Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More Tournament Follies

Update on some of my poker adventures:

WSOP 2005: Still stuck on level one of the steps at Party Poker. Last one I played brilliantly and got heads up with about a 3 to 1 chip lead. I played well except for one hand heads up. I had AJ offsuit and only called the small blind because I was hoping he would raise and I could come over the top. He only called then must have hit the flop hard because he check raised me all in. I had nothing on the flop, but I bet out trying to steal. I had to lay it down to the big raise. After that I was card dead.

$55 Sit-n-Go's: I won my first one over the weekend. I finally caught a couple of lucky breaks and won the key hands. Previously I was the one taking the bad beats. I am wondering if poker tracker is catching all of the ones I have played. It says I have only played 11. I am in the money 54% and my ROI is 57%. Obviously a big jump due to the win. It sure seems like I have played more than 11.

Last night on the way back from a client meeting in Payson, I stopped by the Fort McDowell Casino. I have played in a couple of their tournaments before and always seem to do a little better than average.

You gain extra chips for playing hours before the tournament. I only got one $500 bonus to add to my initial $1000 in tournament chips. I think the most you can start with is 3000. There are $300 rebuys for $10 or a $600 rebuy for $20 if you go bust. You can also add $2000 in chips at the first break for $20. My original entry was $30.

The first level of blinds is 25-25 for 20 minutes. Then I believe it went:
25-25
25-50
50-75
75-150 with 25 ante
100-200 with 25 ante
150-300 with 50 ante
200-400 with 50 ante
300-600 with 100 ante

So they give you some room in the early stages but the 4th level after the break is a big step up. I really did nothing for the first couple of levels. My big hand was at level 3 I think.

I was dealt pocket 10's in middle position. I had about 2,000 in chips. UTG raised 3x the BB and UTG plus 1 called. 2 folds and then it's to me. My first thought was to throw them away. Luckily I took my time and decided that was definitely too weak tight. I could call and hope for a set, but I didn't like my position. If I let someone else in, there is no way I can win this pot after the flop if I don't hit the set since I am sure there will be some overcards. I decide to raise. When I look at my chips, I decide the best move is to put them all in. If I make a solid raise, I will not have many chips left. Plus I don't mind winning the pot right now.

The button struggles a little and then throws her hand away. The blinds fold and it is to the UTG initial raiser. He thinks for at least a minute and then throws it away. The last woman in, calls in a shot with Ace King of hearts. Alright, I guess I need to get lucky and win a race.

The flop was Queen, Ten, 8 with two hearts. I didn't even notice the third 10, I was worried about the flush. The turn was a King and I actually groaned. It was then that I realized I had 3 tens and was still in control. Now I need to avoid a Jack, a King, or a heart. The last card was a 2 of diamonds and I had made a big score.

I was now the chip leader by a large margin at the table. I was planning on trying to bully a little bit. A few hands went by and I didn't see any good opportunities. Then a new guy got moved to our table. He had at least 2 times my chips and the guy next to me, said he won the qualifier to get into the WSOP there last week. So much for being a bully. He won a few pots early and I went completely card dead.

Eventually I was blinded down to about 10x the BB. The pots were pretty big with the antes and I would have loved to steal, but I really didn't have the opportunity. I only like to steal if I have some chance of hitting a decent hand on the flop if I am called. A couple of times it was folded to me on the button or one off the button and my hand was so bad, I couldn't pull the trigger to steal. Then I was dealt 22 and 44 in very early position and didn't want to put my chips in out of position. I just knew I would get called and at best I would be a slight favorite. I wanted a bigger edge if I was going to risk my tournament life.

Finally, I was dealt AK offsuit one off the button. It was folded to me and I raised all in for 8,000. The small blind called for around 2,000 all in. Everyone else had folded. He turned over AA. So I'm lucky that he didn't have more money, but I'm unlucky that I ran into such a good hand. The very next hand I am dealt 88. I think there were one or two limpers. I raised all in and nobody called. 2 hands later I was dealt 99.

Again I raise all in, first in pot. Another player who has me covered by $100 calls me with 10-10. I am out in 26th place.

Overall, I felt like I played pretty well. I don't think I made any mistakes.

I still feel like there must be someway to win more hands with out having the cards. The really good players manage to go far in these tournaments all the time, and I know they do not have the cards all the time. I am guessing there must be some other times where I can pick out a player to pick on. Wait until they enter a pot, call their bet and then outplay them on the flop. I just don't know if I am confident enough in my reads to figure out if my opponent will lay down their hand.

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