Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Brutal night at the poker table, but it didn't end all bad. SnG variance can eat you up sometimes.

The details are pretty boring, just a case of extended cold cards. Tried playing some $1/2, some $25 NL, SnGs, MTTs, even some Omaha. Just couldn't get anything going. Couldn't make any draws, pocket pairs didn't hold up, etc.

The best was in a $15 MTT. It was pretty early on and I had a decent stack. I'm in the big blind with 22. Blinds were 30/60 I think, and a middle position player raised it to 120, button raised to 200, and it came to me. I was going to muck but had a decent stack, was in the BB, yada yada yada, so I called, and MP called.

Flop was A 2 7, rainbow. I bet 100, MP calls, button raises to 200, I call. (I thought about pushing but decided to slow play and let him bet the hand for me, thinking he had A with a good kicker.) Turn is a 5. Checks to button, he raises 1000. Now I'm sweating a bit, thinking maybe he did have AA, but I still don't think so, as his play to this point hadn't been subtle at all. I call, MP calls.

River is a 5. Sweet, I just made my full house, 2s over 5s. Checks to buttons, he pushes all-in, I call (he's got me covered), MP calls. The pot is a little over T10,000, which is good for chip leader of the whole tournament.

I flip over my full house, MP shows a pair of aces, and our friend the button turns over 5 2 offsuit, for a larger full house, 5s over 2s. I honestly just sat there and stared at the screen for awhile. I could deal with my full house getting beat down by, oh, say aces over fives, or even sevens over fives, but how the hell could he play 5 2 o like that? Re-raising pre-flop? Re-raising on the flop? Meh.

So I kept mucking around in SnGs and it just got worse. Played myself down to about $50 in the account at one point. Sweet. But I recovered a bit at the end, won a $20 SnG and a $30 SnG, and shazam, suddenly I was just about back to even.

No real poker lessons learned today. I got a little tilty at one point in there and pushed too hard with QQ pre-flop, busted out by KK, but that happens. The two wins at the end of the night were pretty solid, as I didn't get great cards, but picked my spots, and my cards held up for once.

It is interesting, focusing lately on short stack play in tournaments and SnGs. As time goes by I'm less impressed (well, more annoyed than anything, obviously he knows his poker and maths and what-not) with Sklansky and crew, but his Tournament Poker for Advanced Players was worth buying just for the section on handling short stacks, from both sides of the equation. I'm still baffled at how big stacks insist on trying to push around the short stack, often with horrible cards that do nothing but double up someone who is usually forced to go all-in. It's the low to middle stacks that are vulnerable, scared to risk anything until the field clears out, not the short stack. But you see that time and time and time again.

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