Repping Deuces

Repping Deuces

Sunday, 23 February 2014

With Paul 'Action Jack' Jackson.

I was fortunate to win my seat to the £880 GPS Grand Final playing a satellite on DuskTillDawn Poker and, as is often the case in these events, I started well and had an above average stack most of the time in the early levels. I was then unfortunate to be moved from a very pleasurable and fairly straightforward table to a very difficult table with some tricky and very capable opponents.

It soon became apparent that one player in particular, who appeared to have the biggest stack at the table, was extremely likely to be in many pots with very marginal hands and appeared to be a type highly prone to spewing his stack towards anyone willing to accept it. After a fairly short time, he was moved, as the big blind at the time, from our table to another table, which was the most horrendous bad beat for the rest of us.
He was then replaced by Matt Davenport who has had a very successful poker year in 2013 and was obviously on top of his game, hardly a fair substitute from the other players’ perspectives.

Matt joined the table with about 30K, though that soon increased. I attempted to raise from early position holding 6h7h but, with impressive incompetence, put the wrong chips in and was then forced to just call for 600. Matt was the other side of the dealer and I was not sure if he’d noticed my error. He makes it 1300, essentially taking the lead in position against a mug limper (me). It’s folded around to me and I call.

My stack is 60K.

The flop is a very pleasant T-8-2, all hearts, giving me a flopped flush with a gutshot straight-flush-draw and almost always the best hand at this point. My only concern is how to get as much of his stack into the pot as possible, and I am pretty sure he will continuation-bet with a lot of his range, so it will be easy for me to extract maximum value if I allow him to bet as a required bluff – or even for value if he has a nice made-hand.

I check-call his 1,700 flop bet and the turn is a beautiful Ac, which now allows him to represent it if he does not have it. Furthermore, he may have made his hand in a way he will feel is disguised – all in all, a good card for me to help increase my chance of extracting more of his stack. I check and he bets 5,200.

At this point he has just more than a pot-sized bet left if I just call his turn bet, and, if he has no hand, any raise from me will obviously make him fold as he has no fold equity to shove over my check-raise as a bluff. If he has a made-hand, he might get it in, though my line looks very strong and I think I can extract more value by calling here and hoping for a non-heart river. The river is off suit jack which is very nice as it puts a possible broadway straight up and lots of two-pair hands with high cards, both of which he is way more likely to have than me, given the betting pattern.

I again check, expecting him to bet or shove, either with air or a lot of value hands. The weak hands he will check behind with on the river are almost always hands that would have folded to a turn check-raise, so I don’t feel this line loses any value, most of the time at least. He shoves his remaining 22K stack, I happily snap him off and he reveals the Ah9h, so I trapped him nicely!

That seriously damaged my stack and momentum and, after dwindling along for about an hour, I finally got 18BB in at Level 8 by three-bet shoving with A-Q and getting called by A-J. So I moved into Day 1B and started on a very nice feature table with the two trickiest opponents to my direct right.

In one hand, with blinds at 50/100, a player raises to 300. The player next to me on the right flats with Q-Q and the player in the small blind calls. The flop is 2-2-J (I folded a suited deuce like a nit). It’s checked to the player on my right who bets. The small blind player raises, it’s folded back and the bettor calls. The turn is a ten and the small blind bets 2,200, which is called. The river is another deuce (FML), and the small blind bets 3,300. The player next to me eventually calls and the bettor asks, “Have you got a pair?” and, answered in the affirmative, folds, so I guess he thought he was repping a deuce.

The table station seriously stationed one player and the very next hand did the same to the decent player to my right who got three streets of value with K-J on a king-high flop, for a total of about 100 big blinds profit. I guess that’s a bit like crazy people not knowing they are crazy – a station doesn’t know he’s a station so can’t rationalise that a good player in that spot will mostly always have it (through fear and expectation of being stationed).

Then followed a sustained period of combo hand-dead and run-bad which saw my stack move down to 24K, although, with quite a nice table, that wasn’t too worrying, just a little frustrating. At least I had the dubious pleasure of listening to the oracle of all poker wisdom and strategy giving everyone the benefit of his knowledge on an amazingly regular basis. The overall experience during this time period was like being a child in the corridor between two glass rooms each containing a Santa’s grotto. I had to suffer the pain of watching Santa giving out presents to multiple smiling-faced children on both sides and, with no doors, all I could do was watch demoralised and presentless.

Add to that the fact that every time I made a move I found my opponents at the top of their ranges (even when an apparent scare card came it ended up being one that improved opponents’ hands), it was not a good period of time for my chip graph, although it was a good one for the chances of an early trip down the M1 and for watching Soccer AM from home the following morning.

I get down to 12k. 40BB should be plenty to play with, even though the stack is well below average, but I allow impatience and frustration to get the better of me and three-bet shove, get it through and show 7-3. Like a set-up from the gods, the very next hand I get aces, raise and everyone folds. I then go for the UTG all-in 45BB shove before the cards are dealt which I execute with 2-4 offsuit only to get called and beat by a dominating hand.

I decided to re-enter and, despite moving three tables away, was still forced to endure the logic and knowledge of the oracle. At least I ran better, though, and at Level 5 was up to about 50K (blinds 200/400). At the end of Level 5 I had a juicy 80K, then went three levels without winning a hand and went down to 54K.

It is quite amazing how bad it gets when it starts going wrong. I raise with J-J, get called by A-J and it flops ace-high. I three-bet twice and get cold-shoved-on behind both times and generally everything goes badly, in contrast to those golden runs where it all goes well for you.
It’s also strange how so many experienced poker players are well aware of being in that “zone” and yet refuse to adjust their decisions to any extent simply because of “mathematics”, refusing to acknowledge any impact of "form" over EV (even allowing for the inherent guesswork in most EV calculations).

I managed to get back on track and finished the day with 76,000 which was a very adequate just-under-average stack. What was less than adequate was my decision to allow my friends to ply me with Grey Goose afterwards, leaving the casino at 3am, and an average night’s sleep was interrupted only by a 5am trip to try to be sick in the toilet.

Fortunately Ben phoned me 55 minutes before Day 2 started and woke me up, so I had a decent chance of making the start on time. I may as well have stayed in bed and recovered as I didn’t get going, and eventually moved to a tough table with just 30K stack (although still with 30BB, such is the quality of the GPS structure). This table included Devilfish and Ben Vinson who kindly asked me if I had just bought in.

I struggled along finding virtually no premium hands or decent spots and eventually spent a couple of hours nursing a 10BB stack (Ben was in about the same position as me). I eventually got it in with K-J, running into A-Q, which was a decent spot – having shoved and got called I was hardly ever going to have the best hand, so to not be dominated was the next best thing to being lucky enough to have a flip versus an under-pair.

I didn’t improve and went out about 15 spots short of a min-cash. Ah well, Ben managed to cash in 23rd for and the tournament was won by Richard Milner, who took home a juicy £40,086.

Tags: Paul Jackson, strategy