In last post seven weeks ago I commented how soft the live cash game was at the Vic and how I looked forward to making large amounts of moolah from the fish there. If only! Things deviated slightly from plan this month, only to end up surprisingly better in the end.
As I mentioned before, the £1-£2 cash game proved lucrative during July, resulting in a total profit of £1,300 by month’s end. In addition, I had gone to the casino enough times to qualify for the loyalty tournament.
They run a strange system at the Vic where £0.50 of every pot over £20 goes towards an end of month freeroll tournament. The 100 most active cash game players get invited to play, with the next 15 being offered a place for £115 and the remainder being opened up for £250 a pop. Overall, though, that is a hell of a lot of fifty pence pieces going into the pot as it counts on every cash poker table in the casino. The final tally usually heads north of thirty grand and it only takes around 12 visits of anything over twenty minutes a day to get you into the tourney as one of the freerolling 100! As I said, I qualified for the tournament in July and ended up getting absolutely nowhere, losing a substantial stack when a KK and a TT got destroyed and finally getting knocked out in about 50th place out of 130. Eventually the remaining players made a huge deal with 16 left and each walked off with £1.1k.
Then August came around and it all went a bit wrong. I buy in for £100 at a time although the maximum buy in on a table is £400 and some people just throw their money around for fun at these stakes. And that’s what killed me. because although you can play good poker, that random factor known as variance can quite easily run against you for long enough for things to start hurting. I was getting outdrawn by the world and his wife, usually whilst solidly ahead, and usually enough to make me regret walking into the casino at all. It came to a head last weekend when, over the course of a day, every time I was dealt an AK I ended up getting beaten, often by other people holding worse aces. That is some serious bad luck.
With the baby on the way I decided to stop playing at the casino once the freeroll qualification period had ended (the second-to-last Sunday in the month, with the tournament held the following week on the final Sunday.) sure enough, by the end of my run I had taken a serious beating and had lost nearly £900 of my profits from the previous month.
But again, I had qualified for the tournament. My final trip to the casino this year. Time to make it count.
Now, I do not like the tournament structures at the Vic. The starting levels are too fast at 20 minutes per level, so before long it is a turbo tournament where the only way to stay ahead of the game is to shove and pray. After the first two hours the clock goes to 30 minute levels but by then the damage is often done. I trickled down a few grand from my starting 10k stack, lost a couple of speculative hands, and very quickly found myself at the shoving stage with only 5k left and some very nasty blinds running around the table and antes.
That’s when the magic began. Four pairs of aces later and I was on the final table.
And only the first of those three were mine!
The first ones doubled me up to 12k. A pair of eights a few hands later and I was called by aces two seats to my right only to see an eight spike on the third flop card, removing my opponent from the tournament. Then exactly the same again ten hands later, with eights, same opponent slot, and same third flop spike!
The bubble (the last position you can get knocked out of the tournament without winning anything) is quite high in the freerolls, with only 132 players and 26 places paying out. But if a deal is to be made then everyone in the tournament has to agree, and a couple of people were not up for it so we played on.
Bubble play and beyond is an interesting beast. Chapters have been written on it as it is an extremely profitable point to start attempting to extract as much money from the other players as possible. Psychologically speaking, people see that leap from no money to some money (or £300 as it was last night) and freeze up as they do not want to get knocked out with nothing when the cash is so close. But if you have your sights aimed higher you can push people about and grab more chips from them. Of course, in last night’s game as I have previously mentioned the blinds were rising so fast that it was all one could do to stay ahead of the rapidly increasing levels but the theory held sound and I, somehow, made a few more chips than I started with, avoided all the really bad plays, and eventually made it through to the final table as the second smallest chip stack.
There were 1.2 million chips in play and one player had 450k of them. In fact the final table should have been ten players but he’d knocked two out at the same time and so we were nine handed and guaranteed £700 for ninth place. But the first prize was £7.6k and with his stack size there was no way we were getting a deal agreed at this stage. On we played.
I fibbed a little. It was only three key pairs of aces to get to the final table. The fourth happened with eight of us left in (the smallest stack got killed quickly leaving me with a huge target painted on my forehead). The blinds were already up at 6k/12k with 1k antes and I had a paltry 35k left. A limp in front of me, a pair of nines in hand and I shoved my stack in to two callers who showed a horrific AA and JJ.
And the 9 on the flop’s first card held up! Hallelujah!
120k and life just got interesting.
Some judicious shoving with some entirely questionable hands (A7o?) kept me alive, a few more people were knocked out and before long we were down to 3 players. And still we could not agree a deal. The large stack still was the large stack with 700k, I had 350k and the final 150k was on my right. The blinds were 20k/10k with 2k antes.
I took 100k off the big stack with A9 hitting an A on the turn and a fold from the big stack. And then the button hit me and gave me a K4o. Plenty good enough at this stage with these antes. I shoved. the big stack folded and the short stack called with AQo. Not the best match up but two live cards and I was only a 2:1 dog. A 4 arrived on the flop, held up, and we were down to 2 men.
And with equal stack sizes at about 600k a piece we could finally make a deal.
First and second place paid a combined total of £12,737. We gave £237 to the dealer’s tips fund and walked off with £6,250 each, tax free.
Which was nice.
A good end to a mediocre run. I can’t say I played particularly well and I definitely got lucky a few times but nobody ever won a tournament without getting lucky. I didn’t notice any particular tells on my opponents, but then again I was not really looking which was poor. There was a small possibility my T-shirt may have had an effect but I will talk about that some other time. Overall, I think I will just take the result as it stands and concentrate on being a dad for the rest of the year.
Unless I end up qualifying for EPT London at the end of September, of course. But lets not hold our breaths about that just yet…