New Year's Poker
The new year began with an almost unheard of event. After almost a year off, our regular “monthly” poker group actually got together and played some poker. To make things a little more special ,we even upped the buy-in from our usual $25/game to $100. We also increased our starting chip stack from $T700ish to $T1500.
We had 13 entrants, and I came in fifth, or maybe fourth. We both busted out on the same hand and I think the other guy had a few more chips than me.
Looking back at my play, I think I played fairly well that evening, with a few exceptions that I’ll get to later. I think luck just wasn’t on my side this evening. With getting into too many bad beat details I’ll just say that I had people dominated and all in on numerous occasions and they would hit their three outer to stay alive and seriously damage my chip stack. I lost an AJ vs KQ preflop all-in when my opponent flopped a straight. I lost AQ vs A9 all-in pre-flop when my opponent rivered a straight, plus a few other smaller hands that I don’t remember the exact details. I say this not to bitch about losing but as evidence that I think I was playing fairly well.
A big moment for me came relatively early on in the tourney. I had recently lost a fairly large pot and was failrly short-stacked. I had A9 under the gun and put in my standard 3xBB raise. Everyone folded except the BB who called. BB is a very loose aggressive player, and not someone who I would have wanted to call me. My plan is to go all in no matter what is on the flop. Its really my only choice at the time. Flop is rags, 236 or something similar. BB goes all in. Crap. He stole my move. He knew that was going to be my move so he had to beat me to the punch. I think normally I lay this down. I don’t think he has anything, but I can see him playing any hand in this scenario, especially from the big blind. He could K6, or A2 or a low pocket pair, and just gotten lucky. Or he too could have missed the flop completely. He could even think he’s bluffing yet still be ahead of me. Ultimately I figured I had to be better than him. If he has something he would have almost certainly checked, assuming that since I raised pre-flop I would bet here. If he has something he risks scaring me away with is all-in bet. So I do make the call, he does have nothing and I go on to win a big pot and coast into the final table.
There was a flaw in our tourney structure. We started with 13 players at two tables, and combined when we got down to 9. I don’t know if people were playing tighter than normal due to the increased buy in amount, or if the larger chip stacks played a roll, but no one went out until the fifth or sixth blind level. By that point the blinds were starting to become painful for everyone.
Once we combined the blinds were so high that any hand you played would almost certainly put you all in. That combined with the fact that the new bigger table meant you could see more hands for free, made everyone tighten up. No one hardly played more than a hand or two each orbit. No one saw a flop. It was real slow, and real boring. I don’t know if it was a fluke or if we just picked a bad chip amount/blind schedule but there was no action on the final table.
This is where I didn’t play so well. I had a lot of decent, but not great hands which I would continually fold. I was afraid that by raising I would run into a bigger hand and be pot committed into losing all my chips. Better to wait for a premium hand while the blinds squeezed out the lower players. The problem was the players with low stacks kept doubling up when they were forced all in, and eventually I was near the short stack list. Instead of taking advantage of the tight play I fell into the same trap as everyone else. When I finally did push, I ran into two hands both better than mine and it was over. The worst part is that had I folded that hand, then blinds would have forced out one of the other remaining players and I would have come in at least third and won some money.
Originally posted at blog.pokerwords.com