Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November Tournament Summary

November Tournament Summary

Game 1

We had a record turnout for our monthly tournament.  Usually we struggle to get two tables going.  Our previous high water mark for attendance was in the low 20’s, but that was the only time we’ve ever needed the third table.  This time we had 32 players for our first game, requiring an unheard of fourth table.  

In past events I’ve felt like I played too tentatively in the early going which resulted in me being short stacked and unable to gain much traction once the blinds started getting up there.  I would be too tight preflop, and unwilling to take stabs at orphaned pots, instead letting everyone else take them from me.

This time I had resolved to be more aggressive in at the lower blinds levels.  I wanted to play more pots, and make more of an effort to pick up chips rather than waiting for a monster hand.  Unfortunately this strategy didn’t work out very well for me.  I won a few pots that I normally would have missed, but I ultimately ended up betting into better hands post flop resulting in my being short stacked at more or less the same spot I would have been had I played like normal.

One amazing thing about tournament poker is how quickly chip stacks can change.  We start with $T600 in chips and I was at a little more than T$300 with the blinds at $T40/$T80.  I look down at A2o in middle position.   Two players had limped, and I took a chance by pushing all in.  I was expecting to get called, and to be behind, but I this might the last time I have enough chips to get someone to fold so I had to take a chance.  And everyone folded, doubling me up.

A few hands later I’m in the big blind with a pair of cowboys.  Paul V, raises 3xBB and its folded to me.  Paul has a huge chip lead at our table. He flopped a full house with pocket tens and a T33 board and the players with Q3 and QQ were unable to get away from their hands.  From there he had been successfully bullying the table.  

Paul is a pretty good player.  When he first started playing in our game I hated having him at my table. Now I don’t mind so much because I’m completely in his head. I’ve doubled up through him, or knocked him out more than anyone else we play with.  At one point I had tilted him so much that he was scared to get involved with me in any hand.  

The problem is he’s a good player.  He knows that I’m a good player.  He knows that I know that he’s a good player.  Because of that he thinks that I think that I can bluff him off of hands because he’s good enough to lay down a hand when he needs too.  So he over thinks my play and gives me more credit for bluffing than I deserve.  He thinks I’m messing with him and as a result he calls my bets when he probably knows he shouldn’t and when I have him dominated.  

So of course he called when I pushed all-in.  Now I still didn’t have enough chips where this move should make him fold, but its funny that he always seems to be the one to pay me off.    Back to the hand, he had A2, which I wasn’t thrilled about. I had a bad feeling I’d see an ace on the flop.  It was even worse.  The flop was T22 and I was in bad shape.  But I spiked a king on the river and was still alive.  

Fast forward a bit and we’re down to two tables.  Noah and Scott are in the blinds to my right, both incredibly short stacked.  I have aces.  I min raise because I don’t want to scare everyone else out and just take blinds, who are almost guaranteed of going all-in with any two cards.  Middle position helps me out and pushes all-in, both blinds call and I knock out three players in one hand.  The chip lead is now mine.

Shortly there after I have kings again, and again Paul V raises me.  The two of us are the chip leaders at the table.  I push all-in again, content to pick up his raise and not necessarily wanting to sweat a flop.  But he calls, this time with AQ.  The flop is AKQ, and the turn and river don’t help. Paul is gone and I’m now a huge chip leader.  

When we are down to eight we combine to one table.  I had about a quarter of the chips in play, and the guy to my left had another good sized portion.  I think his name was Jeremy.  I’m going to call him that anyway.  Jeremy more or less owned me.  I couldn’t do anything.  Any time I would try to steal a pot he was there, coming over the top of me.  It didn’t help that I had couldn’t get a hand worth defending for about four or five orbits, but he showed no fear in going up against the big stack.  Before I knew it, he had most of the chips, and I was down to little more than what the other remaining five players had.

I was more or less resigned to waiting for a big hand and hoping to catch him being overly aggressive.  It came when I had big slick in the small blind.  I raised my usually amount and as usual he came over the top, this time going all-in.  I called and he turned over AQ doubling me up and putting me back into the chip lead.  

Down to three players I knocked Jeremy out when I mad a horrible raise with 34s.  I screamed weakness and I regretted it as soon as I made it.  There was almost nothing he couldn’t push with at that point, and nothing he could have that I would be ahead of.  He pushed, and I called, knowing my cards were live.  He only had 95o, but I was still in bad shape.  I caught a three on the flop and he failed to improve.  

John is my heads up opponent.  He’s an OK player, but he tends to be overly tight and passive and fairly predictable.   The match went as many of my heads up battles do.  I’ll constantly raise preflop, often stealing the blinds, and then he’ll catch a hand and win back all the chips I stole.   We went back and forth like that until I got him all-in with my AK against his A9.  He caught a nine on the turn and lived to fight some more. After some more back and forth we go get all-in again, although this time its my tournament life at stake.  Again I have AK, and he has A9, and again he catches a nine, this time knocking me out in second place.

Game 2

We had 29 people for game two.  Game two is always a little crazier than game one.  People have been sitting around for a while waiting for the second game to begin, and they aren’t as worried about going out first because they can go home.  

The first orbit at our table was a bloodbath.  In the first two hands Paul S. eliminated two people.  I knocked someone out when my pocket queens turned into a full house.  I think Paul claimed a third victim before the round was up.

After that things settled down a bit.  I didn’t do much until we combined to two tables.  I lost quite a few chips when I called an all-in with AJs.  I put him on a weaker ace. Instead he had a medium pair and I failed to improve.  

I stayed alive by stealing blinds and doubling up with a few pocket pairs.  I made it to the final table with an average chip count.  I’m not real happy with my final table play.  I lost a significant amount of chips when my people kept going all-in after my preflop raises.  After that I made a number of laydowns in situations where I was probably behind, but still had live cards and probably should have stayed in.  By folding I left myself with too few chips to force anyone out of a pot and I ended up having to go all-in with 95o, and I went out on the bubble in sixth place.  Not a bad showing, but I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t manage to cash.

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