Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Early April Tournament Summary

Not wanting to wait until the end of the month for our monthly game we had a mini pre-Easter game this evening. We actually had a pretty good turnout considering the holiday and change in venue.

I had some work to do to make up for my abysmal performance last month where I went out early in the first game and first in the second.

For game one we had 16 players, two tables of eight. My table was weird. There were a couple of guys at my end that knew what they were doing, but at the other end were or four of the callingest calling stations in the world. And one of them kept hitting with his high pocket pairs hand after hand. I stayed out of the action at first because my cards sucked and then because I knew I wouldn't be able to push anyone off a hand and didn't have good enough cards to try to see if they would hold up. On the other hand, they were fairly easy to read. When there are a bunch of cards near each other and the guy looks at his hand, then the board, then his hand, and kind of nods his head as if he's counting the number of cards in a row that he has, and he keeps stopping at four, you might call that a tell.

I had a medium sized chip stack throughout the early stages. I really only had one hand that I played poorly. I limped on the button with KQo, and Ray, one of the previously mentioned calling stations called, and Jason in the big blind also called, although before calling he went to his chips like he was going to bet and then thought better of it. My impression was that he had a big hand, but since he was already in the hand he wanted to slow play it. That's usually what I'll do with big hands in the blinds.

The flop was KQJ two suited, giving me top two pair. At first I worried someone may have hit a straight, but didn't think it likely. I lead out, and Ray pushed all in. Now what I'm really worried about is a set, but more likely he has AK, or even AQ. This is definitely the sort of hand where he would risk all his chips even though there are a million ways he could be beat. Then Jason goes all-in over the top. Now both of them are all-in and while I have them easily covered, I should have folded right away. Jason's pre-flop actions confused me though and I put him on a high pocket pair. I settled on aces because what are the chances that he has the last two kings or queens left in the deck? Again I figured it was more likely he had big slick, or maybe aces. I convinced myself they were over valuing their hands, and so I called. Jason had AT for the flopped straight. Ray had JT for bottom pair, but he caught an ace on the river to chop the pot. The river had been particularly brutal to Jason tonight.

After that hand I didn't do much until we combined at eight players. I was one of the shorter stacks when we did combine. The blinds ate at me for a bit until I was at the all too familiar all-in or fold mode. I pushed with any pair or any decent face card, and actually won quite a few uncontested pots doing so. The only problem with that is that every time you do it you lessen your credibility and sooner or later someone will call. Depending on your cards you may not mind a call, particularly it they lower their standards because they don't believe what you're representing, but unless you've got a monster, you don't want too many calls when you're all-in preflop.

Fortunately for me, when that time came that I was no longer believable I had aces. It was the perfect scenario. I had pushed three or four hands in a row to the point where now I had just enough chips that I was no longer in all-in or fold mode. And it was folded to me in the big blind where I look down to see bullets. I make a slightly larger than min raise to make it look like I have nothing and am trying to steal the big blind and it works to perfection as the big blind pushes all-in with his Q9o.

After that I coasted as other players eliminated themselves, and soon found myself heads up with Archie. Archie is a pretty good player. He's generally good at sensing weakness in his opponents and punishing them for it. In fact I think Aaron is still whining about being check-raised out of a huge pot in the early stages.

Anyways, Archie and I battled back and forth for a while until once again I got aces, and again, raised preflop just enough to make him suspicious. He pushed all-in, as he had done a few other times when I had made weak raises, and I beat him into the pot. So far so good as I win the first tournament.

Game two only had eleven players and was not exactly run smoothly. I've been unsuccessfully lobbying for larger starting chip counts so we can actually afford to lose a hand or two, but we accidentally found another solution. When you forget to start the blinds counter and play 45 minute blind levels instead of 15, it accomplishes more or less the same thing in giving you more room to maneuver with the allotted chips as increasing the starting amount would have.

Game two didn't start out well for me. I had Shmoo to my right. As I've mentioned before Shmoo is impossible to read. I don't think there is any significant logic to his bets which would be brilliant if he did that on purpose, but I don't think he does. When you are in a hand with him, you just have to hope he doesn't hit anything, because he may call you with any two cards. I kept limping into pots with him because I was sure that if I could hit something he would pay me off. The problem is he would min bet on every street, and I couldn't hit crap, so I soon found myself as the short stack at the table as I missed draw after draw.

Then it finally happened, I flopped a straight with JQ on a AKT board, and he actually started betting into me. I couldn't believe it as he kept pushing and eventually got me all-in, doubling me up. A hand later I flopped a set with my pocket fives and took another large pot off of Rich, who entered the night atop this year's points leaderboard.

The final table for game two was largely uneventful. At least I don't remember anything significant right now so it must not have been too exciting. I did attempt to steal the binds with the hammer, but was reraised all-in and forced to fold.

Ultimately I got to heads up with Noah, who I've probably played more poker with than anyone else. Although we don't think we've ever been the last two remaining. At least not in recent memory. Probably because whenever we are at the same table one of us self destructs and ends up out thinking themselves and losing most of their chips to the other. Anyways, heads up was back and forth for quite a while and we were at nearly identical chip stacks when we got all in preflop, my fours vs. his twos. He spiked a third two on the turn, and I was all but done.

That last hand not withstanding, not a bad night. Outside of the last two hands of the second game I don't think I was ever in serious jeopardy. I was all-in a few times, but I think I was either a big favorite, or not likely to get called. Everything just kind of went my way. Hopefully I can ride this momentum back into the online poker tables. Or at least into the next big game later this month. We'll see.

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