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Keep My Hands Where You Can See 'Em

I had a break-even night of poker last night. I took third in the Hoy for $50+, but failed to cash in a satellite and a Token SNG. While I advocate satellites and token tournaments, I have to admit that the major shortcoming is the fact that it makes little sense to build a stack up early. Consequently, when the suckout, cooler, or just plain blow-up hand occurs, it usually is a death nell.

The Hoy was a great time, though. I really prefer the lesser crowds we've seen post-BBT3, mostly because it harkens back to the days when a couple of douschebag bloggers would meet up to play an SNG or 4. The smaller crowds make it less of an Event and more of a Get Together. It's also nice to start a tournament at 10pm and not play until 2:30am.

Hoy got some flack not too long ago about switching his tournament to 6-max because it suits his play. Well, I won't comment on that because I think both sides said what they needed to say, but I will mention that now that Hoy is switching back to full tables, I might have to start my own 6-max tournament. I have no shame, after all, and am more than willing to design a tournament merely to benefit myself. Of course, due to the proliferation of poker blogger tournaments, the weekly calender is filled up, so I've come up with an eight day to fit in my tourney. I call it Smonday. Once I can speak to the proper calendar authorities about adding Smonday, I'll post all the relevant info here.

While my results were break-even last night, I played like a champ in the early-goings of the Hoy. I saved a couple of hand histories because, frankly, I think some people at the table either thought I was being a donktastic tool and/or I really kicked ass in these hands and I'm proud of it.

We were in the first level, 15/30, playing 6-handed with double stacks (3000) when this first hand came up. I hadn't done much yet and still had 2,925 when I was dealt KTs in the BB. It folded to NumbBono (with 3290), who raised to 3x the BB, 90. HughDuffy (with 3280) called in the SB and I decided to call as well.

Let's discuss the call, first. KTs is not a premium hand and I was out of position. If anyone would recommend a fold here, I wouldn't argue. However, with deep stacks and low blinds, I felt comfortable with the call.

The flop was Kc8x7c, giving me top pair with a mediocre kicker and creating a potential club flush draw. Top pair is a tricky hand here. I fear a better King more than anything else, as NumbBono coule be raising with AK or KQ. Likewise, Hugh could be calling with KQ or KJ. Those hands might only be a small portion of their ranges (which, incidentally, also include the soul crushing 88 and 77, and for Hugh, potentially 78), but it was still a possibility.

Once again, it goes back to the old decision tree. I could bet out, but if I face a raise from Numb or a check-raise from Hugh, I'm cooked and lose 180 or more immediately (the size of my probable bet here). If I get called, I could be falling into the trap of a better hand (AA, KK, KQ, 88, 77, 87). I will also get called by flush draws, so I rather see what the turn will bring before I act. I checked. NumbBono checked too. We saw the next card.

The turn was a 8c, filling the flush draw and pairing the 8. Hugh bet out 210, which was less than the 270 pot. His bet set off red flags. It felt like a steal play, in my estimation. If I were in Hugh's spot, I would've bet pot there as well, since Numb and I seemed to have given up on the hand. Still, there was a chance that he had the flush, or perhaps the 8, or perhaps a flush draw which still could come, so I only called. Once again, it was cost analysis. I knew that I had enough chips to weather this storm.

In hindsight, I have to admit that I am not 100% convinced that my call was "right" here, but I have to remind myself that in the heat of battle, there are often subconscious things we pick up on that do not translate well later when I am pouring over a hand history. Suffice it to say that at the time, I was a lot more confident with my play than I now feel as I type this out...and that my confidence in my call at the time says more about the play than this Smonday morning quarterbacking.

Back to the hand. NumbBono calls as well, and we see a river, 3d. It's a complete and utter blank. This is where it gets interesting. The pot is 840. Hugh checks. That's right. He checks. My guess is that he had an Ace of Clubs and missed. I do not take it as a check-raise play because so far, NumbBono and I have demonstrated our utter refusal to bet. I take the opportunity now. I assumed that NumbBono has a pocket pair under KK, such as TT or 99. That would explain the preflop raise and the slowdown. I wanted to make some money on this pot, so I decided on a suspicious value bet, 450. It is slightly more than half the pot and looks justifiable to call, since I have a loose reputation and the smaller bet could be a sign of weakness, like a last-ditch steal attempt. NumbBono calls and Hugh folds. At showdown, Numb shows K6h. I was off with my read, but not too far off. My kicker plays and I take down the pot.

