Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

August 07, 2006

I'm Getting There

Last night I got together with some bloggers for the $10+$1 tournament on PokerStars. No one gained any traction for a good while, and, unfortunately, we lost Garth pretty early. Of course, he was probably concentrating more on the $20+$2 180 that he was in. At least, that will most likely be his excuse.

SoxLover was the first of us to get something going when he doubled up with pocket kings. I was next to gather some chips when I doubled up with flopped trip 3s that I slowplayed, allowing another guy to catch top two pair. Weak didn't get anything going for several hours, but somehow managed to build up to 12,000 chips from 1,400 in the span of like five minutes. I didn't see any of the hands, so for all I know he has some kind of cheat code that he's not sharing with the rest of us. No wonder he's been doing so well lately!

I played solid poker throughout the whole tournament, and I only had two suckouts. The first suckout was the turning point in the tournament for me. We were at about 100/200 I think, and I was dealt 99 in the BB. UTG raised 3x, and it folded around to me. I flat called so I could see the texture of the flop before committing more chips out of position.

The flop came down six high, and I checked to allow him his continuation bet. He bet out, and I came over the top. He then reraised me all in... a little too quickly. I went into the tank and thought about it for a good bit. I was only behind to five hands that he would have raised with at this point, and I decided that his range was just too large to let it go. I called, and he flips over TT. Doh! However, I managed to pull my two outer on the river and doubled up.

My other suckout wasn't as critical, as I had both players covered. The blinds at this point were 1,000/2,000, and a player in EP raised it up to 8,000. The guy on my right called, and I decided to pull a squeeze play with AKd. I came over the top to 24,000, which would put both players all in. They both called and flipped over KK and 99 respectively. I caught an A on the turn and busted them both.

After this, it was just solid, aggressive playing that got me the rest of the way. Weak, Sox, and I all made the money before long, but Sox took some pretty bad beats, ended up getting short stacked, and busted out a little ways in. I'm not sure how Weak lost most of his chips, but I think he ended up finishing on the bad side of a race, AQ vs a mid pair or something. He went out not long after Sox, leaving me to trudge through the battlefield on my own.

I managed to get some well-timed doubled ups with KK and QQ, and by this point the blinds were enormous, so whenever I bought them, it added another 5% or so to my stack. There were a couple of points where short stacks were just busting like crazy near the end, so I just bided my time and made sure not to call down any all-ins with marginal hands.

Pretty soon I had made the final two tables, and this is where it started to get tough. None of the shortstacks were on my table, and I was pretty much one of the shortest at mine. However, even though I only had an M of 8 or so, raises had a ton of weight behind them, since the blinds were so enormous. The shortstacks at the other table busted after a little while, and the hand that brought us to the final table was the sickest of all.

The money went all in preflop, and both of the players flipped over QQ. The flop came down with three diamonds... You can guess where this is going. The bigger stack hit his fourth diamond on the river to four-flush the other QQ out of the tournament. It was just disgusting, but I wasn't about to complain, as that netted me an additional $100.

The final table was absolutely infuriating. Not only was I not getting any cards, but the shorter stacks who were around my size were absolute pansies. They would bet and raise and commit about 60% of their stack, and then fold to non-scare cards on the river when their opponent bet into them. It was so annoying that they survived as long as they did.

One person finally busted out in 9th, and I moved up to the $375 line. However, I remained severely card dead, and I was blinded down to an M of around 2 or so. I finally found KQ and pushed... right into AK. Nice. No Q for me, and I finish in 8th place.

I'm definitely satisfied with my play in this game. Even though this isn't the big score that I have been waiting for, this finish serves as an affirmation to what I've believed all along: I can win one of these things. I've been making great decisions for the past few months, and I've never been happier with my game. But for some reason I would always fall short. Well, I'm able to cross one of my goals off of my list now. I final tabled an event with 500+ people (1700+!!), and I took home a nice $375 payout for my $10 investment.

I will definitely be winning one of these things soon. I can feel it. I just need to keep playing the way I am, making the right decisions, and getting a little lucky every once in a while. Of course, I still need to work on not getting unlucky.

Is there a book on that somewhere?


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