Archive Jul 2009: pokerpurity

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Making sure you're not spewy

If you - like me - feel that you're a fairly accomplished poker player, who knows his/her own game very well, but also recognizes his/her own limitations, I think you'll be able to recognize one of the following sentiments, after you've played a session:

- Damn, that was just one beat after the other.
- Wow, variance really bitch-slapped me today.
- I guess I'm happy he called me with Q9 offsuit, but still hard to believe.
- Phew, need a break after that. One more suckout and I would've started to tilt.

...or something along those lines! :-) The point here is that you're the sort of player who recognizes how ridiculously small the edges that we chase sometimes are - thusly also resulting in extreme swings. You've come to accept this fact and still choose to play poker, because you're certain that in the long run you'll come out on top.

That's all good. But HOW SURE are you that it's all variance after a session? Most of us don't have time (or the willpower) to go through hand histories and dissect every single time we defended from the blinds with 87 of spades. I don't and yet I do it sometimes - just to make sure that it's them - not me, whose to blame.

So, I just played out 9 sitngos on FullTilt at a total buy-in of $49.50 and cashed for a total of $36. As I write this, I haven't looked at what went wrong, so I might have to fess up to some spewyness here - I hereby promise to do so, if that's the case. Won't leave anything out.

1st STT (18-person): Finished 13th. Final hand.

7-handed, I'm in the BB with KcQd (stack 1620). Blinds 20/40. No SB in this hand. UTG (1650) limps, UTG+1 (910) limps. Folds to me. I check.

FLOP: 3s Qc 3d
I check, UTG bets 120, UTG+1 calls and I raise to 385. UTG calls, UTG+1 folds.

TURN: 9h
The pot is a little more than 1000 and I bet all-in for 1195. He snap-calls with 99.

Oh well. Against these types of opponents ($5 buyin) I would play this hand exactly the same way. Chalk one up for variance here.

2nd STT (18-person). Finished 5th. Final hand.

5-handed (obviously). My stack is 4470 and blinds are 200/400, going up to 250/500 in less than a minute. I'm in the SB with QcJc. Folds to me and I shove on the BB (stack 7680) who calls me with AsTs. His hand holds up.

Again, this is pretty standard. I'm not folding this hand, so of course I shove. Minraising or 2.5xing accomplishes nothing.

I will say though that prior to this hand I did 'suck out' once, but it was all standard as well. With blinds 150/300 I was in the big blind with Ts6d and the shortest stack at the table moved in for 830 total. Fold to me, I call (getting nearly 2.5:1) and beat AK. Shrug?

3rd STT (18-person). Finished 4th. Final hand.

Blinds 200/400 and I hold 4c6c in the BB with stack of 4455. Chipleader (cirka 12K) is first to act and limps. Folds to me. I check.

FLOP: 6d Ad 3s
I check, he bets 400 and after some deliberation I move allin. He snaps me off with AT.

Obviously not my finest moment. My only defence is that he had done the limp-bet thing once before against me (also A-high flop) and I'd let him have it then. Still - call and evaluate on turn should've been my move. Folding isn't horrible either, I think.

4th STT (27-person). Finished 23rd. Final hand.

7-handed and I hold 6h6d UTG+1 (stack 1040). Blinds 15/30. UTG folds, I raise 3x, CO (1350) calls and the BB (1500) calls.

FLOP: 4h 5s Qd
The BB leads 200 (pot 285) and I should've thought twice about this. Weak players lead flops all the time with marginal holdings, but they give it away with their bet sizing. Some will just min-bet (i.e. 30 at a pot of 3o0) and others will fire one-third of the pot. Those situations are so easy. Just raise the crap out of 'em, no matter what you're holding and they go away 95% of the time. The subtle difference here is the 2/3 pot bet. At this level - it means he has it and I shouldn't be moving in with 66. He calls with KQ and I don't suck out. Poor play.

5th STT (18-person). Finished 9th. Final hand.

This tourney had exhibited RIDICULOUSLY tight play, to the extent that the final table had just gathered and blinds were at 200/400. That's 7.5BB average stack (!) for those of you who don't know the structure. I had just been keeping afloat, stealing as much as I could, but never really getting any big hands.

In this case I've got 3490 chips to start the hand with and pick up 55 in the CO. When it folds to me, I shove and the button happens to wake up with QQ.

Variance 3 / Poor Play 2

6th STT (27-person). Finished 18th. Final hand.

I've got 1730 in my stack. Blinds are 40/80 and 9-handed. UTG I raise AhQc to 200. UTG+1 calls, as does the BB.

FLOP: 2c 4h Ts
2 hands before this I had raised AJ and when the flop came KQ4 with a flush-draw (that I didn't have) I had check-folded, so I figured I should get more respect this time. I lead 390 at the pot which was 640 total. UTG+1 calls very quickly and BB folds. In my opinion, small/medium pairs that haven't connected are now a HUGE part of his range - just from experience. So....

when the TURN is: Kc
I move in for 1140 (about 80% pot). He snaps me off with AK.

