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TJ H2H play-off

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  • TJ H2H play-off

    Thanks to all my PSO friends that were pulling for me to take down the SP 10K H2H Loyalty match versus T. J. Cloutier.

    I played the first loyalty event in April, 2007 and won that event against a strong field of PSO membership. Then I played the PSO Loyalty play-off 13 months later against all the 33 remaining qualifiers and won the opportunity to play Mr. Cloutier in Las Vegas. Jan (the counselor) and I played over an hour of H2H play when we got it down to 2 players. She was a very worthy opponent in that match. From what she told me TJ just out flopped her in their match when she played H2H in the other match.

    "Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

    I've been playing tournament poker at the World Poker Open in Tunica, MS since 1999. Over the years I've played at the tables with TJ 3 or 4 times. It worked out that every time I was in a pot with TJ, I happened to have [AA] or [AK], [AQ] and flopped and [A] when I didn't start with pocket [AA]. Each time I'd bet or raise with my top pair or over pair versus TJ, he put me on a specific type hand and folded and got away from my hands rather cheaply.

    One other piece of history I remember with TJ. My friend Ed Pardon played the final table of an event in Jan. 2004 NLHE at the Tunica Classic. TJ flopped a set of [A]'s and Ed made a heart flush when they were H2H and TJ managed to not go broke on the hand when Ed made a bet on the river. TJ was very good at surviving when the tournament was on the line.

    I remembered those situations from our history playing in Tunica. I know that TJ has an excellent memory of any player that he has played with in the past.

    My plan going in to play versus TJ was to (1) play lots of small pots pre-flop. (2) Only play big pots when I held a big hand post flop. (3) If I could get a 10% to 20% chip lead on TJ, I would play very few raised pots OOP. (4) I would try to avoid giving up the chip lead once I got the advantage.

    When I got the choice of playing TJ first or second match, I chose to play the first match because I didn't want TJ to establish a rhythm to his game before I came to the table.

    When we started, I didn't want to make any big pots pre-flop without [AA] or [KK]. When I held a hand I wanted to play from the sb FTA, I would only make it 2*bb as my standard raise for pot control. If he came over the top, I could fold with very little damage to my stack when I was forced to fold with a marginal hand. When TJ opened with a raise and I wanted to play post flop, I would not re-raise. I would call to see if I could catch TPTK with [AK] type hands or spike a set or two pair with other holdings and maybe a flush when I was playing suited connectors.

    Any time I faced a substantial bet post flop and I didn't think I held the best hand, I would fold and not give TJ any action.

    If I held top-pair or some other hand that figured to be the best hand, I would make a stab at the pot to judge TJ's reaction. This method worked to my favor. TJ made some excellent reads when I out flopped him and got away from the hands when I held TPGK type hands.

    Early in the match, TJ raised pre-flop with [QQ] and I called with [AK]ss and flopped top pair. I got a slight chip lead at this point and never got behind.

    As the match proceeded, I noticed that TJ rarely bet an [A] high flop unless he held Top pair. On four occassions I missed the flop in position and when TJ checked the flop I would make a feeler bet of 1/2 PSB and he would fold (see note above on our playing history). This is the part of my plan that got me the most of my chip lead. Sometimes I would be the flop and sometimes I would wait until he checked the turn on an [A] high board, then I'd make a feeler bet. I was lucky on all my representing the [A] on the high card boards. All those bluffs worked. I got really bold on one of them. TJ made a small raise pre-flop from the sb, I called with [3h,4h] to see if I could spike a disguised holding and take TJ off for a big pot. The flop came down [A,2,9]rb. I made a semi-bluff on the flop and TJ laid down his hand. I know I had a gutshot str8 draw, but I could not have stood any heat if he played back since I only had [4] high.

    Another hand I played by calling TJ pre-flop when I held [As, Js] and the flop came out with two spades. TJ checked and I bet the spade draw and TJ laid the hand down.

    The next hand I remember was when I held [Q,4] and the flop came out [A,Q, x][x]. TJ checked the flop and the turn. I bet the board figuring since he checked twice, he didn't connect to the board. Surprisingly TJ showed [Q,7]. Apparently, he was using our history and figuring I wouldn't bet unless I had an [A] or I could beat Top pair.

    One thing I will have to admit. TJ was getting many substandard starting hands. He showed me several hands as he folded [9,2], [7 high], etc. I was getting more than my share of [A] high and pocket pair hands when TJ held weak cards. The deck was on my side in this match. After TJ became short stacked (under 3K], I sensed that he was trying to trap me on a few hands to double back into the match. At this point I decided to practice an avoidance strategy and only play small pots and chip away at TJ's stack. This worked well for me.

    At the end, TJ got to the flop with a [J] in his hand and flopped top pair on a [J,T,x] board. I happened to have [9,8] with and OESD. I checked behind to keep the pot small trying to avoid doubling TJ up. TJ slow played his top pair trying to trap me into betting. The river was a [7]. TJ was FTA and could wait no longer to bet his top pair. He pushed in to take the pot down, but was unlucky for me to catch the str8. He was down to 1800 pre-flop and he only had 1600 when he pushed on the end.

    The matched lasted about 25 to 35 minutes (I think).

    I wish to thank AlSpath, Mark and Tina, and the new owners along with all the staff and members of PSO for this great opportunity. I will endeavor to be an outstanding ambassador for poker and PSO while using my sponsorship points to play in future events.

  • #2
    It was indeed a wonderful experience, once in a lifetime and you made the most of it, then won the PSO on Tour event, what a week.

    Congrats from all the Staff at PSO and you earned it against arguably one of the giants and legends of the game.

    Now, can you explain why we should invite you to the next event in Tunica? (wink)


    • #3
      Originally posted by AlSpath
      Now, can you explain why we should invite you to the next event in Tunica?

      Always invite the winners, they have money. The members have a chance to get some of it.

      The members can also witness how winners play and respect the game & the other players.

      My personal favorite reason to be invited: The winners get to win some more.

      The bestest reason: To get to visit with and play poker with a great bunch of folks.


      • #4
        Congrats on the win(s) !!!

        Good Luck with the SPs and make even more.

        Al - Any chance to get TJ to respond to this post on his approach and how he was trying to play/react. I think it would be great to hear from the other side of the felt.



        • #5
          Congrads on the win!

          How did you do in that mixed ring game.... was fun to play those odd games I thought.



          • #6

            The first round was badugi and there was a considerable amount of raising. All my starting hands were loaded with suited cards and pairs or trips. I couldn't get much value to be the third person coming in and drawing 2 or 3 cards for a raise. I called on third street a couple of hands from the blinds for a one card draw and bricked. I didn't put any money on the second draw for 2 cards. I was catching bad and figured my cards were out based on the action.

            I was only in the MIXED Ring game for a short time because I was called for a seat (my preference) O8b $4/$8.

            The O8b $4/$8 was surprisingly quiet active. I'm 61 years and most of the time I was the youngest player in the game until a fish would swim by and leave his/her eggs on the table.

            The O8b $4/$8 was a fun game to play. I was up close to $600.00 the first 4 days but gave it back on my last few days playing when the deck went cold.

            It was a lot of fun meeting and playing with you guys.




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