Let’s get down to business right away – I might fill you in on some of the questions I posed in my intro-post a little later, but this is supposed to be about poker, so off we go.
The challenge was just waiting for me, so I got stuck right in, playing a couple of tables at a time, with my action spread out over SNGs and MTTs. Here’s a breakdown of what I played and how I did:
a) $3 - Turbo Rebuy, MTT (Finished 34 of 96)
b) $5 - Freezeout, MTT (Finished 26 of 109)
c) 3 x $10 SNG, 10-player (Finished 5th, 6th and 7th respectively)
d) 1 x $10 SNG ‘Double Stack’, 10-player (Finished 1st)
e) 1 x $10 SNG, ‘Double Stack’, 6- player (Finished 1st)
I played one more tournament, a NLHE $3 Rebuy with only 32 entries. Since this is my first playing-related post and since I actually went ‘deep’ in that tournament, I thought I’d try to relay a play-by-play for you here.
Wow, what a poor showing of me in the first 3 levels. I instant rebuy like I always do and then proceed to donate chips, as if I’m UNICEF and I’ve found myself at a table with Somalia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. I raise K
from late position during the third level and both blinds come along. First decent hand I’ve played so far – up until then it’s been all about reraising 5
from the blinds (cause I ”knew” the cut-off was a poser) only for him to move all-in and embarass the crap out of my reading abilities. Anyway, flop is J
and the SB leads with a pot-bet. Wow. Are u kidding me? This was my c-bet-take-it-down opportunity. That is about as annoying as a kick to the groin. I curse the SB for being a twit and expertly muck my backdoor flush & straight draw.
Am still giving away chips here and there, but in general I’m just card-dead and a little steamed when I pick up 6
in the BB. Holy crap. A pocketpair. What to do, what to do. So many possibilities. Here we go boys. I’m sitting upright, ignoring my other tables and getting ready to do some serious set-mining ( slightly obsessive at this point, talking to my screen, urging my fellow combatants to raise with 4's so that I might 'take them to school' hmmm...
). We’re 8-handed and UTG+1 raises 11BB (E-LE-VEN, yeah that’s right) to 660, with 3400 behind. No reads at this point. It folds to me. I’ve got 60 invested, a stack of 2300 and hot air coming out of my ears. I call like a pro, while I hold my hand up in front of the screen and cover the flop. Piously, I start chanting for a six to have hit, while I click the check-button and wait for ‘Dr.11BB’ to make his move. He’s all-in for 3400 into a 1350 pot. My hand darts from the screen and I’m faced with 7
. ACE-KING!! It’s gotta be?!? My trigger-finger hits CALL like it’s on a mission and like the moron I am, I stare dumbfoundedly at two black nines. Of course it wasn’t AK. Time for my first double-rebuy.
40-80 level (4th) comes and goes pretty easily. Pick up K
in the BB and call a 4xBB raise from the SB with approximately 3000 in my stack. Thinking about it now, that should’ve been a reraise, but confidence was in short supply at the moment. Flop comes ace-high with a couple of spades and he pumps a pot-bet into me. I fold and pray to whomever is listening that a rush of cards might miraculously find its way to me.
We move to the 50-100 level before my prayers are answered. JACKS in the BB. I salute the screen and check my stack. 21BB. Perfect for shoving over an opening raise. Pleeeeeaaaaaaasssseeeee… somebody raise! UTG goes all in for 1200. Chi-ching! Folds to the SB-bigstack who comes over the top for 15K. Hmmm… Still think I need to call here. I basically only need to worry about the SB and only 3 hands beat me here. I call hoping for the best. UTG shows queens and SB shows 8’s. Starting strengths hold up and I start the next hand with 20BB. Even-Steven.
At this point I am absolutely cool as a cucumber. As levelheaded as a leek or something...ummm... less weird. Except I'm not. What is going on here? The robotic non-emotional poker playing persona that I aim to emulate is completely out the window. These guys aren't very good, it's a 3-dollar buyin for crying out loud and for some reason I am NOT in the midst of calculating how many percent of the total chips in play are in front of ME?! This cannot be. Ok. Easy now. Breathe. Just concentrate on the next hand. Play it optimally. Play it like a pro. No emotion. Nothing. Nada. Here we go...
In the SB. K
. DING-DING-DING!! Might as well have been aces at this point. We’re 6-handed, the cutoff raises to 300 and covers me. Easy. All-in-steal. He thinks for about 5 seconds and calls with A
. OH COME ON! What a sick donk-call! What is this guy thinking?!? I was clearly repping AK+ in that spot – how can he call?!?
I do my very best Matusow impersonation, asking that the cards help me “ONE TIME”! No such luck. Board runs out 10-high.
