Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

June 26, 2006

Foxwoods SNG

Written on 6/21

Since I didn't cash in the tournament this morning, and there were enormous wait lines for cash games, I decided to play an $60+$20 ten person SNG to round out my poker day. We ended up starting around 3:45 or so. The table went as follows:

Seat 1: The big goofy guy. He's not a horrible player, but he's not great. He's a nice table personality though, and fun to play with.

Seat 2: The seasoned player. This guy was my main competition. From the banter that we threw back and forth, I knew he was going to be my biggest challenge. He was a great guy though, and I would love to play with him again, even though it's probably -EV. He also looked like Pauly.

Seat 3: The aggressive Asian. You know this type if you watch poker on TV at all. Think Tuan Le wannabe, only not as talented.

Seat 4: The lady. There's really not much to say about her. She seemed to be a decent player that just couldn't catch any cards.

Seat 5: The hero.

Seat 6: I'm completely drawing a blank on this guy. My wife says that he was kind of good looking, but I can't even come up with an appearance here. His play must not have been impressive either, as the only hand of his I remember is the one he busted on.

Seat 7: This is the guy who is still in the process of learning tournament play (not that we're not all still learning, but you know what I mean). He doesn't know a ton, but he doesn't pretend to either. He played like a rock for the most part.

Seat 8: The little old lady. Only this wasn't your regular little old lady; she kicked all kinds of ass from the get go and played very unpredictably.

Seat 9: The old guy. He probably grew up playing poker, but probably not no-limit hold'em. He seemed to be an ok player.

Seat 10: The quiet guy. The only words you ever got out of him were "call," "raise," and "fold." He played very well.

The game started out with a downswing for me. I picked up QQ my first hand, and I made it 4x to go after the Asian limped UTG. I got one call behind me, and the Asian called as well. The flop came ATx with two spades. The Asian checks to me, and I bet out 200 or so. The caller behind me folds, but the Asian comes over the top of me.

"Limped in with an ace did you?" I ask before folding my queens face up. He shows me AT, and takes the pot.

Play proceeds pretty normally, and I stay out of most hands. The Asian guy was getting pretty aggressive, but his reign of terror was short lived when he got too attached to top pair, and the little old lady flips over pocket aces to bust him. This gave her an enormous chip lead early on, and most of us stayed away from her after that.

The next person to bust was the goofy guy. He just couldn't connect with any cards, and he ended up pushing the last of his short stack in with an open ended straight draw. The guy in seat 7 took all of his chips with AT, when two aces and two tens ended up on the board.

"Pick a boat," he chided lightly, getting a couple of chuckles from the table. The goofy guy took it in stride, though, and left the game smiling.

The lady was next to bust out, as she just kept getting blinded down. She had to push with the next face card she got (which was a queen, I believe), but she didn't connect on the flop and was gone.

The old man went out next, but I don't remember any of the details about this one. It must not have been very dramatic.

The semi-good looking guy followed the old man out on a very questionable play. He was getting kind of short stacked, and found himself in the small blind. He pushed everything he had in with K8h after a big raise in front of him. The seasoned player and I talked about this for a bit after he left, and we couldn't figure out why he would push here with such a marginal hand, when he was just about to get to see some more hands for free. The only thing we could come up with was that this must have been the first face card the guy had seen in a long time, as he'd been pretty quiet.

At this point, I'm extremely short stacked with an M of about 4. I pushed once with 95o UTG, and got everyone to fold. When I was in the small blind, I hit my miracle hand. It folded around to me, and I pushed into the big blind with Q2h. Unfortunately, the big blind woke up with KJ. Luckily, the flop came with a queen, and by the end of the hand I made my heart flush. This was the definitive moment in the game for me.

From here I doubled up once more against the quiet guy when my jacks won a race again KQ. He went out shortly after when he had to push with a smaller stack.

"Ah, my favorite part of the tournament: the bubble," I said.

The chips stacks were fairly even all around at this point. At this time, both myself and the seasoned player ramped up our aggression a bit, and we chipped down the little old lady's chip stack. (Don't give me that look! She was asking for it!) Eventually she pushed with A2o, and I called with AJo. I hit Tripjax for the win, and we were in the cash.

The fight to bust someone in 3rd was where the learning guy's play fell apart. He failed to adjust his hand requirements for three handed play, and eventually both I and the seasoned player whittled him down. I put him all in with A2 when he was in the BB, and he called with K4. I hit a deuce on the flop, and he didn't catch anything.

Heads-up play was actually pretty long, compared to a lot of heads-up I've played online at the end of SNGs. I was the chipleader by about 2k on the seasoned guy, and we volleyed back and forth for a bit. The death hand came when he min raised me, and I found K7 in the BB. I called, and the flop came K high. I checked to him, and he insta-pushed. I called, putting him on a bluff or middle pair. He unfortunately had KT, and I was outkicked when the board paired fours. At this point, I was pushing every hand, and I ended up losing when an open ended straight draw didn't complete to his pair of nines.

It was a great game, and I just got unlucky in the crapshoot of heads-up play. I won back my buy-in from this morning plus $20, so I'm at a profit so far. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow morning's tournament. Hopefully I can win my races when they count.

--End original transcript

Little did I know how crappy I would play the first hand in that tournament. Oh well, at least I learned something, I think.


  • Sounds like you did pretty well overall for your first trip to the casino for live action Matt. I haven't played in any of the SNGs at Foxwoods but I will give them a try.

    By Blogger drewspop, at 6/27/2006 3:17 PM  

  • They seem to be pretty lucrative. Given my reads of the players in the second SNG, I would have totally destroyed that table if I hadn't gotten unlucky. In both SNGs I played, there was only one other player I felt I really needed to be wary of.

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 6/27/2006 4:15 PM  

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