Monday, July 17, 2006

report from the final table, $2500 shorthanded

(you can follow the cardplayer updates starting here. it may make it easier to understand which hands i'm referencing.

I started with 102k, shortest at the 3k/6k/1k level. My initial plan was to sit back and play a little more conservatively while I felt out the table and assessed what I could and couldn't get away with and against whom.

The cards didn't cooperate. After Demetriou went out 6th I went on a rush and had no choice but to play.

The first move I made, Mike Guttman (the guy who knocked Demetriou out) is on the huge stack now and opens to 18k in the cutoff. I have 99 on button and like 100k total, if that. Easy push and I don't think twice about it. He folds.

The very next hand I get QQ in cutoff and open to 18k. Dan Hicks calls on button. Flop is T97. I go ahead and bet 27k figuring Hicks will jam any piece; he does and I call. He has A7 and my queens hold up to get me to 265k.

The very next hand I get 88 UTG. I open to 18k. Both blinds (Alex Bolotin and Guttman) call. The flop is Q98. It checks to me; I bet 30k, maybe more. They both fold and I show.

THEN I get AK in the BB. Hicks opens to 19k and it folds to me. I survey his stack and see he has about 100k left so I just jam. He folds.

Next hand I have 33 in SB, folds to me, I open to 21k, Hicks folds and I show.

Then A9dd on button. Folds and I open to 18k, again. Bill Chen calls in BB. Flop is QQ7 two hearts. Check / check (because given the way I've been playing it's easy for him to c/r me with air or a draw and I don't want to get pushed off the best hand).
Turn comes 5d, he bets 20k, I call because I have position and ace high might still be good. The river comes Ah which is a nice card to represent, not to mention it also gave me the best hand. He checks and I think about what I can get out of him. I bet 25k and he folds.

The next pot I win is a blind battle. Guttman limps and I check with K2o.
Flop is J63 rainbow, check/check.
Turn is 2h, he bets 7k and I call.
River is Kd. He checks, and I value bet 16k, a little big maybe but also a good size for an attempted steal. He folds.

I get AK in the small blind, raise to 23k, Hicks calls.
Then I fuck it up a little. The flop comes AQT, I check/raise Hicks all in after he bets 17k. This is a mistake; I was trying to get a few more chips out of him without really considering that he would have been much more willing to push over me than to call me. He might have pushed KQ, QJ, KT, or even JT there if I lead. He folds and I pick up the pot.

This all happens in a 3 round span or so. I go from 100k to 480k with only one showdown.

Next big pot I play, Guttman opens to 18k in CO, I call on button with 66, Hicks immediately shoves. I calculate the pot odds... 135k is bigger than I want to see, but I'm still getting decent enough odds that I think it's a call since I think he shoves lots of high card hands there. He has 99 this time and it holds.

I bluff at a JT98 board in a four way pot and get two calls and don't have the heart to bluff the 7 river. I should have. We chop the pot (Bill Chen had T8; Alex Bolotin had AJdd for a pair and flush draw; I had 54o).

Chen raises to 18k in the CO. I decide to call and look at a flop with K5dd. The flop is KT8, I check and he bets 20k. He only has 90k left or so so I stick it in. He immediately calls with K8. Shit.

I'm down again to 130k or so.

Then I make the mistake of opening 96hh while Hicks is extremely short stacked to my left. I do the pot odds and it's a clear call getting 2.3 to 1 or so but I shouldn't have put myself in that position with my stack size and the likelihood he would push over me. He has KTo and makes two pair by the river. I'm down to 95k.

Next hand I have TT UTG. I just open push; Guttman calls from BB with 88. Flop is T96 and I double up.

Levels go to 4k/8k/1k.

I'm opening a lot of pots in the meantime, relatively speaking, but mostly with reasonable holdings. Once I got to 400k or so I tried limping in Ax suited in the first two seats twice and got raised both times so I stopped doing that.

