I was having a conversation the other day with slb about how we both play much better in the Tuesday night WWDN than any of the other blogger events. He is on the east coast, and he figures that the earlier start time just means that he is more patient since it isn’t so late. That is some pretty sound logic. I am in Arizona, so the majority of the blogger events start at 7:00 my time, which is hardly late -in fact that is the same time I take my nearly daily crack at the ftp 20k. The only reason I can come up with as to why I might do better in the Tuesday events is that they generally have a larger field (though not lately), and I ususally don’t end up at a table with 5 guys that I am terrified of. See, I don’t play well terrified.
Before I get to my recap of the game, though, I want to share a couple of screenshots that I thank my stars I didn’t want to take my 3-8o to war with. The first one here is a perfect example of what happens about 98% of the time if you get all in preflop with Queens:
The next one I am glad I was not in because as the play unfolded, I was fairly certain that Aquaverse was sitting on a queen based on the betting. The way Sires played the hand made it seem like he was scared, and I think everyone at the table bought that act:
Well played, Sires, well played.
Anyway. I said that I usually end up at a starting table without five people that I am completely terrified of, and that held true of last night’s game. There were, in fact, only three people that I was completely terrified of. Hoy scares me on principal alone (though getting the opportunity to see some of the crap he bluffs with -as posted on his site- has taken some of the edge off), Hacker seems to be at the final table, or at least near it, at every damn blogger event, and this horse guy has smacked my ass around on a few occasions. The other people at the table, I didn’t recogize, which just means that I wasn’t smart enough to be terrified of them. So the starting table looked like this (though not for very long):
Last night, I decided that I wasn’t going to call anything in the first three levels if I didn’t have the absolute nuts. And what is funny is that I really believed that I was going to stick to it, yeah, like that ever happens. I was forced to lay down a pair of jacks early when an A-K-x hit on the flop, and was coupled with an aggressive bet. I paid too much money to see one more card, praying it would be another jack, which it wasn’t (donkey call! donkey call!), but I was able to only piss away a third of my stack on that hand -it could have been much worse.
I got to limp into a hand a short while later with a pair of sixes. Glad I could limp, ’cause after losing a third of my stack on a previous horrible call, I wasn’t exactly stoked about the idea of paying even the minimum to see if I could flop a set. But flop a set I did:
Boy it sucks to flop a set on a limped hand like this, eh? Either one of the blinds could easily have just flopped a straight or a flush. The straight is a lot less likely from the other guy who limped into the pot, but the flush is still a real possibility. Since I was on the button, and both of the blinds checked the flop, I decided to call the pot sized bet here, mostly to see if the blinds were going to lay it down, but also hoping that the turn would pair the board and make me feel a lot better about my position. The board had different ideas:
I really think the pot sized bet here probably means that he doesn’t have a flush, probably not even a pair; my best guess is that he is in it on two high cards. Unfortunately, either of those high cards could be a heart, and I really can’t justify putting nearly half my stack into a board of hearts, especially knowing that I am all but guaranteed to get called all in on the river regardless of what card happens to hit. If the board were to pair, I would surely take it down. If another heart hit, I would probably split the pot, but it could also cripple me if he had just made a backdoor flush. I layed the hand down here just hoping that I would be able to use the chips I saved on a hand in a better position later.
Instead of using the chips on a better hand, or a good hand in a better position later, I went ahead and confirmed all theories of my donkicity (is that a word?). The next big blind, I have K-garbage offsuit, and get the joy of seeing a flop (if I had a dollar for every time I am in the blind, pair on the flop, then bust out to someones two pair or trips, my bankroll would be booming). Of course the flop hits my bottom card (and they don’t get much more bottom than that), and drops a pair of queens. Why I didn’t immediately fold to Hoytlite’s bet is a mystery even to me. In this instance, I don’t think I even ran through what he could be holding before I made the call. I know that I was thinking he didn’t have a Queen, beyond that, I got nothing. When it got to the river without another face card hitting, I figured I was either way ahead or way behind. He bet 210 into the pot, which looked a little fishy to me, if he would have pushed here, I probably would have folded. The small bet though, lent credibility to my theory that he could be in it with two high cards and didn’t pair either of them. Since a straight call would cripple me if I lost, I decided to make my stand right here, on a frikking K-3o:
He took a long time thinking about it, but eventually called. I was almost shocked when the chips got pushed my way at the end of this one, but it is a call that I wouldn’t have regretted making if it had gone the other way. From the time that I made the decision to call his bet on the flop, I think I knew that I was going to stake my tournament life on this bottom pair. A horrible, horrible call to be sure, when any pocket pair but deuces dominates me, but when no more face cards hit, I just couldn’t put him on a queen with the minimal bets. I knew I dodged a bullet on this one, and I was going to do my best to keep from putting myself in that position again.
