Monday, February 22, 2010

Can't win them all

I went back out to the LA Poker Classic for today's tournament today to see if I couldn't play out the rush.  Things didn't go so great though.

About an hour and a half into the tournament I had added a few hundred chips to my starting stack.  Then within 2 quick hands the short stack to my right had all of my chips and I was on my way out the door.  On the first hand I raised over limpers and he came in with suited garbage. He was short so I put him in on the flop and he called having hit a pair of 4s. My ace high failed to improve and close to half my chips went his way. The very next hand he limped again and I popped it up even bigger with AK suited. A third player shoved and he went all in over top.  Although he was too busy to sit at the table for most of the time in the tourney, either on the phone or walking around talking to friends, while he was there he had been loose and wild so I took it as an easy call. He flipped over pocket 2s and celebrated being the only pair. The flop brought a paired board with my flush draw giving me even more outs to my overs but he boated up on the turn and I was done.

It sucks going out that way, but I think it was really my fault. Late registration was still open and players were still coming in the door.  It was way too early to put everything on the line for a coin flip, even against a wild player.  It just wasn't necessary at all. I had odds with the size of the pot, but this wasn't a cash game. There isn't much equity gained busting people so early in a tournament. Oh well, you can't win them all, and it has still been a pretty nice week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

LA Poker Classic Event 34 Final Table Recap

Earlier this week I took down 3rd place in an event at the LA Poker Classic. If you haven't checked it out you can start with the Day 1 Recap.

It didn't take long for the action to pick up at the final table. Within the first few rounds the player to my right opened with a raise, I looked down at AK suited and pushed all in. He called with kings and I was in danger of getting knocked out for the first time of the tournament. But the first of several flips of went my way and I doubled up.  My kings would later get cracked by a set of nines,  my AK took out eights, AJ lost to AK, and my A7 upset AK.

As we got down to 5 and then 4 players I had several chances to build a monster stack slip away. There were a few hands that I just misplayed to keep knocking myself down after chipping up. By the time we were 3 way again I had built a stack again but failed to adjust to the fast paced action.  I lost a few key pots before shoving 2nd pair heads up and getting called by top pair. That was it and I went out in 3rd.

It's hard to describe the feeling after getting knocked out. I was a little disappointed that I didn't adjust as we got shorthanded, but I was also happy about how far I'd gotten. I had a great tournament and a lot of things went my way to get me there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LA Poker Classic Score Day 1 Recap

On a whim I decided to drive up to LA and play in event 34 of the LA Poker Classic. I had been following the results online wishing I had the chance to play when I finally decided to just go for it.  I checked the schedule to see if there was an event I was rolled for and then drove up to LA within an hour of making the decision.  It worked out for the best as I took down a nice prize.

The first day went about as well as it could have. I built a big stack early and never looked back. I played well and ran better, using my stack to put pressure on my opponents without ever having to put my tournament life on the line.

A few key hands:
Early on in the first round I had built to about 4500 chips. I called behind a chain of limpers with pocket 3's in late position. One of the blinds popped it up with a "go away" raise, which of course means "don't go away" to me so I called and we were heads up. I could see his distress when I called and I was even happier to be there. The flop came QQ4 and I knew he didn't like it. He bet out and I raised to take down a nice pot, giving me twice the average chips.

There was a player to my right, the type who talks too much, who began to drill the guy about his hand.
"I put you on pocket 6s, was I right? I think you had a medium pair…"
"Wow, did you say 66? You were right. Good read. How did you know that?"
It was probably the dumbest exchange I've ever heard but I picked up good info. Seat 7, although he seemed like an innocent straight forward player, was capable of lying to you with a smile on his face. That was useful when I picked off a river bluff in another hand.

Later on I had another big hand go my way. I called a raise on the button with 10 8 suited and flopped the nut straight. It was checked to me and I bet. The big blind check raised all in and the preflop raiser went into the tank before folding, later claiming to have QQ. “That was going to be my move,” he said. Lucky for him. I called of course to see the raiser had the nut flush draw. More than half of my chips were out there so I had to duck a diamond if I was going to be able to keep a big stack. I didn’t have to sweat for very long though, the 9 of diamonds came on the turn giving me a straight flush and my hand was invincible.

As we got down to the final few tables a really big hand worked out for me. The player to my left raised under the gun and was called by the cutoff and the small blind. I looked down at 64 suited and couldn’t resist the odds. When the flop came 964 with 2 hearts and I donkey lead into the pot hoping for action. I was hoping I’d be read for a draw and get raised. The preflop raiser twisted in agony before flatting. Almost.... There was still one more to act so I still had a chance. The cutoff raised all in and I had a second chance. The dealer stopped me though, before I could come over the top. The cutoff was too short and his shove wasn’t full raise. Damnit, if I had only bet a little less. An ace hit the turn and I put my chips in. The original raiser folded his queens, claiming to have put me on a big ace. No sir, bad read, but good fold either way. My 2 pair held up against the cutoff’s 10s and I raked a monster pot. With over 100,000 chips at that point I had a safe ride to the final table. Looking around I only saw a few players with a comparable stacks, one being Theo Tran.  It was an awesome feeling being in competition with a player on that level.

I don't want to risk losing anybody to Internet Attention Deficit Disorder so I'll continue with the final table in a later post.