I open my second consecutive hand for 23k with red 22 UTG. Hicks pushes 49k more. I know I'm good here and the pot odds were easy anyway so I call. He turns over J8cc. I don't know why he pushes that there because I'm never folding and he's behind a lot of hands in my range. It doesn't matter; he flops a flush.

I keep chipping away to stay afloat... I did a lot of observing the table before I decided my action to sense if anyone was interested in their hand. I would occasionally raise with any two when I felt like everyone would fold.

I get AKss in the BB. Folds to Guttman and he makes it like 26k. I immediately shove. He calls with A3cc. The flop is Kx Qs Ts. It's a real beauty but the jack of diamonds hits the river and we chop (Blind Lemon Jefferson where are you).

I get 66 in CO and open push 130k or so since my stack doesn't leave me any other real options. Bill Chen comes over the top with AKhh. My hand holds up and I have 300k.

Chen was opening my blind frequently when I had decent hands and I had some difficulty playing them. Once I had 77 and decided to call and check/folded an ace high flop. Then I had AT and called and led a Q53 flop. He called and we checked through and he showed 66.
I stopped calling to play difficult hands out of position after that.

Then Bolotin, who has been short all day, moves in from CO for about 80k. I have TT in the SB and immediately call. He shows A7 and spikes an ace on the river. Frustration sets in.

Alex raises to 24k from the button. I decide I've had enough of the bullshit and shove 66 for 100k more or so. He has me slightly covered and folds KQ.
The next hand I have 88 and he raises to 24k again. Now I have him covered and I push. This time he calls with AQ, but my hand holds and I bust him and pull up to 320k or so.

Hicks goes out shortly after that.

Now we're playing three handed and I have enough chips to open up my game the way I want to.

Guttman has the chip lead but is clearly the weakest player at the table. I decide I'm going to aim for chunks of his stack.

One hand I have K7hh in the SB. Guttman opens the standard 23-24k from the button, I decide to make it 80k because I might have the best hand, and although calling and seeing a flop would be safer, this gives me a better chance to win the pot. He calls without too much thought but folds to my 100k bet on the Q42 two-diamond flop.

I'm playing nearly everything on the button, limping in sometimes, opening sometimes. I regret the raise when I make it 23k with 98dd and Chen makes it 75k. I call, but then the flop comes QT7 and he shoves. I comment something like "I was gonna do that" and he says "I can take it back and let you push". His shove is more than the pot so I fold.
I regret the limp when I limp 86o, and the blinds check. Guttman calls my stab at the pot with like 2PNK so I give up.

First big pot I played with Guttman: He raises to 24k in SB and I have 97cc in BB and call. Flop comes down 965 and he checks. I decide I'm ready to go to war with this hand and just have to figure out the best way to do it. I make a weak stab of 25k which is just begging to be check-raised. He obliges by making it 100k. I take about 5 seconds to move in for 320k more or so. He folds.

Most of the big hands from here on out were covered by cardplayer so I won't hit all the details but I will provide some thought process.

I did squeeze-reraise once preflop from BB with AQ. Chen made it 35k and Guttman called and I went to 150k.

I had AQ on the hand Guttman had 87s and called my river bluff. It wasn't a good bluff. But it did set me up to get paid on the K7 hand. I checked top pair because I both wanted to extract more value from a worse hand and not be put in a tough spot if I was check-raised.

The hand where I made the nut flush on the turn with K2 I nearly 3-bet the turn but I figured I was letting off too many worse hands too easily by doing that. As it stood I double through him if the board doesn't pair.

The last hand I played like a total donkey. I should have raised the flop with my open ender. I almost called the river but then I got the first-level thought "hmm, I have a straight, I should get some value from it." When he pushed at me I felt I was beat but I didn't see it. I looked at the board again, figured I was behind Q8, but chopping mostly, and he doesn't have Q8 because he wouldn't raise OOP with that, so maybe A8 or 88. So I called.
I totally missed the KQ as a possibility. I misread the board. I made a beginner's mistake and it cost me a chance at $200,000 and a World Series bracelet.

That kills me more than anything else.


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