Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bounced Like a Bad Check

So the main event is over, ending cermeoniously with the groans of horror of the gallery as the river card turned.

Honestly, this might sound obnoxious, but I had no idea I was this good. I could not have created a WORSE scenario than the one I was faced with yesterday, yet I somehow made the money.

I was pretty happy with my initial table assignement, as there were no monster stacks. I had 62,800, the ked on my left had 90,000 and one other guy (whoi started today at my table with 516,000)had about 70K or so. I raiseed right out of the gate, and was immediately staared down and re-raised by the 90,000 kid. Had to fold. Next hand I raised again and was re-raised, same story. It was obvious I was going to steal or bully anyone here. They broke the table up and I was 9K poorer after 3 hands.

At my new table, I raised with top pair ace kicker and had to fold to another re-raise with 3 diamonds on the board, respecting the flush.

Then I was moved to the tourney chip leader's table with 46,000 or so. The leader had about 415,000 by then.

I tried to play a couple of hands, but every time I was in a pot, there would be a raise, and usually, a re-raise. It was obvious I couldn't play any hand I wasn't willing to go all the way with, even that early.

I realized the money was 7 levels and 10.5 hours away, and things looked pretty bleak. I told myself to sit back and wait for a hand. I powered through with pocket 99 and stole the blinds. A long while passed with nary a playable hand and I woke up with pocket tens under the gun (first position). I had to either play them stronger, like I had a bigger pair, or just fold. Any flat calls were an outrigth waste of chips, as you could guarantee a raise, and likely a re-raise on general principle.

I stalled, counted chips, stalled, and raised about 5 or 6 times the blind. I needed to take something down. The small blind called and the big stack (last year's winner, Lee Nelson, author of the noted book on No Limit Hold Em tournament poker "Kill Phil" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Nelson) folded.

The flop came J rag rag, not a great flop for me, but not bad. I put is a solid preflop raise and doubted the small blind would call with out an A or maybe something like KQ with Lee playing behind him. He bet out 10,000 chips. I stalled and stalled, counted and recounted my chips. I knew I had to make a stand and had to get some chips, more importantly. I thought about what I had represented to the table, decided I had probably carried it off and pushed all in. The guy (Peter Scutaris) thought a while before folding.

It worked!

I forced him to folded J9, he had me beaten. He told me later he had put me on queens. Nice to know someone is paying attention. I have to give the guy credit. A lot of players are so weak today or clueless that you can't bluff them because they can't read the board or other players. Ironically, I had semi-misread Peter's hand and put him on two overcards, or an under pair with an ace kicker.

A short while later I caught AK clubs in the big blind. One guy limped in with a flat call and ironically, everyone else folded. The big blind was 1000, and I raised 5,000 to 6,000, the guy called. I believe he was a euro-pro, but there are so many of these guys I don;t have a clue who they even are.

The flop came 256 or something with two clubs.

I immediately pushed all-in with my AK nut flush draw. Plus, I really think I had the best hand anyway. If he had a pair of some kind, I still had 15 outs, and though behind, still would have been the favorite to win the hand. He folded, and I stayed alive. That would be the last pot I would sniff for about 6 hours.

The noted Finn Patrik Antonius http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrik_Antonius or Lee Nelson raised every hand and I honestly saw the absolute worste cards f my life for the next 7 or 8 hours. I didn;t win a hand in that span and hoarded my chips.

In the course of the day, I never saw AA or KK, and had QQ once and Ak maybe twice, a ridiculously horrible display of crap-ola. Antonius raised my big blind literally, for hours on end. I was nearing the point where I needed to hit something to say alive (it comes earlier than you think) and I called his customary raise with QJ hearts. I decided preflop if I flopped top pair I was throwing all in.

The flop came 678 with two hearts. I decided to check raise him all in. I could have just led, but I knew he would call anyway, and I wanted to make a statement, however small it may be. He bet out 15K or something and I imediately pushed all in. He had to call given the pot odds no matter what he had.

He flipped over 28c, and had the lead with top pair. I had 15 outs, with all the hearts, plus the 3 remaining queens and jacks, so I was actually the favorite. The turn card was a 2 hearts, giving him two pair, but giving me a flush. The river was a brick and I doulbed up.

I didn't play a hand for another decade or so.

In the late going, I threw all in once with KQ in the smal blind, clearing out the limpers. I thought Lee Nelson might cal from the button, but honestly didn't care if he did. I knew he had to be weak to just flat call and I could use the double up. If I hit it, I would certainly finish in the money. The very nexy hand I had QQ on the button and tossed all in over Peter Scutaris' raise. All folded and I could coast and wait for a big hand.

None came.

The stats on the other chip stack sizes were not very available, although I had a guy from poker.com really helping me out doing his best. They try to limit their access, but he found out what he could. I would onluyplay one more hand that night.

I woke up with AK. I could easily fold the hand and probably make it into the money. Antonius had put in a raise and Peter Scutaris had called. I counted my chips about 3 or 4 times, appearing as though I were contemplaying an allin. I hadn't played ANY hands in forever, so it was easy to represent a big hand. I thought and thought and mumbled "raise". I counted out two stacks of my chips and raised 20,000. I was trying to send the message that I had aces and wanted someone to call, and that the rest of my chips would be going in on the flop. 20,000 is one thing, but 60,000 is another.

It worked.

Everyone folded quickly (even Antonius had some temporary moment of sanity and laid down his J3 or whatever he was playing) and two players said, "nice aces". I smiled and mucked my hand. I didn;t want them to know I had the AK, it was better if they thought I was only playing AA or KK.

I glided into the money, finishing the day in 67th position. I folded a round and threw all in with A7 under the gun with about 40,000 chips. To my surprise, they all folded and I raked in the blinds.

I folded my blinds and was back around 40,000, with the blinds being 3000-6000. It was an all-in fest. There were at least 2 or 3 allins every minute, with the tournament announcer calling out the hands over the sound system.

I had to move soon and was delighted to look down and find KK.

I pushed my chips as though I was miserable but had to and got called by the big blind. he actually had a big hand, too. AK. I really didn't want to see an ace of any kind, but what can ya do. I was still about a 3:1 favorite to win the hand.

Unfortantely, my opponent flopped an ace and picked up another ace on the turn, freezing me out. the worst part was that I hit the case king on the river for a losing full house.

All in all, it was a great tournament, well run, and the structure is terrific. I feel great about being placed in just about the worst of all circumstances and suriviving.


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