*sigh* I don't regret this play one bit, as I think it has a high success rate - the KING being a great card for me (from his perception, normally). He just happened to play AK really oddly in this spot. This is variance to me, but if you disagree - voice your opinion and I am happy to discuss.

Variance 4 / Poor Play 2

7th STT (18-person). Finished 2nd. Final hand.

Ok, so heads-up play at the end of a sitngo can be pretty swingy, due to the low stack/blinds ratio and this was certainly the case here. My stack: 10540, his stack: 16460. Blinds 500/1K

He limps from the button and I check Qh9s from the BB.

FLOP: Ts 7s 6d
I check, he checks.

TURN: 8c
I bet 1K, he calls.

I bet 2K, he raises to 4K. I guess you could make a case for just calling, but if I do and lose, I'm practically dead anyway. I move in and he calls with TT for the boat. Nh sir. At these blinds, variance again in my book.

Variance 5 / Poor Play 2

8th STT (18-person) Finished 9th. Final hand.

Blinds are 120/240. My stack: 2350. I hold AcJh in the BB. UTG, 8handed (stack 3915) minraises to 480. Folds to the CO (stack 10K) who calls. Folds to me, I reraise allin. UTG deliberates briefly and calls. CO folds. UTG shows AT.

FLOP: 8d 3s Td

Lights out pour moi. Normally, my reraise shouldn't buy me much fold equity if you do the math, but based on the level of play that is standard in these tourneys it does surprisingly often, which is why I confidently shipped it in with AJ there. Also, the player in UTG had been making some horrendous plays, so I was quite confident that he was raising a wide range.

Variance 6 / Poor Play 2

9th STT (18-person) Finished 18th. Final hand

Stack 1455, blinds 15/30. I hold 5s6s on the button. UTG+1 opens to 120, HJ calls, I call and BB calls.

FLOP: 7h 6d 3d
BB checks, UTG+1 checks, HJ checks and I bet 325. Only BB calls.

TURN: 2s
BB bets 1010 and is allin. I call, which is kinda spewy - I know, but his line didn't make sense to me and at this level he could just as easily have 44 as AQ. He happened to have A6 (hmm?) and I was out pretty quickly.

There you have it people. So, definitely some things that could've/should've/would've, but also a few others over which I had more control and should have done better with.

Struggling on FullTilt

It's the weirdest thing (or perhaps not, in case someone knows something I don't) but out of all the poker sites, I struggle on Full Tilt the most. Since I started this challenge, I'm down $891 on the site and a week ago had almost completely depleted my funds.

Bear in mind, $891 in the red is actually worse than it sounds, because for the past few months I've also received $158 in bonus/rakeback, so the true state of affairs is much more dire. As a result, I decided something had to change and dropped my buy-in to $5 or less on FullTilt alone. A technical aspect concerning rakeback made me not wanna deposit (essentially shift funds) on the site again, so I figured this was the only way of rebuilding my bankroll.

Now, as a result I've been focusing most of my attention on the 18 and 27-person STTs ($5) and trying to come out on top there. So far, it's going above expectations as I'm able to muster a 154% ROI but because the sample size so far is laughable, I'm not even gonna tell you over how many tourneys that is. I chose the 18&27 over the regular 1-table STTs, because I simply can't stomach (edit: I lose patience) the tight-ass play that occurs once play becomes 5-handed. Essentially, the players are waiting for JJ+. You might argue that a skilled player would be able to take advantage of that and I might actually agree with you, but for whatever reason it doesn't suit my playing style. I can change gears, but going uber-uber-aggressive has never been my thing.

Anyway, I've also taken a shot at the occassional $3 rebuy or - as was the case today - try my hand at something completely different. A $2 6-handed freeze-out. I urge everyone to sign up for one of these at some point - if for nothing else, then the laugh-attack you get from some of the plays you see, should be reward enough! Sidenote: I came in 10th out of 381 and cashed for 14 bucks! WOO-HOO! Score...

Anyway, better fire up another $5 STT - where else can I see someone limp J8o on the button & bubble with 7BBs and fold to a shove? LOL. You gotta love it and for the record:

- Yes, I showed him the K2ss
- and Yes, I figured I had about 85% fold equity, which is the best part.


I think it’s almost inevitable that some sort of decline will follow after big successes. The days after my 4-figure score on PokerStars certainly felt just like that, as I wasn’t able to get much going in terms of deep runs. Certainly not many cashes and not a single one worthy boasting about.

What I ended up doing was get away for a few days. I’d love to say I’m the kind of person to do something like that spontaneously, but the truth is my girlfriend and I had planned it for some time. On the occasion of our two-year anniversary, we had booked a beach cabin on the coast – a mere 4 hour drive south of Sydney.

