Monday, January 12, 2009

A Wasted Bounty

After 3 wins in 5 appearances, a shitty heads-up loss for 2nd place, and a final table appearance, I figured I should offer a small bounty if someone knocked me out of the home game ToC. It went for naught as I once again dominated the field and took down another match. Yah, if there was any doubt who the champ was in that series, it was eliminated yesterday afternoon!

It was a short table, as only 7 of the 9 qualifiers could make the game. This suited both me and the game just fine, as it meant for opportunities to go fishing in the rebuy period.

The game started off surprisingly tight. The first all-in wasn't until the ninth hand, which is unbelievably late for this group (I've seen this thing played like the $1 Donkament), and everyone folded.

The guy to my left and I had an entire conversation with a single look after a hand went down when the biggest donkey at the table made called bet after bet down to a pot-sized bet on the river of a 3-spade, 3-straight board with an A and Q on it with nothing but K-high, no draw. The bettor had middle pair. Words weren't needed to express the shock at the absolute donkitude of this guy.

My "nemesis", a guy I've known for years through another friend, made a comment at one point of "I'm going to take all your chips this hand. Just so you know." So I went all-in blind before the cards were dealt and said, "go ahead."

I got two callers. He wasn't one of them. Turns out I had QTh and was against AQo and KJo. A ten fell on the flop, and that was all that hit, tripling me up early. I thanked the guy who taunted me.

From there, I sat back and waiting for hands with strong implied odds. I'd chase draws for cheap, bluff at scare cards when weakness was shown, and try to trap and value bet whenever possible. The all-ins came fast and furious as the rebuy period began to tick down, which created a couple stacks bigger than mine when the bell finally went.

Heading into the break, we were down to 6 (with the K-high caller finally calling it a day on rebuys after he ran out of $20's). The pot had $580 in it. Top 2 would pay out, with $390 for first and $190 for second (there was $200 in juice in there - rake from previous games - so it was suggested that go to 1st place entirely, and the remainder be split 50-50. Personally, I think the final split should have been 3:1 instead of 2:1, but in the end, that was a $45 difference). I was sitting in 3rd with 2800 chips (800 to start), 2nd had 4800, and 3rd had 5800. After me, it was 3 guys hovering around the starting stack.

One of the shortstacks managed to double up a few times to get to the final four. I was able to extract a small amount of chips (a near-family call of my minraise, followed by a bet from second place holding TP) with pocket aces. I got more from rivered boat-over-boat, but my opponent (chipleader) lost the minimum. From that I was able to chip up more, and took at least one other big pot before we collapsed to 3, making me the dominating chipleader with over 7500 in chips. (*Edit: I just remembered. I had 23o in the BB, and #2 in chips limped from the SB with K7. Flop came 22K, and we got it all in on the river.)

Fourth went out when he got AQ vs the former chipleader's Q7... and 77x came on the flop. A couple hands later, I once again played against the cameraderie between me and the guy to me left. Around 3 times during the game, we got into blind vs blind situations where we checked down. The last time this happened, we actually small-bet-called each other with the boat over boat. This time, I had T3c. The flop came 789 rainbow, and we checked it. Turn came the 6, giving me the 2nd nut straight. I checked with the usual "we're going to check this down" gestures and banter, and he went all-in. I instacalled and he flipped over pocket 6's for the turned set. I had him well outchipped by this point and now had a monster lead over my heads-up opponent.

We took a break, and those who were out left (way to stick around for the ToC guys). The guy I just busted kept asking me how he could have played it differently. I agreed that in his place, I'd have probably done the same thing. Truth be told, on reflection, I think he had the chips to afford a feeler bet. With a 4-straight on the board, he'd have to figure I'd see him as pot committed on his bet, and be willing to force the issue right there, which would at the very least give him something to think about. About the 3rd time he asked though, I realized he was just seeking validation for his move and wanted to know he wasn't a terrible player. He isn't, but his aggression is still unrefined, which makes it exploitable, and he relies on blind luck sometimes.

So, it was me and the host heads-up for the second game in a row. He still hadn't won his own tournament, while my name was on the trophy 3 times. I've known him for years as well, but there's no mercy for friends on the felt. We chatted as we played a few hands. I was willing to fold and avoid doubling him up, knowing that he was both willing and capable of suckering me in if he chose. It didn't take long though before I looked down at AQo and limped to his BB. He looked, thought, and pushed. I called. His 66 was racing me. Q on the flop, A on the river, and that was all she wrote. Another $20 turned into nearly $400 over the span of 3 hours or so. I've had worse rates.

During the game, we discussed when the new season would start. The first date thrown out was no good for me. The rest of the table agreed this made it a very good date indeed. I enjoy being feared. I'll likely enjoy it more when they start gunning for me in earnest.

How was your weekend?

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