Since returning to work, I have been playing a lot less poker. At first I thought this was going to cause my play to suffer since I wouldn’t have endless amounts of time to hone my skills (making the same mistakes over and over again isn’t exactly honing your skills though, is it?). The truth is that I have been playing far less often, but have been playing far better poker (at least that’s the story I’m going with today).
I have been playing far fewer MTT’s, since time simply doesn’t allow for putting aside three hours to play more than once or so a week. My MTT play isn’t that bad when I do play, my last two -both 180 SnG’s- resulted in a final table and a bubble. The final table was my first such appearance at a final table in a field of over 100 people, and the run could have continued if not for a rare set over set flop; I simply couldn’t have guessed that he had pocket 7’s (the only over card to my flopped set of 3’s), so I am not beating myself up over that one.
As a result of the time constraints, I have gone back to playing in single table SnG’s, which really is what got me started in the first place. I have found that, much contrary to what I had convinced myself after playing so many blogger events, I am actually pretty good at them. I have played in about a dozen of them over the last week, and I am in the positive as far as bankroll goes. Sure that isn’t exactly going to send me off to retirement, but at a single table SnG first place is only 4x (roughly) the buy-in. And, more importantly, I am winning them with far less than premium cards. One in particular I won with my best starting hand (aside from a pair of aces where it was folded around) being a pair of tens. In that particular game, my stats showed that I won just over 10% of all hands dealt without a showdown. Since I wasn’t getting decent starting cards, and I certainly wasn’t nailing any flops, that means that I was winning pots with the worst hand at least some of the time, and that is something that I really need to be able to do more often if I want to win -regardless of the size of the field.
Unfortunately I don’t have any screenshots of my slow progression in skill. What I do have a screenshot of is from a SnG that I ultimately bubbled. This is a hand where the poker gods were obviously making ammends for some of the sick beats they have thrown on me over the last couple of months. Also, it could be a clinic on how not to play a big hand -particularly when a shortstack is on the chopping block.
Blinds are at 15/30, I am on the button with an AQo. The big blind has just been beaten badly and has only 70 chips left, 30 of which are already in the pot. It comes to me with two limpers, who I would like to get out of the hand, knowing that the big blind is going to call with literally any two cards since he already has half his remaining chips in the pot. I raise to 120, which is slightly larger than any pf raise I have put in thus far in the game, but which I thought would work to isolate the blind -at least it would have if anyone had been paying attention to my betting patterns. Instead, both of the pf limpers call the bet, as well as the big blind. So now we have four to the flop with the short stack positionally forced into it.
The flop is 77Q, giving me TpTk, which I figure to be a lock over the other two pf limp/callers, but I am perfectly content to just check it down since I know that the blind could have anything, and that anything could include a 7. Unfortunately, Clowny McAsshat in the bottom right didn’t want to check it down, he wanted to bet out just under half the pot. In our brief time at the table together, I have seen all of Clowny McAsshat’s game, it goes something like this: call, call, call, fold, call, call, fold, call, fold, All-in pf (which leads to a fold-around), show his big hand, call, call, call, fold, All-in pf (which leads to a fold-around), show his big hand, call, fold…You get the idea. If he had a pair of anything he would have gone to his All-in pf move, so I am giving him credit for a queen here, but with an ace kicker I am sure that I have him dominated. I can’t put him or the other caller on a 7, since I don’t see calling a 4x pf raise with it. I can, however, put the short stack on a 7, since he had to call regardless of his cards. Since Clowny McAsshat wanted to bet out with a hand that I was certainly dominating, I decided not to pussyfoot around: I pushed. He instacalled. What was he holding? If you guessed limped Aces, give yourself a lollipop. It seems that Clowny McAsshat was beginning to understand that his call, call, call, All-in pattern was a bit too predictable, but had yet to grasp the subtle nuances of the pf re-raise.
So I was actually dominated. Damn. But this time the poker gods decided to teach someone a lesson about limping aces pre-flop. And boy did they ever teach him:
Nice to be on the other end of one of those for a change.