Saturday, March 29, 2008

No luck this month - that's Poker.

Last night was the monthly live tourney, and I was defending my win from the month before. Some of the players congratulated me on my win, and I told them that I probably used up all my luck last month, and there probably wasn't much left for me this month.

Sadly, that prediction came true. First off, I was seated at a tough table - only one poor player in the lot, and he was out very early. There was a good mix of tight aggressive and loose aggressive play, with keyword aggressive all around. Very few hands went unraised before the flop. Many early raises were called by late position players as well. There was plenty of continuation betting, several checkraises, and even a checkraise bluff that ended up being re-raised by a guy who had nothing more than top pair of Tens (!). I also saw the player to my left limp in with Aces and another limp with AKs for deception purposes, then come alive on the flop.

My cards didn't match this type of play. I got a few semi-decent hands in early positions- A6o, QT, but the table wasn't such that I could limp in and see a cheap flop, and raising these poor hands had little chance to take down the pot preflop, so I folded them (wisely, I believe). Then my late position cards were pure crap, and faced with a raise before me I felt I had to fold.

Two hands worth playing - both in the small blind where I could do little damage - the first was an AJo, against a 2x raise. This player was the one who had previously limped in with AK and then came over the top of a raiser, so I didn't feel comfortable raising him preflop, but this was the best hand I had all tourney and so I called. Flop came J high, giving me TPTK, I fired out a half pot size bet and my opponent folded, so the pot wasn't very big.

The second hand was JJ, also in the small blind, but the table actually folded around to me, leaving me heads up with BB. I considered limping in for deception, but that allows all kinds of crappy hands to stay in that can easily outflop JJ (Q2, K4, etc), so I raised 3x and the big blind folded right away. Why couldn't I have gotten 3 limpers on this hand, or even a 3x raise, so I could have went all in and (hopefully) built my stack up a bit?

And that was about it. My cards didn't cooperate with me at all - I considered ignoring my cards and just start playing aggressively in late positions to win back some chips, but I just felt like the table wasn't going to allow for that. Soon my M was down below 5 and I hoped I could scare some people off with some all-in stuff like last month.

With blinds at 75-150, I got KQ of clubs under the gun and pushed all in. The small blind agonized a call for a long time - I tried to help him along with "I've got a decent hand". I really didn't care if he called or folded with my KQ, I figured if he had something that dominated this hand he would have called right away, so I guessed I was at worse a coinflip to a small pocket pair or Ace-x. I would take a coinflip to double up at this point in the tourney.

Finally, he called and showed A4 of diamonds, and we were off to the races (Pokerstove says I'm down 57-43%). The flop and turn helped neither of us, and the river brought an Ace that my opponent didn't need anyway to knock me out of the tourney in something like 32nd place out of 50.

Last month, I guessed I was all-in a dozen times and never got knocked out. This month, I got knocked out on my first all-in of the night. That's poker.

I went through my key hands of the night and found nothing I could get mad about regarding my play. I think I need to practice against aggressive tables to see how I can win some hands and keep up with the blinds, but I don't think I made any mistakes, per-se.

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