Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Curse of Good Cards

Played in a tournament at Hollywood Park today. The first one in a month or so. I kind of hate Hollywood Park and the rounds were only 25 minutes which is awful, despite the "deep" starting stack of 6000 chips, but it was cheap and at the right time. I was doing terrifically until I had the misfortune to start picking up hands.

For the first 9 rounds I never got a hand better than A7 (well, I got AJ one time but I folded it pre-flop to an all-in). Not a single pair, not an A9 or AT. Despite this, I managed to build up a stack of over 30,000. Some hands:

Early on, blinds are 50-100. I pick up 2c4c in middle position. A couple of people limp and I call. I'm a firm believer in trying to flop wheels or wheel draws when you can do it cheaply, as the benefits when it happens and your opponent pairs the ace can be massive. Anyway, it got down to the button who made it like 1000 to go. Everyone folded to me. It will be argued that making such a large call early in a tournament is poor strategy, but the size of his bet and his position made me feel strongly that he was just stealing and that I could take the pot away from him. The flop came down 5 3 8 of mixed suits. He bet out another 1100 after I checked. I considered a check raise, but I liked my hand enough now that I was willing to see a turn. Gin, an Ace. I check and he checked behind. the river was a blank, I bet 2500 and he called, surprisingly, with KK.

A few hands later, I had Q9 and limped. The same player raised to 600 and it was folded to me again. I would often fold in this situation but I knew this player was both tilting and looking to come after me, and that he was likely to move the rest of his chips in on any flop, so if I hit one, I'd clean him up. The flop came K J T. Bingo! I checked. As predicted, he moved in, and I instacalled. He showed me T7. Looked great. Turn, T, River, T and the dealer shipped him the pot. I wish I could say that flopping a huge straight, getting called all in by a pair and losing was something that has not happened to me many, many times.

I got my revenge a few hands later when I found QT of spades. I limped, a player to my left called, the tilter raised, and we both called. The flop came 2 3 4 all spades. I checked, the next guy checked, and the tilter dutifully moved in. I called and he showed pocket sixes, no spade. a 2 on the turn had me ready to blow my top, but fortunately he blanked the river.

It went on like this, with me getting to see flops and turns cheaply, hitting and then spanking a slowplayer, until the table broke. At my next table, very little happened. Then, I got moved to table one, and the worst thing that could possibly have happened to me happened: I started to get cards.

The first, AQ, worked out fine. I raised, and got no callers. The next good hand, AK, worked out okay too. There was a min raise to 3200, a reraise to 5500, I went all-in, the re-raiser went into the tank but then folded.

That's when things started to get hairy. A few hands later, the same guy who had reraised made it 5500 to go again. I looked down at AQ. I flat called. The Big Blind then moved in for 10K more. I had about 40K at this point and we still had 50 or so players to go until the money. If the original raiser calls or raises I have an easy fold. But he folded. So now it's a quarter of my stack to win an increase of more than 50 percent of my stack against a guy who can have a really huge range, given that he was last to act and short. So I call and naturally he has AK, and makes a flush.

The very next hand, lo and behold, pocket Kings! This is perfect, I think. I'll move in with a massive overbet and someone with a bare ace or two big cards or a medium pair will call thinking Im on tilt. I pushed and the same re-raiser from the earlier hand curses and finally calls with AQ. According to plan. However I forgot to account for the A on the flop. No miracle K came to save me and I was out. Let's hope next tournament I don't get any good cards.

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