Sunday, January 13, 2008

Close but no cigar

I placed fifth (two off the money) in this event today.

It was a bitter pill to swallow as I was the early chipleader, having fully doubled up to 100K in chips after one player was eliminated -- I had taken most of his chips with my black aces holding up against Grant's KK. I had raised in early position to 2100 and got five (!) callers. The flop came down T43, two spades (I was holding the As). I bet out 3100 and Grant raised me to 8K. I called. I checked a 9s turn and called a 10K bet. I rivered the nut flush when the Qs and checked in hopes he'd fire a third bullet after he raised my flop bet and bet the turn, but no dice. He had KK no spades, so although I think he would have called a sucker bet of about 5K or so, I was really hoping he had a set or the Ks to get the rest of his stack. All in all I think I got overly cute and should have bet out to get the crying call. Either way, though, I catapulted to the chiplead and nearly doubled up, raking in the 40K pot.

I also flopped a Broadway straight with KQs vs top two pair on an AJT rainbow board, but I didn't really get paid off because the river spiked a queen, killing most of my action. I was smooth calling pot-sized bets in position and sadly got just about the worst card possible on the river (barring an ace or jack which gives my opponent a full house). In retrospect I definitely should have raised on the flop or on the turn, as I get at least some additional money in the pot before the unfortunate river card prevented the pot from growing to epic proportions in my favour.

In a huge turning point, I got someone else's entire stack in preflop with my AA vs. their 66. Of course, I managed to lose the pot!

Eman raised UTG to 2K (blinds were 300/600 as I recall) and I popped it up to 6K. Bill made an intervening call for 6K (with what he later said was AJ). Alex then made a very loose aggressive re-raise to 20K (just over half of his stack) with pocket sixes. It was a defensible move to try, and he was priced in for the rest of his stack to put the rest of his money in way behind as I immediately 4-bet allin. Sadly he flopped a six as we took the flop headsup and he took down an 85K-ish pot, which brought me back to roughly 60K in chips. Frankly I don't see any way I could have avoided this huge pot given how the action went. Once Alex re-raises, I absolutely have to jam as I am never folding once the pot gets that big, so I might as well get all the money in with the best hand and let the hand play itself out.

I know I would have cashed if we were down to seven players with the advantage of a massive chiplead of 150K (fully tripled up). I could have begun to really, really leverage my massive stack and kept up my tight-aggressive image whilst opening up my range to catch some unexpected monster flops.

I scuffled from then on, seesawing back to 75K or so but ultimately I spewed off nearly half my chips when I fired 3 pot-sized shells with QQ (I raised UTG +1 and the big blind defended) on an A45 rainbow flop that went blank-blank. Surprisingly, I couldn't budge George in the BB off ace-six; he said he had enough chips behind such that he was determined to call down. I found that surprising, and in the long term quite a pleasant prospect, as I crush ace-rag with the range of hands that I would play that way overall for an EP raise and 3 pot-sized bets: better aces, sets, and two pair hands.

I also doubled up Alex one more time after his chipstack had shrunk back down to 15K or so with my JJ vs. his QQ all-in preflop.

This dipped me down to about 35K and ultimately I went out when I check-raised top pair (KT) on KJ8 board, two clubs to 21K after Bill made a flop bet of 7K. Bill called -- he was chipleader at the time -- and although the turn blanked, he called my 14K shove with QcTc. This meant I had to fade about fourteen flush & straight outs, and sadly he hit an ace on the river to give him a straight.

This was a fun time despite some frustrating beats and I really liked the structure and how deep we were playing. I also liked how little respect my preflop raises were getting. I just have to hope I can hold up more often!

No comments: