I hope everyone had a great holiday! I would like to get some feedback from some of you guys on a particular hand I played over the weekend . It was a $200 buy in NL Hold em event at a card club that I was not a member of, but was invited by a friend of mine. It was a small field of 24 players ,, starting chips were 10,000 ,, blind levels increasing every 25 minutes , no antes.. it was a great structure , which I knew was going to take 5 or 6 hours to get to the final few players.. I kept telling myself to be patienct early on, as with blinds starting at $25/$50 I had plenty of time to play real poker , before it became a shove fest..
About an hour into the event with blinds at $100/$200 I was sitting on about $8800 in chips . I had been pretty card dead , tried to steal one pot and got snap called when my opponent hit two pair on the river.. Any way in ealy positon I am dealt A K offsuit .. 8 players at the table,, I raise it to $700 ,,now other than my one bluff attempt my play has been fairly snug,, it folds to MP who re raises it to $1700 ,, both blinds fold and it comes back to me.. My problem here is I never played with this guy before , and this is the 1st time we have both played a pot . he had been pretty tight so far , but when he did enter a pot , he entered with force. Plus he was a young guy ,maybe 25 ,flashy dresser, you know the prototypical super aggressive player,,, yet he hadnt really played that way yet..I am out of position, I am not sure of what type of player I am up against,so I wasnt quite sure howto proceed. Of course I am not laying A K down here , but I also dont want to commit to an All In re raise this early in the event , when I am sure I am probably racing against any pair up to QQ , or worst casr scenario a big dog to KK or AA ... The only hand in his range at this point that I would have a distinctive edge here would be A Q or remote bottom end of his range A J .. So being a live player , I just dont like putting my entire tournament life on the line this early against a player I cant really quite peg as a super aggressive type yet... This is my dilemma though .. I despise just calling in this spot ,, but based on the info that I have at this time ,,and the stack sizes..he has about 10,200 I decide that is my best play. I call the extra 1,000 .. The flop comes 8 6 3 rainbow.. Ugh!! This is whre the power of position is so valuable . I am really in no mans land now , out of position ,with a player behind me who has shown strength pre flop ,, a continuation bet here is so transparent with the texture of that flop , particularly if he is holding almost any pair. So , like the nit that I am I checked the flop hoping he would check behind , but fairly certain he wouldnt .
He fires out a $2500 flop bet ,about 3/4 of the pot, now I know he is not that strong, just by his body language , and the way he made the bet.. However,, I have merely A high here , and I cant just call here , I pretty much have to commit all my chips here on merely a feeling that he is not that strong . He still has over 7k in his stack so he could still get away from this hand if I re raise All In . I finally come to my senses and fold my AK ,, and he turns ove A Q and smirks as he rakes in the pot .. Kudos, to my young friend as he read me very well , used his position and took down a nice pot .. Now fast forward to the end of the tourney where we chop it 3 ways and I pocket a cool $1300 ,for a nice Sunday afternoon profit of $1100 ,, and my young firend who pushed me off the A K was knocked out of the tourney about 30 minutes after our fateful hand when he over valued two pair on a scary straight board and was busted... My question to throw out to you younger internet guys is ... How would you guys have played this hand? Pre flop , and post flop ,, and give me you thoughts as to why you would play it in a certain way.. I didnt feel that comfortable with my play of the hand by my main thought was chip preservation is as important as chip accummulation , particularly at this point in this event....
Can you make acase for folding A K to a pre flop min raise early in a tournament with the stack sizes as they were? I think not but would like some feedback
I feel the need to write this blog for a few reasons... 1) I think the majority of players that write on this forum are young guys ranging from 21 to 35 .. Yes,, I am an old guy,,darn near 45 years old,, and most of you guys cut your teeth online.. I ,on the other hand was a casino regular much before the on line explosion ..
2) I think sometimes ( just my opinion ,,, some of you guys need to check your egos at the door,,when it comes to your poker wisdom..
As someone who has been through a few valleys to go with the peaks in my poker journey ,,,, I think it is real important to realize that a month ,, six months ,,or even sometimes even a year,, still may not be enough time to determine if you are truly a winning player.. Now of course I realize you young guys are playing a gazillion more hands online than us live dinosaurs ,,but you get the point... All of a sudden a guy wins a big internet tourney and makes a big score,, and he self proclaims himself a poker pro.. or even worse ,,a poker expert ,,as far as all forms of strategy are concerned.. And what is with this continual berating of other players as donkey's .. It is sometimes comical when reading a blog ,,and one of the bloggers is explaining his wonderfully conceived bluff, only to have a so called donkey call him with top pair,,or aghast!!,,even middle pair.. How could the donk make that call??? Doesnt he realize what I am representing?? What a moron!! This is the classic example of our expert suffering from F.P.S (fancy play syndrome) Our expert is thinking on level 3 ,when his opponent is on level 1 .. So who is the real donkey?? Isnt the idea to want to play against bad players,, because in the long run you will get their money... So why must you guys berate your competition so much... they should be your customers..
3) Tournament Poker - this is another issue I have with you young guys.. Lets call it what it is .. The Variance in tournament poker can be at times mind numbing... Just because one of you guys won a huge MTT doesnt make you any better than the last 50 or so players who got knocked out before you.. To win ,,you caught some breaks along the way,, and yes you got lucky! I am sure you played well ,,but so did the other 5o players who waded through the field of 2500 players or so..Unfortunately, they dried up at the end ,,or ran into a monster,,or got sucked out,, and you didnt.. Bottom Line... When I cashed 2ncd in a FT $20 MTT with 1520 players ,,when we got down to the last 50 or so players , I was dealt pocket Aces 4 times in about 30 minutes.. I won two monster pots on two of them where my opponents had QQ and JJ respectively ,,and the two other pots went my way as well.. I was lucky,, I played well,,but I was lucky! That is of course until I got heads up and put my opponent All In with a 2/1 chip lead with A J against A 4 and he spiked a 4 on the river and that propelled him to victory.. I got unlucky... such is tournament poker ... All of us above average players know all the basic principles of tournament poker,,, stack sizes ,, your M factor,, pot control,,, betting patterns ,,etc etc... Guess what.,, all you can do in a tournament is try to make good reads ,, not make any huge mistakes ,,keep putting your opponents to the test,, get it in good,, and hope for the best...
4) Cash games - now if you want to make your bones ,,show me your day in and day out winnings in the cash games over time and I will give you some respect.. Not in a month,, not 6 months ,,not even a year.. If I can log back on in 2 or 3 years and you are still grinding out a living ,than you get all my respect... You dont have to have a big tourney score on your resume,, you have a proven track record ,,which in my book is much more credible than a tourney score...
As Doyle Brunson said when asked about certain players,,and whether he thought they were the real deal or not,,his response was "Check back with me in 5 years".... Time will tell for all you guru's,, so I wish you the best ,, just have a little more humility and respect for your fellow players.... Your never as good as you think you are !!