Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Live Final Table Bubble (HH too)...

"All that adversity never worried me. If anything it feeds me, It'll nourish me." Joe Budden - Check Me Out.

It's currently Monday night. Didn't play any poker today. Spent just about all day fixing stu's computer since he has a pretty horrific virus on it. Luckily I was able to save all of his files and now we're going to reformat. Anyways, I didn't play that much poker on Sunday, just a couple tournaments. Didn't start off too well so I decided to not play that much.

On Saturday I played a $1100 buy-in tournament at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino. It had about 90-100 players I think. You start with 10k in chips and there is an optional $10 addon for 1k more, so 11k in chips. The blinds start at 25/50, 50 minute levels. Not bad. There is an upstairs to the small poker room and a downstairs. Normally the tournament is held upstairs and cash games downstairs. I guess since they had a decent field I was forced to start downstairs and my table was the first to break. I recognized one guy at my table who I have played with a lot and I know he's pretty nitty. The other guys I didn't really know. One guy looked like an Internet kid and one guy gave away half his stack in his first hand. Seemed like typical Hard Rock play.

I started out pretty aggressive as usual. Sometimes I sit back and wait to see whats going on but I decided to just jump in on Saturday. I open a couple pots, take a couple pots down, I'm sure people are already getting weary as to what my actual holdings are since I wasn't involved in any showdowns. A couple orbits into the tournament a guy limps for 50 in early position and I raise the button with Q9o to 250. He calls and the flop comes KQcc4h he checks to me and I bet 300. He calls. Turn is Kd and he leads for 450. This guy hasn't played many hands but this line is always one of two things, K or nothing, so I call again. The river comes the 4s and he bets 900 and I think for a bit and decide I most likely am good and call. He mucks his hand and I muck my hand without showing.

The next interesting hand was a pretty sticky but easy fold given the player. There are 4 limpers and I check 79o in the big blind. Flop comes 789 and I check. UTG Tight player I mentioned I played with before bets 225 and the button calls. I decide to call and see what happens on the turn as well. Turn is the Ks putting two spades up and the nit bets 550 now. Button tanks for a while and it comes back to me. I decide if this guy fires two bullets I can never be ahead here, and muck. The river comes T I believe and both check and the tight guy showed a flopped set of eights, good lay down Tristan. It's easy to get involved in these kinds of spots early in a tournament when you are deep but I am trying to improve on the aspect of folding in my game. Sometimes I know I'm beat and still call.

I am still trying to be aggressive at this point although it was probably a bad idea considering my table was going to be the first to break. The (who I think is) a tight Internet player opens for 150 in early/mid position. I flat on the button with 79o. I later found out this guy was someone who I played with quite a bit online, the player "dfish" The flop comes AQ5r and he continuation bets 225. I decide to try to pick up the pot here and make it 650. He thinks about it for quite a while. A good minute. I didn't think he was that strong but I definitely thought that he thought I was bluffing. We later discussed the hand when he found out who I was as well. He ended up folding 75hh or something. He just didn't think I would be raising that type of flop unless it was a bluff. -Shrug- I mix it up often.

This next hand I played really badly. UTG limps and the 2nd guy makes it 450 at 50/100. I am in 3rd position and call with T8cc and the utg limper folded. The raiser had been really active early but I noticed he was starting to tighten up. The flop came Q94dd and he bet 700. I decide to float here with the gutter. The turn comes the 4h. The guy is pretty nervous and this is a normal tell I have figured out when trying to read body language. Some players give off the normal nervous tell when they are bluffing, some give it off when they have it and are unsure. So it's hard to distinguish what is what off the bat. After the turn he leads for 1300. I see how nervous he is and I decide to peel one more. This was my mistake. I don't think he is firing here again bluffing, even if he thinks I'm on a draw. The river comes the Ts and he bets 2k with just a 5k chip behind and i debate and debate and make a crying call because I am a station. He shows KK and I go down to about 9k. Live and learn.

I get moved to a new table. I recognize a couple people including Fred Goldberg, who bubbled main event final table when Gold won it I think. He's a hard rock regular. I have I think an Internet kid to my direct right and then a bunch of other older people I don't recognize at the table. I raise 56hh within my first couple of hands at the table to 300. I get 3 callers and the flop comes KhQd8c everyone checks around. The turn comes the Qh and I decide to fire 800. Everyone mucks and I am back up to 10.5k

I am grinding my stack but get AK a couple times and AQ and whiff every time and eventually get down to 7.5k at a new table. The cutoff is tilted I believe and raises to 800 at 100/200. I am not too deep at this point but I figured to play the button here with 79cc. I call and the big blind calls. Flop comes QT5c and they check to me. I bet 1275 and the big blind calls. The turn comes the T and he checks. He has 3100 chips behind, I don't think hes too strong here. So I decide to check behind and see the river and make sure he doesn't commit his hands with a draw on the turn. The river is a 4 and he checks quickly again. I move in and he mucks. I am back up to 10.5k again.

