Wednesday marked the opening of IPS – 18, and the launch of the first ever tourney in the new
poker room of Casino Carnival. The first event, the 5k re-entry saw a mix of the regulars and a few new-comers taking part. I started playing cautiously, only to find a very different sort of a game going on on my table. Almost every hand, there were 5-6 limpers in the pot. One raise, and you’d find all of the 6 limpers calling the raise. The result being that there were always several people in the hand with a large pot at stake, and no read on the range of hands. A missed flop meant no chance of continuing in the hand. This happened to me a few times initially, and I realized that I need to figure out this kind of play in the coming few days. After a while, the 2 guys who had gained the initial lead on the table, started playing another odd game. Blind raises before the cards were dealt, blind raises pre-flop (just before the dealer was about to reveal the flop cards, one player pushed in 1.5k chips), and regular all-ins to any raise. The bottom line was that I found it very uncomfortable to play on this table, and the fact that the flops were not going my way didn’t help either. I kept bleeding chips. On the last hand I got dealt pocket 10s. Again 3 previous limpers called my raise to see the flop. A low flop of 2, 6, 9 rainbow, and I shoved my stack in only to get called by a guy who showed pocket jacks.
I thought that was the end of the event for me, until Rakesh insisted I do a re-entry. I did so reluctantly, but got assigned a different table this time. And from here on out I was on fire. In a span of one blind level, I had doubled my starting stack. It wasn’t via a quick double up or a knock-out, but just by constantly jabbing at pots. The guy on my immediate left started getting hassled and that was amusing for me. It’s probably the first time I’ve been a ‘pain’ for someone at the table. When Rakesh walked up to see how I was doing, the guy on my left remarked to him, “Her pre-flop play is just too good!”. We both cracked up; Rakesh later told me that he refrained from saying, “That’s because PGMP ke syllabus mein abhi sirf pre-flop play cover kiya hai” :). It was also my first live tourney in which I 3-betted lite very often, and for the most part, it worked like a charm! Again on a walk to keep tabs, Rakesh raised his eyebrow when he saw me raise on the button with T2o. Soon it was down to the final table bubble, and I had a healthy stack with several short stacked players. Twice, an all-in and a call, with the short stacked player behind pre-flop resulted in split pots, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have the jitters during this phase of the tourney.
The final table started immediately (no champagne walk:) and the stack sizes weren’t announced, but I was probably 6th or 7th. 5 places were to be in the money, and I wasn’t thinking much about it initially. I just enjoyed playing in the zone, picking my spots well. I actually never even gave it much thought when the money bubble broke. Though I was getting short stacked, mostly because I had hit a big patch of being completely card dead. Down to four players, and though by now I was the shortest stack, I grinded for a long time. With about 22BBs, I made a crucial mistake. With one limper and the BB in the pot, I raised with QJs. BB,SB folded but the limper called. The flop was all low cards, to which the limper checked. I fired a bet, to which he went all-in, and I folded, losing about 10BBs in the process. I still managed to bring my stack back up to about 18BBs, but eventually busted in 4th position. The tournament was eventually won by Vineet Bailur, who finally shipped his first ever event, to his immense relief and joy. Overall, I was happy with the way I played that evening, but still need to improve a lot on the following:
1. Post-ante play. I am still playing too tight once antes start. I find that I usually do well in the pre-ante phase, staying well above the average stack, but things start going downhill once the antes start.
2. Dealing with aggression on the table. And handling donk play without getting hassled.
3. Playing on a short handed table.
For those wondering how the new poker room is, it is actually quite nice, with a warm cozy atmosphere. Lots of new faces, but a few old ones too. The service is excellent, food is much better, there’s a cap on the rake at the cash tables. and if you only come to the casino to play poker, you’ll probably enjoy this place more. The trouble of having new dealers does exist at the moment, and while it is a serious problem, hopefully it will only improve with time.
Until next time then…Have a good week ahead!