Our first tournaments of the year were last night, and after two events I'm on top of the leaderboard with two second place finishes. Oh wait, I probably shouldn't have given that away yet. Makes the rest of the story kind of anti climactic. Or does it? There might be something really exciting that happens later on if you don't read the full post. I'm just sayin'.
Turnout was pretty low last night. Almost none of the occasional players showed, and many of the regulars weren't able to make it. We were originally planning on playing last weekend, but decided against it since it was SuperBowl weekend and we weren't sure if some people's wifes would let them come out and play two nights in a row. Maybe we should have tried it anyways. Game 1
Game one had 15 players, a number of which were arriving late. I was getting great cards in the early going of this tourney, which is unusual because I usually end up playing real conservative in the beginning of game one and thus not playing many hands. Everything seemed to be working right. My pocket pairs were turning into sets on the flop with three players betting ahead of me, my suited aces were making flushes, and my garbage was also missing everyone else, letting me successfully bluff the pot.
I the midst of this amazing run where I was dominating the table and already counting my first place winnings, I'm dealt a pair of jacks. Bobby, to my right limps in as he usually does, and I raise. It folds to Shane in the big blind, who just arrived in time to prevent his cards from being auto-mucked. He's a little flustered as he tries to figure out the blind level, the chip count, his cards, etc, but he calls anyway. Bobby also calls.
The flop was almost perfect. Jack high, but with two spades. I have the jack of spades. It checks to me and make a half pot sized bet, content to take the pot here, before another spade comes off. Two callers. As of now, I have the nuts, and no read on either of them. Bobby is relatively new to the game and overly passive. Shane I haven't played with in years. So when a third spade comes on the turn, I'm not too happy, but it checks around to me so I take another stab at it. As long as they don't have the flush already I'm certain they'll go away.
Shane calls. After some deliberation, and some friendly table talk Bobby folds. I have to give Shane credit for a flush here, so I don't plan on betting the river. I'm just praying the board pairs. Instead, it brings a fourth spade and this time Shane makes a small bet. I'm 98% sure I'm beaten here, but it was a small enough bet that I have to call. He turns over a pair of queens, including the queen of spades. Not a bad hand for your very first one. Bobby shows that he mucked a pair of aces, include the ace of spades.
Its a good thing I had been running so well early on, because if I hadn't been, I very well could have gotten myself knocked out on that hand. But I still have some chips to fight with.
A few hands later, Shane is selected to move to the other table during a rebalance. He takes most of the table's chips with him.
My luck soon retruns though as I get pocket aces for the second or third time, and I get have Aaron in the big blind to my left. I raise just enough to almost put him all in. He thinks about it for a while, contemplating the implied odds of the joy and satisfaction of taking my chips vs. the agony of me knocking him out. Ultimately he decides the blinds are getting too high and his stack too low so he decides its now or never and proceeds to give me the remainder of his chips.
Archie then brought to our table to replace Aaron. He's a little short stacked, but proceeds to go all-in on almost all of the next 10 hands or so, taking the blinds and all of the limpers chips, and moving close to the chip lead. It was pretty funny to see Bobby limp almost every hand and then act surprised and angry when Archie pushed. Again.
After that I don't think there was a lot of excitement in game one. Either that or I'm just getting too old to remember everything. Shane ended up finishing in third place, I took second, and Archie won. I was a little disappointed in my heads up play. I wasn't very patient and couldn't really get in a good rhythm. Archie had had probably a 2-1 lead when I pushed preflop on a complete bluff, and he called and took it down. It was a frustration move after he I tried bluffing out of the previous pot to no avail. Game 2
We lost few players, but picked up a few and game two had 16. Jason, last year's season winner was at my table this time, although he arrived a few blind levels late. He has a good act where he clowns around and pretends to be real loose and random, and he talks a lot of smack, but he's actually a pretty good player.
Archie is to Jason's left, and shortly after arriving Jason challenges him to go all-in blind if they are in the blinds and it is folded to them.
Of course upon hearing this, the table folds to them the next time they are in the blinds. Jason looked at his cards though and says he doesn't want to do it. And limps. Archie, still not having looked at his cards confidently pushes, and Jason meagerly calls.
On a side note, I like both of their plays. Archie knows Jason doesn't like his hand enough to go all-in, so his two random cards have a decent chance of winning, and Jason could very well fold. Jason knows he's playing against two random cards so given the fact that one of his cards is an ace, he's probably in good shape.
As it turns out Archie has a pair of eights, and Jason A4o. Jason doesn't improve and is bad shape.
But I help him out shortly after that. I pull the good old hammer bluff. I make just under a 3x BB bet, and the table starts questioning why so big? I point out that the blinds just went up, and its a fairly standard sized bet. It was really meant to be a normal sized bet. Otherwise I would have just pushed all in.
Jason reluctantly calls, or I guess raises, since he was a few chips over what I had bet. I don't remember what he had, but it doesn't matter because I didn't get any help on the board.
After that a number of the shorter stacks at our table drop and Jason, Archie and I survive to the final table.
At this point the blinds are big enough compared to my relatively small chip stack that the all-in or nothing strategy adds about a third of my chip stack to my total each time. Throw in a few wins and before you know it, I'm back near the top of the remaining players.
It ultimately comes down to Jason and I. He has probably a 2-1 or 3-2 lead on me and I never come close to catching him.
It would have been nice to win one of those, but I'll certainly take a couple of second places.
If you've read this far in hopes of getting to the exciting part that I promised in the beginning, then you're a sucker. All I'm going to do here is point out that this is my third post already this month, and those of you who took the under at five are going to be way off.
Originally posted at blog.pokerwords.com
Labels: home tourney, poker