Saturday, June 27, 2009

Waterbury Tourney Report

Summer months seem to make it harder to gather players for Texas Holdem. What's wrong with these people? . Anthony managed to find 27, with lots of newbies among them, to sit down at 7pm and join his $50 tourney in my housing development's party clubhouse (less than a half mile from my house).

I was stoked to look around at my table selection - lots of new faces. Hopefully this meant less-than-stellar poker skills, and I could build up some chips. On my right was a "cadgey codger" type (see Arnold Snyder's book for player typecasting - this book helps a ton when playing live tourneys). On his right was a new guy - I'll call him RSG for "red shirt guy". On my left was a woman - new to this tourney. On her left was a musclebound guy with a tight T-Shirt and a Jamaican accent. Opposite the table was Crane - a guy from my Thursday game - solid all around.

I also had Rob at my table - the crazy-loose player who knocked me for a loop last month. Rob is a menace if he can get some chips. My plan was to simply avoid him unless I hit a monster hand.

My first observation when the tourney started was that both RSG and the woman to my left, although both new to this game, were not fishies to be donating chips. Both players were folding most of their hands. RSG also donned the sunglasses when the tourney started - maybe a bit much for our local tourney, but not altogether uncommon. His first two hands played were also raises - once an open raise in early position, and once more raising up a limper. His mannerisms and choice of language suggested some experience.

The woman to my right played typical to many ladies that I have witnessed - unaggressive preflop. No raising, always coming in with a limp, cold-calling the occasional normal raise. She was not loose - she folded most of her hands. Her play also demonstrated some amount of experience - she kept track of the action, knew when it was her turn to act, etc. She was also not afraid to put chips into the pot postflop, and her bet sizes seemed in-line. I got the feeling she was playing fit-or-fold poker, though, and perhaps I could take some orphaned pots away from her.

Jamaican guy, on the other hand, looked like the mark at the table. He was playing too many hands, showing down junk like T9o from early position, and taking these hands too far after catching a pair. I hoped I could earn some chips from him.

My own play started poorly. In the first level I received AJo, in the UTG+1 position. I should have raised this hand up or folded it - instead I limped in. Two other limpers followed. A nice flop came for me - J 4 5, giving me top pair, top ticker, on a nonthreatening board. I chose to lead out for $35 into the multiway pot. Crane raised my bet right away, to $100, and it folded back to me.

Crane is a solid player, capable of making moves and testing you, but I didn't think he would be tossing chips around on the first level with some kind of bluff. He had something. I ruled out a slowplayed AA/KK/QQ immediately - Crane would play these straightforwardly. He could have the same hand as I did - AJ, or he could have KJ/QJ and is making a little raise to see if I'm taking a shot with a middle pair on this unthreatening board. Worst case, of course, is a set of fives or fours.

I mulled all these things over in my mind, and came the to conclusion that I should simply fold. Why go broke with TPTK, out of position, in the first level of the tourney? Yup, just fold and wait for a better opportunity.

After coming to this decision, however - I ignored it completely and called the raise - pulling my $35 back and replacing it with $100 chip. I regretted this decision before I even had the black chip in the pot. What card was a I hoping for? What was my plan? Ooof, I'm an idiot.

The turn was a middle 7-9 type card, which didn't help me, so I checked. Crane lead right out for $125 more, and I corrected my first mistake right away by folding. As a probe for information, I offered "I might be folding the best hand here". Crane told the table he had a set of fives, which I believed entirely. As I folded the next orbit around the table, I inwardly chastised myself for donkey play all around. That crap wouldn't get the job done.

I made up chips in the next level by completing my small blind with KT in an unraised pot. A broadway board with an ace scared everyone from acting on the flop, and the turn gave me a nice hidden straight. I bet my straight and got a caller from the woman to my left. The river didn't help her, though, so I was unable to get a second street of value. This put me back to even.

Nemesis Rob gets knocked out early in a three way all-in. On a board of A2234, both him and Jamaican dude shove their chips in with a 5. RSG calls them both with an A2 boat, and down they both go. I am not unhappy to see him go. As is often the case, crazy Rob is either at the final table or one of the first ones out.

The third level, with 25/50 blinds, is where I was able to make my move. As the big blind, I watched around the table as the limpers limped in. One, two, three, four. I'm not looking at my cards anymore until it's my turn to act, so I'm thinking to myself "what's my plan if I've got a monster under here?". When action got to me, I peeked at my cards and saw two black shiny "A"s looking back at me. The monster indeed! After pausing for a moment, I choose a raise of 200 chips to try and get at least one customer. Everyone folds except for Jamaican guy, who needs some help making his call correct.

We take an all-red flop with a Jack, a nine, and a seven. No need to get fancy here - I make it $200 chips and he calls right away. There are straight and flush possibilities, but my guess is that this player isn't even looking at those. He has a piece of this flop, probably maybe a JT/QJ top pair type of hand, and I am going to slow down only if another jack comes, or the flush (since the jack was the odd-suit out).

The turn is the other red seven, no flush yet. Scary if he has a seven, but I've ruled this out. I go for $300 this time, and he's still calling. My read is still the same.

