Saturday, February 05, 2005


Hitting The Bar

Yesterday I almost achieved my short-term goal of winning a £100 tournament in Luton. Just one more hand won could have done it - then again it's always just one more hand !

Not much value in my initial table draw which saw Steve Templeman, Lord Miros and Steve Vladar lined up on my immediate left, a little harsh in a field containing very few "faces". Steve T, one of the two players who always makes me laugh at a poker table (Paul Alterman being the other) kept us entertained at least. I soon doubled up with the first of three gifts I received (very gratefully) on the night, enticing QQ to make the fourth raise against my (what should have been very obvious) AA. After that though it was not the most value-packed table and I expect we were all glad when it broke.

On to a new table and I felt that it was time to get / it was time to get / it was time to get funky as the song goes. I won one with 22 against AK (I will talk about this hand in isolation later as it demonstrates an important principle). Shortly afterwards gift #2 came my way, I raised with A8s in middle position and was called by the player on my immediate left. I wasn't too keen on this until the flop came 852 no suits. So I made a small bet and was promptly raised all in. Would have been a tough one on a 952 flop but in this case I have odds to call the reraise even if he shows me an overpair and there's always a chance he's screwing around with something like - A6 ? Apparently so.

Another table break and I was struggling to find good situations when I raised UTG with AK and the BB (who wasn't short stacked or under pressure) wanted to put the rest in with AT for some reason known only to himself. Gift #3, all in a matching style - people simply overplay their hands. Then it all went wrong for a while, I raised with QJs and Miros reraised, I passed, next hand I made the same raise with KK and no one bit. TTB, them's the breaks. Into the dead zone of 1-30 am with 15 players left and I had a paltry 11K.

Call it timing or luck (in poker the two usually mean the same thing) but I worked it up to 35K at the final table, without showing a hand. This is how you want to do it ; I had some kind of hand every time I raised, as I had to because I had the Daddy of all calling stations on my immediate left, but fortunately he could sniff the final and stopped calling everyone with K9 (just for half an hour mind you).

Lovejoy exited the final early and at this point I liked the line-up, I just needed some chips as we started at 2K-4K, soon to go 3K-6K. I found QQ and ran straight into AA, fortunately he was the low stack so it didn't cost too much. Then disaster ! The small blind raised and I wasn't having it in the BB with KJ, and reraised him. He called in a nanosecond and flipped up KK. I didn't even see the flop in my despair, but I heard someone say "straight draw" and as I looked up I turned the straight. The game's bent, as Steve T would say. Soon enough we were three-handed.

At this point I was up against two young players, one of them looked vaguely familiar and I finally placed him as the eventual winner of the shoot-out a few days previously. The chip leader then said "I read your blog by the way" and introduced himself as Robert. Now you see why I have to keep a few things back from now on :-)

I had about 55K chips (out of 340K) but felt I had a good shot if I made sure to be the most aggressive of the three players. Which I was, just about, but no one was giving anything up, and it was clear that sooner or later two people would find hands and it would all go in. I had worked up to about 90K when that hand came up, QQ for me, 88 for Robert, no one was going anywhere and the first card off was an 8. Doh. Well I can't really complain after that KJ coup !

Close ! But no cigar. I was happy with the way it went. I have been playing like such a tosser for at least two years, and I'm only now sorting it out. On a closing note, it's interesting to watch the younger players and it doesn't take long to see who has a chance. Keep your eye on the ones who take their time, but only when necessary, conduct themselves with respect but stand their ground against old-school bullies (again when necessary) and don't talk non-stop crap. That cuts the field down a long way. Fortunately. I don't want too many players as good as these two, and no doubt as fast-improving, cutting into my game !

Hi Andy,

First of all thanks for the compliment. Some of my thoughts.......

When you were moved to my table (30 left), I had the BB in the AT v AK hand marked as a good solid player, and was amazed when he flipped over AT after calling your utg raise. It wasn’t like he was in a rush as he stayed to watch the final.

What I considered to be my worst play of the night actually happened against you. We were down to about 12 or 13 runners and on the hand in question I was the BB for 4k, and there was no SB. You open raised to 10k, and you had a remaining stack of 15k. I had about 35k after posting the BB. I looked down at KQo. My initial thoughts were that you had a medium ace, and at this point I had 3 options. Fold, call or set you in. I reasoned that if I set you in, you may call with say AT, AJ, or possibly much worse as you would have been getting better than 2/1 pot odds and I was aware that you weren’t too interested in scraping onto the final table with a tiny stack. So I ruled out that option. I also decided that folding would be weak as you were at this point playing fairly agressively. So I called. That was mistake number 1. If I had called with a plan to set you in if no Ace flops, and check/fold an Ace high flop, this would have been ok. But I decided to call and watch your reaction to the flop and then make an appropriate decision. So as the dealer dealt the flop I was looking at you. However, now I had a problem as unlike 95% of players who would watch the flop, you were staring straight back at me, watching my reaction. Next time look at the board like everyone else does please! So I looked at the ragged 9-high flop, and at this point I feel I should have set you in, but instead checked and folded when as expected you shoved your remaining chips in. Horribly weak from me there.

