Slovenia Deep Stack
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
By Paul Jackson
I was really looking forward to going back to Slovenia for the D4 Events Mediterranean Deep Stack in the lovely Portoroz area of Slovenia. The tournament structure is superb, as is always the case with the D4 Deep Stacks, and this time I had with me a 20-odd player team of Bankrollsupply players, and also a couple of qualifiers who had won seats in the free-to-enter satellites on Poker Encore.
I was all ready to have a great holiday and play a great tournament where the only need to lump in your stack like a monkey was if you were a monkey that likes to lump your stack in.
I had high hopes of the Bankrollsupply players as some of our top tournament players were there and, with such a great structure against very average opponents, a decent result seemed very achievable.
Early on, with a 50,000 starting stack and blinds at 50/100, a monster hand developed between three players with around 8,000 in the pot pre-flop. The flop was 9-8-5, with one player having 8-8, one having flopped the nuts holding 6-7 (your guess is as good as mine as to how he contributed about 30 BB into the pot pre-flop in this format holding 6-7) and an even stranger player who eventually made a good fold with 9-5. Obviously the other two had no choice but to get their 500 big blinds into the pot.
In one hand, on the river, a player bet 5,000 (50 big blinds), is re-raised to 12,000 and calls. The re-raiser reluctantly shows bottom pair and the caller mucks.
Under these circumstances, my starting table appeared disappointingly tight and solid, and you needed to flop at least a set to have any realistic chance of properly catching someone. In this event, to find three solid players on your table was a bad beat, let alone eight.
Fortunately, partway through level 2, Nick Slade (who has flair levels well above his age) joined the table and his stack roller-coastered from 50k to 30k and back up to 60k all within his first level of play.
Nick went around table one at time to establish the nationality of each player, then proceeded to try to tilt each one accordingly. Of course, it’s not as if Italians need much encouragement to play like they are on tilt. In another hand, I raised from 150 to 400 with AhKh on a ThJh-x flop, but I still managed to lose the pot to the Italian gentleman who called my raise with J-4 off.
It was interesting to watch some of the younger “internet kids” play live. As Nick observed, they are often “disconnected” from the table dynamic and also tend not to look at opponents for reads. Neither do they watch the action or their opponents when they aren’t in a hand, and seem to have the unfortunate modern habit of employing standard routines and rules for almost all decisions.
It’s like kids at school not being allowed to lose at anything so they don’t feel like losers or unloved by their mummies. Basing every decision on nothing but a theoretical expected value calculation (usually calculated by someone else they don’t know) means that, when they get it wrong, it’s not their fault and they can sleep better at night knowing they didn’t make a mistake and they were not personally responsible for their failure. If you spend your life making standard plays, it takes the pain from making errors.
Having said that, if they were as good as some of the new young British players out there, who do so much more than just that, some of us might have to get proper jobs.
Anyway, back to the poker. I have 8-9 in the big blind and it’s folded to the button, who raises and I call. The flop s a fairly pleasant 6-T-Q, giving me a nicely-disguised double belly-buster.
I check-raise the flop and my opponent calls a little too quickly. The turn is a fairly enjoyable seven. I lead and he calls. I think he may have an over-pair, at least, and so an innocuous looking five on the river was nice to see. I figured that he either has no hand or, most likely, a strong hand. He had checked behind a few times after raising pre-flop and missing the flop, so he was quite likely to have a real hand and unlikely to let me to successfully try to catch a river bluff, so I decided the best value option would be to over-bet the river and do my best to look worried about him calling, which I did and even added a bonus chip fumble, as if trying to unsuccessfully look confident when really nervous. As it turned out, he called with top two pair and I think he was always going to call so it was ultimately a wasted fumble.
After the first break, the game restarts with only four players at the table and I am dealt a lovely K-K. So, no one is going to believe me here because I easily could be stealing the blinds of the players not yet returned. After raising and getting one caller, a flop of 3-6-6 seemed quite nice and I decide to check to extract maximum value. My opponent bets small I call, reluctantly, and then bet and call his virtual min-raise bet after the five comes on the turn. After a safe-looking river queen, I check again, he bets again and I call, not expecting him to have any hand that could call a re-raise that I am beating. This was a decent decision as he showed pocket threes for a flopped full house. A pity he wasn’t one of the five players that had not made it back in time to play his hand.
