Monday, March 26, 2007

Foxwoods Trip Report 3/25/2007

I'll cut right to the chase and give those of you with no time to kill the short sweet version......

462 entries (all "ladies") top 40 to pay.

Start time 10AM. 5000 chips. 50 minute blinds levels starting at 25/50 then 50/100 then 100/200 then 100/200 with Ante $25.....

IG finished out of the money somewhere between 80th and 94th busting out right before the dinner break 7+ hours in.

Now lets get started shall we...

I wake up at 4:45 AM, shower and wash my hair put on my makeup, opt for glasses over contacts. Throw a few clothes into a bag in case I need to stay over. Put on my black jeans/grateful dead American beauty ringer tee, black boots (big mistake). Running shoes are into the bag for later use.

First stop the ATM. I have my buyin covered from my live bankroll and decide to withdraw $100 for spending money. Im not going to Foxwoods to do anything other then my tourney. No slots, craps, pai gow, video poker, extra tourneys etc. Im there for business. First snafu of the day. The ATM only gives me $60 (they must be out of money). I decide to just roll with it. Of course this is after swapping out my old ATM card for the new one since there was some kind of security breach at HSBC and my old card number could have been compromised.

SNAFU #2.... we all know IG has a lead foot. My old Driver's Ed teacher called me Parnelli Jones (or some such race car driver back in 1978) when I peeled out after a driver change back in High School. On I-787 I get pulled over. UGH.. Guess What? I wasnt speeding. The female trooper asks if I know why I got pulled over and I keep quiet. She thinks Ive been drinking because I was straddling the line. I look at her and pull my contacts in their case out of my back pocket and tell her they were jabbing me in my butt so I was reaching to try to reposition them. Yes its really really true. I put them in my pocketbook after that. Of course, I had also reached into the rear of my SUV for my CD's too.

Snafu #3.... Call EZ-pass flashes as I head thru the first toll booth onto the Berkshire Spur of the NYS Thruway.. Damn battery must have died. Oops they sent me a new tag a few months ago. Since I rarely take the thruway any longer I have not swapped the old one out. Procrastination...

I drive straight on thru to Foxwoods non-stop arriving in less then 3 hours from Clifton Park (well actually Half Moon) . It's and easy drive and IG is gifted with directions. Once I've been someplace I never forget the way there, especially if I am in the driver's seat.. I have a visual imprint in my brain that lasts forever (must go along with the near photographic memory) . Ive never been to Foxwoods but I have been to Springfield MA and to Hartford before. Once onto Rte 2. its new territory. But its straight thru past Norwich to Foxwoods. Getting around and thru Norwich CT (a semi run-down little town on a dreary Sunday morning) is the worst part of the whole trip as I have to slow down.

And there she looms like a giant Behemoth in the middle of nowhere: FOXWOODS resort and casino. Reported to be the largest casino in the world. Ive been to Mohegan but never to Foxwoods and I am impressed. Now mind you my first and last impression of Mohegan is from the outside of the tour bus entrance which gets you in to the casino without much of a look of the exterior (especially when you have slept on the bus)

First entrance to Foxwoods is closed, so I take the second one. I pull up to the first hotel and ask where the poker room is. The valets tell me to pull thru and go to the next hotel and Ill be closer. I forgo Valet parking because I am cheap on things like that (I do tip very well when I go out to eat, get my hair done, go to the spa etc but Im a do it yourself kind of gal) . Now I have no idea what the whole layout of this mammoth casino is but I wind up parking in the lower level of the Grand Cedars Hotel Parking Garage which is attached to the hotel where the WPT events are taking place. I wind up in the right place quite by accident.

Getting out of the garage is the next ordeal. I can't seem to find the elevator so I decide to walk out the way I drove in, in those damn boots (and no Kim they are not my cowboy boots). I have black, brown and maroon low boots and a fabulous pair of knee high black boots that make my former athletic legs and calves.. tres sexy. I'm wearing the low black boots with a sock that has a hole in them. I am probably going to be the first and only poker player to get blisters. My formerly well calloused feet from years of running and running around barefoot during tri transitions have been pumiced away during my pedicures. Big Ouchies.. Im injured.

I get some strange looks hiking out of the bowels of the parking garage from the bus drivers etc but its a short (albeit painful hike). First entrance I get too is an employee entrance so around the corner I go and there I am right at the SUNSET ballroom where the tourneys are being held in the Grand Cedars Hotel. Im told I have to go over to the pokerroom to actually register which is in the Rainmaker Casino. Its here that I am impressed by the staff at Foxwoods. They are more then happy to give directions and if going that way walk you there. I do customer service and am always impressed by shiny happy people. The Casino staff I encountered was courteous and cheerful throughout the day.

