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Stinky Tuna

For me, poker is like sex. After I bust out, I just want to pay and leave. Or, perhaps, it's more like sex because I need about 20 minutes before I'm ready to go back in there and try again.

I returned to the Tuna Club on Sundary to play their 3pm $150 tourney. The game started with 9 players. New players, however, could buy in at any time in the first hour and any busted players could rebuy back in as a new player. It's like a rebuy except a busted player (a) has to pay the fee again ($130+20) and (b) a busted player can only buy a stack that is being blinded off.

After a while, a few new players joined so we broke into two tables of 6. Good for me, I thought. I prefer shorthanded play anyway. And even better, when the table split, I got W (who I have played with a bunch), some dude who I played with most of the last tourney who quite frankly sucked, and this dude across the table who for some reason had already gotten under my skin.

I've probably mentioned the word 'squib' here before, but just in case it didn't stick with you, a squib is a term some friends of mine used to have for a person you don't like for no particular reason. This guy was a squib. I can't put my finger on it, but he just had an air of arrogance around him, and the way he played and barked orders really got under my skin.

So, I ended up showing him by giving him my whole stack. I had K9o in the BB with blinds of 50/100. He had a decent stack with probably 10k or so. We started with 6k, so he was doing alright. I on the other hand was down to maybe 4.5k, with my only major hand a blatant squeeze attempt preflop that ended up getting four callers. I ended up having to fold the flop when my 22 (from the button, with a dead SB, BB, and limp/calls from UTG, and two mid-late players) missed the flop and UTG pushed.

So, Squib raises preflop to 400 and it folds to me with 100 already in as the BB. I decided to call, figuring that I was probably live. Plus, I could get away from the hand depending on what happens next and I wanted to defend my blind. Aside from the one failed squeeze, I'd been largely quiet at the table.

We see a flop, 9JJ. Not bad. Now I just need to decide if he has a pair higher than 99? I figured overall, it was fairly unlikely, but decided to check. He bet 1,000, which I read as weakness. If he had AA, KK, or QQ, he'd likely want me to stay in the hand, so he'd check or bet small. I decided to flat call. The turn was a blank. I checked. He pushed. I called pretty quickly. I had already made up my mind on this hand. He did not have AA, KK, or QQ so I'm good. But I wasn't. He had AJ. Lemon! And so, I was busto.

I could've rebought into the tourney, but I needed some time to think. I may have let my instant dislike of Squib affect my play. All that said, my bust wasn't exactly a train wreck; my read pre-flop was correct, but my read post-flop was off. There's room for improvement, but it wasn't the worst play I ever made. It certainly wasn't anything to tilt over.

Even so, I just couldn't rebuy back in. It just didn't feel like the right play.

Mathematically, it would've probably been wrong to buy back in. I was already into the game for $160 ($130+20+10 dealer toke for an extra T1000). If I rebought back in, I'd be in for $310 minimum and probably $320 for the extra chips. With 15 players paying (there were a few of the original guys who did rebuy) and $130 a pop going into the pot, the pool was $1950. Usually, the break down is akin to 60/30/10%. If it's generous, maybe 50/30/20%. In other words, 3rd place might not even be enough for me to break even on my investment.

Even worse, though, I knew my table image was shot. I was playing poorly and that had to have been noticed. If I rebought, I'd be at the same table, in the same position. With a shitty table image, its a much harder road back. So, I decided to walk.

Yesterday, I returned to the Tuna Club. Wifey Kim had dinner plans with the girls, so I decided to play an early session. When I arrive, Ebs was there with some other people, and he suggested a quick tourney. We played 5-handed and no one had busted by the time the room was filling up. We decided to just bust the tourney, and even though I was probably the slight chipleader, I decided not to protest.

The game at Tuna is usually 2/5 NLHE. Last time, I was hesitant to play and waited for a LO8 game to open up, but this time, I figured I'd jump right in. I'll be frank with you all. 2/5 NLHE is higher than I usually play, since I'm generally a 1/2 player. But it shouldn't be beyond my capabilities. My opponents should not be that much better and the game has the same rules. But yesterday was just an utter disaster.

I started out uber tight, folding for three orbits, mostly because I didn't have a hand better than K5 or J3. I finally got a hand, AQo, and decided to raise from the button to $15 after everyone else folded. The two blinds called. The flop was AJ8. It checked to me and I bet $30 or so. I figured I was good. Both players called. The turn was a 7. It checked to me and I bet $65. The player on my immediate left raised $100 on top. I took my time trying to work through the hand, and eventually focused on my opponent. His mouth was tightly closed, which usually indicates weakness. He was also not looking at me. However, he was one of the five players in the mini-tourney, and from what I saw, he was fairly tight. I just couldn't work out what he had, although I was mildly concerned about hitting two pair. In the end, I decided to follow my read of his body language and raised all-in (for less than $100 more). The river was negligible and he showed T9o, for the nut straight. "I have the nuts." he announced. I mucked. "Sorry" he said. "Sorry? If you were sorry, you'd give my chips back." The table laughed. I added, "Hey man, it's no problem. What else were you going to do with the nuts."

