Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tournament poker and football

I sat back watching the Cowboys at and playing poker all day. The Cowboys won. Would I?

It started at Party Poker. I started playing the Party Poker Millions SnG step tournies. I played the first one and squandered a lead at the end to finish second. I played the second one and came in second again. If it pointed out anything, it is I need to work on my heads up game. I didn't play that well when it was down to the last two.

So I still have a Step 1 to complete. As I watched the game, I then pulled up Bodog to see what tournies they had scheduled. All the big overlays were over an hour out. But they did have one of their "Cheap Seats" about to start so I put down the entire $1.50 to play. If I would place in the top 6, I could move on to a regular tournament with the ultimate prize being a WPT or WSOP seat.

The Bodog software isn't the best in the world, but it also isn't the worst. It always sounds like an old motor sputtering around. But with the caliber of the player that puts their cash down at Bodog, it is just about always +EV.

This game was different. I folded a lot but pushed the envelope when I could. The calls that these people make are mind boggling. Lots of calling all in with just draws. I chipped up nicely because of that. With just under 2 hours into the tournament, the 127 starters was down to 20. I was the chip leader with just over 21k. Second was at 15k. 3rd was at 8k. I knew I could push with my stack but not be too stupid as to donk it away.

I didn't have much to worry about. I did like how some guy min-raised with his A A. He then checked the flop thus allowing the other guy to catch his straight on the turn. But soon enough, someone would be willing to call down with Q Q and two Ks on the board. Yeah, I was trying to steal it with 4 2o, but how does someone call with that. Yes, call, not raise it back. I would like someone to tell me how his play was good. I was at that table for maybe 5 hands so there wasn't any read he could have.

If anything, it told me how to play him. Heavy and hard. With K 9 in the SB, I saw the cheap flop against him of K J Q. I kept betting it out just to have him call. So I pushed after two rags hit. He folded. I then watched someone else not bet enough to keep him on his draw. Makes me wonder if people pay attention to how others play.

We get down to the final table. My lead is now gone. But I am only in 3rd. There are 4 stacks below 10k so I need to make sure I play my chips well. Especially with the leader on my left.

It is also at this time that the Poker Blue tournament started up. There were 187 players battling for the WPT/WSOP seat.

As I was logging into Poker Blue, one guy got knocked out. There are 8 left. I need to survive two of them to get the second entry. Basically I can sit back and wait on a hand. Which is nice because I am getting crappy cards.

In both tournaments. My Poker Blue is off to a very slow start. Getting nothing there. On Bodog, the small stacks are playing scared. It is rather boring. Thankfully a big stack makes his move on a small one- who pushes on his draw- and knock him out with his pair of 8s.

I can now focus on the Poker Blue tourney. In moving back and forth, I noticed one guy at my table who was playing a lot of hands and calling a lot down. He had moved to over 6k quickly. I set my sights on taking him down a notch.

But instead I dribble some chips off by playing A 8 suited. I raised it up and then stupidly called a re-raise and a flop bet. I should have folded to the re-raise. Now I have a bit of a hole to dig out of. Worse yet, my focus wasn't on the game. I didn't really fell like playing. I try to steal a pot with a turn raise (on an open ended straight draw) but just check the river. WTF? If I am trying to steal I need to make that bet. My opponent won with A high. I then call a raise with 7 7 and push on the flop to basically get knocked out. It was the wild guy I was up against. I figured he had a big A at best. Sure enough. A Qo. So I get back above 1000 to 1170. Now if I can get focused.

Having those stupid Burger King commercials on TV doesn't help much. Is it me or is that king character just plain creepy. Like molest your daughter if he could creepy.

So I continue to not catch cards and fold for a while. Mike, who was at the Bash at the Boathouse, is at my table and talking to me. Of course I am not paying much attention to the chat until someone asks about bloggers. I was laying low until Mike outed me. Not that it matters. I might as well chat if I don't have any cards.

I catch my most loathed hand, A 10o and try to get a pot with a raise. But I fold to the re-raise. I hate that hand! So I feel better when K K shows up but I only get the blinds and a limper.

I get some blinds with K Qo and try to make Presto work but all paint hits the flop. I then get 9 9 and raise it up. I have one caller, UTG who limped. Flop comes K Q 4. I bet it again and he calls. Is he slowplaying me? Turn is a 3. He checks. I bet again and he calls. River is a 4. He checks yet again. This time I check as well. He shows J 10. Interesting. I finally am above the starting stack.

Then the Hiltons come to visit. UTG raises it. It folds to me in the BB. I raise it the pot. He promptly comes over the top and all in. He shows A Ks. No help on the board and I double up. Needless to say, I am a bit more focused now. Except for typing this up.

