Monday, June 30, 2008

Yet another final table at Viejas

Let's see. That's 8 of 13 now. I could make a copy of my last live tournament post because it went down pretty much the same way. I had to change my game plan a little and really tighten my hand range. There was a LAG in seat 1 that was actually a really good player. At the second level though I finally was able to double through him with J-10 offsuit (I was able to limp with this hand). the flop came J-9-5 rainbow. I was last to act. 3 to the flop. The first guy checks and LAG bets half the pot. I think for a second and call. First guy folds. the next card is a rag and LAG makes a pot size pet. I think about it for a second and come over the top of him. He immediately calls with pocket 8's. The next card misses both of us and I take down the pot.

The truth is I couldn't find a hand to play today. At least in the first hour. The other important hand I remember was waking up to A-K after the LAG had already raised 3x the blind. One of the guys between us goes all in with his 3 chips that he had left. I call "all in" and the LAG makes a groan. He goes into the tank for about a minute before he folds the hand. I hit a K on the flop to take out the all-in. A 9 hit on the turn and the LAG starts to moan some more. After the hand he tells me good bet and tells me he had pocket 9's. If he had called with the 9's he would have had about 6 chips behind. I guess he thought it wasn't worth it. Thank God. That hand left me near the top of the chipleaders at my table. I think playing so few hands to that point definitely helped me in that situation. In fact, I can only remember losing 1 hand at showdown today.

2 guys bust out at the same time and we have ourselves another final table. Although this time, the big stack doesn't want to deal. We play a circuit and this hand comes up. The guy UTG makes an all in bet. It fold around to me. I find Q-Q. I didn't push immediately. I was thinking if I should fold to the more money. I would have broken even for the day with my-ev play on the machines if I went out here. That was good enough for me. I call his all in (he has me outstacked). Then the guy in the big blind calls as well. I think he had us both outstacked as well. The first guy turns over A-J, the second guy turns over something like 10-9, neither improves and I take down a pivotal pot for me. I knocked neither one of the guys out but severely crippled the first guy down to 1 chip. A couple of hands later another double knockout occurs, bringing us down to six players. Two stacks twice my size get some extra money and the rest of us take down 10x our buy in. Another good score. Another final table.

I think one of the things that has led to my success in the live MTT's is that I'm learning to play to the strengths and weaknesses of the other players at my table. Whereas on Friday I was able to limp and raise with not particularly strong starting hands, I knew that wasn't going to work today with the aggressive players I was up against. So I tightened up my range, won a couple of pots with good cards at showdown, and was able to steal a few blinds in the middle of the tournament due to my tight table image.

In the past I might have gone on tilt against a guy that was as aggressive as seat 1 was. Today, I was able to pick my spots and make him pay for his aggressiveness as opposed to my usual pushing back with nothing or next to nothing. That's sent me home from many a tournament in the past. It's been nice having this vacation time off to play a little poker and gauge my abilities against guys that play tournament poker every day. I'm thinking that I'm more than holding my own and that maybe I should pursue playing the live tournaments a little more aggressively. Of course, I could be just getting lucky. There's always that.

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