Bar League - Frustrations

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FloppyNutzs

Enthusiast
Recently getting back into poker I thought I go to local open bar tournament for some live cards tonight. I enjoyed myself but also have lots to grip about.

I normally don't come to forums to just complain but I'm going to vent a little...


So, yeah it is a bar league I know...
Everyone deals, and players keep each other honest with making sure the pot is correct etc.
The levels were 15 minutes which I didn't mind, but it seemed like I would literally see 5-6 hands per level as we spent a good amount of time shuffling and making sure player posted blinds and antes correctly. Just trying to keep players focused on when it is there turn to act was a full time job. Occasionally the host wan't good about making sure the blinds went up and that all tables knew about it. We literally missed one entire blind level because nobody at my table heard the announcement that blinds went up.

I had a very annoying player acting just in front of me. He literally would play any two cards. He would always come in for a raise or 3 bet. He was extremely vulgar, load and just down right annoying.

Having a player like this acting in front of me is not always a bad thing, but not having but you occasionally needs to find some hands so you can feed off a player like this.

In the end I busted out in the 7 level after 2 breaks. I was literally in 3 show downs all night and only won 1 of them. Even tho I lasted nearly two and half hours, I probably only saw no more than 50 hands. In all the hands I folded I believe on two of those would have won.

The first showdown was just before first break, I won a small pot that was checked down to the river when I hit a set and bet 2 BB and was called. The second hand that I saw a show down was just before 2nd break. My AA was beak by a small stack who ended up getting the rest of his chips in on the turn after his QJ hit trip J. I replayed this hand in my head and I don't think there was a way I could have played it and won. Ironically this was one of the hands the annoying player acting in front of me folded pre flop. If he would have came in for a raise I probably wold have got all my chips in pre flop.

A few hands after 2nd break I was down to 4 BB and ended up shoving Q-T off and annoying player acting in front of me took me out with A-4 off when neither of us hit anything on the board.

The most frustrating part is I just didn't play many hands at all. Which is fine, but the player acting in front of me literally saw 80% of the flops and was managing to win with crap cards rather regularly.

In the end, I think it is just how poker goes sometimes.
Hopefully next time I will have better experience or at least a few more playable hands.
 
HK_47

HK_47

Rock Star
Looks like you got hit the negative end of the variance stick. I'd keep going and just ask to be on a different table as the vulgar guy if that bothers you. I doubt there's a real incentive to play outside of fun, and if you aren't having it just go somewhere else.
 
mtl mile end

mtl mile end

Moderator
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Having a few incompetent players on your table is plus EV. Once that number starts to approach fifty percent, it becomes a nightmare for examples you have already stated. No one seems to know how anything is supposed to work. No one who does know the ropes is adept enough to put that into action. There aren't enough players who know what's going on to herd the (drunk) cats on the table. When you do get cards (I'm talking two cards, not a playable hand) you are forced into acting so that you feel like you're doing something, anything to "outplay" your incompetent opponents and make some chips before the blinds go up, again. But you can't. They don't know they suck. On the contrary, you are paying against a table of "Poker Masters".

Like HK said, if you're not having a good time with friends, don't play there.
 
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EuroJ

Rising Star
oh the bar leagues, how much i miss them (not being sarcastic). Family life keeps me out of the bars these days. Anyway, after the first few levels, this is a great training ground for practicing your short stack shoving ranges. Example: your in the BB and get raised from the button, gain a familiarity with what you should shove with, with an M < 7*. Or, on the flop, gain a comfort level with what you are willing to shove semi-fold with (like flush draw with 1-2 overs, etc). Believe you me, there are strong short stack pros who cut their teeth in these bar leagues.

*yes, i still use M, i have not upgraded to effective BBs yet
 
phantomjiujitsu

phantomjiujitsu

Rock Star
I play in the bar leagues a lot. They're fun but crazy. I don't take them all too seriously.
 
F

FloppyNutzs

Enthusiast
Looks like you got hit the negative end of the variance stick. I'd keep going and just ask to be on a different table as the vulgar guy if that bothers you. I doubt there's a real incentive to play outside of fun, and if you aren't having it just go somewhere else.


