Thursday, September 02, 2004

QLHT II Report

QLHT II (see Otis' writeup for what that stands for) was held last Saturday the 28th. Normally the tournaments our group runs (more like me running it, they just help bring players in) have a $100 buy-in and we get close to 15 people on average. For this event, we wanted to lower the buy-in to $50 and try to get as many of the known poker groups in the area together for a big tournament.

The final turnout was 26, our biggest ever. Luckily we had someone bring an extra set of chips to accommodate the higher attendance. Our tourneys are structured based on a T100 starting stack. The blinds last for 50 minutes followed by a 10 minute break. The blinds start at 1/2, 2/4, 5/10, 10/20, 25/50, 50/100, etc., etc. This seems to work out pretty well as you can get a decent amount of hands within the first two hours and play pretty tight if you need to. Also, during the final stages of the tournament, it's not necessarily a crap shoot with the blinds being too big. For example in this tournament, when it was down to the final two, the chip stacks were roughly 1900/700 with the blinds at 50/100.

Rather than go into an in depth report, I'll just go over a couple of crucial hands that defined my tournament experience.

Coming off my night of quads on Party Poker, I didn't expect to see them in the live tournament. But I was wrong. Getting dealt T,T with a T on the flop would have been good enough. Being in late position and having someone bet into me is a golden situation. When the case T hit the river, I felt I could comfortably raise :) The question was how much. The bet to me was T10 (we're still in the 1/2 blind stage) and I raise to T30. The bettor calls and shows me his Q to match the Q on the board. I flip up my quads and he's slightly embarrassed he bet into my dominating hand.

Like Otis was with me, I too was wary of getting into a pot with him. Having position on Otis this hand was they key to winning it. He pre-flop raised 2xBB and I flat called holding 9,9. Otis bet nearly immediately after seeing his hole cards, which was slightly different than how he'd bet before when he held AA earlier. I took it as him holding a medium hand, perhaps A,K or A,Q. The end board showed J,J,T,x,J and I was pretty sure I was holding a winner if indeed I had put him on the correct hand. He bet after the river and I could only call. He showed me 8,8 and I took a medium sized pot from him. Not soon after, Otis busted with his Q,Q vs. A,K story he's already blogged about.

After we got down to 16 players, I won a huge pot at the time calling down someone's river bluff. I was holding A,9 of spades and limped into the pot. The flop showed K,Q,x - two spades. I called another min bet and the turn brought another Q. This time, it was checks all around, which had me thinking nobody was holding a Q. The players in the pot with me weren't of a high enough caliber to slow play trips. So I got to see the free river which was an A. I thought my hand was good enough for at least a split pot here, but still chose to check to the late position bettor. He bet T100 after the betting was T20 the whole time. I smelled bluff. I called and he immediately said "I didn't want to hear that." He showed down K,x for a worse two-pair than I. This pot brought me to the chip lead at the table and I was in great position.

Fast-forward to the final table of 8 and I have about T450, above average but only 3rd overall. It was at this time that I decide to bump up the aggression and unfortunately, I didn't work out so well.

I limp in with A,2 clubs but someone in later position min-raises it and I call. The flop is A,K,x with only 1 club. I decide to bet out for information into the raiser to see what he's holding, hopefully something like K,Q or even J,J. I bet out T50 and am raised to T100. Muck. Chip stack down to T350.

I pre-flop raise to T50 holding 7,7 and get 1 caller, the button. The flop is A,A,x and I decide to see where I stand here too by betting another T50. All-in. Muck. Chip stack down to T250.

I get dealt 7,7 again and call the short stack's all-in bet of T50. One other player also calls. The flop is J,6,5 with two spades. I like my hand here. I decide to go for a check raise with the other player for a side pot but he too checks. Unfortunately for me, the turn is a 7.....of spades. I check, the other player goes all-in for T150 and I call, leaving me with only T50. The original player who was all-in showed A,K spades, a nice hand. The other player showed Q,x of spades, a garbage hand that happened to beat me at the moment. I was praying for the board to pair. If it did, I'd eliminate 2 players and have a monster chip stack with 5 players left.

The board did not pair and not soon after I busted in 7th. Another tournament, another near-bubble finish. Sweet. On the good side, it was a lot of fun and I was glad I could host a tournament for other poker groups in the area to play in. I look forward to playing with these players again, they are both decent poker players and most importantly good people.

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