This morning I dragged myself out of bed around 2am to play in the latest unofficial poker diagram listener tourney (unofficial as it’s not going to be part of the podcast).
Red Bull in hand I logged into Poker Room and registered for the 2:30am start.
First thing that struck was the fun atmosphere of the tournament, lots of friendly chat going on and it was really great to see people from all over the world getting together to have fun playing the game we love.
2:30am rolls around and the tournament starts with 16 entrants (I should have mentioned by now this was a $10+$1 NL Hold’em tournament, top 3 places pay).
My first hand of the night is KQo and I win without a showdown after I get a king on the turn.
There was a player on the other table “z bamse” who was ruffling a few feathers with some very dubious all-in plays. I don’t believe he was a Poker Diagram listener, though someone might correct me on that if I’m wrong. Anyway, “MacAnthony” was the first player to fall prey to him with JJ vs ATo, an ace came on the flop and Mac didn’t improve to finish in 16th place. Unlucky mate!
Meanwhile at my table I was playing extremely tight at this point, survival was the key. I actually wanted to try and give myself a chance to play with Zog who had a seat at the other table.
Second hand I played for the night was AJs, raised up 3XBB and ended up heads up with “Lorenrf” who folded to my continuation bet on the flop when I missed everything (guessing, correctly that he’d also missed).
I’ve got to tell you it was a strange feeling to be getting respect for preflop raises, the opponents in many tournaments I play in render the continuation bet quite useless by calling “for the hell of it” – but that’s a topic for another day.
Next hand I played I folded my ATo on an unfriendly flop to a very weak, but very suspicious min bet from “Karlrado”. I was being quite cautious at this point.
I’d been concentrating more on my own game and table rather than watching every little detail of the tournament and had missed a couple of exits by now, I believe at this point “z bamse” had frustrated a couple more players by winning more races he shouldn’t have been in and by doing so he had moved into the chip lead.
My plans of playing against Zog at the final table were ruined when he made an untimely exit in 12th place trying to double up against “z bamse” in a three way pot, he moved all in with his two pair (aces and eights) only to be beaten by the third player in the pot (“pandrus2″) who’d hit a set of tens.
It was about now I started getting some interesting hands to play, first I was dealt AQo on the BB and called a 3 X BB bet from “DJQuad” who was our tables current chip leader. I hit a queen on the flop and bet out half the pot to take it. I don’t like the fact that I just called here preflop, really played too timidly against the big stack, the call in some ways says “I think you’re beating me, but I’m going to see a flop anyway”… better to raise here.
Action went around the table again and in the BB I’m dealt A8o, not the best of hands but “z bamse” had min-raised to my left and the action had been folded around to me. I decided to take him on and saw a flop, an 8 hit for middle pair on the flop and I made an aggressive pot sized bet that I was glad he folded to.
Next hand I played was pocket 3′s on the button, there had been one limper to me and I raised it up hoping to get heads up. “z bamse” in the BB ruined that plan by pushing all-in, the limper “ngmcs8203″ folded (but later said he would have called if I wasn’t still to act, not sure what he had though) and I considered my options. I was actually reasonably sure I was ahead at this point, but pretty much regardless of what cards he had (unless it was something completely crazy like 22, A3, K3 etc) we were in a coin flip. I decided I didn’t want to go out with 33 and, reluctantly, folded.
Then, just before the break I was dealt QQ, raised it up the usual 3 X BB and got a call from (I think) “Lorenrf”, I hit a set on the flop which I slow played, bet big on the turn (got called) and all-in on the river for my last little pile of chips, Loren folded and I took down my biggest pot for the night.
I made it to the break! Which is about 59 minutes and 50 seconds further than I thought I’d make it, by now we were about 8 handed and apart from one or two above average stacks it was looking pretty even.
Shortly after the break I was dealt AQo in late position and raised, got called by a limper (I don’t remember who, possibly “pandrus2″) and folded on the flop to an all-in bet after a king came down.
Then I went card dead.
Several rounds went by where I didn’t even get to play my blinds, “zerbert” the away player for the entire tournament had gone out and I was the new short stack (though not critical just yet). Then this:
Six handed, in the BB I am dealt:
For about the fourth time in a row I am raised, this time by “pandrus2″ who (I believe) has been stealing more than his fair share of blinds. I consider folding but decide to make a stand and re-raise. He flat calls and we see a flop:
::: (or something to that effect)
Out of position, I think about his possible holdings, there are a few options:
- Small pocket pair (99 or less)
- Any ace would have warranted the preflop raise, what’s the chances his kicker has hit and it’s a jack or a ten?
- Large pocket pair (AA, KK, QQ), I’d pretty much written this off completely. I would have expected him to put me all-in preflop with these holdings.
- Two rags, it’s possible he was just trying to steal the blinds and hadn’t really planned on getting this far in the first place (I had been folding the BB a lot by now, it would have been a fair play).
Out of all these options, I decide that it’s more likely that’ he’s missed this flop than hit it and I figure that my tens are good. I push, all-in (this is by now about a half pot sized bet) and he turns over:
:: (give or take a couple of suits)
We both have the tens, he has the ace kicker and I don’t improve. I guess that’s what I get for defending my turf with KTo.
After this the tourney doesn’t last that much longer, “z bamse” thankfully exists on the bubble in 4th after sitting out since not long after the break, we have a final three who finish in the following order:
Final hand to give it to “pandrus2″, A3o, vs 88… “pandrus2″ hit his ace and that was all she wrote.
Congratulations guys and thanks everyone for a great game!
P.S. Didn’t realise how long this post was getting, if you got this far… thanks for reading!