My aforementioned stud quest has been going pretty well. So well in fact that I have had turned my initial $1.36 into over $50. I have to be honest though, playing at the .10/.20 levels is so easy it almost feels wrong. Sort of like beating up a cripple or something. Unfortunately my bankroll was just getting to a point where I felt comfortable moving up in levels when I decided to waste 60% of it on a couple of buy-ins.

My work schedule makes it so that the only blogger tournaments that I am home to possibly play in are the MATH and the WWDN. This week I decided to take a shot at the MATH after not having played a tournament in probably four weeks or so. My finish was really a bit misleading, or at least I think it was, considering I think I made a few really tough calls laydowns along the way.

The first one was on the very first hand of the MATH tournament. I was dealt pocket kings in late position and it came to unraised with one limper. Wes is the one that had limped into it, and I was putting his range on basically any two cards since it had come to him unraised. I raised him 3x his bet, which he thought about for a while before smooth calling. At this point I am assigning him a range of cards that would be a pocket pair, a strong ace, or possible some suited connectors -though I thought the suited connectors to be pretty unlikely. The flop came out a 7-8-9 rainbow, which was a pretty horrible flop for me, but I still though I likely had the best hand. I bet out the pot and he again waited for a bit before making the call. At this point I have just narrowed his likely holdings down significantly. For him to call both my pf bet and the bet on the flop, I figure he has to have either an overpair or a 7, 8, or 9 to make trips. It is still possible that he is on an Ace, but for him to make the call on the flop with an ace, I have to assume that he is holding either a 10 or a jack to give him the straight draw.

The turn brings a 10. So now I have pocket kings with the board showing 7-8-9-10. Great. This is where I think I really misplayed the hand (though I have thought about it, and it is probably possible that if I had pushed on the flop I could have forced him to fold). This time he bet out for 200, which was just under half the pot. I just called him here and I am not sure why I even did that. The range of hands I have narrowed him to is a pair of anything from 7-Ace, or an A-10 or A-J. Of those ten hands, the only one that I am currently ahead of is pocket queens. When he pushed on the river (another 8) I had to lay it down (and probably should have layed it down on the turn). He asked if I had an overpair, and said that he did have jacks, so it was a good laydown, but it sucks to get a premium hand early on and have to fold it after already committing almost a third of my stack to it.

Later in the game I was dealt pocket jacks. This time it came to me with a 3x bet already put onto it. Again, it was Wes that was giving the action. I raised his bet by 3x really hoping that he would just lay it down. Of course he instead pushed his chips in. He was in position on this hand, so it is entirely possible that the push was a pure bluff, but I wasn’t ready to find out. His first raise was positional and probably would have been the same regardless of what he was holding. Reraising me all in, though, was either a good hand or an excellent read that I wouldn’t want to gamble that hand. I don’t like to call with jacks because I generally always end up against a higher pocket pair or an A-K or A-Q, either of which is barely an underdog to jacks. Of course when I eventually busted later (I pushed with garbage, I think it was a suited 3-10) I would convince myself that this was where I needed to take my shot.

So I played in the WWDN the next day hoping to avenge myself. And it was more of the same. This time though I really misplayed it. Pocket queens -poison, I tell you. why does anyone play them? I raised it preflop and got one caller, who was a shorter stack at the table. Flop came out K-J-x. I absolutely knew that he wasn’t holding a king. My logic there was that if he was holding a king it would have to be A-K or he would have folded pf since he acted after me and didnt have any money in the pot, and I just felt he would have raised me if he had been holding A-K. I led out with a pot sized bet, which was well over half his remaining stack, and he called it. So now I know that he is either holding A-J -which I really think he folds there- or A-Q which would give him a straight draw. When the 10 comes on the turn, because of course there has to be a 10 for me to lose, I put him all in just because it was only a couple hundred chips and it was still possible that he hadn’t made the straight that I absolutely knew he had made. This, of course, crippled me.

Now on a short stack, I actually managed to steal a few blinds and win another pot, but I was still desperately short. When a pot came to me with only a small raise from Guin, I decided to take a coinflip with a suited 8-J. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew that Guin was in it with a small pair, 2’s-7’s I figured. It turned out to be 5’s, so it really was just a coinflip, but one that I figured I had to make with the blinds going up and needing to either double up or call it a night. I somehow managed to not suck out on that hand. Probably the first time I have ever failed to suck out in a preflop all in situation with him. All I can figure is that I was too near even on that one. Usually I suck out when he is at least a 4:1 favorite.

I think I played okay. Well, I think I played a lot of the hands okay, though some of them obviously should have been played differently. I like that I was able to lay down the pocket kings, but I don’t like that I went ahead and called a bet on it after I already knew I was beat. I also don’t like that I was in the same situation the very next tournament and I did exactly the same thing, but with queens, and I all but busted myself even after I told myself that I was beat. Someday perhaps I will learn to trust my damn reads.

Wednesday morning, I bought into a $4, 180 sit and go. I made my way through it without ever falling from the top 20. I actually got more aggressive near the bubble and knocked a few guys out along the way. I played a solid game and would have been a lock for the final table if not for a Hoy-esque recockubeat where my flopped set lost to a runner-runner boat (lord that pissed me off). But even with that I managed to finish in the money and feeling that I played well. I know that the competition at lower levels isn’t exactly WSOP quality, but sometimes I have to jump into one just to find out if I really lost the ability to do well in an MTT. ‘Cause a couple of blogger tournies can really make a guy think that.

Now it is back to the .10/.20 stud tables to try to earn back enough money to take a shot at the MATH next week.

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