First stop Wampum Rewards. The girl quizically gives me a "You dont have one already look" when she sees my wallet with MGM, Harrahs, Taj Mahal, Mohegan, Saratoga, Frequent Player cards. I say "No, this is my first time here." and she tells me "Welcome and to enjoy my stay." blah blah blah....Next stop backdown to the poker room which at 8:30 or so on a Sunday is already hopping. I pluck down my $300 buyin and am number 316 (already more then 2006 Spring tourney numbers). The gal tells me I'm assigned to "Skylight" not the Sunset Ballroon. Skylight, I am told is directly over the poker room. When I go to look for the Skylight ballroom, I realize there is no ballroom. I'm in a separate cordoned off area with about 10-15 tables set up for overflow under this huge skylight. (they will later use these tables for ring game overflow-Foxwoods will make use of any available space if they have a dealer and people to put in the seats).

The UIGEA may have curtailed on-line poker but live poker is booming. Turnouts for the WPT lead-in events are surpassing last years records. The $600 modified shoot-out that started on Saturday has more players advancing to day 2 so they are using part of the space in the Sunset Ballroom until that tourney is completed. That is why they have to set us up in "Skylight". We are told that as tables break down in Sunset we will be moved. In a way it was kind of nice we were in our own little mini tourney and my table stayed together for 4+ hours including our move over to SunSet. My only complaint about this set-up was the smell of smoke and the incessant ringing of Slot machines. I thought they were going to drive me crazy but I soon got the sound out of my head.

I'm seated at table 43 seat 5. Two gals come out raising and trying to take charge. I decide to sitback and observe for two orbits or so to get some reads on the players including folding AK two hands in which was a good thing as it turns out. I then took charge and for the first two 50 minute levels I went on a tear and more then doubled by chip stack:

Notable hands:

First hand I limp from MP with JTd. One of the early aggressive chicks raises me to $200 (BB was $50 and this was her standard raise). I decide to call the raise since I have close to 60 BB and Im not playing girly poker. The flop comes Ad and another diamond and a rag. I check/call the $300 bet thrown out with a four flush. The turn gives me a OESD to boot so I fire and get a call. River gives me my diamond flush. I fire again and get called by AK. She thinks she won the pot. I point out my flush and she is shocked. I get a resounding very nice hand from my table mates.

I raise with Pocket Kings and pick up the blinds and limpers $.

Finishing off the first level with 6925

Level II key hands:

EP raises to $400 (BB was $100). Rockets for IG baby and I pop it up to $800. Before I played with the blogger elite I would just call here (weak). I get the call. Flop gives me a set but three diamonds on the board. EP checks. I fire out $2000 which was probably a little more then the pot of $1750 or so, to chase away any diamond flush chasing. EP an older lady told me later she had no diamonds and wouldnt have chased she had QQ. I did show the rockets. One gal said that was ballsy with three diamonds on board and I looked at her and stated. This is no time to play scared or be timid.

My most beautious hand of the tourney.... Pocket 77's in the BB. The button limps, and the sb called my bb. flop came K7x...Ive hit my set. Check from the SB, check from me. Button fires out and we lose the small blind. I repop the buttons bet. She calls thinking her top pair is good. Turn a jack (no flush potential) and I figure based on her King there is no str8 potential either even if she is holding an A or Q with the K. I obviously am not worried about two pair. So I fire out a pot sized bet and get the call leaving her about 2k. Im now chanting do not pair the board with a K. the river is a beautiful deuce and I look at her nicely and say.... I put you all in. She calls with AK and I bust her....She is the first out at our table. I no longer feel bad busting someone.

I finish Level II with $11,100 and am table captain and have the respect of my table and the big stack. we break for ten minutes.

Levels III and IV. I am incredibly card dead and chalk it up to the natural cycle of the cards. The IG lets me down twice when I call a raise with my 99 and the flop is like AKT. Not a flop good for the IG. I call the BB with K8 hearts. Flop came 896, I bet get a call from the SB. turn is a 6. I check not liking that second 6 and she fires showing her 6. In retrospect I should have raised with the K8. But I hadnt been getting any action with my raises so I decided to change things up by limping. I had every variety of 102, j3, j2,j4, q6,35, 24,85, 9d during these levels. In level 4 the antes kicked in something Im not accustomed too.

