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Borgata 7/25/05

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  • Borgata 7/25/05

    Date: July 26, 2005
    Evening tourney at the Borgata
    $175 + $25
    64 Runners / 9 spots paid
    5,000 starting chips
    30 minute rounds

    The tourney started as they tend to at the Borgata, a bit chaotic and tournament tables were spread all over the poker room. I was at tourney table 6, which in “real life” was an eight-person stud table, with 11 of us at the table it was a bit crowded to say the least. The two rounds or so were uneventful for me. I limped in a few times in position, but the connectors I was playing did not hit and I was bet out of the pots in short order. I did notice that the table was tending to overplay A’s and small PP’s. The table while not wildly aggressive, did seem to have its share of TPTK is a monster hand type of thinking.

    Finally with about 10 minutes left in round 2 I was dealt JJ on the button. Two people limped in from mp so I raised to 600 (blinds were 50/100), I was ok seeing a flop but was also just fine taking down a small pot with the J’s. The small blind then raised the pot 1,900 making it 2500 to go. Both early limpers folded. The SB had been very active to this point playing any A and like to overplay his PP’s so I decided that I would see the flop. If I missed I was ok with a stack of 2500 that I would have left as I was not that worried by the other players at the table. Flop came AJ4 with 2 diamonds. Not wanting to let the SB play any draws, I pushed all-in. He folded tossing his KK face up and proceeded to scold me for not letting him go broke with his K’s. I was happy with the 3,300 pot and the tourney went on. Round 2 continued on and ended in unspectacular fashion.

    About 10 minutes into round 3 our table was broken and I was moved to table 4 (tables were being broken in numerical order). Not much happened in round 3, I played a few pots won a few chips and lost few chips. Basically just treading water. Overall I was pleased with the first few rounds. At the first break I had a stack of 7,800.

    Finally near the middle of round 5, I was in the SB when the action folded to me. I looked down and saw the Ac2c. I decided that I would take the blinds so I over-bet the pot (blinds were 200/400; 50 ante) and made it 1,200 to go. The bb then re-raised me all-in making the bet approx. 3,200 chips. Big mistake by me here…I called. He flipped over AK and proceeded to take the hand. This left me with a stack of about 4,800 chips, below average and not looking real good in relation to the blinds. This hand almost broke me. For the next 40 minutes I stewed on the hand. While I tried not to let it effect my play, I know I was off my game. At the end of round 6 (2nd break) I had a stack of 4800, not great but playable.

    Round 7 started as 6 had left off, not much going on. Just treading water still, staying ahead of the blinds. Midway through table 4 was broken and I was moved to table 1. After playing a few rounds of break even poker, I started to get a bit desperate. Blinds were now 500/1000 with an ante of 100. I wanted to make a move and at least steal the blinds, but no good opportunity presented itself.

    Finally I was in the cutoff –1 when I had the opportunity to be fta and looked down and saw KQo. The hand was plenty good for me to make my stand at this point so I pushed all-in. OTB and SB fold, BB thinks for a second then calls (he was big stack at the table) and flips AJo. Flop was A4T. Not looking good but I have outs. Turn was a blank. River was the miracle J. I got lucky and sucked out. Luck is good!

    Next hand again fta I had AJs so I pushed again. This time I was called by a short stack in the SB who was holding 77. My J hit on the turn and he was out. Two hands aided by luck and now my stack is a reasonable 12500.

    Two hands later I finally had a hand that I was favored with. I looked down to see AA. I called out raise and started to determine how much to bet. As I counted out my bet – first stacking the call amount in front of me then my bet, the player 2 seats to my left called string bet…I was baffled. As it turns out, I was counting my chips in front of my cards, which were close in to my stack of chips. I had never heard of this or been called on it before, but apparently you have to count your chips behind your cards – even if you call raise. I was forced to bet the chips I had stacked in front of the chips. That made the bet 5,000 to go. (Note to self – keep cards protected further out on the table in the future.)

    Given my reaction to the string bet being called, I was surprised (and pleased) when the guy who called the string bet reraised all-in. All folded to me, of course I called. He turned over AJs. My aces held and my stack is now up to 19,000 or so.

    A quick burst of action in round 7 gave me some chips to work with. At this point there were 3 tables playing with about 24 runners left.

    Round 8 started slow but interesting real fast. In fact the toughest decision I have ever had to make at a poker table occurred in this round.

