Friday, August 21, 2009

Live tourney report

I've met some fellow poker players online recently, and it turns out that they play games all over the west side of Cleveland. I had been promising to attend an event, and tonight turned out to be the night.

The event was a $60 tourney, with a $20 knockout bonus for every player you, uh, well, knock out. Blinds started at 25/50 and chips started at 10,000, with 20 minute blind levels. I am not anywhere used to playing deep stack poker like this, so I was going in with a plan. Play loose early, try and hit some flops hard, then tighten up in the middle levels (whether I was low or not). Steal some blinds and switch to my "SNG" mode at about 30 BB or so, where I'm more comfortable.

First hand of the tourney, I get A7s in the big blind. The pot limps to me, I'm happy to take a flop. My ace pairs and I lead out. The player to my right calls. I lead again on the turn, but I'm ready to slow down to resistance. Happily, I get a fold, and I've won the first hand of the night, which calms my nerves.

Still in the first orbit, I see pocket jacks. The player to my right has already raised - his third straight hand of doing so. He has also bet aggressively postflop. I 3bet and he calls. Our board is 9TK - not pretty, but I'm in position. He checks to me, I bet to keep the lead, and he checkraises to a giant sum. I make the easy fold - he shows QJ for the nut straight. Nice flop.

Next blind level - I take a limped pot with 67s. I hit two pair on a 367 board, and I whip out the checkraise. Aggro guy to my right calls. The turn is a 9 - I fire out big again, he calls again. The river is a T, giving an 8 a straight. He checks and so do I - he calls out "two pair", which I first figure is the same hand as me, but he shows 9T! Hmm, called a checkraise with a gutshot, then paired the turn and river to runner-runner me. Great luck for me.

Next blind level - a free play with K8 in the big blind. The board is 8 high and I lead out with my top pair. A check-caller type guy calls the bet. Turn is a 9, I bet again and get a call. River is a 7 - I bet small to block and he raises. I don't take this guy as the raising with air type, so I fold - he shows 56o! Wow - again I was runner-runnered - I was killing this guy on the flop, but he caught me. Lovely.

There's a bit of steam pouring out of my ears, but I try and keep it together and take stock. I've lost 1/3 of stack in the first two blind levels - not too great. On the other hand, I've still got 7000 chips, and the blinds are 50/100. I've got 70 blinds - more than I usually start with in my SNGs. So the deepstack stuff didn't work out for me - I'll just switch to more of a tight-aggressive SNG mode now.

Aggro guy is running over the table, except he has the cards to back up his play. Set of tens. Set of queens. Pocket kings. 2 or 3 ace-x's that hit the ace. He keeps showing when he doesn't have to, and I know that it's probably going to be a long day with him right there.

One thing that I do notice is that he raises almost every time he's the button, even after limpers. Sometimes he shows good cards, other times he does not. About the fourth time he tries this, I 3 bet nice and big with a pair of sevens, and I get a fold. I need him to know he's not going to be able and take my blind every time.

I have tightened up to regular SNG mode. I fold KJ in early position, and a couple offsuit connectors. I fold A9s early.

The last orbit before the break, I hit 2 big hands. I raise AQ and get a caller. There is still plenty of postflop play - many raises are defended, even from the blinds. These players are all very good and most are aggressive. I hit my queen as top pair / top kicker and check. The board has two spades but no straight draws. When my aggressive opponent bets, I checkraise him all in and win a nice pot.

3 hands later - two black kings. I raise and am called by our host, Julie T. Again the flop is queen high, giving me an overpair. I've got 20 BB left and will certainly play this hand to the wall. This time, I take a bit of extra time thinking about whether to lead out or checkraise again, and then I realize that my extra thinking time probably looks weak, so I take a few seconds more. Finally, I lead out for 1000, and Julie T raises right away to 3000. Getting what I wanted, I shove again and get a fold.