The key thing here – no internet. Hmmm… All other modern amenities, including satellite TV, dishwasher and even a full-size jacuzzi in the bathroom, but not a single broadband wave in the air for a laptop to pick up. Thusly, no poker for a full 4-5 days and what pure bliss that turned out to be. I finished the latest book by one of my favorite authors (Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code meets Jason Bourne – sound good? – check out James Rollins), enjoyed walks on the beach, interaction with local wildlife (kangaroos on the front porch of our cabin – seriously) and recharged my batteries.

…and now I’m back and hungrier than ever! So fellow players, expect big things. I am. Later.

15K Guaranteed Win, Analysis Part6 - FINAL TABLE

Buy-in was $30+3, 666 entrants; the whole thing took 7.5 hours and 1st place was $3,746.

When the final table eventually comes together I am fifth in chips with the line-up looking as follows:

Seat 1: 441,800, came from the other table. Very aggressive, likes to see flops but also 3-bets quite a bit.
Seat 2: 196,736, came from the other table. No reads.
Seat 3: 53,451, came from the other table. No reads.
Seat 4: 115,538, from my table. Good TAG player, but not tricky.
Seat 5: 283,323, from my table. Tricky player – the guy who I beat with AQ vs 66 two hands before FT.
Seat 6: 212,697, from my table. On the tight side, but competent.
Seat 7: 56729, came from the other table. No reads.
Seat 9: 440,778, came from other table. Seems very competent – has been in in-fight with Seat 1, before FT assembled.

Hand #396
Seat4 busts Seat7 when KJ hits a J on the river and beats AT. 9th place paid 282 dollars. Down to 8.

Hand #405
Seat3 busts Seat5 when 55 holds up against AK. Seat5 had however brought it on himself, when he bluffed off most of his stack, by check-raising with QT on a A7K board and getting snapped off by AT. 8th place paid 449 dollars.

Incidentally, the first 20 hands of the final table have now been played and the best I’ve seen is AT in early position, which I folded. I do however still find myself playing a bit scared, as the jumps in money become bigger and bigger. As a result, I’ve almost certainly missed out on a few 3-betting opportunities, when others were opening light.

Hand #406 – Stack 168748, blinds 3500/7000/a700
-and my 20-hand sit-out is probably why I thought I’d be able to pick up blinds/antes with the very mediocre 9c7h. Unfortunately it was not to be. In the CO, I open to 16500 and get called by both SB (Seat1) and BB (Seat2).

(Pot 54400) FLOP: 2h Ks Qd
What a horrible board. They both check and I check behind. No way I’m c-betting air into two guys and especially not Seat1, whom I had already deemed tricky.

(Pot 54400) TURN: 6s
The SB bets 29200 and we both fold.

Hand #409 – Stack 150148, blinds 3500/7000/a700
UTG I open Ah9c to 16500 and finally get some respect. I pick up blinds/antes.

Hand #412 – Stack 152948, blinds 3500/7000/a700
UTG (Seat2) opens to 21000 and I’m a little perplexed by the large raise-size. The table has been content to open anywhere from 2.3x-2.6x, so 3x seems a little excessive. Because of that and because of my position, I elect to call on the button with QhJs. We see a flop:

(Pot 57400) FLOP: 8s Jh 3s
He bets 21000 and I just call. I like my hand, but don’t love it yet.

(Pot 99400) TURN: 3c
He checks to me and I think for a few seconds before betting 56000. He folds.

Hand #418 – Stack 199148, blinds 3500/7000/a700
The table is still very active and I’m just biding my time. This hand it folds to me in the SB and I feel Jd8h is good enough to open with, so I make it 21000. The BB (Seat9) calls.

(Pot 46900) FLOP: 7s 2h As
I like that flop a lot as I feel like my image is tight enough for him to consider Ax a huge part of my range. I bet 28000 and he folds.

Hand #427 – Stack 208248, blinds 3500/7000/a700
On the CO I find acey-deucey of hearts and open to 16500. My smile is turned upside down, when both blinds decide to call (Seat1 and 2).

(Pot 54400) FLOP: Qd Ts 4d
Another ‘great’ flop. *sigh*. Doesn’t matter though as the BB leads 21000 into the flop and I fold. Interestingly enough, the SB check-raises to 59800 and the BB gives it up.

Hand #430 – Stack 189548, blinds 4K/8K/a800
UTG I decide to open Kc5c to 18500, because… well, hey it worked well the last time I opened UTG. Again, everyone folds and I pick up blinds/antes. It’s not a standard play, but I did it deliberately, because at the time all the opens were coming from the CO/button and I figured I’d get a huge amount of respect.

Hand #443 – Stack 172748, blinds 4K/8K/a800
Almost two full orbits and not a single playable hand in sight. That is, until I find KcKd in MP. I open to 24000 and pick up blinds/antes.

Hand #444 – Stack 189548, blinds 4K/8K/a800
When it rains, it pours. Not that Ad6s is as pretty as KK, but I elect to open anyway (this time from UTG) and I pick up blinds/antes.

