Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Main Event Review

Something odd occurred to me this morning. Here's a quick list of all the hands I played, just to confirm :

Pots that I raised pre-flop :

- KTs, one caller. Flop Txx with flush draw, bet call, checkdown turn and river, lost to JJ LOST SHOWDOWN
- AA, two callers. Flop QJJ two hearts. Check, I bet, raise. I fold. Fairly confident he had trips. FOLDED
- AcKd, one caller. Flop three clubs. I bet, call. Turn I make flush check check. River I bet small he folds. WON NO SHOW
- TT, two callers. Flop Kxx. Check, I bet, both fold. WON NO SHOW
- JJ, two callers. Flop Axx two hearts. Check, I check, bet, I fold. FOLDED
- J9s, one caller. Flop AKQ two of my suit. I bet, call. Turn makes flush, I bet (too big ?) he folds. WON NO SHOW
- KT, one caller. Flop 9xx check check. Turn 4, he bets I fold. FOLDED
- AK, one caller. Flop A83 check check. Turn 8, I bet he moves in I call. AK/AK SPLIT POT

Pots where I called a raise pre-flop :

- Raise, call, I call in position TT. Flop Qs9sx all check. Turn Ts I call a small bet. River 8s I pay off a small bet and lose to JsJ straight flush. LOST SHOWDOWN
- Raise, call, I call in BB AK. Flop 442, bet, I fold, allin, call. JJ beats 88. FOLDED
- Raise, I call SB 99. Flop Qxx, I check, bet, I fold. FOLDED
- I think there was another miss with a middle pair somewhere along the line

Significant unraised pots :

- Limper, I limp JT, SB completes. Flop KJ9 all check. Turn J, small bet I call. River K, he checks I bet small he folds. WON NO SHOW
- Limper, SB completes, I check BB 89. Flop T98. Check, I bet, raise, check-reraise, I fold. All in all in, QJ beats 76. FOLDED
- 2 limpers, I complete SB AJ. Flop J8x two spades, I bet one call. Turn Q, I check he bets I call. River blank, I bet small he calls I lose to Q9. LOSE SHOWDOWN
- Limper, I limp 99, SB completes. Flop 863 two hearts. BB bets, I fold. FOLDED
- 2 limpers, I complete SB 7h5h. Flop QhQ6h. Checked around. Turn 3, first limper bets small, all call. River 9, all check to button who bets, I fold, last man calls with 86 and wins. FOLDED
- I limp on button KT. Flop QTx two spades, check I bet he calls. Turn K, check I bet he calls. River Q check check he has K9 argh. SPLIT POT
- I win 4 small pots without a showdown after limping. Two bluffs, one flopped 2 pair, one with QJ on flop J77. WON NO SHOWDOWN x 4
- Obviously I fold in a bunch of pots after limping or checking pre-flop

Pre-flop Coups :

- Mid pos raises, I reraise in the SB AKs he folds WON NO SHOW
- Cut-off raises, I reraise in the SB AA he folds WON NO SHOW
- Mid-pos raises, I reraise allin from SB 64 off. BB calls, raiser folds. 64 v KK I win ! WIN SHOWDOWN (SUCKOUT)
- I am reraised off 3 or 4 pots after raising pre-flop. Get shown KK once. FOLDED x 3
- Small blind raises, I reraise allin KJ from BB he folds WON NO SHOW
- Small blind raises, I reraise allin 62 from BB he folds WON NO SHOW
- Cut-off raises, I reraise allin KQ from BB he calls AK I lose. LOSE SHOWDOWN

Can you spot what's missing ? WON SHOWDOWN in a pot with flop betting. I didn't win a showdown in 8 levels apart from the 64 all-in pre-flop. Now, how much of that is just happenstance and how much could have been improved with better play ? Well, for a start, in 12 raised pots I flopped top pair or better 3 times. One of those I folded (AA against presumed split trips), one I lost (the minimum) to an overpair on the flop and one I split against the same hand. That's on the bad luck side I'm sure.

Did I pass the best hand ? Very probably with 99. The blinds were small at that point and I just couldn't think what would be a safe card on the turn. Even so I should probably raise with the intention of checking it down if he calls. Going nuts here to "protect your hand" is not a good idea when your stack is about 10 times the pot even after his bet. With AA, reading players isn't my strength but every indication I had pointed to trips, including a previous hand with exactly the same action where he had ended up showing the trip card.