At the end of level 4 we are told to bag our chips, leave our wampum card or registration slip as we are moving as a table over to Sunset. We are given twenty minutes to get over there rather then 10. I am down to 7975 having not won a hand in about two blind levels and the antes taking their toll.

When we get to Sunset they have food set out for us and drinks. Chicken on a stick and crab rangoons, and really really good double chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and fruit and potato chips. They have treated us well. They came around with cupholders for us to use at the table. They came around with beverages during the course of the tourney. They did a great job of keeping us informed of the total entrants and payouts. I'm impressed by the way the tourney has been run.

Finally my table 43 (now 23) busts down. On arrival at SUNSET there are about 200 left. Ive outlasted more then half the field. I get moved to a new table (seat 6) with one of my SUNSET gals (a granny). Again no cards for IG. Finally, I look down to fishhooks in the BB. There has been a minimum raise and a call from a short stack and the SB. Its time to pull a squeeze with my fish hooks since there is all that minimum raise money coupled with the dead money from the Antes sitting in the middle of the table. I figure only the SB has a shot to call. The others were risking more then half their stacks by calling. Had she had a hand she would have re-raised the minimum raiser and caller. But I forget that women tend to "play by feel", arent naturally aggressive and arent known for re-raising when they should be. Everyone folds to my all-in move with the JJ's.

I raise with the AJ and steal the blinds and antes (now at $75). Im surviving with a stack of about 7000 which did get as low as about 3500-$4500. I get moved again when my table breaks to table 11 seat 1 (yuck) with another table mate. This table has all big stacks and I know unless my cards change Im done. We have about 1 hour or so to dinner break at 5:30 PM. My former table mate asks me what Im doing for dinner. I say if Im still here we'll go do dinner but I wasnt expecting to be there. She looked at me and said you only need a couple of good hands and your golden you came to my table with a so-so stack and showed the big stacks there you werent intimidated. Problem was I wasnt getting anything to work with. I had said at the prior table "I'd like to buy an Ace!!".

A gal gets moved to my table with another huge stack and I watch in amazement as she raises with every hand and bets with nothing and loses almost all but a stack of orange ($1000 chips). I'm salivating thinking of what Snake says when he sees one of our live league mates doing the same fonkette moves. Im wishing I had a hand to take some of those damn chips. The benefactress of this chip bleed is one of my table mates from Skylight who had stayed out of my way for the most part when I was on my early tear.

I manage to double up with A8 against another shortstacks small pair I believe. The antes are now $200 and blinds $600/$1200. 15 minutes before the break I am down to about $3000 and in th bb for $1200 after posting my ante of $200 that leaves me scraps for the SB. The gal who I doubled up off of had survived her all in attempt and had more chips then I by about $2000 or so. She pushes all in. She gets a call from a Big stack and i look at my 98os and say. "Let these be live cards", I felt I had the right pot odds at the time to make the call with my remaining $1500 chips or so. The other all-in gal has KQos the big stack has ATc I belive. The flop gave the other all-in gal two pair with KQ and if I caught runner-runner a possible straight. No luck for either of us, the big stack caught her flush on the river to bust us both.

The board stood at 94 left but had been there for about 20 minutes and there were empty spots at the other 9 tables. I figure I went out somewhere in the high 80's low 90's.

Although, I didnt cash I was extremely happy with my play. This was the biggest live MTT field I have ever played in I managed to make the top 20%. This was also my first experience with antes and how quickly your stack can go away if you arent stealing when the opportunity presents itself. (I spent alot of time thinking about all that dead money and how it could wind up in my stack). Unfortunately my table broke during a time I was card dead and I had to reestablish an image at a new table (something I never have had to do before. Then I got moved to a table with all the big stacks and I was chum. With the big stack raising $3000 and $5000 a pop, I had only one move at my last table. I also had not played any large MTTs in like forever having being working on my heads-up and short-handed play. Completely different ball game.

There are so many many pieces to a large field MTT. I never got that one or two hands when my chip count was at $7000 or so to get myself restarted with a double up. Other then early on, I never got the suited connectors and gappers I needed to play small ball in the middle stages of the tourney. Tourneys are about ball control with the chips being the ball.

Things to work on:

Being more aggressive in the SB against the BB.

Putting myself in the position to get lucky. I never had the chance to suck-out on someone!!

How to make things happen when nothing is happening.

