Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chip and a Prayer, Part 2

Part 1 here.

So I've come back from the brink to a short-but-respectable stack, but like in all tourneys, the blinds are going up and you're usually just going to find yourself back in the same predicament. With no hands, the blinds went up on me and I was back to 9 blinds, and once again I took my stand with king-queen by pushing all in. This time, someone behind me called with a weak ace, and I was a 60-40 dog. The flop helped me with a jack and a ten - not yet ahead but a straight draw to go with my pair outs. The turn bricked but the river brought a king and I paired and kept ahead of the pack once more.

As the next hand got underway, Anthony announced that we had ten left and were about to combine for the final table. In our last hand of my table, someone else got knocked out (the same guy who tried to take out my king-queen - rivered twice in a row to get knocked out of the tourney. Poker is a brutal game).

So I carry my stack from table 6 to table 1 and the nine of us start it up. Anthony is paying 5 tonight, and I don't have enough chips to fold to the money - so I'm planning on staying aggressive and stealing some blinds from late and maybe even earlier position.

Within 3 hands of the final table - a three way all in ensues that knocks two people out. 7 left. At this point, the 7 of us agree to take $10 out of each envelope and give the 6th place finisher his $50 buy-in back. Therefore, the next one out is the official bubble boy. I swipe a blind with 56o, then again with J9o, to stay ahead. Bubble boy drops off, then #6, and I'm officially in the money!. We play five handed for quite awhile, then a race ensues between an all-in with a pair and the big stack with AJs - and big stack hits his ace, so we drop to 4.

Four handed play goes on for about an hour - 2.5 blind levels. Most of it is "raise and take it" poker. I survive another all-in battle and double up when I shove with pocket tens and am called by ace-jack.

In one hand, I raise up Jc4c and the big blind defends. I hit two clubs on the flop so I decide not to c-bet and get checkraised off my draw. The turn pairs my four. I think hard about betting, but decide the free card is very valuable, and I have showdown value with the pair. The river bricks, and I win my showdown, but unfortunately have to show the table I played jack-four sooooted.

It looks like I've become a target now. Twice I raise up the pot, a blind defends, then donkbets into me on dry, low flops. Twice I let the hands go. Once I raise it up with a real hand - ace-jack, and a player goes over the top of me, all in. I think long and hard about calling, but decide I don't need to race for the tourney right now. I fold my AJ face up, hoping it restores a bit of credibility to my hand selection. My opponent returns the favor by showing pocket kings. Nice fold by me.

The key hand of the night - one of the players raises my blind, and I see two little letter "A"s when I turn over the corners of my cards. The rockets, for the first time tonight! For deception, I just call the preflop raise, and decide to either come out firing on a wet flop, or check on a dry flop and hope he bets. I plan on getting it all in on any flop, though - if he cracks pocket aces to put me out in fourth because I let him see a flop - I can live with that.

The three flop cards show nine, five, deuce - all different suits. Pretty dry, I would say. I check. My opponent thinks for a second or two before announcing "I'm all in", and I think I half-shout "call" before he even gets the word "in" out of his mouth. I reveal my hand before his - he twists his face up in a frown and sighs, tabling ace-five. He is dead to 3 outs, and the percentages stay with me as I move myself up in the money.

I like his play on this hand very much, actually - he hit a pair and put me on a very logical range - random overcards that missed this board. He exerted maximum pressure, but happened to fall into a trap. Fortunately for me, I hit a hand to lay the trap at just the right time.

We discuss a three-way chop at this point, our three stacks are very close in size - but an older gentleman wants to play on. He is no typical cadgey-codger type - he has been raising lots of pots and showing down big hands. I have been avoiding him until now. After a few non all-in losses, he has become the short stack and he makes a stand - I check out ace-queen suited (spades) in my hand, and take a shot of knocking him out by calling. He shows pocket threes and wins his race - I double him up. A bit later, I raise up ace-king and he shoves over me. I call. He shows pocket eights - again I'm behind!, but I hit a king on the flop and knock out #3.

I am a big chipleader going into heads up. My opponent half-jokes "I'll take $100 out of your winnings and call it a chop right now", but this wouldn't be very equitable on my end due to my large advantage. I decide to play on.

Very first hand of heads up - I shit you not, I get pocket aces. I limp. My opponent checks, and I hit a monster ace-five-five board for a full house. We both check the flop. I try a feeler bet on a nine-turn, but my opponent folds. I laugh and laugh and show him the bullets, he just shakes his head. I probably should have checked the turn as well.

A few hands later, he pushes all-in, and I take a shot at knocking him out with 79s, but I double up his king-rag when neither of us pairs.

At this point, our stacks have evened up a bit. I re-offer him the chop suggestion he made at the start of heads up - $800 for me, $550 for him (instead of the normal $900/$450 split). He thinks for a moment, then reasons "if it were only midnight, I would want to play on, but it's 1am and I'm tired. Let's do it". We shake hands, and I've won my third Waterbury monthly in two years.

(edit: apologies to my readers that the final table details in my post are a bit sparse and fuzzy. I was pretty tired Friday night, and lucky to make the final table at all, especially after getting knocked to 1.5 big blinds. Should have brought my notebook to record the action, but it slipped my mind).


Forrest Gump said...

Well done Matt. I bet you were on a high afterward? :)

A couple of comments:
- I'm not a big fan of showing. Any misinformation is good information IMO. I they think you're playing napkins, then you adjust your play and their ranges when they fight back?
- You said you were a bit fuzzy on details but i think the position maybe more so than cards are interesting when you're stealing alot.
- How long was the tournament start to finish? I find i tend to be a train-wreck and my mind is mush afterward too.

matt tag said...

I used to show WAY too much, now I do it to convey some specific information. This neighborhood tourney is a friendly, show-every-hand-fest at times, and I think a few "non informational" shows are good to maintain an overall friendly image. ("look, I raised with kings and you all folded").

tourney isn't too long - starts at 7pm and ends by 12:30 or 1. But my mind is still mush.

diverjoules said...

CONGRATS MATT.. Way to go. I would love to play that sometime. If you email me and let me know in advance maybe I could attend. Great write-up as usual too.