Could I have extracted more with the best hand ? I could have given myself a better chance with the two flushes. Although this does demonstrate how difficult it can be to get paid off out of position. I checked one and bet the pot on the other, when I would probably have been better off betting 2/3 of the pot and hoping for a call each time. Pre-flop with AKs/AA, in the first case the raiser was Chau Giang and I did not fancy playing him out of position with AK. With the AA, the stacks were a bit too large to call out of position, plus my opponent was on the passive side. I think my best chance to stack him was to try to build the pot pre-flop.

Did I pay off too much with the worst hand ? Not with the set of Tens. A call was clear on the turn and the river bet was so small I had to pay to see it. With the AJ v Q9, possibly. When he called on the flop my plan was to check the turn whatever, keep the pot small and maybe snap off a bluff. When he bet the Q I probably should have re-adjusted and folded, he was a fairly straightforward player. If I had checked the river he might have checked back in the event, but had he missed a draw that bet might have saved me the pot so it was worth a blocking bet I think.

Was I unlucky ? Well, the one hand where I could definitely claim "bad beat" was the KT v K9. He (Mark Seif) confessed that he almost moved in on the turn. Still, a Jack would have scooped me so it could have been worse, and there are a lot of other cards that would have stopped me from winning any more on the river.

All in all, I'm happier with my play on that review than I was immediately after the tournament. It was disappointing to drop from 20K to 11K on the first day but I just had so many awkward situations that frankly I should be pleased for not losing more. The 64 coup, well yes that was pretty sick. Chau Giang had been really active around that point and he's obviously good enough to pass a hand. However, there was the risk that he might also be good enough to read the situation correctly and call. So Chau raised to 1400 in middle pos, making 2500 in the pot. I moved in for 11K and then the big blind woke up with KK and called. Now, at this point Chau thought a bit and said he would definitely call if it was just me. While this sounds like a genius read, don't forget this all happened after my all-in was called. At that point I'd have to be made of stone not to give some indication that I didn't like the call. Whether Chau really had AK (as he claimed) and whether he would really have called me - we'll never know.

As for the hand that crippled me, the geezer did think for about a minute before calling with AK. When I showed KQ he shook his head slightly. I'm sure he (and most of the table) believed that I had reraised him for value. But of course I hadn't. He made it 4500, bringing the pot to 8K, and I had 25K in front of me. This is just the perfect stack to steal reraise. I had already decided to reraise with anything that wasn't completely hopeless (anything suited definitely). KQ was simply a bonus in that now I had some extra equity if he called me with JJ, TT, AJ, etc. The problem was I had only been at the table for 10 minutes, but I only had M8 and there was no time to hang around and pick up lines on everyone.

Finally it does look kind of like I wanked off a lot of chips and then smashed the rest in twice with the worst hand. And that was my own impression in the immediate aftermath, which is why I was a bit disappointed. But on the first point, I had some tricky situations to deal with, and while I might have played a couple of them better I'm reasonably happy with them overall. On the second, I'm not buying it. You do win these hands sometimes, like with the 64. Sometimes you have to make these plays with no hand. In the event I won, I took down some very important pots with rag hands no showdown, 23 and 34 in particular. And if I hadn't won that I wouldn't have been in the $10K to start with. On Sunday I told myself that if I did it my way I'd have no regrets whatever happened. I did, and I don't. Later on I'll talk about the overall dynamic of the event and how the other players played as I have quite a few thoughts about that, and god knows nothing else to do but write them down.

So Chau raised to 1400 in middle pos, making 2500 in the pot. I moved in for 11K and then the big blind woke up with KK and called. Now, at this point Chau thought a bit and said he would definitely call if it was just me."

What did I say; "Be prepared for his speach..."

Frode (by email, via me)
Yes, you did say that :-)

At the time I thought "Oh no, he saw through me" but on later reflection, it's a good trick (Fox mentions it) to put a "read" on someone after his bluff has been called by a third party. I'm sure Chau can read my thoughts ("Fucking bollocks") well enough after I'm called.

Interesting report. Doesn't look like there were many favourable situations for you.

I'd probably have raised with the 99 when the BB bet out, and I might well have called it down with the AA on the QJJ flop, because your opponent must have known that it's a scary flop for the raiser. But, it's an easy game to play when you're sitting 4000 miles away, cup of tea in hand, killing time at work.

Cheers Jamie,

As I've said, I agree that I should have raised with the 99.

With the AA, many players would have slow-played a Jack but not this guy (this is the advantage of not being 4000 miles away :-)). He had already overbet the pot and proudly shown a set when everyone folded "I ain't going bust now" he was even telling everyone.

So I'm confident he would have raised with a Jack. The real question is would he have raised with anything else, like AQ or a good heart draw. I thought it wasn't likely enough and it was going to cost me too much to find out.

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