Monday, October 26, 2009

Bad Beat at F***woods

Yeah, nothing new, that's why I call it F***woods.

Poker can be fun, interesting, exhilarating, and above all, frustrating. Today was a perfect example of the latter.

Beau and I entered the $500 NL. They like to do this goofy thing with starting chips counts at Foxwoods, where they give you progressively more chips as the buy ins get larger. The idea is not a bad one, but they overdo it, get too fancy. For the $300 shootout, they gave you 5,000 chips (we didn't play it) For the $400 NL, they gave you 5,000, the $500 6,000 chips, and and the $600 Nl they start you out with 7,000 chips.

What I don't like about this is the lack of uniformity. there is less of an advantage to playing more tourneys, because they pace differently do they varying chip stacks. It is also a pain in the ass to calculate the avg stack size in your head when it is 6,000 or 7,000 at the outset, which is why I really dislike the goofy amounts.

Just make it 5,000 or 10,000 for Pete's sake.

Today, I was determined to play much tighter after the flop for the first two rounds (50 minutes each). I bled too many chips early last time on drawing hands, which you have to be careful of when you start with 5,000 or 6,000 chips. 10,000 gives more freedom to speculate early.

Right out of the gate, I flopped top set, which turned into a full house, and got paid off through the turn (6th street). Shortly after, I had pocket aces and was able to get the same guy I victimized with my full house to pay me a small amount, grudgingly. He folded with irritation, so I showed the aces to show the table I was playing big hands.

I didn't want to mix it up early. I showed big hands and made some excellent reads. A guy to my right was raising light (weaker hands like KQ or AJ AT) which really aren't raising hands in early to middle position, especially early in a tournament.

He raised the 50-100 BB to 300. I called in late position with 55. The flop was something ugly like 2 7 9. He bets 300 into a pot of 850- weak. he missed. The turn brought an 8 or something, and he stabs out 500 into a pot of almost 1500- very weak indeed. At this point, I put him on AQ, little did I know he was playing even weaker hands and had, I believe, A-10. The river card is another 9. I know this misses him because he would have bet top pair stronger. He must be putting me on a small pair, over cards, or perhaps he isn't a player who thinks a lot and isn't "putting me" on any hand in particular, but just tossing out small bets hoping I'd go away.

He fingers his chips, doesn't even look at me, and throws 1,200 into the 2500 chip pot. I am not excited about calling, as dropping another 1200 chips would cut my stack to around 5,000 chips, but I have to trust my original read- two high cards. I did think about it, then called and as he threw hand away said, "AQ"?

He said later, "if that your six came on the river, I would have had you, and you would have had to call with a straight, right?" So I know he had a 10, if he was telling the truth, and I am pretty sure it didn't make sense for him to lie about that, as it made him look goofier. So he was probably betting A-10 there.

He said, "Wow, good call. How can make that call." So I told him what I thought he had. I like players to think I know what they are holding. It makes them nervous and cautious and easier to steal pots from later. Another player later told me I was "making some sick reads", but that is really a fairly obvious read on a pretty bad player.

First of all, the biggest mistake people make when they bluff is making a bluff that doesn't make sense. The second biggest mistake is bluffing a player who isn't good enough to understand why he should fold, or trying to bluff a "calling station." Don't waste time or chips bluffing someone who has shown they will call down with weak or mediocre hands.

The guys bluff didn't make sense. There wasn't a hand I could put him on, other than maybe A-8, and that would have been a seriously weak hand to raise with in his position, that made sense.

I made my one blunder of the day shortly afterward when I raised a guy all-in on the river after he had already committed most of his chips. I mistakenly thought he had a lot more chips and could afford to fold, but he called me down with second pair and hurt my stack.

It was a rookie mistake I thought I had put behind me, similar to a blunder I made by overplaying AK after a missed flop last Friday. I was steaming, very pissed at myself for such a boneheaded play, so I took a short walk. Upon returning, I saw that I had croaked my stack from a little over 10K to about 6,200.

It could be worse, I had more than I started with, but I had handed over chips to a very loose player- the exact kind of player you don't want to have an abundance of chips to play around with.

Keeping my head, I stabbed here and there, picked my spots and chipped back up over 11K. I continued to bob and weave, avoid big pots and chip up. Finally, my chance came to attack the guy who had called me down and hurt my stack. I wasn't looking for revenge- that is moronic and gets you busted out of tournaments trying to be a hero or "teach someone a lesson". What lesson would I be teaching? "Hey, don't accept chips from me when I make a stupid play? Fold anyway?"

He raised in early position. I put him on AQ. I had 99. he had about 8 or 9K, I had about 17K. I figured I could get him to fold that hand with an all in. I had two shorter stacks behind me, and the guy to my immediate left was very tight. He wouldn't play unless he had a monster. The initial raiser hopefully would fold to my push with his tournament life on the line. AQ is one of the most over-rated hands in poker, especially to call with. I would much rather be the raiser than the call with AQ, because most people who re-raised you have either a big pair or AK, which has a 70-30 edge over AQ.

