Friday, December 29, 2006

Another FullTilt Tournament!

I actually wanted to post this last night but by the time I had the chance, it was like 2am and I was going to have to drive all day the next day (which is today) back from Ohio to VA so I decided to wait until I got back. Even though I don't have much money to show for, I've been feeling pretty good about my recent play. I felt like I was taking some good chances and when I'm involved in hands with big pots, I'm generally the one putting the others to big decisions (sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't but more often than not, I do). So, even though I'm generally anti tournaments, I decided to play in another one. Well, before I go into that tournament, I feel like I should explain why I am anti-tournaments. Hell, this is my blog, I'll explain whatever I want to. Generally, if I sign up for a tournament, in order to make any kind of money, you'd have to make the final table. I mean if not, you end up winning very little (like my net gain of $43 from two nights ago in that $75 tournament) after playing good, solid poker for over 2.5 hrs which is generally when you "get in the money." So, to me, I feel like the reward factor is very little unless you feel like you really have a shot at winning the whole thing (the pay out for that tournament for 1st place I believe was over $10,000). Instead, I could probably make that kind of money playing cash games in about an hour (on average). And, as we all know, you have to survive some bad beats and win some coin flip situations just to get in the money (it's hard to just "survive" for 2+ hrs in an online tournament because of the blinds). So, I'm generally not a fan of those things. However, since I've been feeling like I've been playing good poker, I actually felt like I could realistically win. I really did. So, I played in another tournament.

The tournament was a $24+2 buy-in (ie $26... for non-poker-afficionados, the $24 goes to the pot, $2 is the tournament fee ie profit for FullTilt and that's how most tournaments are described) with 1,841 players starting with 1500 in chips. And I'll post the highlights of this tournament below:

Hand #5 of the tournament, I was dealt QJ of hearts. I flop the nut straight, check check, turn a flush draw, villain bets, I call. Blank on the river, the guy bets again, I raise, he folds. Net +650.

No significan action till hand #30. I was dealt pocket 4s. I call, button calls, big blind checks. Flop comes J-5-5 with a club draw. Big blind bets the minimum (60 at this point), I call, button calls. Turn brings a 6d, bringing a diamond draw into the picture. This time, big blind bets 160, I feel my hand is good but not sure so I call, and the button folds. River brings.... 4! Even better, the big blind bets 460. I couldn't think of a more clever thing to do so I push all in. Big blind is a decent player (I knew from before) and he folds after thinking about it. Big pot. 1630 (net +895).

Hand 45. Really, it's not like I was playing tight but I wasn't getting anything. This is actually the 5th hand I voluntarily played (where I wasn't the blind). However, at this point, I had 2920 in chips. Still, not bad considering how I haven't been getting anything. I'm dealt 2-2. One away from the button. Everyone folds to me so I raise, just trying to steal the blinds. Big blind calls. Flop A-J-4 with a flush draw. He checks. I bet a very convincing 650 (size of the pot). He folds. Generally, when stealing from late position, people tend to have an ace. I'm sure that's what he thought when he called my raise which he correctly interpreted as a blind steal raise. So, this flop was relatively favorable, esp when he didn't bet. There were two diamonds so if he actually had an A, it would have been dangerous to check. The big blind is also a decent player so he has enough common sense to believe my bet since I only played like 5 hands till this point.

Very next hand. One early position caller (blinds now up to 50-100) so I call with 9-10 of clubs (I have 3400 in chips at this point, so I'm pretty comfortable). Everyone folds around, small blind calls and big blind checks. Flop comes 6c-7s-Kc. Gut shot straight draw and a flush draw for me! (12 outs to make either a straight or a flush). Small blind checks, big blind bets 300 into the 400 pot. Early position guy calls. So, easy call for me (calling another 300 into a pot of 1000). Back to small blind who folds. Turn is a... Qd. Not great, but ok. Gives me 3 more outs for the straight (double gutted. J would give me a K high straigh, 8 would give me a 10 high straight). 15 outs? Money. Even better when big blind checks, and the early position guy checks. I bet 700 into a 1300 pot. Fold Fold. Wow. Good size pot, taking it down with a semibluff. (net +900).

