Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Rollercoaster Known As The $26k (Or, How To Fall From Grace, And Fast!)

Played in my second $26k last night. Lots to talk about, let's dive right in:

Level 1

Drop down to T1125 after a couple of steals gone wrong and missed hands checked down. After two limpers, I raise about 4.5xBB to 175 from the small blind with Q7s. C-bet the 876 flop and take down the pot anyways. T1380.

In the BB with Q9h, I call a min raise to 100. I played a pot earlier against the same guy when he minraised. He played the board passively and showed 55, which was good against my KQ. Flop comes JcTd2c. He c-bets 100, I call. Turn is the 9d and I lead out for 150, thinking that my pair is good, he calls. River is 2d and he bets out 250. I call, he shows 77. T2005.

A bit later I get AQd UTG, so I raise 3x to 180. CO and BB call. Board is A33. I check. CO bets 300, BB pushes 1570 and I come over the top. His AJ is no good. T4240.

A couple hands later, some guy named Errick22 sits down and starts running over the table. He raises his first 6 hands, and the two times he gets action, he shows a set of 88s and QQ. He takes a hand off, but by the next hand, he's raising excessively, up to 18x the BB. I'm priming to set this guy up.

He limps the next hand and I check in the BB with KQd. Flop comes K62 rainbow, we all check. The turn is another 2, and I call his pot bet. A beautiful K falls on the river. The pot is about 700, and I act like I'm bluffing, overbetting all in. He calls with J2o, and I double up. T7880.

Very next hand, UTG+1 raises 3xBB to 240, the aggressive guy calls, I call from the SB with AKh. Flop is 8high, two hearts. UTG1 pushes for 875, E22 calls, and I think about pushing but elect to just call with the nut flush draw. I make my flush on the turn but can't get anything more from E22. The pot is mine...T10,190.

At the first break I'm sitting in 8th place overall. I couldn't be playing any better. I've gotten lucky when I need to, but I've also increased my stack by studying my opponents and maximizing my pots.

Level 2

Raise UTG to 300 with TT and call a push for 1100 more from the button. He has KK and no two outer for me. T8569.

Next hand, I call a min raise from UTG with A9h. Flop comes 9 high, two spades. UTG bets the pot, I call. Turn is an A, he leads out for 1300. I minraise to 2600, hoping he'll play back at me, but he elects to fold. T10,800

Call a raise with AQ but have to fold when I miss the flop.

Very next hand, raise an EP limper from the SB with A6o. BB smooth calls, limper folds. Flop comes T57, I try to take down the pot with a c-bet, but the BB calls. Turn is an A and the BB pushes. I read this as a steal and call - he shows KK. Could he have played this any worse?

After that hand, I'm at T15,400 and sitting in 1st with about 500 something to play. It's about this time that the wheels start to fall off.

Folds to me on the CO and I try to steal with J7h but the button calls. Flop comes AJ6, two clubs. I c-bet 800, but the button reraises. Have to fold this..T14,199. Mistake #1.

UTG, I raise up about 3.5xBB with 99 and get a call from the CO. Flop is K35. I lead out for 1\2 pot, he calls. We check the turn, and on the river I check call a 1200 bet. I called because, for some reason, I put him on a steal. Instead he flips over QQ for trips. T11,500. Mistake #2

VERY next hand, I get 77 in the BB. Same player from last hand raises it 3xBB. Flop comes Q94, all clubs. He bets out for 600 and I call. I have to check-fold his turn bet. T10,300. Mistake #3

I sit out until I'm UTG with 77 again. I decide to limp in for 200 with this when a shortstack goes all in for 1750. I figure it's a race situation and call - he shows AQ and hits a Q on the flop. I don't really consider this a mistake, but it still was a pretty decent loss. T7600.

I get some chips back when I catch the SB trying to steal. It folds to him and he min raises to 400. He had done this before, and each time I called then folded to his flop bet when I missed. I call with 96o this time with the idea that I'm going to play back at him. Flop comes T84, two spades. He bets out 400 and I call. Turn is a 5, and he checks. I bet 800, he calls. River is a K, no flush or straight draws. He checks again and I take down the pot with a 1400 bet. T9300.

I go card dead for about 12 hands before I pick up KJo in MP. It folds to me so I try to take the pot down. The CO reraises to 2800. I sense that he's not really that strong, as in recent hands, he's reraised in position then folded to a push. The only hands he's shown down are 33 (flopped a set) KQo (called a shortstack push) and QJo. I feel like he's making a move but I elect to fold. T8200.

Feeling like I need to tighten up, I fold QJc UTG+1, only to see the flop come 9cTc8d. Balls!

Then I really go card dead. Add that to the fact that I'm seated to the right of two big stacks, one of which is being pretty LAG, and I'm basically paralyzed. I go twenty-eight (spelling it out for emphasis) hands without anything playable. The best I had was A5d but out of position.

Level 3

I blind\ante down all the way to T4800 when I pick up AJo UTG+1. Everyone folds to my raise. T5900.

Get moved to another table and, about 10 hands in, I push A8 from the button. SB calls with 99 and IGHN. Finish about 130\1199 and about $40 cash.

Two weeks ago I would have been happy just to cash. Last night though, I was dejected for about two hours, knowing that I could have played better. I played well to a point, and granted I ran into some hands that I couldn't control, but I made some mistakes that I should have known better. These mistakes were the kind I would make before, the kind of mistakes that I know I shouldn't be making now:

Mistake #1: 99 vs QQ. I have no problem with the raise or the c-bet. With only one high card on the flop, I've got to find out where I'm at. But I have no business calling the river bet. Why did I put him on a steal? Because he played it so passively? If I had KQ, I would have played it the same way. I save myself 1200 in chips by folding.

Mistake #2 J7 steal. I'm fine with the raise - it folded to me, and I can't just keep raising my strong hands. But there's really no reason for me to c-bet that. This is a problem I need to fix - I don't always need to c-bet. I find myself always doing this when it folds to me and I raise preflop. I save another 800 in chips by check-folding.

Mistake #3 77 on a bad flop. Can't argue the call preflop, but I have no business just calling 600 on a Q94, all club flop. Either fold or check-raise, but don't call. I save another 600 by folding here.

I think I got too comfortable when I had the chip lead. It's not like I was playing like I had the game wrapped up, but I wasn't concentrating as well as I was before. Up until the chip lead, I was playing SO well, but I couldn't sustain it.

But that's not to say I don't take away anything positive. This was only the third big tournament I've played in since last May, and definitely the biggest I've ever played, and it's best I've finished in a long time. After going relatively deep, I'm a lot more confident in my game. Also, I was able to do this without hardly any premium hands - only AK once, AQ once (which I had to fold), and no pocket pairs above 99. I got as far as I did playing aggressive & smart, mixing in some deceptiveness in there. However, last night was the first time in a while that I've had to go more than two hours in a game, and I'm treating last night as a lesson that I need to work on sustaining a solid game the entire time.


At April 9, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Blogger Fish on a Mission said...

Thanks for the really useful analysis of these hands that you feel you could have played better.

I am struggling at the moment to cut out habitual leaks from my game at the moment, and these sorts of analysis are very useful.

I'll keep watching your blog for insider tips. Hopefully it will speed up the learning curve I am on!


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