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$40 live tourney re-cap

My run of crummy cards continues. I’m sure it seems like I’m making excuses, but I can objectively say I’m just running very badly in live tournaments. Anyway, here are the significant hands from today:

Early on, there was a lot of action at my table. The blind structure moved pretty slowly, but it seemed like a lot of the guys wanted to gamble. I just sat back and tried to learn about my opponents (I’d only played with two of them before) for about the first hour. We started with 10K chips and 25/50 blinds, and we played 30-minute levels. There were 21 or 22 guys total and we had 10 at our table. I could see early that there were several LAGs (Loose/Aggressive players) who probably learned most of their poker from TV. They were from the school of poker that says any Ace is good enough to play from any position, hands go WAY up in value if their suited, etc.

Once the blinds reached the third level, I had a good feel for most of the guys at my table. The first “big” hand I played was a blind-defending hand when I was in the BB. It was folded to the CO who min-raised. He’d been playing tight-aggressive poker so far and had picked off a small bluff of mine earlier with a check-raise. I would’ve put him on a very wide range of hands, but his min-raise indicated strength to me (I see people do that a lot when they have a big hand in late position and they don’t want to discourage action with too large a raise). I figured him for a couple big cards or a medium-to-big pocket pair. It was folded to me and I called with Q8s. The flop came down K86 with two of my suit. I checked, he bet half the pot, I moved in, he folded and wasn’t very happy about it. I also noticed that he would try and get me to show my cards by mumbling about my hand (“Of course you catch a King there…”, that kind of thing). I didn’t oblige and mucked as I took down the pot.

Next level, he min-raised my BB again and I called, this time with AQs. In retrospect, I should’ve popped him for a big re-raise right there because I was giving his late-position min-raises too much credit at this point. Anyway, I called and the flop came AAx with two spades (I had hearts). I checked, he bet, I called. Turn was a blank. I checked, he bet, I raised to a little over three times his bet, he folded and mumbled something about “Why do you have to keep getting Aces there.” Of course, I mucked my cards face-down.

A little later, I got AA in Early MP. UTG was new to the table, sort of short-stacked and limped. I briefly considered limping also because the guys behind me liked to raise, but I realized they were probably thinking what I was thinking: UTG is short-stacked and limped UTG, he probably has a hand. Knowing there was only a tiny chance of a raise behind me, I popped it up to 3x the BB. I got one caller behind me and everyone else, including UTG, folded. (As an aside, it turns out UTG is pretty new to poker and was limping just because he had pretty cards. His EP limp meant absolutely nothing as he essentially limped himself right out of the game within a couple orbits). Flop came down pretty ragged, I bet half the pot, and the late position caller basically said he had a medium pocket pair and that he hadn’t flopped his set, so he’d fold. He also said something like, “I missed my set, but I had to call because I knew I’d bust him if I hit it.” Of course, he was wrong because I knew he had a medium pocket pair and was prepared to dump if he started going nuts with raises and such. He probably tried about 20 times to flop a set before he busted out.

By this time, our table is down to 7-handed and I finally start catching some cards–AQs, AJs, AKs–and raising every other pot. I basically doubled my stack and never had to show a hand. I got called a couple times, but they dumped their hands to a continuation bet after the flop. I had raised so much that I started actually folding hands that are typically raise-worthy because I was afraid I’d get action I didn’t want. (For instance, normally 7-handed at a tight table, KJo is good enough to raise with from EP, but because I’d been so active and hadn’t shown any hands, I had to fold it to give my later raises more credibility. There were some pretty big stacks at the table and I didn’t want people to start itching to look me up.)

A few hands after my little rush, I got AQs in the BB. The SB was short-stacked and I’d been picking on him (you can pretty much pick on any player you want at a short-handed table), so I knew it wouldn’t take much of a hand for him to put all his chips in. At this point, the blinds were 400/800 and I had close to 20K chips. He completed in the SB and I raised it up to 2800 (I couldn’t see his stack, but I estimated that was probably about half his stack or a little less; i wanted him to think I was trying to steal and that maybe if he moved in, I would go away). He thought for a second and moved in for 2800 more than my raise (5600 total). I quickly called and he showed A3s. The board came 39933 and he took it down with his quad threes. I think this was a pretty big hand because it meant the difference between me having a stack of about 25K and having a stack of about 15K.

