Thursday, January 12, 2006

Review of Home Game, Heads Up, Ft McDowell

The Rose Bowl was a great game. I especially enjoyed Bill telling me that I "have to pick your spots" when it comes to sports betting. His $300 bet on the Trojans went down in flames. Yet another great example of why I seldom bet on sports anymore. It's just too damn frustrating.

When I arrived after fighting traffic for an hour, everyone was in front of the TV and no one seemed interested in getting a poker game going. Eventually Billy said he wanted to play the heads up match for $100. We conned Chris into dealing for us and we got started with $100 each and the blinds were $.50 and $1. In the beginning I was winning the blinds and a couple of small pots, but Billy was winning the larger pots.

So after 20 or so hands I was down around $30. Now Billy decided he was going to lean on me. He started overbetting pots. If there was $5 in the pot, he'd bet $10. This was working because he was getting lucky enough to avoid playing pots with me when I had good hands. I was doing a good job of mixing up my play preflop, but he just seemed to have a good run of folding to my preflop raises when I had pocket pairs or high Aces.

Things were continuing to go bad, so I decided to change my strategy. Now I was going to play conservative preflop and try to outplay him after the flop. The blinds were still small (we upped them to $1-$2) so I could still afford to be patient. Sure enough, on the big blind I was dealt 5-7 and Billy just called from the button. The flop was 8-6-4 so I had flopped the nuts. I checked and Bill bet $10 on the flop. I only had about $40 left so I went all in. He called with a pair of 6's. I doubled up to around $85. By then the rest of the guys were ready to play and we called the match a draw.

Looking back, I think it makes more sense to play a little less aggressive preflop. It will be awful hard to win if I am consantly betting $3-$5 preflop to win $1. I think it makes more sense if we are playing with 30-50 times the big blind and not 100.

Once we started the full 1-2 Pot Limit game, I played terrible. If you refer back to my previous post I told myself that I would play solid poker this time and really restrict my bluffing. I also was going to try and isolate Carlo whenever I could. Unfortunately I didn't follow my strategy about the bluffing and Carlo sucked out on two pots where I isolated him.

Here were some of the key hands:

Carlo was on my right, which made it easy to isolate him. I had A-Q suited in early position. Carlo was utg and limped in. I raised to $7 which made everyone fold. The flop came out A-K-7. Carlo checked and I put him all in for about $10. He thought about it for a little bit and then called with his Ace-4. So I have him dominated. The turn is a blank. The river pairs the board and we split the pot with Aces up and King kicker. Good play, bad result.

In another hand, I managed to isolate Carlo again and he called all in with a flush draw on the flop. He hit it on the turn.

As for bad plays, once I had the nut flush draw against Jon. I think it was checked around on the flop. The turn gave me the nut flush draw. I semi bluffed and Jon called. The river was a blank and I though Jon might give me credit for the flush so I bet about 1/2 the pot. Jon called with middle set. That might have been the only hand that Jon calls with there. I still don't think it was wise for me to be messing around like that though. Jon is pretty good at picking off bluffs.

I have pocket 6's. I raise from middle position and only Marty calls. The flop is A-A-3. Marty bets $5 into a $10 pot. I am sure Marty would check an Ace so I think he may have hit the three. I just call and see if I can take the pot away on the turn. The turn is a 6 giving me 6's full of Aces. Marty bets again and I reraise all in. Marty calls and turns over A-3 for the full house Aces over 3's. It was a good play by Marty. I don't know if he thought it through or not, but he definitely played it against type.

My worst hand was just bad luck again in that I limped on the button with 7-8 suited. The flop came 6-7-8 rainbow. Marty in the big blind checks, and a couple of other guys check around. I make a pot sized bet. Marty reraises me all in. I decide that Marty would not make that move with a draw and I am pretty sure he would not do that with top pair. I lay it down face up and he shows me 9-10 for the nuts. That was my best play of the night and I lost money.

Overall I bluffed too much and I played too many hands preflop. I tried to get in cheap where I could, but there were too many times where I had to call raises after I limped and I was definitely not hitting any of those flops.

Last night I stopped at Fort McDowell after coming back from a client visit in Payson. I usually like the tournament structure there because they give you a decent amount of chips. I arrived a little later than I wanted at 5:30 PM so I didn't think I would get many bonus chips for my play before the tournament.

The first table available was 6-12. I bought in for $200 and proceeded to win my first hand. Then a little while later I flopped a set and won another big pot. I had doubled my buy in inside of 30 minutes. This table was playing as bad as a 2-4 table. I was really getting depressed that it was going to break when the tournament started.

Knowing it was going to break, I decided to sign up for the tournament anyways, since technically it would be a free roll with my winnings. Unfortunately I got screwed on my starting chips. I only started with 1000 and 25-50 blinds. Apparently they are allowing you to buy more chips with Frequent Player Points on your Fort McDowell card. Most of my table started with 3000-5000 in chips.

Add to equation that I was feeling a little under the weather, I decided that I would try to double up quick. I was pretty tight for the first two rounds because the rest of the players were just loose aggressive maniacs. I was down to about 700 in chips when I made my move.

I had Jack-10 suited a couple off the button. It was folded to me and I put in my 700 which was 7x the blind. The big blind called with A-7. I hit a Jack on the flop and it held up.

The blinds went up again to 75-150. I was under the gun. I raised all in with pocket 10's. I figure it might look a little suspicious but I wanted a call but only one caller if possible. The guy two to my left with a lot of chips decided to call with Ace-Jack. My tens held up and now I was over 3000.

I kept telling myself not to worry about making money in the tournament until I was the chip leader at my table. I was never close to that although eventually I was at least a middle stack. Eventually the 120 person field was wittled down to about 40. Here is the one hand I misplayed.

I had Ace-10 offsuit in the small blind. The Big Blind was really short and was definitely going to go all in on this hand. I think the blinds were 200-400 with 50 ante. My M was just over 10. It was folded to the button and tried to act all important and stares at his cards for a few seconds. Then he slowly counted out his chips for a raise to 1200. I felt like he was just trying to steal. I didn't know if I should just call and push in on the flop or just reraise him now. The hard part was the big blind being ready to go all in. I just called and the big blind put the rest of his chips in and we had to call 300 more.

The flop was all rags. I wussed out and checked. For some reason I thought the button might check it down. Now he put in 2000 which basically commits him to the pot. I fold. The button turned over K-7 suited. The big blind eventually won the hand. My Ace-10 would not have hit anything on the board.

I think this was one of those wrong moves at the right time. If my read is that he's stealing and I am trying to double up, I think Ace-10 is plenty good enough to push all in. It was probably enough to make him fold and it may have been strong enough to make the big blind fold anyway.

Eventually I made it to the final 3 tables. Incredibly the average stack was only 8x the blinds. No one at my table seemed to get that the only bet was all in. I stole a couple of pots. Then on the big blind I had Ace-Queen suited. The cutoff went all in. It looked like a steal, but it didn't matter because I was ready to stick my chips in. He flipped up K-9 of spades so I had him dominated since my cards were spades as well. He caught a King on the turn and I was out. I was 3 for 4 on my races, but unfortunately the one I lost, I was all in.

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