I am grinding my 8k stack. I can't get ANYTHING going. Blinds get up to 200/400. I am card dead and changing gears to tight to wait for a good spot. The button makes it 1500 and I have QJo in the big blind. He has been fairly tight but still active and I figure I can shove here and get a fold a lot of times. I moved in 9k and he mucked pretty quickly. A couple hands later 3 players limp and I limp the button with 89dd. The small blind makes it 1600 and everyone calls in front of me. I call as well. The flop comes 844d and they all check to me. There's like 7k or so in the pot at this point and I decide to bet 2500. It's a pretty weak bet but I feel like the sb missed or he would have bet and the other limpers don't have the best of it. The small blind folds, the first limper makes me sweat (whom was very active I would of snap called) and the second limper also tanks. I guess my bet size made them wonder since I only had 6k behind. They both end up folding and I get up to about 17-18k. It's a start.

An aggressive loose player limps under the gun and I make it 1600 in 2nd position with KK. A lady calls on the button and the limper calls. The flop comes T52ss and the UTG limper bets 2200. I think he has a piece here and he has already shown the capability to call light if he thinks someone is on a draw. I decide to move in for 14k more. He thinks for a while and shows a T (saying he had KT) and mucks. I move up to 25k now. Finally getting some chips.

At 300/600 I raise to 1550 on the button with AKss and the big blind defends. Older gentleman who had been pretty tight but kind of fishy. Flop comes AT9ccc and he checks and I bet 2k. He calls. The turn is the 6s and he checks to me and I check for pot control. The river comes the 7d and he fires out 4k. I feel like he can't really have an 8 here unless he has A8 or he flopped a flush with maybe KJcc or KQcc or some hand. But lots of draws missed like dry Kc. I call and he shows QcJd and I am up to ~32k.

Folds around to the sb donkish guy who limps for 800. I look down at A8o and decide to knuckle and just play the pot with position and keep it small. The flop comes K84r and he bets 1k. I call. The turn is another K and he bets 1k again. I feel like the same bet on two streets is pretty weak almost all the time but my hand is good to get a lot of value out of his hands so I decide to just call here again. If he fires again on the river I can just call if he does have a king and if he checks the river I can figure out what to do. The river is a 6 and he checks. I bet 2300 and he calls with J8ss and loses. Very next hand aggressive Internet kid makes it 1650 in mid position, button calls, and I squeeze with AKo to 6800 and move up to 40k.

The older donkish player I talked about earlier from the AKss hand makes it 3500 under the gun at 400/800. He just won a pot the hand before where he had just moved in on the flop after he was getting short. It folds to me in the small blind and i have AKdd. He has about 13k behind. I decide to move in and he calls instantly with QQ. I lose the big flip and go down to roughly 18k. I probably should have just called this hand since I don't think his advantage is too great post flop even with position. It's just tough because these guys will make raises like this and muck instantly too. I have no problem getting it in there actually. Oh well.

So I lost a little momentum but I try to stay positive. We are now down to 3 tables. Let me mention that before our table broke, one of the unknown (who I believe is) an Internet kid ran a bluff with 53cc when he raised preflop, got called by the small blind, the flop came J9Tc and he bet 2700 the guy made it 7700 and he shoved in 25k and the guy had 21k and called with AJ after thinking for a while. So obviously this guy is not scared to put his chips in or make a move.

Anyways, 3 tables left, brand new table. I have 18k in chips at 400/800. A tight player raises to 2200 on the hijack and I am in the small blind with AA. I decided to just call. I think this was a mistake. If I think he is tight then he is more or less likely to have a hand he will call a shove with. He also had chips (60-70k or more) so he could afford to put in 18k. I just tried to get too tricky here. The flop comes 865. I check he checks. The turn is another 8 we both check again. The river is a J and I bet 3k and he mucks.

I try to pick up the aggression at the table because we are getting closer to the final table and it seems like my table is pretty tight. I open 95cc and pick up the blinds/antes. Guy limps 2nd position I limp 3rd position with 45ss. Flop comes 23Ks he bets 2100 with 12k behind and I call. The turn is the Js and he checks and I bet out 8k and he mucks. I go up to 28k. I'm still trying to stay aggressive we are 8 handed now and I raise 57cc UTG to 2200. I get 4 callers. The flop comes A84cc and I bet 8k with the intentions to never fold here in my life. Everyone mucks and I chip up a little more.

