8-25-05 [poker] - 1

8-25-05 [poker]

Yesterday I twice took 5th place in 2-table tournaments, which is on the bubble just out of the money. I think I played well in both, I had a solid stack with about 8 players left in both cases and had some mild bad luck where hands didnt go my way, wound up on a short stack, and then lost the races I was forced into because of my short stack. There was one key hand in one of them that I may have played badly, but I can't quite figure it out.

Blinds were 75/150 , rather big. I had about 2500 in chips. It folds around to a guy with about 1200 in chips in the cutoff (one off the button), who limps. Button folds and I just call from the small blind with A9. Big blind checks. Now, maybe this is a mistake, I should have just raised right away preflop with the A9. The flop comes T93, I have a pretty solid middle pair. The pot is now 450 chips. I think it's quite possible this guy has QJ so I want to charge the draw and find out where I'm at. I lead out 350 chips. Big blind folds and the limper just calls. Turn brings a blank. Now the pot is 1150 and this guy only has 700 chips left, I have 2000. I figure he could have two over cards, a lower pocket pair, a lot of hands he might call with. He also could have a worse nine. I put him all-in for 700, he quickly calls with KT and I'm beat. I wind up with 1300 chips and suddenly I'm on a low stack.

I really hate this hand. I've always thought people who blow off their chips with middle pair are donkeys, but it's hard to think of playing it any other way. Maybe on the flop I should have thought he's calling an awful lot, he probably has top pair, and just given up on the hand right then. I just hate leading out on the flop and then checking the turn, because it just begs your opponent to take the pot from you with a worse hand. Actually a check-call on the turn might have been a better play, because it's likely to get worse hands to bluff. Even a check-call on the flop might have been in order. Certainly I failed at one of the principles of poker here, which is to show down marginal hands cheaply.

I think the flop play is correct, most of the time he's limped and missed the flop, I want him to fold the flop. He's not a super aggressive player where a check-raise would be appropriate. The turn bet is just wrong. He's not going to fold a hand that beats me, and he wouldn't call with much that I can beat. I have to check the turn, and if he bets I probably have to fold.

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