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Trophy Hunting

I don't think I've quite said it outright here, but I've really gotten into the goal of winning each blogger tournament at least once. My first memorable win came in the Hoy. I won DADI X a couple of weeks back. I've busted Wil in the WWdn, thus having it named after me for a week, but that doesn't fully count. I've won the WWdn Not once too. Oh, and then there is the inaugural RiverChasers tournament that I won. So, my scorecard leaves the following to conquer: (a) The Mookie, (b) new addition CC's Thursday Bash, and (c) the WWdn. Yesterday, I sorta added another trophy to my collection, the Mookie 2nd Chance tournament.

Wifey Kim was watching America's Next Top Model at her friend's apartment, a Wednesday tradition of late, and I had planned to go to Salami underground card club in the city for their $50+10 tournament at 7:30. The plan was to stay at work late enough to make a seemless transition, but at 6:30 I got antsy and decided to head home. I parked my ass in my chair and fired up the computer, knowing that wifey Kim would be home at about 9:30pm, so I had some time to kill.

I decided to play something that I haven't played in a long while, a single table SNG at Full Tilt. It was a long game, in which I did my best to stay in the top 4 or 3 most of the way. I didn't play aggressively until we were down to fewer competitors and the blinds were high. I was eventually raising with just about anything when we were 5 and 4 handed (i.e., on the bubble), mostly because the blinds were so high. Luckily, my eariler image paid off and I got respect. This was the plan, after all, as I didn't actually want to get called with my K9o (or on one hand 29o). Eventually, however, I was called with K9 v. A8, only to hit my 9, knocking out 5th place. I then had my A8 v. A7 and took out 4th place. By the time we got heads up, I was in a decent chiplead. However, my opponent fought back valiantly until we were about even. We got all-in with my 55 v. his AQo, and the flopped Q spelled my demise.

Still, a $30+ profit was enough for me, and I shut down my computer. Many hours later, after wifey Kim had fallen asleep by my side in bed, I whipped out the laptop once again. I was in the mood for a HORSE SNG, and since I do my best when I make my game selection on such moods/hunches, I decided to fire one up. Before I got there, I saw GCox online and shot him an IM. He replied back, Mookie 2nd Chance HORSE is starting soon. Well, shit, it was like it was meant to be, so I signed up and waited to begin the festivities.

HORSE SNGs and MTTs are difficult propositions. If you don't start to accumulate chips immediately, you'll find yourself shortstacked by the time you reach the first level of Stud Hi/Lo, if not sooner. Fortunately, I was able to win a solid hand in Razz, probably my strongest game in the lineup, and that allowed me to continue building.

I played a tighter game than usual, mostly because my cards were fairly dead across the board. When I did play, I played aggressively and more often than not got paid off. By the time we were down to the final table of 8 (from 20 total), I had taken a blow from playing my Razz hand a bit too strongly....during the Stud Hi round. I had about average, or maybe slightly more, but got back to my aggression. I got some good cards, sure, but I also extracted as much value as possible from them.

An interesting thing about my image. You probably all remember the big controversy that surrounded my win of DADI X under the GCox handle. Well, ever since then and slightly before, I had the feeling that my wins don't earn any respect. People see me as lucky when I win, and as much as I want to protest, I know that doing so will only make me look weak. The bottom line is that my style of play and my image allow me to dominate tournaments when I do get cards because people are paying me off. Even more than that, I know how to extract chips. So, when you think I'm a luckbox for my great starting hand, re-read the hand history. You may just realize that it wasn't ONLY the cards that allowed me to win a monster pot. It's my ability to build the pot and get in extra bets that matter.

On that note, I tussled a lot with 23Skiddoo. In one hand in particular, I bet a lot of the way in a Stud H/L hand. I didn't have a monster, but I had a good low draw and two pair (Aces and something er other) for the high. When the river came down and he suddenly re-raised me, I folded. His board was something like 3K7Q, and the way he played it just screamed 7-high straight, for a better high and low. So, I folded on the river and when he asked me why, I told him, You hit your Straight on the river, right? He said he did, and I believe him. That's the other thing about my game. Even if I'm playing loose, I know how to fold (happy RiverRun?). That was especially helpful in the Limit HORSE tournaments. Say it with me now: Limit Poker is all about saving and extracting each individual bet.