Hand #446 – Stack 197548, blinds 4K/8K/a800
In the SB I hold 5c8d. So? – you’re probably thinking. Yeah, well – I figured it was time for me to get into the 3-betting dynamic that dominated this table and I figured my overall image was good for re-stealing. UTG (Seat1) opens for 18512, which he had been doing quite a bit. It folds to me and I make it 48800. He considers briefly, but folds. Much needed chips and a warm fuzzy feeling is what that kind of a move will get you!

Hand #448 – Stack 228060, blinds 4K/8K/a800
On the CO I open JhJd to 20000 and pick up blinds/antes. You might have noticed different raise sizes during this level and I can’t really explain it. Think I opened to 24K with KK earlier because I was still a bit timid, but was back in my comfort zone and therefore made it a more ‘normal’ 20K with JJ this time.

Hand #452 – Stack 242460, blinds 4K/8K/a800
Think this is pretty standard, but I’ll mention it nonetheless. UTG opens to 20K, CO re-pops to 56K and in the BB I fold 55. UTG folds as well. Maybe a shove is in order with 99+? Not entirely sure.

Hand #455 – Stack 228060, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
On the CO I open 6h6d to 22500 and it folds to the BB (Seat2, stack 321015) who calls.

(Pot 57000) FLOP: Th Tc Qd
He leads 30000 and I call. At a different point in the tournament, some people might (!) lead into this board with a ten in their hand, but it’s still a very unusual play. At a final table, I don’t ever see it happening. If he has a queen, I think he’s fairly happy to check-call or check-raise even, which is why I called. I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. Plus – my flatcall can mean almost anything to him, so I’m not giving away much by choosing the passive route.

(Pot 117000) TURN: 7h
He bets 30000 again on what I can only perceive as a MAJOR BRICK. The 7 shouldn’t change much. I consider raising here, but I felt like a) his bet exuded weakness, b) another smooth call would look even stronger and c) I might still have the best hand.

(Pot 177000) RIVER: 4c
Another brick and this time he checks. I decide my sixes are good and I shove for value. Well, I shove MAINLY for value. I couldn’t help wondering about the 7 on the turn. A7 hit that? Would’ve been so gross to lose the pot that way, so I factored that in before I shoved. He folded pretty quickly and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Hand #456 – Stack 321560, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
Again, things seem to be going my way as I once again find AsAc – this time in the HJ. I open for 22500 and once again both blinds (SB stack 237515, Seat2) (BB stack 252287, Seat3) come along. Three players.

(Pot 74500) FLOP: 6h 7d Jc
The SB leads for 30K and the BB calls him pretty quickly. I consider my options. There’s now 135K in the middle, I’ve got 298K behind, the SB has 184K and the BB 200K. Against effective stacks any raise will be committing. Folding is not an option… I mean, I have AA. Apparently, a very good hand. Calling just seems pretty weak and there are a lot of ugly turn cards that will put me in a really difficult spot. Actually, getting it in is my only option, but I am genuinely concerned about the BB smooth call, as it could easily be a set. The one thing that leads me to believe it’s not, is the fact that he called really quickly. A set might need a bit of time to consider as well…? Anyway, I shove it in and the SB tanks.

He uses quite a bit of his time bank, but finally calls. The BB gets out of the way pretty quickly and I’m delighted to see the SB turn over AdJd. The 5h on the turn seals the deal and I move into the chip-lead after that pot! Seat2 took home 649 bucks for 7th place. Down to six players.

Hand #459 – Stack 604575, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
When it folds to me in the SB, I decide to take a different line than usual and limp my As2h. The BB (stack 177327, Seat9) checks.

(Pot 26000) FLOP: Td Ad Th
I check and he checks. Don’t think there’s much value in leading this flop.

(Pot 26000) TURN: 9c
Now another draw is out there and I bet 14500. He folds.

Hand #466 – Stack 598575, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
I get a little frisky here with my big-stack-status and open 8h6h to 22500 from the button. Seat1 (stack 536978) calls from the BB.

(Pot 56000) FLOP: 2h Kc Jd
He checks and I bet 28K. He calls. Oh well. A heart for a flush draw?

(Pot 112000) TURN: Tc
Hmmm, guess not. He checks, I check.

(Pot 112000) RIVER: 4h
He checks and I guess I could try to bluff at this, but elect not to and check. He shows QJ and takes it down.

Hand #468 – Stack 546075, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
I open QhQd to 22500 from the HJ and take blinds/antes.

Hand #469 – Stack 566075, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
I open KhQh from UTG to 22500 and take blinds/antes.

Hand #473
Seat9 had become pretty short and shoved 117K from the button. The SB (Seat1) called immediately with AK and beat As4s. Seat9 out in 6th place, which earned him 849 dollars.

Hand #475
Seat3 decides to shove 152K (still 5K/10K/a1000) from the button and gets looked up by the SB (Seat4) who shows AcQd. Seat3 only has Kc5d (hmmm?) and fails to improve. He’s out in 5th and takes home 1048 bucks.

