9/14/07 Rebuy Tourney & Cash Game

Friday night saw 20-ish people in the tourney.  A good crowd as usual, including some new faces – which I truly hope felt welcomed by the group.  On that note, I was glad to see that B’s email about picking up after ourselves was given the respect it deserved.  When I was last to leave, I was pleased to see that the place was pretty much in the same condition that it was when I arrived.  It speaks volumes to the quality of people that are part of the group and is a subtle gesture of respect to B for hosting each event.  B – if you’re reading this, thanks for continuing to host and for encouraging not only a high level of play, but also a high level of personal conduct amongst the group.  Cheers!

On to highlights/lowlights.  I can’t say I had a great run of cards, but I can say that I picked my battles wisely.  I did identify a few people at the table who I decided I’d mix it up with after observing their play for a few rounds.  Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough to accumulate chips from other players as well.  I didn’t really bleed any chips to speak of – once I got them, I pretty much kept them.  I did limp/raise a few times and got re-raised, and I gave respect to such plays depending on who was making the move – but boy it hurt to walk away from some of those chips after I’d worked so hard and been so patient to accumulate them in the first place.  One key hand that stood out for me was a hand I was involved in w/ B.  He’d begun to get particularly aggressive at this point in the game which was appropriate at his chip-stack to blind ratio.  I was in the same boat and had to make a move myself.  A flop of 10 -10-9 came.  I held QJ which gave me an open ended straight draw.  B was first to act.  He negated my positional advantage by pushing all-in, which meant we were going to see 5 cards if I called.  I suspected he had a 9 or a 10.  His all-in meant that my tourney life was at stake – but so was his.  Before he bet all-in, I’d decided that that was what I was going to do with my nice drawing hand.  But once he bet the pressure was on, and now I really had to think about it.  It’s tough to call someone’s all-in bet when you still need to improve your hand in order to have anything meaningful at all.  I reasoned that if all he’d done was pair his 9, then my Q and J were live if I merely paired one of them.  An 8 or a K would surely give me the goods.  And even if he had a 10 in the hole, the K or the 8 would still be good as long as the board didn’t pair or pair his other hole card.  If he had 10-9 in the hole, he’d slow play it and let me bet.  It seemed obvious that my only option was to call.  So I called and held my breath.  Once again, being that I wear my heart on my sleeve, the whole room knew who came out on top of that hand.  B took it well and said he would have called if he had my hand too.  He probably wasn’t happy, but he acted with class.  Cheers!

If I’d have had more chips to play with, I wonder if I’d have laid that down and picked a better battle or if I’d still have taken that chance.  Situations like that provide a heck of a rush.  The pressure is on to really think.  Really replay the action to that point.  Really consider the profile of your opponent.  Really consider their motivation at the time.  Really consider whether you yourself have much left to fight with anyway.  It forces you to succumb to luck at times.  Though not total luck of course…armed with the right bits of information and some light number crunching, you can knowingly put yourself in a situation to *potentially* be on the receiving end of some good luck.  Sometimes the only way to advance when you’re light on chips IS to get lucky and you have to pick favorable situations, and I was lucky enough to find myself in one at the right time.

After I busted out, R busted out.  We seem to have similar staying power when it comes to Tourneys.  It offered us a chance to play heads up together.  He got the best of me right from the get-go.  Despite that, I have to say I really like playing with R.  He’s constantly learning and is a pleasant guy to play with.  His heads-up style of play gives away little information to opponents pre-flop which makes him a challenge to play against and throws off any notion of putting him on any kind of hand-distribution.  Once T & K came to the cash table, my style of cash game play had more of a chance I think simply because pre-flop action can be a bit more indicative of actual hole card holdings.  As a result, I recouped a bit of my excessive loss to R while they were at the table, and once they left I made a modification to my heads up game vs R and saw some success – where in fact, instead of being down $60 at the cash table, I wound up being up $25.  The lesson that was reinforced to me was to play the player first, then play the cards…but gosh it was painful getting to that point.  Come to think of it, after writing that last statement I recall that that’s when I had the most success during the tourney that night too.  Picking battles with opponents that I felt I’d profiled well enough to exploit when the opportunity arose – more so than picking battles based on the cards I was holding.  Interesting indeed.  But despite that revelation, it still needs to become a habit and not just a random occurrance, not to mention that generally there’s still a LOT to learn!

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5 Responses

  1. =), i didnt say i would have done the same thing.
    I said i would have gone all in with your hand, and i might have done the same thing.
    Hypotheticly if I could have seen your hand…. would i have gone all in?
    Yup
    It was a 50/50 coinflip. Easy to bet, hard to call.
    I generally bet my coinflips and fold the calls, unless my chipstack can afford to suffer the double up.
    I know that had you acted first there and gone all in i would have folded my 9.
    Not implying you made an incorrect discision. Blinds were to large to wait around for much better then a coinflip.
    Just correcting the typo.
    P.S. You ended with “He prolly wasnt happy”
    i actually was.
    I dont mind making plays that are not profitable, or discriminated by others. After the hand is over i simply ask myself ” if you could see his hand would you have done the same thing?”
    If the answer is yes
    im happy
    if it is no
    im sad
    You could have had a 10 and it was over.
    Hinesight i was right.

    B

  2. All true. In any event, it was a key hand because of the thought process that went into it. I like what you say about betting the coinflips and folding the calls. I definitely weighed that option too – but my chipstack was only slightly higher than yours and this was the hand where I determined I’d need some luck and there were some things going in my favor even though I knew I was behind at the moment. The other point is that I really respect your play in general, and that hand was no different. If I’d have been in your seat w/ your hole cards, I’d have done the same thing too. See you Tuesday!

  3. Wow, Quick replies. Looks like someone else spends part of their working day thinking about poker.
    I wish I could play tuesday. Hope you win it.
    The best justification of that hand on either of our parts since a spectator would find us both crazy.
    Is simply the blinds 500/1000 i had 6300 in chips you had 6500 elliot had 5000ish, the chick to my right had 4000ish, kaps was the only one sitting good
    6X the big blind is nothing.
    I despise when a tournament turns into that.
    tony and risto were both low too at that point
    how can 90% of a table be the low stack?

    B

    p.s. sorry for tagging up your serious blog with my crappy writing

  4. Nah – love the comments! You’re 100% right about the chipstacks and the desperation that most of us were faced with. We’re all smart enough to realize that at that point it’s not so much about playing poker — it’s more about luck and aggression. You pushed the aggression, and I relied on luck.

  5. I wanted some luck too.
    Atleast Elliot won. That proves me wrong. Here I am saying damn those blinds, we should have started with more chips!
    And there he was with less chips then both of us.
    I was impressed.

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