Next hand, I got KJo in the SB, everyone folded to me and I moved in. The BB only had something like 3K chips left. He was frustrated, but eventually folded. I showed my KJo to let the table know I wasn’t just going nuts and raising every hand with junk.

I think I folded every hand until the next time I had the BB. Before this hand, I had about 15K. Everyone folds to the button (previously the CO) who, of course, min-raises me. The SB folds and I decide that I’m willing to make a move with two good cards–any pair 77 or higher, AT or better, KQ, KJ, maybe QJs–but I had a wimpy little J9o. I figured he wasn’t too strong and I was getting good odds, so I went ahead and took a flop. Blinds were 400/800, so there’s now 3600 in the pot. The flop was T94 with two hearts. I flopped middle pair, Jack kicker. I decided to throw out a probe bet and see where I was at. I get 2K, he raised to 5K, I thought and called. I figured I only had 5 outs, but my implied odds were pretty solid if I hit. I figured him for maybe AT, KT, AQ, AJ. I also considered making a move if a heart hit the board because I was sure that it looked like I was drawing. The turn was an 8, giving me an open-ended straight draw. I checked it, he bet 4K. Basically, I figured I was behind here, so I started counting outs: two 9s, three Jacks, four 7s, 4 Queens. I counted them all as full outs because i couldn’t put him on a hand that would take any of those outs from me. So, I have 13 outs, there was 17.6K in the pot and it cost me 4K to see the river. With odds like that, and about 5 or 6K in implied odds, I really only needed 8 or 9 outs to call. It was a tough decision, but I decided to just call. One reason I didn’t make a move was that I was pretty sure I was behind AND I’d made moves (check-raises) on the flop and turn already against this guy in similar situations. I didn’t feel I had any fold equity if I was behind, so I didn’t want to do anything stupid. The river was a 6, making the board T9864. I checked, he moved in, I folded. He told me later that he had T8 for 2-pair. He also told me he had no idea what I had and he was “terrified” of me throughout the hand. What I don’t get is why he kept min-raising my BB even though I’d taken two pots off him when he tried that earlier. I especially don’t get why he would do it with Ten high. I guess he got about 10K of my chips, so more power to him.

So now I’m basically crippled. Five hands later, we move to the final table and we’re back to ten-handed. I fold for the first orbit (I started in the BB) and then, the next time I was UTG, I got dealt A5o. At this point, the blinds were 500/1000, but going up to 700/1400 either the next hand or the one after that. I had about 6300 left, so I was in pretty bad shape. A5o was good enough for a move, so I pushed. It was folded to the SB who called with ATo, which held up and I was out.

An interesting side note: During my rush of cards, when I was stealing pots like made, I played one hand out of position against a bigger stack. I had AJs, made a standard raise and everyone folded to him on the button. He smooth-called, the blinds folded and the flop was KTx, giving me an overcard and a gutshot straight draw. I made a continuation bet of about half the pot, the button studied me for a while and said something like, “I fold to the set.” Later, as we were all heading to the final table, he mentioned the hand. He said that when I bet, he could see something that he interpreted as a tell, and that’s what told him I was really strong. He said he figured I flopped a set because of this tell, so he got out of the way. Of course, I didn’t have a set, or even a pair, so his radar was a little off. I told him I didn’t remember what I had, but I did know that I hadn’t flopped a set all day. I told him I’d had a lot of AQ, AJ type hands, but I didn’t remember that one specifically. I began to realize that this guy is just one of those poker players who constantly expects his opponents to turn over the nuts. That being said, I will pay more attention to the tell he mentioned, just to make sure it isn’t somehow a bluffing tell. I have a feeling that it means nothing since I am pretty much doing the same things every time I’m in a hand.

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