Monday, January 22, 2007

Close Call at Weekly Game

I managed to make it to the Wednesday game at Greg's last week. It was the normal cast of characters as we had 8 players. It's a new year and the guys have agreed to make some modifications to the tournament format. I'd like to think it's due to my influence, but who knows. Now the blind levels are 45 minutes instead of an hour and rebuys will get you $30 in chips instead of the old $20. Everyone starts with $40 and the blinds start at $0.25 and $0.50. They are also combining the the initial prize pool and the rebuy pool together and splitting the money as 70% to the winner and 30% to 2nd place. They used to just have winner take all on the intial prize pool and second place would win the rebuys. Overall I like the new format better.

The game pretty much progressed as usual. I had to rebuy after I got low on chips and called an all in with A-7 of diamonds. There were two other players in the pot and I knew I was behind. I just thought it might be a good chance to triple up. Plus the rebuy period was going to be over in 10 minutes, so even if I lose, I get to rebuy for more chips than I had currently.

After the rebuy, things started to go my way and I was slowly accumulating chips. With 4 people left, I was 2nd in chips. It was at this point that an interesting hand occurred. The blinds were 2-4. I had about $120 in the small blind. Craig was on my left with about $70.

It was folded to me and I looked down at Ad-Qs. Since Craig is a loose aggressive player, I did not want to give him control of the pot or let him see a cheap flop with trashy cards. I raised to $12. Craig bitched a little about my raise but he called it.

The flop came 7d-5d-2d. I checked since all I had was the flush draw and figured I would wait to hit it. Whatever regular sized bet Craig would put in, I was ready to call. Instead of putting a regular sized bet in, Craig decided to move all in. Now I had to think about things. There was $82 in the pot and it was $58 to call. If I lose, I still have chips, but not a lot of room to maneuver.

Craig is a bit crazy and could very well have nothing and just be trying to push me off the hand. My first instinct was that he had a flush draw. If that's the case, I have him crushed. Then I counted my outs. If he has a pair, then I have the 3 Aces, 3 Queens, and 8 diamonds (one of the diamonds is a Queen). 14 x 4 = 52% to win. If he has the worst possible hand like AA, then I have 3 Queens and 8 diamonds for 11 outs or a 44% chance. I still have the pot odds to call.

So I called and Craig turned over a pair of 7's with no diamond. Unfortunately, his hand held up.

I wonder if the better play is to bet the pot on that flop. I guess if the odds are good that I am ahead, then it makes more sense to try and win the pot right away. If he raises me all in, then I really have the odds to call.

So I was down, but not out. I managed to build up my stack again and before I knew it, I was heads up with Jason for the prize. Jason had about a 3-1 chip lead on me and asked if I wanted to make a deal. Since it was only 9:15 PM, I told him, let's play until 10 and decide then.

I won the first 3 pots, including one where Jason tried to check raise bluff me on the river and I called with middle pair and won. I was really on a roll when the following hand came up.

I was on the button with 7-9 offsuit. I just called the $3. Jason checked his option. The flop was A-7-7 rainbow. Yahtzee! I was determined to double up on this hand and take the chip lead. Jason checked and I checked behind him setting the trap. The turn was an 8 and Jason checked again. I checked again, hoping he would hit something. The river was another 8 which I thought was perfect. The board now read A-7-7-8-8. Jason would now think any bet I made could be a bluff.

Jason checked again, and I over bet the pot by betting $20 into a $12 pot. I was trying to sell the bluff aspect of it. Jason, moved all in and I called in a shot. It was then that I felt a swift kick in the nuts as Jason tabled 10-8 for a higher full house. I went back and ran it on a poker odds calculator the next day and I was a 99% favorite to win on the flop.

Even if I win the pot, there are no guarantees that I win the tournament since I would only have a slight chip lead and each of us would have over 30 BB in our stacks. That one stung though and I took my $65 home and cried.

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