Another hand saw me calling a pre-flop raise with 6s2s, along with four other callers. The flop is K-T-9 with two spades. A tight player leads for about half the pot. He is called by the pre-flop raiser and I call also. The turn is an off-suit jack and we all check. The river is an off suit ace and the tight player bets 2,600 into a 14,000 pot. The pre-flop raiser calls and I think he most likely has A-T. I get out 15k to re-raise, as I am sure the tight player will fold, but just can't quite convince myself the other player is good enough to fold and I bottle it. They both had two-pair. On balance I think I would have got it through if my balls had been slightly more robust or I had been 25 years younger.
In another interesting hand, Karl raises and I sneakily cold-call with K-K on a king-high broken flop and ultimately lose to the player on the button who had over-called with J-Q and was obviously unable to fold his flopped monster gutshot, calling both flop and turn bets. After this, whenever I was on the button I had every variable required to play any hand: position and tilt.
A few hands later, Mr Gutshot 3-bets Karl who calls and flops a set of nines to crack My Gutshot’s aces, and I have the pleasure of listening to Mr Gutshot telling everyone how unlucky he is.
As if there was any doubt regarding karma, Ben Jackson (my son who had joined the table) raises and I flat with J-J. Mr Gutshot (who has about half my stack in chips then 3-bets and, after Ben folds, I set him in and he smugly flips over another pair of aces. The door card was a sweet jack, which holds, and I try to explain karma to him but I don't think he was listening. I doubt I could have derived more pleasure even from one of the lap-dancing waitresses.
Proper degenerate poker players play for the pain of the lows and the joy of sweet, sweet moments like that.
Karl later rejoined the table using a tub of Vaseline as a card protector which seemed quite appropriate, all in all.
There was a Swiss pro there who played very well, if you think limp-calling for a quarter of his stack and check-folding the flop is optimal. But he learnt his lesson from that and next hand limp-folded for 1k from a 9k stack.
A local accused those wearing Bankrollsupply badges (there were four of us at the table) of collusion, after having just moved to the table and having had only two hands dealt to him, neither of which was won by a Bankrollsupply player.
The very next hand he limps with what I think was aces. I check the big blind option with Q-3, which turns into two-pair on the flop, and I check-raise him. I lead a blank turn and over-bet big when filling up on the river (with a three which would seem like a great card to him if he had an over pair). He pays me off for instant karma. After the hand I called for the floor because he was passing me chips, but he didn't appreciate the humour.
After a very promising start, the Bankrollsupply players fell away, much like Arsenal Football Club most years, although I went into Day 2 with 152k with an average 88k and 85 players left.
The day started nicely when after I over-limped with 8-8 and the player in the small blind decided to open-ship for four times the pot with Q-8 on a 8-5-2 flop. I didn't think I started off too aggro, but I ran so well in early stages that after 16 minutes I open-folded UTG and the dealer said to me “Are you sure?”
I was then moved next to a wannabe 1970 porn star – full dress gear, plus moustache and little chin beard – who was very tight, in the way he played poker at least.
In one hand it was folded to him in the small blind (blinds 1,200/2,400) and he open-shoves 75k. I fold, he shows T-T. The other times, when folded to him in the small blind to my big blind, he gave me walks or, on one later occasion, open-shoves 80k, showing K-K.
Another hand, I raise to 12k (blinds 2,500/5,000) with 5-5 and get three callers. The flop is a horrible 7-7-8. It’s checked to me and I take a 17k stab, getting one call from a player that has apparently played like a nit, even limping late with mid-pairs. The turn is a six, so I am now beating nothing but an air-float which, as his past play suggests, can't happen.
We both check the turn and the river is four, giving me a straight. He bets 35k and I call hoping he has just 7-7-7, which I think is the worst hand he would have played this way. He has Q-T off, which I found interesting.
With 20 left and blinds at 5k/10k, the average was 360k and every contested raised pot vital. Unfortunately, I lost a 300k pot all in pre-, with QQ to A-J, followed shortly afterwards by a 150k pot, with J-J to A-4. I ended up cashing for a small profit, and one Bankrollsupply player made the final table. So, financially, it wasn’t a disaster but most importantly we all had a great time and a great holiday.