Rebuy at this point or simply let it go? Normally a question I’d actually ask myself, but in this case it was never an issue. Another $6.60 into the tournament with my INSTANTANEOUS double-rebuy. Buys me 30BBs and at this level, that’s gotta be +EV, right? “Shrek, have you seen donkey? Yeah, he’s right here.” Meehh…
I don’t have to wait long before I find a new spot to get involved. Still sixhanded and still 50/100. UTG min-raises, next guy flats and in the next seat is me with A
. I also elect to just call and for some inexplicable reason, both blinds fold. Flop is: 3
and UTG bets 100 into the 600 pot. The guy on my right calls and now it’s up to me. I make it 500 total, which in hindsight probably should’ve been a bit more. UTG is the only one to call. Turn: 8
and now he leads with 1100. I vomit – just a little – and then reraise allin, only 1200 more. He snaps and shows 8
. (*sigh*) Before I get to scream obscenities at the screen, the 10 of hearts floats vaporously in on the river.
Vindication is upon me. The tides are turning and in a weak moment of vanity, I lift up my right arm and kiss my own bicep. Oh yeah, the bicep pulled through on that one baby! I feel like I’ve just had an 8-hour nap followed by an icy-cold shower. I am BACK! 6450 in my stack and the cards are favouring me. I am Rick James! Bring it bitches!
A few hands later, last blindlevel before the addon and I call a cut-off raise with ace-jack offsuit from the SB. Flop comes king-high and as naturally as ever, I bet 300 into the 540 pot and the CO insta-mucks. I just knew. Simple as that. Some times you just know.
Same type of scenario next hand I play. 6-handed with 60/120 blinds. I’m the CO. HJ minraises and I call with A
. Dealer and BB come along as well. Flop comes down: 10
(1020 pot). As soon as I see it, I know what has to happen. BB checks, original raiser pumps a pot-bet in there with 6700 behind and I jam my stack with my conceivable 12-outer. Two folds and the original raiser tanks. When he finishes reading my soul, he decides to call with Q
. I’m not even close to breaking a sweat. I’m just waiting for the fat lady – HIS fat lady, that is. The turn bricks, but the river is (obviously!) the 3
and suddenly I’m sitting pretty with a 16,4K stack. BOO-YAH!
From here on, I start picking up a lot of uncontested pots. Usually preflop, but if not – a continuation bet seems to do the trick. Am not bullying too hard, but am finding it natural to raise with K,8 suited and similar hands. The first interesting spot comes up after the addon and break.
5-handed, 80/160. My stack approx 18K. I’m in the BB with Q
. Villain is UTG with a 12K stack. Villain limps, folds to SB who completes. I check.
. I check-call a 240 bet, while the SB folds. No need to get out of line just yet. Turn: 6
. Hmmm, if I was behind on the flop, I have now… ahem… ’outsmarted’ him. I check and hope he bets. Another small bet, this time 480. His range is pretty wide here I think, but I’m liking my two pair and make it 1280 total. He calls fairly quickly. River: 2
. Good card – I think. At least all the draws missed, unless he’s in there smiling with 10
and is just waiting to ankle-whip me. Pot is 3520 and I elect to bet 2100. If he comes over the top, I’m folding, but some hands might still pay me off here. He calls and shows Q
! Had him all along and never knew it… My stack just keeps on growing.
Having been 5-handed for quite a while, our table finally breaks and I find myself as one of the big-stacks at a new 9-handed table. My very first hand I pick up A
one off the HJ and inexplicably decide to misplay my hand like a complete moron. UTG limps (80/160) and I raise it to 450 total (again, not enough). BB calls as does UTG. (Pot 1430) Flop: 2
. Checks to me and I c-bet 1100. Standard until here I think, except that 1000 would’ve sufficed on the flop. UTG calls. (Pot 3630) Turn: 3
. He checks again and I fire once more, 2500 this time. He calls quickly. Now, something is wrong. I have absolute no idea what his range is, cause I’m not even considering it. I’m ashamed to say that I’m playing level1-thinking-poker at this point, focusing only on trying to “buy” the pot, without a clear thought process to back me up. This epiphany dawns on me, just after my bet on the turn. By the time the river hits, I have no clue what to do.
. He checks to me again and mysteriously I see the mouse go for the bet-sizing button. I bet 5500 and he instantly comes over the top for the rest of his chips. There I sit, facing an additional 4000 chips to call, which I can’t. I fold and experience one of those moments in poker, where one is absolutely humbled by just how little it takes to COMPLETELY make an ass out of yourself at the table.