Hand 96. Played a few hands but nothing significant. Took down some blinds, etc but nothing to really boost my stack. Just keeping my chip stack healthy. At this point though, blinds are starting to creep up. 120/240 with ante 25. My stack is 3915, still relatively healthy. However, short stack when I got moved to this table! So I needed to make a move or a hand relatively soon. But no hurry. Until this one. I'm big blind and I'm dealt AQ. Middle-late position guy raises to only double the big blind. Small blind decides to call. I sensed weakness (I knew small blind was clearly weak, he had to call based on pot odds) and I hate playing hands like this out of position (ie first to act after the flop) so I pushed all in. I know, overbet. I just wanted to take it down without a flop. If a guy was a donkey enough to call that kind of an all-in with a hand like say AJ, then he has no business being in the tournament anyways. But, he calls. With 7-7. RACE! I love it when I get ahead at the flop. Q on the flop with no help for him doubles me up! I am now at 8,485. Very healthy.

Hand 100. I was dealt 8-8. Blinds at 150/300 ante 25. I raise from middle position to 900. Everyone folds except the small blind. Flop comes K-T-4. He checks. I didn't like that flop and this guy, I was kinda worried about so I checked to get another free card. Turn comes a 9 which now gives a potential club flush draw. Small blind bets 300 (into a pot of 2000+) so I call. River completes a flush with Qc. He bets 1200. I just never figured out where I stood in this hand. Very poorly played by me, I think. I fold. Net -$1225.

Hand 104. I'm in the big blind with 7-7. Guy from cut-off with more chips than me, raises to 900. Button and small blind folds and I, of course, call. Flop is a dream. Ad-6s-7d. Only concern is a flush draw but remember what I said about someone raising to steal? Well, that was my read on him so I figured he had an A. But I wanted to let him do the betting and since I haven't shown a check-raise to this point, I checked. He bets 1200 into a 2000+ pot. I wanted him to bet more but oh well. I raised to 3600, unfortunately, he folds. Still, net +2450 (blinds and antes really add up quickly).

Hand 105. Not sure where I was but... Two early position callers. I'm in the small blind with J-2 of hearts. Suited? No raise? I'm already half in? Ok, I call. Big blind checks. Flop comes J-6-5. Check, check, check, bet 900. I figured the last guy had to bet just cuz everyone checked to him. I just wanted to keep the pot small here because of my kicker (see, I mix in the small ball still). Turn is a 3 (damn!) so I check but he checks. Ah, guess he's done taking a shot at that pot. River is a 9. I really had a feeling that I was gonna take it down so I thought about checking and maybe letting him bet but instead, I bet 2000. He folded. Net +2000. My chips at 12,000+. Very healthy at this point in the tourney.

Hand 108. I am dealt AQ of diamonds, 3 seats from the button! So pretty.... until the guy before me (who only has 5000 to my 12000 in chips) raises to 1400 (blinds are now 200-400 ante 50). I, of course, call. Then the guy right behind me goes all in for a little short of 8000. That's 6600 more for me to call! Well, it comes back to the original raiser who calls for his remaining 3600. I had to think about this one. The original raiser was pretty much committed because of his short stack. But the guy behind me? For him to go all in, he had to have at least a pocket pair and a pretty high one at that because not many people pushes all in when there is a healthy raise from a short stack (where you know they'll pretty much call the reraise regardless) and a caller from a guy who really hasn't shown anything but good hands (remember, I never had to show my J-2). So I put him on high pocket pair, at worst AK. I fold. BOOM. Original raiser had AQ, the reraiser had AK. The only sick joke about this is the fact that AQ actually ended up winning by making a straight. Sick, sick... oh well, my read is accurate. I'm feeling good about my chip stack and my plays so far!