Hand #476 – Stack 565075, blinds 5K/10K/a1000
Seat1 (stack 789805) opens to 22805 from UTG and I call from the BB with Ah2h.

(Pot 54610) FLOP: Qd Ac 5c
I check and he bets 31000. I call.

(Pot 116610) TURN: 8h
I lead 58000 into him – as a probing bet and he folds immediately. Wasn’t very well thought through, cause I have to fold to a raise and check to him on the river, if he just calls. Anyway, I saw a safe card and decided he didn’t have it.

Hand #481
Seat4 busts another player when it goes raise, shove, call and 55 is enough to beat KJ. Seat6 departs in 4th place and picks up 1498 dollars for his efforts (I sound like Vince van Patten, don’t I? LOL).


Seat1: 714,600
Seat4: 686,520
Seat8: 596,880 (yours truly)

Hand #482 – blinds 6K/12K/a1200
On the button I open Qh8d for 26500 and Seat1 3-bets me to 67400. I fold.

Hand #484 – Stack 577580, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I limp the SB with As2h and fold to a bet on the J-high flop.

At this time however, Seat4 asks in the chat, whether we’d be up for a chop. I quiz him a little bit as to what kind of chop (cause I felt like I would have the most to gain from chopping at least some of the pool), but before we get into it, Seat1 politely declines and says he wants to play it out. Fair enough – so we do.

The remaining prizes were:
3rd - $1,998
2nd - $2,697
1st - $3,746

Hand #488 – Stack 542780, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I open Ac7h from the button to 26500 and take blind antes.

Hand #489 – Stack 563180, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
Seat1 opens to 26600 and when it gets to me in the BB I 3-bet to 69500 with 9s5s. ;-) He folds.

Hand #494 – Stack 569380, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I open Qc9s from the button to 26500 and take blind antes.

Hands #497 – Stack 590980, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I open ThTd from the button to 26500 and both players call. First 3-way flop, since 4th busted:

(Pot 83100) FLOP: 2h Ad Ts
I am almost literally drooling. They both check to me and I bet 48K. Seat1 calls.

(Pot 179100) TURN: Jd
He checks again and I bet 96K. He calls.

(Pot 371100) RIVER: 6s
GREAT card. He checks a third time and I figure my best bet is to continue my bet-sizing line and just double my last bet again. I bet 192K and he calls. It turns out he made two pair on the river with Ah6h. Biggest pot of the tournament so far and I move into the chip-lead!

Hand #501 – Stack 960780, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I hold Jd8c in the BB and when Seat8 opens to 34000 from the SB I decide to call.

(Pot 71600) FLOP: Jc 6s 7c
He bets and I of course bet it, considering the numerous draws. I make it 38000 and he folds.

Hand #502 – Stack 997980, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
I open 9d8h from the SB to 35500 and Seat1 folds. I primarily did this to reach the 1million chip mark! First time! LOL.

Hand #503 – Stack 1017180, blinds 6K/12K/a1200
Now on the button I hold AcQs and I open to 36500. Seat1 shoves on me for a total of 325701 and I figure I have the stack to take a gamble with his range, which hardly ever is QQ/KK/AA – so I can’t be in horrible shape, unless he has AK. He shows 6c6h and it’s a classic.

FLOP: Qh 7h Ad – BOOYAH!!!!

Seat1 busts in 3rd and now only two are left.


The heads-up portion lasted for about 85 hands, but was fairly uneventful. I basically made sure I maintained my chip-edge over him and in the end we got it in, him coming over the top of my raise with QTo and me calling with 99.

The fat lady started to sing and I pocketed a total of 3450 dollars for my largest tournament win to date! Dear God, please don’t let it be the last – that feeling is simply too awesome, not to experience again!

Thanks all for reading – hope it was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. Later.
Buy-in was $30+3, 666 entrants; the whole thing took 7.5 hours and 1st place was $3,746.

15K Guaranteed Win, Analysis Part5

Buy-in was $30+3, 666 entrants; the whole thing took 7.5 hours and 1st place was $3,746.

Hand #284 – Stack 66328, blinds 1K/2K/a200
Another tight play from yours truly. The very next hand after tripling up with aces and I pick up 9c9d in the SB. For some reason I’m always a little apprehensive about playing two big pots in a row, which has elicited some weaker/tighter plays in the past, compared to my ‘standard’. Anyway, in this case Mr. Aggro from before minraises UTG with a stack of 56538 and it folds to me. In retrospect, perhaps flatcalling isn’t such a bad idea at this stage of the tournament, but against this guy I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I folded. *shrug*

Hand #286 – Stack 64928, blinds 1K/2K/a200
Will you believe it – I pick up ‘dem rockets’ one more time. I’m in the CO seat this time. UTG (stack 80488) bumps it up to 5100 and before it gets to me, MP2 (stack 42838) has re-raised him to 14000 (yes, seriously – I am that lucky!). It folds to me and I decide to shove. Even though I’m practically telling the entire table what I hold, I don’t see any other option. If I were to make it e.g. 32000, that just looks even stronger, so I think my play is fine. UTG folds, but MP2 calls for his tournament life. He shows KK and I fade the two-outer!

