I got off to a REALLY fast start. We start off with 2500 chips for the 25/25 level (big field – about 450 runners, $1k each). At the end of the 2nd level, I’m a bit over 8k in chips! By far the leader at my table and maybe in the top 5% in the tournament. It was mostly due to good cards. A few hands/situation during the good run.
1) only bad hand. I raise to 100 with AKs from MP, button makes it 600, I’m not sure what to do (what would you do?), I decide to see the flop, miss, he bets, I fold. Feel that it was weak, but also didn’t want to a) risk my stack here, b) be a pussy and just fold.
2) Q6d from button, 3 people in before me at 75, decide to make an iffy call with position, flop comes Kxxd, guy raises, another guy pushes, I call. He’s drawing dead with TPTK. Double up to 3k or so.
3) Raise to 150, I’m on button with 88. Flop comes 865 all hearts. Guy raises half his stack, I push (have him covered by a bit), he calls. It’s not bad, but not great. He has 77 with 7 of hearts. We’re probably about even. He misses.
4) I have KJ from BB, just check my option – 4 way action. Flop comes KKx. I check, they check. Turn blank, but brings a flush draw. I bet 200, am raises to 800, I just call. Turn brings flush, I decide to check call. I check, he checks, I win.
5) KK from EP. I raise, one caller. Flop low, I bet, am raised. I decide to check turn hoping to get action. He checks. I bet river he folds.
6) One or two other hands where I bet PF with good drawing type hands, miss, bet and take down pot. Don’t really lose anything.
So I go into break feeling very, very good about my chances. For rest of the tournament I do not win a hand. Not even one stinken hand! There are 3 significant hands, every one is questionable in my play.
1) Have AKs, (50/100 level). I have 3 100 chips in my hand. For some reason I don’t throw them all in at once. I kind of drop them one at a time, clearly can be called a string bet. Button makes comment about it (I won’t argue if called because I know I screwed up). He decides to just fold. BB takes a while to decide. Also knows about string issue, he decides to call. I’m thrown off a bit, because if he’s going to see the flop, why not call me on string bet; so now I’m thinking he might have a good hand and wants more money in pot. Q high flop, I miss. He checks, I check (would probably bet if the string thing didn’t happen but I'm very suspicious now). Turn, check, check. River, he bets 475 (into 600 pot). Now the board reads Q2627. I’m about to fold, but the bet looks really weak. I have a lot of chips. I’m starting to think that maybe he had an AJ, AT, A9 type hand which would make sense. The only hand I’m concerned about is a small pair. I decide to go with my read and call. He has Q9. Now I don’t think the string bet mattered much, because if he called there, he would have just called a normal 300. I then bet 500 on flop and he probably calls. Now I’m not sure I would fire again on turn. If I did, I probably would have won. My point is, I probably lose the same 800 (given his call) no matter what. Oh, well. Still have tons of chips.
2) Bunch of hands where I have medium pairs or AJ/AQ from lp, raise to 300, get reraised or miss on flop. Probably lose a good 1000-1200.
3) I make it 300 with 99 from MP. Two LP callers, BB who only has 1600 pushes. It’s 1300 to me. I’m getting 2-1. The guy was short-stacked. I put him on two overs or any pair over 55. I think it’s a good call against him, my only issue is the other two callers. Well, since I’m the big stack they probably need QQ-AA to call me. If they had that they probably re-raise me already so I decide to call. They fold. I’m up against AK, so I made a good read and good call. He hits an A and I lose. Oh, well, but this one was a good play – do you agree?
