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Inside the Poker Tour – 67 – From the LA Poker Classic

Inside the Poker Tour – 67 – From the LA Poker Classic 0001

The 2007 LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Club, almost in Los Angeles proper, is off to a screaming start as they decided to limit the first event to 900 players and many more gave up on getting in, although there was a line that stretched for one hundred yards or more just to get in as an alternate. 1220 was the number of runners that they settled on and put up on the screen although I imagine it could have been over 1500 if the system had allowed it! There are a lot of events in which organizers are trying to cash in on the 'poker boom' of today but more and more we see the flagship events drawing record fields whilst lesser tournaments are poorly attended and fall by the wayside. The good parts of the LAPC is that now events are two or more days long and that play is for 12 hours on day one.

The bad parts? Well, with the sheer volume of players it seems as if some of these big tournaments use these events as a free audition for dealers, with some that are totally incompetent still appearing, taking a lot of energy from the players and staff as they create scenarios like the following three: at the first level on the second hand dealt I have the big blind position [we start with 1500 in chips and 25-25 blinds] and the dealer goes right on past the button for two cards extra delivered to the blinds and the third card dangling off the deck in preparation for delivery so that only the 9 and 10, 1 and 2 seats can see it [if they are looking!], at which point, with about four players crying out, "whoa!" the dealer stops and hurriedly picks up the two extra cards but putting them back onto the deck in reverse order! so that one third of the flop is now a burn card and one third of the flop is now what should have been a burn card. This should have been declared a mis-deal, of course, as most houses have a rule when two extra cards come off the deck the hand is re-dealt, but I know that the fellow does not speak English well and that holding up the game and trying to explain the rules and waiting for an overly-busy floorperson is all going to be very time consuming for almost no reason and so I say nothing. Now when I was younger I would have gotten it all straight and even now would back up anyone else who might object, but I let it go. So six players limp and both of us blinds check as well. The flop comes {9-Spades}{2-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} and it is checked around, a {6-Clubs} comes off and the little blind bets 225 with me mucking my {7-Clubs}{3-Spades} and one player in the field calling. The river brings a {4-Hearts} and the small blind checks with the field player fumbling around and betting 600 after a moment and the little blind called. The field showed {2-Clubs}{2-Spades} for quads [he would have flopped what would likely have been a winning set if the correct flop had been given, but might have gotten a lot less action--we will never know] and the little blind mucked what he claimed were pocket queens, but what I have to guess was Q 9. "Why did you leave me with so much?" he asked his opponent in a friendly enough way.

About three hands later an early position player tossed a one hundred dollar chip into the pot off his big stack and the following player asked if that was a raise, the dealer says "It is one hundred to go." authoritatively and the woman player tossing in her one hundred dollar chip and saying "call" at the same moment I am asking the dealer if the first player said 'raise', in an effort to avoid the problems that follow; seat three mucks and the dealer says "no" but motions to all the other choices of chips the player had in front of him! "That's nice," I said, "but we are not mind-readers here so how can that be a raise?" with several other players piping up about how it should be only a call. "Wait a minute," says the woman who has called one hundred in the next seat, "If his bet is only a call, then I raise it to 100, how can I be punished when I specifically asked the dealer how much it was? I raise it to 100!" "Oh, no," several players yet to act said, "you specifically said 'call' so that is all you can do!" "I don't know the answer, we had better call for a floorperson!" I answered. I did not know the answer then and I do not know the answer now, any input? The outcome was humorous as it was very hard to get a floorperson, or to get them to understand the problems when they wanted to rush away and insert another alternate into the tournament, and so they quickly and dismissively said it was still a quarter to call to the following players of which many limped. The flop came {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{10-Hearts} and when it got to the [non]raiser he made it 500 to go! and the woman immediately went all-in with everyone mucking their hand back to the original [non]raiser who called immediately and turned over {a-Spades}{j-Diamonds} for the nuts, but he was against {a-Clubs}{j-Clubs} for the same nuts and a flush draw free-roll...which did not arrive and so they split the pot and everyone went home happy! Well, except for the fact that within two hours they were both broke!

The third example was hours later when we got to antes and one dealer in particular insisted on restacking the bets in a way that only she could possibly understand and then making bad guesses as to how much the raises were. For example in one case a player raised a 1200 big blind to 3200 and another player made it 8,000 to go, cutting out 4 stacks of four high 500 dollar chips in a conventional matter. Now the dealer grabbed those stacks and made two five high stacks, one stack of four and two individual chips and then when asked announced that it was 7000 more to call? Okay, enough time in her world, I promise no one wants to try to understand what she was doing! Sadly enough there were a number of other dealers whose guesses as to the amounts left, or that the raise was, etcetera, were just that...guesses.

