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4/22/04 Mini Series of Poker

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  • 4/22/04 Mini Series of Poker

    I took the 1.5 hour drive up to The Bicycle in Los Angeles to play in the $100+25 NLHE tourney last night. I’m not sure how many people I expected to find playing there with the WSOP about to start in Vegas, but I don’t think I would have guessed that 419 players would show up. Amazing.

    The beginning of the tournament was low-key and enjoyable. We had a friendly table, so we were talking about various topics, including online poker. The guy to my right asked me which site I played, and I responded that I only played at PSO. “I’m familiar with Poker School Online,” the gentleman to my left said. “I write for them.” It turns out I was sitting next to Russell Fox. After introducing myself, I told him that I had learned to play Omaha through his lessons (I failed to tell him how horribly I still play the game – after all, it’s certainly not HIS fault). Russell is a really nice guy and we talked about various topics. He’s planning to play in at least one or two WSOP events coming up, so look for him if you are playing there (he says that he’s planning to play in at least one Omaha tourney and maybe others, depending on his schedule).

    I had a run of good cards early, and built my stack to 1400 before the first break (we were given 1000 starting chips). Probably the most notable hand was when I found AA in middle position with the blinds at 10 and 25. I made a standard raise and got one caller. The board came up rags, with two hearts. I made a pot sized raise, and got a flat call – with little hesitation. The turn was another heart: check, check. The turn was a blank (still no pictures on the board). I check, and he bets 200 – I call (weakly) and he turns over QQ. I turn over AA and resume breathing (and I take a nice little pot).

    Just as my run of cards comes to an end, Russell starts to make a move and builds a nice little stack of around 1500 (the blinds are probably 50/100 at this time). From middle position, he makes it 500 to go and gets a call from the big blind, a very loose/aggressive player who has Russell out-chipped. The flop comes A65, all hearts and the big blind goes all-in. Russell thinks for a few seconds and then calls. The Big blind turns over 65 – two pair – and Russell is out of the tourney with AK when he fails to improve.

    I am now totally card dead. In the second hour of the tourney, I play exactly one hand and I am the short stack. In the very first hand of the third hour, the player to my right is UTG and limps in. I look down to find KJs. It’s by far the best hand I’ve had in a while and I still have enough chips to perhaps steal . . . so I’m all in. The big blind calls and UTG goes all-in. Hmmmm . . . this is interesting. The big blind makes a long hesitation (he has UTG outchipped, but not by that much). He finally calls and turns over ATo. UTG turns over KK, and I meakly display my KJs. Well, at least I have a draw. The flop comes Jxx, turn is a blank, and the river is a Jack! I’m alive!

    The next hand I play is KK, I get two callers to may all-in bet and triple up.

    Now I move to another table (we’re down to “only” 6 tables, from the original 41) and I go on an incredible run. I’m in the big blind (the blinds are around 150/300 with an ante of 50) and draw a middle position raise of about a third of my stack. I think I might have a read on the guy as not being too strong, so when I look down and find AQ, I go into deep thought. I certainly don’t want to call – and I think I might have just enough chips to get him to put down a less than premium hand – so I’m all-in. He stares me down before folding. Two hands later, the same player comes in with a raise and I look down to find QQ. I’m all-in again, and he says, “If I keep folding, you’re just going to keep doing that.” I smile. He folds. The next hand, the floor person moves him to another table, and he says, “Good. I need to get away from that guy,” meaning me. I smile again.

    Two hands later, I’m dealt AK. I’m really finding it difficult to concentrate now. Everything is happening so fast and I’m sure my blood pressure is through the roof. Anybody who has read Positively Fifth Street knows about “Bad Jim.” I’m very aware that with this much adrenaline flowing I am at serious risk of introducing the Bicycle Casino to “Bad Shaky.” So, I try to calm myself down and make a strong raise UTG+1 with my Big Slick. A player in middle position goes all-in over the top of me. Now “Bad Shaky” is fighting desperately to take over the decision-making process. I ask for a count of his chips and I have him outchipped by 3:2. If I call and lose, it’s not over for me, but it’s close. I don’t have a read on him, but I start to think about the table dynamics: I haven’t shown a hand yet and I’m winning all the chips. He may think I’m on a steal. I call the bet - at least I think it was me - it could have easily been “Bad Shaky” – and he turns over AQ. He fails to suck out and I now have the biggest stack at the table, by far. I might be chip leader. I decide I definitely want to post and fold for a while and get into the money (last four tables).

    One more hand of note – and it’s the only hand that I really regret how I played it. We’re in the money and they’ve re-drawn for table assignments. We’ve gone around the table once and I’ve taken no action, although my stack is still above average. I’m in late position when a middle position player makes it 3800 to go (I think the blinds are at 400/800 with 100 ante) and I look down and the most beautiful sight: AA. I’ve got 12,200 chips and the raiser has just a little more. I think for a while before going all-in. He thinks for quite a while before folding. Here’s why I think I played this hand wrong: We’re all in the money at this point, but you really have to get to the final table to make “real” money. I think I have to flat call, see a flop, and hope he doubles me up. It’s a bit of a risk, but if I double up, I will have a VERY strong chance to make the final table. The player was very aggressive (in my defense, I didn’t have a good read on him when I made the play, but it was obvious as I saw him more) and there’s a good chance I could have induced him to bet post-flop. Normally, I wouldn’t play that as a flat call, but I think the payouts make it the better play (I’d be curious if anyone else has an opinion).

    As it turns out, I was pretty much card dead for the rest of the tournament. I survived until the final two tables and was forced to go all-in with KJ (the same hand I won my initial all-in with), but got called by QQ and failed to make the big suck out.

    I finished 18th place out of 419 (yes, that’s my name in the results section on PokerPages) and took home $295. The cash was nice, but it was more the experience. It was by far the biggest tournament I’ve ever played and it was fun to actually place. The ride home didn't seem to take very long, that's for sure.

    As usual, my thanks to everyone here at PSO who has helped to make me a better poker player. It’s a game that I really enjoy, and it would be hard to like it if I were any worse at it.



  • #2
    congrats shaky, that's a great finish! i really enjoed reading your report!



    • #3

      Great report and congratulations.

      As for your AA dilema. Considering all your comments I dont think you made a "bad" play. My reasons have nothing to do with EV or odds or anything.

      1) You state that slowplaying the Aces would have deviated from your "normal" play style. Where you were was no place to be "trying" stuff. I think it was good to play a style you were comfortable with.

      2) You didnt have a good read on your opponent. I think its always better to make the more "aggresive" move in unknown situations. He's made an agressive bet at the pot. Its about 30 % of his chips. There is a chance he might even call your all in.

      3) Your opponents dont have a read on you and still dont. Blowing him out of the pot you give no information about yourself. He doesnt know you have AA. The table only knows you are willing to risk all your chips.

      4) I think its better to take the small win and let others improve your position for you. 50 % of the field is below you. you can most likely improve your finishing position by just playing solid premium hands. Which you did.

      Did you get the most value out of the hand ? maybe not when you look back on his future play. Did you play that one hand poorly ? I dont think so. It sounds like you followed your gut instinct which is usually the best choice.

      Again Congrats on a great showing and a fantastic report.




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