Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a strange hand...

Another good night - I played one tourney where we got to the last three, and then something strange was going on. The big stack was to my right, and was consistently raising me when he was the small and I was the big. Nothing strange there- that's what the big stack is supposed to do. What was odd was when the big stack was the button, he was almost never raising, leaving it up to me and the other stack to duke it out.

The player to my left was either folding her small blind to the big stack, or raising and taking it down. Almost no flop confrontations.

I kept getting whittled down but would double up when the big stack would call with an Ace-rag hand. He seemed to love holding any ace, and I avoided him hitting one as a doubled up with pocket sixes and pocket tens.

At some point, the play of these two other players became consistent enough that I just had to type into the chat "you two colluding or something?". No reply.

It might have been a coincidence that these two got into an all-in confrontation just one lap around the table later. The hand strenghs seemed normal for both of them to justify this, so nothing else looked fishy.

Once heads up, I was able to turn the tables on the ace master and then grind him down for the win.

I wasn't going to play a second tourney - but my kids were up late at 10:30 due to their spring break, so they were monopolizing the bed and TV in my room. Alrighty, then, let's fire up a second one.

This sudden change of heart must have fooled the poker gods into thinking I wasn't at the table, because I went on one of those nice heaters that you think happen only to other players but never yourself. I repeatedly was dealt nice cards or flopped big hands and got action from both bad players and good players with second best hands.

It started with bullets, right in the first blind level. A bad player, who had already doubled up with a flopped set, raised to 90. A good player 3-bet him to 240 right away. I 4-bet to 590. Now how many four bets are there at my level that aren't AA/KK/QQ? The bad player calls the huge bet, the good player folds AQ/AJ/JJ/TT (probably), and we see a flop, which comes queen high, no draws. I've got less than the pot left, and I drop it in. I get called right away, by a whiffed Ace-King (?), and I'm at 2600.

I bump that up to over 3000 when I play a blind vs. blind battle with Jack-rag-soooted, and the board gives me a one card straight with the jack, and the big blind decides to represent by betting out. The only hand that beats me is ace-jack and there should have been a raise somewhere with that hand before now, so I'm not folding here. He shows down a hopeless bluff with 67s.

Soon I get the bullets again and get my opening bet shoved over, this time with pocket jacks. Since we have already established that the poker gods aren't watching this one closely, I dodge the 2-outer and I'm over 5000 now.

I should have been able to coast into a first place finish with the amazing start, but I had to settle for second place. My heads up opponent was not very experienced, but was either getting great cards or playing very well. We swapped the chip lead a couple times.

The final hand of the night was a strange one to be sure. We saw a cheap flop, which came A , 2 , 2 . I had jack-ten, both black. We both checked. This player was not slowplaying - he seemed eager to knock me out - overbetting with shoves several times preflop when a 3x raise would have done the same job. I felt like he would have bet out with an ace or even a deuce.

The turn came the J , and he bet all-in into me. There were several ways I could have been beat here - an ace or a deuce, or two hearts for the flush. Not sure if I was lucky or good, but I really put him on a jack here, so I called. He revealed a Jack, and the three of hearts. At first I was pumped because I had him outkicked, but I knew I had to dodge a heart on the river, and that heart did in fact come in to give him the flush and the tourney.

A second look at the board, though, shows that the kickers didn't matter on this paired board. When the jack came on the turn, we both had two pair - Jacks and twos, with an Ace kicker. We got our money in tied, and he was freerolling to the flush.

So I made a couple mistakes on the final hand - first I misread the board, of course, not realizing that the kickers didn't play. This is funny because earlier in the same tourney I recognized almost the same situation during the heat of battle, but still managed to whiff on this one. The second mistake is getting my money in for at-best a tie, and with almost no redraw. (not to mention the few ways I could have already been beat if my read was wrong).

I went to bed up 5 buy-ins with my first and second place finishes, but still knowing I had plenty to work on.

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