There was a suggestion made in response to the last entry I posted suggesting I use the hand replayer tool in my musings. I have spent a bit of time with it, and I think I have the basics figured out. This will be our test run!

I've been playing the Fifty50's a lot lately, and I have a few I'd like to replay here. Earlier, however, I was in one that stood out (perhaps simply because it's the most recent win). It's not the biggest prize I've taken in one of these, but it's perhaps the smartest one I feel I played.

Here's what I'm going to do today. I'm going to insert the hand replayer for each hand I played. I was dealt 27 hands, I played 8. I'm going to describe my thoughts through each hand, splitting my reasonings into two sections per hand: the thoughts before the crucial decision in each hand, and the reasoning behind that crucial decision.

And what I want to know?

What would YOU do?

My thoughts going into this tournament: I'm down to less than half of my starting bankroll (to save embarrassment I'm not going to disclose either of those amounts), and I've been reading one of my favourite poker books. I've been trying to review my play and look for my weaknesses, and trying to fill those holes in my game. Simply put, my goal is to accumulate as many chips as possible so I can win as much money as I can.

That being said, this is a short and sweet tournament, by design. Only certain sng rules apply to this type of tournament, and others have to be created. For instance, you can choose one of two strategies: try to place, or try to win as much money as possible. How much you can win is entirely up to you, so my preferred strategy is simple: accumulate as many chips as possible.

If you aren't familiar with the Fifty50 sit and gos, I highly recommend them as a quick action, quick from start to finish game. They range in buy in from $1.50 to $200 or more. They start with 10 players, and when it gets down to 5-handed the game is over. They rarely last an hour.

You are paid a certain amount each for cashing, and then another set amount for every 100 chips you possess when play ends. This is why you have some control over how much you win, and simply surviving isn't a successful strategy (in my opinion, anyway.) I should note that I do see quite a few people sit out during the beginning of this tournament, and others who don't seem to play anything. I don't know if they are just hoping to cash with a small profit, or trying to establish table image, or just not getting good cards. It just seems a waste of time to me. I start off tight, but not for too long - there just isn't the time in these things!

OK. Here we go.

Hand 1:

The first hand I played was the 4th hand dealt. I don't have much time to create a tight image, but if I'm going to do it at all, it's going to be in the first two or three rounds. People are feeling each other out, and not many people at the $7 level are insane all-in every hand type bozos.

I was in the big blind with . Everyone folded to the guy on my right, who limped.

What would YOU do?

I took a risk, I suppose, but I don't like to limp on the button, and I was fully prepared to fold to any resistance from either blind or my neighbour.

Hand 2:

I next volunteered chips in the 9th hand dealt. Mid-late position, again I had .  The player under the gun raised a funky amount - it's 30/60 blinds, and he raises 78 to a total of 138. I always smell something fishy when people raise funky amounts, so when action folded to me, I called. While I don't limp with QK early on, I also don't like re-raising with it. Maybe when we're down to 4 people, but this kind of tournament doesn't get there. I called, as did the big blind. The flop came down . The pre-flop raiser bet another 266 - just over half the pot, and another stinky bet.

What would YOU do?

Obviously, I could have saved myself a couple of chips. I don't mind. I saw what I was up against, and if the flop had come out differently, it would have been a whole different ball game. Not only that, but I gained information about both of them.

If I had held the big blind's hand, I would have bet on the river. That's just me.

Hand 3:

I folded the next 3 hands, then pay the small blind and have dealt . Today it seems to be Queens, not Jacks, that have my interest. Go figure. This might be a leak. Shh. You didn't hear that. Move along folks, there's nothing to see here.

One player in middle position limps in, and I completed the blind. I wasn't willing to deposit more than that with this junk hand. The big blind checked behind me.

The flop came . What would YOU do?

I hit top pair, medium kicker. I bet 3/4 of the pot, and took it down. Exactly what I was hoping for. A raise would have put me in a difficult spot since I was out of position, but I wasn't attached to that hand at all, so I felt it was a good way to find out where I was in the hand. I was ahead - enough, anyhow.

Hand 4:

I folded one hand then saw in the cutoff position. Everyone folded to me.

What would YOU do?

Remember my strategy? Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate!