    Blinds 800/1600 ante 200. All fold to the small blind who completes the bet. I look down and see AQo. I like the hand, but would be just as happy not to see the flop so I make it 8,000 to go. To my surprise SB calls (his stack was 22K before the hand). Flop is T54 rainbow. SB looks at his stack then mine, grabs some chips then puts them back down and checks. A little off by his call I check behind him, putting him on a mid PP and not wanting to go broke on the hand. Turn is a second 5. Again he eyes both of our chip stacks and checks. I do the same. River is a 7. SB thinks for a few seconds and calls all-in.

    Now I have a problem. I am A high and have played this hand about as poorly as possible. I am kicking myself for playing so weak. However, something does not feel right about his bet. (This is where the mentor group training and forum reading at PSO kicked in.)

    I reviewed SB’s play of the hand in my mind. Here was a solid (but not spectacular) and aggressive player playing weak. Maybe my initial read of him holding a small PP was wrong. Given his previous play, he would have bet out on the turn if he had a pair. That in addition to the way he kept looking at the chip stacks and checking made me think that he might be trying to steal the pot.

    Then I went even deeper into the tank. Which for me was strange as I rarely take a long time to decided how I want to play a hand.

    Here is a decent player that bets the river after checking through. Why would he bet the river? If he had a pair and I have nothing, I fold so he gains nothing from the bet. So, if he really had a hand (again based on my perception of his level of play) I figure he would check and set a trap trying to induce me to bet and steal the pot. No way does he have a hand, I am 95%+ sure of it.

    So now I virtually sure he is bluffing, but do I make the call. If I am wrong I am out in about 20th place. If I fold I have 11K to work with. Short and in trouble but not dead. Then I think back to a promise I made to myself in January, I promised play to win no matter what. Not make the money, to win.

    I finally look at the SB and say no way you hit that board, I call. He flips KJs and loses the hand to my AQo. To say the table exploded would be an understatement. SB almost screams at me “How can you make that call, you lose and you are out”. Everyone else at and around the table expressed amazement at the call and to a person said no way they make the call. I said the call made perfect sense to me and would be happy to discuss it with them after the tourney.

    I am now the big stack and feeling really good about my play and know I have a great shot to win the tourney.

    Sadly now two things happen. I go completely card dead, and the 2nd biggest stack in the tourney goes on an all-in rampage. I am not kidding; he was going all-in pre-flop 3 of every 4 hands. With no cards and no desire to gamble with a maniac that could hurt my stack, I let him have his fun and bust out several players. The down to this was that he built a large stack at the same time.

    Finally we get down to 10. As only nine were scheduled to get paid, everyone pitched in $20 so the 10th place finisher would get net $180, with that out of the way we played on.

    I was not real active as the all-in player kept up his game of all-in pre-flop play. I decided that when I acted before him (he was 2 seats to my left) and had a hand I would bet hard and make him alter his game. This worked, as he did not want to mess with me either (esp. after the call I had made earlier).

    The next and last real big hand happened when there were 5 players left. Mr. All-in was fta and as was his custom, he pushed all-in pre-flop. The player to his left (good solid player) was a relative short stack with 22,000 chips then called the all-in. This was a surprise, as the short stack had not played against Mr. All-in much at all to this point. What I did notice that Mr. All-in did not look real happy when he got called. I had AQo and did the math (my stack was 46,000). If I call and win I am the big stack again. If I call and lose to the short stack I still make a small profit on the hand. If I call and lose I am out. Two of the three were positive expectations and I was sure that Mr. All-in had junk so I called.

    Mr. All-in rolled 52o, caller had A9spades and I had AQ. I liked it. The flop was even better. QQx, I was way ahead, but the flop did have 2 spades. Turn was a blank. River was the K of spades. Caller wins 72,000 chips. I end up with 48,000 chips and the chip leader loses a bundle.

    We got to four players shortly there after as Mr. All-in busted out player #5. From there we played suicide poker for the most part as the blinds had increased to 5,000/10,000 with antes of 2K.

    At 2:30 am we finally agreed to chop up the money. Mr. All-in had a stack of 151,000 chips; I was second at 80,000. Third was at 60,000 or so and 4th was a short stack. The deal was fair to all (we made the chip leader leave a big tip for the dealers from his take as part of the deal).

    So, I did not achieve my goal of first, but at 2:30am with a 3-hour drive home ahead of me I was very happy with the result.