Hand #290 – Stack 116466, blinds 1K/2K/a200
I now have the largest stack at the table and as a result, I’m looking to put it to good use. This spot seems like an opportune moment. We’re playing 8-handed and it folds to the CO (stack 71588) who opens to 5100. I’m in the BB and hold KdJd. I decide to go with the old maxim of, “late position raiser – he probably doesn’t have it” and I therefore make it 14800. I think the amount is big enough to put him to a decision and still leave me room to fold comfortably, if he shoves. He lays it down however pretty quickly.

Hand #293 – Stack 122566, blinds 1K/2K/a200
We’re now only 7-handed and it folds to me on the CO, where I hold Ah7c. I raise to 4800 and take down blinds/antes.

Hand #294 – Stack 126766, blinds 1K/2K/a200
Only play 7-handed for ONE hand, as we’re back to having nine players at the table. It folds to me in MP2 and I raise again to 4800 with TcTd. The seat immediately to my left now shoves all-in for a total of 22189. It folds back to me and I call.

FLOP: 3d Qd 5d
TURN: 3c

I beat 66 with no complications.

Hand #298 – Stack 152655, blinds 1250/2500/a250
I’m in the SB and hold AdTc. We’re back to 7-handed as the tables are constantly being balanced. One of the ‘new’ players at the table, opens for a raise when it folds to him on the CO. He makes it 7500 with a starting stack of 65485. With my big-stack-status I decide this is another case of him being full of it and when it gets to me, I therefore 3-bet to 20700. When it gets back to him, he pretty much insta-shoves and I’m not loving the spot I’ve put myself in. I decide however that I can’t fold this now (didn’t do the math at the time, but just did now and I’ve almost got 2-1, so it wasn’t all bad) primarily because of the table-dynamic and the fact that I want my 3-bets to garner respect with the other players. I CALL and he shows me ThTd. Aww crap.

FLOP: Ah 9c Jc – this we like…
TURN: 2c – we still like…
RIVER: As – we absolutely like…

Won’t comment further. I know I got lucky there, but the 3-bet preflop is still good, I think.

Hand #304 – Stack 218140, blinds 1250/2500/a250
I guess I was a little drunk with power or something with this hand, feeling like I could push anyone around. Anyway, in the SB I decide to raise Tc5s to 7500, when it folds to me. The BB (stack 57104) calls.

(Pot 16750) FLOP: 2h Qc 6h
I auto-c-bet 11111. He insta-shoves on me. I fold. Oh well.

Hand #306 – Stack 199029, blinds 1250/2500/a250
A player who I’ve deemed is pretty solid, open-shoves 41K (16BBs) from MP2 and I fold 55 on the CO. I really didn’t know at the time. Because it’s an overbet-shove, I feel my pair probably has pretty good equity against his range and I have the stack to ‘take a shot’ at busting him, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Maybe completely standard fold to some – just know I wasn’t sure at the time.

Hand #310 – Stack 198029, blinds 1250/2500/a250
I splash a little bit, when I call Mr. Aggro’s minraise from the BB with 7h5s. The flop comes down KJ4 all-hearts and when I check he moves all-in for 53K. Meh… I really wanna call and pick off 33 or some other random hand like that, but of course let it go.

Hand #314 – Stack 190779, blinds 1250/2500/a250
Mr. Aggro is starting to annoy me, which is the main reason for me playing the following hand the way I did. From the HJ, I raise AcQs to 6250 and Mr. Aggro (stack 67158) smooth calls on the button.

(Pot 18000) FLOP: 2c 9h Th
I elect to check, but I won’t give you a speech about some grand plan I might have had. I wasn’t really sure what to do because of my opposition. He bets 12500 pretty quickly and instinctively (can’t really explain it any other way) I re-raise allin. Now, this line doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I just figured he was full of it and the kind of player to bet any two cards, when checked to him. Anyway, he calls right away with KhTd (don’t agree with his preflop call, but whatever) and I don’t suck out.

I was steaming. Really fucking annoyed with myself and had to use a bit of time to compose myself after it. Even though I still had plenty of chips, I was thinking stuff like, “you blew it – that was your shot. Game over” etc etc. Ridiculous. Anyway, not much else to do but move on.

Hand #315 – Stack 123631, blinds 1250/2500/a250
Very next hand I pick up QdQc and when UTG opens to 7500 (stack 111185) I’m already preparing myself for the risk of going broke over the course of two hands. In the next seat, I make it 2100, but thankfully UTG insta-folds, when it gets back to him. Phew… actually just what I needed, to calm down after the AQ hand.

