Saturday, January 07, 2006

Tighty whitey

Just busted out of a 1,300-person $11 on Stars less than 30 minutes into the proceedings. Blind vs. blind. Me 10-8 of hearts. Check-check after a flop with two hearts. The 5th heart comes on the turn, I bet weak, hoping for a raise, he obliges, I push all-in, he calls with the Q-5 of hearts. Bye-bye $3,000 in chips. Bye-bye final-table dreams. Whadyagonnado.

Tournaments are unquestionably what I enjoy most about poker. Love the strategy, stack management, etc. I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way. Six-max is a grind, albeit a potentially profitable one. NL ring games are slightly more fun, but they can become tedious after a couple hours as well. Both are obviously far more EV+ than trying to wade through the teeming masses entering these small-time MTTs. Like most low-limit junkies, I dream of someday having the chutzpah and bankroll to play in the big events. (No, not the WSOP/WPT circuit. I'm talking the nightly $160s and Sunday $215s.)

I've played enough MTTs to know I'm not very good -- yet. I've made three final tables, a $20 shootout on Party where I finished second for about $600, a fourth-place finish in a $20 MTT on Party good for $1,000 and seventh place in a small $10 on Full Tilt for around $100. Not much to show for my efforts. And those okay results, I suspect, were more about luck than skillful play.

The problem? Same one that 98 percent of the idiots who buy in to these tournaments have: weak-tight play. I'm wearing tighty-whiteys when I need to be wearing boxers. (I'm headed to Wal-Fart tomorrow to buy me a half-dozen pairs.) It's something I'm trying to correct, and while it's still early, I feel I'm making progress. Even in tonight's bustout, I done good. Called a $100 raise with pocket 6s in late position, watched the original raiser bet just two-thirds of the pot on the queen-high flop and came over the top for another $600. Bingo. He thought for a second and laid it down. I thought he might be weak and I pounced. In the past, I probably would have folded after having failed to make a set.

Had great results employing this new-and-improved style this afternoon in a 1,700-person $5.50 on Stars. I chipped up steadily with only a few monster hands, calling bets post flop where I once routinely folded, mixing it up and creating a nice table image of controlled aggression. Had chips and room to operate.

By the time everyone made the money (I love Poker Stars, but hate the payout structure for these low-limit MTTs. They paid 297 freaking places -- 17 percent of the field.) I had around 15,000 chips, almost double par.

I get A-9o from UTG+1 and say to myself, I hate this hand from this position, and fold. Big stack to my left raises 3x the BB and gets a call. Flop, of course, comes A-9-x. Raiser bets, caller goes all in and takes down a 15,000-chip pot with A-5o (raiser had pocket queens). WTF is wrong with me? Granted A-9o is not a powerhouse hand, but the blinds were only 400/800 at the time. I could have easily afforded to call the extra 1,800 had I limped. Or, better yet, what if I had been the raiser? Queens would certainly have called and, apparently, so would have A-5o. Instead, I go tighty-whitey and lose a chance at a big pot that might have propelled me toward a final table and maybe a nice payday. (First place just over $1,500.) After all the hard work I had put in, at a critical moment of the tournament, I reverted to my previous poker self. Sheeeeit.

That hand rattled me, but I vowed to labor on. Lost a big chunk with pocket kings against a smaller stack's aces, got blinded down and finally busted in 116th place on a crappy beat, turning (WOOHOO!) a $5.97 profit for three hours of work. I'd have been better off working in a Taiwanese sweatshop making sweaters for Kathy Lee Gifford at $2 an hour.

That's it. I'm leaving. I know there's a 24-hour Wal-Fart out there somewhere. There are a half-dozen plaid size 36 boxers just calling my name.

(Side note: I watched the final 10 minutes of heads-up play in that $5.50. One guy, a good player who has won a bunch of money on Stars according to PokerDB, had his opponent outchipped 2,000,000 to 140,000. Big stack decides to limp with pocket aces and lets the little guy see a flop with 5-7o. Flop brings an open-ender for the little guy and he hits his straight on the river. Five minutes later, big stack is history. Memo to self: NEVER EVER LIMP WITH POCKET ACES. Poker Gods will eviscerate you every time you do.)


Blogger littleacornman said...

Welcome to blogland.I'll link you up.Enjoyed reading your posts so far.

Had to laugh at your strip club experience.Same happened to me many moons ago and it was probably only my babyface that got me out without losing my money or my legs!

Good luck with the blog and your game.


6:30 AM  

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