Thursday, August 12, 2004

Well, I finally copped a feel at Pacific Poker. I was going to use the “lost my cherry” metaphor, but realized that just cashing (3rd out of 20) isn’t quite going all the way. Interestingly, after bombing out twice in the 20-seat $8+.8, I decided to bump up into the $16+1.6 following my theory that increased stakes leads to increased competence leads to increased predictability. I placed 8th in my first shot Tuesday, but broke through to pull the $64 prize for 3rd last night.

Since Pacific has NO hand history utility and I didn’t take detailed notes, I can’t recap specific hands. One thing I remember is that I made two of the most spectacular suckouts of my life to come back from 65 chips to be the chip leader briefly before settling back into 3rd. On my first all-in from the BB with four callers, I had 86s and was already checking out the TV listings. The flop was a Q95 rainbow and I sighed as everyone called a small bet. The turn paired the board (I think) and I flipped on the TV. The river was the suckout 7, and I was back in for at least another circuit with 325 chips.

I was still one of the shortstacks (eight players left) with around 600 chips (and blinds at 150/300 IIRC). I had A5s in middle position and figured it was my best chance, so I pushed all-in. I got two callers to see a KQ2 flop, followed by minimum bets from the other guys. 3 on the turn, and two checks. Hmmmm, Sportscenter is on now with Greg Gumbel no less… Oh, here’s a 4. A FOUR?!?! Holy shit, I rivered a gutshot wheel! (how’s that for mixing in a lot of poker lingo?). I tripled up to 1800+ and immediately went back to my regular game, stealing blinds from the known tightwads to my left, and mucking just about everything else.

When it got down to four, everyone had 3200+/-500 and we started riding the Blind Stealing Carousel, with the chip lead following the button around the table. After about twenty minutes of this, it finally got to three players and blinds got up to 250/500 before I finally got a taste of my own medicine. My steal attempt of 1500 chips with Kx lost to Qx (again, IIRC) when a %^$&^#! bitch Queen shows up on the river and crippled my stack. Man, it really bites when the river changes directions.

So, the $64 prize means that I’m up a whopping $11.20 after four SnGs on Pacific. I still find the interface a little clunky, and the sliding bar for raises stops at some interesting intervals (not nice round numbers), so there were raises of 68 chips and 233 chips, shit like that. The lack of hand histories makes it difficult for Monday morning quarterbacking, so I suppose you’d have to buy PokerTracker to properly analyze your play over the long haul.

However, I really like the two-table payouts and blind structure here. Once you get used to the rapidly increasing blinds, you can get into a good rhythm with the other players. The betting clock starts immediately meaning the pace is pretty well maintained, unlike Party/Empire where they wait ten seconds, and THEN start the twenty second clock. Pacific also has more buy-in levels (2, 5, 8, 10, 16 etc.) and more tournament sizes (2, 5, 6, 10, 20, etc.) giving plenty of choices to all players. Unless you want to play tournaments in something other than Hold’Em, in which case Pacific sucks. C’mon guys, put in some Omaha tourney tables….


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