A Tale Of Two Tourneys

Night and day. During the first tourney I was so nervous I couldn't sleep or eat much. I ate a substantial portion of a taco on the dinner break, a little bit of soup the next day, and that was it. Friday night, while the Murderer's Row crew was celebrating my win, gambooling it up until 5AM (and presumably hatching a plan to bilk me out of my winnings), I was hunched over the toilet throwing up the meager contents of my poor, abused stomach. Just ask me what I'd been drinking all day. Yeah. Blue Gatorade. If you gotta hurl it can at least be entertaining. It looked like I had such a powerful urge to clean the toilet that I was expectorating Ty-D-Bowl from the depths of my intestines. That was while my stored-up supply of Gatorade held up. Then it was just caustic gases that were suspiciously similar in composition to the atmosphere of Mercury. I had Olympic-caliber pain for a couple of hours before I finally dropped off to sleep. Victory isn't always pretty, folks. My wife? Laughing her ass off. And why not? She gets half of what I win and her stomach is just fine. Last night was a piece of cake by comparison. Not in terms of quality of play or the beats I took - it was a much tougher field and I took (and also gave) much worse beats. But I couldn't have been more relaxed. I didn't have to force myself to eat lunch before start time. When the dinner break came I had an appetite. By a little after midnight some (not enough, unfortunately) of the players at my table were grousing about the lateness of the hour. They wanted to go home. I'm sure I looked tired, but if the tourney directors had said we were playing until 6AM I wouldn't have got out of my chair until 5:59. If they're tired I have an edge. If I have an edge I want to play. I used to hate tournaments. Funny how one little win can change that. When I sat down yesterday I realized that I was far from seeing the tourney as a grim obligation, something I'd said I was going to try and couldn't back down from. Confidence. No fear of the inevitable suckouts. I was playing with five hundred random gamblers and sharks and I was looking forward to it. I'm learning a lot every hour I spend at the table. A little scary that I'm learning as much as I am, which suggests that I didn't really know much to begin with. The hours I spent at table one were a crash course in how to play (and how not to play) a big stack. I had one for a while but couldn't really deliver any knockouts. I won some decent pots and made some good reads, occasionally predicted the action in my head based solely on stack sizes and temperaments. But my big stack just wasn't growing. But Johannes, the player on my right who ran over the table, had some very interesting tendencies. He'd open-raise as much as any big stack could. But he was hyper-aggressive in position preflop as well. At all the tables I'd been at before, big-stack raises got a modicum of respect from the other big stacks. Not Johannes. His interest - and I think this is a key concept of big-stack play that I haven't seen discussed anywhere before - his interest in the pot is directly proportional to the number of chips in it. Instead of simply sitting back and waiting for opportunites to target the medium stacks and the proven weak-tight short stacks (one short stack at our table announced that he was folding aces under the gun when we were on the bubble), he went to war with the big stacks. If they raised ahead of him, he reraised. If anyone limped, he raised. He put them to the test at least three times out of every five that they entered the pot ahead of him. This made his big stack even bigger. Combine that with his good fortune - he showed down a good hand nearly every time he was called - and he crushed everyone at the table. True, it was a miracle that nobody ever had a hand when he popped the bet, but it takes luck to win as well as skill. Looking forward to tomorrow's $540 event, in which I'll be hoping to see JoeSpeaker at the final table. Preferably with a much smaller stack than mine.


Blogger sellthekids said...

congrats Ryan on the recent success!

reading your posts is making me rethink my aggression level. i realize that table reads have a lot to do with your play, but aggression seems to be the key and i never feel aggressive enough.

what is Colleen dressed in? it doesn't look like Prada or Versace...but i think my iPod needs something similar. it does look very protective.

lastly - give JoeSpeaker some good luck today! nothing would be finer than TWO LA bloggers kicking arse and taking names.

agan, congrats!

1/26/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

I wish you both good luck.

Win another one for the drunks err... bloggers!

1/26/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Absinthe said...

Colleen is modeling a ToughSkin bySpeck Products, available at online retailers and most Apple stores.

1/26/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger change100 said...

Wow. The tacos made me sick but not like that!

1/26/2006 04:26:00 PM  

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