I shoved my stack. As He thought about it longer, I felt better about my hand. He was trying to talk himself into calling me, but his heart wasn't really in it. I thought more and more AQ, he has AQ. he said, "This hand has been good to me all day," and AQ was the hand he made his biggest hand with- against me earlier.

He finally calls and the news is even better than I had hoped, he has pocket 88, a 4:1 underdog to my 99. My 99 holds up, and I picked up a nice pot. I was surprised he called me with that hand, as I had been showing a lot of big hands, but sometimes, the chips seduce you into making a call, dreaming, you will win that big pot, forgetting that your opponent likely has your ass crushed.

I had also started throwing chips around a little bit, so maybe he thought I was starting to bet light.

As the tourney wore on, I picked up a few hands and played them very strong. A guy raised my BB when I had AQ. He had about 9K, I had 20K, so I shoved my stack. I had 10 10 in the BB, one limper, plus the Small blind- I shove my stack. I don't like to flip coins, but if I feel I have the best hand in a situation like that, I am going to put the other guy to the test.

Both hands resulted in folds, which is fine. I don't really want to see flops with those hands anyway, I am happy to take down the pot. As the tourney went on, I chipped up to about 43,000 or so, then hit a dry spell. I didn't win, or really play a pot for over an hour. I wasn't wasting chips, so I still had 35,000 or so when they broke my table up. It is an advantage to stay at the same table, as you know the players, but I was almost happy to be going, with the rags I had been seeing.

This would be my demise, however. We were down to 99 players or so when I was moved. 55 made the money. I wanted to make the money, but the day had been going so well that I was aiming much higher. I had played very well, with one exception, and had redeemed myself. I had also avoided bad beats- hands where I had far the best hand, but got some asinine beat.

My first couple hands at the new table told me this was going to be a challenge. I wasn't going to float into the money or run this table. The guy to my left was a chip mover, and so was the guy to his left. They had huge stacks and liked to throw chips around left and right. I called his raise from my BB with 22. the flop of 3 7 9 was ugly, but I check folded, after missing my shot at trips. It would not have been smart to start splashing around with a guy who likes to make moves with 22 in my hands.

The next hand, I am in the small blind with QJ off suit, not my favorite hand by any means, but not bad from the small blind. A guy with about 20K raises it to 3,000 from middle-late position. I call the extra 2,400 chips knowing the guy next to me would call with any two cards. I thought the raiser had an ace or a middle pair like 77 or 88 by the way he bet.

The flop comes A K 10, with 2 spades. I have just flopped the nuts. I have the best hand possible at this point in time. Some players might check here, to induce betting, but I bet out 4,500. I don't want this clown next to me getting a free shot at a spade, knowing he is the kind of guy who could have called the pre-flop raise with 5-8 of spades or something. He folds, and the initial raiser goes all-in.

This I expected, as if he had an Ace, he would have to play it here. the fact that I bet out also makes me look weaker, because it looks like I am trying to discourage action, which is exactly what I had hoped.

I call instantly- I mean, I have the nuts, right? I doubt he has spades, which I fear more than anything as another spade would crush my straight with a flush. I am guessing he has an ace, maybe AQ or AJ.

He flips over A 10 for two pair. I am way ahead with my straight, but I would rather have seen AQ or AJ, as he would need running cards to beat me, or a gut shot straight for a split pot. As it stands, I am about a 6:1 favorite. He has four "outs". He needs an ace or 10. the turn comes and 10 hits the turn, crushing my hopes. I take like a man, and dole out another 17,000 chips as everyone shakes their head is disbelief. I am not in disbelief, I am at Foxwoods, where these things tend to happen to me with regularity.

It is disheartening to play so well, make all the right reads and plays, and catch a bad beat. people whine about bad beats all the time, but a 6+:1 favorite after the flop falling is a bad beat. I still had 10,000 chips, I wasn't dead yet, although the uphill climb just got steeper- as Lenny sits down to my right. Lenny is possibly the most respected regular player at Foxwoods, and made the final table of the $10,000 main even last year at the Foxwoods WPT.

I catch KQ, not my favorite hand, but not bad for a short stack. A shorter stack pushes in front of me, I shove my 10K. Lady Luck has turned out to be a psycho-chick with herpes who is stalking me at work and telling the police I tried to force myself on her. the guy to my left calls with AK and my day is over.

All things considered, I feel great about my play, except the one mistake. My reads were very good, and I seemed to make all the right moves, but that's poker. I am going to have to downplay reporting the tournaments to my father, as he said, "this is costing you money, right?" and he does worry about that. he knows I won a small tourney last week, and I told him that covered me for a while.

I do feel like I am playing well, and geez, I don't even want breaks, just a lack of screw-jobs, and I feel something good will happen. We play at Foxwoods Wednesday in our next tourney, and I am targeting Mohegan Friday.


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