Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Worthwhile Tradeoff?

Missed Das Mooken last night due to going deep in my club's tournament. 59 runners, top 7 paid. I finished 6th for a whopping $80 payday on my $40 buy-in after 4 hours of play. YES! $10/hr! At that rate I could retire to a really nice flop house. That said, 1st place was $800, and I wanted it.

Kat kept following me, we started at different tables, then she got moved to mine, then I got moved, and 20 minutes later she got moved. We both made the final table, which was great for this field, and I THINK she had fun as well :).

The club's a bit tricky. Like the blogger games, it's got a big mix of players. Donkeys, fish, newbies, pros, and a large chunk of us amateurs sitting in the middle. Also like the blogaments, the range of interest ranges from apathy to obsession. After all, the real money's in the cash games.

I've traditionally done poorly in these tournaments. I think it's because I never adjusted for the blind levels. There will inevitably be aggressive players at your table. Some actually have skill to back it up, others are what are quickly becoming my favourite player to play against -- those with the aggression > skill mindset. I've tightened up against these guys in the past, thinking that the 4000 starting stack was large enough to wait to make my moves. It never is, since the blinds start at 25/50 and increase every 15 minutes. So this time I came determined. I sat down in seat 10 and watched. One thing people at the club seem incapable of doing is determining the type of player they're up against. Sure, they can make calls on occasion, but to actually figure out their opponent's style seems beyond them. Right away the table's fish swam up for food. A young guy, but not a poseur, he was calling or raising every hand, and winning. A few showdowns revealed the cards he was playing with and what he was catching... I knew it was just a matter of time. I found my old friend KJs and raised with no action but his call before me. He naturally called and the J on the flop was gold for me. I bet, he called. I bet more, he called. My flush filled on the river and I bet big... he called. QJo was apparently no good. I took more money from him two hands later when my ace caught and his 7's were no good but he wouldn't let go. The table was dumbfounded by both my plays based on his betting pattern. Why? Because they couldn't see past their own cards. I knew I was ahead every single time.

Unfortunately, I was moved to another table, taking what was the big stack at my table and sitting to the left of just about ALL the chips at the new one. Excellent, a new target. I chatted and joked with the table and the monster to my right and found out he'd been a card rack. Sweet. Little pairs holding up, draws catching, etc.. On top of that, he had no idea how to play his massive stack. This guy had to have had 70-80% of the table's chips before I sat down, and was playing a weak calling game with it. So I took some of it from him. Then I took some more. Then someone else took most of the rest with a dirty board, then he got knocked out. That was fun.

One suckout of note at this table, when I called a not-small all-in with AQo and AKo was flipped over. Another Q was in the muck, but I caught my 2-outer to win it.

Moved yet again, with the blinds up and my stack getting relatively smaller, this time to a table with some people who had both a clue and chips. Two tables left. Card death hits, and zero opportunity to make any sort of moves, as all the shorter stacks were making them first. Twice I saw boards that would have made me a mint, but somehow 23o vs an all-in and a call by the big stack didn't seem worthwhile pre-flop. So as my table got down to 6, and then 5, I was hoping for SOMETHING to go with while still shorthanded... but it didn't come. Final table merge and we're at 11 players, with 1, maybe 2 people shorter than me. Blinds have whittled me down to nearly inconsequential, so I have to move soon or pray.

I wait. Relatively quickly we're on the bubble. An all-in UTG from me with ducks scares everyone away. Which is sad seeing as I only had 3x the BB left. It taught me a bit about one player who admitted to having presto when I showed the twos. Then came a couple huge hands. My all-in presto vs A7o... A on the flop... 5 on river, and for the first time EVER in live poker, I actually cheered. The other was AJ vs 77 that rivered a 5-high straight after a 7 on the flop for another double up. Snowmen tossed aside to two all-ins, pocket sevens that scared off an AK, I was alive and well with 6 left.

Then I made a tactical error. I decided to steal the blinds with KTo. Table was still ultra-tight and I was UTG with two tight shorties next to follow me, and a button that wasn't paying attention to the fact he'd bled away his chiplead. I had 43,000 in chips with blinds at 3000/6000, and was 2nd or 3rd in chips. I raised to 18,000 and it folded as expecte to the SB, who started thinking... and re-raised all-in for 32,000 more. I thought and tossed the cards, and he flipped over tens. Shit. This bugged me on my walk home. I kept my head up for a couple more orbits before finally have to toss in my last 2,000 with an A7 that met AJ and someone else's crap and lost.

Now, in hindsight, I should have tossed it right away, but I felt I could take the blinds down with that bet. I'm not sure if the push would have made a difference in his call, and might have induced it even more. Knowing that he had tens makes me think that the fold was the right move in that situation, but when his cards were hidden, I can't help but think I should have called. 25k left was nothing at that point, and the results were the same. Maybe the K, maybe the straight... maybe nothing but bricks, but my odds were better than what I ended up going out on.


I was going to play in the Riverchasers tonight when I started this post, but plans have since come along that trump it. I get to see Eric Idle tonight, and I find that a hard opportunity to pass up for a shot at BBT points. No Mookie, no Chasers, and probably no Big Game = dropping in the standings for sure. Alas. Still lots of poker to make it up.

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