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Mooking Old Skool

I cashed in 6th out of 94 players in the Mookie last night. It proved an interesting tournament for me, largely because I am finding my way back to my 2007 A-game. Over time, one's style of play naturally adapts to changes around you. Sometimes it's learning from experience or reading. Other times, it's an unconscious adaptation that has more to do with one's psychology than the game itself. At its best, adaptation should occur as a result of the changes in the game itself. NLHE is not the same game today as it was 30 years ago, and in fact, is not the same game today as it was 2 years ago, so not only is adjustment a good idea, but in many aspects, its crucial to continued success.

That all said, I had noticed that my play adjusted in a bad direction. I was way too content playing an early tight style, designed to allow me to avoid suckouts, second-bests, and bad beats in the early stages of a tournament. Unfortunately, while that is probably a smart strategy for some, it just doesn't fit my personality or my play. As I had prepared for the trial that was supposed to start on Monday of this week, I had to remind myself not to prepare an openning statement to mirror my boss's voice, but to mirror my own. You cannot speak to a jury in a character and expect them to believe you. Some guy from a small hick town might be able to play the "Aw shucks" card on a jury, for instance, but from me it would only seem insincere. Poker is the same way. I can play someone else's style, but ultimately, your opponents will consciously or subconsciously identify that you are playing out of your element, and they will benefit from your mistakes.

So, after missing the first 25 minutes of the event (I signed up early and lost track of time), I signed on to see that I had barely lost any chips. And then, I lost half. In no time, I was mixing it up with my opponents, the result of which was a third-bullet failed bluff, a foolish move to some people but in hindsight, a quite natural move for me. The player was an unknown, so likely did not consider me the loose player I am known to be. The board was well coordinated with straights and flushes by the river, but my opponent had turned two-pair and just couldn't let it go. I don't blame him either, as he may've thought that I was jumping in late and therefore trying to make up for lost time. He also had a decent stack, so he may've thought he could afford to gamble. Or, frankly, he may've just not given two shits about what I had. It doesn't matter. All that matters was how that play affected me.

At first, it put me in an awkward spot. I was immediately amongst the short stacks with 1500 or so, although I was far from the danger-zone compared to the blinds. However, once I regained my footing, I became a man on a mission to reaccumulate that which I had lost. I had already established a strong image by bluffing with three bullets and showing my craptastic hand. I actually did tighten up as a result, but there is a big difference between starting tight and adjusting tight to take advantage of table conditions.

Over the next hour and a half, I worked my way back to even, and then through some aggressive play and some looser preflop hand selection, was able to catapult myself into a chipleader position. The major hand came when I held 33 in EP or one of the blinds. I had gotten myself up to 17k and the only close stack at my table was Daddy from Snailtrax, with 15k. He was fairly active and entered the pot with a raise, which a late position shortstack called all-in for less. The side pot was probably 3k+ after I called, whereas the side pot was around 1k. It was a bounty tourney, though, so whoever had the honor of busting the shortie would get a $2 bounty.

The flop came down 237, with two spades. I considered betting to protect against the flush. The sidepot was considerable too. I ultimately decided to check, hoping to check-raise. I'm not sure if the action happened here or on the turn, but Daddy and I eventually got into a betting war. I believe it was a harmless 8 turn, which actually completed the flush draw. I bet out, feeling like I couldn't just let a fourth flush card come out and potentially let Daddy hit a flush and take the bounty. My bet was $3000 or so, under the side pot. I think Daddy ended up pushing all-in immediately. I took my time and considered the flush, but I had redraws to outs to a full house, and I figured that it was not likely that he push if he had a monster flush. He may very well have a nut flush draw with the Ace of Spades. I called, he showed either A7 or A8, with no spades, the shortie showed AK or something with no spades, and I took out both players, won $4 in bounties and had 30k.

I suffered a suckout or two in there, but it was all good, since I had a big enough stack to live through those turns of bad luck. By the final table, it was already 1am, and I played for another 30 minutes until we were down to 6 and I held about $15,000 to everyone else's $50,000 stacks. It was just the way of the cards; I suffered a suckout or two, as I mentioned, and stole when I could to stay alive, but eventually, I'd need to make some magic happen. I didn't but 6th ain't too shabby, especially when I add the considerable amount of bounties.

I feel on my game, so I'm glad for that. I don't expect to play tonight, as I'm heading to Queens to hang with Davey Roose. But tomorrow, I'm heading to the Bash in the early evening, and while I love boozing, I'm more of a GA than an AA kinda guy, so anyone looking for a game, anytime, anywhere, should hunt me down.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:32 PM,


At 12:47 PM, Blogger thedream said...

I just read your Mookie recap. And because I do read your blog, I just wanted to let you know that yes, I do know that you are aggressive. But disregarding that information, if I remember the 3 bullets/2 pair hand correctly, because it was an unraised pot I think I had narrowed your ranged to a small set/JQ/complete air. Anyway, it was a great bet on the river, as I did almost fold.


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