Thursday, June 08, 2006

Taking a shot

I thought CJ brought up a excellent point in the discussion about playing the pocket 4s like I did. Yeah, I got lucky with the flop. I took a chance and it paid off. Most of the time a tournament may come down to taking a chance on one hand. It seems many players don't take that shot until they have been blinded down and are forced to do so.

Have you ever played one tournament where every big hand you caught became stronger on the flop? Where the cards hit right each and every time you got your chips in? Probably not. I don't think anyone has had one of those nights where they have dominated a tournament from start to finish where they didn't get lucky to catch a card (no, I am not getting into the luck factor here).

Sometimes you need to find a spot and take a chance. In my case, I was comfortable seeing a flop with my pocket pair. I did not read my opponent to be as strong as he was. But if I folded the flop, I still had 2500 to work with and blinds at 60/120. With the flow of the table, I felt confident I could win that 1000 back quickly.

Mind you, it was not a quick call either. Usually I would fold in this case. I know the 4s are most likely dominated here, but the 3-1 odds was tempting. The implied odds were huge. So I took a shot and bingo, bango, bongo, I flopped a boat. I highly expected a K to hit and was naturally thankful that it didn't. I believe the big mistake was made by my opponent. If he had made a pot sized raise (I think it would have been to 1440 if my calculation is correct), my odds would have been terrible to call.

As I said, most times I would fold there. Many times I have received middle pairs on a tight table and folded in MP when a player in EP has raised and been called by someone in LP. They end up in a showdown and the result for me would have been a win had I been in the hand. I have seen that many times. Of course we remember those hands that we would have won a huge pot if we had been involved. We tend to forget the ones in which we would have dumped a lot of chips.

But I have decided to start taking these chances and it has paid off for me. Not all the time, but in a number of instances. And it has worked well. I would like to think most of the time it is because I have made a good read. The best example for me was the WPBT Winter Classic this past December. I had been moved to a new table where Joaquin was seated. He had a nice chip stack and was in control of the table. I started raising to take that control away and set forth the aggressive image. I took a couple of uncontested pots down when I looked down to see 10 10 UTG (I believe). I raised it up 3xs the blind. MP went all in and had me covered. I didn't know who he was (turned out to be Studio Glyphic who went on to win it all) and wasn't quite sure what he had. I thought about whether he had the overpair or not. My 10s weren't feeling too strong either.

After I thought it over, I felt good that I had the better hand. I also thought to myself that you need to find the spot to double through and get in a position to make a serious run to the final table. I realized this was the spot. I called and saw his pocket 8s. Unfortunately for me, he spiked an 8 on the turn and I was done.

But I found a spot and made the right call. I took my shot and it just didn't work out.


SirFWALGMan said...

I totally agree.. its those decisions that make or break a particular game.. when you are short stacked or getting close you just have to take your shot at getting back in the game and hope it works..

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

To be honest, I don't play tournaments much...I tried to bully too much with my stack and when you played back at me I didn't know how to react much...I've since worked on this as much as advice, don't try and push me around next time.