I take down a good pot with K J clubs. I raised it and had 3 callers. I didn't like the flop though- Q Q 7. Only 1 club. But I bet it again. Two callers. Turn is a club. Not bad. I bet a small amount and get called again. River is a beautiful 10 of clubs. I push him all in- and he calls with 5 5! How dumb was that? Anything on the board had him beat. If you are going to put those chips out there do it right away. Then again, maybe he wasn't focused like me.

I am up to 9th now with 5500. I can push some people around and make a move now. Still there are 69 people left so there is a long time to go. A K suited comes along but it is only the blinds I will get. Same thing with Q 10 suited.

Then the big boys come. UTG+1 I have A A. I raise it like normal but everyone folds again. They aren't thinking I am stealing by raising again? I was tempted to just call or min-raise but that never seems to work well. Plus, I am 99.9% against it.

The table then seems to fall into moron mode. One guy pushes with his draw and is called by second pair. Another pushes on a bluff to run into quad 8s. He then pushes his remaining chips with K Qs to run into A A. Bad part is none of these guys is bleeding them off to me. A guy raises and then re-raises with 2 callers just to show 6 6. It stood up to K Js and A Ks. What the K J was doing in there I don't know. It was bad enough the 6 6 pushed to a raise. The A Ks then went out on the next hand (surprise!) with 7 9 suited. All the while I am folding.

I call a pot raise in the BB with A 6s. Flop gives me two of the suit so I bet enough to put him all in. He folds. I can't get anyone to play with me. But I do notice one new guy at the table who is pretty hyper. I loosen up a bit to see if I can take some chips from him. With K Jo, I raise it up 3xs. It fold around to hyperboy but he folds. The chip leader is in the BB and takes his sweet time to fold. He has seen me raise but fold to re-raises so I am glad he doesn't put a move on me. I try again with A Ko. This time the person to my right goes over the top. They just got moved here. I look and call quickly not realizing that it is over 2k to call. Here is one thing I don't like about Poker Blue. When you go to showdown, you don't see your opponent's cards until the river is dealt. I was happy to see them show A Q and I move up over 10k. I have a chance to do something now with 31 players remaining.

Just before the break, I dump 5k on Q 4 from the BB. I was getting 7-1 odds to see a flop. Flop came K high and it checked around. Turn is a Q. I bet and get insta-called by the original raiser. The others fold. River is a Q. I bet 2k, just under half the pot. He min-raises. I have a bad feeling he has a Q and easily outkicks me. I call to see his A Q. Ouch. Now I have to work my way up again. 29 runners left and I don't want to be number 29 out.

After the break I fold, fold, fold, fold. Until the Hiltons come along again. I smile. But the guy on my right pushes. Hmmm... I call (he has me covered by 300). A tiny stack decides to try and get lucky and goes along for the ride. Nicki and Paris stand tall again knocking A 6 and Q J. Yes the pusher had Q Jo! Yowza! Back over 10k. I then get frisky in the BB with A 8 calling a min raise. Flop comes A 4 5. I check and then push on his bet. Oops. The chip leader. This could be trouble. Fold. Whew! I am over 16k and up to 5. Time to focus some more.

I get A Qo in the big blind. 3 people try to limp. I don't allow limping and raise it 3k. They all fold. Nice of them to give those chips up. On the button I steal the blinds to go over 20k. Then Nicki and Paris come by again. But no flop. Then I get 9 9. This time I limp. Yeah, not a good move but the flop is 5 high. I bet and the BB folds.

We then play fold em for a couple orbits. Or so it seemed. 10 2, J 3, 8 2, 7 3. Fold-a-rama. I see the Hiltons get cracked by 7 7 on the river. The short stacks are pushing and taking blinds left and right. And there is nothing I can do about it. The same guy has his 10s cracked by 4 7 off suit. I finish him of in the BB with 5 7 off with a small call.

But then I make a dumb call with Q 10 suited. I raised it to 4k and was re-raised by the BB. It was another 8k to call. Not a good move as I watched the chips move across the table. Now I am in a bad spot. With 11 left I am in 9th place. Chip leader is over 50k. I have quite a lot of ground to make up. Crap in the BB doesn't help. Worse crap in SB kills me. I then try to get my blinds back with Q J suited. After saying "Don't call" 20 times, the blinds fold. The blinds come around with more crap. Nice to get 3 4 off in both blinds. Being at the 5 person table is hurting my chances. Blinds are coming around fast. Nice of them to all fold for once.

The blinds are 100/2000 and I have 7100. Need to do something and quick. Let's see, 4 9o? No. Not that desperate. Q 3o? Nah. A 8 in BB? Yep. SB had just called so I pushed. He thinks and calls. Q J. His two pair knock me out in 11th place. No final table for me.

It rather sucks. To play that long and hard with nothing to show for it. One bad call killed my stack. Time to regroup and get ready for the PokerStars tourney next week. If I can play as well next Sunday as I did today, I can take some swag home.

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