Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More from the Tourney Journey

Shamus at the tablesTried a couple more SNGs yesterday and faltered a bit, bringing down that gaudy ROI I’d established after cashing in the first two. Both were on Party (same as before -- $5.00+$1.00, limit hold ’em, ten-handed, 2,000 starting chips, top three places paid). In the first I needlessly bled some chips early trying to push people off pots and found myself down to 1,190 within a half-hour or so. Then I had an unlucky hand where I flopped top pair-top kicker, then got called down by a fellow who made a runner-runner flush. That crippled me (I was left with just 280 chips), and I ended up all-in a couple of hands later with crummy Kd9s. I was called by an ace, didn’t improve, and scampered out of there with my tail between my legs in eighth.

Suitably chastened, I tried again and played much better the second time around. Started off more patiently, then took a nice pot (1,230) in level 2 when I turned a straight. Took another (2,440) in level 4 when I pushed with QdKs and was called all the way by a short stack as the board came 2hJcQcKdQs. Didn’t pick up much for the next level or two and by the time we got down to four players I had 3,300 chips, placing me just ahead of the other short stack who had 3,120. The blinds were 400/800, so I didn’t have a lot of room to manuever. Still, I felt confident if I could get heads-up with the chip leader I could take him. He’d made several passive (though luckily-timed) plays that made his big stack less threatening to me.

Then came hand no. 58. Not sure what to think of my play here. (Anyone with ideas, please chime in.)

I was the BB (with 3,300). The chip leader (7,220) was UTG and the other short stack (3,120) was on the button. The SB had 6,360. I was dealt KsJs and was a little surprised to see the entire table call it around to me. (I don’t believe we’d had a single family pot since we’d gotten to four-handed.) I checked my option. Looking back, I can say that at the time I didn’t even consider raising here from early position. Perhaps I should have. The flop came 2hJc 7s and the SB bet.

The SB -- I’ll call him WilyWilly -- was actually the only player left about whom I had much concern. For about ten hands Willy had been showing a lot of aggression, successfully building his stack thanks to others’ growing tentativeness in the face of the bubble. My read here was he’d hit the flop in some way, but not as well as I had, so I raised. It folded around and Willy reraised. Here’s where I had to decide whether to commit fully to this hand or give it up. There was 4,000 in the pot. I had 2,100 left in my stack and it was 400 more to call. If I do call, it is very unlikely I’m giving up the hand unless the turn and river are particularly scary. And, of course, calling down the rest of the way (at 800 chips a pop) would mean exhausting my entire stack. What to do, what to do . . . ?

"We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop seeing it." So says Pascal, anyway. I capped it. The turn was the 2d, pairing the board. I actually liked the look of that card. Didn't seem like WilyWilly would have reraised me before with just bottom pair. So we got it all in. The river was a blank, and Willy turned over 7d7h for a boat. I was out in 4th, which pays the same as 10th. Zip.

Given how WilyWilly had been pushing us around, I felt I couldn’t have gotten away there. If I had not raised and then capped the flop, I might have escaped with at least a few chips left. Whether I’d have survived for long with the blinds where they were is another story. We only had a hand or so to go in level 5, and the blinds would’ve risen to 600/1,200 the next time around. Indeed, I was pretty far past what Harrington calls an “inflection point.” Not a good place to be.

Live and (hopefully) learn. I know better than to think I’m going to cash every time out in these, especially being so out-of-practice. I’ll probably keep at it, though, even if the SNG’s aren’t ultimately as lucrative for me as the ring games tend to be. Meanwhile, the jury’s still out on whether I’m trying an FPP satellite to the WCOOP. The satellites are set up as Turbo-style crapshoots, so I ain't got much in the way of expectations if I were to try one. Other than to flop sets every other hand, that is . . . .

Photo: Tom Neal from the 1945 film Detour (adapted), public domain.

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Blogger derbywhite said...


I agree. Not really any way you could have got away there. He bets out on the flop you raise to protect your hand fine. When he reraises what can you put him on Top pair and a half decent kicker?
By the time you cap it your pot committed anyway and with the blinds at 400 & 800 not much option. It's shit or bust.

Better players than me who read this blog might say that you should have raised with KJ suited instead of checking your option.

Still, I can't for the life of me put him on 77. Just one of those hands :(

Good luck at the tables.

8/18/2006 4:27 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

This is typical of the hands I've been going out of SNGs with recently too, very hard to put him on a set here and I really doubt many people are getting away from this hand. When the board pairs there is obviously more cause for concern but you are pretty much comitted like you say and I wouldn't have put him on a deuce either so when you consider his likely hands (I'd say KJ, QJ, JT, A7s, K7, 77, 22 and maybe AJ but then he probably would have raised preflop) you'll be ahead most of the time here.

I may have raised preflop (not likely to push too many out but potentially sets you up for a free look at the turn on most flops), but just as happy to limp here as KJ is a hand that loves multi-way pots and you don't get much more multi-way than this.

It's never fun going out with just a pair when the aggressive "bully" at the table finally hits a real hand, but it happens. Don't worry too much about it, good luck with your next one!

8/20/2006 7:58 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks for the feedback & good vibes, fellas!

8/20/2006 2:13 PM  

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