Sunday, June 20, 2004

Brad-o-Ween Tourney Report

I had the fortune of being invited to a local poker tournament by fellow blogger Otis at Up For Poker. I'd only known Otis from the WBT II online tournament held last month by Iggy, but as luck would have it, we lived only about 20 minutes from each other.

The hosts were gracious enough to let me invite a fellow local poker player from my home game, Roger, a.k.a. Rocket. The structure of the tourney was supposed to make it last roughly 4 hours or so, but with 33 players, it actually lasted a bit longer.

At the beginning of the tournament, I vowed to play very tight as there was a myriad of player skills among the entries. Starting off w/T1000, I found myself at about T1350 by the end of the first break, having won a couple of hands. I had 66 river a boat that also rivered someone else a flush which was nice. I also ended up stealing one pot to test the table a bit.

After the break, I saw probably one of the most unusual hands I've ever seen. One of the short stacks went all in on a flop of 9,4,7 and was called by two others, first caller being Otis. The turn was a 4 and nobody bet. When the river spiked a 2nd 9, Otis went all in. The player to his left immediately called thinking he had the full house 9's over 4's, but to his dismay held only A,8. He had forgotten that his down card was the 8 and not the 9. So he was relegated to playing the A against the two pair on the board. Well, unfortunatley for Otis, that A held up as Otis was trying to bluff steal the pot. The original all-in held only 10,3 diamonds and the biggest pot of the evening thus far was taken by someone who had no idea what he had. Had he realized he only held A,8, he said he would have folded giving Otis a decent pot. Unfortunately, the tournament's host got bounced on this crazy hand.

By the second break, I didn't catch many cards and got whittled back down to my original T1000 with about 18 players left out of the original 33.

After consolodating to 2 tables, I called a pre-flop raise from the biggest stack holding 3,3 and saw an A,3,5 flop. The big stack was on the button and I was the BB, so he had position. Didn't matter to me and I went all in. He asked me what my kicker was and I looked at him and said "Kicker? I don't know what my kicker is." He showed me A,4; I avoided a 2 and doubled up.

My first of two hands that I played really poorly happened not soon after as I'm dealt K,K. I predicted correctly that the flop would have an A. It didn't let me down: A,10,8. I checked and just smooth called all the way to the end to an obvious A. I lost about half my stack on that play and should have really laid down the K's but just couldn't. Dumb.

Meanwhile, I hang around long enough to make it to the final table of 8 players. The pay out is for the top 5, and thoughts of bubbling out filled my head. Since I bubbled out of the WBT II in 4th, I was really determined not to let it happen again.

I doubled up once more against the big stack holding A,K to his Q,3 diamonds. A,10,10 on the flop helped tremendously and I built my stack to over T3500. I didn't play too many hands after that as two more were eliminated including the person who entered the final table with the biggest stack. He just kept doubling up everyone and finally lost interest and bailed by calling an all-in with 9,4 off suit.

Now that we were down to six players, including both my buddy Rocket and CJ from Up For Poker, I really wanted to get into the money. Rocket was the short stack now and was being slowly blinded to death. I just waited out the inevitable and saw him get eliminated when he held A,J vs. A,K. Sweet, finally in the money.

As I mentioned before there were two hands where I played really poorly. The K,K and the hand I went out on. It was 5 handed and I was UTG+1 with the blinds at T500/1000. I held about T5000 which really wasn't too bad given the average stack was T6600 at this point. I'm dealt 9,10 clubs and raise it up to T2000 truly hoping to just buy the blinds. Unfortunately for me the button calls and the blinds fold. The flop is Q,8,8 with two clubs. In hindsight, the correct play was for me to go all-in here, but I checked. The button checked and the turn brought a non-club 2. Mistake #2 was again not going all-in again. I checked again as did the button. The river was a non-club 3 and I realize I'm sunk. I can't win this pot by checking and now I feel I'm forced to go all-in as I should have done 2 betting rounds earlier. I'm given a glimmer of hope as the button thinks long and hard about calling. But unfortunately for me, it was close to 12AM and according to the button, "My wife has to work tomorrow morning anyway, so I call." Ugh. He held A,9 and eliminated me with his high card A.

Oh well, too bad I made one of my mistakes so close to the end. Thankfully, I made the money which I'm happy about, especially since this was the biggest live tournament I've ever played in.

I'd like to thank the guys from Up For Poker for inviting me, especially Otis for allowing me into his home to play my favorite game. I hope to get his crew of players and mine together sometime for a big tournament as they were a cool bunch of guys to hang out with.

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