Friday, February 27, 2009

You gotta get lucky to beat me

Monthly Tourney - we end up with 44 for a $50 buy in. Winner will make a cool $950.

Not much doing early. My table is a good mix of bad and good players, and I hope to take some money from the fishies. My first chance comes on the second blind level, when 2 players limp into my blind and I've got AcKc. I raise it up and get one caller.

The flop misses - 7 8 T with two diamonds. I lead right into the board, and the limper shakes his head, like he doesn't like his hand much, but he calls.

The turn and river brick, and I chicken out. I'm not much of a double-barreller, especially in a tourney.
We check it down, and he flips over JT. I think I could have pushed him off the hand, but 300 out of 1500 gone early. Arnold Snyder just says to shove it all in there - accumulate the chips at all costs early, put players to the test with maximum aggression. This is probably especially true given his obvious dislike of the hand.

My cards don't cooperate for awhile, and I get down to "fun time" in short order. I've got 1000 left, with blinds at 50-100. From the big blind, I look down at 7-7. My first guess is that one of the good players will raise, and I'll shove over him for a race, but I get something even better. One, two, three, four limpers. There's 500 in the pot right now, and I've got 1000 back.

"I'm all in".

My first of the night. Jason, the really good player who I beat heads-up last month, is under the gun and is thinking about calling. He thinks and thinks, but folds. Then the next guy thinks and thinks, but he folds too. The last two fold in quick succession, and I add 50% to my stack on a perfect squeeze play. (the first two players say they both had KJ).

This keeps me ok for awhile, but the blinds go up again soon and down I go again into "take a stand" mode. Sitting in UTG+1, Mr. UTG limps. I shove over him with a pair of nines before he gets his chips in the pot. It folds around to him and he folds, giving me the stink-eye.

Key hand of the tourney - an early player raises 3x, and Mr. JT from above calls. I check my cards and find AdQd. Damn! A tricky spot. What does the early player have? He could have AK, or course, or a big pair. Then again, he might have a pair under my Queen, in which case I'm in a regular old race. Adding to the fun is the dead money in the pot from the caller. His presence decides my outcome - and in my stack goes again. I decide the caller gives me another squeeze play, and his dead money makes this shove well worth it. The first raiser thinks a good, long time, but he folds (says he had AJ, good fold sir). The caller decides to call, though, and pops over a pair of sixes. Damn again! It's a standard race, but all the dead money makes this a plus play. I hit my queen on the flop and double up, with interest. I'm out of the red zone.

Right after this, I decide to try a steal on the button. My hand is pure garbage - T4o. The small blind folds immediately but the big blind calls. He doesn't really have the chips to just call, so I'm a bit wary. The board actually hits my 4 - along with a 6 and a 9. He checks. There's no way he defended and hit this hand, and I I'm pretty sure he would have shoved over with any pocket pair. A continuation bet will put my stack in a goofy spot again, and I think about checking behind for a minute, but I decide on the "no guys, no glory" approach. I bet the right amount for my nonexistant overpair and get a fold.

My chip stack is decent now at 4400, about 18 big blinds, and the two players to my left are much lower. I feel like I can make a big run here by picking on their blinds a bit and keeping up until the final table.

Soon one of the short players goes all in. He was just moved to my table so I don't know much about him, but my cards play themselves here - big slick again. I shove over to isolate. We turn our cards over and I'm up against A8 - a perfectly played hand.... until he hits and 8 on the turn and knocks me back into desperation mode. Damn!

I'm a bit steamed, but the player is extremely nice and even apologetic. A class act. I tell him that he shouldn't be sorry - I won the tourney last month by sucking out on very much the same hand, so this was just karma coming back to me. Jason, still sitting to my left and the target of my suckout, agrees 1000%

Back to shove or die mode - I shove over 2 limpers one more time, this time I've got 9sTs from the buttom. I feel like the table is sick of my shit by now, but I've got 7 BB and can't care much. One of them calls me and shows AJ, and I'm pretty sure this will be it - that is, until I deal myself a 78J flop for the straight. Ha! Karma reversed. Back to average.

I need one more hand to make it to the final table. Just one more. There are 12 players left and I can almost smell it, but I've only got 8 BB again. A small stack (Mr. JT from earlier) shoves into me. I look down at AK one more time. This is it. I shove over him (only 600 more, though). I'm pretty sure I'm ahead of him and can't wait to see his cards, until the big stack at the table announces "I'm all in, too". Hey, where'd he come from? Craaaaaap.

We all flip over - Mr. JT from earlier has AQ this time and I'm dominating him, but big stack woke up with Jacks. Ouch. My luck is further diminshed with a miracle queen on the flop. The turn brings an Ace which puts me ahead of the jacks, but I lose all my chips except for a big blind and a half. On the next hand, I announce I'm all in before seeing my cards. I actually wake up with a king - a K7, but I'm called by AJ from a blind and the board buries me with 2 aces. Close as hell to the final table, but not quite this month - I take 12th place out of 44.

For the record, I had AK three times in the tourney and didn't win any of them. All very different. In the first, I C-Bet on a whiff but got a call and chickened out, trying to conserve chips early. I can't fault the play except that he obviously wasn't in love with his hand when he called, and I might have been able to push him off it if I had the guts to go with my read. In the second, I had A8 dominated (3:1) and lost. In the third, I can beat two players with an ace or king but a miracle queen comes and effectively ends my night. My initial read was good to get over AQ, but the big stack waking up with jacks is just bad luck, I suppose.

Overall pretty unlucky with my big slick, I would say.

Not many other big starting hands. I had the nines but no higher pair. I played deuces once (really shouldn't have, limped from UTG w/ about 10 BB) that didn't hit. My AsQs won me a big pot in a race vs. the sixes. I played KJ once in early position (when only 7 handed) and hit a straight on the river to win some chips, and my lucky 9T hit s a straight while all-in, but those were the only big postflop hands. No flushes, no two pairs. Hell, no top pairs except when all-in.

The table was glad to see me go, and they needed me lose with AK three times to knock me out.
Wins in any three of those hands change the game dramatically. The A8 loss was especially bad- a win there would have put me at over 6000 chips and allowed me to either take a break or turn into table captain.

All in all, I can't be too displeased with the result.

No comments: