Poker in Sint Maarten

It’s only 10:33 AM, but usually I will post the poker article later because, unfortunately, there’s no WiFi Internet connection at the Maho Beach Resort.

As you might have read in the forum, I didn’t play any live poker on Monday night, as I couldn’t find any action at Casino Royal when I checked. Yesterday I planned to play the $2000 freeroll at the Atlantis World Casino, at Southern Dutch/French border of St. Maarten. My dad and I managed to get there 2 hours early, so we could also have dinner before the tournament would start at 20:30. I was the first to register and was a little sceptical, but since the Atlantis World has many tourneys, as well as one of the biggest poker rooms on the island, I could be easily wrong… and I was.

After finishing dinner, a nice piece of swordfish for me and a pepperoni pizza for my dad, we entered the casino. By now lots of people gathered around the registration area and it was obviously that the freeroll “sold out”.

Table 1, seat 1

I took place at table 1, seat 1, as did the other 59 poker players. Everybody got 5000 starting chips and the tournament was a freezeout. When the first cards where shuffled, I didn’t think out a strategy yet, or decided if I would play loose aggressive or passive aggressive. I limped in, as did most of the players on the first hand, with K7s. The flop came, Kc 9d 9h. I started out raising an unbet pot for 12 times the BB (of 25), but got re-raised twice before backing out. One of the guys, the one that placed the initial raise went all-in with 9x and got called by the second player who flopped a full house 9’s over Kings. “PLAYER OUT!” shouted the dealer.

After a few hands I made up my mind and I decided to play tight, opposed to the table, which seemed to be very loose in overall. I kept folding for a while until I got balanced to another table.

Flush draw

One of the weirdest things must have been the tournament’s blind structure, as we started out with 25/50 and moving up to 100/200 afterwards. This would give me just a M a little over 10, so I thought I should be a little less selective to prevent bleeding to death. At the new table I got dealt As Ts and limped in while being on the cut-off. I could have raised there and most of the time I would have, but any (future) raise from an opponent would have made me crippled and it didn’t feel the time was right. The flop was kind of good for me, 5s 7s 9x and the pot was checked to me when I moved all my chips in to pick up the pot right there. A guy to my right called while he only hit middle pair, but he was already drawing dead after I hit my flush on the turn. Hey… that’s poker, he shouldn’t have made the call anyway! I grew to about 7000 chips in this hand and felt like having enough to last for a while.

Moved… over and over

After a while my table was split up and everybody was moved to their new table. Since the levels were only 20 minutes, things seemed to move around really quickly. The table I was on now was again very loose, but 2 of the players seemed a little better than the average. On the cut-off I was dealt Jc 9c and I tried to pick up the pot with just one limper moving all my chips into the middle. The small blind and the big blind both folded, but… the limper was extremely pleased with my action and happily showed his pocket Aces. Bummer!!! Fortunately, since I owned this guy I still had a very reasonable stack before the pizza break started.

Where’s dad, dad, dadio?

During the break I went looking for my dad to find him playing behind a 25c standard slots machine. He was enjoying himself, as well as enjoying the complimentary drinks from the casino. I told him that I was running good and went back to the poker room.

After the break

I kept grinding a bit and picked up a few small pots now and then, but nothing really significant happened until I got dealt pocket deuces on the big blind after just being moved to a new table again. A guy in middle position placed a bet of 4000, four times the BB. Since everybody folded and I put him on Ace something, I decided that the time arrived to make a double or nothing move. Doubling up would allow me to play for the money and nothing would leave me with almost nothing. Of course there was an option that my opponent would fold, but I wanted him to call here as we we’re heads-up anyway. With slightly better winning odds on my side he called and showed a big slick. My deuces stood and I did become one of the bigger stacks indeed.

Somehow this seemed to be my momentum, as I got big hands being lucky on the flop, but also some nice pockets. For instance, I had nothing on BB and was called by the SB, hitting just a pair. I initiated a bet and she called, where I made my second pair with the turn. As I luckily held two pair T’s over 4’s, I kept on betting for value. With no straights and flushes after the river I placed another small bet, but didn’t get the call as the lady seemed to have been looking to complete a straight (which I honestly over looked, hence the low bets of just the BB).

