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Monday, July 16, 2012

Stop completing Ax, muppet.

Well, that was a bit more respectable Sunday night. 3rd of about 25. Top 3 guarantees a seat in the quarterly Tavern Championship, so it's nice to get that out of the way fairly early in Week 3.

Once again, I'm only able to get out to one of the two games on Sunday, so I guess I'm doing OK only playing half the events. Some interesting hands came up, where in retrospect I'm really realizing how out of practice I am.

* at 200/400, I'm a little above the starting 7K stack after a couple of preflop raises/continuation bets with air take down pots when I get to check my BB with T6o against three limpers, then see a T65 flop with two spades. I lead half pot and get a call from an EP open limper and a MP cold caller (one of the women from week one, the good player).  So, 4K in the pot to the turn, a red Jack.

I lead 2500, EP folds, MP thinks, counts stack, and flats the 2500 with only 1600 more behind. Hmm.

For some reason I say I'm all in dark before the river hits. It's a black 10 that doesn't complete anything, and MP folds. She says she had a big draw on the turn that didn't get there (98s? Q9s?)

Anyway, WTF was I doing shoving dark? Uh, either she gets there and calls FTW, or she whiffs and folds. Is she really calling off with a worse two pair or folding a better hand? Sometimes I just don't think things through enough. I guess I was trying to make her hero call with a Jack, but that was never happening...

So I'm up to 13K at 200/400 but spew that off quickly enough, blind down to 7K at 400/800 and open shove K7s right into a BB's AJ. I river a four-straight to double up. The BB is a pretty good and sticky player, one I never seem to get it in good with.

"Dude, when's the last time I shoved into you and was ahead? Three years ago on a Tuesday?"
"No, you're always behind when I call, and you always seem to get there..."
"So there's a lesson there," I say. "Stop calling my shoves..."

Sure enough, I have to tread water until we get to a final table 9-handed, but somehow I end up with 21K when we take a quick break to color up at 1k/2k level. I'm not sure how I did this: I have basically quit trying to bluff too much once people have interest in a pot, and TARP when I flop a marginal hand, which costs me in silly spots... (Button minraises, I defend BB. I flop middle pair with a nine, we check the flop and turn, river pairs the 9 but backdoors a club flush, I check and watch the button check behind with a 4c to be nice. I suck.) ...but I still manage to pick up chips when appropriate.

We quickly get down to four handed, and I basically short stack ninja my way to the top three when the other short stack jams and doesn't get there. And then I start turning on my very annoying shove-or-fold switch... One player is very solid, very smart and tricky, while the other is a little more nitty. I start playing optimal short stack poker, shoving in good spots (at least 8-10 over a half hour), making people call off a substantial part of their stacks to look me up - I actually get a couple of folds from the nit where he's getting 3-1 and should never fold, so good timing by me.

Of course, they're noticing what I'm doing, so I try to shift gears and end up pwning myself.

-blinds 4k/8k. We've been at this for a good 30 minutes or so, and when I'm in the SB with a red A8o, I just complete and BB (the tricky player) checks.

|Flop A98 with two clubs. Whee, but I check and BB checks behind.

Turn Qs, so with two flush draws and other junk out there, I lead 10K and get a call.  Pot's 36K now.

River is the Js. I'm not really worried about the flush as much as I am about hands with a T that just backdoored me. I check, villain jams 26K, which I just barely cover, and I have to think if he really floated fourth street and turned his hand into a bluff in a spot where I almost have to call him regardless. I think and fold like a dumbass because:

1) I've been able to steal chips when I want to by open-shoving pots, so I can get that 10K back.
2) It's the leveling thinking: I have to call, so he can't be bluffing, and I don't think he would shove marginal hands I'm ahead of in an effort to get me to fold a better hand, when I really should never be folding here...

Well, I try to get him to talk - he says he noticed I didn't like the river, and I tell him I really wasn't worried about the flush draw, I thought he backdoored a better hand on the river (even though I beat almost all two pair hands - any better Ax hand should have gotten it in on the turn) He says he turned a rivered jack into a bluff... which, while slightly suicidal, makes sense - and emphasizes even more to me...

1) don't get fancy with Ax hands that shallow shorthanded
2) people in position will shove a wide range of hands when checked to on the river (I definitely do, especially when I can't win at showdown) and you have to look them up more than you're comfortable with...
3) I'm dumbass for playing a flopped two pair like that in the first place.

Strangely enough, over the next 10 minutes I stole and restole my way back to the chip lead, before I finally got boned in a limped three way pot out of the big blind. Q32 flop, I spike top pair, I check, Button minbets 8K, SB flats, I shove 40K more on top, button folds but SB calls off with 93o??? (nearly half his stack is in the middle already, but boy o boy) I barely get done saying that he's got a live kicker when the nine hits the turn and I don't improve on the river. My 12K doesn't hold the next hand and I'm done in third. That'll happen.

However, I like how I played overall despite the stupid mistakes. We played three handed a very long time - much more than usual in these tavern tournaments - I was enjoying the challenge, and I had no doubt that if the Q held up, I was going to win HU no matter how good the other player was.

So it's time to actually win one of these freebie MTTs. That would be nice. Oh, I won a $5 gift certificate for third, so at least I can get a free beer next week.. :-)

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