Caesar’s Palace

Played two $340 tournaments at Caesars. Sam got a good result in one of those, finishing just inside the bubble for $1500. I bust out of that tournament in a good old fashioned way, running Jacks into Aces when stacks were not deep enough to get away from it.

A couple of days previously I had made a bad mistake when I bust out of the tournament in a similar fashion, running pocket tens into Aces in a blind v blind situation. In each situation I had raised, the big blind reraised and I shoved. The effective stack sizes were about the same, 20 big blinds, but the situations were very different.

i) Holding JJ v AA, I had no reads on the player. Holding TT v AA, I had a specific profile of the player which strongly suggested she would not raise with less than QQ and probably would just flat call AK.

ii) JJ is a much better hand than TT.

My problem was that I played the TT in an internet kind of way, already having decided to shove to a re-raise without taking the time to properly assess the situation and use the observations I had carefully accumulated. While the JJ hand was an automatic shove, the TT was an easy fold.

This is the kind of stuff I wanted to get sorted before playing the Main Event. Sam reminded me of a useful and obvious tell in live games – a player looking at his chips immediately after he has looked at his cards. Of course this means they like their cards and want to bet. My lack of awareness of this kind of stuff is quite bad. For example, during a recent cash game I raised preflop and was called by the big blind. When the flop came down she looked down at her chips, her hand moved towards her chips, then she checked. I bet and she raised. She could hardly have made her intentions more obvious. Yet, because I had already made a plan to bet the flop I did not take into account what I saw. I was not ready to change my plan. I did not take the extra time to use these on-the-spot observations you have in the live game.

It was good to see Sam get a result, and his good luck continued later on that day when I bought him a fine steak dinner in the Venetian with a good bottle of Pinot Noir. The perfect prelude to a Vegas show. How generous of me to treat him to a dinner, you might say, but why was it I that picked up the tab? When Sam had just won $1500? Well, it was because I lost the coin-flip. That one flip swung him way in the black, after losing the three previous ones for piss-pot burgers and buffets. Also he suddenly decided to be really good at pool when we started betting $10 per game.

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