Thursday, May 12, 2005

A noble experiment.

Kind of one of those headlines that writes itself doesn’t it, if not very well.

This is going to be a choppy WPBT tourney report. As far as I can tell Noble Poker, whose ins-and-outs I’m still learning, doesn’t keep results very long. So I’m doing this from memory, cribbing as necessary from the usual funny and detailed report at the Good Doctor’s.

Pauly, btw, misreported my going all-in with Big Slick last tourney, which ironically would be my last hand this time around.

I finished 26th in a field of 81 last night; playing relatively well, I felt. I built my stack up to near T3000 early in the tournament - at least one time winning the pot by accident when I mistakenly hit the “all-in” button while in the Big Blind with nothing (I think a Q3 off suit) and forced the rest of the bettors to fold. “The Hammer?” someone questioned, but I just did the virtual version of a Mona Lisa smile.

The cards were coming for me early and I was flopping two pair, straights and flushes regularly. While I was able to put paid to some attempted blind steals with those hands, I wasn’t able to capitalize on them as much as I would have liked. At that point in the tourney, the play at my first table was pretty tight and any serious raise would usually be met by an immediate fold. But one of my weaknesses is my reluctance to trap. All I usually see is the way I can be beaten at the turn or the river, even when I’ve flopped the best hand, and I tend to bet high to try to force drawers out. It’s a major flaw in my game that I know I have to work on if I’m to improve.

As an aside, one of the reasons that I love playing in the WPBT is the quality of play is so much better than your average freeroll and/or low buy-in tournament. Not all that surprising, of course. In my typical UB freeroll or Poker Stars low buy-in the chances would have been good that I would have tripled or quadrupled my stack with the hands I was getting, as there are always one or two people in those tournaments who will go all-in on a wish and a prayer, especially in the early rounds.

On the other hand, bad beats also abound in the UB and Poker Stars games too, and you’re as likely to be mouthing obscenities at the screen when someone pulls off a miracle as you are to win with the best flopped hand. In any case, it’s much more relaxing and enjoyable to play with people who play professionally, logically, and well – the occasional raise on the Hammer notwithstanding. It’s largely the reason I’m willing to lay out $22 or $33 – way beyond my normal buy-ins – to play WPBT tournaments.

As with Poker Stars, table moves at Noble happen at disconcerting speed; the disorientation is similar to suddenly being transported to the Jurassic Age and find you’re facing down a Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately for me, a dinosaur who decided to take a few chomps on me was The Poker Geek, who was seated to my right at the new table I appeared at. The geek proceeded to flay me over several hands, either raising heavily into me, or stripping me of chips the few times I decided to show him down.

“Lordy, take me away from this place,” I mumbled as the geek grabbed another pot from me, and happily the Poker Gods took pity, and I found myself at yet another new table. Maudie was one of the players there, but Miz Maudie, she’s been having a hard week and she's not one for chatting much at the tables, so except for a short interchange about the Bewitched statue – a subject of fascination to us both –and Shelly Berman (more on that later), we didn’t talk.

Who knows? I may be something of a jinx for Maudie, as almost exactly the same thing happened as in the last WPBT tourney when we were together at a table. I glanced away from the screen for just a second – to move Bear whose boondockers had gone out of control and were spread across my keyboard – and when I looked back Maudie was off stage, telling the player who had just collected all her chips to have fun with them.

Iggy was knocked out at around the same time, too, somewhere in the mid-50s, I think.

Things start to get hazy in the 52-year-old mind at this point. I think all this happened late in the 1st hour, but may well have been early in the second. In any case, at the break I had around 1600 in chips, which got chipped away early with some bad bets and blind attrition in Hour 2 to circa T500.

I reluctantly went all-in against one player with a pair of deuces, the only thing that could be said about them. I believe s/he had a suited AJ and pulled another J at the flop, but since I was preparing to shut down for the night, I wasn’t paying the attention I should. But my luck, she decided she wanted to play awhile longer, and I sucked out a third deuce at the river.

“Wow,” someone noted in the chat box, as discerning a comment as I could make myself about my winning that hand.

The rest, till the end, is silence. The guy who eventually took me out about 10 minutes before the end of Hour 2 had “spaceman” in his screen name, had an enormous chip stack (I believe over T7000 when he faced me down), and may have been this blogger, but I could very well be wrong. I had off-suit AK and 1600 chips to my name, which seemed to be the stack I always had. I raised the minimum, T800, which in retrospect was a mistake. With only 800 left and at that level, I had already committed myself and may have given a signal to the spaceman that I was trying to buy the blinds on the cheap.

He was also on the small blind, I believe, which may have influenced his decision. In any case, he was the only caller to my raise. The flop was 8 something, something, no help to me, but now representing the pair that I should have been representing in the first place, I went all-in. Spaceman called and showed an 8 6 (!!), which you can either look at as a semi-loose play by someone who could afford to gamble, or more likely, a smart play by someone who had correctly put me on either two face cards or a small pair and decided to check it out with his two 8s.

Two more cards, but I was done on the turn when a 6 showed. My luck she kissed me on the forehead and murmured, “Another night, baby.”

The final four agreed to chop the second place money, which worked out to around $200+ each. And the BigPirate gets his shot at the WSOP bracelet. Full details are on Pauly’s site.

Peggy asked this morning what I thought about Noble, and my reaction was “Just Another Poker Site.” Nice graphics, speed acceptable, a little stark on the options. But nothing really to commend or to condemn. Unless I get lucky, I intend to play out what's left of my small stake and move back to the waters I'm comfortable swimming in.

Only thing that makes it stand out in my memory are the voice sound clips that play for calling/raising/folding, which sound as if they were recorded by Borscht Belt comedians. And if you’ve made it this far, that’s why Maudie, the Fat Guy and I were discussing Shelly Berman and Henny Youngman.

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Maudie said...

I about died when I saw your reference to Shelley Berman - I knew we had to be the only 2 at the table who knew who that was - lol. Makes me want to pull out that album and listen to it. I can never hear the word "buttermilk" without thinking of Shelley Berman! 8^)

JasonSpaceman said...

"Spaceman called and showed an 8 6 (!!), which you can either look at as a semi-loose play by someone who could afford to gamble, or more likely, a smart play by someone who had correctly put me on either two face cards or a small pair and decided to check it out with his two 8s."

Yep, that was me. I didn't figure you had a big pair, so at worst I was probably something like a 3-1 underdog against you. I got lucky and actually ended up more like a 3-2 dog, which were essentially the odds the pot was laying me. With the 86s I had flush potential, straight potential - and yeah, the chips to take a flop. If you'd pushed preflop I wouldn't have had near the odds I needed, and there's no way I could've called you. If you've got AK and you're short, you might as well make the move and let the cards fall wherever they may. Sorry you had to go down like that - I'm usually the one on the receiving end of such a beat, so I know the feeling.

Dr. Pauly said...

Fred, what was your screen name?

fhb said...

ricoM, Doc. You corrected the error on the last tourney after I complained bitterly that I would never go all-in with Big Slick . :-) Btw, I like your reports.