Saturday, April 23, 2005

So you wanna race?

I vowed to not limp into any hands in my monthly Friday night game. The field was 23 people, some of them are what I call PFA. They have learned that if you are in a pot, then you must be Post Flop Aggressive if you have the opportunity to bet at the pot first. This takes some finesse, and its something I struggle playing against. But last night, I think I devised a move that would prove to be an interesting foil. Racing. I left my comfort zone and became a move in specialist.

After losing some early hands, I practically folded my way to the final table. I had to be willing to take chances now, so I was pushing all my chips in on any unraised pot when I looked down at a pocket pair. This got me up to 5th with 4 money places. Even though there was a player with less chips than me, I still moved all in with another baby pocket pair and it held up. After making it to third, my luck ran out when I moved all-in against a button raise with A4s, hoping he had 33 or 22 or Kx. He called and flipped over 33. Could not have asked for better since he did not fold, but the flop and cards were all rags and I was out.

Randy was a 3 to 1 chip dog at this point, but came back to take first. His relentless betting after the flop was his key to chip accumulation all night.

My wife lost all her chips on the first hand of the night. She flopped TPTK and got stacked off against a flopped set of 2s.

I wondered all night why I will race when it looks hopeless (and come back on more than one occasion), but not early in the tournament when you could accumulate chips? The answer is, “its how I learned to play”. Early rounds are for survival, late rounds are for either dominating or moving in and doubling up.

The next morning I played in 2 big fields. The first was 450 and I was out 350 when my 88 lost a race to AK. It was over an hour into the tournament and I had slightly LESS than my starting stack. I put a guy all-in with AKo and he calls?! Did not really expect that reaction, especially early, but you need to win races in a big field, so I was glad to not see a higher pair. Still, the K came right away and I lost a race. Still, had I seen his cards, I would have made the same play. In a large field, take some races early. That’s what I was trying this day.

In the giant 6000 person free-roll, I just would not go out. I was on the ropes numerous times, but with 715 players left, I had an avg. stack size (slightly larger). Not great, but defiantly in it. I slow played a lot of hands for value. As expected though, one player had 100k in chips at this point, so you are still looking situations to get chips in the pot with an advantage of any size. Suddenly, there are 480 left and I am behind again. I look for another race… I found a situation that looked like a blind steal from the button. It wasn’t and I was out 416.

I think you need these chips earlier in order to avoid these situations later. Duh.

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