I get back down to around 28k and the blinds are now 600/1200. The tight guy from my AA hand above makes it 2500 on the cutoff. I immediately know this guys bet sizing is a bluff/weak and decide I am going to take it away. Unexpectedly the small blind calls with about 15k behind or so. I look down at Q2o (not that it mattered) and decide to shove in my 28k. The cutoff folds and then.. to my surprise... the small blind SNAP CALLS ME WITH QTo. Saying he is ready to go home and its his favorite hand. I wonder if he saw me look at my cards or something. I do a good job sweating them I thought. The flop comes 456 and I have hope! The turn is an A and the river is a 3! I hit a straight and go up to 48.5k. Everyone hears/comes over to see the hand and laughs at me lol. Oh well, it was good to win that one.

I try to stay aggressive with 3 tables left but just end up hurting myself and get to the final two tables (20 left) with about 38k. I pick up JJ for the first time of the day and raise to 3100. Goldberg defends his BB. The flop comes K45dd and he checks. Normally I check here but Goldberg is pretty straightforward and I decided to either pick up the pot here or figure out if I'm good. I bet 3600 he makes it 9600 and tells me he has me beat for sure. I tank for a little while and fold. He shows KQdd. Nice hand. He is a tough player he definitely mixes it up and he had the best of it there. The next hand is probably the most interesting hand in the whole tournament.

The bluffer Internet kid I talked about earlier chipped up from 4k to about 35k now. He is across the table from me and seems to have tightened up somewhat. The blinds are 800/1600 and I make it 3900 UTG with QKo. It folds to him on the hijack and he throws out 6k. It's not enough for a raise. The dealer makes him raise to 6200. I asked him if he meant to raise and he said yes. We are about even stacks. I remembered a couple hands earlier in the tournament, one where he reraised an early position raiser to 5k (he made same type of even number/even chip raise there too.) Obviously I am too priced in to ever fold here, and I tank for a little while more and decide to call. The flop comes K73ss and I check to him. He starts thinking for a while before he acts. He tanked it for at least 1 minute, maybe two before he decided what to do. It got to the point where I thought he didn't know the action was on him. This stall was actually good for me because I feel like I was able to get inside his head a little. He gave me a little more time to think about the dynamics of the hand, my table image, his table image, etc. I didn't think he would be tanking this long if he had a real hand here and I felt like with his stall he was worried about me slow playing a real hand here. Like I said I really felt like I knew what he was thinking at this point. He then moved all in for 30k. Wow. I think back at everything I've seen throughout the day. His 53cc bluff. His reraise of the early position raise earlier to 5k when he couldn't beat the guys KK. This hand is really easy though because it comes down to he either has AA or he doesn't. I am either ahead here or he has AA. It's that simple. He never has AK here or 77 or 33. I can obviously rule out KK as well. So its either AA or some type of like Ax blocker. I also thought he was very capable of doing this play with an Ax blocker because I was UTG and raised, and he reraised me. Basically for him to feel like I don't have AA he needs at least one ace in his hand to increase his odds of me not having AA. I tanked for three minutes or so and ran everything through my head. I also felt like he wouldn't shut me down on the flop if he had AA to give me the option of only folding or calling and not being able to make a shove move on the flop. I called. He turned over A9 and I ended up winning the pot and knocking him out. I had him covered by 600 chips. I am now up to 70k with 16-15 players left.

One guy who is a hard rock regular who I've played with a ton is poking fun at me about how I have chips and he needs to double and only has 16k and I can afford to double him, blah blah blah. He ends up getting his wish when I make it 3800 in the cutoff with KJ and he shoves in 18k. I know how light he is capable of shoving (any pair, almost all Axs, etc.) and I call. He turns over AA. I flop a King but don't improve and double him up. I am now down to about 42k at 1k/2k. I lost some more small pots during that time from 70k to 42k.

I now have about 42-43k and another Hard Rock regular makes it 7k 7 handed from the cutoff. I move in with TT and he snap calls with AKss. I have him covered by 8k. Board runs out K8826. He screams and he scoops the pot. I love it when the scream after they beat me in pots (sarcasm.) Luckily he was across the table from me so my body isn't capable to react lol. I fold a couple hands and try not to panic. I still have enough to maybe make someone fold.. lol. A blessing in disguise comes when an old gentleman is moved to the table in the big blind. He doesn't seem aware of much and he was fairly old and took a while to get seated. I don't think he notices I only have 7k. I decide I'm making it 6k here regardless if it folds to me, since he most likely won't know my stack. The guy in front of me makes it 11k preflop (1/2k) and I look down and squeeze an ace, and another ace! Wow. I call. He turns over AK and I win and go up to 18k. If only I won TT vs AK and then get AA vs AK I would of been up to 160k -- if it still goes down like that. Enough dreaming.

