Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Bad Beat costs me again

Another tournament at Casino AZ and another $130 down the drain. I've tightened up considerably the last two tournaments and it seems to work ok. This time my strategy was to play tight, establish rock image, don't bother stealing blinds for the first round, if I see what looks like a steal attempt, come over the top.

Well the table was exceptionally loose with lots of limping for the first 30 minutes. 3 people were eliminated and they were all replaced with players with big stacks.

Early on, I limped in the small blind with AQ and 4 callers. The flop came A - J - 7 and I bet $1000 into about a $600 pot. There were two of the same suit and I didn't want anyone drawing against me.

A little later, I made a mistake when I flopped a pair of Jacks with an A kicker. I only bet half the pot and one guy called who I think was on a draw. The third card of his suit came and I checked. He moved all in. At the time I didn't bet more because I was a little afraid of overcards. I don't think he had the flush yet, but he sensed weakness and made a good play.
I wonder though, if he actually had the flush, is that the best way to play it? I probably would have called a few hundred if he did it right.

After that I was around 1700 in chips with blinds at 100-200. Damn these blinds move up too fast! I look around and there is only one player at the table with less chips than me so I decide it's time to go to all in or fold mode. One hand on the button, everyone folds to me and I have KJ of hearts. I move all in, and no callers. So I pick up $300 in blinds.

Next hand I get AQ offsuit. Folded to the guy who beat me when I had the Jacks. He bets 700. Folded to me. I think for a little while. I need to double up. I felt like he would slow play AA or KK. Let's go and I close my eyes and move all in. He thinks for a little while. He has me covered but not by much. He calls and flips over AJ. That's about the best hand I could hope for. Now I am a little excited as the flop comes out A-2-2. The turn is no help. Now he's got 5 outs. The 3 Jacks for the win or the two Aces for a split pot. And what do you know, the Jack hits on the river and I'm gone. That's twice in the last two weeks I've moved all in as an 80% favorite and been busted out. I feel like Phil Hellmuth whining about it but c'mon let me have a little luck for Christ's sake.

Also to add to the aggravation I lost $45 in the 4-8 games before the tournament. For the second week in a row I've been at a boring table where nobody talks and nobody bets. Just for fun I decided to play the big blind without looking at my cards. Since I need to learn to play the man and not the cards I thought it might be educational. There were 5 people in the pot with no raises. Flop came out pretty ragged. I check, everyone checks until the button. This guy is asian and I had noticed that every time it's checked to him, he can't resist putting in a bet. He's been caught bluffing a couple of times as well. Well maybe I can get him to give this up, so I raise. Everyone at table groans and the rest fold back to the button who of course calls. The turn looks innocent and lead out, and he calls me without hesitation. The river comes and it puts 3 of the same suit on the board. I look at the asian and he has his hands on the chips ready to bet. I decide I should look at my cards and sure enough, they suck. No pair with Jack high. I talk myself into thinking he must have something or he would have folded on the turn. I check and he checks and turns over a crappy hand but it did pair 7's, which is like 3rd highest pair on board. I can't believe I fell for the hands on the chips move.

I thought the good news would be that everyone at the table saw me bluff so I should get some more action when I get cards. Of course then the cards went ice cold until I had to leave for the tournament. It was just a little annoying that I kept getting medium suited connectors that I would call before the flop and then get nothing on the flop. It was like bleeding me with leeches.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the rake in live games is way too high. In the 4-8 game they take $2 from every pot for the bad beat jackpot and $3 max for the rake. I think the average pot is usually $50-60 so that's close to 10%. Plus you need to tip the dealer a buck or two if you win. The internet lets you see much more hands and the rake is only $1 on the 2-4 games so I am guessing it would only be $2 on the 4-8.

Another interesting note. The dealer and a couple of players were discussing the 10-20 and 20-40 games. They said the 10-20 game is a rock garden, but the 20-40 game plays like a 4-8 game with lots of preflop raising and suckouts. One day I'll give it a shot. Maybe the next time I am in Vegas. You probably need to buy in for about 20 big bets so that would be 800 in the 20-40 game. I could afford that.

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