Hand 3: Th-9h
Still at 100-300/300, I open from UTG to 1100 with 10♥ 9♥. Only the small blind calls (Pot 2800). The flop comes K♦ Q♠ 8♥. Villain checks, I continuation bet 1200, and he calls. (Pot 5200)
The Turn is the 5♥, giving me a flush draw, and the villain checks to me again. Although I would often barrel when I turn equity, I get the sense this guy isn’t folding. No way he’s folding top pair if he has a King. If he’s on a straight draw he’s not folding either. I didn’t feel optimistic this player would fold a Queen either. While checking behind on the turn can certainly be debated, I felt in-game my best option was to simply check behind him and realize my equity for free. (Pot 5200)
The river comes the J♣, making the final board K♦ Q♠ 8♥ 5♥ J♣, and bailing me out with a straight.
Villain checks one last time, and I make a value bet of 3300. He calls rather quickly and folds without showing when he sees my straight. Although my value bet is sizable (close to 2/3rds pot), the villains’ fast call indicates I left some money on the table not betting even bigger.
Hand 4: Ad-Kd
With the blinds now at 400-800/800, I’m in the big blind with A♦ K♦. Five players limp into the pot and the action is on me. I raise to 6000, and get one caller. (Pot 16,400)
The flop comes Q♣ 5♣ 4♦, and I elect to continuation bet 7000. I think this is plenty to get the opponent to fold pocket pairs that didn’t hit their set, and high cards with equity although we currently beat all those with nut no pair. Unfortunately our opponent calls. (Pot 30,400).
The turn is the Ac, giving us top/top but also completing the flush draw. I elect to check, and the villain bets 10,000. I call. (Pot 50,400).
River is the Tc, making the final board Q♣ 5♣ 4♦ A♣ 10♣. I check and the villain moves all in for 27,900. I tank for a long time, and fold. I haven’t shared stack sizes in this article because when I made my notes, I didn’t note my stack size and often didn’t know the precise stack size of my opponent. But calling and losing here would leave my stack in poor shape. I struggled with this hand. I can’t see hero calling the river hoping that 1) villain has no club and 2) villain doesn’t have 2 pair or better. This was the first hand in the tournament that I didn’t feel comfortable with my line and play. I think the preflop raise is mandatory. Post flop c-bet, which I also think is fine… we don’t need to c-bet all of our AK combos necessarily, but the nut flush draws and back door nut flush draw combos should be our first choices… that’s 5 combos, [Ac] K♣, A♦ K♦, A♣ [Kx].
The turn decision to check/call is questionable. I think in retrospect I should simply bet again, so I’m not allowing a free card option for hands with a single club in them, particularly A♣ X which will always call a turn bet with the worst of it but may check behind and take a free river, planning to call a bet from us or bet themselves if we check again on blank rivers. If I bet and get raised on the turn, we have a pretty simple laydown as we are drawing thin or dead vs. all the value hands that do that (sets/flushes we are dead, aces up we have very poor equity). My check/call isn’t terrible, but looking back on the hand now I think it’s sub-optimal and sets me up for weird river spots when the river is not a club.
Hand 5: JTo
After being moved to a new table and with the blinds now up to 500-1000/1000, I find myself in the small blind with JTo. I’ve been at this table for 3 orbits, and have only played one hand (taking it down preflop with a raise). Action folds around to the button who opens to 2500. In my 3 orbits, I have observed this player opening aggressively from late position when folded to… to the extent that I already felt sure if action folded to his button, he would raise. Looking down at JTo, I feel the hand is too strong to fold to a wide button range, but it’s also too weak to call and play out of position, especially since that call will invite the big blind along with a wide array of holdings getting 4.6-1 closing the action. Given how wide I perceive the button to be opening, I think this is a great spot to 3-bet bluff. I did just that, making it 8500 to go. I don’t think any of that is particularly interesting, what’s interesting is what happened next.
The big blind now looks at his hand, immediately places his card protector back on top of it and looks distressed. He goes into the tank, deliberating, eyeballing our stack sizes, counting his stack to be clear how much he has exactly. He looks very pained and unsure of what to do with what is obviously a big hand. I sat there patiently and calmly staring at the felt. If he comes over the top I’m folding my bluff so there’s no real sweat for me, no real “oh no what will I do if the big blind cold 4-bets”. When I 3B out of the SB vs a button open, I already have thought ahead, I already know what I’m going to do if a player 4-bets me (in this case fold). The big blinds tanks for what feels like an eternity, writhing in obvious pain along the way. Eventually, he uncaps his cards and folds, reluctantly and painfully. The button now shows an ace and immediately folds as well, and we take down a nice little pot that rightly belonged to the big blind player. Sweet deal!!! With that fun little spot behind us, we’ll close Part 2 now and finish up the rest in Part 3.
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