Sunday, June 8, 2008

TOC follow-up report

I began the ToC with a clear plan.

First, play very disciplined and tight poker in the early stages. Be sure to get chips in the middle with the best hand. Play smallball poker against aggressive players and try to control the pot size carefully.

I found myself slowly but surely chipping up in modest increments in the early going. Then I gave some chips back with an unimproved AK facing a pot-sized bet from Astin when all I had was a gutterball with one card to come. That got me back to a starting stack. Then I found AK again and was faced with a squeeze by a short-stacked Hoy. I didn't put him on a big hand, and there was some dead money in the pot. So I re-raised to isolate and sadly couldn't win a big early race:

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 40/80 Blinds, 8 Players

Hero (UTG+1): 2,480
MP1: 2,940
MP2: 4,770
CO: 2,755
BTN: 2,605
SB: 4,865
BB: 1,825
UTG: 2,810

Pre-Flop: (120) A K dealt to Hero (UTG+1)
UTG folds, Hero raises to 240, MP1 folds, MP2 calls 240, 3 folds, BB raises to 1,825 and is All-In, Hero raises to 2,480 and is All-In, MP2 folds

Flop: (3,930) 4 7 2 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: (3,930) 2 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: (3,930) A (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 3,930 Pot
Hero showed A K (two pair, Aces and Twos) and LOST (-1,825 NET)
BB showed 4 4 (a full house, Fours full of Twos) and WON 3,930 (+2,105 NET)

That crippled me down to a paltry 655 chips and the blinds were 40/80. I had a long climb ahead of me. But I just found a good spot to take a gamble getting better than 3:1 on my money and got there when I needed it most:

And the added bonus was that I was able to crack AA at the same time as I tripled up to nearly 1700 as we neared the first break! I was still below average but had breathing room to actually play compared to the blinds.

I continue my comeback by locking down a race with a flopped set of jacks, eliminating a short-stacked non-blogger as an additional bonus as I climbed back to just over 3K:

I continued to build towards a top-5 stack when Astin decided to overplay an overpair when I flopped top set. I opened with nines for 3BBs, he smooth called from the small blind and led out for a full pot-sized bet on what seemed to him an unthreatening board. I tanked, using some of my timebank before coming over the top with top set of nines and he snap-called with the overpair:

This got me to a full 6K in chips and I was suddenly in the catbird seat, comfortably in a strong chip position.

I missed a golden opportunity to chip up when I got no action with my first and only AA of the tourney, only winning the blinds.

Then I made a poorly-timed c-bet with an AK vs. JD Schellnut that missed the flop to spew some chips, a definite mistake that I regret.

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 80/160 Blinds, 8 Players

Hero (CO): 6,030
BTN: 1,955
SB: 4,670
BB: 4,420
UTG: 2,180
UTG+1: 11,925
MP1: 3,245
MP2: 2,540

Pre-Flop: (240) A K dealt to Hero (CO)
4 folds, Hero raises to 400, 2 folds, BB calls 240

Flop: (880) 5 2 Q (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 560, BB raises to 1,120, Hero folds

Results: 2,000 Pot
BB mucked and WON 2,000 (+1,040 NET)

Then we reach my Waterloo. Because I had been playing so very tight, a locked-down style where I was seeing only 10% of the flops, I decided to open for 4x the BB in first position with pocket tens. JD decides to re-raise me, perhaps a bit frisky after winning that pot against me a couple of orbits ago.

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 80/160 Blinds, 8 Players

Hero (UTG): 4,830
UTG+1: 1,955
MP1: 3,580
MP2: 5,860
CO: 1,940
BTN: 12,935
SB: 3,325
BB: 2,540

Pre-Flop: (240) T T dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero raises to 560, 2 folds, MP2 raises to 1,920, 4 folds, Hero raises to 4,830 and is All-In, MP2 calls 2,910

Flop: (9,900) 5 A Q (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: (9,900) 7 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: (9,900) K (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 9,900 Pot
Hero showed T T (a pair of Tens) and LOST (-4,830 NET)
MP2 showed K K (three of a kind, Kings) and WON 9,900 (+5,070 NET)

And just like that I go home now. Obviously I had several key decisions to make preflop here, and I opted to take the aggressive course of 3-bet shoving in hopes of getting every non-paired hand to fold, and perhaps get a laydown from JJ or QQ. Or, I could have folded. Or, I could have flat-called and pulled a stop'n'go on the flop and jamming almost any flop. As it turns out I just might have been able to get a laydown from KK when both an A and a Q hit on this flop (obviously my UTG range tilts heavily towards QQ, AQ+), but as it stands I can't say as I regret getting it all in here with the opportunity to build a massive stack even though it turned out I was a 4:1 dog.

I'm a bit miffed that I didn't play flawless poker -- I made two notable mistakes with c-bets, and slowplayed AK preflop one other time that got me in trouble -- nor did I get to the final table, but I still very much enjoyed the ToC and I think I came into the tourney with the proper approach.

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