Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ace on the River

Mid-stage of the tournament. I am on the BB. Jake in mid-position limps in. SB calls. I check with K7o. (3 players, BB is 200, 600 in the pot)
Flop was K Q 3 (rainbow).
SB checks.
I bet 300, Jake calls, SB calls.

Turn was another K (no flush draw). Board is K Q 3 K
SB checks.
I Bet 500, Jake calls, SB calls.

River was an Ace. Board is K Q 3 K A
SB checks.
I bet 600.
Jake raises to 1200.
SB calls.

I have Jake on the nut straight, and SB on the other King. I paid off and sure, Jake shows his straight (JTo). SB had K5o.
There was absolutely no reason for me to call. I can't even give the excuse of wanting to validate my read on Jake, since his bet was already called.

This is one of the major leaks in the game. I know Jake so well, I was 100% sure he had it and I still called. I am working on it. I will fix this leak one day. I am reading "Zen and the art of Poker". It is giving me some help in fixing this leak.

Now that I titled this blog "Ace on the River", let me thank Barry Greenstein for his book's title!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tournament Report

Tropicana Tourney Report
Buy-in $50, Fee $15

(Notes: More importance given to the thought process / hand analysis rather than the “exact” suites and bets – obviously I don’t remember all the details accurately, playing a 5 hrs tourney sandwiched between many hours of ring game play. Flames welcome!)

Started with T5000, blinds starting at 25-50. 59 players, no rebuys/add-ons

Played tight early on. Hardly played anything in the first 2 levels – may have taken down 2 or 3 small pots. At 50/100 level, I was dealt 9 Club TSpade in late position. Limped in and there were no raises. 4 players seeing the flop. Flop was 6Diamond 7Club 8Diamond. Flopped the nut straight. Still I bet out 1000 (about 500 in the pot), trying to chase away any one on a flush draw. One caller. I put the caller on a diamond draw or a may be a gut shot (J,10 or similar). Turn was QSpade. I bet 2000 and he thought for a while and folded. I showed the straight and told him I did not want him chasing the flush. Few pots like that and built my stack to about 9000.

UTG, I picked up pocket Jacks. Blinds were 75-150. I bet out 500 (I had about 9000). All folded to a nice old lady in small blind, who went all-in for about 4,500. Before the tournament stared we were talking about different tourney structures and she had indicated a preference for tourneys with 5,000 starting chips instead of 10,000. I said 5,000 chips with 25-50 blinds is equivalent to 10,000 chips with 50-100. She said many players play loose with 10,000 thinking it is a lot of chips, even though mathematically they are the same. She said she plays tight and likes a tight table.

This conversation led me to believe the chances of her making a fancy play was really slim. (Trust me, I have seen people pull moves like this with any two). And I was thinking “why so much”? Was she raising for Value, Isolation or Protection. (I had eliminated the bluff raise all-in, especially with my table image thus far which I think was something like “Player plays hands appropriate for position, bets strong on a flop that helped or folded to a reasonable bet”). We were heads-up, so Isolation was ruled out. Value raise would have been something smaller, so that I would call. This was clearly Protection and she wanted to take the pot right there without contesting it. The way she played so far, I believed her to be tight, at least for the early stages of the tournament. I put her on AK, next slim possibility being AQ and the bust scenario for me was AA, KK or QQ, but I gave them only a small percentage. Knowing she is likely to have AK, I had to decide if I wanted to race. I figured I will, because I won’t be busted out, but I will lose half my stack, still left with a good enough size to make a come back. I said, “It is a race Ma’m”, looking at her and called. The other guys at the table are all excited now at the all-in, and an elimination prospect or putting the chip-leader back to the grind. One player thought I said “Raise” (and of course puzzled) and his buddy corrected him saying I said “Race”.

She in fact had ADiamondKDiamond.

