Playing with Fire - Beau Rivage - Biloxi, MS

Discussion in 'Blackjack Events (USA)' started by george, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. george

    george Top Member

  2. george

    george Top Member

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  3. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    Skill always has a chance. Our Ken won the Playing with Fire tournament today
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  4. george

    george Top Member

    yes he is a skilled player ...think he read a book ,,,wait , he wrote a book to win more blackjack tournaments,,,it must work ….. congratulations Ken
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  5. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Congrats, Ken.

    Billy C
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  6. noman

    noman Top Member

    Just like riding a bike.
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  7. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks guys. I’m exhausted from a late night converting promo chips and a long drive home to Dallas today. Tomorrow I’ll post a few details.
    I had quite a day.
  8. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Attaboy, Ken! Congrats!!!! Knew you'd get the hang of this sooner or later......
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  9. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Sometimes, when it's your day to win, it's just your day to win. That sums up my situation yesterday...

    My post is a little long, but I hope you'll follow along.

    For reference in the following descriptions, these are 30 hand rounds. Starting bankroll is $25,000. Bets are $500 to $10,000, except on hand 30, when the max bet rises to $20,000.

    The Quarter-Final Round

    I'll start in the quarter final round, where 1 of 4 advances. Near the end of the round, it was between me and one other player. But she had the lead. Although I would act last on the final hand, I was trailing by an unpleasant amount, and I made a sufficiently large bet on hand 29 to take the lead if I won it. I lost instead, and my situation was then much worse.

    My bankroll was $17K, while hers was $32K. Of course I will be going all-in on this hand, but I was expecting to also need a swing to win the table. That is, until I saw her bet. I guess she thought she had it locked up already. She pushed a minimum $500 bet in the circle. I didn't say anything but breathed a sigh of relief as she had opened the door wide for me. All I have to do is win the hand now.

    I stood with hard 14 against a dealer 6 and fortunately, the dealer busted. She was shocked when they counted the final chips.

    That's gift number 1 of the day. Had she bet just a few chips more, I would have been in tough shape.

    The Semi-Final Round

    This is the toughest round in the Beau Rivage invitationals. It's 1 of 6 advance.

    Fortunately for me, the dealer at my table was pretty brutal in the early part of the round, and by the end it was again down to me and one other player. I would be on the button for the final hand, but I had a pretty nice lead on hand 29. After my opponent made his bet on hand 29, I was able to make a bet that gave me both the high and the low over him, and more importantly, if we both lost the hand I would have more than double his stack remaining for the final hand. If that happened, I'm a lock unless he gets a blackjack on the last hand.

    Well, that's not at all how the hand turned out. Instead, he won the hand with his large bet, and I lost my large bet. I went from a very strong position to him almost having me doubled up now. But, not quite.

    In fact, it's virtually identical to the situation in the quarter final round. Except this time it's worse because I'm on the button for the last hand. He gets to see my bet first, and has all the time he needs to count it and decide what to do.

    So after I went all-in, he looked at my bet for a long while. For whatever reason, he shockingly made a minimum $500 bet. Wow, who expected that?! Exactly the same scenario as before. Now I just need to win my hand.

    I have Ace, 3 against a dealer Ten. I hit it and draw a 4 for soft 18. I complain for a short moment, but I knew that standing was not an option. A push is useless for me. I hit it, and as happens so often, I made the hand worse. I drew a 9 to make hard 17. Yuck. Stand, and hope for a dealer bust. That's my whole shot to stay alive.

    The dealer has a two underneath, and busted. The floorperson was quick to point out to me that if I had stood on my soft 18, the dealer would have made 21.

    Just like before, my opponent's $500 minimum bet was gift number 2 of the day.

    The Final Round

    The final table started with a good sign when they roll the dice for the starting position, and I would be last to act on the final hand if everyone is still at the table. For that reason, I stayed conservative through the early part of the round. Unfortunately, the other players' bankrolls consistently drifted upward.

