Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Foxwoods Final Table?!

Bubbled out of the 8pm tourney mentioned in my last post, but no big deal since they only managed 11 entries. $30 entry fee, $10 of which goes to the finals prize pool. I did manage to pick up 5 points towards the finals, though; the top 9 point-earners (plus ties) over the 10-week series get a freeroll to the finals. So I got that going for me, which is nice (sorry, watched Caddyshack for the umpteenth time on Monday).

Buuut, I did do much better in Foxwoods' daily $80+20 tourney a couple Fridays ago. Me and the wife took a vacation day from work & headed down with our friends Luke & Kristen Thursday night. Broke even between $4-8 and $1-2NL, got about 2 hours sleep, then dragged my sorry self back to the poker room by 7am to register for the tourney. 195 of us started with $2,000 in tourney chips, $25-25 blinds, and 20 minute levels.

Just about doubled up in the first level thanks to an AJ BB special. Raised to 200 after a few limped, only the EP limper called. By the end of the hand the board read A-x-x-x-x, and I was called all the way down by A-9...thank you sir!

From that point on I only remember a few major hands:
- re-raised to $750 w/QQ, original raiser folded
- pushed with a shortish stack from LP w/KTs, called by shorter stack w/AK on the button...flop was T-T-x, later dude
- called an aggressive LP's all-in from the BB w/QJs...he had KT, caught a Q on the flop, J on the turn, and no straight for him on the river

Top 25 were getting paid, we came back from the second break with 30 players...I was a bit worried about making the money with my $7,000 stack (avg was about $18,000), but within 10 minutes we were down to thing I know we're down to 2 tables, and then we're at the final table.

I have no recollection as to how I got from $7,000 to $25,500...but that's what I had when we were down to 9. On the very first hand the BB to my right doubled up w/QQ, then went all-in again on the very next hand. So here I am in the BB w/A3o, a quarter of my stack already in the pot ($3,000-6,000 blinds), and a huge decision to make.

I had the feeling that most of the players at my table were regulars (they were all laughing at an inside joke before the final table began), and knew one of them was a regular in the $75-150 cash games, so I wasn't confident that I was among the best players at the table. I also had a hunch that this guy didn't have a monster hand, more like he was just trying to continue his rush and steal the blinds/antes. I pushed my chips in and he said, "Good call." He flipped over KT, and my A held up!

Unfortunately that would be the next to last hand I would play, as everyone else was pushing and I was dealt zero monsters. I had one opportunity to steal in LP w/Q7s, but I hesitated and decided not to pull the trigger. What a wimp...but I figured someone might've sensed my weakness and called with a marginal hand...but I should've pushed there.

With blinds at $4,000-8,000 I was forced to push in my remaining $15k from the BB w/QTs after the SB reluctantly completed. He called w/7-6s and hit a card on the flop, I got no love and was out in 5th...but a healthy $740 payday!

I'm surprised I made it so far, since I was only dealt a big pair once, only had AK once, and never was above par after the 2nd level. I played solid, got lucky when I needed to, and only made one mistake....I'll take it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Iron Man Chump

Played .50/1.00 NL practically every day in January on Full Tilt in order to qualify for their Iron Man Freeroll. Winner gets $2,400 plus a shot heads-up against three of the FTP pros for up to $50k more. Of course my Iron Man qualifying coincided with a terrible slump, so the "freeroll" essentially cost me 1/4 of my online bankroll...and a bit of my sanity.

I was psyched to play the freeroll today, didn't even fire up my web browser so I could concentrate 100% on my game and the players at my table. Took an early hit when I limped/called a loose short-stacker's all-in with 33 from EP. Loosey goose showed 10-9c and spiked his 9 on the river, natch. Shortly after I limped from EP with 44, only to fold to the big stack's pot-sized raise. Very next hand the poker gods dealt me KK, so I limped again UTG. A player in MP pumped in a healthy raise, so I pushed. He called with QQ and the Cowboys held up.

My 1,500 had grown to about 2,200 when I decided to play a hand as badly as one can. Big stack limped UTG, and it's folded to me in the SB with A10h. My first instinct was to just call and slowplay if I hit the flop, but I was a bit worried about Mr. I pumped it up to about 4x BB, only UTG called. The flop was A-x-x with only one heart, and now I was a deer-in-the headlights as far as what to do. If I checked, he could just fire at the pot whether he's got an Ace or not, which would put me in a tough spot. If I tried to take it down with a pot-sized bet, he could come over the top if he had AJ, AQ, AK, or a pair that became trips on the flop, and I'd probably have to fold, out a healthy chunk of my stack. So I decided on option #3, a half-pot bet...if he didn't hit the flop, he'd probably fold. UTG decided to min-raise me, which always confuses me. It either means that he doesn't think I hit the flop and is trying to get me to fold, or he's got a monster.

So what to do, push or fold? I AGAIN chose option #3...a weak-ass min-reraise! What in the blue hell was I thinking??? UTG min-raised me back, and I called. Turn didn't pair my ten, and I check-folded. End of hand chip count: 660.

I survived another orbit or so before pushing from the button with A10s, Mr. Big Stack obliged by calling with KJs, hit his J on the turn, I missed my OESD on the river and was sent packing in 493rd out of 719.

Looking back, I should've chosen option #2 in my fateful hand and bet heavy at the pot. If he raises, then I fold and head to the next hand. Lesson learned...I've got another (live) tourney tonight at 8, hopefully I'll make better decisions in key spots.