How many tens are in this deck?

I jumped into the Mondays at the Hoy (MATHTM) tournament at the last minute last night. I believe this would be the third time I have bought into this one, and since Wil had pimped the tournament on Cardsquad, I was expecting it to be a large field. And it was. More than thirty of the best poker players I know of were there, and with a top prize of well over $200, I think it is fair to say that most of them were taking it fairly seriously (though I think Bone Daddy busted early with a hammer, ’cause it is was a blogger event, and you just gotta play it. What’s up with the blog btw?).

I hadn’t entered a Hold ‘Em tournament (not counting the FTP 20k) since my recent win in the WWDN:Not, and have been trying to limit my exposure to NLHE in general. I have found that I have more success -purely from a financial standpoint- at Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo and Stud Hi/Lo and have been focusing on the cash game in those. The rush of putting it all on the line and doubling up on a single play will always keep me taking shots at NLHE though, especially since I think that I am to the point where I really don’t make a lot of mistakes and if I can just win some races -notably the ones where I am a huge favorite- I can realistically play with all these guys.

Early in the tournament, I was able to chip up a bit at the expense of Iakaris. Once on a hand where he had to lay down a low pocket pair when I bet on an ace high flop (if you’re wondering, Iak, I did have the AK on that one), and again a bit later on one I wasn’t sure I was winning but called on the river with KJs on a jack high board. My only mistake on the night was also in a hand with Iakaris. I had 5’s in late position and limped, then called his 3x bet from the big blind. The flop came out with two overs, and Iak bet at it, but I was putting him on two high cards and reraised him. After a bit of thinking, and noting in the chat “no raise preflop?”, Iak pushed. Of course now I knew he had an overpair, but at that point it was 210 to call into a pot of 1900, and I couldn’t see laying it down. If he had had a larger stack at the time, probably just 90 more chips to make the reraise 300, I walk away from that one.

I tightened up considerably after that bad call, not that I was exactly loose prior to it. I was the third caller on an all-in between Wes and Hoy, but with an AKo in my hand, and Wes on a really short stack, I figured both of them to be playing far less than premium hands, and I was right. AK took it down, but not before scaring me with a board that was one away from a 3-way split with a 5 high straight. I played good, smart, if a bit tight, poker last night. With the exception of the one bad call early against Iakaris, I really didn’t make any mistakes. My game was solid.

Shortly after the first break, I found myself at the wrong end of the leaderboard with about 1100 in chips. I had another AKo, this time in late position. I put in a 3x raise, which essentially pot-committed me, but I was going to take this one to bat if anyone called it anyway. I got not only a call, but a re-raise from NewinNov. Frankly, I was giddy that he had called it. This was only the second pre-flop raise I had put in all night, and I kind of expected my tight play to mean everyone was going to fold to a bet. When he pushed his chips in, I was all smiles. Iak noted to me on the girly chat that I was good, see, ’cause he knew this was only my second preflop raise of the night and that I must have the cards to back it up. I thought I was going to be in a race against a high pocket pair, probably 10s through Queens, instead he flipped over an A-10o. Well, I missed the screenshots, so I will post the hand history, it will describe the action far better than I can:

PokerStars Game #6501502915: Tournament #32984225, $20+$2 Hold’em No Limit – Level V (75/150) – 2006/10/02 – 23:10:49 (ET)
Table ‘32984225 1’ 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: Astin (2389 in chips)
Seat 3: SoxLover (10128 in chips)
Seat 4: Columbo777 (1803 in chips)
Seat 5: shadowtwin (1095 in chips)
Seat 6: NewinNov (3393 in chips)
Seat 7: Wil Wheaton (1010 in chips)
Seat 8: PhinCity (3812 in chips)
Wil Wheaton: posts small blind 75
PhinCity: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to shadowtwin [Kd Ac]
Columbo777 said, “gg”
Wil Wheaton said, “thanks for hosting, sir =]”
NewinNov said, “gg hoy, silly rabbit, you can’t win the MATH”
Astin: folds
SoxLover: folds
Columbo777: folds
shadowtwin: raises 300 to 450
NewinNov: raises 2943 to 3393 and is all-in
Wil Wheaton: folds
PhinCity: folds
EK921 is connected
shadowtwin: calls 645 and is all-in
SoxLover said, “cold deck”
Wil Wheaton said, “yeah, vnh, sox.”
*** FLOP *** [Th 8s 8h]
Astin said, “ruh oh”
Wil Wheaton said, “oh man”
*** TURN *** [Th 8s 8h] [Tc]
Wil Wheaton said, “oh MAN”
*** RIVER *** [Th 8s 8h Tc] [Td]
NewinNov said, “suck suck”
Astin said, “knew that was coming”
shadowtwin said, “lol”
SoxLover said, “lol”
Wil Wheaton said, “OH MAN!”
Astin said, “WOOOO”
*** SHOW DOWN ***
shadowtwin: shows [Kd Ac] (a full house, Tens full of Eights)
NewinNov: shows [Ts Ad] (four of a kind, Tens)
Columbo777 said, “DQB”
NewinNov collected 2415 from pot
Astin said, “didn’t know that was coming :)”
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2415 Rake 0
Board [Th 8s 8h Tc Td]
Seat 1: Astin folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 3: SoxLover folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 4: Columbo777 folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 5: shadowtwin showed [Kd Ac] and lost with a full house, Tens full of Eights
Seat 6: NewinNov (button) showed [Ts Ad] and won (2415) with four of a kind, Tens
Seat 7: Wil Wheaton (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: PhinCity (big blind) folded before Flop

If my calculations are right, my AK was about a 70% favorite over his A-10 preflop. But sometimes you can get them in way ahead only to watch the other guy flop a pair, turn trips, and river quads. Whatcha gonna do? Like I say, I am happy with my play, and I made the right call here. I can see why he made the reraise, given my relative stack size and table position. I am happy that he made the call, and I can only pray that I am up against an A-10 every time I am in with an AK. Unfortunately the cards just didn’t fall in my favor this time -in a big, big way.

I gleaned the following quote from Iakaris’site, and have been itching to use it. It seems so fitting right now:

For me, I think the most realistic goal is to try to make the best decisions I can based on holdings, position and read – then hope that I am correct and that I have minimized the role of luck. After that, you just need to be able to stomach the brutal truth underlying poker and life – usually you’re screwed before you even begin.

And for a slightly less defeatist outlook, I have to remember what I myself left in a comment to one of Kat’s posts:

Poker really is like life; the best laid plans and most carefully thought out decisions are often rendered irrelevant by things that are beyond your control. In poker, as in life, all you can do is make good decisions that you can look back on and be happy about. When you do make a mistake, learn from it and try not to repeat it. Sooner or later good decisions will lead to good things. As long as you remain confident and never doubt your own abilities you will win, be it in life or in poker. To call it “just a game” trivializes all the time and effort spent at bettering yourself. Sometimes luck may not be on your side, but it is most certainly never “just a game”.

I suppose I really have to listen to my own damn advice. There is no sense being bitter about losing a hand that I really think I should have won; it serves no purpose. Luck wasn’t on my side last night, but I played well in a field of people that I both respect and fear at the poker table. I played my cards well and gave myself the best possible chance to win, in this game that is the best that anyone can hope to do.

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