    Nearing the countdown, I finally saw a shot to make a big bet when the other players were taking a breather. I won a max bet of $10K, and although I was still in the back of the pack, I was at least in striking range.

    But by the countdown, I was still in fifth place out of six players. And it didn't get better. Despite some efforts, I was stuck in fifth place going in to the final hand. At least I was last to act.

    After the bets are made, I'm quite surprised to see that I can actually still get first low. The leader had overbet his lead over me by $1000. That left an uncomfortable but clear choice for me. I commented to the floor that this was an awfully ugly bet, as I pushed a $500 minimum bet in the circle. And it was. Having only the low at a table of 6 players is not a great spot.

    But you take what you are offered. In this case, that was first low.

    I'm hoping of course for a dealer blackjack, but it is trickier than that. If she turns an Ace up, I suspect someone will insure and lock me out of first place as a result even if she has the blackjack. Instead, I'm hoping for a ten up and an Ace in the hole, for a backdoor blackjack. When she flips up a face card, I hold my breath while she checks. I'm thinking, I have a one in 13 chance of winning it right now.

    But my hopes were short-lived. No Ace.

    Play begins on the hand, and my situation worsens. One player makes 19, another has 20. Then the person in last place (the only person I was ahead of going into the hand), doubles all-in on a hard 14 and catches a 7 to make 21!

    When play gets to me, my hand is meaningless. I hit a stiff and bust it.

    The dealer flips over a six in the hole to make sixteen. Of course she's likely to bust now, and if that happens I would finish so deeply in last place it's not even funny. But I know I still have an out. A single out...

    I'm telling the dealer... "Beth, where's that five? I need a five".


    It's a five. Dealer 21. The guy in sixth place pushes his all-in double down. I jump out of my chair, and shout "You've GOT to be kidding me!". I'm celebrating already, but most of the other players seem pretty skeptical. They're waiting for the chip count. As expected, I won first place by $1000.


    An Interesting Note about my Luck

    I had an amazing run of good luck in each of these three final hands.

    Yes, I was lucky as hell, but there's more to it than that...

    If I had been forced to trade seats with the leader in each of these cases, I would have won the round in their seat too.

    In the quarter finals, as the leader I would have covered the trailing player, and as a result I would have won in either seat of that table.

    In the semifinals, the same thing applies. I would have won the table, no matter which chip stack I had.

    And in the final round, if I had been in the chip leader's situation, I would have bet just a little less than he actually did (and still would have had all the big-bet benefits he had), and I would have finished in first place even when the dealer made 21.

    If you want an example of how skill enhances luck, that's it in a nutshell. I was going to win all three of these tables in either seat. There wasn't a lot of nuance in my play in any of these situations, except for my failed hand 29 effort in the semifinal round. Sometimes the right play is not complicated.

    But damn, it does take some luck.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  10. Jonny21

    Jonny21 Active Member

    Nicely done Ken, and I do enjoy your writing style!
  11. Dakota

    Dakota Top Member

    Ken, I just got home in the Bay Area from the tournament. Watching you play those rounds on Saturday was a real treat. Great play!!
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  12. PitchMan

    PitchMan Top Member

    Hey Ken. Let me add my congratulations to those above. I haven't been on here in several days so I didn't know any results until I was told in a phone conversation late today. Now I know the rest if the story :)... Great job!
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  13. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    Great job Ken! Congratulations!

    You won because you outplayed your opponents and Lady Luck put her stamp of approval on it.

    Well deserved!
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  14. MrPill

    MrPill Active Member

    Nice play Ken! Congratulations!
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  15. Moses

    Moses Active Member

    Way to go, Ken. I wish I had been there to see it.
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  16. noman

    noman Top Member

    I am as impressed with your recollection of play as your actual play.
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  17. S. Yama

    S. Yama Active Member

    Congrats Ken !

    I can’t remember winning a tournament where it was not due to a bit to a lot of luck and huge mistakes by other players.

    As usual you took the right course to maximize your chances.

    Very well done,

    S. Yama
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