Thursday, February 07, 2008

Close but no Cigar in FTOPS #1

First things first, congrats to Speaker on his nice run and cash in FTOPS #1.

I managed to go out in pretty frustrating fashion, somewhere around 800 (738 spots paid), but it was one of those evenings where I was lucky to even be alive at that point, so it's hard to get too upset.

Not much excitement the first hour and I was sitting at about 3,200 after the 1st break. After the break I went on just about the worst run of cards I can remember, as far as not picking up anything remotely playable, never getting to see a cheap flop from the blinds, or, when I did have something marginally decent like KJs or KQo I was facing a big raise in front of me. I literally didn't play a single hand the entire second hour, and I don't think that's every happened before.

At least the structure was slow enough that going into a card-induced coma for a whole hour didn't hurt too much, so I was at around 2,400-2,500 going into the third hour. I finally found a few semi-playable hands and managed to keep up with the blinds, open-raising with stuff like A7o or QJs from middle position, some button steals with absolute trash, popping the SB from the BB with junk when he just completed, etc.

I was sitting at about 2,800 towards the end of the third hour when I found A10d in MP, with blinds of 150/300 (I think, or close to that) and it folded around to me. I raised it up to 1,200, folds to the BB, who puts me all-in.

When I opened for 1,200 I told myself I could still fold and get away from it if I got re-popped, but sitting there with 1,600 chips left and a pot of 4,000 or so (and average stack of a little over 9K at the time), it suddenly was a lot harder to fold, despite the fact that I knew I was behind as the BB hadn't gotten out of line at all so far and had been playing really tightly. Plus I was tired, it was late, yada yada yada, so I made the "Yeah-I-know-I'm-screwed-call-but-fuck-it-I-can-always-trot-odd-the-I-almost-had-odds-to-call-excuse-plus-it-could-be-a-coinflip" call, and he flips over AA, so, umm, yeah. Screwed.

Except two diamonds flop, and I turned the flush, to get back to decent stack territory (although still a few thousands below average). With a little breathing room I was actually able to play some cards again, picking up some small pots here and there and a decent pot when I got to see a free flop with 10 3 in the BB and the flop came Q 10 3.

Lost a chunk out of my stack with KK versus JJ, though, and I was getting a little short towards the bubble, sitting on 9,000 with blinds of 400/800 and about 800 players remaining. Folds around to MP (who had about 20,000) who opens for $1,800, and folds to me one off the button with 99.

Well, crap. I can pretty likely fold to the money but then I'd be sitting really short on something like 4,000-5,000, and the pride in simply cashing in these events has worn off. I tend to play it cautious and get to the money then open up and try to make moves, but that's a bit pointless when your stack is too short to put much pressure on anyone, yada yada yada.

The guy who'd opened was also fairly decent and hadn't gotten out of line much, and I just didn't read him for a very big hand. I thought a push could get him to fold a lot of hands he'd make that smallish raise with that I'd be racing with like AQ, AJ, A10, maybe even 1010, as he'd be calling off a third of his stack to call me. If I have to race with AK, so be it. If he's sitting on a monster, so be it.

So I shove, it folds to him, and he goes into the time bank. I just wanted the fold at that point, but he finally calls with A10o. Kind of hate that call myself, but, then again, I only made it as far as I did calling off my last chips with A10 myself (but it was sooted!) so I guess I can't throw too many stones.

The flop comes A 6 8, of course, but before I can feel too sorry for myself a 9 spikes on the turn to give me a set. I have to admit, embarassingly, that I was very happy and pumping my fist as the river "blanked" with a 7, and the fist-pumping only stopped when all the chips slid his way. Didn't even see that that the 9 also gave him the gutshot straight which the 7 filled up. At least it wasn't a live tournament, as that'd have been much more embarassing as far as pre-mature celebration goes.

So yeah, a pretty frustrating end, but I got donkfish lucky to even be in that spot, so I suppose what goes around comes around. I feel like I played pretty well to even be in the hunt, though, so not too many regrets. As far as pushing with 99 there, I'm kind of "meh" on it. If you turned his hand over face up and guaranteed that he'd call, I'd likely fold. I'd rather take shots at stealing late near the bubble or finding a bigger hand than flipping coins in that spot and tournament situation, but I think you can also make a decent argument for shoving as well (especially if you remove the certainty that he'll call).

Next up is the limit event on Friday, which should be fun. I still stand by my theory that there's even more luckboxery involved in LHE tournaments as opposed to NLH tournaments, as you've got to build up a stack early or you're usually simply doomed when blinds start hurting, so fingers crossed for some early cards in that one.

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