Friday, October 27, 2006

AIPS Event No. 8 -- Limit Hold ’em

Fear the ChickenPlayed in my third Ante-Up Intercontinental Poker Series event last night -- event no. 8, Limit Hold ’em. As I mentioned before, I finished 23rd of 51 in event no. 5 (6-handed No Limit Hold ’em) and managed to make it all of the way to 3rd of 55 in event no. 7 (Pot Limit Omaha High/Low). There were 71 entrants in last night’s tourney, so the top eight places paid. At nine p.m. I hopped onto Full Tilt Poker as my alter-alter-ego, "babaghanoush" the angry chicken, all fired up to check-raise & value-bet my animated feathers off.

Had a slow start, winning a couple of small pots early but finding few spots to enter hands for most of the first hour. By level 3 I had slipped to 1,045 chips (from the 1,500 chip starting stack). By level 6 I had fallen all of the way down to 755, with only a few of the 58 players left having less. Finally, I managed to flop two pair from the SB and it held up. At the first break I had 1,510 chips, placing me 28th out of the 55 remaining players. Still okay, I figured. Anything could happen.

Picking up pocket rockets the second hand back from the break seemed like a good sign, but everyone folded to my early position preflop raise. I endured a few more rounds of bad cards and bad flops, and found myself in level 8 with only 1,225 chips (31st of 37). One round later I had spent three big blinds (worth 150 each), and I was clinging to dear life with a miserable 775 chips. A level change made the blinds 100/200 (with stakes 200/400), so when I was dealt AdTc in middle position, I knew it was do or die. Ended up all-in before the flop against AcQc, and fortunately spiked the 10 on the river to survive. Three hands later I won a medium-sized pot with big slick, and was back in the comfort zone (relatively speaking) with 2,700.

Then, just before the second break, I found myself back down to 2,150 and on the button with 3d3s. It folded around to the cutoff who raised it to 800. Well below the average stack size, I decided to reraise it up. The blinds folded, and my opponent capped it. I’m already committed by this point, and call. There’s 3,800 in the pot. I’ve got 550 left in my stack. And the flop comes a wonderful 3c4h9d. The cutoff bets 400, I put it all in, we flip our cards, and I see he’s all but drawing dead with big slick. An ace on the turn gives him top pair, but actually guarantees me the 4,900 chip pot.

I take one more decent pot before the second break. After two hours of play, I’m up to 7,300 chips (10th of 13). The average stack is 8,192, and the leader has 13,220. Frankly I’m starting to think more here about limping my way into cashing than winning the tourney. I bided my time a bit, then had a nice bit of luck with AA vs. AK (and the case ace flopped). I had 10,800 chips (4th out of 12 left).

Despite my intentions to play it safe, I somehow experienced a nasty three-hand stretch where I lost 1,800 (with AK), 600 (in the BB), and then 3,000 (in the SB after flopping a flush draw and straight draw, then chasing to the river where neither hit). Suddenly I’d blown exactly half of my stack -- down to 5,400 -- and was in danger of bubbling. In a bit of a panic, I brutally played a hand where I was dealt a suited ace and ended up trying to bully the chip leader (who had nearly 20,000 chips). After failing to connect with the board at all, I had to lay down the hand and now sat with a measly 2,000 chips. There were 10 players left, and I was in 10th.

The next hand I’m dealt KcTd and preraise to 1,600. I get one caller. The flop comes 2h3dJh and I have to put my last 400 in the pot. My opponent waited about ten seconds, telling me he probably hadn’t hit that flop but still could very well have me beat. Finally he called, and showed his 8cQd. I’m ahead, but in danger. The turn was the Ah, which took away three of his outs (any queen now gives me a straight). The river was a heart-stopping 9s (close!). "Fortunately," as Foghorn Leghorn likes to say, "I always carry a spare set of feathers." I was still alive with 4,400 chips.

One hand later we were down to nine -- the final table! There were a couple of super-short stacks, and I decided I was essentially done until one of them bowed out. Didn't take long. On the second hand of the final table, the shortest stack was eliminated and I had made the money. I ended up folding about a dozen more hands before finally picking up an ace and bowing out myself in eighth place.

AIPS Event No. 8, Final ResultsPretty cool to cash -- a modest $10.65 (minus the $5.50 entry fee), plus some more AIPS P.O.Y. points. Had some serious luck along the way, though . . . much more so, really, than seemed needed in the Pot Limit Omaha High/Low tourney. You’d think I’d have felt more comfortable playing my usual game, but that was rarely the case last night.

Am planning right now to try the H.O.R.S.E. event no. 9 tomorrow at noon. My skills in the five games deteriorate precisely in the order they are played, with Hold ’em being my best game and Stud Eight-or-better my worst. (Of course, that statement probably describes most of the field.) So we’ll see. Again, big thanks to the Ante Up! guys for coming up with the AIPS idea. As I said last week over on their blog, this tournament series has been a real nice bright spot here amid the otherwise gray skies of online pokery.

Images: Full Tilt Poker.



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