Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poker: $13, 12-Player Tournament Win. With Commentary

93 hands.
Video of the entire tournament! (click here)
(I'd recommend opening the tourney video in a different window, so you can watch and read side-by-side. That's assuming anyone cares about this...)

NOTE ABOUT THE HAND REPLAYER VIDEO: This just plays back the hand's actions at a constant speed based on your speed setting. In the real play there were pauses, fast bets, A chat box, people thinking for a long time about some decisions, etc. That is not represented here. But it makes the game move along nice and fast so watching it is better.

If you don't play poker, this will be really boring. Or maybe it will be very interesting.
I don't claim to play perfectly or great. In fact, I make a lot of mistakes that I'll try to point out here. I'm writing this as much for myself (so I can get better) than for anyone else.

This was a $13, 2-table, 6-player per table tournament. The top 3 places are paid.

The format of this blog is like this

Hand number from the video
Commentary on that hand...

No problem folding JT and just seeing what happens to start getting a feel for the table.

JT again. Suited this time--and even in spades, which makes it look much prettier. But you want to see more cards cheaply with this hand. There are lots of places it can go, but 'nowhere' is one of them.
Flop: Nowhere it is.
River: Enzo calls the river with just a pair of fives! Note taken.

Fein makes two super-weak bets then folds when faced with a real bet. Note taken.

I messed up. I should have either let this go preflop, or raised the flop to see where I was at. If Fein didn't have a King he would be hard pressed to call. And I would have taken control. Bad play by me.
NOTE: The biggest mistake bad players make is calling too much (raising and folding too little). Now let's go through my play on this hand again:
Mistake #1: Calling preflop.
Mistake #2: Calling preflop again.
Mistake #3: Calling the flop.
I'm off to a pretty bad start.

Enzo calls again with 55 with a ace on board. Note expanded. That note being "don't try to bluff this guy."

A better player would have probably raised the flop. My straight draw is what made me just call. If I hit the Q, I want a chance to take his whole stack.

preflop: NICE! Having just taken down a pot without showing my cards, this raise preflop may seem like another steal attempt...
Flop: Standard.
Turn: Too many draws have appeared. I want this pot NOW. If he has a Jack or two clubs, I want him to pay for his draw.

Third good hand in a row. After taking down the last two hands uncontested, I didn't think Enzo was going to let me have this one without a fight. So I just checked it down. This also tells the table that I'm not messing with them all the time, and I got to show that I had a decent hand.
And Ace high was good. Nice. (And he called my raise with Q6s!! Ok, I need to raise this guy more!)

14, 15, 16
Seems like Enzo is not the bluffing type. But he will call down with pretty much anything.

See, I should raise Enzo's limps. You will see this move again.
Honestly, I didn't expect to win this preflop. I just wanted the blinds out to go against just Enzo.

Aggression wins.

Rigga has only played a couple hands so far, including the big one a couple hands ago. He's also in good 'steal' position. This raise may have been too big, but I just wanted to either take the pot or see all 5 cards. Turns out Late wants to call me with AJ. I see my 5 cards and take him out.
Hopefully, this hand also sent a "Don't mess with me" message to the table.

I've gotten JT a few times, and play it this time on the button. Flop an open-ender, but with so many people in, I want to make my straight before putting more chips in.
Results: Notice that Purp flopped 3 kings on a board with both straight and flush draws available and gave TWO FREE CARDS to any players who were drawing to beat him. This is terrible. True, he probably wouldn't have won much more if he had bet big on the flop, but you don't want me to make my straight or some guy holding 2 hearts to hit his flush. BAD BAD BAD!

Ouch for purp. He played this one right, and got unlucky.

I figured Purp was calling/going all in with anytyhing after that last beat. I wanted to roll against him. But ended up just taking down the blinds+Enzo's limp. No complaints.

And purp is gone.

Lucky for me no Jack hit the board.

Again Fein folds the river after betting the whole way.

Preflop: Sweet!
Flop: I hope he doesn't have an Ace, but he doesn't have enough chips to make me fold.
River: I go ahead and make the flush for good measure/insult to injury.

41, 43
Aggression wins.

I totally blow this!!!!
My thinking was that I'd been pushing these guys around a lot in the last few hands (40,41,43), and I just couldn't stand an all in re-raise from Riga. So I just totally wimp out. I absolutely, 100% should have raised here and then waited to see if the re-raise actually came before deciding what to do.
It would have kept the pressure on these guys, and ATs is a very good hand when 3-handed.
Terrible terrible terrible weak play on my part.
Flop: I would have had straight and flush draws. I am shown the error of my ways.
Turn: I make the straight!! The error of my ways is brought into clear focus!!! I could have potentially busted one or maybe even both of these guys!!!
I suck.

NOTE: I haven't played many of these 6-max tournaments. I really wasn't used to playing 3-handed when there wasn't just 3 people left in the tournament. Excuses, excuses.

A bad flop for the Ace and then a brutal turn for the king brings us to the final table.

