Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Saturday Home Game Tournament Recap

This was the fifth local Hold 'em game that I've played in, each being a $100 buy-in with roughly the same payout and structure. If we get 15 or more entries, we will pay out 50,25,15,10; otherwise we'll do 50,30,20. The turnout for this event topped off at 13 players, 3 of whom were former winners. With 13 people, we divided up into 2 tables of 6 and 7 respectively and drew our seats. I was at the short-handed table with 2 former winners so I was geared up for some good poker.

The rounds last just over an hour in our tournaments, with the blind structure moving from 1/2, 2/4, 5/10, 10/20 and 25/50. The buy-in was a 1 for 1 deal, $100 gets you T100 in chips. The first level was pretty uninteresting for me as I only managed to pick up 1 playable hand, pocket K's. I raised the BB up to $5 and was only called by one player. Of course, the flop brings an A; but I need to test the waters to see if my opponent is holding one. I bet out another $5 and he folds.

Round two at the $2/$4 level is also pretty uninteresting. I'm dealt Q5 in the big blind and get to see the flop for free. The flop comes Q5x and my two pair looks pretty strong at the moment. I check and there is 1 bet and 1 call of $5. I call and see another rag on 4th street. I bet out at $10 and am raised by player 1, caller folds. I re-raise and player 1 folds admitting to holding K10 offsuit and trying to buy the pot. I stay roughly at the T100 mark for a while.

Late in round two, I'm holding 10,5 offsuit in the BB and see the flop for free. Flop is K85 rainbow. I call another $5 bet with two other callers and see a 2 on 4th street. Here's where I made my first move. Two checks to me and I go all in with my remaining T65 or so. One player immediately folds and the second begins to stare me down. He's a former winner but I'm pretty sure he will fold to my bet based on the cards I've shown to this point. After a couple of minutes he says, "I'll let you have this one." This bluff gets me back to the T100 level again and we close out level two.

As level 3 begins, we move to just 1 table and we're down to 8 players. I'm probably 6th in chips with 2 obvious short stacks. With the blinds $5/$10, short stack #1 moves all in UTG for about T25. I look down to see pocket A's. I decide that I'd really just like to play this guy heads up, so I match his all in and raise T50 more. Folds all around and we flip up. He shows 99. The flop comes 10,J,Q and I'm thinking I'll get busted with an 8 or 9. The K gives me the higher straight, so he has 6 outs. They don't come and I grab his T25 and we're down to 7 players.

Not too long after, I'm dealt AJ UTG. I limp in with T10 and there are 2 more callers. I tell myself that if an A shows up on the board or if the board is garbage, I'm going all in again. The flop comes 962 and I proclaim "All in." As expected the three other limpers fold and I take the pot. Somewhat risky, but based on their passive calls pre-flop I figured I could take this one down.

After another go around, I'm the BB and see a lovely 96 offsuit. Two others limp in and the flop comes 982. Top pair, but with a garbage kicker. I check and and one of the former champs, the one I bluffed earlier with 10,5 offsuit overbets the pot with a T50 bet. The second caller folds and the action is on me. I think that this is a bluff by this guy, so I go over the top all-in. He can just barely cover my additional T98, and he thinks about it for quite awhile. At this point, I honestly want him to fold as I don't really feel that this top pair is too strong. He finally says "Well, I gotta call you this time." He flips over 9,10. My spirits immediately sink as I'm outkicked. Looks like I'll need major help on this hand. The turn sees a glorious 6. The remaining players all let out a "Whoa!!!" as I leap into the lead. At this point, with 44 unknown cards, he has 7 outs, the three remaining 10's and the 4 7's which would give him the straight. There's over T300 in the pot now and this pot would probably put the winner in 2nd place chip position-wise. I'll leave it to you to figure out which card comes on the river.

A seven. More "Whoa's" from the table signal my exit from the tourney in 7th place. Looks like I misread this guy a bit as a T50 overbet into a T30 pot should have signaled top pair to me. Then I should have known I was out-kicked. If I simply call his bet of T50, the 6 on 4th street would have for sure put me all in and I figure he'd call me with his top pair and inside straight draw judging from the type of player he was. Bottom line was I misread him and should have folded to his bet, but for a split second I thought I would take it. Such is Hold 'em.

I felt decent about my play, disregarding the final hand. This is the second tourney in a row where I've gone all-in with top pair against one other player only to be out-kicked. I'll have to re-assess that tendency.

Luckily for me, there was a side ring game going on with all the losers who were eliminated earlier and a couple of other onlookers. Managed to make back my $100 and then some with some good tight play.

We will probably have another tournament next month, so I'll be brushing up on my no-limit play during the next few weeks. I think I can compete pretty well with these guys but I just haven't brought home the big prize as my best finish is 4th.

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