Aces vs Kings--MGM Invitational Edition

This is part 2 of the post I started last time (see here) and picks up right where the last post ended.

The next day, my plan to easily pick up three more hours of play for the freeroll ran into a roadblock.  I got “stuck” playing in the Aria 1PM tournament for nearly 9-1/2 hours.  As you can imagine, that was actually a very good thing, and in the near future I will do what I’m sure will be a multi-part post giving all the glorious details of that tournament.  But for now all you need to know is that I left the Aria at around 10:30 PM with a wallet I could barely close and my brain totally fried from all that poker.  Also from having to finally eat on the last break—shoving two slices of pizza down my throat in less than 8 minutes. 

I was in no condition to play poker for three more minutes, let alone three hours.  The smart thing to do would have been to go back to my room and hit the sheets, or perhaps go over to MGM just to regale my buddies in the tale of my Aria score.  And then avoided actually playing poker and just enjoyed the scenery provided by all the pretty young ladies going to the club in dresses that would surely give their fathers a heart attack if they ever saw them.

But no, no, I was stupidly fixated on getting that damn $400 from the freeroll.  Even in my frazzled state, I knew my odds weren’t very good of cashing without that extra 5K in starting chips that was only three hours of play away. 

So even though it meant playing poker until past 2AM the night before having to get up way early to play at 10AM, I did indeed get into a cash game at MGM to make my 30 hours.

It was a bad idea on so many levels.

Did I mention my brain was fried?  There was no way I was capable of playing good poker.  My brain shut off as soon the tournament at Aria ended.  I got into that game with one intention only—try to get thru the next three hours as cheaply and as safely as possible.  I became a total nit--even nitty for me.  I don’t think I raised once.  I would have only raised with AA, KK or AK and I never saw those hands.  I limped in with pocket pairs, suited connectors, suited Aces—hands that I routinely raise with now.  I didn’t want to put chips in play if I didn’t have to.  I tried to play only “no-brainer” hands because my brain was not functioning properly.

Actually, proof that my brain was not functioning was that I was playing at all.

Playing the way I was playing was pretty much a guarantee of losing.  Perhaps not as much as I might have lost playing “normal”—but I really wasn’t giving myself a chance to win anything.

In the three hours, I sat there, zombie-like, slowly seeing chips disappear from my stack.

I swear, if I had gotten to the poker room at 7 or 8, I would have played my normal game. I wasn’t playing so tight stupid because I was just playing for the three hours.  It was the exhaustion I was suffering from the tournament.  And the fact that I was only playing to get my hours in for the freeroll.   

I didn’t write down a single hand from the session.  Partly because I didn’t have a memorable hand (good or bad), partly because I was likely incapable of holding a pen properly.

I do want to mention one of the guys at my table.  He was a reg, had a huge stack.  When I first played with him this trip, I vaguely recognized him, and I assumed I had played with him maybe once or twice before.  But all through the month of December I saw him more and more, maybe every time I was at MGM. Played with him some, but if not, saw him at another table.  When I first noticed him he was fairly aggro.  But the last few times I played with him, although he usually had a big stack, he played very few hands and it seemed like he played them passively.

At one point, he got up to check his hours.  When he came back, he said, “Well, I made it….75 hours this week. “  I said, “So, you’re gonna start the freeroll with $25,000 in chips?”  He nodded.  “You won’t have to play a single hand, will you?”  “No, I guess not.”

Then I noticed he wasn’t racking up his chips.  This was well past midnite.  I said to him, “Aren’t you gonna leave?  You don’t have enough time to get another 15 hours anyway.”  No, he said.  “Where else am I gonna go?”

I dunno, why not home for a few hours of sleep?  In fact, later (or it may have been earlier) when I complained about being able to get so little sleep before the freeroll, he said to me, “Why even go home, just stay here and play until it starts?”  Umm…..not a good idea.  I would probably pass out before the freeroll started and miss it.

I kept looking at my watch.  When it finally reached 2AM I got up and checked my hours.  It was just slightly over 30 hours.  Phew.  I was done  I picked up what was left of my chips and cashed out.  I had “only” lost $115 trying to make my hours.  In my mind then, that $115 was coming out of the $400 I was going to earn the next day.  Because I never would have lost that $115 if I wasn’t going for the freeroll.

Somehow, I managed to drive back to my room and fall into bed—after setting the alarm so I could wake up early enough to play poker at 10AM the next day.  Which, honestly, is absurd.  Playing poker is not something you should have to set the alarm for.