Hand #317 – Stack 136121, blinds 1250/2500/a250
Whether it was because of a quick succession of bust-outs or perhaps just a good tournament structure, I don’t know – but the stack to blinds ratio was quite high at this point. Playing 7-handed, the shortest stack at the table was sitting on 31 BBs. Perhaps as a result, this limp-hand ensued. MP, HJ, CO and SB all limp. In the BB I don’t figure I’ll be able to get rid of all of my opponents with a raise, so I elect to check my AcTd.

(Pot 14250) FLOP: 3c Ts 2d
So, I flop top pair but I’m actually quite suspicious of the limping-ranges of the other players, so I decide to try and keep the pot small and check. Everyone else checks to the HJ (stack 80251) who bets 8750. Only I call.

(Pot 31750) TURN: 8d
Seems like a safe card, but I’m still happy to keep the pot small and actually expect a check from him a lot of the time as well (as he would also be looking to exercise some pot-size control). So I check, but he bets again – this time 16500. I may be over-analyzing here, but whereas his flop-bet seemed fairly confident, this half-pot bet didn’t look quite as strong. To be honest, I probably should’ve given the hand some more thought, but I didn’t at the time. The bet made me think he didn’t have it, so I shoved on him. I could try to make a case for a few hands that I beat, which will still call me when I shove, but in reality I don’t think it’s the best play. If I think I have the best hand, a smaller raise is definitely best. It gives him a chance to do something spewy and then I can snap him off. Oh well, he thought for a long long time, but eventually gave it up.

Hand #320 – Stack 170771, blinds 1500/3000/a300
In the CO I hold AdKs, 7-handed. Two to my right (stack 99040) opens to 7400 and I 3-bet him standard to 21200. He folds immediately when it gets back to him. I was actually kind of hoping he might consider my raise to be of the ‘light variety’, because I myself felt like I’d been pretty active, but no such luck.

Hand #326 – Stack 178741, blinds 1500/3000/a300
We haven’t seen a flop since my AT hand. Someone raises, everyone folds. I’ve got Kc7d on the button 7-handed and do the same. No resistance this time.

Hand #334 – Stack 178171, blinds 1500/3000/a300
Mr. Aggro and I finally have a show-down. We’re down to the final two tables and are back to 9-handed. I have the chip-lead at my table. It folds to me on the button and I raise 3h3s to 7200, which has been my standard. In the BB Mr. Aggro now shoves for a total of 52981. I’m only getting 7-5 odds of making this call, but against this guy I felt like his range was CONSIDERALY wider than the rest of the table. So, whereas I might lay it down some of the time, I decided to call here. He showed 9dTh.

FLOP: 4c Kc Jc

BUSTO! I think the call is completely situational and opponent-specific, so it’s hard to debate for/against. If he shows me his hand, obviously I call and I felt like he probably had two overs, considering his past actions. It felt good to get rid of him and I now had a monster-stack.

Hand #336 – Stack 236252, blinds 1500/3000/a300
Already, back to 7-handed as the people have been busting on both tables. At this point, I of course also have the other table up on my screen and am taking a few notes about some of the players. This hand isn’t noteworthy though. Folds to me on the HJ, I raise Ah8c and everyone folds.

Hand #339 – Stack 238952, blinds 1500/3000/a300
6-handed now. It folds to me in the SB and I raise Jd5c, because I’ve noticed the BB to be tight. He folds.

Hand #340 – Stack 243452, blinds 1500/3000/a300
I hold Ah3h on the button and apparently have been a little too active. I open-raise to 7200 again and the SB (stack 188786) 3-bets me to 26455. Big bet. Wow. I let it go. Nh sir.

Hand #343 – Stack 235152, blinds 2K/4K/a400
Still 6-handed, I pick up Ac9s and open from UTG to 8800. Blinds have just gone up and some are now even shorter than they were during the last level. One such player shoves for 36000 from the SB. Of course I call, but find myself up against two red queens.

FLOP: Ts Qs Jh – king one time, dealer…?
TURN: 7d – still waiting on that king, dealer…?

The dealer must hate me (!) and he doubles up, deservedly so.

Hand #345 – Stack 193022, blinds 2K/4K/a400
The button opens to 12K (stack 121435) and I decide to fold 33 from the SB. No explanation available. He hadn’t been extremely tight, but not overly active either. He might have had it, might not have. It just didn’t ‘feel’ right, so I folded. Who knows.

Hand #347 – Stack 190222, blinds 2K/4K/a400
Folds to me in the CO and I raise KdQd to 8800. I pick up blinds/antes.

Hand #351 – Stack 201422, blinds 2K/4K/a400
Folds to me in the SB and I raise AdJc to 10K (I make my raises slightly larger in blind-vs-blind confrontations, compared to other opens). BB folds.

