Saturday, September 22, 2007

What a donkey - or was I?

I played in the Friday Night Donkament last night for the first time in many weeks. I have very little money left on FullTilt, so I was glad to be available to play in this low buy-in game.

My play was variable in the tourney, probably tighter than it should have been in some spots, and I lucked out a couple of times to stay alive to make the final table. I got there as one of the shorter stacks; with blinds at 250/500/50 ante, I knew I would have to make a move before long if I was going to have any chips with which to fight to the money places.

On my very first hand at the final table, with 7,556 in chips, I picked up KQo in the SB. From MP, Katitude raised to 1,500. She could have had a monster hand, or just a good hand. Her stack was 31,540, virtually tied for the chip lead, so she could have just been trying to bully the rest of us with a hand of medium strength. With my M just over 5, I chose to push, thinking that just calling would leave me with too little if I had to fold on the flop, and hoping that I could get Kat to fold. Perhaps I should have just folded there, but I took my chances. Unfortunately, cyberkat in the BB called all-in for her last 5,176. Although Katitude stopped and thought about it, she called my raise; too many chips in the pot for her to fold, I expect. Kat showed 99, cyberkat showed KK. I was in trouble, but the flop brought a Q and I won the side pot with Kat while cyberkat took the main pot.

The bad news was, that only gave me 3,660 to play with. I had the button on the next hand, but my M was now below 3 and I was the shortest stack at the table. I decided that any decent hand meant all my chips were going in the middle.

It didn't take long. That very next hand, I got Qd Jd. It was folded to MiamiDon two seats to my right, with just over 10,000 in his stack. He raised to 1,650, bayne_s folded, and I shoved my last 3,610 in. I knew there was a chance that I was behind, and the blinds behind me could get in the pot too, but I couldn't see the point of throwing away suited connecting face cards when I was so far behind the rest of the table in chips. Even if MiamiDon called, which I expected he would, I could be in a race or not too far behind.

The blinds folded, and the hands were turned up: MiamiDon had 9s Jh against my Qd Jd. I guess he was on a steal, and it turned out that I had him dominated.

The flop: 8d 4d 5d. A miracle board for me. The pair of deuces on the turn and river didn't help Don, and I took the pot.

Don proceed to comment in the chat box,
"what a donkey"

I made light of it by typing, "but they were sooooted," but his reply was, "whatever."

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am no expert at poker. I make plenty of donkey plays, and made some earlier in this game (possibly including my push against Kat above). But I didn't think this move against Don was that bad. On the other hand, if it was, I'm more than willing to learn from it. Should I have folded my suited QJ to Don's raise here, as he seems to think I should have done? Since I was on the button, I didn't face the blinds again for a whole orbit, so I had the option of waiting for something better to come along. But what are the chances of that, with the antes sucking away at my stack while I wait for the blinds to come around? QJs looked really good right then. Frankly, I'm not sure what would have made me fold this hand considering my M and my position as smallest chip stack. I could have called Don's raise instead of pushing, but that would have taken about half my stack, and if I folded on the flop I would have had about 2,000 chips, which would have put me in a ridiculous position.

I can't say I had much of a read on Don, but I had a bit of a feel that he was on the aggressive side and might have a fairly wide range of raising hands. And although I am terrible at computing pot odds on the fly, I think I was in a decent spot here:

Small Blind: 250
Big Blind: 500
Antes: 450
Don's raise: 1,650
Pot: 3,050

My reraise: 3610
Don's call, if he makes it: 1,960
Total pot: 8,420

So it cost me 3,610 to try to win 5,010, for odds of about 1.4 to 1. Marginal, but is QJs above or below the margin that would call for a fold here? Since I didn't figure out the odds at the time, I had to go with my gut, and my gut told me it was above that line. If I had lost on that hand, I would not have felt cheated at all, knowing that my hand would not be that hard to beat. Instead, it turned out that Don raised with an arguably more marginal hand than mine, and was unable to catch up.

Did Don calling me a donkey bother me? Sure, a little. But as I said, I want to learn more about the right way to play. If Don is right and my still-developing poker instincts are off base, I want to know how to improve. But I don't want to assume that someone calling me a donkey means it is true, and change the instincts that I have been working on just because of one remark.

If you are reading this, I would love to hear your honest comments. I am not looking for confirmation that I was right unless you truly feel that way. Constructive suggestions are always welcome. If you want to tell me how I could have played that hand better, that would be much appreciated. If you just want to say, "Hee haw! What were you thinking, dumbass?" then kindly keep that to yourself.

By the way, I busted out a few minutes later when my AQ ran into bayne_s's AK. I suppose I should have folded that one, when bayne raised, I reraised, and he popped me again to put me all-in. Oh well, I can't say I am a good enough player yet to fold AQ there; maybe someday.

Until then, I will wear the donkey ears when they fit, while trying to make those occasions less and less frequent.


BrainMc said...

I didn't think his comment was necessary. He had already been making some unsuccessful steal attempts and with your chip stack, you weren't going to see to many more hands. My only comment would be to realize that after he had made his bet he was going to call for the rest of your chips, so you knew that you were either going to double or go home. He certainly didn't have any problem spanking me every time we were in a hand together, but I didn't take it as him targeting me. Maybe he didn't comment on my play because he knew all my chips would end up in his stack, LOL.

yestbay said...

Thanks for your reply, Brian. Yeah, I knew going in that he was likely to call my push, and I was ready for whatever happened, including going home. I didn't want to wait around for the random cards that were coming next when I had two cards that gave me a fighting chance, even against a raise in front of me.

And why was he raising with J9o with four people to act after him?? Talk about donkey moves! :-)