by jnells | Published Aug 20, 2012
I think that a big mistake that low stakes live tournament players make is having a terrible mindset for the form of poker they play. Mindset is something that I am very proud of as it pertains to my tournament game, as I think I set realistic expectations, don't get too emotionally involved to any one hand or tournament, and usually think in terms of my longterm ROI and equity as opposed to chasing the win or locking up a cash. I almost never think about a tournament after I bust unless I feel I made a large mistake that cost me equity. I mean I have bubbled big events when I was broke and in $500+ in debt to Finch due to bad luck or a standard flip and you don't see me get any where near as upset as some of these 40 year old guys who don't need the money. I mean if you want to have more winning sessions than losing sessions you are a retard if you chose to play tournaments with any regularity. I typically stay even keeled and don't let tournament variance bother me much at all.
Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case with the $1200 Foxwoods mega stack that I lost this weekend, and I think I know why. Thinking about the 12 hours that I played in that event I am very pleased with how I played and for every other tournament that I typically play that would be that and it would be #ontothenextone. The problem is that I won a satellite tournament to qualify for 4 of the Mega Stacks 2 of which I went 0-4 on. In the grand scheme of things going 0-4 mean abso-fucking-loutly nothing, and though I spewed real hard in the $300 I felt I played reasonably well in $400 and the $600 and exceptionally well in the $1200. But now I am close to broke again, and I am a big underdog to even be in a position to play a $1000 or more tournament any time in the near future. I think that is why I am still thinking about the $1200 2 days after I busted because when I go #ontothenextone it is going to be for between 1/10 and 1/4 of the buy-in that I lost .
The saving grace of this is the experience I gained, I had only ever played 1 $600 event before and though I didn't imagine the $1200 field being stacked with people who actually know something about how to play tournaments I could only speculate. Now I think I had a sweet table draw but the level of play was pretty abysmal, not in the sense of having no idea of what they are doing, like you would see in a NH $30 rebuy but in a sense of being way too loose in some spots and way too tight in others. I mean the same player who called a 13 BB UTG shove (with like a 100 BB stack himself) from the small blind with a Q7dd (where the big blind had like 40 BBs and could still have woken up with a hand) folded JJ on a 6c 5h 2c flop to my check shove because it was for most of his stack to call (I had 9c7c and was pretty live but he bet full pot and folded which is terrible). I have a lot of confidence in my ability to exploit the type of players in this field and I will be playing more satellites in the future chasing that bank roll building (or starting if I actually am going to have anywhere near correct BR management ever) score.
I guess I will talk about a couple hands from the Mega Stack mostly because I am bored on a Monday without much to do, but partly because there were some interesting hands I played that I either noted in my phone or I can remember enough about to write about .
I am going to start backwards because I make sense like that and talk briefly about my bust-out hand, and the only chance I had to not go broke on it (I think anyway).
I had roughly 80,000 and the blinds were 1,500-3,000 and although my overall image was by far the most aggressive on the table, I had been fairly quite over the last couple orbits and thought that people might have noticed that and thought I was waiting for a real hand. Basically all of the relevant strategy comes from what is usually the least relevant at least for someone who opens as wide as I do. I was in middle position and wanted to make a light open before looking at my cards. The reason was that in 8 minutes the blinds were going up to 2,000-4,000 and I would lose most of my manueverabilty and be semi hand cuffed to my stack size, looking for re-steals and broadway cards to open in LP. I was not going to raise any two cards in this spot but anything reasonable was going to get raised. I looked at a J7 off-suit which was good enough for me, I counted out a raise to 6,500 and as I was in motion towards the betting line I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the player directly to my left had already looked at his cards and had put a chip on top of them potentially telegraphing that he was not going to fold to my open.
I raised anyways, mostly without thinking, I mean I literally would have had to stop my hand in motion with chips in it and fold to not play the hand and give away the fact that even after being tight for a little while I was planning on stealing before I notice that someone might be calling on my left. In the past I wrote a blog about looking at people who the action is not on before making any pre-flop move and had I been taking my own advice I would have had a chance to notice the telegraph and I likely would have folded. As it happened the player did in fact call and I knew it was not the end of the world as he played pretty straight-forward and could probably take it down a big % of the time anyways, The big blind also called and the flop came Ah Jh 7h and the big blind checked. I bet 12,000 (I had been betting real small on the flop all day so this was in line with my aggro image) and the player on my left raised it to 35,0000. The big blind folded and with my image this shallow there is no way I am not going all in here I shoved for like 35,000 more and the player did not instant call. As soon as he started to think about it I was pretty sure I had the best hand, which is why I was surprised when after a minute or so he reluctantly called with AJ and had me completely dominated, I did not improve and wished my table good luck the rest of the way (which if I'm being completely honest was my last bluff of the night).
Due to a lack of really big hands the majority of the large pots I won late in the evening came as some sort of a bluff, most of which was just 3-betting light and continuation betting on most boards but some of which got a little more dicey.
So a loose passive player limps in early position, we have battled a bit with him winning almost all of the pots despite my feeling that I was playing better than he was, a new player to the table raises him to a little more than 3X the BB (I don't remember what the blinds were specifically) I thought that since he was under 30 there was a reasonable chance that he was an online player and as such he would be iso'in a limper fairly wide, so I decided it was a good spot for a light 3bet with Qh4h (obviously a premium holding), he called and the flop came A 4 5, and he donk bet a little less than 1/2 pot. I don't think he ever has a set, 2 pair, a straight or a strong A here since I would expect all of those hands to check to the raiser. So since his range is capped (in my eyes) to like a pot controlling AJ so I decided to float the flop with my pair (I think I had a back door heart draw too). The turn brought a K and he made the same bet (which looked weak since its like 1/4 pot) I decided it is time to rep AA, KK, or AK since I can have all of those hands as played so I made a raise to like 2.5X his bet with a plan for bluffing most rivers, he called. The river came an irrelevant 5 and he bet 15% of the pot into me on the river. Just a note here if you ever want me to completely spazz out to you in a bloated 3-bet pot on the river when you have the nutts just bet 15% of the pot on the river there is something deep inside me which just forces me to bluff when someone bets that small on the river. Anyways I pretty quickly shove and he says "DO YOU REALLY HAVE A SET OF ACES?" at this point I think I'm fucked since usually someone says this and they precede to make a crying call but despite having close to 60% of his stack in the pot he folded and claimed that he had AK. It wouldn't shock me if he was actually that bad to play AK like that, but since he didn't show I think he might have been bluffing himself and then pretending to make a big fold. (I do that shit all the time).
Anyway there is a $150 tomorrow afternoon in NH and if I don't play that I will almost definitely be playing the $250 at Seabrook Poker room on Sunday so if you want to win a bunch of money, buy in to those tournaments bride the floor to sit at my table, make the nuts against me, and then donk lead the river for 15% of pot, sure as shit smells I will be bluff raising that weak ass looking bet and then my $1300 down swing will continue (Im not counting winning the satty as ending the downswing since I went 0-4 in the Mega Stacks)
I am fairly bored with TV so I think I will go for a walk around Boston this afternoon and try to stop wondering if the 70 year old lady who habitually (but not so often that she was bluffing) shoved pre for 50 BBs or post flop for 3-4X pot , won the $1200 for $84,000 though thinking about it now she was awefully nice so even though skill wise she was likely -EV in the tournament I hope she does. Cool old ladies who need help to sit on their chair at the poker table FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!