Well, my foot is feeling better today, but I still can’t step on my heel without some pretty serious pain.
Friday was my bi-weekly PLHE tourney and I was stoked to play. I’ve placed in the money 3 out of the 5 tournaments I’ve held, but never better than third and I really wanted a better finish this time around. I just finished reading Caro’s Book of Poker Tells this week and I was hoping his advice would give me another edge in the tournament.
A bigger edge came in the form of some good cards, for the first time since I’ve begun these tournaments. And I was playing well, choosing my moments to steal and getting people to pay off my good hands. Unfortunately someone else at my starting table (we started with 2 tables of 8) was lucking into some even better cards and managed to take out a few people early (including busting AA on the fourth hand) and amassed a huge chip lead that he was able to maintain through most of the tournament. The good news was that he was a bit transparent and liked to bluff pots, so there were opportunities to take some chips off of him. The bad news was he kept catching cards like a fiend to keep in the hands. Worse of all, he was terribly obnoxious and would crow about “another victim” and pound the table with every player he busted. And nothing that frustrates me more than someone boasting about their good play when they are getting lucky.
He wasn’t the only one busting a number of players, however, as I was pushing them all-in when I felt I had the best of it and my hands were holding up for a change. I managed to build myself a pretty good stack and was even in the lead for a while with about T5000 (everyone started with T1000) when we got down to the final four. But then I listened to old Caro and ended up paying for it. I was keeping a closer eye on players’ reactions when the flop came and that had been helping throughout the night. I ended up heads-up on a hand with Mr. Obnoxious and I saw that he wasn’t happy with the KJx flop. It had missed my AQ but I bet T500 into the T800 pot anyways, knowing that the flop didn’t help him. He continued to look unhappy, but called the bet. The turn came another blank and I bet out with another T500 bet, not wanting to overbet and have him suspicious of a bluff. Still unhappy, but still calling. Another blank on the river and there are no straights and no flushes possible, so I bet T1000. He thinks it over for a long time before he calls and turns over J9 for second pair. This is followed by more thumping and yelling on his part and more frustration on mine. I had read the situation correctly, but wasn’t able to push him off of his hand. And the loss left me short-stacked at about T1500. Typical late game impatience and over-aggression from me, but at least I wasn’t betting at a premium hand.
Later on he was gloating about knowing my tell when I was bluffing. He claimed that someone else had told him what it was and it had proved accurate all night. Of course, this revelation immediately followed a hand where he was berating his brother for not having called my pot-sized pre-flop bluff raise when I had JJ. Now, maybe this player is a lot more sophisticated than any of us believed he was and was playing me like a fiddle, but I think the general concensus of ignorant and obnoxious was probably more accurate.
I was able to hang on as the other short stack the table slowly hemorraged chips. When he was down to about T1000 in chips he made a stand under the gun but unfortunately he ran into a better hand and I was guaranteed at least third. But my chip position was awful and I was stuck between two brothers. So, I decided to turn on the aggression.
I started making pot-sized raises pre-flop two out of every three hands. And they kept folding to me. They kept talking about not caring about their blinds and how only the big hands mattered, but meanwhile I had built myself back up to T3000 in chips at the 100/200 and 200/400 levels. Occasionally they would call the raise to see a flop, but I hit enough of them that soon a medium sized bet at a scary flop would cause them to fold. It was funny to listen to them bitch about me not seeing the flop and “playing real cards” and how I was constantly bluffing. But they didn’t do anything about it and I was able to chip away at their stacks quite successfully.
But then I did the one thing you should not do in this position. My usual raise was re-raised back at me. I had KJs and for some reason I managed to convince myself that he was just betting back at out of frustration, and probably didn’t have a great hand, and even if he did, he’s been running scared most of the night. Truthfully, I figured him for a weak ace, which I shouldn’t call, but thought I would be able to get him to lay down. And the clincher was that the guy just pissed me off. So I came back over the top of him for the rest of my chips, which was another T1700 into the T4000 pot. He reluctantly called and was exuberant when he flipped his AQo against my KJ. No help came and I was out in third.
Out in third and incredibly pissed off. What a completely bonehead move on my part. And to such a marginal player and unpleasant person. And after a lot of very hard work to build my stack back up to a competitive level. I could have just bided my time and taken advantage of mistakes later on. But again my impatience prevents me from winning a tournament. Mr. Obnoxious ended up hanging out to beat out his brother for the tournament victory, so it just made the whole thing even more frustrating.
But, I did manage to get in a better mood, winning some money in some cash games after the tourney was over. And after all, I had finished in the money for my 4th out of 6 tournaments, so I must have been doing something right. Of course, my good mood was short lived as I managed to cripple myself on the way home. But that is another story. My mood wasn’t helped by the ridiculous Senators loss last night (though it means very little) and the fact that one of my picks for my playoff hockey pool was injured in the game. But some winning poker earlier this afternoon and some cheering up from Felicia on IM might just be enough to get me in the right frame of mind for tonight’s PJK tournament.