Only four hours into the tournament we were already down to 400 players when I was given the chip lead with the following hand; I had {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} in the big blind of 200 with the third biggest stack at my table, 11,400. The biggest stack made it 800 to go from early mid-field and the cutoff called with the second biggest stack, I called. The flop came {10-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} [bingo!] and I checked with the young midfielder betting 1400 and the late position player thinking for a while and mucking what he later said was {9-Hearts}{9-Spades} [this is likely]. I thought for awhile and check-raised it to 3300, hoping that he had an overpair of course. Calling is fine here, of course, with the possible problem being that a "scare" card might come for him, such as an ace, where he will muck if you bet and check if you check. More importantly is that he might turn a draw card such as a {j-Diamonds} and take the free draw behind you with a hand like {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}. The deciding vote from my viewpoint was that the board had two clubs and that if happened to have a club draw I wanted him to commit to it now, or punt...additionally with those same two clubs out there he has to wonder if I hold a hand like {a-Clubs}{j-Clubs} and am making a play at him? He studied it for a bit and then moved all-in! I called and he turned over {5-Spades}{3-Spades}!!!! stunning and almost dead. The turn brought a {7-Hearts} and he was suddenly alive, but he blanked the river and I was the chip leader of the whole tournament for the first time. I was the chip leader again and again throughout the tournament from here on, but failed near the end as we will see.

They paid 54 spots and we passed under 60 with this writer getting back to about 8th in chips in the following hand; a player raised the minimum [to 1600] from under the gun on the last hand of 400-800 with a 100 ante with two late-position callers and I also called the 1200 more off my [below average] stack of 14,400 with {2-Clubs}{2-Hearts}. I am marginally okay at the current level but the next level will start the next hand and it is 600-1200 with a 200 ante, so that my CPR [cost per round] will be 3600 which means that I will be looking to play something within the next six hands if I don't get lucky in this hand. The flop comes {10-Spades}{3-Hearts}{2-Spades} and I am a genius! Well, okay then, I am very lucky to have the flop bail me out! I check and the young man on my left who has called the mini-raise from the big blind bets 2600, two mucks and the cutoff moves all-in for 3900 [with {a-Hearts}{a-Spades} that he unfortunately for him and fortunately for me, chose to slowplay before the flop], I mull this one over a bit, trying to decide how to get all my chips into the pot and decide that I do not have enough to worry the bigger stack on my left, and can make a play that looks like I am closing him out, and go all-in. He instantly calls with shaking hands and it suddenly occurs to me that he might have a bigger set. Nope, he turns up {a-Spades}{10-Diamonds} and without any accidents my stack moves up to 42,000 plus, a sudden contender.

The glory of this lasts about 5 hands until the first of three fatal hands sends me out the door in about 49th place. With over 40,000 I raise it to 4200 over a big blind of 1200 from early position holding {a-Clubs}{k-Diamonds} and the big blind looks like befuddled for a bit and then calls. It comes {a-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{8-Clubs} and he reaches for chips right away and bets 4000. I am not sure what this small bet means, but expect it with {a-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}, for example, from amateurs and so I call. It comes {j-Clubs} on the turn and he does not wobble, betting 7000 right away. Now I believe myself to be beat and partly in denial and partly hoping my draw magically arrives to bail me out, I call again [mistake!]. The river brings the {5-Hearts} and he goes all-in with almost the exact same chips as I have. I think on it for a bit, but actually have no intention to call, and now am below average again. I muck the AK and he flashes me the {a-Spades}{10-Clubs}.

Five hands later I raise to 4200 from the hijack seat with {a-Clubs}{j-Spades} and the little blind goes all-in for 3600 more and I call and he turns over {a-Spades}{10-Clubs} and the layout comes {q-Spades}{j-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{9-Spades} and he rivers a straight for the next beat that is laid on me.

My final hand is two levels later as I hang on to my last 15,000 in chips tenaciously and move well into the money; I have {8-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} in the hijack again and a midfielder raises to 7000 over a big blind of 2000 with antes of 300. I move all in for the 8000 more and he reluctantly calls with the comment, "you have to have me dominated." Well he is surprisingly right in that he holds {a-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}, but no problem after the Ace arrives on the flop.

Until next time play good...and get lucky!Bingo News

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