Hand 126. There were couple of hands that gave me + or - 1000 but based on the blinds, that's not much action. So here's the next significant one. I somewhat dwindled to 8400 because of the blinds and antes and some failed protection of my big blind. Well, this would be a good time to protect my big blind because I got dealt JJ. Another guy from relatively early position with approx 9000 in chips raise to 1500 (blinds are now 250/500 ante 50 see how I could dwindle quickly?). Everyone folds to me and some of you already know this but I don't like to play this kinda hand out of position so I did the only sensible thing I can think of. ALL IN. The guy types something like "I hate this hand." And calls. aaah, another JJ. Ok, I guess we're safe.... except someone must be looking over me. Cuz I catch a flush on the river!!! SICK, SICK, SICK!!! But I double up. 17,730. Nice!

Hand 134. I'm first to act with 8-8. Blinds are now 300/600 ante 75. I figured a first position raise would give me enough credit for the strength of my hand to make up for any lack of actual strength (so that some people would fold hands like K-10, etc). A guy with only 1400 called with A-10. Race. I won! Just adding to my big stack. Net +2895.

Hand 140. I have 18,275 in chips. Good enough to put me in like top 20 in chips. Very healthy! Well, these are the moments I do some silly things. I see A-7 from middle position so I raise to 2400 because the table has been getting kinda tight. Unfortunately, another guy reraises to 9600. I can't call that. Fold. Net -2500 (blinds increased to 400-800 ante 100). IDIOT!

Hand 150. I have 7-8 of diamonds. Two away from the button. I attempt a steal of the blinds. Successful this time. Net +2500.

Hand 154. Blinds are now 500-1000 ante 125. Middle position player calls. I'm in late position with A-5 of clubs. So, I raise. Yep, big stack bully. 4000. Everyone folds. It's sort of a steal. With the blinds and antes, it's really important to build on your stack even more. I wasn't trying to move up a few spots. I wanted to win the $8,000 first prize. Anyways, that steal netted me +3,375.

Hand 156. As you can tell, I am starting to become pretty active, compared to early in the tournament. I am in late position with AK. Still the same blinds as above. Middle position player raises to 3000. I hate AK esp with an aggressive player who has more chips than I did (he had 44000, top 5 in chips vs my 17000 in chips). So, I went all in. If it's a race, I figured I need to win this in order to really boost my level. Well, he folded. So, net +5,500.

Now, the swings of 2,000-3,000 is becoming normal due to the blinds...

Hand 166. Blinds are 600/1200 ante 150 (at a full table, that's a pot of 3300 before anyone else bets!). I have 21000 in chips so I'm healthy but the pot makes up a good percentage of my chips. I'm in the small blind. And the hand that I'm starting to fall in love with in this tournament. JJ. Middle position player raises to 3600 and another player who has about the same amount as the original raiser (both around 35k in chips) calls. Folded around to me so I once again, pull my usual move. ALL IN for 21000. Surprisingly, everyone folded. Net +9,600.

Hands 171 and 173. Had A-5 suited, raised from late position when it was folded to me and so I took down the pot which now nets me +4000. Same in 73 with pocket 10s.

Hand 188. I have approx 30k in chips. Blinds are 1000/2000 ante 250. I am in middle position with 6-6. So I raise to 7500. Short stack at the table (short stack, in this case is approx 13k... short but not THAT short) pushes all in. Well, another 5,000 to me so I have to call. Fortunately, he has 2-2. I win. Monster pot of over 30k. Net +16,000.