I should've just walked. I felt like a loser, I was playing like a loser, and I had the image of a loser. But I felt like I had something to prove to myself at this 2/5 game and I was leaving in about 45 mins anyway. I checked my wallet and I had a lonely $208 left...I rebought for $200.

A little while later, I raise from the BB with AJs. I get one caller, a Russian kid who seems cagey and loose. I then miss the flop and turn and call him down for no other reason than I think he is making a play and the only scary card is a King, which paired on the turn. On the river, he put me all-in except for $16 I had left. I made the crying call because I actually hit my river Jack, but he had K7 and took the pot. Man, I suck.

It was a freaking slaughterhouse, and I lost $500 total that night. Even today, I have a slightly bad taste in my mouth. I try to keep it all in perspective though. Losing $500 sucks, but I cannot let numbers like that affect me. I can, however, meditate on my errors to hopefully find a way to fix these problems. What I should have done is: (1) leave after the first buy-in if I don't feel comfortable, (2) get a better read on the players before mixing it up, and (3) follow HighOnPoker's number one rule of poker: When you are behind, fold.

Of course, poker is about the journey as much as the destination, so I will just consider this part of the trip. I need to regroup and figure out how to tackle that 2/5 game in the future. I certainly have the skills; I just need to remember to use them.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 7:34 AM,


At 3:45 PM, Blogger dbcooper said...

In your tournament his raise preflop gives you info that he is sitting on a fairly premium hand and even though you have 2 pair 9's and Jacks with a king kicker as soon as he pushed at the turn warning bells should go off that trip jacks are very likely. Tough loss but its happened to all of us. I always find also its tough going from tournaments to cash games and vice versa. Different strategy and reads. Takes me awhile to adapt.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

DB, you aren't wrong, necessarily, but just because someone raises preflop, it does not necessarily mean that they have a "premium hand" (as in AA, KK, AK, QQ). And as it was, he didn't have a premium hand unless you think AJ is premium. At the time, I was taking the players' LAG image into account, which was correct preflop. It just so happened he hit it post flop. Still, I had no reason to put it all on the line there, so I'm not saying I played it well. I'm just saying that it was not a foregone conclusion that a preflop raise = a Jack in his hand.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger dbcooper said...

It definately wasn't a foregone conclusion that he had a jack but certainly a possibility.His bet of 1000 on the flop would have thrown me too as a lot of players would have checked the flop if they had trip jacks(I know I would have) (unless its a scary board) I certainly didn't mean to criticize your call because I may have done the same thing depending on how well I knew the player. I don't classify AJ as a premium hand but a fairly premium hand along with AQ and KQ. By that I mean I know a lot of people will raise preflop with these hands depending on their style of play. Hopefully you get the "squib" next time you run into him.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger darko said...

Regarding the AJ hand on the BB. The hand didn't play out correctly if you only have $16 on the river.

You may be able to check-call on the flop in 2-5, but doing so on the turn and/or the river is an expensive adventure. Unless, your plan was to float the flop, and shove your stack on the turn regardless of what pops up.

Ultimately, you need to commit to your read. It just so happens that in this case, it was wrong.

Yes, the "right" move would've yielded the wrong outcome!

Tilt was prolly the key ingredient in this hand, more than anything.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger c^2 said...


What are the range of buy-ins at the 2-5 game? Do you know the full tourney schedule there? I work in Midtown West so I'd be interested in checking it out.

Lastman Chris

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Hey Lastman. The range of buy-ins were basically $200-500. The tourneys are usually on the weekends, and range from $120 to $250. They also spread 5/10 LO8 on Wednesdays and are pretty open to other ideas. Hit me up with an email. You can just use the tab at the top of the page. Or HighOnPokr (no E) at Yahoo.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you really should not be posting replies on line to a club that you are a guest at.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Anon, I'm a bit confused, but I am very curious about what you mean. Post replies online? What do you mean by replies? Are you referring to my reply to Lastman? If so, he's a pal, so it's not like I am spreading information about the room to the general public. But maybe I misinterpretted your comment, so feel free to either clarify the issue here or hit me up with an email, Anon.

For what its worth, I do not offer info on the rooms to strangers or readers I do not know personally.


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