In the final I was a bit surprised when you moved in with KJ after the SB raised in the hand you mention, but only because the SB raiser was the ‘daddy of all calling stations’ you referred to, who limped into most pots, and blind stealing was clearly missing from his play book. Obviously a raise from a good aggressive player here could be a huge range of starting hands, however this player had to have the goods. Against any other player at the table I would have considered moving in with KJ, but not him!

We played 3-handed for a while, but with blinds of 6k/12k and 335,000 in play it wasn’t going to last forever, even though the floor were threatening a chip count as it approached 4am, and then when we clashed in the blinds with 88 v QQ and the 8 being the first card out it was clearly meant to be my night!

When it was heads-up, if you are interested, it became No Limit as per the Grosvenor rules. I had a 2:1 chiplead, my opponent had clearly decided to move into all-in or fold mode (he had less than 10 BB so fair enough), I found AT on the BB and decided that a 65% favourite was worthy of a call of his all-in and it held up. Nice result!

Rob Sherwood

Interesting points there. There's no doubt I would have called a reraise on your KQ hand - I did indeed have AJ (as I think I mentioned during the break). I might have thought about it had I not seen you reraise John Randall with AT and play the 77 very aggressively against Kevin. Interesting that you should show both those hands after your opponent folded - were you trying to project a loose/aggressive image ? If you had bet the flop - well I might have called you anyway, I'm not sure. You could actually have saved money the way you played it. I know it's hard to put KQ down pre-flop against an aggressive raiser but what do you do if the flop comes AQx or AKx ? Now you have a real dilemma. Discretion might have been the better part, pre-flop. Also I would prefer it if you looked at the board like everyone else :-)

Now you mention it KJ from the small blind was marginal. I was fairly short-stacked though having just run into AA and fancied gambling for a double-up. I didn't realise how much I was gambling till he turned them over !

I never ever understand why it goes No-Limit when you get heads up. Just like no other card-room in the world plays for one round at the old level in the final, irrespective of whether the clock says 00:01 or 29:59 . DY once asked me, when you play No-Limit, does it go Pot-Limit when you get heads up ? It would make as much sense !

On the KQ/AJ hand I knew you had the Ace but you didn't say your kicker. I've given it some more thought and decided that folding my KQ preflop would have been better.

The 77 hand, where I raised on the button and the SB called, the small blind then bet 2/3 the pot on a QQ4 flop, I very much thought he was putting out a feeler bet against what he assumed was a button steal, and if I moved in he would fold.

A couple of hands later John Randall(?) raised my BB, and I almost folded my AT but I sensed he was weak and therefore set him in. He folded quickly saying i must have a massive hand, whereas my dwell up wasn't to incite a call but I was genuinely trying to work out what to do.

The reason I showed both hands was becuase we were becoming short-handed with maybe 14 left approaching the bubble and I fancied a nice 20 minute spell of picking up blinds, so I was showing to say don't try to take me off a hand or steal my blind because it won't happen.

However, shortly after this the KQ/AJ hand occurred which scuppered my plans somewhat but it all worked out ok in the end!

Makes sense. I prefer to only show the premium hands, if anything at all, at that stage of the game, but there's more than one way to skin a cat !

See you in Luton soon,


One thing I don't understand.

You say "My initial thoughts were that you had a medium ace".

I just do not understand how anyone (and you're far from alone, believe me) can put someone on a hand from a single raise.

I suppose when you are playing Andy it's somewhat different as he's a bag full of tells...

Congrats on the win.
In the hand in question I considered my options for about ten seconds and noticed that Andy didnt seem too thrilled that I was considering playing my hand. I reasoned that with a small to medium pair he may have put in the maximum raise (this may be way off the mark), and by Andy's unease I felt sure he didnt hold a big pair (unless he was trying to give off false tells!). This left the most likely hand as a medium ace, I wasn't convinced of this but it seemed the most likely to me at the time.

So I think that the answer to your question Camel is that a medium Ace was my 'best guess' of his hand, given the above circumstances. Luckily that time it was pretty accurate!

Reasonable - but not quite right. Putting in 25 to win 4 would have been bad poker with any hand, except perhaps a monster hoping to "double bluff". In a similar situation against Miros a few weeks ago (just one big blind) I made the same raise with 99. He called with KJ and bet the flop of 857. I went all in for a little more, he had to call. Turn 6. River 9. That Miros, he's the greatest.

As for tells, maybe my poker face needs some work after so much Internet play lately. It wasn't a false tell. Perhaps I just wasn't thrilled that someone was going to stand up to me instead of respecting my authoritaaa !

Remember it was pot-limit so max raise in that situation would be 12!

See you this friday if you are there.

Doh. Of course it was.

Yep, should see you there.


When you play against a good player you will find they raise exactly the same amount with AA and 24 suited.

What is the point of giving information away with the amount you raise?

If you are consistant noone will know anything.
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