And then, for some reason, exhausted as I was, I couldn’t fall asleep.  Perhaps I was overtired.  Or I was thinking too much of how stupid it was to have played those last three hours of poker.  Maybe I was thinking of the success I had had at Aria when my brain was still functioning.  But for whatever reason, I couldn’t fall asleep.

I finally did, but it was only about three hours before the alarm went off, reminding me that I had a poker tournament to play in and $400 to win.  I dragged my ass out of bed and into the shower, and then ate breakfast, and managed to get to the MGM at 9:30 or so.  Amazingly, I didn’t feel too tired and I wasn’t sleepy.

As my starting table assembled, I didn't get the table draw I was hoping for. I was hoping that at least half the players would actually have mega-starting stacks (20K or more) so they wouldn’t have any incentive to actually play.  A good alternative would be that most of the stacks would be the 5K minimum and my 10K stack would be the big stack at the table.

But it was not favorable in either direction.  There was only one guy who had a 20K stack.  He was a guy I recognized and knew I had played with this trip, but I honestly couldn’t remember his play at all.  I suspect he got all those hours playing rather tight to make the hours.

There were two players who had 15K starting stacks.  To my mind, that was the worst possible starting stack to be up against.  It wasn’t quite big enough so that they could fold their way to the money; they’d have to play poker.  But they were starting with 50% more chips than me right from the get-go.  Two more players had the same 10K stack as me, and three had just the minimum 5K stack.

I studied the table, noting all the stacks and what it meant for each player and how I needed to adjust my play to deal with it all,  Having decided to play in the freeroll despite my reservations, it was on me to make my adjustments.

Still, I could play some poker and get the money.  They only had 47 players, so all I had to do was outlast half the field.  I didn’t check and they didn’t post it, so I wondered how many players started with more chips than I did?  Twenty-five or more?  Not likely.  But quite a few, for sure.

The very first hand of the tournament, I raised with King-Queen offsuit and was immediately three-bet (by one of the players with 15K.  Damn.  I called and had to let it go when I whiffed on the flop.

Before the first level was over, I found myself looking down at the dreaded pocket Kings.  My Kryptonite hand had actually been good to me at the Aria tournament the day before.  A lady who had only started with the minimum stack raised.  It was a big raise compared to her stack. I three-bet shoved, of course.  She thought for a bit, then said, very reluctantly, I thought, “Well, I have to call.”

No shit.  She turned over pocket Aces!  I really thought the way she said it, she was saying that because of stack size and her bet she had to call, and not because she had the best damn starting hand in poker and you dream of having some dumb schmuck shove into those Aces with a shitty hand like pocket Kings.

The Aces held, I lost half my stack—the half that I played those last three hours the night before to get.

I was not amused.  Now short stacked, I got super aggressive.  But I did slow up once.  I raised with Ace-King and an older gentleman I had played a lot of cash with three-bet me.  It was the second level so I wasn’t completely desperate quite yet.  I knew this player was unlikely to three-bet me with anything less than Aces or Kings.  I was absolutely sure of it.  So I let it go.  He didn’t show, but he said he had pocket Aces and I am sure he did.

I could only add a few chips to my stack by being aggro.  By the fourth or five level, my stack had gone from around 4500 when I had the Kings to about 5300.  At that point, it was definitely fold or shove mode.  I had Ace-9 in the big blind.  It folded to the small blind who had raised.  He had started with 15K and had at least 2-1/2 times my stack.  I felt it was very likely he was making a move based on it being blind vs. blind.  So I shoved.

He tanked, a good sign.  He didn’t have Aces.  Or Kings.  He asked for a count and then finally said, “Call.”  He flipped over Ace-King.  I was drawing thin.  Then, to rub it in, a King hit the turn.  Ok, ok….I knew I was behind.  But as long as one of our kickers was going to hit, it could have just as easily been the 9, no?

I was out.  In less than an hour.  Ugh.  I managed to grab some lunch, head back to my room (mostly awake) and then went back to bed.  I slept away the afternoon.  Pretty much ruined the whole day by playing in for the freeroll money. 

Of course, I had only myself to blame.  It was my own poor decisions that got me here.  I should never have played those three hours the night before, or set the alarm for the wee hours of Sunday morning.  I should have been happy with my big score at the Aria the day before and slept in on Sunday.

So I blame myself.  

Lesson learned.  Don't chase promo money when you're dead tired. 

Note: I thought the pic below had a tie-in to this post, but in researching it I think it does not have any connection.  But I like the pic so I'm running it anyway.

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Aces vs Kings--MGM Invitational Edition
Aces vs Kings--MGM Invitational Edition
Reviewed by just4u
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Rating : 4.5