This next hand is a real doozy. The blinds are at 20/40 and I have 4415, chip leader for the table by over 1k. I am dealt 88 on the button. NumbBono limps UTG and World Reknown Author Julius Goat (~2600) raises to 160 from MP. It folds to me ont eh button and I just call. Goat's range is too wide right now and I want to see the flop action before I determine whether my 88 is good or not. It folds to NumbBono who calls.

We see a flop of T95, with two diamonds. It is not an ideal flop due to the two overcards, but it is not horrible. It's a lot more likely that someone is playing an Ace, King, Queen, or even Jack, than a Ten or Nine, so I hope that my pair is still good. It checks around to me, which indicates that I am probably ahead. Once again, I fear the flush draw, who will most assuredly call me. Frankly, a good player will even call without the flush draw and then, while out of position, bet the turn if the flush card hits.

The turn is a 9, which is great. If someone else has a 9, they are likely to bet here. Since both players check, I feel confident and bet 360 into the 540 pot. The bet is designed to look weak in order to bring in a weak hand that might fold to a pot-sized bet or, ironically, a smaller bet that might appear to be a value bet.

The river was an offsuit 5 and Goat bets out 1000 rather quickly. Once again, the red flags start flying. This time, it is Goat's decision that the 5 was all that he was waiting for. The 5! He was either representing 55 or perhaps 67s based on the previous action, but both of those hands made no sense.

Remember what I said earlier about the pitfalls of satellites. Since you cannot build up your stack using my choice style of play in satellites, the suckouts/coolers/bad situations that inevitably occur are usually enough to wipe out your stack. Since I had a nice lead on my competition, I didn't have that pressure in this hand. 1000 was a pretty penny, but I could more than afford it.

That wasn't the only consideration to this hand. I already mentioned the speed to Goat's bet and the fact that it didn't make sense in the context of the hand. If he had a strong hand the whole way, he would've bet or at the very least checked the river to set up a check-raise. I know Goat to be a smart player, so that worked against him. I opted for the call. Raising made no sense. If I were ahead, he'd fold and he'd only call if he could beat me. Sure enough, he showed Ks Jh. A busted inside straight draw. My 88 was good.

In our final hand, it was just me and Hoy in a battle to the death. Or, more accurately, it was a battle of the egos.

Hoy had been particularly aggressive against me the entire tournament. I was somewhat annoyed by it, but it was nothing new. Hoy is an aggressive player and against a known LAG like me, he is even more aggressive. Fortunately, I was able to do a little jujitsu and use his momentum to my benefit.

Hoy still had 1180 with blind of 40/80 when this hand occured. I was in the SB with 3325 after losing a big hand to NumbBono. Hoy was in the BB. We were four-handed. It folded to me and I called the 80 BB. I didn't feel the need to raise because I was out of position with a marginal hand and I had no idea what Hoy had. I also know Hoy's play well enough to say that he would be more than willing to exploit a small-ish raise with an all-in, and frankly, I didn't want to get all-in preflop in that sorta situation.

Ironically, as soon as I call, Hoy pushes all-in on my 80 blind. That's a lot different than pushing all-in over a 3x raise (240). Frankly, it appeared to me like Hoy was trying to take advantage of the situation. I looked weak as a loose player who suddenly is just limping after losing a large pot to NumbBono. Hoy's range was super wide to me, although it obviously included problem hands like AA, AK, KK, QQ, and AQ. Notably, though, those were the only hands I had to fear, since I could afford a cointoss against a lesser pair. Also notable is the fact that there was no way Hoy pushes all-in against one player with those big hands. He is much more likely to min bet or even bet 3x the BB to get some money with his premium hand heads-up.

So, I call. The result: Hoy shows 34o and I bust him after the board is dealt.

That's all I saved from the game. From there, I continued playing aggressively until we got to the final table, where I tightened up. On the bubble, I became more active as a means of chipping away at the eventual bubble-boy. I was the shortstack going into it three-handed, and wasn't able to get any traction, eventually busting in 3rd.

Tonight, I'm meeting Skidoo over at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Baby Bo's. Other than that, there'll probably be a little bit of online poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:20 PM,


At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Hugh Duffy said...

Enjoyed the Hoy. Nice job finishing in 3rd.

I looked up the hand you mentioned that involved me. I had 99. I think you're probaby right that I should have bet the pot on the turn although the two calls told me all I needed to know at the time - that at least one of you had a King. Would betting the additional $60 there really induce a fold from either or both of you? I don't know. I'd be interested to hear how you or anyone else would have played that hand from my position.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

this douschebag blogger hopes to get back to the hoy this monday and play some shootout action.

see you there homey.

feels like we should be in okie right now...


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