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Tick-Tick-Tick-BOOM! Prelude

Hear that ticking? That's the sound of me ready to blow up, right before the money in last night's Hoy. I played like a goddamn champ, simulblogging the whole way, until I got to the bubble and then suddenly choked harder that a Mama on a ham & cheese sammich! But at least I got some truly wonderful hand histories from a variety of sensations. Quite frankly, I have enough for probably a month of posts, so I'm going to get crackin' and see where we end up. Throughout, you'll see a lot of my off-kilter strategy and hopefully understand how I either build a big stack or go home early (by design, people!).

Let's start with an appetizer. I was playing a 4-way HU SNG on FT while I earned my token for the Hoy in a 18 person turbo SNG. I freakin' rocked the HU SNG, but alas, again fell short at the finish line after a few suckouts (bound to happen) that generally left me healthy but eventually chipped away until I hit the doom switch.

Heads-Up Set-Up
I am heads-up with JMcEvoy (not that McEvoy) and he has 600 chips compared to my 2400. I've been mercilessly and relentlessly attacking him pre or post flop and he is on his dying breath. Essentially, I've beaten him down to the point that this upcoming hand has become not only probable, but downright likely. This is all about controlling the game and your opponent

In the SB, McEvoy calls to 40 (the BB). I have 43o and check. The flop is K94 with two clubs. I have weak bottom pair, weak kicker. I bet out pot, 80, as I have been doing failrly steadily. I know he has openned up his range because I have been relentlessly attacking. I hit a pair, and he likely did not, so the bet makes sense. He flat calls. The turn is a Q offsuit. At this point, I check. I still know if he has anything (his call could be from frustration or he's drawing), but I don't see much point in putting more money into the pot. Then, he screws himself by pushing all-in 480 into a 240 pot. This SCREAMS bluff. If he actually had something worthwhile, he'd be stringing me along with a smaller bet. By giving him the opportunity to bet out (i.e., by checking), I give him enough rope to hang himself with such a transparent ploy. He might be overbetting for value, but he hasn't done that yet in this game, and regardless, even if I lose this hand, I will have 1800 to his 1200. In HU play, having the extreme chip advantage, often by aggressively attacking pots early on, will pay off in dividends. This may look like a ballsy call, but I have so much wiggle room that I can take the hit comfortably, all the time acknowledging that he is likely desperately trying to steal the pot. And I was right. He shows AJo (with no clubs) and the rivered 4 seals his fate.

There's a Time for Everything, and its called College
Meanwhile, in the token race, I have 1980, having slightly chipped up. We are at the 150/300 level, though, so I'm under 10x the BB, and only two people (one of which is the BB) have less than me out of the 9-players left. I only have two options, push or fold. Frankly, I think I excel at these situations because I can often "sense" when its safe to fold. In the next two hands I had that sixth sense and knew when one hand would work and when the other wouldn't.

I am dealt A9h in the Big Blind, generally a strong pushing hand from the button when you are in such a short-stack situation AND in position to steal. Unfortunately, before the hand gets to me, a player in MP with over 4500 flat calls the 300 blind. Now its up to me, and suddenly because of that limp in MP, pushing doesn't look so smart. I am ONLY trying to steal the blinds. I do not want to be called, even by 38o, because this is a peep tourney and 5 pays as good as 1st. I'm playing for 5th here, so no weighted cointosses, even if they are in my favor. Alas, I fold, and the players see an Ace-high flop. In many other situations I might push, but I had to consider the possibility that the MP player had something as simple as AT and therefore would call and have me completely dominated, or even KQ, at which point, he'd probably still call (he was loose) and potentially draw out on me. Once the A-high flop hit, the MP player bet pot and everyone folded. Coulda been A8 too, I guess, but I wasn't looking to gamble in a peep game.

In that same peep tournament two hands later, the blinds move up to 200/400. I'm still hovering at 1980 with two players below me in chips and 9 players remaining. I'm two spots from the button with KJo. The SB has 3k and the BB has 2.5k, so they are both fairly vulnerable. It folds to me and I raise all-in. Everyone folds. What's the difference between this hand and the last? (1) No one limped before me, so there is 0 indication of a playable hand, (2) the players still in the hand would only have 500 or 1k left if they lose to me, whereas in the last hand one player could call me, lose and have about 2.5k left, (3) I am not on the button, so this looks like less of a steal, (4) the blinds increased to 200/400 so I now have only 5x the BB. On that last note, I still have enough to push people off of a hand (based less on the amount of BB I have and more on the fact that everyone is getting short), but once those blinds move up to 300/600, I'll have barely 3x the BB and suddenly any BB is calling me. I have to steal NOW. If I get called by an Ace-rag or a low pocket pair, then so be it. At least if I double up, I'll have some breathing room instead of waiting for the blinds to go up at which point doubling up means little to nothing.

I could start the tournament recap right now, but I think I am going to drag it out for a little throughout the day and tomorrow. I have probably a dozen or so hands to go over, so this is the first intermission. Go use the bathroom, maybe pick up some popcorn and I'll meet you back here in a couple of hours for more poker tomfoolery.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:19 PM,

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