Saturday, July 03, 2004

More Bubble-icious Action

Well, just got home from the Up For Poker boy's 4th of July weekend poker tournament. Another fantastically run tournament featuring 23 players and a $50 buy-in. Let me set the stage for you early and mention that the top four players would be paid $125, $175, $275, $575.

I drew table 3 and saw only one familiar face, known in these parts as Greenwood Phil. The other 5 players at the table were all unknowns to me, so I had no idea what their style would be. Best to play it safe during these early rounds. I brought along two of my home game buddies, Teddy Ballgame and the Rankster, each of whom drew table 1.

Luckily for me, the early rounds saw me get a decent number of starting hands to play, including A,A twice, and Q,Q once. Neither of those monsters lost and I soon found myself at about T1700 by the first break, up from the original starting T1000.

Meanwhile, over at table 1, the Rankster managed to be the first eliminated. Good thing he drove the hour drive himself as he would have had to wait about 3 more hours if he wanted to wait for the rest of us to finish up.

Early in round 4 after the 1st break, I'm dealt 9,9. The flop is K,J,9 and I have position on the only other player in this hand. He bets out T100 and I simply call for now, fearing a straight draw. When the turn brings an A and he checks, I put him on K,X with a good kicker. So I bet out T200 and he calls. The river is a rag and I bet out T400 at which point the other player raises me all-in. I'm a bit nervous not knowing these players, but I really wasn't thinking that he was slow playing a straight. I call and he shows K,Q. My trip 9's take a rather big pot, giving me roughly T3000 in chips and I became chip leader at my table.

After the tables condensed to two, I was moved to another table with all new players. I was immediately dealt J,J and saw a K,10,4 flop. One player bet, and another raised all-in. I'd have to lay down these J's for sure. The all-in raiser showed A,A and I turned out making the obviously correct call on that hand. The very next hand I'm dealt J,J again but only smooth call and see a 4-handed flop. I'm not generally aggressive twice in a row since I tend to think that raising pre-flop two hands in a row dilutes its effect. That may be a flaw in my playing style though. The flop this time is 8,9,10 and I bet out. I get one caller and the turn brings a Q. I bet out again and the other player folds. Now I'm about at T3700.

Next comes the hand of the tournament for me. I'm dealt A,10 and see an A,Q,J heart flop. I'm holding the 10 of hearts and at this point believe nobody's got a flush. I bet T400 and get called by one player. The turn brings a 3 of hearts and I've now got the 2nd highest possible flush. The other player goes all-in. Here's my dilema: I'm not sure how good or bad a player he is. An all-in bet here by a decent player is to me an attempt to buy the pot, because if they are holding the K of hearts, there's no reason to bet me out of the pot. But I didn't know anything about him, and have seen earlier play where other people went all in with the nuts and were actually called. So I decide to lay the hand down having plenty of chips to work with later on. Turns out the other guy was holding the 6 of hearts and I would have won. This would have given me about T6000+ and an easy ticket into the money.

After we get down to 10 players, I'm moved to another table where it's 5-handed. I get some cards, including a set of 7's and finish at the break with T3300.

The final table of eight is roughly even with nobody holding a huge dominating stack. The only problem here is that the blinds are 300/600 and the next level they go to 500/1000. Unfortunately for me, the deck goes cold on me at the final table. But not before three players go out leaving me right on the bubble. My last hurrah is an all-in with T1000 holding 9,10 hearts. The big blind is my only opponent holding J,2 spades. There's no help for me and my tournament is over in 5th place, just out of the money......AGAIN.

Here's a quick summary of the 7 live tournaments I've played in:

11 players, paying 4 - 6th
16 players, paying 4 - 4th
19 players, paying 3 - 4th
19 players, paying 4 - 5th
13 players, paying 3 - 7th
33 players, paying 5 - 5th
23 players, paying 4 - 5th

As you can see, I've always made the final table; but in 5 out of 7 tournaments, I've been eliminated either on the bubble or just at the first money position. A very disturbing trend indeed, not to mention the WBT tourney where there were 30 players, paying 3 - 4th.

At some point this needs to improve and I'll need to do some analysis of my tournament play to figure out why this happens so often.


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