Saturday, September 17, 2005

Back on Track

I got back on track last night with two cashes in four tourneys, a 11th and a 25th. Of particular note was the 25th was in the $11 Pokerstars buy-in with over 1,000 entries. I was pleased to make it this far but disappointed with my play down the stretch.

At the money cutoff, I had the 18th largest chip count and just could not get any cards. I tried to steal some pots 3-4 times but someone always played back at me and I had to lay it down. If I had been more patient during this stretch, I had enough chips to last a while and try to pick up a good hand to move in with. Live and learn.

In the Hollywood Poker $11 event I was cruising. I actually had 80,000 chips and was in 5th or 6th place on chip count. However, I picked up the dreaded KK two off the button. I raised the minimum to try to make sure I got a caller (critical mistake). Only the small blind called -- he was the only stack at the table that outchipped me. The flop came 3T9 with two clubs (I did not have a club).

The small blind led out and I raised about 80% of the pot and was called. Hmm what could he have, I was thinking, maybe AT, maybe trips (Ts, 9s or 3s). He also might have JJ or QQ (although he likely would have reraised me with QQ or better preflop). Lastly he might have a flush draw, but I felt this was remote.

The flop brought a K offsuit but I still felt I was in great position -- he checked to me and I bet about half the pot. I was not thinking flush draw so I felt I could try to induce a raise and sure enough he raised all in. I quickly called, but still uncertain about what he would turn up. When he flipped the cards I was amazed and delighted to see the QT for a very loose call indeed. However, I ended up on the rail when a J came on the river and I was ousted to a straight.

Unreal. I was already counting my chips and would have been the chip leader for sure. Instead I was out in 11th and just missed the final table.

However, decisions over outcomes and I was happy with my play in the tounament. My only mistake on the last hand was not to raise 3x-4x BB preflop. However, given his mindset he was likely to call that raise also because he must have really thought I was just trying to steal the pot. I had a fairly tight image at the table so that does not explain his play. Probably just a lucky player that was getting the right cards all night.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ouch

Man, what a horrible night. Time to exorcise the poker demons by writing about it.

I played in 10 different tournaments tonight and did not cash in one of them. Now part of it was a really dry spell of cards. I believe I only had AA twice in all those tourneys and very few other big pairs or AK. However, part of it was due to a lack of patience because I was frustrated by bad cards. I definitely did not play my best poker tonight.

It is back to the drawing board for me. I need to rethink everything about my game and get back to fundamentals.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Double Satellite Win

I played Round 2 of the Hollywood Poker/Poker Room Grand IV satellite structure last and won a seat into the $1,000 buy-in Main Event. I had previously placed in the $11 round 1 satellite and moved onto Round 2. Round 1 had 54 participants and the final 5 in the tourney won seats into Round 2. The Round 2 event was a small tourney with only 24 entrants and the two 2 received seats into the Main Event.

I was actually more worried about playing a small tournament like this than a larger one. With a larger tournament, more participants move on and since there is more dead money in the tournament I feel like I have a better shot of moving on. Of course, this is all in my head because the numbers would tell you that my chances were the same in either tournament. However, as we all know that mental side of this game is huge.

At any rate, I played a tight aggressive style until we got down to about 12 players remaining and then I became much more aggressive. When we got down to 5 players remaining, it was a tough crowd. We played with that number of participants for over 25 minutes. The lead changed hands about 5-6 times. There was a lot of blind stealing with all in moves.

Finally, I busted one other player with an all-in move with KK and he called with JJ. The board was no help for him and I doubled up. Two more players were busted by one other player and the two of us moved on to the Main Event.

The Main Event will be played on October 1st and 2nd and I post my progress in that event. The total prize pool for this event should top $300,000, so it will be fun to play.

On a side note, I was one of 27 round 1 satellite qualifiers to move on to round 2 for the PokerStars WCOOP $1,000 buy-in event. I will play the round 2 qualifier next Saturday. I played in a previous round 2 qualifier for this event, but was busted early in that event. I got AA on the first hand of the tournament (I actually hate to get them this early because either everyone folds or you end up with 3-4 callers) and I raised 5x the big blind preflop and got one caller. The flop was a terrible QJ9. If the guy had a T, it was going to be tough to get rid of him. I bet he pot and he called. Fourth street was a K, and he moved all in. I was forced to laydown my AA, but was crippled losing almost half my stack. I never recovered and went out early.

In hindsight, I should have moved all in on the flop and forced him to make a very bad call if he did have the T or a K. If he already made the straight I was likely to lose all my chips anyway, but if he had not yet made it he would likely lay down the hand. Overall a tough hand to play or laydown.