I’m hardly playing these no-limit hold’em tourneys at all these days, but as I’ve mentioned the last few weeks I have been reading quite a bit and so had some ideas swimming around in the ol’ cerebral stew about how I was a-gonna approach this sucker. Wasn’t terribly confident going in, but once things got started I quickly felt better, realizing I might’ve actually picked up a thing or two from my reading. Books are our friends.
To give you an idea how it went for me, I took a peek after all was said and done at my stats and discovered I’d managed to claim a ton of pots without showing. Out of 35 pots I won, PokerStars is actually saying I’d only shown three times the entire event. (That was of 130 hands total.) Not quite sure if that’s entirely accurate, but I do know I was avoiding the showdowns pretty much throughout.
Grabbed a medium-sized pot early to push out to 1,900 or so when everyone else was still hovering around the starting 1,500, and that gave me room to operate a little more freely and accumulate a bit. Maneuvered my way up over the 3,000-chip mark before the first hour was up, which had me in second or third place for most of those first four levels. During that time we’d lose Change100 and Matt from PokerListings, and just after the one-hour break the nine players remaining were consolidated onto one table. My opponents: Dr. Pauly, Amy Calistri, Kid Dynamite, Michele Lewis, the Poker Shrink, Spaceman, Poker Listings Dan, and Pokerati Dan.
At that point I had a little less than 3,000 in chips, which in fact put me in second behind the current leader, Poker Listings Dan, the strategy writer over at PokerListings, who had approximately twice that. It was at that point where I feel like I played only so-so poker, folding for a couple of orbits when I probably could have gotten involved a time or two. Was trying to gauge the table, though.
Finally at the start of Level 6 (blinds 100/200), I got active again. And players started busting. First Pokerati Dan, who’d blinded all of the way down to 95 chips before playing his first hand, got bounced. (“I played too tight,” said Dan in chat from the rail.) Then the Poker Shrink.
Then a short-stacked Dr. Pauly put a brutal beat on Kid Dynamite when he shoved his last 1,655 with the hammer (7-2) and got called by the Kid who held . The flop was benign, but the turn and river both came deuces, and the Kid was crippled. He’d go out in seventh, followed soon thereafter by the Spaceman (6th) and Amy (5th).
At four-handed (the money bubble), I was again in second place with roughly the same stack (3,160) I had when the final table started, a bit less than half of what Dan Skolovy had. After a dozen hands or so, I had held steady, but Dr. Pauly had snuck ahead of me, having about 4,200. Self-proclaimed “last woman sitting” was Michele Lewis with about 2,000.
Then came this hand. I’m a-gonna tell you what happened, but I offer it to all-a-you well-versed MTTers as a “what would you do?”
I’m on the button with 3,460 and get dealt . Blinds are still 100/200. Dan from Poker Listings, who has 6,785, raised to 600 from UTG/the cutoff. Now Dan is the head strategy writer over there at the PL, and we’d all already picked up that one key part of his strategy was either to raise or fold preflop, and almost never limp. So when he raises there, his range is fairly wide, I’m thinking. Probably has a better than average hand to raise my button, but not necessarily something better than pocket jacks.
Here’s where I ask you, what would you do?
Folding seemed weak. Calling with position might’ve been a good choice here, but if an ace, king, or queen flops -- more likely than not -- and Dan bets out, I’ve got a tough decision. If I call, the pot would be 1,200, and I’d have 2,860 left.
I decided I wanted to raise, and given my stack size figured I couldn’t make a real raise without pushing all in. So I did. Pauly and Michele folded, and Dan took a few seconds before calling and turning over . I was surprised he’d call with that, but elated that I was 70-30 to win here. (Do you call in that spot? What, really, could my range be there?)
Alas, an ace flopped, I couldn’t catch up, and I was out on the bubble.
So while I brood a little about how I might’ve folded into the money, Dan from Poker Listings eliminated Michele in 3rd on the very next next hand, then after 130 hands of back-and-forthing with Pauly would take first. That means the first-place prize money gets rolled over into the next tourney (this coming Saturday), although I’m not sure how it’ll be distributed.
My consolation prize: I get some leaderboard points for finishing in the top six. After three weeks of this, those who end up in the top six get to play a fourth freeroll the last Saturday of the month.
And I guess another consolation prize is the feeling that, for the most part, I played a tournament well. Congrats to Dan, Pauly, and Michele! And thanks again to PokerListings for the invite -- was a ton of fun, for sure.