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 11, 2007

November Tournament Summary

Here we are in the 11th month of the year and our monthly gathering is getting together for the fourth or fifth time. Nice work.

Before I get into the wrap up, did any one see the Illini game on Saturday? You know, the one where they knocked off #1 Ohio State? Just wondering. When I went to U of I I think the football team had a total of five wins over four years, so when they've gotten to the point where they can contend with and beat ranked teams, Its pretty exciting.

Back to poker. The game was supposed to start at 5:30. Of course the Illini game was just ending and since a large number of attendees are alumni, many of them were late. We'd normally just blind them in, but it was about a third of the field, and we weren't sure exactly how many of them there were, so we figured we'd wait since they claimed they were ten minutes out. By ten minutes they must have meant 45. But its ok because we were finally playing poker and the Illini won. Have I mentioned that yet?

We were expecting a big turnout since we haven't played since May, but alas only had 21 people show up, seven of which were new to the group. The game itself was painfully slow. I don't know if it was all the new people, or just who happened to end up at which table, but on just about every hand there would be at least one, and often two or three occasions when we'd all be sitting around waiting for someone to act who had no idea that the action was on them. I'm not against talking about non-game related things at the table, but you still have to pay attention to the game.

I was also fairly frustrated because very little that I was doing was working. There were a few players at my table would call almost anything which pretty much forces you to get a good hand as bluffing is all but impossible. I don't consider myself to be someone who flat out bluffs very often, but I do things like continuation bets and stealing orphaned pots that are like bluffing. I'm more just betting that no one else has anything than that I can make them think I have a monster.

In the first game I got crippled by losing a couple of all-ins against smaller stacks . In the first case I had 73o in the BB and got to see a free flop of A33. Hooray for big blind specials. I bet half her remaining stack and she called. The turn was a rag and I put her all in. She calls with an Ax and hits another Ace on the river. Not the end of the world because she didn't have many chips to begin with, but enough of a hit to prevent me from entering as many speculative pots.

Shortly thereafter I made a decent sized preflop raise on the button with AT and one limper. I think I have a pretty tight table image, at least among the people still in the hand, so I was expecting everyone to fold right there, but the big blind pushed for his remaining stack. I figured he had a middle pair, or a decent ace, so I was probably behind, but I was getting decent enough odds to call plus the satisfaction of knocking him out was enough to justify the call. He turns over JQs, which was about the best I could have hoped for, and then he hits a Jack.

I played small stack poker from there on. We combined to two tables at 16 players, and then we were down to 8 and ready to combine to one when I busted out. I was in the small blind and had 89o. We were four handed and the other two players had limped. I had enough chips to last a few more orbits, but I wasn't doing great. I thought to myself I should fold and get to the 8 person table where I could wait for a premium hand to push with, but I was getting 7-1 on my money and couldn't fold. The flop was 77T giving me an open ended straight draw. I pushed hoping no had a piece of that, or that I'd hit my straight. The BB had gotten a piece, with 7x so I was in big trouble. Until a Jack came on the turn. I was looking to be in pretty good shape for the final table. And then the case seven came on the river. Bleh.

Game two didn't go much better for me. The whole late arriving crowd as well as a number of other players, bailed on the second game since it was so late so we only had 13 players. I should have dominated my starting table as there was a ton of dead money there, and the only really good player seemed determined to either go out first or last, with strong leanings towards first.

Unfortunately I wasn't patient enough. I also got screwed by paying too much attention to what people had done on prior hands and just assuming they were doing it again. In the first example, the guy to my right had called all the way to the showdown with a pair of tens when an ace had hit the flop and the river paired the board. I had a weak ace, and had anyone else been in the pot I probably would have folded, but I knew that he was capable of calling with a weak hand. And it paid off.

A few hands later I was in a similar hand with him with A8 and an ace on the flop. This time it was me following him to showdown where he turns over big slick. Maybe I should have folded, but he just as easily could have had a pair of sevens, or a weaker ace.

Later on I was done in by the player I mentioned earlier who seemed determined to bust first or build a huge stack. The blinds were getting high, we were four or five handed, and he had on a few occasions he had shown his garbage cards after making large pre-flop raises. He had made another pre-flop raise, of the same amount and I had A5s in one of the blinds. Again I figure I have a tight image, plus we are short handed and he's very likely just trying to steal the blinds, so my A5 is quite possibly the best hand, so I push. He thinks about it for a while and then calls, turning over A9 and knocking me out. Booo-urns. Better luck next time.

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