Monday, March 23, 2009

Good is bad

Howard and the boys (minus Clonie, of course) turned off the doomswitch yesterday long enough for me to final table a $5.50 NLHE tournament with 743 runners. When I wrote my whine in the previous post about Tilt eating my lunch, I had already built a sweet-looking stack in this tournament thanks to contributions from the stupid money and some good play. I waltzed past the bubble in this one.

So, it should be apparent that making a final table is an especially good thing given my recent bout of futility. But that's not the case. My presence at that shiny, azulean table was tainted by the fact that I did not deserve to be there.

The first hand was just pure luck. No biggie. After the bubble broke, I raised and re-re-raised a guy AI with pocket jacks. He called with kings and the flop came Q-J-9. Made quads with a jack on the river and I vaulted into the chip lead at 136K.

Not long after, at a new table, this hand occurred. I called a small stack's EP raise with A-K from late position. Guy to my left re-raised on the button and the small stack raised AI. I just called, putting around 93K in the pot and leaving me with 110K behind.

Why did I just call there? The short stack is a non-issue. The guy to my left had just under 50K to start the hand. Why didn't I get him AI as well and proceed to play bingo? The flop came rags, I checked, button pushed, I folded and he won the hand with ... A-K. Fawk me.

That hurt, but was hardly a fatal blow. I built my stack back up to around 130K and got dealt QQ in MP. There might have been around 35 players left at this point. Small stack from MP raised AI. Huge stack to my immediate right at a relatively new table re-raised a bunch. I pondered, thinking that I could afford to fold queens at that point. Good players can fold queens, right? And fold I did. Short stacked showed A-Q and the big stack pocket jacks. The queens, of course, would have been good and I would have had the chip lead at 320K.

Idiot. Am I being results oriented here knowing the outcome? Perhaps. But it feels like cowardice. Had we been on the battlefield, the commander would have ordered me shot.

My march to the final table was uneventful as I folded and floated enough to keep my chin above water while silently cursing my nittish nature. I was very short-stacked at the final table and was happy to get seventh. Interestingly, the $109 in profit put me slightly in the black over 154 MTTs on Tilt since the first of the year. Meanwhile, I'm down just over $300 in MTTs on Stars, the site where I thought was doing better. Go figure.

I did discover another significant leak in my game -- playing tournaments when I shouldn't. I was hanging around in the $8.80 Turbo on Stars (8:40 p.m. start) when I signed up for a $5.50 PLO8 tournament that began at 9:30.

I like PLO8. I've had break-even results playing about 5,000 hands of no-limit O8. PLO8 tournaments are fun to donk around in. I busted in the $8.80 and built a stack in PLO8, but started losing interest fast. I'd already played a ton of hours that day and was tired. I squeezed into the micro money and then shoved with a hand full of paint, not unhappy to lose the hand. It was 1:15 a.m. by that point. I've pissed away far too much money on tournaments that I had no real desire or motivation to enter. Another lesson learned.


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