Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final table blow up

During the last week and a half, the large poker room in my area has been holding a series of moderate size Hold'em tournaments ($340->$2080 buyins with field sizes between 100-200 runners). The room holds two large series of tournaments each year, one of which centers on a WPT event running during the beginning of the year and another series that runs in the late summer/early fall.

For whatever reason, the organizers scheduled this year's events at the same time as the running of the Bike's Legends of Poker. In my opinion, because of this, the fields were much softer because the majority of the quality mid-stakes live tournament pros (who will play in live MTTs with buyin's of $2k or less) in this region of the country gravitated to the Bike.

In this series, I finished with a respectable showing. Of the 8 events I entered, I made it to the last 2 tables on 7 occasions, and had a top ten showing in 4 (unfortunately with no wins). I feel that my style of play was strong vs. some targeted weak and/or conservative opponents near the bubble resulting in, among other things, an above average number of walks in my big blind which measurably helped in getting to the final table. Also, in the early/mid stages of the tournament, I think I took some prudent risks - slow plays vs. the right opponents, making borderline coin flip type calls where losing the coinflip would not cripple me, but winning the coin flip would give me enable me to have a wider range of options given my table conditions (along with the metagame influence that make conservative players more wary about getting involved in pots with me without a big hand - at which time, I can just muck; This is the classic scenario about "taking the initiative" -> make them worry about you, and not the other way around).

A problem that I have had throughout my entire poker tournament career is my failure to get consistent and adequate sleep prior to big tournaments or over a prolonged series of tournaments. Despite this being a local tournament in which I would be sleeping in the comfort of my own home, this problem again reared its ugly head. My nightly average of actual sleep was somewhere in the range of 4.5 hours for the last 10 days. (playing too much cash games after busting out of the daily MTT was a definite factor here as well)

Perhaps fatigue was a factor contributing to my unimaginable semibluff decision from my bustout hand of today's final event - $550 Shorthanded (6 max) NLHE:

hand #1
live shorthanded (6 max) NLHE MTT
9 players remain at 2 tables (5 handed at Hero's table, and 4 handed at the other)
blinds: T$2k/T$3k
Hero's stack T$94k (31.3xbb), SB(Villain)'s stack ~T$100k(33.3xbb)
Average stack: T$65k
Hero and Villain have been at the same table for ~3 out of the 7 hours of the tournament.
preflop: Hero raises to T$10k w 4c4d, muck, muck, SB fairly quickly calls, BB mucks (2 players, pot size T$23k)
flop: Th5c3d Villain leads for T$10k, Hero pauses for 3-4 seconds and calls (2 players, pot size T$43k)
turn: Th5c3dAh Villain leads for T$15k, Hero pauses for ~15 seconds, Hero quietly pushes all in for T$59k more.

During the ~3 hours of play, I never witnessed Villain slow play any big hand preflop (big hand in this 6 max game included hands like AJo which he had made large reraises with vs possible steals).

During the actual bustout hand, I put Villain's preflop range at a small/medium PP, medium A, suited connector and two broadways. When Villain donks the flop, I put him on a small/medium PP, a set, or a medium A (where Villain was hoping to put pressure on Hero's better A).
Hero floats the flop, and it was unknown what range this represented to the Villain, but my intention was to represent a hand like AQ.

An ace hits on the turn and Villain leads again with a modest bet into a fairly substantial pot. At this point, I feel I am clearly beaten by Villain's entire flop range. Despite the fact that I can muck with still an above average chip stack (T$74k), I fairly quickly decide that I am going to win this hand vs all hands in Villain's range except for the monster hands by semibluffing all in with my gutshot (and set draw).

Villain tanks for about 30 seconds, but eventually calls with his A9. No deuce or 4 on the river, and I'm out.

Even ignoring the ridiculously unnecessary risk (of not mucking on the turn), I'm pretty unhappy about the physical aspect of how I represented this hand. I think I should have tanked much longer - say 20-25 seconds, asked him if he really had an A; then tanked another 30 seconds before moving in with the classic shoulder shrug.

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