Sunday, January 15, 2006

While this is still fresh in my mind...

When I was playing ring games today, one of the guys at the table was asking me about the tournaments on Full Tilt Poker - what the play was like, etc. It had been a while since I'd played any tourney on Full Tilt, including the sit 'n gos. While talking to him, I started looking at the tourney list. There was a $10+1 tourney starting in under 2 minutes, so I decided to join. My second hand was pocket As - which I didn't get much of anything for - and then went pretty card dead. I played almost an hour and went out about the middle of the field.

When I busted out, I happened to look at the tourney list again and noticed a $1 tourney starting in a couple of minutes. Since I know I need to brush up on my tourney play, I decided to take a shot at that one. I mean, it was only $1, right?

I didn't get much of anything early. I was at an EXTREMELY tight table, which I wasn't expecting from a $1 tourney. Usually, there's 2 or 3 all-ins in the first 5 hands in these things. Nope, after 2 or 3 orbits, there was only a difference of a couple hundred chips between the largest and smallest stacks at the table. I was able to pick up a couple of pots, but I'm still a bit behind. Big stack of the tourney is in the 25K range.

Then came the 2s. I hate playing pocket 2s. You have to hit your hand or you're toast. I see a flop, and it's glorious - 727, rainbow. Someone in front of me bets and I raise - we go all-in and the 67 doesn't get any help. I double up to 5K.

Next time I saw 2s, I wasn't so lucky. Flop comes 2QQ rainbow. As expected, QJ calls. I'm ahead until the river, when a J hits and I'm taken down. (Maybe they took lessons from Pauly and were pointing to that spot on the board, calling for the J.) I'm not crippled, but definitely down.

I get a few hands here and there, and I keep trying to build my stack. Then I get pocket 9s. Doesn't sound like it goes with the 2s stories, right? Nope, the 2s were a major part of it. A pair of 2s and a 4 on the flop, which get checked. The turn comes another 2. Now, since I raised pre-flop with my pocket pair, I was betting that my opponent didn't have the last 2. I push, and they call. Their AQ doesn't get any help, and I take down another 7K pot. Of course the jokes start flying about the power of 2s.

My playing in the last couple of weeks hasn't been good because I've been stressed and distracted. In this tournament, I seemed to have gotten my focus back. Of course, I wasn't playing any ring games at the time, so my attention was focused on the table. ...and some good cards at the right times helped too. I built up a pretty good stack and doubled up and a few opportune times.

Al, being the good guy he is, starts sweating me and cheering me on. I don't know if it was his encouragement or the fact that I didn't want him to see me make foolish mistakes, I continued to play well. When it got close to the bubble for the money (top 53 paid), he gave me advice on how to play and I made the money. Woo-hoo!

Of course, everyone immediately loosened up. I continued to play tight, and made some chips. I watched a lot of the field fall away. When it was down to about 25, I started watching the numbers. The money amounts were starting to pick up, and I know that a $1 tourney isn't going to pay all that much but I figured it might be worth my time if I could make pay a little more.

I picked my battles well, and all of the sudden, we were playing hand by hand for the final table. I'd never made a final table of any big tourney, and I was determined. The money doubled from 10th place to 9th. With a few choice blind steals and decent hands, I lasted until the final table. I wasn't the short stack.... there was one guy with 36K and another with 50K, but I only had about 65K while everyone else was close to or over 100K.

I want to say thanks to Fact Girl, Maigrey, and Shane Nickerson for stopping by to say hi and cheer me on. I needed the encouragement! (and a reminder of the shame of getting caught if I started playing badly) lol

I let the big stacks battle it out for the most part. In one hand, the short stack went out and one of the big stacks was crippled... in a hand that I would have dominated! I was in the small blind at the time. The short stack had built up a little bit, but he went all-in. The huge stack next to him also went all-in, and was called by another guy before it even got to me. Of course, I'm staring down at a beautiful hammer. In this situation, I had to put my better judgement aside and fold it. Worst thing I could've done...

With two 2s on the flop and a 7 on the river, my hammer boat I would have dominated the winning pair of 2s with an A kicker. My cheering section was there to witness the debacle. That'll teach me not to play the hammer again...

I held on as long as I could, but I went out in 5th place. My $1 turned into $42.83 and my best tournament finish ever - 5th out of 659. Of course, it kept me from mopping my kitchen floor, but it was well worth the time.

I need to start playing more of these cheap tourneys. I know I need the practice, and I need to start focusing more on my play instead of how much money I win or lose at the tables. With the tourneys, I put my money in and I can't take it out. I think that distracts me at the tables - sometimes I wonder if I don't make the right calls because I don't want to risk everything I've earned so far.

So, I've learned that I CAN play decent in a tourney. I just need to keep reminding myself that I can play pretty good if I focus. Maybe that's the hardest part of the game...


P.S. Felicia - I was playing Razz today and was getting frustrated with all the stud-quality hands I was getting. Instead of languishing around waiting for good hands, I switched over to stud 8 instead. The first pot I played, I scooped. I played pretty good and finished up a few bucks for my time. Thanks for getting me involved in these games. I love the change of pace!

5 Comments:

Blogger Felicia :) said...

YW. I'm glad you like them. And at least now you know that a pair of nines in O8 is no good ;)

8:45 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

Congrats on the tourney. 5th out of 659? Outstanding. How long did the tourney take? I've been playing the SNG's, but haven't found a large enough block of time to do an actual MTT. Sometime, there'll be some time where I'm home and the gf is doing a night out with friends...then I'm doing the tournaments! Keep it up.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Human Head said...

You rule, Eva!

3:18 PM  
Blogger EvaCanHang said...

The tourney took about 3.5 hours or so...

I always hate when I go out on a "questionable" hand. I had a K8 and the rest of the people had at least 5 times the chips I had. The blinds were killing me. I always wonder if I'd held on for one more hand if I could've gotten something better.

Now, if I'd gone out on pocket As or Ks, I wouldn't have that question... but I hadn't seen those in hours!

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement! :-)

8:14 AM  
Blogger EvaCanHang said...

The tourney took about 3.5 hours or so...

I always hate when I go out on a "questionable" hand. I had a K8 and the rest of the people had at least 5 times the chips I had. The blinds were killing me. I always wonder if I'd held on for one more hand if I could've gotten something better.

Now, if I'd gone out on pocket As or Ks, I wouldn't have that question... but I hadn't seen those in hours!

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement! :-)

8:14 AM  

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