The sacred geometry of chance

OMG, a poker story.

Yesterday I drove down to Harrah’s Rincon to play in a World Series of Poker Circuit event there. I’m playing in event 4, No Limit Hold ’em. I played in a similar event last year and finished in 28th, pocketing about $450.

They made a significant change this year. Last year, we started playing at noon and they played down to two tables (well past midnight) before starting again the next day. Everyone who had to come back for day two was in the money. This year, they divided the tournament into two “flights”, A & B. The A flight, which I played in, started at noon, and played for 15 levels, or 8 hours. The B flight started at 5 PM.

What this means is that there will be some people who have to come back for day two, but who may not be in the money. If I had known this about the structure, I may not have played this weekend, as it’s a 90-minute drive and it was raining. Then again, I play this tournament with a group of poker buddies so I probably would have. This fact will come into play for two hands I’ll talk about here.

Long story short: I’m going back down today because I managed to turn my starting stack of 10,000 tourney chips into 123,600, and I’m probably somewhere in the top 10 out of about 80 left (487 started).

My most memorable hand of the day was before the first break, in level 3 or 4. I had about 8,800 chips. Blinds were 50-75 (I think) and I was dealt two red fives. I limped in middle position, and was raised from the button to 275. The big blind called and I called.

The flop came 3s 5c 6c, giving me a set. Big blind checked to me and I bet out 600 chips, wanting to protect my set from flush draws. The button called and the big blind called.

The next card brought the 5s, giving me quads, which even I can win with usually. Big blind checked to me again, and I again bet 600. While 600 was a good-sized bet on the flop, here, with 2 callers, it’s a small-to-medium bet, and I was hoping to get a raise, obviously. Both players called.

The river brought the 7c which actually made my hand only the second nut, but I wasn’t afraid of anyone playing 8c 4c (or 4c 2c, but since they can’t both exist at once, I’m the 2nd best possible hand).  Again it checked to me and this time I bet 1,500, hoping to get at least one caller. The button folded and the big blind thought a long time before calling with AcQc. So a pretty nice pot that yielded about 60 big blinds (4,500 chips more than I put in).

The other two hands won’t take nearly as long to talk about, I promise. With about two hours to go, I was down to about 13,000 in chips, which was well below the average of 20,000 or so. The blinds were at 400-800 with a 100 ante. I was in the cutoff (player before the button) and I picked up A8 offsuit, not a great hand. It folded to me and I shoved all in, as stealing the blinds at this stage is crucial to staying alive. The button had QQ, instantly called, and I sucked out with an Ace on the flop. Some might argue it was a bad move, too aggressive, but with 16 BB and fat antes (1/8 BB) it was at least marginal, as a player’s biggest weapon is fold equity, and you can’t let it bleed away.

With about 40 minutes left I had built up to about 35,000 in chips, which was the average, but a series of broken hands had me back down to 22,000. Now I could have easily nursed that stack, waiting for great opportunities, and maybe make it to the next day with a slightly below average stack. But there’s no way I wanted to drive back to Rincon in the rain when I wasn’t even in the money yet. So I got a little aggressive.

I was in the small blind with blinds at 600-1200 and it folded to me. I had JTo and completed the bet. The BB min-raised, which I took to be a steal. I wasn’t in the mood to play out of position, and I needed chips, so I shoved all-in, knowing that the calling range was pretty slim. Well, he had AA and he beat me in to the pot with his chips. I should have been done, but two Js appeared on the board and I survived. This was definitely a bad move, but the math was affected by the external factor of a drive in the rain.

After that, within the next 30 minutes, the deck hit me in the face. I got JJ, QQ, AK twice, AQ, AJ, and a pair of 7s that I used to knock out a player on the last hand of the night, boosting my stack to the aforementioned 123,600. It was kind of crazy. I’m leaving in a couple hours to go back down there and try to get a World Series Ring (the bracelets are only for the Las Vegas events) but, as I said, I’m still not even in the money.

I’ll probably tweet an update or two as the day goes on.

Oh… and… Obama rules Romney drooolz! There, now it’s a political post.

Author: Wiesman

Husband, father, video game developer, liberal, and perpetual Underdog.

5 thoughts on “The sacred geometry of chance”

  1. Congrats, gogogogogogoggogo!

    I’m gonna be mad if it turns out you didn’t yell Presto! when you showed them quads tho.

  2. “The next card brought the 5s, giving me quads, which even I can win with usually.”

    Fantastic.

    Good luc… errr…. skill!

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