Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chip and a Prayer

Monthly live tourney, $50 buy-in. 47 players this month.

My table draw is not encouraging. Terry, on my left, plays in my home game occasionally. To his left, Mike, a gentleman who has won two of the past three tourneys. A quick glance after the action starts shows two other players shuffling chips and talking about play at our downtown charity poker room. Not one soft spot to be found. Peachy.

These tourneys usually start off as limpfests, but in the second level, Terry raises up a pot size flop bet, then takes it down on the turn with another big blast. He reveals his cards - connectors hit a straight on the turn - meaning that he raised the pot big on the flop with a draw. Not all ABC poker here.

Ace-ten for me in the big blind, second level. Limpers to me. I might raise up ace-jack, but AT is a bit too weak, let's see a flop. Seven-Eight-Nine gives me an open-ender. I check into 4 people, someone takes a stab with a minbet of 30. This chases nobody away, they all call. I call as well.

Turn pairs the eight, and the same guy stabs the same amount. My thought is that this will now get expensive, with someone slowplaying a set that is now a boat or hit his third eight, or had a straight all along, but everyone just calls. I call as well with huge odds, and this pot is looking pretty big for an early level.

The river brings me an ace, a nice card for me, but plenty of other hands beat me and I'm out of position. I figure a check-small-bet-call is in order, but nobody bets, and my aces and eights takes the pot.

I give all this back in the next level. I limp with 7d8d, and Walt raises it up to 200. Walt played in my cash game last week - he's pretty good, but I think I know where I'm at here, so I make the call hoping to smash an overpair. The board is 466 with one diamond and two hearts. Walt repeats the bet of 200. I should fold here with nothing but a gutshot, but I make the call. There are a ton of turn cards that might make this hand interesting - a miracle 5 of course, but a diamond gives me a flush draw, a ten gives me a double gutter, and a 7 or 8 might even give me the best hand to a missed AK/AQ. I make the call. The river bricks out with a black 3, and I give up on the hand, chastising myself for making a cash game call in a tourney.

Not much else doing - we get to the first break and Anthony chips up the red $5 to greens. I count myself out and I've got 1500, precisely the amount of chips I started with.

At level 75/150, the player to my right makes a minraise to 300. I look at his stack - he's got about the same smallish stack as I do, and is right on the edge of push-or-fold mode. My cards are KQo. This player is solid and has something here - he's not in position to steal blinds, and he's not overly aggressive. I decide he's got a medium ace or a smaller pair, and perhaps he will buckle to some pressure. I put my stack in. He takes about .0000023 seconds to call and tosses over the bullets. Whoopsie-daisy. I hit an queen on the flop but that's as far as I go, and I start stacking em up, knowing that's it for me. Well, almost. We compare stacks and I had him covered by 275 chips. He ships me back two black 100s and three green 25s, and I've got less than 2 blinds left.

I'm debating whether I should go all-in blind, but the dealer button just passed me and I've actually got a few hands to wait for something. Mr. Aces limps to me, and I flip over ace-jack-off. Something! I stick my "stack" in and get 2 callers. The flop is all low garbage - they both check, trying to knock me to the rail. The turn brings my jack, and the river hits the low stuff again. I might be good! Mr. Aces has a jack but his kicker's no good, and I triple up to 900. Still desperate, but breathing.

Next orbit, I'm in the small blind and there's one limper. I check out pocket kings. Hello Frisco! Should I complete and try to trap? Should I minraise? I consider for quite a bit - too long, actually, and I'm aware that I've probably given myself away by the length of my consideration. I finally decide on the straight play - all in with 6 big blinds. No need to get fancy here - if everyone folds, then so be it. Terry in the big blind make a quick call - he's in worst shape than I am and needs to make something happen. The limper gives it up and I'm heads up against queen-ten suited, and I hold up, putting me at 2200, 15 big blinds and back in contention, with some work to do. From 275 to 2200 in two orbits - not too shabby.

Part 2 to follow.

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