Shortly after I got dealt Ax Qx UTG and made a nice raise of 3 times the BB to force everybody out of the hand, as they did. Once more I got dealt AQ, this time suited of clubs. I placed a significant bet of 20K (blinds were 2000/4000 now) and got one caller in middle position. With a K high board I continued my bet and a call would make him pot committed. He folded and I managed to take up a nice pot here. The table was now shorthanded, thus my hand requirements changed a bit. Because of this I was able to pick up some more blinds before heading to the final table.

The final table

I sat down at seat 4 with a little over average stack. I felt really comfortable and thought I had a chance of getting ITM, but then something strange happened… The tournament director moved the blinds up from 5000/10000 to 15000/35000, of course just the moment it was my turn to pay the BB.

Paying the ridiculous blinds left me over with just one yellow chip of 5K, thus making me pot committed no matter what cards. My hand was decent and I was lucky to get called by just the small blind. I am not 100% sure about the hand, it was K something, but it stood and that’s all that mattered to me.

So I was still in the game and others (also in push or fold condition because of the blinds) went out one by one. With 7 players left I pushed all-in with KJ to pick up the blinds, but got called. I don’t remember his exact hand, but he either had a pair or over cards. He hit the flop well and it seemed that he was going to pick up the pot, but the Queen on the river gave me an Ace high straight. The dealer didn’t notice it right away, but luckily I did :) and I became the chip leader.

Once again I got KJo and I pushed again to isolate a player. Even though I just became chip leader only a few hands earlier, the blinds were high now and I would not last more than 2 orbits. This time two players called me!!! The hi-jack, the big blind and UTG+1 (who went all-in with his last 30000 chips) were all in this hand. Obviously, this was not the action I was seeking and I was ready to shake hands, if it wasn’t that lady luck was totally on my side here. The big stack on the hi-jack also showed KJo, the small-stacked lady on BB had Ax and the other guy some low connected cards. With an Ace + 2 pair board, only the lady would triple up and all others would chop because of the board.

In the money

After all these crap shoots I lowered the pace of pushing until the bubble got eliminated. I really felt excited now, as I got ITM! I have to admit that I did get very lucky now and then, but that’s what it takes to win multi table tournaments.

With three players left playing for a share of $2000 I made a nice fold after the guy directly on my right re-raised the other player all-in. I did loose my blinds, but was fine with it when I saw the second player, who was committed to call never mind which hand he had, showing up pocket Kings. Unfortunately for him the other guy’s AQ out drew him.

My 3-outer elimination

Being heads-up was a great accomplishment, but now it was time to battle for either $1000 or $600. The fight only lasted three hands, where I folded the first, but had the best hand in the next two occasions.

The first time I pushed all-in with A7o and got called by his A6o. He didn’t get any help, but all over cards on the table made it a split pot.

The second – and last hand I moved all-in with A4o and got called by his J4o… I seemed to double up and take the lead if it wasn’t for a Jack to show up on the turn. I was done because of a 3-outer (and that hurts) but congratulated my opponent with his win.

Conclusion

Now that I am almost done writing, I know I realize that I have left some details out. For instance, I won a 3 way all-in with pocket 7’s at a certain time, where I went in first and got called twice. I am just not sure where/when this hand happened and how it exactly evolved, but in generally the recap contains the most important details. I hope you enjoyed the long read and you know… you can leave a comment if you’ve like it :)

Overall I was very satisfied with the result I made at the Atlantis World Casino leaving a field of 97 players behind me (60 + 37 from the alternate list) and pick up a net profit of $595 after tipping the dealer $5. The tournament totally lasted for about for about 3 hours and 45 minutes, a little over midnight.

I will probably hit the tables again tonight, as there is a $75 Rebuy and Addon tournament, once again at the Atlantis.

My dad finally lost about $160 playing slots, but fortunately he didn’t really care about it since he was just killing time while I was confiscating chips. By now he also had enough free drinks, rum without ice! I called up my bro, we left the casino and we met with him at the Lady-C floating bar. Later on we went to the Red Piano Bar for a couple more drinks before heading back to the hotel at 2:30 AM.

Back to living it large, time for a swim now!

Giorgio