Recently I had a few hours’ respite and decided to jump into a 6-max PLO MTT on Stars, one of those $5.00+$0.50 tourneys with rebuys. Almost 200 other runners joined me, and with all of the rebuys (over 400) and add-ons (nearly 100), we ended up with a nice-sized prize pool of over $3,500.
I don’t play a lot of rebuy tourneys. Hell, I don’t play a lot of tourneys, period, these days. So I decided to set myself a limit of a single rebuy, and knuckled down to watch for good opportunities during that first hour.
I’d been doing a lot of folding, picking up a couple of small pots by accident on checked-down hands, when somewhere in the middle of Level 2 (blinds 15/30) I was on the button and was dealt . A couple of players limped in, I bumped it up to 110, and both called. The flop came . The first to act was a short-stacked player who rapidly bet pot -- 550 -- leaving himself only 150 behind. The second player, who had over 2,000 in chips, made the call. I knew one -- probably the short-stack -- had to have the straight here. I decided this to be a decent enough opportunity to gamble with my first buy-in, and so pushed. Both players called, making a total pot of over 4,000.
We flipped our hands over, and I saw that both of my opponents held 6-5-x-x for the flopped the straight. Neither had any other draws, though, so I was in decent shape. Was even better when the turn brought the , giving me (and me only) a flush draw as well. The river was the , however, busting me. I rebought, knowing these were going to be my last 1,500 chips for the tourney.
About ten hands later I was dealt in the big blind and was allowed to see a flop for free. And a beauty of a flop it was -- -- giving me the nut straight and a redraw to the second-nut flush. I led out with a 100-chip bet (two-thirds the pot), and HyperBully raised pot. I reraised, of course, and we had it all in before the turn. He showed , essentially requiring one of the three kings to steal this one from me. None came, and I’d doubled up to 2,900.
I was still at around 3,000 in chips when the rebuy period ended. Sticking to my original plan, I didn’t purchase the add-on, and so was sitting on a below-average stack when play resumed. Didn’t really mix it up until Level 5 when I got into another confrontation with HyperBully. Dealt on the button, I limped in with a few others to see a flop of . HyperBully led out with a pot-sized bet of 600 and I just smooth-called. The on the turn filled me up, and I let HyperBully do my betting for me. I was up to 6,050.
I continued to sit tight. Glanced at the PokerStars stat box at one point and saw I was seeing only about a third of the flops -- very tight, really, considering we were six-handed. By the next break I was up over 10,000 in chips. Still below average, but healthy.
As the third hour began, I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before in a tourney -- I purposely ignored looking at the leaderboard and payout structure. I had no idea how many players were left, nor how many places paid. I decided instead just to concentrate on the five players at my table and try to gather as many of their chips as I could.
The strategy seemed to be working. Doubled up in Level 9 when I turned another full house from the small blind. Picked up a few more smallish pots, then a big one when my A-A-x-x held up against a medium-sized stack who’d pushed. Had accumulated over 60,000 by the time we reached the 3-hour break.
Somewhere in there we had gone hand-for-hand, so I was aware we had made the money. Still, I continued with the tunnel-vision act, deciding not to worry about the cabbage and simply play to win.
On the first hand of Level 13, I called a button raise from the small blind with . The flop came and I led out with an aggressive bet only to see the button player push his remaining chips. To be more specific, there was nearly 50,000 in the pot, and I only had to put in a little over 10,000 to see two more cards. And I’d still have nearly 40,000 even if I lost the hand. Knew I was probably behind -- even way behind -- but I made the sketchy call anyway. My opponent flipped over for the flopped boat, so I was in sad shape. Spiked one of the two kings on the river, though, and suddenly found myself just under 100K in chips. (Poor guy offered a few choice observations from the rail, all well-earned by yours truly.)