A couple hands later UTG limps, cutoff limps, and the small blind (same AK guy) makes it 11k. I have 99 in the big blind 7 handed and move in. UTG tanks and mucks, cutoff mucks. Small blind calls with AT. UTG mucked AJ another player mucked AT. Good. I win while the board runs out 35627 and I am not up to 42k. The AKss player makes it 7k preflop from 2nd position and I shove AJhh from the cutoff and he mucks and I am not around 60k.

Next orbit the hijack limps for 2k. I had played with this guy all day and he limped his mediocre hands. I had QKo and decided to limp the cutoff. The flop comes K45cc and the old man who was just moved to the table leads for 5k. I decide I might be behind here and I just call. I haven't played with him at all. The turn is gin coming the Qd. He bets 10k. I tank for a while and decide he has to have at least a king here and will most likely call me. Firing two bullets in that situation is pretty strong. I move in 38k more and he tanks for a while and calls with KJ, drawing dead. In a matter of about 15 minutes I am back from 7k to 115k with 14 left.

Now this is where it gets kind of interesting. We are 6 handed and there are 3 players at the table not playing against each other. The other table 6 handed and they are all regulars and haven't busted anyone yet since we have gotten down to 2 tables I believe. I realize why I hate this place now. I stay aggressive and try to pound them and win the tournament. These players try to make the final 9 so they can all just chop the money and take home their 10k profit or whatever. UTG guy makes it 7k at 1200/2400 and I look down at 22 on the button. Against this player I would probably call here and outplay flops (since I have position) even though we both aren't too deep stacked, but given the table dynamics I decide to raise. He has about 50k total. I make it 21200 and he moves in for 26k more. Dang. I immediately regret playing the hand how I did but realize I can't fold. I call. He turns over AK again. I tell him I have a pair lol and I turn over my deuces. It's 100k flip and I will have a great stack and will knock out one of the regulars if I win. I don't sweat the board. I look away and don't hear anything. This is the same guy who screamed before. I must be good. I look back at the board and see the turn card. The board reads Q765, yes, one card away from a huge pot. The river comes the K! He screams in excitement, probably his loudest scream ever and I lose the 100k pot and go down to ~65k. Oh well.

There is a hard rock regular lady who is the most blessed individual in the world. She moves in 5 times in a row for 120k at 1200/2400 with no callers. She moved all in from the small blind into my big blind when I had about 60k. I looked down at KJ and opted to fold. She showed me an Ace (after telling me she would show me both) and told me the other one was really big!! I've played with this lady enough and know how she plays and how she donkey shoves a ton and somehow still does well in this tournament. People just fold to her thinking she is incapable of not having a hand. And she will show a good hand every now and then when she does have it. Anyway she beats me out of some pots like she limps sb I raise bb with 89ss she calls. Flop k62r and she moves in 100k when i had 50k behind. So not much I can do.

I try to get my stack back up but if I picked up a hand I got no action, or I had no hand when I raised and had to muck. I get grinded down to 40k at 1500/3000 and Goldberg limps for 3k in 2nd position, the lady makes it 16k on the cutoff and I shove 40k on the button with AQdd. She calls with AJcc (this was the first time she actually made a real raise and didnt move in -- probably because the other player she stays away from limped for 3k) and she says "wow I didnt think you had that good of a hand!" Well obvioulsy lady you can't fold for 24k after putting in 16k but that's just what I'm dealing with. She flops the Jack no problem and I bust in 11th or 12th place with 9 being paid and about 30k to first.

Pretty frustrating given how the whole tournament went. One flip here or there and I might be 30k richer. I made some good plays, made some bad plays. I think I need to be a little more patient sometimes live but its tough when I know exactly what I'm up against. Not actually patient but maybe just tighter. It's not like I got my chips in bad in any big pots but the 22 vs AK was a blessing I wasn't crushed. That hand a lot went through my mind and I was basically bluffing preflop but knew I had to call a shove. I could talk more about that hand but I will spare the details. It wasn't my tournament. I didnt hit a set all day which was an interesting statistic after I thought about the tournament. I kept thinking why couldn't I hit a set of deuces vs the AK =). Some situations didn't work out for me when they could have. It's frustrating but I will be playing in a couple more live tournaments coming up so I am glad that I got to shake off a little rust and get deep and realize some of my mistakes. Goodnight guys.

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