So, I took the beyotch down, with a commanding chip lead by the time we were 5 or 6 handed. When we were 4-handed, I held about 18k of the chips, with my nearest competition at around 7k. Dominating, once again, much like I did at DADI. No, I'm not talking smack. I'm just pointing something out. When I win these things, I'm often dominating. It's part and parcel to my style of play.

Now, let's look at some individual hands. I got one Razz for you and one Hold'em hand that I thought was fun. Let's get started.

We are playing what I think was our second round of Razz, with blinds of 150/300, and antes of 25. It may've been our third round of Razz. Whatever the case, there are six players at my table, and I'm the chipleader with 6,981. We all ante and 23skidoo with a Q brings it in for 50. A player with a 5 folds and Don, with a 6, calls. I have 4A/7, a Felicia-worthy hand, and decide to complete to 150. Everyone folds except for Don. I pretty much know from my experience with him that he has no respect for me or my game, so I'm glad he wants to dance. He only has 1812 in front of him.

Fourth street is dealt, and the boards are:

Me: A4/79
Don: XX/63

So, right away, it looks like I'm behind. But I'm not putting Don on two low cards in the hole because he didn't raise preflop. I figure him for a 9-high draw, maybe, so he's still potentially ahead, but its very early and I can easily take the lead. Don makes the obvious bet of 150 and I call. 5th Street is dealt and the board is:

Me: A4/796
Don: XX/632

It sure looks bad, but I'm drawing to a 7 with a made 9, so if he has a crappy card underneath, I'm likely ahead or drawing to be ahead. Plus, that 2 could have easily paired him if he liked what he had beneath. I'm still not scared when he bets 300. I call. 6th Street is dealt:

Me: A4/7969
Don: XX/632T

Okay, so where are we. If he has a high card beneath, then I'm still ahead. If he doesn't, then I'm probably behind, but have a great draw. Remember, I still don't put him on two low cards underneath because of his failure to raise preflop. Don bets and I call. The river is dealt.

Me: A4/7969/8
Don: XX/632T/X

SWEET! I hit my 8. Now, I'm still not golden, because he may've been going slow because of an 8 in the hole, so he'd be ahead if he has another low. Problematic, really. He bets, and I think about what to do for a while. His failure to bet preflop really seals the deal. He probably had one low card in the hole preflop and if he hit another on the river, so be it. Plus, I really do feel that Don doesn't respect my game and besides, he has to bet here hoping that I will chicken out. I don't though and call.

At showdown, Don shows his hole cards, shuffled because of Full Tilt's software. In the hole, he held K, 3 and 8. I don't know the order. If he held the K3 in the hole in the first place, I'm ahead the whole way, since he paired his 3 on fourth street. He just wasn't willing to slow down and he was overreacting to his own board. If he had the 38 underneath, then its the same deal. The only thing that might make his play a bit better was K8 underneath, but even there, I'm still ahead the whole way. Don screwed himself in this hand, and I had the reads and, just as importantly, the starting hand to call him down. After the hand, he got all pissy, calling me out and saying that he was ahead until the river. Well, Don, you lie, sir. But I don't mind, this is poker, after all.

This next hand is ye Olde Hold'em Shoppe. We are now 4-handed, and I have 12,325. The nearest competitor is Joanne with 8k, then Garth with 5k. I'm in the BB (150/300 blinds), and are dealt KK. Pretty damn lucky, right? Now lets maximize this mofo.

It folds to Joanne, and she bumps it to 600. Garth, to my surprise, raises. It's 900 to me, and raising it again looks right, but it also appears that Joanne wants to take the lead, so I'll let her do that. I call, and Joanne raises. We both call. Note that if Joanne doesn't raise, then I know she isn't that strong. Plus, I appear a bit weaker (whether she raises or not) by just calling preflop. Ah, sweet sweet deception.

The flop is 544, rainbow. Beautiful. Garth checks, and I decide to check as well. I expect Joanne to bet and besides, I want to get my opponent's comfortable so I can get more bets in on the later higher betting rounds. Joanne obliges and bets. Garth calls and I do too. I really only fear an Ace coming off. If either has hit their set, so be it. KK is just too good here with all the preflop action, and at least one of them likely has an overpair to the board. The other has to have at least a couple of high cards like AK or AQ, but more likely has a pair as well.

