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Thursday, March 30, 2006 

Wednesday's Tournament

Had a good showing last night for the most part. Decided to take a break from the wonderful world of online poker and make an appearance at a local monthly tournament here in town. This guy runs a pretty good game. Usually has 1-2 no limit game several times a week, but every last Wednesday of the month, he’ll host a $100 tournament with live action following. Last nights buy in was only $75 + $15 for some reason. Didn’t get the details on the reduced buy in.

I enjoy hitting this tournament up for the simple fact you’re playing in a field where everyone thinks they’re a professional. You can double up fairly quickly if you wait for your hand with these people. The risk however is the sheer amount of donkeys at this game. That’s how it goes though. Of the 30 or so people I played with last night, there was only one individual that really stood out with any sense of talent or skill. He ended up with an extremely healthy stack half way through. However, as the blinds kept increasing, short stacks made moves, and he couldn’t just let them go. He ended up doubling up every short stack on my table. While his early play was impressive, it was interesting to see him implode later on. His play would make for a good study, however, I’ll save my two cents.

As for my performance, I really just waited and waited. I threw a few bluffs out there and was successful in my attempts. When I finally did find a few hands, ended up taking some hard hits. Found KK in decent position twice with callers each time. My kings went down both times to lower pocket pairs hitting straights of all things on the river. Kings were my bane last night. But the good news is that while tempted to let this send me on tilt, I regrouped and kept my focus. In the past, in scenarios with KK, QQ, JJ, I’m often tempted to get ALL of my chips in the middle. I’ve adjusted this approach and while I make considerable raises, I’m trying not to risk my entire tournament on these impressive starting hands. This strategy appears to hold merit these past few weeks.

As the tournament continued, did find several more good hands that I hit and run with. Ended up trying to make a decent move for every passing of the button. This allowed me to stick and jab and continue scooping smaller pots. I believe I was only involved in one very large pot where I call an all in bet with my K7 suited. He held pocket deuces. I caught a 7 on the flop and he was out. This did well for my confidence as this individual was responsible for drawing out on me against my KK’s earlier.

As the tournament got down to the final table I found myself with a decent stack. Maybe 4th best. Tournament paid out 4 spots. I decided to slow things down and wait for my move in hopes of these eager young guns knocking each other out. Action bounced around for a while with nobody sent packing. As a result, the blinds took a huge jump which caused some turmoil, but the guy running the show was adamant about the blind spike which in the end, I respected. However, I now found my stack severely depleted. Made a few key bluffs, and ended up w/ pocket AA’s at one point which allowed me a considerable amount of breathing room. At this point, people finally did start knocking each other out. Before I knew it, we were battling it out on the bubble. Minded my p’s and q’s and worked myself in to the money. Next thing I know, 4th place get’s knocked out and we’re now playing for 3rd. Action is fairly mundane at this point, blinds post, raise, fold fold. Worked for me for a little while. Ended up with JQ suited. I don’t think I made a bad play, but I ended up pushing in the small blind hoping to pick up the caller and the big blind. As it turns out, the caller calls my all in bet with A4 suited. Blanks all the way down to the river. He takes my chips with the better kicker.

In hindsight, had I just waited for a better hand, I’m sure I would have walked away with first place. But thought I was in a good spot to pick up those chips with that move. I’m not going to beat myself up over it and play the guessing game. Overall, I feel I played a very good tournament. Was pleased to walk away with 3rd. Just burns you when you know the two you left playing heads up are not in your same class. And I realize that may sound a bit egotistical, but I suppose you have to have an ego to do well in the poker world.

Was a decent evening of live poker. I really do miss getting out from behind my computer and playing in person. Personal commitments to family, work, etc. has made it hard to do the live play thing as of late. But, I do plan on getting out and about as much as possible before the WSOP. And of course, I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress.


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