Thursday, March 09, 2006

This house is clean

Tangina: "Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help, it knows too much already. "

I refuse to die, refuse to surrender. I soldier on. In the immortal words of Bill The Cat, "Thbbbbbbt! Ack!"

51 person, $40 buy in, NLHE tournament. It is a shallow stack tournament with longer levels. So, the blinds are 1/2, but you only start with 100. By level 3 (4/8), you need to be at 240 chips to have an M of 20. BUT, the levels are long for 8 handed tables. About 30 minutes. So you have plenty of hands to work with. And you have your sk1llz (sic).

I am working it, but find myself playing a new style called SCARED TO GET CALLERS. I call it scared-aggressive. (tm) (pat pend) (R)

Every time I decide to play a hand post flop, I make a bet that is much greater than half the pot. Most of the time, its a pot size bet. If they call and I like my hand after the turn, I bet MORE.

I even missed an opportunity (a true one) to slow play. I play 22 from MP and the button calls with I assume an Ace. The flop is A92 and I make a bet and he raises to see if his kicker is good. NORMALLY, Columbo would go for the academy award here and struggle with "calling with my Ace-rag". Instead I raised back the best player in the field. He figured his 9 kicker was no good and folded. An blown opportunity to extract more money, but scared-aggressive battle-scared Columbo just rakes the small pot and builds up his stack.

We are at level 3 and I have about 230 in chips. The guy two to my right CONTINUALLY plays hit boards with bad kickers, especially Ace -rag and K-x suited. What possible results does he expect playing this way? And best of all, he check calls pre-flop when he does this. I get AJ and raise from EP (we are 8 handed, so this meets my min requirements). He calls my 3x bet and we see a flop with an Ace in it. I check, hoping to entice him by looking weak as I am sure he will not even analyze my check as a trap. Sure enough, he comes all in with his stack of about half my total stack. I make the call and he is SURPRISED he is behind with A7. The river is a 7. 90 minutes of work reduced to rubble. I am starting stack size again, but now with an M of 8.

I work back to about 135, but the blinds are now 8/16 and I have to make a move. More waiting. I am so scared that when I get to limp in the BB with 56 and the flop is 34A, I check (WEAK!). When he makes a POT size bet with I assume the Ace, with another player to CALLING that bet, I fold it. I would have made the 7 on the turn (with a 3rd diamond though). He bets again, and the other player folds.

More waiting. I bleed down to an M of like 4. Then I get 55. I bet 40% of my stack and the BB (same guy) moves all in. He has the SAME stack size I do, so I figure he can do this with any Ace. I look at the math, I look at the levels and the avg. stack, and I decide (correctly) that I can not justify a fold mathematically. I call to see 77. Bummer. I got up. I walk away. And I put on my coat. AND THEN IT HAPPENED - everyone started telling me to sit down. The board had 4 clubs and I had the 5c. His 7s were red. I had sucked out on someone.

There is some psychology I learned early on in my playing. When you get sucked out on, take solace in that fact that you got your money in ahead. When you suck out on someone, apologize, shake hands, sit down, and from that second on, pretend you out played him. NEVER consider yourself lucky to be here and other bullshit. Eyes back on the prize. Its variance baby, the mistress of the poker player. And when she swings your way, you take what you can before she moves on, leaving you wanting...

I was an average stack size, and arguably playing better than anyone at the table, despite the league champ being at the table (I was a previous league champ also, in better variance swing days).

Now I have to get to work again. A couple of times I have to calm myself down and say “I lost about as little as I could with that hand”. (I think I was right both times).

More work. Despite playing well, I have only about 300 chips as we are down to two table. Average is about 500.

One thing I love about live cards is the ability to get someone to do something. The table was short handed (6) and two of us were VERY aggressive. Whenever I fought for a pot, I made it seem like I was making a move, even if I had the nuts. One time he got sick of it and ran his TP into my over pair. But he comes back, busting 2 other players at our table in one hand by making a HUGE call with AT on an Ace flop. He beat A9 and a middle pair. Wow. Tough call. And one I don’t think I make there.

Then he doubled me up with my Aces when he had Kings. He was scared of me for the rest of the night (which will serve him well).

I now realize two things.
1. I just made the money (9th place) which is your buy in back. This is already my biggest victory of the year. Thanks for the visit, mistress variance.
2. The avg stack size is 800 and I now have 900. Wow. I am not out of this yet.

The deal turns to me and we are playing MUCH faster than the other table. I decide to wait for them to finish the hand they just started before dealing ours. I never dealt. Three of them got all in and two went to the rail.

Final table set up: Previous chip leader (when we were two tables) now on the short stack, the guy who just had KK vs. my AA (pretty solid stealer), the previous champ, a very aggressive player, a weak tight player, another short stack, and me. 7 players. I sit down and say “looks like a Sit N Go now.” But I did not say it as conversation, I said it as affirmation. It WAS a SnG now, and I had a decent stack. I am a good SnG player. At this point, I like my odds to finish in the top 3. Avoid the two other dangerous players, fold marginal hands if someone is about to blind out, don’t get caught stealing, but steal.

I execute the proper strategy. Did I play the hands correctly? who knows. Who cares? Strategicaly, I made the right choices.

Fast forward. 3 players left. Guess who? Me, the champ, and Mr. KK. I might be the smallest of the three, but I am here.

Then a weird thing happened. I made a raise 3 handed with 44 from the button and they BOTH called. We were playing tight-aggressive, so I was surprised by the calls. Especially from the BB. Not only that, they checked the ragged flop. I decided to check and let them think I was trapping. But the turn now was a Q and everyone checked trying to avoid the invisible trap. The river was the Ace and they check again, assuming I hit the Ace. I figure that I must be behind, but can not fathom how stupid or smart a bet here is. I flip over my 4s and they are good. WTF? After all that, all 3 of us played the hand terrible. Terrible. But because the blinds were so high, I have caught up to one of the other stacks. I go back to aggressive mode. I break the champ and then caught the big stack pushing with a pair. He put me all in and I flipped over TP. He look like I had shot his wife. He paid me off and we battled for another 30 minutes until I had the lead. Then I offered to chop if since the prize difference was 10%.

I went home and slept like a baby.

1 comment:

Achiel said...

Nice to see you finally making the money this year. Keep up the good work!

And don't worry about the downswings, the upswings will come soon enough, starting with the 55-flush ;)