Not longer after that hand, I ended up in a huge confrontation with SirApes who also had nearly 100K in chips. SirApes and I had been at this same table for at least 100 hands, and he’d been routinely taking advantage of my (mostly) tight play by repeatedly stealing my blinds whenever the opportunity arose. I had taken a few chips off of him in one hand where I’d called his preflop raise, called his flop bet, then picked off a river bluff when I held low trips. But mostly he’d gotten the better of it, and I might have been a little antsy to put him in his place.
So a little history here when I find myself in the big blind with and facing another preflop raise from SirApes. The blinds were 1,000/2,000, and he’d pumped it to 6,000. I debated a moment, then called, deciding if I hit something nice he’d be receiving a nice little sucker punch.
The flop appeared to fit with my plan -- -- giving me middle set. I bet 11,000 (just under the pot), and SirApes just called. I was virtually certain that he hadn’t flopped the straight or higher set, as I understood from his past play that he’d be raising either of those with the flush draw out there. The turn brought the , which to me didn’t change a thing. I checked, intending to push if he tried anything. And he did, overbetting 34,000. I raised all-in (a whopping 82K) and he called instantly, turning over .
I was right. A flush draw . . . and really nothing else. And he’s just called off his entire stack here, hoping to catch that club. And two of them -- the 5 and 10 -- are no good to him, of course, so he’s only got seven possible outs. The CardPlayer Omaha calculator tells me I’m 82% to win.
But the on the river made me a 100% loser, and in dramatic fashion I was suddenly down to just a couple of big blinds. Two hands later I was done.
My first reaction was to be very satisfied with my play. I’d made a good read on the hand that crippled me, and I felt as though I’d played (mostly) a smart game throughout. And I’d played to win the sucker, not just limp into the cash, which added to my satisfaction.
That’s when I finally permitted myself a look at the payouts. Oh, crap.
I’d landed in 15th place, netting me $53.25 for my efforts. Not bad, I thought. I’ll take that for a ten-buck investment. Then I looked up the chart. First paid over $900, and any final table seat paid over $100. I had probably been in the top six going into that fatal hand, and might well have cruised into at least another fifty bucks, if not more. I immediately began to wonder if I should have taken my foot off of the gas there at some point. Even though I did manage to get my money in very good in the big hand with SirApes, I could’ve probably waited for an even better opportunity. What do you think?
I’m convinced that my play was certainly influenced by all of the bracelet-chasing I’ve been watching so closely over the past two weeks -- where for so many of the players the approach is “First or Forget It.” I’m sure that’s what Johnny Chan is going to be thinking when going for his 11th bracelet tonight as they play out Event No. 23, the $1,500 pot limit Omaha event. He’s in 4th place with 23 players remaining -- right about where I was in my tourney when I decided to go for it against SirApes.
Might be a good idea to watch how Chan plays it early on tonight. Do the pros push like I did when they get down close to the big money? Are they willing to risk going up against the only other big stack in that situation?
At least some do, as an Event No. 23 hand from late last night demonstrates. The hand involves Scott Clements and Justin Scott. There were 31 players left. Clements had about 135,000 and Scott about 120,000, making them first and second in chips when the hand went down. Here’s how Mean Gene described it for PokerNews:
Clash of the Titans
This is one of those hands you circle in red so you don’t forget it. Our two chip leaders, Scott Clements and Justin Scott, saw a flop of . Justin Scott led out for 23,000 and Clements raised enough to set Justin all-in. Justin called and showed for the nut flush draw, while Clements had for the set of Nines. The on the turn gave Justin the nut flush . . . and then the spiked on the river to give Clements the boat and the biggest pot of the tournament. He’s now the big chip leader with 255,000, while Justin Scott goes out in 31st place.
Sounds pretty familiar, actually, with the flopped set and flush draw both demonstrating a willingness to go for it. I suppose I might look at a hand like this and take solace. Would’ve been damned nice to have outraced the flush draw like Clements did, though!
See how Event No. 23 -- and all of the other action -- plays out by heading over to PokerNews for live reports.
Labels: *on the street