Haven’t updated the old blog in awhile, here goes:
My latest trip to AC was a disaster from start to finish. I had bad luck every time it mattered, and I suspect that I didn’t play particularly well either. Here are three somewhat interesting hands that I played. You’ll note that all three hands take place in Level One of their respective tournaments, and that I lost all three, which should tell you a little something about how this trip went.
We were about twenty minutes into my second $500 Event (I lost with KK to AA in the Second Level of my first $500 Event, incidentally). Blinds were 25-50 and everyone had around 5000 in their stacks. I had not done anything beside fold so far. I was in middle position and looked down to find two black aces. One player limped and I made it 250 to go. The guy two seats to my left, a player I’d already determined was not very sharp, responded by getting all fidgety before finally reraising to 500. It was then folded back to me. That reraise to 500 from that particular player in that particular situation was a hairbrained move I knew all too well. The functional equivalent of him putting a flashing neon sign on his forehead that said “I HAVE KINGS OR ACES!” Since I had two of the four aces in the deck, I immediately assumed that Mr. MinReraise had pocket kings, possibly queens, with A-K being a distant third possibility. I therefore had two choices: shove all in or flat call and trap him postflop. I decided to flat call for the following reasons:
a) I wanted all his chips and thought he might fold QQ or AK to a shove;
b) I was virtually certain he would not be able to get away from KK if all undercards flopped; and
c) I didn’t want to risk elimination if a king flopped.
And so the flop brought precisely what I was loathing: a rainbow flop consisting of a king and two other cards. I checked to Mr. MinRe to see if he’d give away any more information, and he of course obliged. He immediately checked behind. How tricky! This ruled out QQ and probably AK as well. If the preflop action was the functional equivalent of a neon sign, the check on the flop was equivalent to picking up a megaphone, turning it on, and screaming “KINGS!” in my ear. I silently cursed my luck.
The turn was a random, irrelvant card, and I once again checked. My opponent responded by betting 600 chips. I felt very confident that I was losing, but I could not bring myself to fold the aces. After all, I reasoned that this was an unknown opponent, and his line was still consistent with AK as well as KK, right? I called.
The river was another irrelevant card, and this time he bet 900 after I checked. I once again could not bring myself to make the laydown. Instead I said “your set of kings are good, buddy,” as I turned my defeated aces face up. Half a second later, he showed the kings I had already envisioned, and I was in bad shape. I got busted not much longer after that. Maybe I need to learn how to make that laydown.
It was midway through Level 1 in the $1000 buy in event. I had about 6000 in my stack and so did nearly everybody else. I was seated in middle position with the 5-4 of spades, and I decided to openraise to 150. It was folded to the button–a bearded kid in a cap. He was wearing a WSOP Circuit championship ring, so I figured he might know what he was doing. He had been playing standard poker as far as I could tell. He called my raise. Everyone else folded.
The flop was Kx-10s-2x. I fired my contuation bet of 250 and he called.
The turn was the ace of spades. Now I had a flush draw and a gutterball wheel draw. I also had five high. I was also aware that Q-J had just hit a straight. I checked, hoping to see the river for free and possibly extract some value later, but Beard & Cap bet 400. I quickly surveyed the situation and decided that I could win the pot right here with a checkraise semibluff, which I proceeded to make by flipping 1100 chips into the pot. I was representing QJ, A-K or A-10 (possibly AA, KK, 1010 as well), as I had openraised from early position, bet on a king high flop, and now appeared to have trapped Beard & Cap when I turned a powerful hand. I knew that the kid would likely put me on one of these hands and fold. But he did not fold, he flat called 1100. Now it was my turn to put him on a hand. Why in the world was he flat calling? I decided that Q-J is out of the question, because that hand would certainly have shoved for value on such a drawy board, hoping that I’d call with the exact hands I was representing while shutting out drawing hands such as KsQs. His flat call felt to me like AQ or AJ, which were both top pair with a gutshot broadway draw. To a lesser extent I thought he might have a bigger combo spade draw than me, perhaps KQ or KJ of spades.
The river was a red jack, putting A-K-J-10-x on the board. Ugh. i was nowhere. I only had one way left to win the hand, so I went with it, betting 1800 with five high. Beard & Cap said “well, I obivously let you get there, we’re probably chopping,” and tabled the one hand I had completely ruled out, Q-J. Now I was already down to around 2400 chips after only 30 minutes of play. I played that hand all sorts of badly, starting with opening the pot in the first place, continuing with giving my opponent enough credit to assume he’d play tne nuts normally (stupid ring), and ending with making a hopeless bluff on the river. Nicely done all round!
Near the end of Level One of the $1000 Event. Thanks to Hand #2, I had 2200 chips and everyone had me covered. I was in the cutoff with KQ offsuit. An old man who I had labeled as a run-of-the-mill loose/passive donk openlimped in early position. He was called by the player to his left, then called by the player to my immediate right, who happened to be Eric “Sheets” Haber. I decided that my stack size was too awkward for a squeezy raise–a raise to 300 and the inevitable continuation bet would have left me with crumbs–so i just overlimped. The blinds came along and we saw the flop six handed.
The flop was Kh-8h-7x with two hearts. The old man immediately bet 300. It was folded to Sheets, who proceeded to give off a pretty bad tell. He did the following: He separated around 900 chips from his stack, then placed those chips back into his stack, then he genuinely contemplated for an unusually long time, then after quite awhile, finally called 300. Now the action was on me.
Since I know how Sheets plays (thanks, PokerXFactor) and also because I understood what I’d just witnessed, I could easily put Sheets on a hand. He had a powerful combination draw along the lines of J-10 of hearts, J-9 of hearts, or A-x of hearts. Whatever he had, I was beating it. The fact that he contemplated a raise and then did not make one made this conclusion obvious. I knew that Sheets would raise preflop with AK, and that he’d raise the flop with a set or two pair. I also know that he’d fold weak kings on that flop. The only hands he would consider a raise, then call with are strong draws. So what was my move?
I decided that depending on what the old openlimper had, my only two moves were to fold or shove. After about 3 seconds of contemplation, I decided that the old guy’s range included things like J-10, K-J and A-x of hearts often enough to make a shove for value worthwhile. So I dumped my ~2100 chips into the pot. Everyone folded to the old guy who made a quick call. Crap. The speed of his call made me realize that I was going to be out of the tournament unless he held exactly KQ for a chop. Now the action was on Sheets, and he took a very long time–probably around two full minutes, which were undoubtedly spent caclulating pot odds–before finally folding. The old guy showed a hand I didn’t think he’d openlimp with: the 8-7 of spades for bottom two pair (incidentally, he made a big error by not reraising to shut Sheets out of the pot). I didn’t catch up and was out the door.
I drove home in a cold winter sleetstorm that was rougly congruent to my mood.
Since my return from AC my life has been virtually poker free. Between my fatigue (possibly weather related?), the huge football Sunday (I’ve made the finals in two of my three fantasy football leagues!), and last but not least–Janeen’s birthday, I’ve had little time or desire to play. With all the travel I have lined up between now and New Years, I am more or less resigned to the eventuality of my year ending without another decent score. I’m in a lull, but it’s a semi-satisfied, self-induced lull.
Speaking of Janeen’s birthday, I put together a well-deserved full weekend affair in her honor. We started out on Friday with a night of karaoke, continued on Saturday with an annual late night winter ritual–the infamous “white party”–and Janeen finished up on her own on Sunday with a spa treatment.
Here are a couple of pics from Janeenapalooza Weekend ’07:
not a bad weekend. 🙂