Hand #352 – Stack 207422, blinds 2K/4K/a400
On the button, I open-raise 3d3h to 8800 and the SB (stack 201757) calls. We take a flop:

(Pot 24000) FLOP: Ks 3c Th
Holy crap… I’m re-living a wet dream of mine. What a time to flop a set and what a board. He checks to me and I lead 14500 at the pot (same as I would with a range of other hands). Come on! Have KT one time!! He folds. *sigh*…

Hand #353 – Stack 222222, blinds 2K/4K/a400
UTG (stack 51460) opens to 11900 and on the CO I hold AsJc. What to do? He’s raising, not shoving with a 13BB stack which is usually strength, but folding AJ 6-handed seems awfully nitty. Flat-calling seem awfully weak. I decide to go with it and make it 28000. Back to him and he insta-shoves. Fuck. Please not AA. He shows AdKh.

FLOP: Kc Ks 6c
-and no runner-runner for me. Nh sir.

Hand #354 – Stack 170762, blinds 2K/4K/a400
Even though I felt like I was completely at peace with having run AJ into AK, I guess I couldn’t have been as this hand will demonstrate. On the HJ I open KdJd to 8800. The CO (stack 192157) calls and we see a flop.

(Pot 26000) FLOP: Qh 2s 6d
A fairly innocuous looking flop and one I should be c-betting. Instead I check, as does he.

(Pot 26000) TURN: 9h
NOW I lead at the pot with a 14K bet. He considers briefly, before min-raising to 28K. Oh crap, I hate that play (hate being faced with it, that is – the play actually works quite often in my experience). It’s usually always strength as only very few players have the creativity to bluff with a min-raise. Still, I call – not wanting to be pushed off a hand.

(Pot 82000) RIVER: 3d
This is where my meltdown culminates. I now LEAD at the pot with a bet of 36000! Obviously, when I call the turn, I’m not looking to hit my gutshot (although that would’ve been nice) – no, I’m looking to bluff the river, but it’s just such a horrible play. Hands that MIGHT make sense (from his perspective) would be something like pocket 3s, but even that doesn’t add up all too well. I’m not even going to spend more time on the hand – it was awful from start to finish and he ends up shoving on me anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. I blow almost 40% of my stack on that hand. Stupid, stupid, stupid and I knew it.

Hand #362 – Stack 97162, blinds 2K/4K/a400
In the BB I wake up with KsKh, but the last 8 hands haven’t seen any action (I even got a walk in my BB), so I’m not overly excited. Until the HJ (stack 99392) opens to 9999, that is! It folds to me and I make it 25500 (which in hindsight is probably a little smaller than some of my other 3-bets and therefore might be a leak I need to address). He doesn’t seem to notice though, as he shoves. SNAP! – and I now need to hold against Ac7d!

FLOP: Jd Kc 9h
TURN: 7s

Oh yeah baby, back to the top end of the leader board with that pot!

Hand #365 – Stack 195124, blinds 2500/5000/a500
The guy who had A7 in the last hand is now in the SB and after posting, only has 3700 left. Therefore, I elect to raise Ac2c form the CO to 12000, looking to get a call from him. It all works out and I’m up against Qs5h.

FLOP: 3c Td Qd… hmmm.
TURN: Ks… Jack/Ace?
RIVER: 8d.

I double him up.

Hand #369 – Stack 181934, blinds 2500/5000/a500
I’m not impressed with the way I played this hand, but in hindsight it might not be that bad. I hold JsTs in the SB and playing 5-handed, I call the UTG (stack 109160) raise, when he makes it 12250.

(Pot 32000) FLOP: Kh As Td
I check and he bets 16410. I did catch the bottom end of the flop and I think peeling one off (despite being out of position) isn’t too bad. I call.

(Pot 64820) TURN: 5d
I check and he moves in for 80K. Ok, ok… you don’t have to tell me twice. Nh sir. I fold.


Hand #383 – Stack 131274, blinds 2500/5000/a500
As just noted, I’ve tightened up a bit and haven’t played a hand for almost 3 full orbits. To be fair, I haven’t had much to open with, but the table has opened up quite a bit, with a lot of 3-betting going on and I can’t figure them to have had AA/KK all the time, so bottom line: I’m scared and they’re not! I decide enough is enough, when I pick up the monster-hand that is: QdTc in the BB. The CO opens to 12455 and I raise him to 30500. Almost immediately he comes over the top for all of his chips: 316K. LOL. Way to pick my spots. I fold and feel like I just got soul-read.

Hand #385 – Stack 96674, blinds 3K/6K/a600
On the button I this time have a legitimate hand and I open AsQS to 15000. It folds to the BB (same guy who shoved on me last hand) and he shoves again. I call immediately and find myself in a race against 6h6d.
FLOP: 8h Ad Jc… sweet, sweet Ace! How glad am I to see you.
TURN: 8d… come on now, no six!

CHA-CHING!! I let out a huge sigh of relief as I was – literally – holding my breath when the community cards were coming down.

Two hands later, a guy busts in 10th place and we’re down to the final table! I don’t have much going in, except for a medium stack and a few dreams. LOL. Sorry guys – a little corny. Couldn’t help myself. See you back here for the Final Table!

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