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WSOP League Play - Harrah's Joliet - Week 2 Report.

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  • WSOP League Play - Harrah's Joliet - Week 2 Report.

    WSOP League Play - Harrah's Joliet - Week 2 Report.

    Hi again everyone!

    I played last Tuesday, but did not feel up to posting this when I got home...I was just GUTTED by how poorly I played!

    First, the results...

    I busted 41st of 61. I am now mired in 60th place in the league, and the only thing I have to hang my hat on is the fact that our worst 3 scores will drop out. With a 49/71 and a 41/61 I am hoping THESE are my 2 worst scores!

    JWK24 did ok again, but busting 31st isn't going to make him super happy. Dave (TheLangolier) made the final table though, busting 8th, so at least he garnered some nice points.

    We had a $5 last longer bet between JWK24/TheLango/Myself, and 1 old school pso'er (Jason, MidgetsRFunny). Dave's FT wasn't quite good enough to win him our $20 though, as Jason managed to stick around until 7th. I'll let the others tell you about their tournies though, and focus on my back to my "donk-itude!"

    I entered this week with the thought of playing aggro poker, in hopes of accumulating a stack early and running deep. I felt even if that strategy resulted in another early bust-o, it was fine; the fast structure of these games means you NEED to chip up early to run deep and I still had 2 scores to "burn". If an aggro approach nets me just 1 deep run out of my first 3 games, I'd be + in terms of later "ladder climbing" games to add score.

    That is all fine and dandy in terms of thinking, but when your EXECUTION goes a-wry, something really stinks about any "plan"...

    Things started fine really. I folded my first 4 or 5 hands, and after the blinds had passed me, I open raised A7o from the High Jack chair first to act.

    - The BTN was a guy who was at my table last week (the "poor player" who flatted my QJs raise from last week), so thinking he had me pegged as a bit of a "nit", I thought my risk was solid.

    - The guy to my immediate left (in the CO) was an unknown middle 50's type player, who seemed reasonably ABC with my minimal info.

    - SB was another guy from last week, a pretty read-able player who had ok ABC skills, but who also seemed a bit intimidated if/when I entered a pot. He had shown a bit more looseness early than he had last week (he was catching some cards early then, not so much this week), and had dropped about 1500 already of his 4k start stack. Bottom line was I did not figure him for coming along versus my raise without a quality hand.

    That left BB, about whom I knew NOTHING...

    BB flats my raise. Flop comes A 4 T rainbow.
    BB checks, I bet about half pot.
    I'm thinking " you REALLY have a bigger A than mine?"

    Turns tosses out a 6, and BB checks again.
    I fire about 2/3rds of the pot, both for value, and to trigger any possible slow play raise that may allow me to muck...uh uh...BB flats again. Now I'm really thinking "WTF!"

    River comes a 5, and BB checks again.
    I tank for a second, and realize I really do not have any bluff chance here.
    Any possible weak draw he might have been looking for probably got there, including most all the Aces weaker than my A7. Either my hand is best and this guy is probably folding (only A2/A3 is behind me now) , or this guy is calling or RAISING with a set/2 pair/cheesy wheel and I am going to lose more. So I check behind.

    He tables JTo, and I stack about 1400 more chips (taking me to around 5200) while shaking my head and still thinking "WTF"...I didn't have long to wait to figure it out though. 2 hands later this guy raised all in over an EP raiser, got called, and busted with KTo vs AKs. He was probably a total new player who just did not "get it" yet...either that, or he was playing "black jack" and thought any 20 was good enough to win!

    The play of this hand pretty much went right along with my aggro strategy, which was:

    TAKE THE BETTING LEAD as early as possible!

    In any fast structure MTT, even at the initial levels when you are still somewhat deep, aware opponents will tend to recognize the loss of chips as damaging to their chances when the blinds do go up. In these games, we start with 80BB, and at the 1st increase a start stack is only 40BB. By the 2nd level increase, a start stack is only 20BB. With only 40 minutes of live play (maybe 20 to 30 hands), that is FAST!

    Any aware opponents, those who may normally call to draw at you with decent pot/implied odds, has got to realize that even calling a single "bullet" on continuation may lead to him/her hitting a push/fold decision point on their stack very quickly indeed. As such, ANY call "should" be suspected to be made with pretty solid strength, and any 2nd bullet bet should CERTAINLY be considered strength...and that was why I had "discussed" with myself pre game the benefits of taking the betting lead EARLY.

    If I had only listened to me...