For obvious reasons, the effects of this hand are not pretty. All of a sudden I’m off again – raising when I shouldn’t, calling when I definitely shouldn’t and generally just bleeding chips. It takes me a few levels to recover and when I get involved again, it’s with a dismal 4800 stack and blinds at 125/250/a25. We’re 8-handed and I’m UTG+2 with J
. UTG limps, 1 fold, I limp, folds to the SB who completes and the BB checks. (Pot 1200) Flop: 5
. SB leads for 250, it folds to me and I’m just contemplating how I can get the rest of my chips in the pot. I make it 1250 to go and after a moment’s consideration, he calls. Pot is now 3700 and the turn is: 7
. The SB immediately pushes his 14K stack towards the middle… NOT AGAIN… *sigh*
. I don’t know what to think. The rollercoaster ride this tournament has been so far has got me besides myself. Call? Why not… guess I can still suck out if I need to.
SB shows 6
. Oh great… He has a straight. Hang on! No he doesn’t! He’s got a pair and a draw… I’m ahead! The river solidifies my VIC-TO-RY with a queen and I see a little more than 10K being shipped my way. We might just make something of this yet… Tighten up your open-raising range. Don’t just call – raise. Put the pressure on the other guys. Play well for fucks sake!
My gameplan is on.
A couple of hands later I pick up two red jacks again, this time in the SB. I feel calm – like I’m in the zone. Almost ready to fold them, if I encounter too much resistance. 8-handed, blinds still 125/250/a25. Villain covers me. 3 folds before the HJ and CO both limp. When it reaches me I decided there’s no need to fool around here and make it 2000 to go, hoping to take it down now instead of having to play out of position. The HJ is having none of it and calls. (Pot 4700) Flop: 7
. 10-high flop? What is that? – a freaking urban legend? I swear to the G-man, I’ve never seen one while holding Jacks! FUCK!
I bet 2800 and prepare myself for the all-in move. He folds. Hmmm… Now that was a nice surprise.
For several orbits things become pretty standard. Raise with 2
and fold after not flopping anything. Raise with A
and c-bet the 9-high flop to take it down. Even raise K
from early position, get called by both blinds and then proceed to win the hand after checking down a board of A
. Whaddayaknow – stranger things have happened I guess. Which leads me to this next hand:
I’m in the BB with Q
, 6-handed with blinds at 250/500/a50. The CO min-raises and I’m the only one who calls. We both check the K
flop. Turn is A
and I check again. Now he bets 1275. That does seem remarkably small considering the potsize. I think he recognizes the Ace as a great bluffing-card and is just trying to take it down. I call, before thinking things through. The river is 3
. Great. Now what do I do. I was so reliant on my read that I just called instead of considering the best course of action. He probably doesn’t have an ace, but my hand doesn’t have huge showdown potential either. I think villain has a baby-pair here a lot of the time, meaning I’ve painted myself into a corner. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Only thing to do is bet, I guess. Stick with my read. I bet out a paltry 2500 and he insta-mucks! “Cehhh-le-brate good times, COME ON!”
Again, things return to ‘standard play’. I raise enough to stay afloat, don’t encounter too much resistance and when I do, I fold without losing too much. All of a sudden, we’re down to the final table. I’m a top-3 stack at the table and with antes in play, the big stacks are stealing left, right and center. I take my fair share. Sometimes with 6
and sometimes with queens – point is, the short stacks are just biding their time. I don’t get too many spots to pick off any of the smaller stacks, the others do that for me, until I pick up A
in the BB. As if on cue, a 12BB stack moves in from under the gun. I call, he shows A
, flops a jack, but I turn a straight and now we’re down to 4.
From this point, everything slows to a simmering pace. Top-3 are money spots, number 4 receives diddly-squat and it’s beginning to show. Everyone seems intent on pocketing a 24-dollar payday!
I try to pull the trigger on the passiveness, but pick up very few playable hands and when I do see K,9 offsuit, someone feels the need to play back at me. Bad timing I guess. This goes on for several blind levels and my once big-stack is reduced to a meager average, boasting an impressive 16BBs.
Karma gets the better of me in the end, when I pick up A
and raise to 4000 from UTG (Blinds 1600/3200/a160). As has been the case so often before at this final table, an opening raise usually elicits 3 folds. The first 2 muck as planned, but the BB has a new gameplan and pushes all-in for 8BBs. He’s been playing tight, but so has everyone else. I just don’t think I’m that good. I can’t fold AJ in this spot. Not after having played 4-handed for so long. He’s pushing a lot of pairs here, right? A lot of coinflips which I should be prepared to take, right? Crap – don’t know what the ‘right’ move here would have been.
Anyway, I call and stare AK in the face. No 3-outer and I’m reduced to 5-6BBs. When I do push those in (very next hand), holding K
, I get called by 3
(?) who ends up making a flush.
So, there you have it. My first post in this series. More to come soon, hopefully depicting better play than was the case in what you just read. Will need to if Aussie Millions 2010 is to become a reality!
Starting bankroll: USD 5,000.00
1st session result: USD -8.10
New bankroll: USD 4,991.90
Days left until Aussie Millions 2010: 307