Saturday, September 29, 2007

Horse with no fame

That's right. I'm bad.

PokerStars Tournament #61820484, HORSE
Buy-In: $1.00/$0.10
384 players
Total Prize Pool: $384.00
Tournament started - 2007/09/28 - 21:45:00 (ET)
Dear hacker59,
You finished the tournament in 5th place.
A $21.13 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Consider me a top-flight jockey on a very small H.O.R.S.E.

Poker has been going okay. Few online tournaments as of late, a decent amount of triple draw and PL Omaha. I'm not sure why, but I can't generate any interest in play NL cash online. At the limits I should be playing given my bankroll, it just feels tedious. I need to get over it. I need to get a roll so I can safely afford to play at least $50 NL if not higher.

I haven't played live in two weeks. Not since what was dubbed the World Series of Cleveland Poker. With a $100 buy-in, the organizers hoped to fill eight tables of 10 players for shootout format. They only got 30, however, and to fill the final table, they decided to take two players from four shootout tables. Set up at three venues, my table at J.C.'s had only seven players, an advantage even though five of the seven possessed solid tournament games.

Matt and I advanced from our table on Friday night to Saturday night's final table at Eddie J.'s. I've talked glowingly in the past about how The Group has created a vibrant poker around Cleveland. There are four and sometimes five home games a week and all are played on nice tables using quality cards and good chips. There is an expectation that games will be run well. And, if you want impressive, technology-savvy Eddie J.'s set-up included live streaming video of the final table.

I felt confident going in. I knew seven of the other four players and wasn't much worried about the other three. Cocky? Perhaps. But I didn't think there was anyone there appreciably better than me. That was good enough.

Nothing spectacular happened for me at the final table, save flopping quad 5s. (Didn't get too many chips, however). With the exception of overplaying A-Q early on against Matt, I played solid poker, surviving a cold deck with selective aggression. Like many of the other Group tournaments in which I've cashed or won, I just stuck around until finally Matt and I got heads up. First paid $1,475 and second $725. (We had made a deal early on to pay the fifth-place bubble their buy-in.)

Matt began with a 3-1 chip advantage. I worked my way back to even, dropped to 2-1 and got it back to even again. Around 40 hands into heads-up play, I decided to see a flop with Kc-8c after Matt raised from the button to 4K with blinds at 800/1600. Two clubs came on a raggy flop. I pushed and Matt called with pocket 8s. No love arrived on the turn and river, leaving me with the consolation prize.

I initially told myself that I was satisfied with the way I played the final hand. A few days (and weeks) later, not so much.

Matt is a solid player, but given his aggression level, vulnerable to a trap. I'm thinking now I should have waited for a better spot. Yes, if a club had come on the turn or river I wouldn't be typing this. But at the end, with first place on the line, I failed to employ one of my best tournament skills -- patience.