    I folded all the way around to my BB (just card dead), when ABC middle aged guy on my left open limps from UTG. He gets 3 callers, and I check my option with Q5h; there is about 550 in the pot when the SB mucks.

    Flop comes K 5 7, with 2 spades. I really, REALLY should have suspected this was not a great spot when UTG leads for 200, but since all folded to me, I decide to let my donkey nature rule, and I call. UGH!

    Keep in mind though, I am not overly upset about this choice, as my call was totally based upon the facts that:

    A) I had picked up a few "chirping chips", and wanted to see if I could suck lucky.
    B) I saw an ABC player as someone I MIGHT be able to bet off his hand if a "scare card" comes.

    It really was a loose call in hopes of possibly getting an aggressive spot to play on later streets, but that sort of thing is highly risky in a fast structure if it does not work.

    The turn came a beautiful A of spades...the PERFECT scare card as it not only filled the flush, but it also made possible a pair higher than top pair. I really do not think UTG would have open limped AK (but again, my info is minimal), so this looks ideal.

    I bet 450 into a 950 pot.
    I go into my "pose" and the UTG thinks for maybe 15 seconds; then he calls.

    The river peels a blank, and while I should have recognized that I had little chance of him believing me now (not without making a pretty big bet), I fire again. $1000 baby, eat summa DAT!

    He sussed out the call pretty easily, tabled K9o, and I fell back to under a start stack, with around 3400 or so.

    Upon reflection, I probably should have LED with my bottom pair, and then looked to play the scare cards only if someone called. By doing that, I not only represent a wider range of stronger hits, I can also re-assess based upon who it may have been that called me. I think the way I did play Q5s was just fine for a deeper MTT, but was way too passive for an MTT this short on the flop, and then too AGGRESSIVE when the turn came. I probably should have not donk led small, expecting someone to believe that was a flush in such an obvious spot; had I played it a bit more passively, in keeping with the way I STARTED the hand, I probably C/R the flush.

    So I muddled myself up, and it cost me.

    I picked up a couple of small pots with position raises to get myself back to around 5500 or so.You'd think that I would at least realize Aggro actions are the way to go, right? Well some people are just hard headed...

    At the 50/100 level still, I see a UTG +2 raise by a weak player from my table last week. I had the guy covered, so I felt it was ok to flat his raise to 350 from my BB with AT spades. Flop came A 6 9 rainbow heads up in a 750 pot, and I decide to passively check. Weak villain lead sout for 450, I flat. Turn hits a blank, giving me no real re-draws, and he fires 450 again into the 1650 pot. I am staring him down, he is looking back at me, I have ZERO indicatation he is weak and I STILL FLAT HIS 2nd BULLET! What a flippin' DONK move!

    I was getting the distinct impression this guy felt at least a touch of intimidation playing agaisnt me (don't know how or why I felt this, it was the impression I got though), so I REALLY think my 2nd call was just atrocious. Luckily for me, he shook his head a bit confused and checked the river behind my 3rd check. He tables AK for top/top (omg! how can he NOT V-Bet me on the river!), and I "only" donk myself back down to around 4250.

    The really sad part of this hand is that I I had specifically TOLD myself in pre game prep time NOT to call multiple streets with top pairs/weak kickers.

    You see, in fast structures like this, like I said earlier people will not tend to fire 2 bullets light very often; it is just too costly. Even a WEAK 2nd bullet like the one versus this bad opp here probably means strength of some sort, and ANY reasonable strength from an EP open raiser here probably has AT in trouble. I knew this going in, and I just do not get how sometimes we know things but totally ignore them anyway! I hate when that happens!

    I managed to recover back up to around 5800 though (and maintain there), with another couple of steals, and a sheriff of an all in (KJs vs my AKo). All these were aggressive plays, made with ok quality hands but no real world beaters, and they all WORKED! But some people never learn (me, me ME!!!!)...

    My critical "crippler" hand came exactly the same as every big loss for me in this event: thru too much passivity...

    The biggest stack at our table was moved in right before the break with about 9k in chips. He proceeded to up pots on continuation (or at latest on the turn), playing around a 30% range with a mix of 3.5 times BB open raises and open limps (roughly equal proportions). In the 4 or 5 pots he played at our table (that he won, a few times he folded on the flop), he had yet to show down a hand. I started to get the distinct impression he was buying at least SOME of these pots by firing at least 2 bullets, and THAT was a big contributor to my crippling...