The break comes - I've got 12,000 chips - a very nice comeback from losing half my stack earlier. I'm probably close to an average stack, as only a couple people are out.

After the break, I decide it's time to get aggressive again. I raise 55 and get two callers. The board comes with three garbage cards and I get two folds with a solid bet. I also semi-swipe the blinds with Ace-rag.

I'm up to 16,000 chips with 250/500 blinds. 32 BB, plenty to play with, and still an average stack.

There's a 4x raise (unusual size for this table) from early position. I peek over at AhKh. Hmmm, 3 bet or just call?

My first argument against 3 betting is that it pretty much commits me, and I'm not sure I have to commit with AK at this stage of the tourney, with 32 BB. The second is that I'm not sure if this 4x raise means "I love my hand and I'm trying to pump up the pot" or "I'm not thrilled with my hand and hope everyone folds".

I decide to take the safe route and call with AK, like I do in the earlier stages of regular SNGs. If I whiff completely, I've still got 28 BB left and no big deal. If I hit hard, then my hand is disguised and maybe I win a bunch from AQ or KQ.

What puts a big crimp in my plans is that 2 people behind me call as well. Now the pot is 8,000 chips, and I've got 14,000 left. Any other chip that goes into this pot will mean all-in for me.

The board is dealt - 4h, 4d, 7h. Fairly harmless cards to a giant raised pot, and I've got the flush draw. The original raiser leads out for exactly half pot - 4,000 chips. If I shove all in with my 14,000, he'll have to call 10,000 to win 16,000 - exactly 1.6-1 odds, and he's gotta think that all his overpairs are worth those odds. However, if he's c-betting with AQ/AJ, then there's no way he can call my overshove. 6 outs - 24% to win, not good enough to cover the odds.

So there's a chance he's c-betting. I think if he's got Aces, he checks this flop and goes for a checkraise, so I rule these out. I can't rule out kings - most players bet kings hard to make sure the ace never catches up with them. But if I add up all the c-bets, and count at least my ace as giving me good outs, as well as my flush draw, I think I can shove often enough to get a fold, or draw out with either my ace, maybe my king, and surely any of my hearts. It's the right play.

I shove. The two other players fold, and I count out my chips. He has me covered and has pretty good odds. He also has the added benefit of winning my $20 knockout fee if he blasts me out of here right now. He calls, with 99. Pretty gutsy call, I think. As the cards show, we're close to dead even to win the hand, but one of the callers who folded announces she also had AK, which swipes 2 of my 15 outs. 99 is a slight favorite and dodges all my power to knock me out in 11th place.

I have no problems with the way I played the hand. I felt like some of his range was uncallable, even with 1.6-1 odds. The dead money in the pot made my play very profitable between fold equity and the overlay of hitting one of my many outs. I played the entire tourney aggressively - lost badly early, won it all back (with interest) in the middle, and went out in a blaze of glory, giving a good player a tough decision, and then showing him one of the worst hands he could hope for when he called.

The people at the game couldn't have been more friendly, and were
also almost all nasty, difficult players - every one of them. My game will definitely improve if I play with this group more often. I probably won't win much money from them, but I'll be paying for education.


bastinptc said...

Isn't this blogging thing fun? Meet new people, improve your game and provide us with a good read.

Memphis MOJO said...

Glad you finally got to meet your host -- isn't she wonderful?

(I got to meet her when she traveled to my area.)

diverjoules said...

Matt - It was SO GREAT to meet you. I am so glad you came to play with us. I of course really respect your game after reading your hand discections on your blog for so long. I knew you would be a formidable opponent. Hope you join us again and often. I also hope to make it to one of your games. BTW the tourneys at my house are always pretty deep stacked. 10k and extra levels. We like to give people a chance to play a lot of poker. Not just push and pray. This weekends TWO DAY DEEP stack is held a few times a year. 25k in chips 30 min blinds day one, and 50 min blinds day two. It is a really great game. Take care. - Julie