The river brings a nice surprise - a red ace. I've got the big boat now. The red ace also completes the flop flush that was available. If my friend has a Jack, this ace will probably put the kibosh on me getting any more money. If he somehow has the flush, though - now an Ace-high flush, he might go broke. I raise my bet up to $500 and he throws his cards into the muck like they're on fire. He hints at having a jack. I decide this is a good time to turn my aces over for all to see - I want people to know that I'm playing straightforwardly right now, which might give me license to steal some later.

Now I have some chips and can sit back a bit. I fold my crap for a few orbits. Right before the break - I end up taking 2 back-to-back shots with some sub-standard hands (a pair of threes, Ace-duece soooted on the button), and neither of them work out. Right after this, RSG open raises from early position. I look down at a pair of sevens and decide to muck them - I've given back enough chips and don't need to speculate further.

After the break, my table gets several new players as the tables combine. Jamaican guy is replaced by his friend with whom he came in. "Biker lady" also joins the table - a tough looking, but nice-enough woman with whom I played last month.

It is time to get aggressive. I raise up 55 on the button, and
Jamaican guy's friend defends his blind. Not good. This guy is completely clueless as to what the bet is, when it's his turn to act, etc. We see a Q67 board with two hearts and he checks. Good enough for me - I make a half pot bet. Clueless guy looks like he's going to put chips into the middle right away, sinking my heart a bit, but then he thinks further and further and then mucks his cards. I'm guessing he paired the 6 or 7, or had a medium pocket pair that I just got to fold, with the way he considered a call there. Whew.

From the big blind, RSG open-limps into me on the button. I shoot into him with a raise and A9s. I'm hoping my aces from the big blind are fresh in his mind. We flop a harmless 447 and I fire right into him - my "overpair" is just as good as it was preflop, my friend. He folds.

Biker Lady has typical weak-tight tendencies. Twice she limps into a pot with AK and then fools someone with a weaker ace. She is very excited when she wins a pot - perhaps experiencing some of her first poker success. She is not making large mistakes, and getting good cards on top.

There are several short stacks at the table now, two of them to my left. This prevents me from button stealing with pure crap, so I tighten way up and wait for some cards. They don't really come.

My biggest mistake on the night comes when 5 handed, right before we combine into a single table. I have KTs. I'm under the gun, but there are only 5 at the table. I also have around only 12 BB. I think long and hard about this hand - is it good enough to raise? Should I just fold it? In the end I decide to try and play it, but I only raise 2x, which has been done a couple times at this table. What has also been done, though, is calling this small raise. Biker lady and a solid player in the small blind (who replaced the now out RSG) both call it, and we're three handed.

The turn gives me an open ended straight draw, but the solid player fires a solid value bet into the pot. This bet would be half my stack. A semi-bluff is not possible - his big bet gives him over 2-1 odds to call, and he's betting like he has something worth calling. I fold. A rabbit hunt shows an ace. Solid player says "that wouldn't have helped you, it would have given me top two", indicating he had AQ. I told him he would have doubled my KT straight up. Arrrrgh! Just a few more chips and I would have semibluffed into him and doubled up.

We combine to the final table. I have 3200 chips, but the blinds are 200-400 and I'm not comfortable. There are only 2 people with large enough stacks to relax, everyone else is fighting for their lives.

A few hands in, biker lady grabs some chips like she's ready to raise, then thinks better of this and limps in for 400. A player pushes all-in into her. She calls, flips over TT, and knocks out A7s.

The very next hand, I've got KJ in the small blind.
Biker lady limps again, as do two other pretty short stacks who have no business limping. I weigh my options with the rookie hand. I could try a "limp and go" - complete the blind and push all in if I hit one of my cards. Or I could push all in with the dead money in the pot and take my shot now. My biggest fear with this move is that biker lady can have me crushed with AJ/AK, as she has already shown she is not raising with nearly any hand.

I take a look at the clock. 4 minutes left until 300-600 blinds, dead money in the pot, and a possibility for a 50-50 coin flip. The biggest stack at the table is two to my left. Time is running out. I shove all in, hoping for two live cards. Biker lady calls pretty fast, and the limpers fade away.

She shows 99 - Probably the best hand I could hope for. A coin flip to double up. A nine on the turn kills my overcard outs, but gives me a straight with a Ten. The ten doesn't come, and I take 9th place in the tourney. Biker lady is very excited at her continued success. I walk around the table to shake her hand, and hightail it out of the party room right away.

A few mistakes as usual - the KTs hand late cost me the most. A weak hand played weakly. A fold was my best option there. My first level AJo hand was butchered all the way around, but didn't cost me much.

My Kojack final hand was a sticky situation, but I can't really think up a way to play it better. If I fold, I'll be left with 5BB when the blinds go up and pushing into big stacks. The limp-and-go seems like a waste of chips and too much "fit or fold" - especially if an ace comes on the flop (I guarantee one or both of the limpers had Ace-rag in their hand). The all-in is a bit scary with KJ against this type of opponent, as the threat of domination is high, but the decision turned out ok, as I got probable (A-rag) better hands to fold, and got into a coinflip race to stay alive. I just lost the race.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice recap, sorry you didn't win.

crazy Rob is either at the final table for one of the first ones out.

I don't like to play like that, but it has some merit.

diverjoules said...

You play at the Waterbury? Do you live near me? Fairview Park. CPMG holds tourneys and cash games. Do you ever play with them? I held 3 table tourneys over this past weekend. Would welcome you any time. CPMG _Cleveland Poker Meetup Group