There is a small incentive to play in these games. You can win a seat in a 200K GTD in Vegas in 2019. It is a 2 step system where you have to place in top 3 in a any sponsored bar event. Then you get a token to play in a weekly tournament online. Leagues from different areas in the US all come together to play in the same tournament online weekly. In this tournament winner get 5 nights hotel stay in Vegas, $400 airfare credits, and an entry to 200K GTD. Top 4% in each weekly game also get buy in to this 200K GTD, but don't get the airfare or hotel credits. They also recently gave out 3 buy ins to local HPT mini series, the buy in for this was $350. Based on the entries in the 2018 200K GTD the value of the buy in appears to be less than $200.

So if you are averaging $20 in bar tab a night and it takes you a few months to get past these school of fish to get your seat locked down then you would have been better off just buying into a good live tournament directly. This was my first game that I play in this league. My wife went too and our combined bar tab with tip was $25 and this included food for both of us.

These games also gives me a chance to sharpen up my live game a bit.
I realize that even in live events like the wsop you will find some of these any 2 fish or calling stations as I have witnessed it first hand. It just different game you can spot a few fish, verse entire schools. When there are just a few fish you can find good spots to pick away at them. When it is an entire school of fish I'm just not sure what the best approach is. Playing super tight leaves you just getting blinded until you are forced to shove. Playing there game leaves you playing too many marginal hands and you going to need a good amount of luck. So I think the correct approach is somewhere in between.

Perhaps it will become more fun after I get to know some of the player a little better and can socially loosen up a bit more.

Generally I don't have a problem interacting and joking with players in live games at the casinos, but I'm also not focused on making sure the rules of the game and being followed.
 
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FloppyNutzs

Enthusiast
My second trip to a local bar league event was an improved experience.
The location was closer to my residence. The play was much better all around. The players seemed to be more focused on playing the game and we seemed to get more hands in then compared to the other location. Best of all I vulgar player wasn't at this event.

My results came up a little short still. We started with four tables and I made a short appearance at the final table. Top 7 got points (not sure what those are good for yet in this league perhaps some monthly or quarterly events) and I finished on the points bubble in 8th.

The game is truly turbo style as were consistently playing with half more of the table sitting with less than 10 BB. My final hand was KQ off suite and was in mid position and shoved my entire stack pre flop for 15K. The blinds were 2K/4K with 400 ante and were going up to 3K/6K with 500 ante before my next big blind. So, I don't think it was a bad move. I was called by A6 in the big blind and once again the ace high held up as neither of us hit anything on the board.

There was one hand that put me to the test as I raised 4 BB on the button with AJ off suit I was re raised all in. The re raiser acted in front of 3 other players who all folded. I thought about it and didn't have enough information to be able to put these player on a serious bluff so I just laid it down and told him it was a good bet. I was curious of what he had to make that move on me but didn't ask. I want to think it might have been mid pocket pair like maybe 99. Or maybe he limped in with in mid position with something super strong just waiting for anyone to raise to make that move.

I don't recall a single hand that I folded pre flop that would have won in a show down. And of all show downs I was in I only lost the one that eliminated me. All signs that I'm playing correctly. Now if I can just get a little luck for one of those short stack pushes to help me run a litter deeper I should be finding my way to a win or top 3 finish soon.
 
P

Peter Jankowski

Rock Star
Bar leagues usually have no Money attached or small prizes so all types play and some just do not care about cards plus most have incentives for regulars (i.e. extra chips) so start at a disadvantage I find they really do not help my game, or as practice for casino tournaments
 
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FloppyNutzs

Enthusiast
Bar game #3

Arrived during level two as I finished my dinner at the bar.
Won one hand before first break, scooped a decent pot after betting per, flop, and turn everyone surrendered. Gave most back in next hand however, as I called c bet from pre flop raiser in big blind with KT suited was kicked by KJ. Shortly after first break I dealt myself my final blow as blinds were 200/400 with 50 ante.

I open raised to 1500 on the button with 4 open limpers.
Got 4 callers and flop came J 8 5 rainbow.
The action checked around and I lead out for 4K into 7500 pot.
Everyone folded but the player to my right, raised me all in.
I snap called my remaining 3K to see him flip over QJ.

I dealt the turn a blank and the river Q to 3 out myself and find myself on the rail.
At least dinner was good.

Perhaps I should have stayed home and played online ;)
 
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