Do you have any idea who I am?"

I knew he would call, given the size of his stack and his already substantial investment in the pot. He counted out my 5,700 chip raise and called, none too happy with my move. I showed AK and he flipped AQ off-suit, making me about a 70-30 favorite to double-up and stay alive in the tournament.

The flop saw three rags fall (two spades) with little help for my opponent, he needed a queen or a backdoor flush. The turn showed us a spade, and my tournament life flashed before my eyes. A spade or a quen on the river and I was done for. I have had a number of tournaments ended by running spades (running cards describe your opponent needing- and catching- two consecutive cards to beat a hand in superior position)

The entire table was pulling for me, partially because I had faught a valiant fight, playing the role of the short stack with extreme effectiveness, and partially because they didn't want to see this monstar accumulate any more chips (and power) than he already had.

The river showed a spade and I congratulated my opponent, my World Series was over.

It took a few minutes to hit me. As I walked back to my hotel, I felt good about my effort and the way I played and handled myself. I haven't seen many people play a short stack as effectively as I had, though I wished the results were different. I reminded myself that I outlasted poker greats such as Phil Hellmuth, Joe Hachem, Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.

As I walked the long hallway out of the convention center, I felt the weight of al the work I had done to get there. Sure, it was poker, and it was fun most of the time, but the massive effort I had put on for two months landed on me like an anvil... the multiple qualifiers, the point-building to get into the qualifiers, the efforts to improve my game including reading a number of books, and mostly playing playing playing, working out different scenarios, strategies and gameplans.

The reality of how hard I would have work to get back here agin next year hit me, and as good as I had played- how much I needed to improve to get where I want to be- the final table.

5 Comments:

Blogger Debbie said...

Korte,

You should keep feeling as proud as you do for the endurance and courage you showed this last game. I admit, I don't know much about poker at all so a lot of the game terminology, etc., is a bit lost on me but I know enough to know that you did fight hard and accomplished more than most - and being able to walk away feeling the way you did makes it all worthwhile.

Good job! :-) It's all very impressive to me!

- Debbie

10:06 PM  
Blogger Korte said...

Oh Deb... you're getting my misty-eyyyyyyyyed!!!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Dot Dwyer said...

Wow Korte. I'm glad you're not into writing or anything because I'd never be able to get anything done because I'd be spending all my time reading your blog. Fortunately, I'm not missing a thing. I guess you haven't left the house, or had any feelings or seen any colors. .. . . You should go outside once in a while. Winter is coming.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Dot Dwyer said...

Good Lord ! Why do I even bother checking this thing ?

6:42 PM  
Blogger Dot Dwyer said...

When I do my grocery shopping , I'm going to need to get enough stuff for 7 days because I'll be working jobs where it will be difficult to get out to buy lunch. I'd really like to have some Cheetoes about now. The new twisty ones, not the funny crunchy ones.

6:30 PM  

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