1-13-06 [poker]I played my heat in the Grand Tournament live game last night ($50 buy in). The structure for this was unusual in that almost all the money went to 1st place, so there was very little value in just making the money, it was big stack or bust. A lot of interesting hands came up for me, I'll write up a few.
I started out playing super tight at the low blinds (you start with 125 BB's), just trying to hit something big so I could bust someone. I never hit a good hand, unfortunately, but tried a few unsuccesful bluffs.
The first was against Pete. Blinds were 200/400 , folded to Pete on the button who made it 1200, standard Button steal size. I called in the SB with A8s. This is a little loose, but I wanted to hit my suits or a two pair, if an ace hit I wouldn't want to play a big pot. Flop came 89J with two spades. Now I have bottom pair, and he was just on a button raise, so I thought I'd stab and see if he liked his hand. I bet about 2/3 pot, he went into a big think routine and eventually called. I thought he might have overs or a flush draw. Turn was another 9. I bet 2/3 pot. This time he went into a really big think. Now I was pretty sure he had a good hand and the think was a bunch of Hollywood. River was a Q, which is a horrible card for me in any case. The straight hit, and if he just had some overs like KQ they hit. I checked and he pushed all in. He said something funny like "you're just checking to trap me, aren't you? Oh well, all in". That cost me a chunk.
Another bluff went bad against Jesse, and I picked up some pots with aggression, then the next big hand came up against Dustin. Blinds were now 400/800 I think, and I was down below average. Folded to me on the button, and I looked down at 54s. I know Dustin likes to defend his blind, so I thought for a second about folding, but figured the implied odds were good if I could flop something. So I made a standard raise, 2400 to go, and Dustin just called in the BB. Flop was 358 I think, rainbow. A very nice flop for me, I hit a pair and it's all low, so high cards whiffed. Dustin checked and I bet 3000. Dustin quickly min raised to 6000. That looked to me like he wanted to see where I was at, I'm sure he put me just on button steal aggression. I didn't want to see any more cards and have to play a tricky situation, so I pushed all in and took the pot.
I was back to my starting stack. Blinds went up and we got into mostly raising and folding preflop. I pulled a resteal, and Eric pulled a resteal on me. Then came my disaster hand. I got AJs on the button, a very nice hand for the button. I open raised to 3x as usual. I think blinds were 600/1200 now, so it was 3500 to go. Eric reraised allin, about 20k. He had been very aggressive all night, and had just pulled a similar reraise on me recently, with I don't know what. I pretty quickly called, and he showed AKs, which held up. This was a huge mistake, calling with AJ. It's the worst hand I would've considered calling with, but obviously he was on a tighter range for that move than I thought. At best I was racing and I didn't need to race my stack at that point. That sent me down to desperate short stack land.
Short stack land wasn't bad. I think I actually played one of my best short stack games ever. I was very aggressive in good spots. I was just about breaking even then got lucky enough to get AA, and pushed just like I was pushing my steals. I then had enough chips to make some resteals, allin from the blinds against late position raisers. I made it back to almost 20k, then got TT and ran it into KK. Back to a short stack! I ran it up again with steals and resteals, and made it close to 20k again. The last hand I got Q9s and button raised, flopped top pair Q and got all in against QJ. Game over.
After the AJ hand I was in funk cuz I was disgusted with myself for calling there. The cards just didn't want to go my way, and the bluffs all went wrong.
addendum 1-14 : thinking about the Q9 hand after the fact, I don't think I did anything horrible in that hand, but I do think I could have made a much better play - just folding preflop. I had been stealing like crazy, and had just managed top build myself back to a reasonable stack. It would have been a great time to switch gears back to tight/solid mode and hope to get a big hand, which would probably pay off since I'd been stealing so much.