Hand 5:

The very next hand I was dealt . The first thing I thought of was an episode of High Stakes Poker I watched where Eli Elezra had pocket 6s and made a speech before going all in.

It was the only time I've known of where someone made a speech without holding pocket aces when pushing their chips in. It was a cash game, but he said, "play it like tournament." That one phrase has stuck in my head and I can hear him say it whenever I get dealt small pocket pairs.

That being said, I'm not a big fan of pocket pairs. I've been playing pots out of position, so I'm not likely to get too much credit for the fact that I'm playing few hands - they may seem the wrong ones to someone who hasn't seen my hole cards. But still, it's a made hand pre-flop. Can't ask for too much more than that, because at least if I get called I have a better hand than 7T suited.

When a player ahead of me min. raised the blind to 200, I was comfortable seeing the flop, so I called. Then the big blind pushed all in, and the original raiser folded.

What would YOU do?

Oops! Did I ever get lucky! I decided to call because of Eli Elezra. He just kept nagging me. But more than that, it's about accumulating, so coin flips that won't knock me out if I lose are going to have to happen if I want to win large in these things.

Hand 5:

It was hand 19, with 7 players left, that I decided things needed to get serious. I needed to be the one to knock out the last two people. I came into this hand with 3131, and was second in chips. I don't like winning 10% of the money when I can win 30%. I don't like to settle. Yes, as you might imagine this often leads to me either winning the most money or being knocked out in 6th. Luckily, so far I've won more times than I've been knocked out.

Back to hand 19. It helped my decision to get serious that I was looking at . I was in the big blind and the player in the cutoff position pushed all in with 1480, while the rest of the pack folded to me.

What would YOU do?

To me, this was a no brainer. If I can call an all in with pocket sixes, why would I fold pocket tens in a nearly identical situation??

I felt really great about my potential winnings at this point.

Hand 6:

After folding a bunch of junk hands (7Qo, 75o, T2o, 7Tc*, 4Kd), I was fed up. I was dealt in the small blind, and it was the first ace I'd been dealt in the entire tournament. It looked juicy. Plus, everyone folded to me.

What would YOU do?

You can't let up on the gas pedal completely when you are dealt a series of garbage. If I'd been raised or seen an undesirable flop, I'd have released immediately. Instead I picked up the blinds and antes and maintained a slight chip lead over the table.

A few of the hands I'd folded could have been profitable to play, but they didn't feel right, either because of position, other players' actions, or just the feeling I got based on the timing of their limps/raises. *I played a suited 7T earlier in the tournament, but then I stole the blinds. This time there had been a raise made ahead of me, and I didn't want to go to war with that sort of hand.

Hand 8:

The last hand of the tournament was my nightmare of all nightmares. Anyone care to venture a guess? I'm not going to post it here. Watch the hand to see.

Let's put it this way. It's a hand no one likes to have when facing an all in push from the guy who has only 400 less than you. He's the only one who can really damage you. It's a hand all your senses are screaming at you to fold. But, only if he has a very high pocket pair. If he has medium pocket pairs or is attempting to steal the blinds in some ridiculous fashion, you should be dancing. When people get impatient in these tournaments, they tend to do that. They don't want anyone to call them, they are just trying to keep their chips around the same level while they wait for someone else to jump the gun first. It's the raises and re-raises at 6 players that make me nervous in Fifty50s. The all ins make me laugh, and depending on my situation and holding, consider calling.

You already know what I did. What would You do? Would you have called, or folded and waited for a better opportunity to end it?

In the end, I won $26.52 of the $66.80 prize pool, or 39.7%. I finished with 8911 in chips, more than half of the 15k that is dispersed in the beginning of the game. The other 4 evenly divided the rest, from 14 to 17% each.

Here are my stats according to the game:

27 hands played and saw flop:
 - 2 times out of 4 while in small blind      (50%)
 - 3 times out of 3 while in big blind      (100%)
 - 3 times out of 20 in other positions      (15%)
 - a total of 8 times out of 27      (30%)

 Pots won at showdown - 3 out of 4      (75%)
 Pots won without showdown - 4

I did play most of my hands out of position. This isn't typical of me. At least I don't think so. It's the first time I've noticed that. Perhaps another leak to plug? Carry on, everyone, it's nothing you need to worry about or focus on. Go try one of your own Fifty50s, and let me know what (and how) YOU do!!