We're down to 6 players, and the final table. I'm in 2nd place. Unfortunately, all the money is on my left, and the short stacks are on my right. I'd much rather have it the other way around.
Edo CALLS 200 with 328 behind. He doesn't have enough chips for this. If he's going to play (and he should) he should just go all in. And then he folds. Weak.

Not sure what he kept calling with. Along the way, I thought he had the other Ace, and I was happy to see the queen on the river giving us a chop. But I'll settle for the whole pot, thank you.

double-ouch on the river. First you see the Ace, then you see the flush.

Edo sucks! He's got 1/3 of his chips in, he'll be getting 3:1 on his money. He's just crippling himself more by waiting.

Edo folds AGAIN! with nearly 1/2 his stack in blind.

Aggression wins. Here, Edo is helping me. No one else wants to bust before he does.

Here I just call to get Edo out.
Pokerforyou messes it up by betting his pair of TWOS on the flop.
I should have called him, but normally in this situation he should have much more to bet there...
If we fold, he gains nothing and still risks losing the pot to Edo.
Whatever. We're down to 4. And on the bubble.

A better player may have raised all-in here to isolate. But I didn't. That could have bitten me... It ended up not mattering. I pop the bubble and we're in the money.

My goal now is to get rid of Riga and only fight hard against pokerforyou if I have a really big hand. Once Riga is gone, then I'll fight the other big stack.

65, 68
Aggression on the button picks up some extra chips.

66, 69
He lets me see free flops (bad idea for him). I miss 66, but hit 69 and win a nice pot. Almost have Riga busted. I might have gotten him to pay me off for all his chips here. Not sure. I guess I managed a little potential damage control in case he really did beat me (On the turn. I was very confident that I had a winner on the river.)

A re-raise all in probably would have won the pot. But I don't want to flip a coin for all my chips vs. the other big stack when there's a shorty left to be busted. Not sure if I could have done this better... Limp/call and see a cheaper flop? Call his re-raise? Don't know...

Preflop: Feeling good about my Jacks. Not so happy that they both called, though.
Flop: That is an ugly flop for JJ, and given the action, this is an easy fold. I'm hoping Riga busts here... Which he does.

And we're heads-up.

I may have played this hand terribly (or brilliantly, I'll never know). But at least I didn't lose very much.


A turning point. I didn't like calling his preflop re-raise, but he'd been pushing me around a bit re-raising like that and I wanted it to stop.
The flop is a great one to semi-bluff with. He puts out a small bet (which hopefully means he's weak), and I shove.
If he doesn't have an Ace, he MUST fold. Even if he does have an Ace, I have about a 36% chance to make my flush. And he still might fold, fearing that I have an ace with a better kicker, or some better hand. He folds, and I pick up a very nice pot.

He does his limp, re-raise again. I let this one go. Mistake? I don't know. I don't think so, as my A9 isn't really going to be a big favorite over anything other than Ax ('x' being lower than nine).

I didn't want to have to fold to the re-raise again. So I just let this one go.
The fold is, mathematically, a mistake. But hopefully it will tell him to respect my raises. Does psychology outweigh math? I hope so in this case. Want to bet on it?

I'm still playing a little passively here...

Show him that I still know how to check-raise.
Fear my bets, fear my raises; now fear my checks.

Dang. (Don't fear that much, dude!)

"The winning hand."
If he had raised more, I would have folded this garbage preflop. But his min-raise gave me 3:1 on my money, and I had to take a look and see what happened...
Flop: GIN!
I think I misplayed my check-raise and should have just called and then tried to get the money in on the turn. I figure I have him drawing nearly or completely dead, so I'm not worried about many/any cards to come.
But as it turned out, he had an Ace, and was willing to put all his money in. I'm more than happy to oblige him. I'm a 96% favorite.
The turn and river nearly put a straight on the board. But no worries.

92, 93
Mopping up.
If he had pushed 93 preflop (as he should have done), I might have considered folding. but he let me see a cheap flop and hit my queen before putting my money in. His flush draw is a little worrisome. The turn takes away his 3 ace outs, which he gets on the river, just as a little extra needle from the poker gods.

I win $72. (Minus $13 entry = $59 profit.)

Afterward: After going through this a couple times writing this blog (I don't usually go over games this thoroughly) I think I played pretty well, but also got pretty lucky. I never lost a really big pot. When I got my money in, I had the best hand, and it held up every time. A few of my small bluffs were picked off, but my big one wasn't. 26% of the time, hand 21 goes the other way and I'm crippled right there. Also on hand 21, if riga had any pocket pair and called, he'd have taken us both out. 10% of the time, hand 40 goes the other way. Or if the suits had been different on 40 he could have made the flush when I didn't. 74 could have gotten me (all of us) all-in preflop. I'm out in 3rd place if that happened. If he calls on hand 82, I could have been out there, too.
For all my luck and mistakes, I think I played better then the other guys played. And that will be good enough the statistically correct percentage of the time.


Special thanks to PokerXFactor for the replay viewer. And twoplustwo for letting me 'borrow' PokerXFactor's viewer.