Sunday, June 05, 2005

The $500+50 NLHE live tourney

No love in the tournament today. I busted out in the late stages of level 9, interestingly, in my only coin flip of the entire day. This made for 46th/151 where the top 18 were paid. All I can say is yuck.

I made 1 known poker mistake today and no tournament strategy mistakes. The mistake was one I have made SO MANY TIMES, that I am really quite mad at myself about. It turns out that I earned an extra T$ 200 chips because of the mistake. That sure doesn't make it right....

hand #1 - ugly mistake
tournament level 2, 50/75 blinds, avg chips ~3000. all relevant player in hand have average chips.
- folded to me in middle position. I look down and find 2 black lovely ladies. I decide to limp because both button and SB have been aggressive preflop (including SB being agg from almost any position). I decide that if either of those 2 raise, I will do a simple reraise all in (overbet). If anyone else raises and it is folded to me, depending on their position I will likely call and see if any overcards flop. If anything else happens, I will decide when that happens. (Note, my limp in this situation is not what I consider to be my mistake. A much more conservative approach would have been to raise, but I believe I will just pick up 125 in the blinds, and I would like to get more mileage out of the hand)
Folded to Mr. Mustache in the CO who calls, folded to Mr. JohnnyChanWannaBe in SB, Mr. Dealer checks in BB. (pot size T$ 300, 4 players)
- flop comes 7c9cKh. It is checked around (pot size T$ 300, 4 players)
- turn comes an offsuit rag. SB checks, BB bets T$ 200. I think for 5 seconds before acting. I have all of my chips in a single stack ordered with small denomination chips on top including plenty of T$ 100 chips. I lift off all my smaller denomination chips off and quietly toss in a T$ 500 chip. Dealer instantly points out this is a call. I don't say a word, but it is clear to everyone at the table that I intended to raise to T$500.
CO folds, SB grumbles quite a bit and decides to call. (pot size T$900, 3 players)
- river comes non-flush J. It is checked around. SB waits for 2-3 seconds and mucks. BB turns over 88. I embarassingly turn over my queens. SB (Mr. JohnnyChanWannaBe) curses and said he should have check raised me all in on the turn. I drag in a T$ 900 pot from a poorly played hand.


Tournament strategy-wise I was fairly content with my execution. I played very conservatively for the first 6 levels. My preflop raises were given a lot of respect, mostly because I played so few hands and had only shown down good hands.

This table image allowed me to steal a fair number of pots once we reached the levels where antes started. My status through the first 6 levels was quite close to avg chips, so I didn't see too much reason to gamble (This is debatable since a big stack at that table would have been pretty powerful). After level 6, when antes began, I was able to steal enough blinds and antes to stay at avg chips until I got involved in my big hands.

I was only involved in 3 large pots in the entire tournament where I'm happy to say that I got my money all in preflop with the best hand each time. The first 2 hands involved Mr. Donkey (that I also mentioned in my previous post) where I had a dominating hand (pair over pair preflop). The last big hand was my last hand of the day; the aforementioned coin flip. (pocket pair vs. 2 overcards)
Mr. Donkey made quad 4s on the first hand to my KK, and my KK held up the 2nd time vs. his TT to bring me up to 35% above avg late in level 7.

Table image was just so helpful to me during rounds 7-8. However, near the end of level 8 my table was broken up, and I moved to a new table. I was actually about 30% over average chips when I sat down at that table. Unfortunately, I was presented with no opportunities to steal the blinds (either it was raised and sometimes reraised before it got to me or I was in early position) and was dealt no reasonable hands. This resulted in me playing 0 out of ~30 hands until the final hand.

hand #2 - not an interesting hand, but I'll at least document my thinking (from a tournament strategy point of view)
It was then late in level 9 where I was left with only ~55% of avg chips with 9x the BB. UTG player has just moved in from another table, so I do realize that he has not seen me fold the last 30 hands. I'm in the SB, and the only players' chip stacks that have any influence on my decision making are UTG who has me outchipped by ~20% and BB who has me outchipped by about 50%. Level 10 starts in about 3 minutes, and if I do not play a hand until then I will have ~6x the big blind.
Blinds are 300/600, w 100 ante.
- UTG opens for T$2000. folded to me in the SB. I look down and find TdTc. I ask for a chip count (learning that both UTG and BB have me covered), and I get no read on Mr. UTG. If I think Mr. UTG has an underpair, I would of course push all in. However, because of the stage in the tournament, I am also willing to push all in if he has 2 overcards. It is getting too late, and I am not willing to get any shorter than 9 BB. In other words, I am only willing to fold here if I think he has JJ, QQ, KK, AA (24 hand combinations). I put him on 88 or better PP, any AK, AQ, AJs, KQs (77 hand combinations). This works out to around 2:1 that I want to push. (As an aside, I would have been even more strongly inclined to push if UTG had seen me fold 30 hands because I could believe he may fold AQ and KQ combinations.) I'm not terribly concerned about BB, because I believe he will only call me w QQ or better, and if he has got that then so be it.
I spent 30 seconds thinking about it, including checking my cards once (which may have been a slight mistake because Mr. UTG interpretted this to mean I had something like 88, which is very close). I then pushed for T$3400 more. BB insta folds. UTG starts thinking, and I know immediately I am in good shape (although I still prefer that he folds). After 15 seconds, UTG calls showing KhQh. (pot size T$ 12400, 2 players) (avg chips ~9850)
- I see a Q in the doorcard, and I don't improve.

In a tournament, ya gotta win your races....

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