Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday moved to Tuesday, tourney style

My Thursday night cash game moved to Tuesday to avoid the holidays, and they also decided to play a $25 buy-in tourney, with an optional $5 knock-out chip. The host has 2 poker tables in his finished basement and managed to fill them up with 18 players.

Cards were good early so I was able to mix it up. I button raised QTo and got a caller - Mr. Pietzak, who defends his blinds often and is not afraid to play low cards for implied odds. One cannot overplay top pair against him. Fortunately for me, the flop came TT5 flop. He checks. I thought if I lead out he might float me, not believing my bet. He did actually smile like he knew I was full of crap, but mucked anyway. Damn!

I completed with KJ from the SB in a limped pot, then took it down on the turn after a round of checks, and nothing but overs.

Got KK in late position, raised it up 5x - higher than normal, since blind defending seemed to be in vogue at my table. True to form, the small blind defended my 5x. I was prepared to let it go if an Ace flopped, and my heart sank a bit when
I saw the Ace in the window, but my mood immediately changed once all three cards were revealed to all be aces - the old AAA flop. My blind defender lead out which told me for sure he didn't have the fourth ace. I suppose I could have milked this one with a call, but I decided that the pot was already nicely sized and I wanted it now. I raised it up big and he got out of the way.

This hand put me just over 2500 after starting at 2000, and I felt comfortable for awhile. At this point, my cards went dead for a couple of blind levels and I tightened up. I did take one shot with a lead-out 3x raise under the gun with JTs, and I was able to win a small pot with J6 from big blind on a flop with a J.

Here's one marginal situation - raised KT from the button. Blinds were 75/150, I raised to 400. The small blind shoved all in, making it 1100 for me to call into a 2125 pot - giving me 1.9-1 odds to call. I need 34% to win, which is probably worth a call, but I just let it go.

I was able to get some of those lost chips back in the next orbit - I got a free play from the big with K8s, and the flop came 8 9 2. I checked, then watched my opponent carefully. He was an aggressive player with a big chip stack, having knocked 2 or 3 people out of tourament already. I expected him to lead out and he did. My decision, now - does he have a 9? This is a limped pot, so he could have easily played some connectors or A9, but then again he could just be taking a shot at my check.

Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of reading Gus Hansen's "Every Hand Revealed", but I decided for the maximum aggresive play - I pushed all in with middle pair! My thinking was that he couldn't call with two unconnected overs - there was no flush draw for him to chase, his hand would have to be pretty specific like JT to even consider a call, and I might even get him to lay down a better hand like A8. He looked truly shocked when I announced all in, and folded right away, so my little game worked.

When the tables combined to the last nine I had only 11 BB and desperation mode was coming soon. My cards went cold again (93s, T6o, oof), and I couldn't really make a play at anything. The big stack at the table was to my right, but he was playing very tight so he wasn't really trying to grind the table down. At one point he came into a button raise - I found A7o in my small blind. I considered pushing over him but I felt like he had a legitimate hand that he wouldn't fold. I much preferred going all-in as an opening bet.

After a few more bad hands, and the blinds about to go up, I couldn't wait any longer. I decided I would shove any two - and what a lovely 2 I got - 96o. Eeeeesh. I shoved, got a caller with two broadway cards, then doubled up on a 9 in the window of the flop. I was still in the game, but still desperate, as the blinds went up again almost right away.

I was able to terrorize the table for an orbit or two with some all-ins or the threat of them. The killer hand was my open-shove from under the gun with 22. I had 8 BB and had to make a move. A stack even lower than mine called with KQ, and hit a queen on the river. This crippled me further. The final blow was the tight chip leader raising it up. Again, I put him on a legitmate hand, but I held KJs and that was more than enough to shoot for a double up. I reraised all in, knowing he had a trivial call with any 2 cards. I was hoping for A5 but got AQ instead, and was knocked out the tourney in 7th place when neither of our cards paired the board.

I was very comfortable with the way I played. I probably could have made the KT call with correct odds, and I probably tightened up too much before the final table - I let myself get too short. A few blind steals would have helped me here. However, I also checkraised all in with middle pair based solely on a player read, and played backwards against Mr. Pietzak a couple times, whom I consider one of the best players in the room. Overall, I had no regrets as I drove home.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice job and nice recap.

"Here's one marginal situation - raised KT from the button. Blinds were 75/150, I raised to 400. The small blind shoved all in, making it 1100 for me to call into a 2125 pot - giving me 1.9-1 odds to call. I need 34% to win, which is probably worth a call, but I just let it go."

Actually, in a cash game it's a math problem and you should probably call. A tournament is different. You feel you play better than most of the others, so why call? It will kill your stack if you lose, and not help you that much if you win. You're trying to win the tournament, not win an individual pot.

I don't know if I'm explaining this very well, but you did the right thing by folding. 100%!

matt tag said...

I have heard that pot odds are not always the way to solve tourney "call/fold" problems - especially for large hunks of your stacks. thanks for the encouragement