Friday, June 30, 2006

Event #5 recap

I decided to play Event #5 ($2,500 buy-in No Limit with 6 handed tables) today even though I'd considered skipping it. After getting less than 2 hours of sleep the night before Jen crapped out at 9 p.m. and soon after I joined her. I found myself wide awake at 1 a.m. but managed to get back to sleep around 4 so when I got up at 11 a.m. I was well rested and after a quick shower headed to the tournament area.

We started with 824 players seated 6 to a table and right away I got involved in a significant hand. On hand #2 of the tournament with blinds of 25/25 I open raised to 75 with Ad 7c (note that the little d means it's the ace of diamonds and the little c means its the 7 of clubs). The button called as did the big blind and flop came down A 3 4 all clubs. Right away the big blind went for his chips and tossed 150 into the pot. I didn't like to see him bet into me, but I figured he probably didn't have an ace AND a club so I was either drawing live or had the best hand. I decided to just call and do some further analysis on the turn. To my surprise the player on the button also called and the turn was an offsuit 10. Now the big blind checked. Well what the hell is going on here? I was pretty sure the guy behind me was on a flush draw and now that the first guy checked I hoped that they both were. I decided to stay aggressive and bet out 500 into the 700 chip pot. After some careful thought by both players they each slid a pink 500 chip into the pot. At this point I figured I was in big trouble and barring a 7 showing up on the river I was done with this hand. The river was a K of clubs and as I was trying to decide if I'd call even a small bet with my small flush the first player checked, I checked and the last player said "I really screwed myself, I check." The first player turned up A 10 for top two pair and the second player showed 44 for three of a kind and my baby flush took down a nice pot.

Right away I was up to 4000 (after starting with 2500) which was a huge advantage because it meant the most I could lose in a pot was 2500, which would still leave me with a decent sized stack. Immediately I got aggressive raising with lots of hands and betting flops whether I had anything or not. The rest of the table was pretty passive and for the most part the other players let me grind them down. When one of the short stacks finally did take a stand against me with 10 10, I had AK and called his all in bet. I flopped a K and sent him packing. Shortly after, I open raised with 88 and had another short stack move all in with 77. Nothing dramatic happened and I sent him to the rail also.

I was up to 6900 when I had a bit of a hiccup. In round 2 with the blinds at 25/50 two players limped in for 50, the small blind put in another $25 chip and I took a free flop with 5h 4h. The flop came down 8h 5s 4s and the small blind checked. I'd flopped two pair which was almost certainly the best hand right now, but it was very vulnerable so I decided to make a strong bet. I fired out 3 $100 black chips into a 200 chip pot, two of the players quickly folded and the small blind moved all in for 1300. I made an easy call and he showed me 10s 8c. I was 69% to win the hand at this point but after an A came on the turn and another A came on the river I lost to a bigger two pair. This was a minor blow and I went on break with 5500 chips.

When I came back with the blinds at 50/100 I got involved in a major pot right away. I had Js 9s which is a marginal holding at best but after the player to my right limped in for 100 I decided to gamble a little and called behind him. The blinds both called and the flop came down As Ks 5h giving me a flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I bet out 300. I didn't have anything yet but even if I got called I'd still make my flush 1 time in 3 and there was a chance I'd pick up the pot right there. The player who'd been in the big blind who'd been very aggressive moving all in into small pots (and was the only one who had more chips than me) rattled his chips and I thought I might be facing a huge bet. Happily he only made it 500 more and I decided to do some acting. I knew I was going to call, but instead of calling right away I took my time. I took all of my $500 chips from the bottom of my stack and made it look like I was about to reraise him another $2000 while I stared at him as if looking for a reaction. I figured that if he thought I was thinking of reraising he might check to me on the turn and I could see the river card for free if I missed my flush (and if I made it he probably wouldn't put me on a flush). After about 30 seconds I called and the turn brought the 7 of spades competing my flush. He checked as I figured he would and I did even more acting. I knew exactly what I had, but I looked back at my cards as if I was checking to see if I had a spade. It's easy to remember what rank your cards are, but unless they are the same suit, after 75 hands it's easy to forget what suits they are. Often times people have too look back and I've used this move many times in the past to mislead my opponents. I knew I was going to bet but took my time and after about 10 seconds I bet 1000 into the 2000 chip pot. To my delight, he immediately moved all in. I had the second best possible hand and when he turned over Ah 8d I saw that he was drawing totally dead. If not for my acting he may have been able to get away from the hand or at least lose fewer chips.

I had 10,000 chips which was a huge stack, but it was all down hill from there. Shortly before we went on break a player from a broken table sat down on my left with a good sized stack of chips. He turned out to be my nemesis. About 20 minutes after I won that big pot he raised to 300 from first position and I called from the big blind with Ad Jh. The flop came down Jd 7d 4d which was a great flop for me. I wasn't going anywhere with top pair and a flush draw and I decided to go for a check raise. Unfortunately he checked behind me and the turn came 4c. I figured this wasn't a bad card and bet out 500. He quickly raised it to 1500 and I figured he either had AA, KK or QQ and was slowplaying (checking a strong hand to convince your opponent you are weak) on the flop or he thought I was bluffing and was playing back at me. Regardless, I still had 11 cards of the remaining 46 (9 diamonds and 2 jacks) that would almost certainly make me the best hand no matter what he had so I called. The river was a black Q which was about the worst card in the world for me, but I still paid off his 1500 chip bet on the end. He turned over Ah 4h and I let out a big sigh as the dealer pushed him the pot. I think I played the pot OK but I certainly could have done it differently. I could have bet the flop forcing him to fold or I could have reraised before the flop which would have forced me to bet the flop if the hand even made it that far. Also I maybe could have folded on the end saving 1500 chips. Or of course a card other than a 4 could have come off on the turn (I was 94% to win the pot on the flop), but I try not to focus on the part that's out of my control.

I was down to just over 6000 chips and this guy kept giving me problems. It wasn't like he was in every pot, but EVERY time I raised or called he would call behind me. If I bet the flop he would either call or raise. If I checked the flop he'd bet behind me. Normally this would be fine and I kept thinking that eventually I'd connect with a flop and take a big chunk of his chips, but I kept missing and he really ground me down. When I was down to about 3,500 with the blinds at 100/200 I picked up AA in the small blind and made it 500 to go. I thought "great I'll really stick it to this guy now!" Even though he only had to call another 300 with 800 already in the pot he folded what seemed like a millisecond after he looked at his cards. I couldn't believe it. 10 hands in a row he's cold calling my raises and now he folds? This is bullshit! It seemed like maybe he had a great read on me but he also seemed like a real idiot. I was really frustrated but vowed not to let it affect my play. More time passed and I found myself back at 2500 right where I started. Then I picked up QQ in first position and open raised to 600. An instant later my nemesis shoved his entire stack (well over 10,000 chips) into the pot and after about 25 seconds of thought the small blind put his stack of about 3,000 into the middle also. No way was I folding and when the hands got turned over I saw my nemesis had Ad Qd and the other player had two black tens. At this point I was 54% (29% for the AQ and 17% for the tens) to win the pot and triple up, but an A on the turn eliminated me from the tournament.

For those of you keeping track at home, in my three tournaments I've been eliminated with AA, KK and QQ. If I go down with JJ tomorrow I'm going to jump out the window.

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