Final season night

Friday night was the last regular season night of my my monthly poker tour. I went into the night in 3rd place trailing the leader Unholy (who wasn’t going to be there) by like 205 or something. But more importantly, I was 3 points behind a young whippersnapper in 2nd place. 😉 Coming into the night, I had three priorities.
1. Continue to fine-tune my new conservative style.
2. Secure myself 2nd place.
3. Make a run at the leader.

I think going in I ranked number 3 higher than number 2, but somewhere along the way I ended up compromising that, much to my somewhat regret. Not that it would have mattered in the end anyways. I think I played about as flawless as I could have. There’s always room for improvement, but I was very happy with my performance. Anyway, on to the recap.

I should also point out the other great intrigue story of the night. We allow six players a guaranteed spot at the final table The person holding that final sixth spot was 1 point ahead of seventh place. So it would definately be interesting to see how this affected those players play.

Game 1 we had six players, a low point potential, but points none-the-less. After quite a bit of back and forth when we were down to four players, I was finally in the top 3. Some more back and forth brought found me with pocket aces on the low stack. Making it look like I was throwing it all in because I thought it was time to make a stand, I pushed it in. After some contemplation, the chip leader called me with 10-5! If you’re a new reader (giggle), pocket rockets don’t have a good track record in our group. But I was probably the best with like a 4-1 record. But when a 5 hit on the flop and a 10 on the turn, I went down to two pair and third place, putting me 3 points ahead in second place.

A few other players had shown up, so we started game 2 with eight players. I ducked and jabbed my way down to three players again. Some more fun and I was in the final two against a big stack but with enough chips that I could be dangerous. I started to mount a comeback by pushing the big stack around with marginal hands and winning showdowns with good hands. I was just about back to even when I raised 20 chips with Q-10. I should have known better when I was raised 20 back. I called and eventually went all in after the flop, finding myself up against A-Q and finishing second. That was probably my biggest mistep of the night. I should have known better in that situation. My opponent was playing a lot tighter once he got on the big stack. Oh well. I now had put myself in a position where my point trailer needed a win to catch me.

Game 3 was where I compromised my morals somewhat. I worked my way down to heads up with a slight chip lead. We started discussing splitting. This would clinch me second place going into the final game. We agreed to it, but what I failed to see at the time was that if I would have won, I would have still had a shot at first place if I won the next game too. I guess maybe I can’t consider it compromising my morals since I didn’t realize it at the time, but it ticked me off that I was so blinded by clinching second. Never again. Second place is the first loser. But I’m over it now.

So game 4 meant pretty much nothing except for the current player in seventh position. He had to win to take over sixth place for the final table. I resolved myself to continue to play my game, so that if I ended up winning it would be extra punishment for my point counting mistake. I ended up finishing in third. That seventh place player, he ended up splitting the pot and finishing in sixth place for the final secured spot.

So my best night of the year ended with me placing for points in every game. I got heads up twice, splitting and losing, and finished third the other two times. If two hands had drawn out differently I could have found myself playing heads up all four times. I’m very happy with my play, but I’m also not delusional. I was getting some good hole cards at some good times.
   AA – but was outdrawn
   KK – got everybody to fold, but found out that I would have been outdrawn because of an unwanted rabbit cam
   AK – I got this hand 3 times, all at just the right time and won all 3

Summary for next month’s finale: Stick with what’s been working. My conservative hybrid has been a joy to play. I was faced with some tough decisions and feel like I made the right choices for each situation. I just need to ignore the other players at the table and think things through even if it takes a minute or two. Also, I’m starting to pick up on things from the other players. Believe it or not, but here’s a situation where I felt like Daniel Negeanu calling what somebody else has.

I think it was game four and we were down to 3 players. I had 10-2 in a pot against a stack equivalent to mine. The flop came 5-10-9 rainbow. My opponent checked and I raised what should have pushed out someone chasing anything. He called and the turn was an ace. This time he pushed all in. I don’t know how, but I knew he didn’t have an ace, and I didn’t figure he had a pocket pair. What I put him on was a 10 like me. And with my 2, it was a given that he had a better kicker. I was very sure I was right. So I should fold right? I didn’t, why? A couple of reasons, I would have 40 chips left and was feeling confident in myself, and I really wanted to know if I had pegged him right. He turned over 10-4. The river didn’t pair anybody so we split the pot, since the best hand didn’t include our kickers. What a great hand! I get some valuable information and didn’t lose any money!

I believe our finale is going to be the day after Thanksgiving. What I should do between then and now, I don’t know. I haven’t been playing any computer hold-em and really haven’t watched as much poker on TV as I used to and it will be even less with hockey is season. And really, though my behavior in splitting the one pot would contradict, I wanted the player of the year. But when Unholy got off to such a huge lead, I think I became resolved just to have second place as my target. The finale will definately be different with Unholy there causing trouble.

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