4) Here’s the one that killed me and cost me big. I’m utg with QQ. Blinds are 75/150. Ready to make a standard 500 or so bet, but decide to mix it up and just limp. My main reason is that there have been almost no limped pots at this table and I will re-raise any raiser. Oops, it’s a 5 way limped pot! Flop comes KT2, two hearts. Everyone checks. Turn is the J of hearts. I have the Q
. I make it 500, 750 in pot. Guy to my left pushes for 1400 more. Everyone folds to me. So I’m getting 2-1 almost. Hmmm. This was a tough decision. He is short-stacked. I guess it depends on what range I can put him on where I’m ahead. Probably 30% of the time he might have the A
with a pair that doesn’t beat my QQ. If he has me beat now, which is likely, I do have the
outs. Not sure if I made the right decision here, but I call and he has Q9 for the made straight. I don’t hit and lose. This hand really hurts because if I raise preflop I'm 90% sure he doesn’t call. I either win the blinds or maybe I get one caller so win an additional 500. So I lose 2k here, but would have won between 225-725, so this is a 2500ish swing. Not sure if the limp was terrible, but the call on the turn was very iffy. I have to mix it up and you don’t always just raise with good hands and limp with iffy hands. I was getting re-raised quite a bit before that so it made sense at the time.
5) Go to dinner break with 2400. Still have a chance given that there’s about 40 minutes left at 75/150 level.
6) Play in the 5/10 NL cash game during dinner (400 max buyin). First hand get KK. Raise to 40. Guy to my left calls. In the hand before, just when I sat down, a guy bets 240 on turn with a board of 99k3, and 3 spades. The guy on my left calls after much deliberation. The better then pushes another 200 blind before the river. The river brings a spade. Turns out that the guy to my left thought he had A9, but actually had A8. He’s on tilt now when in the hand with me. Flop comes J high. He only has 120 left so I push (95 in pot, want to look a bit suspicious with over bet). He calls and says, please don’t tell me you can beat the J. I say yes and now he’s really bummed, until the river brings an A and he turns over AJ. Oh, well, had a good dinner and only lost about 70 in all.
7) Get back to tournament. Am committed to playing good/patient poker. No need to panic, still have plenty of time. About the 4th hand I get AKs in mid position. Make it 525 to go. Blind calls. Flop comes JJ5. He checks. I have 1800 left. Hmmm. Do I want to be a pussy and just check and then allow him to take it on turn? If I bet, what good is any bet other than a push? I decide to bet the pot, around 1100. The 500 or so I'm leaving behind doesn't mean much, but it seemed like a good compromise at the time. It doesn't really matter when he pushes, I call and he turns over JJ for flopped quads. I think I’ve seen this movie before (I lost in the main event two years ago when my boat lost to flopped quads)! Not sure what the right play here was. His call PF could easily be a AQ, AT, A9, KQ, or a pair that folds to my push. Do I just give up the hand here and continue to grind? Not sure…
So all-in all, the tournament was a huge disappointment given where I was. Once I had the large stack I really wanted to play solid poker and grind up. Did I play terrible? Not really. I didn’t catch any breaks, and perhaps made a few iffy plays.
** One other interesting story. A guy at my table is supposed one of the top, if not the top internet tournament players. The guy next to me told me that he’s BeLowaBove (Kevin Saul). On about the 3rd hand he’s in a pot with a guy to his left. On the turn the guy bets about the pot and Saul calls. On the river (the flush comes), the guy bets a sizeable amount and Saul takes a while to decide and calls. The guy mucks his hand. Saul does not want to show his hand. We all tell him, as does the dealer, that he has to show. He will not show. We try calling a floor person but it’s the 3rd or 4th hand and there is no floor person to be found so this holds up play for a few minutes, which sucks because it’s the 25/25 level. At one point one guy at the table (a local pro) gives him static and Saul asks the guy if he’s Israeli. I don’t think Saul meant much by it, I think he thought he knew him, but the guy took it to mean that he was being anti-samitic. Of course the ruling was that he needed to show. He shows a Q high flush. Not sure why he didn’t want to show. Very weird – perhaps he didn’t have the odds to make the call on the turn, but it turns out he definitely did with the implied odds from the river bet. Anyway… a little while later the Israeli guy doesn’t have any 100 chips and asks Saul to make change – he has tons of 100’s. He won’t. This really set the table off. Later on people were being a bit antagonistic towards him and he doesn’t understand why.