Monday, January 29, 2007

AIPS II Event No. 1 -- NL Hold 'em

What do these three guys have in common?Okay, smarties . . . what do these three guys have in common? (Keep reading.)

The Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series II: Electric Boogaloo began this past Saturday with the first event, no limit hold ’em. The Ante Up! guys have smartly planned a schedule that has tourneys occurring once a month. The buy-ins are $5.00+$0.50 (except for Event No. 12, which will be $24+$2). Saturday’s event attracted 111 players with enough money left over at Full Tilt Poker -- or who had figured out how to transfer funds there in time for the tourney. The top 18 spots paid.

I have to say I wasn’t terribly optimistic going in on Saturday. I’d had a pretty rough week at the limit tables, and haven’t been playing tourneys much at all for the last six weeks or so. Once the tourney finally began a little after noon on Saturday, I realized I was having a hard time even focusing on the action. Not the best frame of mind with which to enter a tourney, short on both confidence and concentration.

Nothing too remarkable happened for me during the first few orbits. I won a couple of small pots, lost those chips back in minor skirmishes, and was sitting with 1,490 chips in Level 4 (30/60 blinds) when I picked up KcAs in middle position. An early position player with 1,355 min.-raised to 120, and I bumped it up to 350. Everyone folded and the original raiser called. The flop came 3cJc7s and my opponent quickly pushed his remaining 1,005 into the middle. I thought for a moment, typed “AJ?”, and folded my hand. He showed JdAc, typing “lol.”

Despite losing some chips, that hand actually helped my confidence a bit. The very next hand knocked it back down, though. I was now in early position (UTG+2) and was dealt AdAh. It folded to me and I actually just called, hoping one of the remaining players would put in a raise and I could repop it. A little more fancy than I usually prefer, and, in fact, if I had put in a raise here it probably would’ve been read by someone as steaming and I’d have gotten action anyway. But I was greedy. To my dismay, it folded to the button who just called, and three of us (including the big blind) saw a horrific flop of 7d8h6h. I had to see where I was, and so when the big blind checked I bet out 120. The button smooth-called and the big blind folded. The turn was the 4s. I timidly bet 220 into the 670 pot and the button rightly pushed all-in (regardless of what he had). I had to muck.

So we’d been playing just over a half-hour and I was down to 740 chips, putting me 89th out of the 93 remaining players. Now I just had to sit tight and be content to nurse the short-stack. And try not to beat myself up too much over bungling those pocket rockets.

By the start of Level 6 (50/100), I’d fallen to 530 chips (76th of 78). I pushed with A3, a pair of deuces called me, and doubled up when both an ace and trey came on the flop. By the one-hour break I had 1,210 (59th of 76). Still alive. But not too healthy.

Somehow I hung in, pushing about every other orbit or so and either picking up blinds and antes or occasionally winning a coin flip and a modest number of chips. I never really had enough chips to make more than a single move in a given hand, so I can’t honestly say I was playing solid poker. But I was at least doing enough to make those few chips I had last. The total players dwindled down to 50, then 40, then 30. I was near the very bottom the entire way, but I was still playing.

At one point we were down to about 27 players and I had a measly 1,795 in chips (25th place). The blinds were 150/300 (plus 25 ante), so once again it was desperation time. I was in the big blind and it folded all the way around to the button who raised to 800. The small blind folded and I considered my holding -- KsTh. With all of the dead money in the pot, there was 1,475 out there. He’s gotta be stealin’, I thought. At the very least I probably have two live cards. I pushed. My opponent thought for a bit and called me with 7h6s. I think we both played that hand well, actually. I survived the board and had 3,915 in chips -- about the most I had all tournament, in fact.

After a couple dozen hands we had reached the bubble. I was getting absolutely nothing card-wise, and despite stealing blinds and antes a couple of times with squat I couldn’t stop my stack from dwindling back down under 2,000. When we got to 19 players left, I was one of three essentially tied for last. The tourney was played hand-for-hand. I watched as one dribbled down to 600 chips or so, then luckily won an all-in versus two other players to triple up.

Finally came the moment of truth for your humble servant. The blinds were 250/500 (50 ante) and I was in middle position with a pair of treys. I had about 1,900 chips left, and the blinds were getting close. I had a slight edge over one other player chipwise, but not enough to be able to ride it out. It folded to me. I decided to push and watched the table fold around to the big blind. He thought for 15 seconds or so, then called with K7-suited.

The flop came AQJ rainbow. The turn was another ace. If I could dodge ten outs on the river, I’d be okay.

But the river was a 10, giving my opponent the straight, and bouncing me out in 19th place.

I was initially bummed at having earned the ignominious distinction as bubble boy, particularly after that rough week at the cash tables. But I got over it soon enough. Indeed, looking back to where my head was at the start of the tourney -- never mind how that first half-hour went -- I was pretty thrilled to have lasted as long as I did. I never had much more than 4,000 the entire tourney -- that’s not even 1/40 of the chips that were in play -- and still somehow made it to 19th. Little bit hard to fathom, really. Talk about “Short-Stacked” . . . . (Figured out what Wordsworth, Fielder, and Moneymaker have in common yet . . . ? And me?)

Next up, Stud. Where’s my Roy West? Gotta go review his book. Perhaps I’ll cook myself up a steaming pot of macaroni-and-cheese and cut up some hot dogs to go in it, just to put myself in the mood.



Blogger Swifty said...

That sounds exactly like my exerience in these games.

Somehow I'm rarely up with the leaders but I earn a crust feeding off scraps. I usually make my moves after the bubble, contrary to Fischman's advice, but then money IS important to me at this stage. Simply cashing provides me with more fuel to keep on trucking on my never ending microdonkey journey to who knows where?

I'll make moves when I can afford to lose.

Good play though Shamus. Think what you might do if you picked up a hand now and again :)

1/31/2007 8:32 AM  

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