The turn is a 6, but I'm not worried about the straight. It does create a flush draw, but that isn't my immediate concern either. Garth checks and I check as well, since there is no way Joanne is not going to bet. She does and Garth calls. I check-raise from 600 to 1200. Both players call. By saving the check raise for the turn with the Button, Joanne, leading the whole way, I'm able to get an extra big bet from both of my opponents. I'm glad to see that Joanne didn't reraise me, since that might scare me a tad, and would probably scare off Garth.

The river is an offsuit Ten and I'm feeling good about my hand. I know I have a loose stealing image, so when Garth checks, I decide to check again. I'm really inviting Joanne to push me out of the hand, and she bets from the button. Garth calls and I raise it again. Both players call.

On showdown, Garth shows JJ. Joanne shows QQ. I take down the pot.

Was that a lucky hand? Sure! KK v QQ v JJ four-handed! Freakin' insane. But I read my players' actions and I predicted them correctly. As a result, I maximized the value of the hand by getting in not one, but TWO check-raises in the big betting streets. Go me!

Hence, I won the 2nd Chance Mookie tournament. Joanne took 2nd, and she was more than a worthy competitor. Next up, I'm hunting for some CC.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:55 AM,

7 Comments:

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Dawn Summers said...

Wifey Kim was watching America's Next Top Model at her friend's apartment, a Wednesday tradition of late, and I had planned to go to Salami underground card club in the city for their $50+10 tournament at 7:30. The plan was to stay at work late enough to make a seemless transition, but at 6:30 I got antsy and decided to head home. I parked my ass in my chair and fired up the computer, knowing that wifey Kim would be home at about 9:30pm, so I had some time to kill.

So, if I am to understand...you blew off a live game...at the crackhouse...to sit home alone with your computer? For shame, Jordan. For shame.
If you're not at the tourney Saturday, you will no longer be the IHO patron saint!
NO LONGER!

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Um, I can't attend, Dawn. I have plans Saturday night. And, sorry for missing your game, but if I went to Salami, I'd be home about 9 or so, so its a bit different. I always feel bad leaving your games so early.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Neither one of you had a great hand.. you had a good draw that just kept trying not to make it.. I would not have folded your draw, but if it was me I would have had an A8 under and beaten your weak azz 876 low on the river..

Good game though! Congrats on the Win! I probably would have played if I did not have live blogging duties.

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, ever since then and slightly before, I had the feeling that my wins don't earn any respect. People see me as lucky when I win, and as much as I want to protest, I know that doing so will only make me look weak.

Based on my own personal experience, anyone who doesn't respect your play is going to pay with their chips. I've blogged several times about how I think you've got a deal with PokerStars to be able to see my cards. There's no one player who so consistently lays it down when I have a hand and raises it up when I'm bluffing. You're like my own personal Daniel Negreanu. I hate it when you're at my table.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Aw, thanks Patch. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I really appreciate the compliment.

Woffles, you silly silly man. #1 if it were you with A8, you would've raised preflop. #2, you and I both know that you don't need a great hand at Razz, you just need a better hand than your competition. I posted the Razz hand to show my thought processes, AND Don actually called me out after it for being a lucky donkey and asked me how I could call the whole way. I always find it funny when people insist that their opponent should have folded based on betting patterns, even though the opponent (in this case, me), actually was ahead and made the right read.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger meanhappyguy said...

Thanks for the advice, J. We've always had pretty similar schedules/priorities when it comes to poker. I'll now be on the lookout for sloppy play coming from long sessions.

I definitely agree that treating each individual decision as a unique and often complex problem is a much more important goal than playing X amount of hands.

Congrats on the 2nd chance win--can't wait to get my laptop (in the mail now!) and play wherever I want :)

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jordan - the ChipTalk.net weekly tournaments are on Thursday nights at 9:30pm Eastern on Stars $10+1. You need to have a forum account on ChipTalk and then you can get the password for the tourney. This is a 12-week tournament that you can qualify for bonuses and other prizes. ChipTalk gives away ChipTalk points which can be traded in for nice poker chips from their store. If you want to check one out, look for me on Yahoo IM (chipper5711) and give me a shout.

 

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