    After the break, and about 3/4ths the way through the 1st round after break (100/200 blinds, 25 ante), The big stack limper 3rd to act, and gets a caller. I look down on the BTN and see KTo. This is certainly NOT the sort of hand you really want to paly passively in a fast sturcture event, as it carries minimal draw value, and you will tend to flop vulnerable top pair hands if you hit anything. Still, my inner donk got the better of me, and I called along. SB folded, and BB checked the option and we took the flop 4 way with 1100 in the middle.

    Flop comes K 6 7 rainbow, and it checks to the big stack. He fires 650 into the pot, and the limper between he and I folds. I look at the BB (weak guy who beat me with AK earlier), and he appeared ready to fold; that was enough reaosn for donkey-me to flat. BB did fold, and we were HU in a 2400 pot.

    The turn rolls off an A, and I think about my chances of repping the A. I REALLY do not read the big stack as holding AK (or a lesser A he was C-betting on the come), so I am still going on my initial "hopeful" read that he has something like 88/99/TT. Big stack looks over at me, and sees me looking back. I pick up nothing from his body language when he pushes 1200 into the pot though, and that was the point I SHOULD have allowed my hope to fade...I did not though, I called. I considered the chance of raising the A as a bluff IN CASE I was facing a better K, but as that would probably take my entire stack to pull off, I elected to play it more passively and "keep hope alive" stupid, but they do say donkies are stubborn!

    The river blanks, and he doesn't look at me and bets 1200 again. As I am already invested for 1850 of my 5800 (~32%), I feel I am all but forced to call. I do...
    The big stack actually says out lound, "you win" and tables KQ face up, and I meekly muck my KT and watch him stack 3250 of my chips. I am left with only 2550, and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    As a side note, after I busted I stuck around to watch Dave and John finish up. I saw that guy on a break, and I asked him if he would have mucked to a big bet by me on the A. His answer was "yes I probably would have", but when I told him "the pot was pretty big, and a shove by me would have left you only about 2500 to call in a big pot" (pot was then around 3600, and he'd have been getting like 2.9 to 1 to call), he said "I think then I might have called probably...I don't know." After that conversation, I knew a couple of imortant things that I suspected but did not know for SURE at the time:

    1) The guy WAS (most likely) barrelling at least 1 extra street on his hits a decent amount of the time
    2) The guy was NOT really aware of pot size and pot odds, nor my shove range; he seemed to be aware of them because his bets were of a "correct" sizing, but that could easily have been rote "monkey learning" by him to keep betting right around half pot.

    If I had known these things at the time, I WOULD have raised the A there, but I really didn't need to know them to pull the trigger:
    - I DID know that aggression is a GOOD thing in a fast structure MTT,
    - I DID know the A probably did NOT hit this guy and a loss to me if I did hit the A would be bad for him
    - I DID know I had 2 more scores to "burn" in case I was wrong and got called.

    That should have been "enough" to make me pull the trigger, but on this night I jsut could not seem to get past my inner donki-ness.

    My bust hand was pretty anti-climatic really.

    The very next hand I see 2 limpers ahead of me.
    I look down to see QQ.
    I quickly count the pot and see 900 in there, and know it is well over a 20% chip up even if I jsut pick up the money in now.
    I shove my 2550 or thereabouts on QQ, and sit back to wait.

    The weak player in the SB looks over at me, I am sitting back in my chair, totally calm, hands behind my head. I am simply LEAKING every "strength tell" in the book (purposefully so, I do not want TOO many callers), but he just cannot resist: weak guy jams in his stack of around 4200 and flips over AJc!

    WOO HOO!

    3 outs right?

    Flop comes J high with only 1 club...uh uh, 5 outs now (3 As, 2 Js) .
    Turn comes a, 14 outs now (9 clubs, 2 Js, 3 As)!
    Don't do it dealer, don't do it, don't do it, don't do it, don't...
    He did it: the river is a club...sigh.

    Still, the actually bust hand was played exactly as it should have been (by me at least, and even the weak guy might think he is at least racing), and it was the mistakes I made in not following what I KNEW to be the right way to play that crippled me. Sometimes, like last Tuesday, you get a 2nd chance after making a mistake. sometimes you even get a 3rd chance. If you tend to make a 3rd mistake after getting 2 "do over's", more often than not that is going to be your ultimate downfall.

    You know what they say: 3 strikes and you...are...OUT!

    ...and I was.

    NEXT WEEK will be a different story though! Stay tuned!

    Double Bracelet Winner

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