Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A not-so-gentle reminder to myself...

...Don't call off virtually all of your chips to an all-in reraise when all you have is AK soooted and you aren't in the orange or red zone.

Yes, I donked out of the Bodonkey last night committing just such a move, against 23skidoo. One of these days I will learn. I hope.

I have fallen to 12th on the leaderboard. Sure, I'm in better position than a lot of people, but with six more tourneys to play in the series, it wouldn't be hard for several players further down the list to catch up and pass me. I would really like to play in the TOC, not because I feel like I would have a snowball's chance of actually winning it, but just for the feeling of accomplishment for getting to that point. If I could place high enough to win some of the T$ they are awarding to the top finishers, that would be very sweet. But I know that I will need to earn some points over the next few weeks to solidify my spot in the standings.

Another strategy, I suppose, would be to root for everyone who is above me on the leaderboard now to win the points. As long as those lower than me don't move up, I should stay in the running for the final tourney.

In any case, I'd better bone up and work harder on playing better in these things (and in general).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cooler victim

Last night in the Bodonkey, I was running pretty hot most of the night. I got AA at least three times but only made any money with them once, when Instant Tragedy pushed his 33 into them and I busted him. But I also got TT three or four times and they mostly held up, including one hand where I rivered a straight with them to bust Bayne_S.

I had built my stack up near the lead, although I wasn't far ahead of the rest of the pack. Then this hand came along:

Blinds were 150/300/25. My stack was 12,660, so I was comfortable compared to the blinds and the others at my table. We were down to three tables, so the bubble was a ways off. In the BB, I woke up with KK. It folded to Sed the Icon in the SB with a total of 7,370 in chips, which he shoved into the pot. At least, I thought he had pushed, but it turned out he had 85 chips behind after his raise. Nevertheless, I instacalled.

Flop: Ad 2c 5h

Sed threw in his last 85 chips and of course I called again. He showed As 6h.

Turn: 8c. River: Ah.

I was knocked down to 5,030.

Now, I suppose I could have folded my KK to his push. But I only truly feared AA, and was expecting something more along the lines of what Sed had, which I was ahead of. With a chance to take out another player and add a nice chunk of chips to my stack, I couldn't see folding the second-best starting hand at that point. If anyone is reading this and has any feedback on this play, please leave a comment for me.

The very next hand, I was put to another decision. I got Ac Kc in the SB. With only 4,780 left after posting my blind, I was ready to shove with this hand if it folded around to me, or with a limper or two in the pot.

But Mondogarage in the hi-jack seat pushed his short stack of 3,975. Sed the Icon also went all-in with his now big stack of 15,360.

I would have called Mondogarage in a heartbeat. But with another player in the pot, I didn't like just AK suited. I decided to wait for another spot and folded. Mondo had AQ, and Sed had.... AK. The board came 5-3-5-K-8 rainbow and Sed took the pot, busting Mondo. Sed and I would have split the pot and I would have added half of Mondo's chips to my pile. Maybe I should have called and taken my chances, but I prefer to play AK heads up. Any thoughts on calling vs. folding here?

Just a few hands later, I got unlucky again.

Blinds 200/400/50. I had 4,630 and had to make a move. In MP I found Ad Qh. I thought about pushing but decided to try just a standard-sized raise to 1,400, to represent a stronger hand than just a push-and-pray, in hopes that the others would think twice about staying in with me. I was ready to deal with a caller. But GoldenHammer reraised me with all 4,095 of his chips. I didn't have him covered by much, and knew that folding would leave me with very little to work with. I hoped that GH had a marginal hand and was looking for me to fold, and I called. I got what I hoped for: GH had Ah Th and I dominated him.

Flop: Kc Ks Kh

That looked good to me. This didn't:

Turn: Tc

River: 6d

Boom - crippled to 285 chips. I busted two hands later.

I should have shoved the AQ instead of trying the 3.5XBB raise. GH might have folded his AT, but then again he might not. But he would have had more motivation to fold to my push than to my smaller raise.

