Season 1 Poker night 7

Another edition of the poker tour took place last night. This was night 7 or 10 of the regular season. I went into the night tied for second place.

Game 1 started out pretty good for me. I started feeling like I was very focused. But then things started going up and down. I made the final three with the low stack and was just waiting for a decent hand to make my stand on when one of the other players went all in and dissappeared. At that point it was pretty much a “let’s just get this over with” situation. This was the first game and we were already past an hour and a half. We started doing the church poker hold em. This is where the low stack is all in and you just flip the cards. After I won the first two, the chip leader declined it again. I ended up folding away a good portion and we were back to church poker. I won two more and this put me probably wihin 20-40 chips back, right back in the game. For the sake of keeping the night moving I asked about splitting. I could have started playing since I was back in the game, but who knows how much longer that would take. I think ettiquette at our game would dictate that you’d take the split when stacks are roughly even and we’re nearly at two hours of a regularly hour game. But the chip leader didn’t want to, much to the grumbles of the knocked out players. Now upon further reflection I should have gotten serious and taken away all his chips, but talked him into accepting one more church poker round. If I win we split. Really a stupid idea considering I wasn’t that far back but oh well. It was not to be that I won five straight church poker rounds and ended up in second place. But the more I think about this one, the more annoyed I get. He should have taken the split at that point. And I shouldn’t have sold myself short on that last hand. I should have shifted the other players pressure on him since he didn’t want to split, and got down to business. Whatever, I just need to move on. Some people just don’t get it. But I guess taking a split as a result of church poker getting me back in the game isn’t really earning it.

Ok, my being a baby moment from last night is over.

Now onto one of the few card moments I remember of the night. I was the big stack against two other players who’s chips together probably didn’t add up to a quarter of mine. I was making it expensive for them whenever I entered a pot, making them having to risk their entire stack if they wanted to play. I was going in with decent hands but they were always catching something and were starting to come back, when this hand came up.

The short stack is all-in pre-flop mainly because he’ll no longer be able to meet the blinds. The Professor (as I’ll call him for this story) calls and so do I. I’m sitting with A-4. The flop comes 7-4-2. The Professor checks. I’ve got middle pair with an ace kicker. My instinct tells me I should go all-in and push the Professor out, but I decide to play it a little safer. I raise 30 chips. It doesn’t take him too long to make the call. The turn comes 9. After only about a second, the Professor pushes his final 32 chips in. Assessing the situation, I see that if I call and lose that I will no longer be the chip leader. My pair of fours is now third high on the board, not to mention largely outclassed by nearly all pocket pairs. Not a real strong position. But if I’d get lucky, I’d knock them both out and win the game. I’ll pause for 5 lines while you contemplate what you would do.
5
4
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1
Pot odds would probably dictate that I call. For 32 more chips, I’d have a chance at more than 4 times that. But after much painful internal debate, I folded. The other two flip their cards. The short stack had K-10 and the projessor had Q-J. I would have been ahead! The river comes without pairing them up. I would have won! The professor proceeds to take me the rest of the way down and I get another second place. Damnit! I’d like to think I made the right decision but with those pot odds, I think I should have called.

It’s just one more example in a long line of times that I lost after having a big chip lead. My confidence with the big stack is nearly non-existent right now. I sense a change in my thinking process the moment I gain the chip lead. I try to just play my normal game and stay smart, but I seem to want to play more conservative. Last night I know that I continued to splash around in pots, but it seemed to just succeed in reducing my chips. I just couldn’t catch anything.

I don’t know what to do. I’m happy I’m consistently putting up the points. I’ve dropped to third now, but I fear dropping more because I just can’t grab those first place points much. WIth three more nights before the Finale, I really need to fine tune myself and get into a solid mindset.

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