For the first time in many moons I found myself playing in the Mookie, as the lure of the BBT5 proved too strong to resist. This was the first NLHE tournament I have played in a long, long time. I was excited to play with a lot of familiar screen names and to fire up BDR.
I got an ideal start, as not ten hands into the tournament I opened for a small 2.5 BB raise with two black tens from the cutoff. The big blind called and the flop came down a beautiful Td 3s 6s. The big blind checked, I bet half-pot, he check-raised to 330, and then I time-banked and shoved for 3100 hoping my 3-bet looked like an overplayed AK of spades or an overpair. Sure enough my opponent snap-called with a set of threes, and I held up for the early double-up.
For the rest of the early and middle stages of the tournament -- I think the Mookie had just under 90 players last night -- I slowly bled chips as I went completely card dead and lost every pot I played. Towards the end of the second hour I found myself back down to a starting stack of 3K after my AdKd got tangled up in a blind vs. blind situation where I didn't improve on the flop and I had to lay it down after a big flop raise of my continuation bet.
However, I managed to improbably triple up once the antes kicked in as I came over the top with KQ and another short-stack overcalled me, along with the original raiser. Two ace-high hands couldn't withstand a queen on the turn as I made top pair to vault up to a top-ten stack of 8500 entering the second break.
With one-third of the original field left, we entered the phase of the tournament that I have often used proficiently to position myself for a deep run into the final table in the past at the Mookie, as two of my past Mookie wins during BBTs can attest. Tonight it was not meant to be, however, as I uncharacteristically put my tournament life at risk preflop hoping for some fold equity (but not getting the desired result).
We'd just collapsed down to three tables with blinds at 200/400/50. A short-stack jammed his last 3 BBs into the middle, and an aggressive player with a 10K stack min-raised from the button to 2000 straight (20% of their stack). I'm in the small blind with AdKs and decide that I need to go with this hand. I hesitate between a shove and a scary-looking min-raise to 4200 or so (thus signaling I am committed to the hand), and opt for the former (this was only the second time in the tournament that I put in all my chips before the flop, but this player hadn't played with me during this tournament and would not be aware of this fact).
The player snap-called with a pair of fives. The short-stack made an improbable straight with 8s9h, the pair of fives rivered a set, and I ended up with the third-best hand with ace-high and exited the Mookie in 27th place.
Now, I'm a big fan of presto; this has been well-documented on this blog. I also know that many poker bloggers don't like to fold. But surely under these circumstances folding a small pair is prudent? The player can fold and still be in the top half of the remaining field in chips and avoids a situation where they can only hope they are in a weighted coinflip instead of being crushed by an overpair ...
Lastly, the structure of the BBT rewards winning a tournament to secure a seat at the ToC. How do these considerations factor in to a decision to stick it in with a small pair here? (Let us ignore the fact that this is a $10 tournament for the sake of discussion.)
So, did I misplay the AK? Would you have folded the pair of fives in that situation? Let me know what you think.