Monday, August 24, 2009

Legends of Poker

It's about a week late but I figure I'd follow up on a previous post. I decided to go ahead and play in the $300 + 35 event in the Legends of Poker series. Things went well at first, as I expected. There were a lot of loose players giving away way too much in the early rounds. I built my stack up early and secured a nice lead.
As the antes kicked in I picked up the aggression and kept the chips flowing into my stack. When we went to break I had 3 times what we started with. Things went downhill from there, though, as I fell into one of my usual traps. After coming back from the break the table started to play back at me and I didn't change gears. In just one round I got caught red handed trying to steal one pot, then another, got reraised, and then had a player shove all in over the top of another raise.
It happens to me sometimes, perhaps I'm not the only one. Things are going so well that you fail to notice that things aren't going so well. I lost over a quarter of my stack before I slowed down. I was still above average, but no where near as comfortable as I was the round before.
Now that I'm playing tighter the table has a new captain. People are shoving left and right to stay alive, their stacks not adequate for the blinds and antes due to their wreckless early play, and he is picking up the hands to call with. A few rounds go by before I pick up a hand to raise with. Definitely not the pace I started with.
From early position I look down and find 2 jacks. A player shoves over top, and our table captain thinks for a moment before flat calling. The action comes back to me and it's more than 75% of my stack to make the call. Right now my gut is telling me that the flat call isn't good. I've seen the first player all in a little more often than his share and I think I have his range beat. But the flat call, it's bugging me.
His stack is big enough to gamble here, monstrous in fact, and I believe he'd do it. But with a smaller pair I think he'd come over top and try to isolate the all in player. I smell a trap. At best I think I'm against 2 overs and it's a coin toss if I call. But somehow my brain takes over and starts to disagree. He's just had too many hands, how could he have another one. This is my inner calling station speaking, but I don't know it yet.
I have nowhere near enough chips to induce a fold, but I throw them all in anyway. He snap calls and it's the moment of truth. My instincts were spot on. 99 for the first player, QQ for the deep stack. No set for me and I'm on my way home.
Doyle Brunson once wrote that when you face a tough decision you should go with your first instinct. I'll have to remember that next time.

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