Sunday, September 16, 2007

Need a break

The quick version of this post is that today's result was not a happy ending. For the longer version, keep reading....

Going into today's final event (multiple rebuy), I was in 7th place in the points race. Mathematically, only 2nd place was possible. By the end of the 2nd break, only 2 other players are also capable of finishing 2nd (my partner, J, busted during the 2nd hour, so it was only on me at this point). By the 3rd break, only 1 other player was in the running.

With 23 players remaining (top 18 places pay $ and earn points; I need 4th place or better to earn enough points to get 2nd place in all around top player), I'm presented with the following scenario:

- Hero UTG
- Hero has 8% of the chips in play, but still only 13xbb
- Table is 7 handed, BB has 10xbb, UTG+1 has 10xbb, CO has 9xbb (and taken a bad beat 2 hands earlier), everyone else is 5xbb or less.
- Hero has been moderately active including open raising 2.75xbb on the immediately prior hand and successfully stealing the blinds.
- Hero and BB have a lot of history, and despite Hero's early position, BB is likely to have a substantially large range for re-raising all-in to a preflop raise from Hero. (probably 66+, ATs+, AJo+). i.e. it is perfectly believable to the BB that I would try to steal his BB even from UTG in the position of table chip leader because of all of our banter and interaction over the last few days.
- UTG+1 and Hero have little direct history (though I have carefully observed his play) except for 1 hand roughly 1 orbit ago when Hero open raised 2.7xbb from SB. Villain defended his BB, and Hero pushed on QJ8 flop to which Villain folded. UTG+1 is a very loose player - his preflop playing range is (22+, A2s+, A5o+, any two broadways, probably 87s+), his preflop reraising range is probably (88+, AQo+, ATs+, KJs+). He is capable of bluffing, and he doesn't like to get pushed around. He is not a sophisticated or knowledgeable player.

Surprisingly to me, I received substantial criticism for the way I played this key pot. I suspect that many of the commentors didn't really think that carefully about the hand and the situation, but at any rate, here is the hand:

hand #1
7 handed, NLHE MTT near the bubble, Hero has 13xbb, Villain has 10xbb
preflop: Hero raises 2.75xbb w AdAc, Villain thinks for 10-15 seconds and calls, everyone else mucks (2 players, pot size 7xbb)
flop: Jd4h3c, check, check (2 players, pot size 7xbb)
turn: Jd4h3c2h, Hero pushes, Villain insta calls.

I'm happy with how I played this hand, and J absolutely agreed with me. At any rate, Villain turned a straight with As5s and improves to a 6 high straight on the river.

Given our history and his tendencies, I don't mind giving a free card on this flop. On any more coordinated flop, I would have insta-pushed. Given that Villain checked the flop, I think I have to bet the turn.

During the rest of the tournament, I was lucky. I had exactly 4 coin flips in big pots, and I won all of them.


I've been putting in substantial table hours for the last 10 days, probably averaging about 9 table hours per day. (which I'm happy to say that easily more than 7 hours per day I was playing my A game) I am somewhat exhausted, and probably need a day or so to recover. Reno's Pot of Gold series starts in 11 days, and I hope to be in good shape for that. In the meantime, I will continue to grind away at the cash games. Also there is a nice monthly $330 MTT at another local poker room (that I have never been to) coming up on Saturday that apparently draws a nice field, and it has a good structure. I intend to enroll in that one.

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