Hand 195. I have 42k in chips. Blinds still same as above. I am in middle position with AQ. I'm 3rd to act so I raise to 7,000. Everyone folds except for the big blind. He goes all in for the rest of his 25,000. This one, I had to think for a long time. I almost used up my time bank (which is not nearly enough, FullTilt!) because I thought, I already committed an extra 7,000. It was 18k more for me to call. Pot including his reraise already had approx 37k. So I was getting 2-1. And according to Dan Harrington, if you think there's a chance your hand is good, 2-1 is a monster pot odds that you are getting. So I put him on a range of hands. I'm f***ed if he had AA, KK, or QQ. Very, very bad shape if he had AK. But, if he had anything else, either, I'm ahead or worst case scenario, I'm on the bad side of a coin flip. Plus, if I folded, I'd have 35k in chips and relatively healthy. But, if I win this one, I'd be in top 10. Hey, I didn't last this long to freakin survive. I'm in it to win it! I called. He had JJ. Perfect. At least I was getting good pot odds. 2-1 on my money for a 1-1 situation? Flop 3-5-4. (Come on, A, 2, or Q!). Turn 3. (A,2, or Q!) River.... Q! Another BIG BIG pot. Net +30,250.

Hand 199. 72k in chips. I'm in top 10 right now with approx 50 people remaining. I'm in middle position with JJ again! Blinds are big enough that I raised to 8,000, and took down the pot which included just the blinds and antes but netting me +5400.

Hand 205. I really want to build on my stack. I'm in middle position. 7-10 offsuit. Raise to 8000. Everyone folds. Table kinda tightened up and started respecting my raises again so I figured it was a good time. Basically, I was starting to try to steal at least once per orbit (otherwise, the blinds and antes really eat away). Net +6000.

Hand 206. I honestly believe the hand before it set me up for this one. I'm 3rd to act and look down at AA (finally!!! first time tonight!). I do my standard raise to 8,000. I'm hoping for a call. Even better! ALL IN. For 28k. I call in a heart beat. The guy has QQ. I win. Big pot. 62k. Net +34k. I now have over 100k in chips and I'm top 5.

Hand 221. I have 106k. Blinds 1500/3000 ante 400. A-5 from middle position. I raise to 10,000. The short stack at 15000 pushes all in so I have no choice but to call. He has KK. Lost. Net -16k. Ouch.

Hand 223. I'm in middle position with A-10 so I raise to 10k. I think I was tilting for some reason here. A-10 from early position is a hand I never play. NEVER. It's a trouble hand, good enough to get you in real trouble. Well, there was a reraise all in so I cannot call. Net -10,400.

Hand 227. I just donked off 26k in the past few hands. Now is not the time I want to go on tilt. It's getting late, the field that had 1800+ people are now down to 40, I'm top 15 in chips still. I'm on the button with 9-9. It's folded to me so I raise to 12k (blinds are now 2k/4k ante 500). Big blind calls (pretty much because he's got the odds to call, I think). Flop comes K-9-7 with two diamonds. Big blind checks. I debated checking here but I felt like that would be so out of character for me to check when it's checked to me so I made my obligatory bet. 10k. Yes, very smallish. He folded. Made him think though. But damn. Trips. I wanted fireworks! Net +17k.

Hand 230. I have 90k in chips. I look at J-10 of clubs. I raise to 12k from middle position. Folds around to the big blind who proceeds to go all in for 90k. Obviously, I cannot call. -12k.

Hand 231. I have 77k in chips. First position player who is a short stack goes all in for 19k. I push ALL IN right afterwards with AK. Everyone folds so I successfully isolated the short stack. Q-10. Flop 5-6-7. Turn... Q. River 8. Motherf*cker! -19k. Uh oh.

Hand 235. I need to make a move. Down to 57k! Blinds at 2k/4k ante 500. I'm in the big blind. But I see AQ. NICE! Early position raises to 12,500. Everyone folds to me. Another 8,500 to call. I'm not quite at the point where I'm desperate because I got 57k so I decide to call to see what the flop brings. Come on A or Q! A-J-3. Perfect. I check, knowing (yes, KNOWING) he will bet. And he does. Even better. He goes all in. I call in a heart beat. He shows 5-5. Turn is a.... devastating 5. River is a blank. I was down to 12k with this loss....

I went all in the very next hand with K-9 or something (I was small blind, it was folded to me and I had virtually no chips). A-7 was big blind and I never caught anything....

36th place overall.... Net gain of $89.... I hate tournaments.

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