Passable Effort

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I made a trip south to San Bernardino and ended up out in Palm Springs for a tournament on Saturday.  I had a very inconsistent effort in the tournament and only about three or four hands really mattered.  I will recap the critical hands in painstaking detail.

The first significant hand of the tournament happened after the break where all players had taken the $10 add-on for 20K in chips.  This is a near mandatory add-on when you consider the $50 buy-in for 16K starting stacks.  Sadly I limped into break with about 9K of my 16K starting stack.  I had about 29K after the add-on and with blinds 1K-2K, I was looking for a hand.  I picked up KK and made it 8K to go.  A new player to my table moved all-in a couple seats behind me.  I took a few seconds and decided I had no choice but to put my chips into the pot.  The pot had 36K and I needed to add my 21K getting a little better than 1.5:1 against the range of a similar stack.  I pushed it in and turned over my kings to hear, “Nice hand”.  My opponent had tens and did not improve.

A couple hands later in my small blind, it was folded around to me and I looked at KJ and raised it to 8K and the big blind flat called.  A flop of K97 hit me pretty solid for a heads up hand against the big blind.  I bet 15K and the big blind called pretty quickly.  A 4 on the turn looked like a brick to me and I moved all-in.  The big blind had me covered by exactly 3k.  He took quite a bit of time to make the decision and I goaded him a little bit.  I figured anything that beats me he would call with instantly.  He made the call with KT and I was glad to have him crushed and I doubled up again.

My table broke before the blinds got to me again.  I moved to table one and would be with these players the rest of the way, as table one was the final table.  I took quite a long look at the table and they seemed to have more chips and be playing looser than the table I just left.  I really never gained any traction at this table and folded away several rounds of blinds and watched my stack go from above average to below average.

I finally ran into the hand of the tournament for me when I was in the big blind with blinds 5K-10K.  The pot was an eight-way limper and I looked down at pocket sevens and decided to let it go.  I felt there was no way I could clear the field with a big raise.  The flop came J73 rainbow giving me the number two set.  The small blind and I both checked and the UTG checked along.  The 85 year old lady sitting two places to my left could not wait to bet 12K into the 80K pot.  Players immediately started throwing cards into the muck.  I could see from all the head shaking that this lady rarely bets and when she does it is to be feared.  Everyone folded around to me and I made the call.  We were heads up going to the turn.  The wolf in sheep’s clothing and me playing the sacrificial lamb. A deuce on the turn seemed innocent enough and I checked.  The old lady decided to bet 15K into the 100K+ pot.  I seriously considered folding my hand.  I put the 15K out like the weak ass caller I never ever wanted to be.  The ten on the river made a possible gut shot straight, but I checked it over to my opponent.  When she checked, I had many bad thoughts about how weakly I played the hand and how I was supposed to double up on this hand.  I tabled my set of sevens and the old lady looked at them for a long time and said, “Sorry honey, I beat you”.  She eventually tabled her pocket jacks and my hand was killed.

I was crippled by losing my chips and I was reliving the nightmare of the set over set hand and wondering why I was playing so weakly. Did I play great? I do not think so.  Could I have gotten away from that hand? I get away only when I am playing at my absolute best. Should I have gone broke? Yes, I was supposed to get my chips in action on that hand. I swore that win or lose I would play stronger.

I was eventually dealt pocket queens when the blinds were 5k-10K and I opened for 46K leaving me only 20K behind.  A player at the other end of the table that knows me very well instantly went all-in over the top of me.  I knew he had aces but I had to put my last chips into the pot getting about 8:1 on my money and having no other way to win the tournament other than to suck out just one time.  You know I did not suck out and I was able to make the long drive home.  Now I just lament the way I played and wonder how I could have played differently.

My play was solid and a little bit tight.  I did a passable job of playing this tournament.  If I plan to win some more of these smaller tournaments I am going to need to turn up the aggression and exploit the weaker players.  I will be back out there again this week and playing harder than ever.  See you soon.

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