Thanks to the A's turning their Home Opener into a feckless display of the National Pastime inside of three innings, I decided to fire up the ol' laptop for some poker mirth. Dropped into an SnG to try my luck...er, skill.
Just like last week, I had a little trouble over the weekend at the tables. Bankroll took another three-digit hit before I pulled out a win in $20 two-table SnG to get it back. Especially satisfying since I got to heads-up as a 5-1 chip 'dog. I immediately ripped the plug from the wall, ending on a good note and in positive frame of mind for the trip to Commerce.
Which brings us to last night. I'm gonna stick with the same structure for the time being. I feel a nice comfort zone, no doubt tied to my recent forays into the MTTs. As mentioned often, the starting chip counts and relatively slow blind escalation at Poker Stars are a good fit for my style.
Which doesn't mean I won't take a flyer on a hand. I had won a small pot in Level 1 with a continuation bet on a flop that missed me. In Level 2, I get Mr. October in LP and limp behind one other. The button then bumps it to 150. Both blinds call, as does the limper. Well, since I'm getting 5.5-1 on my call, I'll get in there and hope to hit a set of fours.
The flop comes Jc 6h 4h.
Giddyup. Blinds check and the limper--to this point the chip leader and very aggressive--moves all-in. I hate the flush draw, because it always seems to bite me in the ass, but it's a must call. He shows AJ of hearts. Great flop for him. But no other hearts come and I double up.
Of all the SnGs I've played at this level on Stars, this one was the quickest to consolidate to the final table. Level 4 is all it took. I had dragged a couple more small pots by this time and was sitting in second chip position down to the final 9. The leader--who we will hear from shortly--had nearly T9000. He must've run over the other table.
Anyway, here's where I get cold-decked. Folded an entire level. I really like to stay in raise-or-fold mode here and I fire out a button raise with JTs. The SB raises me, however, so I lay it down. A few hands later, I get pocket 6s and throw out my standard 3x raise. The BB, on the short stack, goes all-in. I'm not crazy about it, figuring a coin flip at best, but I call since I've got him covered by plenty. He shows A5o. Thankyouverymuch.
At this point I'd like to suggest that Poker Stars does NOT have to wait until the river to drop the Ace on me. Just give it on the flop. It's fine. I can do without the drama.
So now I'm middle of the pack chip-wise and tilting toward the lower end. I do a fair amount of folding and see the table take on a curious bent. The chip leader is getting involved in a lot of pots. He limps most often, but will call a raise behind him. In three straight hands he does this, each time following it up with a flop bet. He is raised all-in each time (one was a check-raise) and folds each time. He's bleeding chips and can't be happy about it.
I've folded to the bubble, but am 4th in chips with just 13x the BB. In the nick of time, I look down to see rockets in the BB. Pot is raised 3x by the chip leader (still, but just barely) and I call. That groan you hear is from the dear and patient wife perched over my shoulder. Yeah, I'm not crazy about being passive with aces either, but I need to double up here, or at least induce a flop bet and not be content with just 700 chips. His folding to raises is fresh in my mind."If you lose this, don't get mad. It's your own fault."
Thanks, honey. Flop comes with two of those damn hearts again, though one is an ace. Also a four and deuce. I check (GROAN)
and he bets 800. Alright, alright, alright. I move all-in, assuming the fold. Except he calls. I think "Crap. He's got the hearts" in the split seconds before his cards are revealed. Um, he's sOOOOOted, alright. Queen and four of diamonds.
I can only assume his getting pushed around by others in recent hands had ratcheted up his frustration. And I'm back in the mix.
I get Aces again three hands later, but no action. The aggressive former chip leader goes out next, losing a kicker battle. Which puts us in the money: two big stacks (including me) one medium, one small.
I get involved in a pot with the medium stack when I call his 3x raise with A9s in the BB. I flop top two and fire out a pot-sized bet which he calls. The turn brings a scary king, but he just calls the same bet and I confidently put him on AQ. River is a rag and despite what I think is a good read, I don't push. I bet the same amount, saving myself a chunk of chips just in case. Turns out I was exactly right about AQ, according to the hand history. He's crippled and goes out in 4th shortly.
Soon, we're heads-up with me at a 3-2 chip disadvantage. My opponent has played real solid poker the entire tourney. Tighter than me, even. Patient and diciplined. To give you an idea, we played 53 hands heads-up.
I deal him a nearly fatal blow when we both get all-in pre-flop, me with TT, him with AJo. He doesn't catch and is down to T3300. Two hands later, we get all-in on the flop. I have A5s with four to the flush on a jack-high board. He has the jack. Twelve outs twice for the title. Alas.........
He's back from the brink and the cat-and-mouse game ensues. We play about 30 hands without any significant action. I catch a couple big hands, but can't get a call to my raises. Twice he folds his button when I'm huge in the BB: AQs and AA. I'm still have a better than 2-1 chip lead, but I make a mistake.
Unraised before the flop and I catch second pair on a Q9x board. I make a minimum bet to see where I'm at and he just calls. A six falls on the turn and he again calls my same bet. See, I'm worried about building a big pot here with my second pair. Want to minimize the damage if I'm beat. While at the same time, advertizing in flashing neon leters that I'm weak. The river is another six and he raises all-in over the top of my bet. After much deliberation, I call and he shows A6s. Um, remember back when we were trying to keep the pot small? Yeah, nice work.
Poorly played on all streets.
We're virtually even now and three hands later, we both get in on the turn. I'm holding 54o in an unraised pot and the flop is T87 rainbow. He bets the pot and I call with my gunshot. I get it on the turn. He bets, I re-raise all-in, he calls and shows the 9.
They don't call it the idiot end for nothin'.
Still, I was fairly satisfied with my play and the paycheck. Pulled us into the black for the week. I say "us" because the dear and patient wife continues her assault on the Party $5 SnGs with three top finishes (two seconds and a win) out of five attempts. Yes, she's totally screwing up my bankroll statistics, but as long as it's in a good way...
A quick note to the lady in the cafeteria who felt compelled to offer explicit step-by-step instructions on how to properly prepare her bacon and egg sandwich:
THIS IS NOT YOUR KITCHEN!
Please be aware of the 40 people in line behind you while you monopolize the single cook with your idiotic demands. I mean seriously, is that piece of lettuce REALLY considerably better than the other?
In my haste to get up the Commerce trip report, I neglected one of the funner periods of the evening. Yes, there was straddling. I think Glyph
supplied the peer pressure. I straddled The Poker Geek's
blind, which Absinthe
immediately three-bet. Geek capped it and off we went. I held Jc3d and stuck around until the end in order to catch the flush when the fourth board club fell on the river. Then Absinthe straddled my blind (don't think that one was bet any further), proceeded to get dealt pocket tens and taking THAT pot.
The lesson, as always, straddling pays. Unless you try it when you get dealt AQo, like Geek did on the next orbit. He didn't improve and my TT took it down. You could say the cards weren't being very kind to him on this evening. And you would be understating it a bit.
In further blogger news, I see my main man CJ
has squeezed another table out of the Aladdin for the WPBT live event
moving moi from the rail into the tourney. God Bless Us, Everyone!
And keep a good thought for JP.
have organized a WSoP satellite
for bloggers. Oh man. I'm happy to donate $30 to get a blogger into the $1500 event. And to watch his or her bid from the rail, drinking double-fisted, with the rest of you.