I was really hoping for a higher finish so I could add to my leaderboard point total and maintain my spot in the top 5, giving me a better shot at the TOC. But other than the AK and AQ plays above, which could be argued either way IMO, I think I played pretty well last night. I'm currently in 8th place, so I feel like I still have a decent chance at the TOC. I certainly can't coast there, so I will have to bring my A-game in the coming weeks and do my best to earn more points.

I haven't played much poker otherwise, just a couple of the FullTilt $3.30 DSTKO SNGs, in which I did not cash. Not sure how much play I will get in between now and next Tuesday; we'll see. PokerStars is running a bunch of freeroll satellites for the WSOP, and I played in one of those tonight, busting early. I might jump into some of those if the timing works out, to see if I can luck into a ticket to the next round.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm forever blowing (it on the) bubble(s)

My lack of endgame experience and/or skill showed itself in two recent tournaments. In the Bodog $30 + 3 $4K Guarantee this past Saturday, I made it to the final three tables but as one of the short stacks. With 21 players left, and blinds at 200/400/50, I had 2,821 left, for an M of about 3. The top 18 places paid, so I was close to cashing. I knew I had to push and pray if I were to make any kind of comeback.

However, there were two stacks smaller than mine at my table, and at least one other stack about as small on another table. I was aware of this situation at the time, but didn't give it as much weight as I should have.

In MP I picked up Ah 8c. It was folded to me. Normally this is an easy push for me, with an Ace and a kicker above 7, and a low M, so I shoved all my chips in.

The problem, though, is that four players behind me had plenty of chips and could call me without too much risk. I had to hope that everyone would fold, but my stack wasn't enough to scare everyone away.

The chip leader at my table, with a stack of over 17,000 and sitting on the button, reraised, doubling my bet. The blinds folded, and the button turned over Ad 9d. I did not improve and busted out in 21st place.

Although in most cases I wouldn't give this play a second thought, I realized later that I could have held on for a few more hands, even with my low M, to see if any of the other short stacks would take a stab and bust out, moving me closer to the money. I might also have got lucky and picked up a better hand and some chips, or I could have considered pushing with a hand less likely to be dominated if called. Perhaps if we were right on the bubble, instead of two or three players away, I would have been more conscious of it and more patient. I still might not have made it to the money, but I feel like I didn't give myself the chance that I should have.

I did it again in the Bodonkey last night. At the final table, I had built up a nice stack but saw it get whittled away on a few hands. The crippling hand went like this:

I'm on the button with 18,333 in chips. Six players; top five get paid cash and T$109 each. Blinds are 800/1,600/150; my M is just under 6.

My hole cards come Ad Td. If it folds to me, I'm shoving.

Drizz folds UTG. Donkette pushes her last 16,050 chips in. RecessRampage2, the short stack, folds.

Donkette had gone all-in several times in the last few orbits, so I put her on a fairly wide range of hands, although not any two cards. But if she had an Ace, there were several hands she could have that would dominate me, and of course any pair was ahead. If I had been smart, I would have let her have the blinds and antes, or let someone else challenge her. But I called, everyone else folded, and she showed As Jd. Sure enough, I was dominated. The board brought no help for me, and I was crippled. I busted just a few hands later.

Once again, I could have waited for a better hand or better situation since I was right on the bubble and had chips left. I called with an easily dominated hand and paid for it. The consolation is, I got my T$11 entry fee back for finishing sixth, and I got some leaderboard points to move back up to fourth place (from fifth last week, but down from third the week before).

Hopefully going through this bubble crap in two tourneys within days of each other will make me think harder when I have a similar decision to make in the future.

Side note: I cashed in another FullTilt $3.30 DSTKO SNG the other day, and then blew those winnings (all $6) in the special Martini rebuy game hosted by Katitude on Monday night. I suffered a couple of ugly beats early on, which I won't recount here, and decided to save my FT funds for another day. But I will be back for more of those $3.30 games to try my luck again.