    One more item of note: I would like to express my thanks to Fishmonger, FishMOMger, and Boonboo who stayed with me, offering support until the tourney completed at 2:30am, even though they too had a 3 hour ride ahead of them. The support was greatly appreciated and meant a lot to me. Not to mention the help Joe (Fishmonger) gave me by sharing his reads of the other players I was facing.


  • #2
    WTG Ed! Great report! Felt like I was sitting on your shoulder while reading it.


    • #3
      Well played Ed


      Great tournament. After reading this I fail to see why you were apprehensive about posting this. It is very hard to play mistake free poker for that many hours. I think the most anyone can hope for is to minimize these mistakes (i.e. not to let the mistake you make bust you) and to induce your opponents to make more mistakes than you.

      There are two things about this story that speak volumes about your maturity as a poker player.

      1. How you dealt with the tilt factor after the Ac2c hand. I have a policy or sort of deal I make with myself after losing a big hand, suffering a suckout or making what I feel to be a bad play on my part. I will fold the next 5 hands or so (provided my stack allows this) and try to regain my perspective. I am obviously not going to fold premium hands in a spot like this, but the cool off period prevents me from playing the marginal hands that start to look good after a beat like that (it's amazing how good Ks9s looks after a hand like that).

      The fact that you were able to play through this and regain your composure is very good.

      2. The AQ call. There are a number of reasons I like this, and not all of them have to do with the result of the hand. The reason I like the call is that you replayed the hand in your mind and analyzed the likely holdings of your opponent and stuck to your convictions.

      I see this all the time from good players, that do not have what it takes to take their game to the next level (not saying that I have this either, but I'm trying to get better). Let's say given the same situation the flop comes down 8 ,5, 5 and you are holding 44. The raiser makes some kind of bet and you call, believing that you have the best hand. If the turn comes down a 2 and the raiser fires out again, why would you fold? You have a read on your opponent and put more chips into the pot to call a bet on the flop. Unless there is some reason for you to believe the turn helped him (not many holdings that a 2 is going to help here), then why fold to this bet?

      Not trusting your instincts can wind up costing you a lot either way, but the one thing that you'll always be able to do is walk away from the table knowing that win or lose you trusted your instincts (which are going to constantly be improving) and made the best play possible. Great players are able to call someone down with Ace high, if they feel they have the best hand. They are just as likely to move all their chips into the pot with nothing (if they think their opponent is weak and will fold a marginal hand). In the end we all get dealt the same cards the same number of times. This awareness of table dynamics is the most difficult thing to grasp and comes only with playing and playing again and again.

      I think this was the most important play of the tournament without a doubt. I'm sure this did wonders for your table image as well.

      I've come to the conclusion that you can only be a winner once you give up the fear of losing. Making that call, I'd say you gave up that fear.



      • #4
        Great report Ed! Congrats on a nice finish & the nice pay day.
        2 Time Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          Great report Ed! Congrats on a nice finish & the nice pay day.
          2 Time Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            Congrats Ed, I'm proud of you and your continuing growth as a player. I'm looking forward to playing you live again and talking strategy. Keep up the good work and striving for first place.



            • #7
              Hi Ed

              Congrats on your win. It was a pleasure to stay & watch & cheer you on. How could we not be there for you, we would never leave a member of the "pso family" & not give them a cheering section. Your play was excellant, I think had it not been so late you would have taken the lead from the "all-in A--hole, :lol: and won the whole tourney.

              Hope we can do it again soon.



              • #8
                Great trip report Ed! And congrats on the nice win.

                I believe all those long months of being 'card dead' are finally paying off. You learned so much from the torture you bore for so long... patience, keeping a level head. And probably most important of all, by sitting back and watching everyone else play while you had no cards... you moved your ability to read players to new levels!

                Excellent game!!

                PS... funny how all these wonderful things are happening in 2005..


                • #9
                  WTG Ed! Great report and great playing! That was one hell of a call and I really like the way you explained how you thought it through and made the right read. Thanks for telling me about it last night. I would have responded then, but I was too busy trying to stay awake and keeping my tail alive.


                  • #10
                    Well done Ed. Congrats!



                    • #11
                      I believe all those long months of being 'card dead' are finally paying off.
                      Are you kidding Maggie? We all know that Ed doesn't need cards. I've witnessed that first hand.

                      No, Ed, I'm not still holding a grudge. You have my respect and admiration, even more so after that trip report.

                      Well done and well documented. Thanks a lot.


                      P.S. See u in AC in September. Pls help keep me away from the blackjack tables this time, will ya?



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