A good way to summarize my tournament yesterday was that I danced around for several hours and was only put to the test one time. I failed miserably.
While I was slouching around at home and feeling disgusted with myself, my wife asks me if I had fun. I felt a lot like a kid coming back from a loss in a little league game where the parent is telling the child that the most important thing is to have fun. However, I have to admit I really did have a great time. Albeit, it was a short run... less than 8 hours.
Here is a recap of my experience with Phil Ivey. (Note: I am not a poker star celebrity worshipper. I merely had the pleasure of getting involved in a number of hands with him. Originally when I saw my table draw with me sitting on his right, I expected to not get involved in any hands with him. The $5k bounty on his head definitely affected how I played with him)
- Phil showed up about 10 minutes late. He looked very sleepy and was a bit taken back when the dealer insisted on him showing his photo ID. He was seated in 5s; I was in 2s.
- He was only moderately aggressive perhaps getting involved in 15% of the pots in level 1, and 25% of the pots in level 2 (busting on the very last hand of level 2). He always opened for a raise if folded to him in CO+1 or later.
- I did not play a hand for the first 40 minutes; in the 2nd half of level 1 I raised preflop twice, once taking the blinds, and once being called by BB in 6s who folded to my continuation bet on a AKx flop.
- In the 2nd level I consciously became more frisky feeling comfortable with how the people at my table were playing.
Here are some hands that occured over a roughly 40 minute period. Most are not interesting, but I list them trying to set the context for how I may be perceived in the later hands. All of these hands occured in level 2 with 50/100 blinds (10k starting chips)
- I open raise 300 in CO+2 with 8s9s and take the blinds.
- Next hand, I open raise 300 in CO+1 with 66. Only Phil calls in the SB. Flop comes 762 with 2 diamonds; as Bill Rini would say, "Obviously I didn't have a diamond..." (7c6d2d). Phil check folds to my pot size bet.
- Phil opens UTG for 300, semi loose aggressive in 6s flat calls, folded to me in CO and I call with two black 7s, folded behind me. Flop comes something like 873 rainbow. It is checked to me. I consider checking behind. 6s I put on 2 big cards, but I am scared to give Phil a free card here since his opening range is very wide (although I would expect him to continuation bet with anything that connects with the flop or if he had an overpair). I bet 1/2 pot, both fold. This seems like a great opportunity to have slow played.
- I open raise 300 in CO+1 with ATo. Only Phil calls in the SB. Flop comes Kh7s5s. Phil checks, and as I had made a flop bet of some kind on ~every~ hand I had raised preflop so far (~5-6 by this point), I checked behind. Turn comes offsuit 8, I fold to Phil's 2/3 pot sized bet.
- Folded to a semi loose semi aggressive SB in the 1s who completes (He has a ~20k stack from successfully getting involved in a significant number of hands). I raise to 350 with AcJd. SB calls. Flop comes 2d5d4h, SB checks, for the 2nd consecutive time I elect to check behind on the flop. Turn comes 8d. SB bets 500, I raise to 2000, SB quickly calls. River comes 3c, SB check folds to my 3000 bet. (probably a zero value bet by me there....I think I was embarassed to show my hand and bet anyway.) SB tells me he had a PP...????
- I open raise 300 in CO+1 with TdTh, only Phil calls in SB (he has ~9k, I have ~14k). Flop comes 972 rainbow. Phil check raises my 1k bet to 4k. I think for about 20 seconds, but I just don't believe he check raises me here with a better hand. I decide the pot is big enough, so I reraise to 7k and he turbo mucks. (Isn't there a full tilt magazine ad with a hand like this? Something like You are dealt TT, Limp in or All in? Fun stuff living in a fantasy world...)
- Phil open raises 300 in MP, semi lag in MP+1 calls, folded to semi lag SB who calls, I call with Ad9c. Flop comes 973 rainbow. Blinds check, Phil bets 1200, MP+1 folds, SB calls. SB had flop check raised a few times so far, so I am confident I am ahead of him. Phil has less than 4k left so I check raise 4000 more. (is this getting too carried away?) Phil turbo mucks, SB thinks for more than 30 seconds before mucking saying he thinks he folded the best hand.
- Phil busts a couple of hands later making a move on the 10s.. I don't have the details as I had already run off to beat the rush to the restroom.
Since I have nothing to prepare for tomorrow (i.e. Day 3), I've had plenty of time to think about my bustout hand from last night. Initially I focused all my attention on my awful all in call, but after further reflection I realize that there was a second category of major mistake in this hand; namely betting errors.
I was open raising in the CO with a very loose but mostly passive opponent in the BB. He had shown the ability to make preflop calls like an 8.5x bb call in the UTG+1 position with Ax (no idea what x was as the hand did not reach showdown, and yes there was some unconventional betting at this table). All of my bets were either under or substantially under the size of the pot.
Had I not made the betting mistakes in the hand, I would not had the opportunity to be check raised all in on the turn. The majority of the time, I would be pushing all in on the turn, and if I was playing very conservatively, I would have checked behind on the turn and then been faced with some kind of bet on the river.
I almost certainly would have chosen the former, and the result would have been the same.
If I had chosen the latter, given the way the BB had been playing he would have bet all in on the river at least 50% of the time. Assuming that I had raised 5xbb preflop and made a slightly larger than pot size bet on the flop (rounding up to the nearest 1000), the all in bet on the river would be 117% of the pot. This fold would theoretically have been easier since my only reason for checking behind on the draw heavy board would be the assumption that my opponent had outdrawn me on the turn. It would still not be an easy fold, but I'm saying I would have been in the mindset to consider cutting my losses.
To summarize, had I made no reasonable mistakes in this hand, I would still likely have gone broke; I would just have felt unlucky and not stupid.