Dont get lazy about reading and observing people.

(Im sure I'll come up with more).

Things I noticed about women players in general:

A complete disregard for pot odds. I watched one woman repeatedly throw out $200 bets into a $1200 then $1600 pot. You are pricing me in to make calls.

Thinking TPTK is the best hand.

Overplaying AK.

Chasing your weak ace and then being surprised someone actually had a better kicker.

You cant bluff someone who wont lay down their hands. I also watched one fonkette fonk off her stack by trying to bluff into a multiway pot. Hello, someone actually hit something.

The only women I noticed who were aggressive were those with chips who used their stacks to isolate. The re-raise wasnt used much at all at least not that I saw. I saw very little raising on the turn or river. I think I did do a good job popping on the 4th and 5th streets when I knew I could get more $ out of my opponent. Something I never did before I started observing my blogger guys and listening to Ray and Trent.

Minimum raising.

I will say however, that the level of play was much better then what I witnessed at the Ladies Orleans Poker Classic in Vegas last summer and from the Ladies WSOP (which I observed and heard horror stories about from friends who played). Maybe women are getting more serious about their game as a whole.

I really really really liked the whole of Foxwoods (what little I saw). Next time I plan on making a few days of it. Next "big" event up providing funds are available pre-Vegas, may be a $300 buyin in May at Turning Stone this time a mixed field.

No drive of shame home. I didnt do anything really stupid that I regret (except eating really really shitty too may carbs and cookies lol). I got to listen to Georgetown comeback over UNC most of the way home. (Was a fix in on that game as Ive heard whispers of?). Hoyazo (and his Hoya's) mentioned hes coming for me in Miami Don's basketball pool. Did I mention I picked UCLA because of Bill Walton Hoy??!!

I'm having a nice leisurely Monday off and went out and bought some nice spring bulbs for my container gardens. Only three and a half days of work this week. Life is Good even if my live bankroll took a $300 hit. I look at it as an education and an investment in my poker journey. As a student of the game I will continue to improve, and grow and I will get that big MTT win.

Ill close with things you will never hear a guy say at a Poker Table:

1) Would you care for an Altoid?

2) Damn I broke a nail (said by me)

3) Sorry, Sorry Sorry (when you've taken down a big pot off someone). I countered with there is no Sorry in Poker. Guys arent as polite.

My comment of the day: The dealer laid a yellow card in front of me (the card cutter). I looked at him and said.. Are we playing soccer now and am I in the penalty box? This got a few laughs at the table.


shamanalix said...

Sensational report, ig. Congratulations!!! Kid ya a lot, but you're a heck of a poker player ... and getting even better! Seriously, can't wait for us to tell ya more. And for you to do it again, this time all the way to the money and the final table. Keep being you...

shamanalix said...

Can I hire a copyeditor? That should be "for you to tell us more" ... The rest is dead honest.

cracknaces said...

You "feel bad" busting people? Wow, I dream of busting hundreds of people and watching them cry. In fact I dream of laying bad beats so they are bitter when they leave!!

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I'm with crackn on that one, I live to bust people from tournaments, in particular when I am behind when the money goes in. You will most definitely positively assuredly never hear me apologize to anyone for any beat I lay on them, even if it was the most fonkorific accidental bullshizz in history.

I did love this writeup, IG. Hopefully you will have more posts like this soon, and with you lasting deeper into the field.

Btw, who is saying the UNC-Georgetown game was fixed? On what grounds? I haven't heard anybody say that, have you really?

pokerpeaker said...

Ways to improve:

Post photo of boots/black jeans/grateful dead tank top ensemble.

And see this is sign you should start running again.

katitude said...

excellent post IG!! Congrats on a good game.

Playing women is kinda weird. I played a LIPS game in Vegas, best line was "I think my bra's too tight".

Sure don't hear that at a predominantly male table *grin.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.

You'll cash on of these soon enough.

Dr. Pauly said...

Excellent recap. I finally had teh chance to catch up with blogs. We'll have to play sometime soon at Foxwoods.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the read. It sounds like you played well just didn't get the cards to cooperate in the end. I'm sure they will be better next time. Keep up the great playing. Any chance of Vegas again this year? Clark

Biggestron said...

Nice work! I had a similar experience at my WSOP event last year. I felt like I played well and lasted pretty deep, but eventually my cards ran out and I finished within spitting distance of the money. (I really have to get around to writing that thing up someday). Tourney wins in big fields can be spotty, as you know. Solid play will get you there eventually!