Thursday, June 19, 2008


Ok, I had a HUGE post that I've since deleted because it was a big tldr magnet. This one is short by comparison.

The Caeasar's Saturday Megastack lasted over 16 hours for me. There were 10 minute breaks every 100 minutes, a dinner break a little over an hour, and an extended break when they coloured up the 100's late Saturday night. So all told, it was more like 14 hours of play. I'll try to compress it.

513 entrants. 12,500 starting chips for $340 ($300+$30+$10), and a solid structure until the antes kicked in. $40k for first place wasn't looking too shabby either.

For the first two levels, you could draw a sine wave around the starting chip stack to show my progress. I was playing a tight game and was up a thousand, down a thousand, up a few, down a few, and ended slightly above the starting stack. This continued for the next 6 levels. Luckily, it also seemed to be the case for the rest of my table.

It was a good table, and when someone went out, they were often replaced by an equivalent player. Ie.- the Crasian was KO'd and the Eurodonk sat down. Also lucky for us was that no big stacks were moved to our table. Fold equity was maintained.

As is often the case in tournaments, and long cash games, we all developed a rapport. There were no assclowns there, so we were able to joke around, chat, comment on hands, and table talk happily. The dealers seemed happy to be at our table after a few minutes when they realized we weren't going to go balistic or chew them out. In fact, one new (his first week) dealer dealt his very first straight flush at our table. Followed by his second 2 orbits later. Sadly, I was the recipient of neither.

So, with a table with no monsters, a friendly vibe, and a structure that allowed patience and play, there was no pressing need to make big moves with marginal hands. I folded suited connectors OOP with ease, AJ wasn't worth it with a raise and a call ahead of me (since inevitably at least one of those hands was AK or decent pockets). In fact, it was pretty much ABC poker. If someone built a stack, they quickly gave it back when they couldn't let go of overpairs or got rivered.

In fact, I barely played any hands. AA a couple times at that table, an QTs all-in that scared off the guy from Iowa I'd befriended on my right (he had TT, lucky me), AK a couple times, some pocket pairs that got no action. Hell, I only got to play the flop about three times. One of the AA doubled me up from an anemic 9700 chips against s00ted connectors on a flushing board. Sadly, whenever I had the chips to make a move, I'd get called mutli-ways and miss the flop entirely.

When we broke, the Iowonian and myself kept our positions in new seats. We were by far the shortest stacks at the new table. Luckily, a terrible weak player who couldn't do basic math had a good stack to give away, a lagtard decided any possibly live cards were good to call my all-ins with (he was behind both times and stayed that way), and the rest either had tells you could see from space (the old Mansion Poker hat-wearer shook like a Floridian in Toronto in February whenever he had a monster), or were able to fold crap like AJo and unimproved hands to pressure. It kept me alive, but still seldom above 10 or 12 BB.

We broke again, I won a couple more races to stay afloat. AA (my 5th) doubled me up again, only the second time they got action. We broke again to 3 tables, where I stole some blinds and bets to chip up to around 130k (which was still only an M of 7 or 8 I think). I bet with AK and got blinds, then got 77 two hands later and got re-raised all-in by a German I knew nothing about. He stared off, hands to his mouth, looking every bit like an actor... until I saw every hair standing up on end on his hand from across the table. I folded, and when I talked to a couple other guys, they outed him as a very TAG player who hadn't played anything but strong hands. A couple more orbits dropped me to 89,000 chips when the day broke.

I walked in about 3-5 minutes late on Day 2, to the cries of "Hey Hellmuth". I was in the cutoff when they started, so I wasn't too concerned, but probably would have liked to see the hands. I stole, and then doubled and were eventually down to 2 tables, with my stack still no better off than the previous afternoon. By the time we broke, I had 49,000 chips, with the blinds going to 10,000-20,000 with a 3,000 ante and 15 left. Amazingly, I got blinds and antes with a push of something decent but not phenomenal. Then I doubled with K2s against 85o. He obviously hated calling, but was getting huge odds due to my small stack. 2 on the flop, 8 on the turn, K on the river and I'm doubled again. Then I got hit by the blinds, saw another orbit of crap (32o, 42o, 96o, etc...)... then UTG I saw 72o - THE HAMMER! Oh how I almost pushed.... but I refrained, with no fold equity and all that time behind me, with only 15 left, I wasn't going to use the hammer. The BB hit me, and the cutoff and chipleader raised to 60k. I looked down at JQc and pushed over the top for 45k more. He called easily and flipped over AKo. A on the flop, Q on the turn, nothing on the river and I was out in 15th for $1000 profit.

Which turns out to be good. No taxes withheld on that amount, whereas the next level (which started at 12th I think) would have taken 1/3 after the buy-in was subtracted. Also, 16th was 300 less, so I made it past that bubble. Still, a final table shortstacked would have led to a great story of me once again coming back from oblivion to take it down.

As for the fatigue of 2 days of poker - none. I started yawning around 1:30am, but that was due to the fact it was 1:30am and I'd had about 7 or 8 hours of sleep since Thursday, and it was Saturday night. There was zero poker fatigue as far as I could tell. I suppose folding 95% of your hands makes it a lot easier from a mental standpoint. Being the shortstack also helps, as I work best under pressure, and knowing you have to do something before the blinds hit you again certainly focuses the mind.

I'll be back in December. I know the Megastacks start again in November, but I'm hoping they carry over. If not, there's always the Venetian too.


RaisingCayne said...

Nice write-up, and sounds like a good tourney experience. I'll look forward to the prospect of joining ya in December.

Dillo said...

ABC poker is fun.