Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Event#37 part 2

1350+ entries... Day 2

I got up early for day 2, a bit nervous. But more nervous when I saw my table draw. Most had cashed in WSOP events and Aaron Massey on my direct right with a crap-ton of chips. Lucky for me, we were both card dead... There are now 9 to the money and he raises from the cutoff to 2.4x BB. I am the button and have AKs... The two blinds on my left are very active, especially the small blind. So this is a 100% raise, but how much? I have about 30BB.

I thought about it for about 30 seconds+ and decided to overplay the hand. I didnt want to play on the bubble against a holding like TT or 77 and have to navigate those waters. Even with position, I expect him to put in a 3BB c-bet. So I shove expecting a snap fold... Instead he starts talking.
"How many get paid?" he asks.
"200", I reply.
"And you just shoved into me knowing that?"
"Yes, I did."
"Wow. I really dont want to fold this, best had I've seen."

He folds KQs face up, so I say "I think my hand is face up here" and show AKs.

"I overplayed it.", I say.
and he says, "No, no. That was fine."

Well, ok then... The bubble breaks and so does the table... Probably just as well I did what I did... Fast forward to tomorrow and Massey will be at the FINAL TABLE.

And I thought the previous table was hard.

I sit down to Mike Sexton, Ryan Lapante, a European pro, and a couple of guys with lots of chips. Ryan is talkative and so the table is on the social side.

Eventually, I get lucky and double up when my AK > QQ.

Then I make not 1 but 2 big mistakes...

Guys sits down with about $20k. He seems like a super rec. He doesnt play a hand then finally shoves his $20k over an open raise. I wake up with JJ on the button, so both blinds and original opener still to act. I think WAY TO LONG and fold. BAD BAD FOLD. Even though I have $45k, I just should NOT be folding here. I talked myself into putting him on a narrow range. He will bust out a rotation later and when I ask him, he says it was AK. He just was card dead and my range for him was far to narrow. I have to give him 66+ and some ATs, so very bad me. Lesson learned. If it was 10BB I snap call. 20 BB just caused me to overthink it.

Still, bad fold me. Really bad.

Then mistake 2, which is MUCH bigger. EP opener (same guy who doubled me up now has 20BB and I have 40BB.) opens for 2.5x and I flat on the button with 9h8h. BB comes along. Flop is 8c6s2s. He c-bets and I raise... Oh Lordy, there are not enough chips in play (SPR) for me to raise here without getting all the money in. IF he has any pair, he isnt folding. Turns out he didnt need to even think about it. He had KK! ARGH. TERRIBLE. He even says, "JJ?" and is shocked (and looks at me like I am a donk) when I show the TP. I did get a 7 for at least a sweat.

After playing so well for so long, I maneuver myself down to 20BB on unforced errors.

The last hand, despite busting me, I was pretty proud of...

EP opens, 3 callers... I squeeze-shove QTs!!! It was great. I can only get called by Ryan based on position and stack sizes. He calls with 66!
I said, "I just could not pass up the dead money."
"I thought you might squeeze pretty light here."

So the pot is actually $50k! (which would put me back to stack prior to 98 disaster, all is forgotten.) But the board runs out dry and 66 scoops the pot. (Ryan will go on to finish 15th).

I was frustrated with myself, but know I can hang with these guys in these large MTTs. This is my second cash in 4 events, so feeling maybe a bit overconfident? But why not, I am getting pretty good and the coaching has helped.

I think playing live more will alleviate some of the bad play... Put in many, many online hours prior to the WSOP. I would have snap called with JJ online...

NOW I recalled another hand day 1 where I folded QJo in the SB and would have flopped OESD And turned the nuts. I would have been up against a set (button opened 44) and 2 pair (the BB pro who was 3-betting me) where they got all the money in. I was thinking though how I would have played the hand and I think I would have made a huge (similar) mistake there. If I check the flop and Button bets and I check-raise, he shoves it down my throat because he flopped a set (especially if 2 pair calls my check-raise too). I check behind and I make the nuts.

