Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday Night Poker

Played in my monthly live poker tournament. The crew showed up in force, with six of us representing in the 30-person field. In addition to the $35 buy-in, each of us tossed $5 into a last-longer bet, which ended going to The Tash. Here's the good and bad news:

Good News. 
  • I played a very solid first couple of hours, slowly but steadily adding to my chip stack with very little risk or fanfare. My own cards almost didn't matter. I really felt like I was playing the other players at the table very solidly, picking up tells, watching chips stacks, and trying to put myself inside the head of my opponents. Four of the seven guys at my first table were particularly easy to read. I've been skimming some of Driver's book on lie detection, and there was one guy in particular that I could absolutely read as strong or weak based on the advice of that book. Very cool beans.
  • Snyder's book was another big help. I played his strategies solidly for the first hour, using position almost exclusively until I got deeper stacked. Then I started employing the "chip utility" mindset, which further helped. 
  • Technically, I "bluffed" a lot, but only against players that were good enough to fold. I even showed a big bluff to one particular gentleman who I had immediate position on and was beginning to steam a bit. I re-stole all-in from the BB right before a break with 7-2o and showed. This really got under his skin, and I took more chips off him later in the night as a direct result.
  • Another bluff I made was against the dealer, who is a very solid player. I put him squarely on a moderate overpair on a 9-high two-tone flop with me holding 7-7. I knew he wouldn't fold to a single c-bet, but thought he would if I fired multiple barrels to get him off his hand. Turn was a K, which brought two flush draws, and I fired again. I saw him give a momentary grimmace when the K hit, and he reluctantly called my bet. River paired the nine, and I fired again. Only mistake I made bet sizing on the river, which should have been bigger. He really squirmed, and then folded, telling the table he had J-J, which I believe. This play could *not* have been made against some of the other opponents at the table, who were basically playing L1 poker and committing with TPGK-type hands, but against a thinking player this bluff had a high chance of success.
Bad News. 
  • I got lazy a few hours in, not paying full attention, including one ill-timed steal attempt against Flyboy, who, if I had been more alert, I would have seen had a short enough stack to RR me all-in, which he did, and of course, I folded. This mini-tilted me a bit (basically, I was mad at myself), which was compounded by my picking up AJo the next hand, and then getting frisky against a non-thinking player and losing a bit more of my stack. Arghg. I used to rock climb as a younger man, and my primary climbing partner (a very cautious fellow, which is a great trait to have when hanging from a rope on the side of a 200ft cliff, btw) always said with great solemnity before we climbed, "Remember, courage and strength are naught without prudence. A momentary lapse can destroy the happiness of a lifetime."  To which I would reply, "Okay, let's double check everything." Should have heeded that advice here.
  • I also didn't adjust well to the increasing blinds. What's a bit weird about this particular tournament is the effective PF in the first hour is essentially higher than in the later hours. The blinds increase fairly linearly in size, but the frequency of bumps accelerates on an hourly basis. First hour, the blind levels are 20 minutes long, then the second hour they're 15 minutes, then they go to 10 minutes. I didn't really make the mental shift to the lower effective PF stage early enough, which caused me to get "thirsty" as Mr. Multi likes to say. Arhgh.
  • Busted on a stupid hand that I could have played much better. I had 88 in SB and had about 12 big blinds left. LAggy UTG player open limped. Two folds, then the guy in CO goes all in for a tiny, irrelevant amount. Another fold, and I shove. BB folds, and the UTG player snap calls with QTo. Flop was middle card rags, turn a blank, but river was Q, sending me packing. This is the third time I've busted with a middle pair like this, getting into a race. Now of coures, 88 is too strong to fold here, but sitting in the blinds, first to act post-flop, I should have just limped and then shoved on any flop, which would have looked much stronger and would have had more fold equity. Stop and go, Bug, stop and go. Why can't I remember this?

All-in for now...
-Bug

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