Friday, October 08, 2004

Turning Stone Trip Report 10/8/04

A few weeks ago I won my way into the $1000 NL tourney held today. I showed up a little early and found my seat. I was chatting with my wife and I looked up to see... Al Krux standing about 3 feet away from me. I was inclined to mention that I had a stake in Matthew to see if he would give me a few hundred for our trouble, but I thought better of it. Why let him know I am a protege of Matthew "I Only Play Aces" Hilger? I prefer he know nothing about me if we hit the final table.

On to the tourney. 81 players were in, the top spot paid $32,000, 9th paid $2200. $3K in chips, 30 minute levels. Not the huge tourney I had expected. Early on it was clear that the table was as tight as could be. A few hands:

I checked AK in the blind in level one, flopped a king, and won a medium sized pot. A few hands leter I had QQ in MP and raised two limpers to $75, 3x the BB. One of the limpers then popped me back to $300 and I folded the queens face up after a moment's thought, saying I had to respect that move. Both of these hands are direct results of lessons learned on my AC trip.

One player in the 3 seat was playing every hand. I folded a lot of rags until I picked up AA on the button. He raised the minimum, to $200, so I reraised to $500. He called. The flop was 9 high rainbow and I checked behind him, knowing he would bet if I showed any weakness. On the turn (another rag but the second diamond), he bet $200 and I immediately raised him to $500 again. He seemed puzzled and called. I then bet $600 on the river and he folded. He told me later he had an up and down straight draw on the turn. He was raising rags because the table was so tight.

A few hands later I had QQ again on UTG+1, the last hand before the first break. UTG raised to $300 on a $100 BB. I smooth called, ready to run from overcards and raise any flop J high or less. Both blinds also called (ugh) The flop was JJx. UTG bet $300, I raised to $800. The blinds folded and UTG moved all in. Since this was the last hand before the break, a crowd gathered while I chided him and tried to make up my mind. I finally folded the QQ face up and he showed me AJ. I lost everything I had made with the AA a few hands before. At the break about 5 people told me what a great laydown it was. I thought it was a pretty routine laydown, but I would appreciate comments on it.

After fighting and taking small pots after the break, I picked up AK in MP. I had $2400 left. I raised to $700 on a $200 blind. An MP player moved all in for a lot more. He had been pretty aggressive to this point. I decided after much thought that the likelihood of him having AA or KK was diminished by me holding AK and I needed to take the coinflip. He showed me two black kings and I was gone.

In retrospect, I was about 5 minutes from the ante level and I had excellent table image. I had enough chips to force folds and pick up small pots. I feel I made a mistake with the AK, but not a huge one. Costly, yes, huge, no. It was a calculated gamble, but the situation and my instincts both said fold. It was a disappointing finish, especially since my plan had been to play cautious. Calling all in with AK is not cautious.

I do not think that my live MTT play is up to par. I am too tight for short levels and I tend to become short stacked quickly. Either loosen up or bluff more, I think that is the only way to survive. Comments, as always, are welcome.


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