What is the wisdom on this situation? All things equal, when the Button raises and you decide to flat QJo and the flop is 49T, do you check call or check raise? when and why?

A really, really good Vegas trip - Event#37 part 1

I've traveled to Vegas many a time, but I dont recall a time where while I was coming back, I really, really wanted to stay...

I flew in Father's Day and instead of playing poker, went to Hoffbrau house and then went to see Absinthe. Money well spend.

Was up fresh and early for the Event #37. I was calm and collected and had a plan. I played fairly loose the first two levels, especially from position. I ran my $7500 stack up to $10k, but then could not get 88 off TT65 board. I checked the river knowing he was calling down and was back at $8k...

From there being 10 handed and card dead really had my frustrated. Then table breaks and I move to a table that desperately needed a shot clock. As level 7 started, I had $6600 left...

Then, I started getting some hands. Since we were already into Antes, in level 8 I 3-bet almost my entire range. In a LIVE MTT, in day 1, especially when players start to get past the donk levels (middle levels online), 3-bets are the best way to pick up chips without a ton of conflict. So many times I got folds and others would see a flop and fold. (Fit or fold is no way to go through life son.) Once I was at $25k, I felt I could start to really play.

I worked the $25k to $50k mostly with pressure and knowing my range was ahead. Ok, that and this guy on my right (not US based, but that is all I know), paid off my two monsters. I really dont know what he was thinking. The first time I bombed the river for $6k and I was sure I bet too much and he called and was frustrated when I showed top set. Then after paying that off, later on I 3 bet him with QQ pre (so I have a hand, right?) and then turned a set. Again, I made a big river bet and got paid. He was more angry this time, muttering "Of Course". Perhaps he thought he was ahead of QQ? Maybe 2 pair? The board paired on the river, so maybe trips?

To end the day, I went card dead the last two entire levels and finished day 1 with a whimper. The poker stars pro on my left started 3 betting my every open sensing my frustration. He would even open UTG (my BB). After he broke two other players I figured out his strategy. It was a doozy. He would single out players he thought over-folded and 3-bet to ISO his ENTIRE range. He would show up with 75s or 53s after a 3-bet pre. I finally had a strategy against him, but the day came to a close. I bagged just $34k.

It was just 37 to the money coming back to 500/1000, so seems like an easy cash day 2 with 34 BB and at the bubble?

...Day two in next post...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Event #37 is almost here

ok, fine. So I only get to go to Vegas for 4 days and play in 1 event. I am a rec. Not much I can do about it now... I've put in some solid study time in the past few months, shipping the $25 6 max knockout MTT twice, and really have a good feel for ranges.

Regardless of all of that, I haven't cashed in an online MTT large field in like a month. I've been playing the early levels well, but in the middle levels, I am not sure what is happening. Last night, I am not sure I could have avoided losing 20 BB when I kept 99 from folding pre by flatting, only to have him double through me on a Q9x flop. Even though at one point I have 1/3 of a STARTING stack, I still battled on for quite a while, even getting to 22BB again, only to have it fall apart on me at about the 25% mark.

Going to spend Father's Day in Vegas, NOT playing poker, then play Monday morning through the end. If I really flame out on Monday, I'll play the Venetian $500 on Tues.

My pre-flop game remains really good, my flop game is solid if not overly so, my TURN play can be better, and my river decisions, although solid, could be backed up with more range evidence when I bet or call. But I am still right far more than I am wrong. So I've been trying to concentrate on better TURN play as my target for improvement. "Based on the information available to me, am I making the max EV choice?" Despite being a game of incomplete information, there is a ton of information to process by the turn. Stack size drive behavior, as do flop texture and action, plus sometime Villain is playing his hand and sometime he is playing your range. Identifying which I think is sometimes BETTER than being balanced in an MTT?

Balance of ranges is all the rage, but it assumes your goal is not not be exploited. But then of course, you cant be exploitative. So being GTO early in an MTT seems worthless? In the middle stages, I think the jury is still out. After all, am I playing against a player or could I just play against the field (and its tenancies)? As the field narrows, or your Q gets >1.5, then it seems GTO has far more value.