All this took place in under may be 30 sec. Flop had a pair of Sevens, and a blank, turn blank and river was a Jack – not that I needed it, but I made a full boat. I had about 14,000 now and a nice chip lead. Few hands later we had the first break and I overheard guys discussing this hand, particularly the curse of the big slick. Everyone must have gone broke with AK more than once and my image was still intact. At least I did not hear anyone saying how could I make such a call.
During the break I was thinking if I should shift gears. I was just playing the cards and position so far, collecting pieces of information about anyone possible. I considered using my table image and the stack to pick up small pots and here and there. After the break, I think we started posting 25 Ante. The first hand I got Q-9o in late position. It was folded to me, and I min-raised, SB called and BB called. SB may have had some hand and I thought the BB called because of pot-odds and he was closing out the action. I bought the button so I was ready to fold to a good bet or make a steal attempt if checked around. Flop was Q,9,4. SB min-bet, BB called. With a straight draw on the board, I wanted to just take it down right there and bet the pot. Both folded, shaking their head in disgust. It was a nice pot. I was getting healthier.

We were down to 50 players from the initial 59. The average stack at this point was 6,000. I had about 20,000. Blinds were probably 200-400, with 50 Ante. Cost per round was 1100 now and I had close to 20 rounds of play.

Along the way, I was getting involved in a few speculative hands with position and releasing if nothing hit. Whenever I got a chance I kept announcing it was too early to get fancy. One such hand was when I had J8o, mid position. Folded to me and I limped in. There were two late position callers and the BB checked. Flop was Jack high, with straight and flush draws. BB checked, I bet about half the pot, late position raised and he other late position re-raised. BB folded. I figured they could both be on draws but I had a feeling they wanted to take this hand to the river and I thought it would be impossible for me to get them to fold. I was happy to lay down top pair, which I believed had already lost or could lose to at least one of them. I was glad I folded. The re-raiser had 2 pair on flop and made a full-house on the turn and busted the late position player, who was on a flush draw.

We were down to 3 tables now and I think I had around 45,000. At the 300/600-75 Ante and 500/1000-100 Ante levels, I was on a rush and I was getting hands like AQ, AJs, KK, KTs etc. There were many players with stacks ranging from 5000 to 15000. Cost per round was 1650 and 2500 respectively for the 2 levels. With the above legitimate hands I was raising the short stacks and they kept folding. I was picking up blinds after blinds and I am comfortably at 55,000 plus chips now. Any time someone with less than 10,000 was in the BB, I was putting them all-in if I was opening the pot and had anything half way decent. At this point I had become the table bully and the medium stacks were looking to me to do the dirty job – clean out the small stacks. Of course this was getting on everyone’s nerves. I was clearly showing down winning hands at the initial stages but the table knew I could not be getting so many good hands, but they were folding marginal hands, that they would have normally limped in with. Somewhere around this point I picked up Aces at big blind and a mid-pos player pushed all-in for about 25,000 with pocket Queens. Everyone else folded and of course I called. Aces held up and I added a nice chunk to my stack. (Incidentally, I folded pocket Queens pre-flop to a 3 times re-raise from a player whom I found text bookishly tight and predictable. He picked up my 3BB raise and the blinds for that hand. I could put him on Aces and he did show it. Early on I called an all-in with Jacks, but now I folded Queens to a 3 times re-raise. This is where I understood what “being in the zone” means!)

At the 500/1000 level, there was a memorable hand. I was in the BB with 4Spade 6Spade. Everyone folded to the SB, who made it 2,500 to go. He was recently moved to my table. He played very few hands and appeared fairly tight. He had about 15,000 left. (I had about 70,000). We were heads-up and I had position on him. I decided to speculate, since it was only 1500 more. The flop was ASpade KSpade 6Heart. I had bottom pair and a baby flush draw. He pushed all-in. I figured I was beat, since his raise indicated at least a big Ace, good King or a pair bigger than 6. Since it was unlikely (or less likely) that he was on a flush draw (exercise to the student) I knew my only hope was to hit my flush. In addition to the 9 outs to the flush, I had 2 sixes which could help me. Did not get into calculating pot-odds, but I announced I am making the donkey-call of the day and called. SB squirms and shows 8 5o. I was being set-up from the start. That was a nice move but unfortunately did not work out for him. Even with out the flush, I had him beat with my pair of Sixes, and I hit another spade on the river for the flush to pick up his chips. He congratulated me on such a good call and took it well.

