Sunday, December 11, 2011

Playing Good Poker at the Bike Tournament

Before I post the long version of my success at the Aria tournament mentioned here and here, I want to blog a bit about what happened yesterday at The Bike while it is still fresh in my mind.

I played good poker.

I base this on the fact that there were over 115 entrants in the Noon tournament ($40 buy-in) and I cashed out in 9th place while not getting any cards.  Since the buy-in was small, all I got for that was $75.  But the important thing is, I did that getting mostly garbage.  I wouldn’t say I was totally card dead, but I sure didn’t get a lot of good cards.

I played poker for almost 5 ½ hours.  In that time, the highest pocket pair I was dealt was 9/9.

Yes, five hours of poker and not one pair of rockets, not one pair of face cards, not even 10’s. 

So….I got 9’s once, raised pre-flop, it was folded to me without contest.

I got 7’s once.  I limped in under the gun, got raised by the big blind and then shoved.  BB called me and when he saw my 7’s he said, “Oh, you got me.”  He had pocket 5’s, didn’t hit anything and I doubled up (he had three times the chips I had, so he survived).

I had 2’s, 3’s, 4’s once each, limped in, hit nothing, folded on the flop each time.

That was it for my pocket pairs for 5 ½ hours!

I got AK (offsuit) once, raised, got no callers, won the blinds and one limper.

I got AQ once, shoved (this was late in the tournament), got no callers.

I got AJ twice, once suited.  Shoved both times.  Once no callers, once got called by Ace –rag with less chips than me, he didn’t hit, I busted him out.

I got KQ twice.  Once offsuit, I limped, folded on the flop.  Once suited (hearts), I raised, got one caller, flopped the 2nd nut flush.  Made a big bet on the flop, got called.  When a blank hit the turn, I shoved and got called by a smaller stack than mine.  He had middle pair and the Ace of hearts (exactly what I suspected he had).  I shoved to discourage him from calling and sucking out with a fourth heart on the board.  He called anyway and missed.  Bye bye.

That was it for my good cards, pre-flop.  I got a lot of garbage and survived.  How?  I stole a lot of pots, making strong bets in position when I had little or nothing.  I got lucky a few times, as one has to do.  I shoved with Q-10 offsuit when I was kind of desperate and got called by pocket Jacks.  A Jack even hit on the turn.  Which I needed to make my straight. 

I shoved with Ace-deuce suited, got called by A-9 (he had me covered) but chopped the pot when the board paired 10’s on the river.  He had flopped two pair!  But it was Aces and 10’s for both of us and the Jack on the board played.

When we got down to getting close to the bubble, I had no intention of playing it safe and trying to finish at the bottom of the money.  The bottom four places only got $60, a $20 profit for their trouble.  I wasn’t interested in that.  But even so, my aggression didn’t get me a lot of chips.  It seemed every time I shoved when we were 10 or less players from the bubble, I never got called.  Not once.

So I didn’t double up.  I guess the next thing I have to learn is how to shove under the gun with 7-2 offsuit and get lucky and double up!

All the time, I realized I was playing well.  I made a couple of mistakes, and my attempted steals didn’t work every time, but overall, I am very satisfied with my play.

Finally when we were down to 9 players, and despite my best efforts to be aggressive I was still the short stack at the final table, I got K-J suited.  I shoved.  It folded to the button who was the chip leader, who called.  He happened to have two Kings!  My luck was over.  I needed a flush, a straight or a couple of Jacks and got nothing.  Time to collect my little prize and go home.

The money didn’t mean much, but as I reflected on how I made it to the money without getting very many good cards, and not a single high pocket pair, it felt good.

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