I would catch an actual hand shortly thereafter, again from a blind, and again it would be Hoytlite that was in it with me:
He raises 4x from under the gun, which I take to mean he probably has a high pocket pair. Of course the bet was enough to get us in the hand alone, so there was nothing to do but call and see the flop, which I hated: Q-J-10 with two spades. I had guessed that he was in it with a high pocket pair, which could easily be queens, jacks, or 10’s, but when he led out with a bet that was a little than half the pot, it either meant that the flop missed him, or that he just made a hand and wanted to suck every last chip out of my stack. Of course there was also the possibility that he had A-10 or A-J and had just paired his bottom card, but I am more of a worst case scenario speculator. The turn was a rag, and at this point I figured I was going to live or die by this hand, unless he pushes on the turn. The board looks like this:
I missed the screenshot of the end, but, if memory serves, I think he had a pair of 9’s. We ended up all in on the river and I won the hand. This is another hand that scared the holy bejeezes out of me, just because of the obvious straight, flush, and set possibilities right there one the flop. With the range of hands that I was putting him on, I am really surprised that I won this one.
The next big hand that I got into, I almost feel guilty about. I don’t know why, I’m sure if the situation was reversed there wouldn’t be any such feelings. I can just imagine how the guy felt, though, when he pushed his flopped set into my flopped straight:
And, unlike my luck of late, the flopped straight actually held up:
I was all set to go to war with an A-K, when Vtepes pushed from under the gun, but someone else called it, and I figured I would let them battle it out (at least I don’t think I played this hand). Anyway, once Weak Player was at the table, the chat got fun. I made mention of his avatar looking a bit like my brother, which led to a brief Q&A session, ultimately capped by Astin making the observation about my brother that you can see in the chat of the screenshot below (and it almost made me shoot diet coke out of my nose):
Upon arriving at the final table, my only goal was to outlast one other guy. That is kind of a shitty goal, considering that I was actually in second when I got there. This is actually my third final table in a WWDN (remember about the doing better in the Tuesday tournaments?), and would ultimately put my average finish in the event into the high teens. Not much of note happened to me at the final table, except that I actually wasn’t card dead for the first time at a final table. Unfortunately, the cards that I was getting weren’t quite good enough to actually be betting big with, but they also weren’t crappy enough to fold with. Let’s just say that I saw a lot of suited face cards that I got to lay down to big bets on the flop -which completely missed me in every case-.
I got into a race on this hand figuring that I was going to be a slight underdog:
I wasn’t sure if TransFish was sitting on a pocket pair or a high card, but I was relatively sure that the push at this point had a lot more to do with the size of the pot than the hand she was holding. With the pot at over 6,000 already, figuring that I was about 50/50 to a mid pair, and a slight underdog to an A-x (not to mention being way ahead if it was a stone bluff), I eventually made the call. Trans was holding an A-4o, making me the dog. The flop helped no one, but the turn paired her ace, then the river dropped a 4, as if the poker gods were trying to say, “well dude, you had a good run, but from this point forward bend over. Oh yeah, if you got some lube, you may want to use it”.
Then I went card dead. After a couple of orbits which involved folding and more folding (someone was raising every damn hand, effectively eliminating any possibility of a steal -at least for a donk like me), I eventually ran a 4-9o into a hand that two people were already all in. Again, this call was made for no reason other than the pot size. My chip stack would have been just enough to cover the blinds another time and pay the antes along the way. My river suckout capabilities usually bail me out of those situations, but last night, it was not to be. I busted out in 7th, which is pretty respectable from a field of 52:
After I busted out, I stayed around to rail (Matt Damon!). Someone, though I forget who, asked me if I was in a cash game. I told them that after the buy in to the tournament, I had exactly 96 cents left in my PokerStars account (I am not exactly what you call a high roller), and I think that people thought I was joking. So, this one is for you guys:
With the 7th place finish, I live to fight another day.