Tonight, in my continued preparation for the tournaments this summer, I played the $255 buyin Deep Stack tournament at Hustler. It is a pretty well run tournament that starts each player off with 5000 in chips @ 25 -50 blinds. The only down side to this is the rounds are fairly quick at 25 minutes. This edition of the tournament saw a healthy turnout of 113 players. I feel as though that's a very managable number of players as far as my ability to win and have it be worthwhile. Less than 80 players and the prize pool is too shallow to allow anything less than top 2 and more than 300 players (without better structure requirements) requires a much greater luck factor than is indicative to tournaments to begin with.
This tournament, however, didn't go well at all for me. To begin with, my table was full of maniacal idiots. Which is usually a good thing except when you are card dead. I got a bad beat early that lost me 600 in the 25-50 stage. I was in the BB with 10 6 and five people limped in, the SB completed, and I checked. So we saw the 7 (!) handed flop with 350 chips in the middle. Flop comes Js 10s 6h. SB checked and I decided to check because I really felt that even an overbet here would elicit 2+ calls and then I would need a very bricky card to come on the turn for me to push on. I don't want to see an A, Q, K, J, 9, 8, 7 or spade. So I checked. It checked around to a guy in middle position who bet out 175. The guy directly behind him (who I had already learned was a complete and utter dumbass) raises to 575. It folded back to me and I elected to just call here. Again, with 5K starting stacks I think it is better to call here rather than reraise or push. For one thing, its early and my hand is super vulnerable. Secondly, I know I am up against a loose bad player who very well may not lay down his QJ here for a 4200 rereraise. QJ or similar hand is still about 25% against my hand and thats not discounting the original bettor's calling intentions with any sorts of draws. Yes, against more skilled opposition I would be more likely to push here because AJ, QK, or even an unlikely QQ would be able to easily fold knowing they were behind. But against a player who I had already seen demonstrate his lack of understanding there is little upside to taking on more unnecessary risk with a vulnerable hand early in the tournament. I felt as though I could have found better spots to get it all in. For instance, if a safe card comes on the turn then I would feel much more comfortable about getting it all in as all his possible hands that aren't ahead of me (such as J10 or an unlikely 66) now are way behind mathematically with just one card to come that the payoff is now justified for the diminished risk. That being said, I called the 575 and the original bettor called as well. The turn brough the beautiful Jc and I checked, Original bettor checked, and raiser turbo bet out 1500. Of course, I folded my dead 3 pair hand and the original bettor calls. River comes 3h. Original bettor checks and raiser instantaneously goes all in for 2K more and bettor takes 10 seconds to call with AJ on the JJ 10 6 3 board. The all in guy's hand? K 10, of course. I was never really in doubt that I had the best hand on the flop but I was fighting the vulnerability of my holding and the "accidental" equity that the raiser's range held against me. So my first place holding on the flop immediately went to 3rd place on the turn. Surprisingly enough, the J is the only card in the deck that puts me behind both players.
After that hand, I didn't get a hand for a solid hour. I blinded off a bunch and lost a few tiny bets (limping with 33, raising with KQoff and getting reraised 8K over my 300 bet preflop). This was not a table where you could steal or try to win some small ball pots. Every pot was 3+ to the flop and I mean every pot. Not once did we not see a flop. I think the deep stack structure gives people more confidence to play flops. Which is great for me because the people REALLY REALLY sucked after the flop but it required hands. There was such unbelievable value waiting for any hand that made it but no chances to outplay people with marginal holdings appeared. It essentially became a game of patience. Luckily, I had that in spades but I kept getting blinded down without having won a single chip. Then in 2nd position I pick up AsAc. Since I had been folding for the last hour I decided to limp/reraise as my early position raise probably would have been given more credit than I would have liked. The blinds were only 100-200 ante 25 and I was in no mood to just win the 550 out there. So I limped and, of course, tons of other people limped as well giving us 6 people to the flop. Naturally, the 6 handed 1450 pot came out as bad as it could for my hand Qd 9d 5d. It got checked all the way around which was a good sign. The turn was an innocuous 3c and the SB bet out a pithy 500. I only had 2500 left and I decided there was no way he had a flush and I shipped it and prayed not to get called by anyone except QKd which i doubted was out there. No callers. Finally, I won a pot and got almost even with the starting stack. The next hand I get another playable hand!!!! Woohoo. KhQh Under the Gun. I thought about raising here but again, I was going to get 3+ callers and I didn't want to have to show weakness if i missed. It may sound like I am playing timidly in this tournament but I kid you not outside of the last hand this was a showdown poker table. So any continuation bet wouldn't work and I would be forced to make a hand out of position. So I limped and again we got a 6 handed 1450 chip flop. Apparently the dealer had a thing for flushes because the board came out Ks 7s 4s. The two blinds checked and I decided I was going to try and win two hands in a row and bet out 800. I got everyone to fold except one guy who I had observed to play really oddly. The turn came a dispicable Qs. So now the board is Ks Qs 7s 4s and I have KhQh. I checked to him and he made a tiny bet of 700 into the 3050 pot. Getting over 5:1 to call with my 4 out boat draw I called. Turn bricked out the 10h and I checked again. He made the same 700 chip bet on the river. So I had to call 700 to win 5150! Such a huge disparity really irked me. I was getting better than 7:1 but of course his chances of having a flush were so high that I really didn't think he was bluffing. I folded in disgust and of course he showed me the 7d 6h. Obviously, I think I have to call there as only the As or the Js has the balls to bet just 700 on the river begging for a call. The Js can do it because it is quite unlikely that I would have the As and check the river.
Then again, I felt like an idiot folding given that price and would have felt like an idiot if I had called and been shown the As3d. So I was damned if you do, damned if you don't but needless to say, a "bad" call there would have lifted me up to close to 8K which would have been an average (and formidable) stack in the tournament. Instead, I was reduced to a baby stack at around 3100. The blinds went up to 150-300 with a 50 ante and I was getting hit hard quickly with that 50 a hand. I folded for another 1.5 orbits because I couldn't get a hand and there was always a raise or limps before me so I couldn't just push/steal with fold equity. Then I get 3s 6s in 3rd position when I only have 2000 chips left and the pot is 950. I had a super tight image, the blinds were both tight/weak players, and because very few of these people understood Ms or tournament math I felt I could steal this pot and survive another orbit and maybe pick up a few more pots uncontested. Of course, my all in gets called by both AK and QQ and I lose. I busted in 70th place out of 113. The tournament paid out 18 places for the final two 9 handed tables.
The tournament overall I think is a great value as the vast majority of players are so horrible and the stacks are deep enough to be patient. The quick rounds are a bit of a pressure so you have to capitalize in the first 4 rounds to have some buffer chips in order to go far. I will probably play this tournament a couple more times before vegas.
It also didn't hurt that I went and sat in the $300-$500 buyin 5-5 blind cash game and killed it for $1400+. That always makes the soul feel better after a tournament bustout.