Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pillow Of Winds

There comes a time in everyone’s endeavors where he feels like Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the hill until the end of time. I remember talking with a friend one summer about his golf game. He had reached the point where he shot around 90 for 18 holes. He was happy. And he furthermore made a statement. “I don’t ever want to be better than this. Everyone I play with someone who is better than this, he feels the pain of every bad shot. After 18 holes, they are miserable. I play for fun and I want it to stay that way.” I never agreed with that because when I stop getting better, I lose interest because I no longer enjoy the act.

This week, I may have reached this fork in the road with poker.

Last night, I played in a tournament where in level 1 I really mixed it up. At the end of level 1, I had ½ my stack left. I was chatting with a fellow player who had the same run of cards and was also now at 50% of starting stack size. I mentioned how sweet the victory is when you have to play back from the brink of elimination.

He went out a while later, but I battled on. I like my short stack play and got some great folding equity out of some otherwise marginal hands like 88. I am playing my heart out, but at the first break, I am still below average. I continue to play and play, striving to make good decisions. I don’t even really have to win a race. At the second break, I continue to accumulate chips, but I am still below average.

We are down to 3 tables and I am far down in the standings. But again, I accumulate chips. My Q fluctuates between .5 and .7 the entire time. My M gets as high as 12 and the levels were generously timed. But now I have to make moves. And I do. I finally get a couple of hands back to back where I capitalize on my opponents incorrect calls. And then I have two big hands. Both times I am ahead and I stay ahead. Suddenly, I am the chip leader with 16 left.

Action is TIGHT and often the first 3xBB steal raise takes down the pot. Very often in fact. This goes on for most of a level.

I fluctuate between 2nd and 4th until the next break. I am 3rd or 4th in chips at 9600. The first hand after the break, its folded to me on the Button. I put in a 3x steal raise to 1800 and the SB goes all in for 900 more. I made a fatal mistake. I did not notice that the SB was pot committed already. A stupid mistake. And one that was so embarrassing, I COMPOUNDED my mistake by folding to the all-in which was only 900 more. I was getting 5 to 1 which justifies any two cards. I had Q2s. So, now I just made two mistakes and fall to 7th place out of 12. But neither mistake is fatal, and certainly I am not going to tilt over this. I am still in fine position.

The very next hand, I decide I can take advantage of my misfortune. Here is the thing about mistakes. You can capitalize on this just like an opponent does. You have portrayed and image and you can capitalize on it by realize how others will view your action following it. Utg+1 makes his steal raise, but its 4xBB not the typical 3xBB. I have AK in LP and its 2400 to me. Raising to 3600 makes no sense if I have only 7800 in chips. Calling is just plain donkey-ish. So, I take the folding equity, knowing darn well I am ahead no matter what. Why?

1. He raised 4xBB and not 3xBB. 3xBB has not been getting called very often. So I have to assume that if he had AA or KK he would be LESS, maybe 2.5xBB.
2. Since the steals are often with Ax, I am 80 to win the hand if he has Ax.
3. If by some chance he has 22-QQ, I am no worse than 45%.
4. I may get him to fold here with an all-in. But I think he might call with AQ or AJ and get burned. That because I lost the last hand and made a weird fold.

I make the re-raise all in and he thinks and calls, as expected. He flips over AQ!!!! I am so happy, I am about to be the chip leader and with 14k in chips, I am almost assured a cash in place 6 or higher.

The flop is JQQ. IGHN.

I was so close… I may no longer be able to sleep… I understand I must win with AK and beat AK to win a tournament. Ironic is some ways, this was my only real race of the night.

What does it take to WIN a tournament? What piece of the puzzle eludes me?

I understand why you have to have a luckbox, but I resent the fact that I never will own one.


StatikKling said...

What does it take to win? Luck mixed with correct choices most of the time. Even better if you can get the tables to fear you, but when it comes down to the final table, at least half of the players have no clue how you play, so scratch the fear part.

It is gambooling, so there needs to be some luck. From your post, there is nothing that you could have done to prevent that, except fold, which would have been the wrong choice. If you had to play that hand over again with the same two cards for both players, would you have changed anything? No? Me too..

Keep with it.. you'll make a stellar comeback.

HCR said...

This very fact eludes me as well. One of two things happen:
1) I have the other player dominated and something like you described happens suckout ensues
2) A huge hand gets cracked by garbage or a two outer

Luck seems to be never on my side enough to win in tournaments.