Thursday, August 14, 2008

good and bad, all in the same tourney

Only had time for one tourney last night - had to fight with Time Warner Cable about my wonky CableCard for 2 hours. After 2 visits and 3 calls, the best I could get out of them was another visit on Sunday. I am not hopeful that this will get resolved soon.

The Poker Gods gave me an easy time of it early - I played somewhat passively early and let players with lesser hands hang themselves. An example - An early position player raises it up early, I call from the button with AQ. The flop comes A x x and he leads out. Now this can be a C-Bet, or a decent Ace. I could raise it up here to find out where I'm at, but this is a tourney and I don't want to get into a raising war with top pair. I can't fold top pair, either, though, so I just call.

Turn comes some low card that doesn't change anything - two low for him to have just made two pair unless he's raising up A3 or the like from early position. He fires again. Nothing's changed, so I call again.

River completes no obvious straights, no flushes, and he's got just enough to get it all in. I have already doubled up, so I'm not in extreme danger to call this bet - if he's got AK then so be it. I don't think he's got AA - wouldn't he have checked the flop? I call. He's got AT and I break him, putting me in the catbird seat for the tourney.

This hand reminds me very much of the live tourney hand I played last year - same cards, even. In that tourney, I raised it up early with AT, got 2 callers, flopped and Ace, and donked off my whole stack to AQ and A2 (who had flopped 2 pair). I never knew if I was ahead or not, and got all my money in the middle and busted on a mediocre Ace out of position. My opponent tonight did the same thing. I don't play AT from early position much anymore.

One player in this tourney did an amazing thing - I nailed him early with AA, leaving him with exactly 30 chips, the amount of the big blind. 3 hands later, though, he was up to 1100! He actually quadrupled up the first time, as a bunch of us tried to gang up-call on him but he ended up with the best hand (and it was a marginally playable hand, too, something like Q9, but it ended up being best). This put him at 120. Then he tripled up somehow to get him to 360-ish, and then another triple up and he's at 1100. Sadly for me, he outlasted me in the tourney, finishing either first or second (I didn't stick around to watch).

When we got to three handed, I was still the chip leader by far. I tried a few aggressive moves to keep the pressure on, but ended up getting called or raised twice and had to let the hand go. Knowing that neither player believed me anymore, I tightened up and hoped for either a good hand or that the two guys left would collide and leave me heads up with the winner. Neither of these things happened, though, and the blinds started digging deeper into my stack, to the point where I couldn't bully them around anymore even if I wanted to.

The death blow was with me at 2500, along with player A at 2800, and player B as the big stack. Player B had just taken a huge chunk from player A in a showdown. Player A shoved all his chips in the middle. I had AT - my best hand in quite awhile, and one I was going to shove myself. I figured I had a chance to be ahead based on "tilt equity" from Player A and decided to call. My read was good - he had K6, putting me a strong 65% ahead. This was one of those hands for the dog to win, though, as a 6 came on the flop and a K on the turn, leaving me drawing dead on the river and out in third.

I was marginally annoyed at the outcome if the tourney, after having half the chips at the table with 5 left to play - I should have coasted to at least heads-up. However, I don't think I made many mistakes in the game, and if I'm heeding the advice of the little paper taped to my monitor ("focus on the quality of your decisions") - then this was a successful sitting. It allowed me to fall asleep quickly rather than lying in bed and stewing for an hour.

One hand that I was proud of while three handed - a combination of my reads allowed me to win a nice pot:

Full Tilt Poker Game #7638460447: $30 + $3 Sit & Go (58103613), Table 1 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:17:40 ET - 2008/08/13
Seat 3: copden1 (3,695)
Seat 6: KINGofLORAIN (2,790)
Seat 7: taglius (7,015) (look how big my stack was here! Oof.)
KINGofLORAIN posts the small blind of 60
taglius posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to taglius [Ad 7d]
copden1 has 15 seconds left to act
copden1 folds
KINGofLORAIN calls 60
taglius checks (I was raising it up often here, so I checked my decent Ace as a balancing play)
*** FLOP *** [7s 4c Jd] (flopped second pair on a dry board, ok)
KINGofLORAIN bets 120 (this could be a c-bet, no need to get crazy, let's call in position)
taglius calls 120
*** TURN *** [7s 4c Jd] [4s]
KINGofLORAIN bets 120 (a minimum bet - he's afraid that I have a 4 b/c I called earlier. I don't know if he has a J, though, so I'll call again)
taglius calls 120
*** RIVER *** [7s 4c Jd 4s] [3d]
KINGofLORAIN checks (aha, a check. That 3 didn't help anything but 56, I don't think he would have lead out twice with nothing. I think I'm ahead here now, with two pair and ace kicker. I need to see if I build up the pot now, but not too much to scare him away. A nice little half-ish pot value bet aughta do it...)
taglius has 15 seconds left to act
taglius bets 240
KINGofLORAIN calls 240
*** SHOW DOWN ***
taglius shows [Ad 7d] two pair, Sevens and Fours
taglius wins the pot (1,200) with two pair, Sevens and Fours
The blinds are now 80/160
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,200 | Rake 0
Board: [7s 4c Jd 4s 3d]
Seat 3: copden1 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: KINGofLORAIN (small blind) mucked [7c Qh] - two pair, Sevens and Fours (he had the same basic hand and I outkicked him)
Seat 7: taglius (big blind) showed [Ad 7d] and won (1,200) with two pair, Sevens and Fours

One might say I played this somewhat passively - I could have raised the flop with my second pair to "find out where I was at". I certainly could have raised the turn after the minbet, and might have taken down the pot there. However, I feel my reads of the board and my opponent allowed me to extract a decent size pot on a marginal hand. I welcome comments to tell me I'm a fish/donkey and why...

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