I had a few other encounters with stacks much smaller, where I called their all-ins with bottom pair and made two pair on the river etc to take them down. With such a monster chip lead, it was a pleasure to make such donkey calls.

We are down to 2 tables now. I am swinging around 90,000 chips. Average stack is 15,000.

The really low stacks were gone at this point and except 3 of us at the table there were reasonable stacks. I am folding a lot of hands at this point and letting the others fight it out and let them consolidate. I am UTG with pocket 5s. I raise to 5000, hoping to pick up the blinds. UTG+1 goes all-in for about 25,000 and everyone folded. I am 4-1 dog to an over pair or a 60-40 favorite to 2 overcards (I think Confused ). He turns up AKo and catches a K. I lose a good chunk and he got healthy. Nothing eventful happened till we made it to the final table. At the bubble, the game slowed down a bit and the 2 tables were playing hand to hand. Now I meet the chip lead from the other table, who people said was sort of a random player. He would push all-in randomly with any 2 and was catching cards on the river and busting people out. He had me out-chipped by at least 30,000 when we sat down at the final table. I am 2nd or 3rd in chips.

I picked up Aces at late position. Early position pushes all-in with a mid pair for about 30,000. I called. Aces held up and pick up a nice pot. I am the chip-lead now. Few hands later, the earlier chip-lead and I limped in. Flop was Q high, he went all-in. I had Q T. I called. He showed Q-7. He caught a 7 on the river and doubled up. I am mid-stack now with about 70,000. Few hands later, I picked up Aces (again!) in early position. I limped in, hoping someone would raise. The player to my immediate left went all-in with pocket Tens. Everyone folded to me and of course I called and Aces held up again. I got Aces 3 times and they not only held up, I picked up huge pots. Got really lucky on that. Say that again – got really lucky on that.
Few hands later, I picked up KSpade 8Spade from late position. I limped in and SB folded. BB checked. Flop was 8 high and BB went all-in with a weak 8. I called and busted him. Blinds are at 5000/10000 – 1000 Ante. Staying put and letting short stacks knock each other out. Down to 4 players. I am 3rd in chip position. The 4th player has barely 2 BB left. I am pretty close to the 2nd chip position, but 1st has a nice lead. UTG, chip-lead pushes all-in. Being a random all-in player I could not give him much credit. The kid to my right was playing his first tourney and was excited to be at the final table. He was just staying put and moving up the ladder. I looked at KSpade JSpade from BB. I told the kid “Congratulations – you may just move up to 3rd place because I am going to call this”. Figured it was a good enough hand to call a random player. I called to see his ADiamond 4Diamond. I made my hand (either Jack pair or a straight involving Jack). I double up. Few hands later, the kid got eliminated.

We are down to 3 and the approximate chip counts were

1st 165,000
2nd 90,000 (me)
3rd 35,000

3rd Position player proposed a chop – suggested an equal split. Chip lead’s buddy came up with the calculation where 1st place would have been more than the announced prize ($1150, $650, $300 something). I said no deal. This irritated the 3rd position player (very nice gentleman). The next few hands he pushed all-in and I kept folding. We played a few small pots. Finally the chip-lead called the 3rd player’s all-in and eliminated him. (Don’t remember the specifics of the hand).

At the end of all this, I had 120,000 and the chip lead had 175,000. For the 2 of us, the purse was $1800. I offered $1000 to the chip lead and asked for $800. Deal was agreed upon and game over!

Club Diamond Heart Spade

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's free poker. Duh!

How many times do you have to hear that after you take a bad beat!