Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser

And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

We ran our third super satellite tonight and I feel like such a donkey for losing it. Never mind that I was out in 5th place, far from the winning spot. The fact is, I gave away the tourney with one of the worst plays I ever made.

I had been playing monstrously well up to that point. Darko was sweating most of the hands with me and he can attest that I was putting good pressure both with and without hands. I accumulated chips at a very steady pace and I busted one or two short stacks to put myself in the chip leader position. I felt confident and good in my reads. Everything was clicking. Until…

I was UTG with AKo. Blinds were 200/400. I was about to make a raise on the blinds when Paul W. (‘Big Paul’) announced a raise to 1200 out of turn. I reminded him that I was first to act since he clearly didn’t see me. 1200 sounds standard, but it was actually more than the standard PF raises had been, so it threw me off. I was sitting here with a big hand and someone raised behind me. My hackles went up and I put him on a good hand. So what to do? The rule is that being out of position and announcing a raise, he’s held to that raise. So if I just flat call here, he’ll be held to the 1200 and I can call behind him and see a flop with AKo, hoping to hit. But that would be too logical. Instead, my dopey brain decided to make his raise for him. I announced the same raise to 1200 and Paul W. instantly moved all in. I had 7300 in my stack and he had 5500 total so I’d be left with just 1800 chips if I called. It folded to me and I *still* couldn’t take the hint. Instead, I debated in my head that he could have AK and I made the dumbest call of my life. He showed QQ and I was racing, which was miraculously better than I deserved. Nothing came for me and I doubled up a big stack while simultaneously putting myself in last place and then busting out a few hands later. Unreal.

There was NO reason at all for me to blow all my chips out of position like that. I was lucky just to be racing with him. It was the worst tournament play of my life to date and a lesson I won’t easily forget. It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment like that, but I did and I paid the price. Paul W., incidentally, went on to win the satellite, so at least I felt good about that.

The second tourney started late, at 9:40p, with 11 players. This time around, I wasn’t as good at accumulating chips and I lost a chunk of my stack early on when I called a small PF raise from Paul W. (on my right) and two other callers in the pot. I had 78s and the flop was good for me with 844. Two players checked to me and I bet 400 into a 600 pot. Christine, the last player to my left, raised to 1000 and I let it go. I reasoned that she had called a PF raise in position but didn’t raise so I could put her on 99, TT, JJ or 89s, A8. I couldn’t put her on a four but there were still too many hands that beat me so I gave it up.

A few hands later, an interesting situation occurred and it was one of the more memorable hands I’ve played at my table recently. I was in middle position with QdTd. Blinds were still early at 50/100 and I had 2150 in front of me, down from a starting stack of 2500. There were two limpers in front of me and I decided to try and see a cheap flop in last position, calling for 100. It got to David R. in the SB, who completed to 100. There were now five people in the pot and Thomas G., in the BB, raised to 300. This struck me as a really really small raise into such a big limpy pot. So small in fact that I was sure everyone was going to call it. So when everyone did indeed call, I called as well. I even turned to Darko and said, “pot sweetener”. And here’s where it got interesting. When it got to David R. in the SB, he said “raise” and made it 1350 on top of the 300. Immediately, I put David R. on a move. Remember, he had LIMPED in the SB into a 5 handed pot. My feeling was that if he had a monster, he wouldn’t have wanted 5 freaking people to be in the pot when he knows full well that AA, KK, AK, etc… shrink up multi-way. To be honest, I put him on suited connectors or the like. I thought that he saw so many limps, twice, that he was just going to price everyone out. He did, indeed, have the big stack at the table and he was going to use it to chase all this dead money. It didn’t matter, I thought, because I suspect Thomas G. has a real hand and is going to call all-in. But Thomas G. tanked for a bit and folded. And then the next person folded. And the next as well. And then it was down to me and David. I hit the table in frustration, not wanting to play the role of table police chief with just QdTd. But my read was that David was much weaker than his raise indicated. I was absolutely sure that if he had a strong hand, he would have raised the first time around. I was also sure that if I moved all in (my only move for 500 more), David would be sure to call with any two cards. I had no fold equity, but the play was reading like I had a really good chance of being ahead here. I did the math in my head: There was 2850 in the pot already (Everyone’s 300 plus David’s 1350 raise) and David was definitely going to call my 500 raise. That meant that I would be spending 1850 to win 3350. That meant I was getting close to 2-1 to make the all in. Was I better than 2-1 to win? It was hard to say but my gut made the decision for me.

“All in,” I said.

David R. called, of course, and showed AsJs. I was surprised to see a hand of that strength. It looked to me like instead of taking the opportunity to raise when he had the chance, he second guessed himself but then got the opportunity from Thomas’ raise. When the door opened again, he pounced. Personally, I think it was an awful move on his part. I believe the right move would have been to raise PF and take down the pot right there and then. By re-raising Thomas’ raise after already having signaled he was willing to limp into a multi-way pot, he was telegraphing weakness. So I was right in a sense (he didn’t have a monster) but wrong in another sense (he was still leading). The flop came down with two spades that didn’t pair me up and some of my outs were taken away. I bricked the turn and river and busted out in 10th place. But oddly, I was totally OK with it. I got the pot odds I needed to make that call and even though I wasn’t anemic in the tourney yet, winning that pot was a gamble I was willing to make given all the dead money in there. It just didn’t work out.

And that’s the lesson of the day. Sometimes, in a fast structure, you need to take calculated gambles. This one didn’t hit me…but that doesn’t mean it was a bad bet.

1 comment:

lj said...

i don't understand why you're so upset about your AK play. sux to lose a flip, but if i'm reading this correctly, dude only had 13 bbs to start the hand. it seems pretty standard to me, regardless of his raise out of turn.