Well, tonight was the night for the $3000 freeroll at Intertops I qualified for by playing 1500+ raked hands in the past month. Not that difficult when 1050 of those hands were required for bonus retrieval purposes.
The tournament started off – with everyone at T1000 chips – pretty slowly. My table was very tight and it was often folded all the way around to the big blind. A small raise was usually enough to steal the blinds. Unfortunately, I was getting some decent starting hands so I was having trouble getting paid off.
Aggressive play without a lot of action has me at double the average stack at T2800 at the first break. There are 65 players left in the tournament out of the original 93. I have a pretty good read on most of the people at my table, so I’m feeling pretty good going into the fourth level (25/50). I’m liking the reasonable blind structure for a change.
I get 87h in the big blind. Middle position raise to 175 and I decide to call and see a flop. With the super-tight table, people are raising with any marginal hand, so he might not like a confrontation. The flop comes 34T, two spades. No good for me, but I can’t imagine it hit him either, and I’ve got a 3-1 chip advantage on him. I come out betting half the pot and he obliges by mucking his cards. My first “play” of the day that actually feels like a play. Everything else was aggression with good hands hit or miss the flop.
In the next five hands, it folds to the button three times. I may need to lower my starting hand requirements here.
I raise with a decent hand and the get called, but by the big stack. He raises my bet on the 3-flush flop and I decide discretion is the better part of valor. Was stupid to tangle with the big stack when there were much more accomodating targets at the table. I managed to blow enough chips that I have to start looking for some good opportunities to make more chips than just off a steal. At this point I checkthe recent summary and notice that the last 18 hands were won by one of only four people. The other five are too scared of any aggression.
Blinds are up to 50/100 and I see 88 under the gun. This is something, I raise, knowing that might buy me the blinds right there and not wanting to limp and call someone else’s raise. I get two callers. I check and the big blind kindly puts out a small bet which I eventually call along with 1s. The turn is a K and a second diamond. I try to decide what to do here. I don’t want to give the free flush draw, but I want the big stack to donate some more chips. I decide on 500 and hope that the big stack, who’s been a bully for a while, might reraise me. The 1s folds as I expect, but the big stack flat calls. Oh well, better than a fold I figure. The river is a blank and I push all-in. I probably should have bet for value here, but I thought the big stack might make the bad call. No such luck, but I still drag a decent pot to move well up in the standings.
Lost money again to a big stack who check-raised me on the 3-flush flop. This time I have a bit of an excuse as he had just moved from another table and I hadn’t realized he was there. We’re down to 40 now and people are playing a bit more desperate now that they’ve woken up to the fact they’ll need to win some hands to make the money.
I decide to mix it up from the small blind, re-raising the 400 bet from LP to 1000. I get the call and the flop comes 74Q. Pretty raggedy, nothing he can feel too good about, so I bet another 1000 and LP folds. I can understand how Daniel Negreanu gets into so many pots with garbage starting hands. With the right flop, you can really hurt someone. I get the urge to start dancing around in some pots but manage to quell the impulse.
50/100 – someone goes all-in pre-flop for 800. I peek at JJ and think, sounds good. Unfortunately he spikes a 3 on the river for his set. At least it didn’t cost me as much as it could have.
75/150 – the guy to my immediate left pushes all-in after I raise with AQ. He’s been throwing his stack around the last few hands so I decide to call for half my stack. He flips AQ to chop the blinds.
75/150 – find AK in EP and double the blind. Get called by one of the big stacks. Flop comes AT8, two diamonds. I bet the pot to discourage the flush draw. I get the call and the turn is the 5s. I push all-in, almost equally the pot. Stacks folds and I’m up to T4800 and feeling more comfortable.
75/150 – find AK again in EP and double the blind. Called by the other big stack. Flop comes 456 rainbow and I bet out T400. Stacks raises me to T800, but I figure him for a bully and re-raise to T2000. He types “oh…you were serious this time” and mucks his cards. I’m going to have to remember that. Unfortunately, a couple hands later I’m moved to another table. So much for my good reads.
Twenty-five players to go now in the second break and I have the chip lead with T7852. My notes say “This is where it’ll start to fall apart.”
Button goes all-in with AK and is called by someone else with KK and suddenly I’m no longer chip leader. At least the T12,500 stack is to my right. I need to be careful now, we’ve fallen to 18 and I can probably just fold into the money. I hate to do it, but it’s a freeroll and the tenth place $90 is not insignificant for my bankroll.
Who am I kidding, I can’t not play hands, even marginal ones. I get KJ off-suit in mid-late position and go in for a small raise. I get a few callers. The flop comes KQJ, all diamonds. I’m pretty sure I like the flop and since I have everyone covered, I bet the pot. I get an all-in call from AK and I’m thinking happy thoughts, until the A hits on the river. A big chunk of my bankroll has gone missing.
A few hands later I get to see a free flop from the big blind. I flop the open-ended straight draw and a bet and a call give me odds to chase. The straight hits on the turn and I check to let the first bettor do my work for me. Unfortunately he checks it and we see a third diamond on the turn. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give up my straight and my T2000 bet went to the gentleman on the button with the 56 of diamonds. Suddenly I’m down to T3000 and I’m no longer sure if folding into the money is even an option.
At this point I get an IM from Felicia, who points out that I didn’t mention she was the one who told me that my fellow countryman, Dave Scharf, busted out of the WSOP on Wednesday in my last post. I had completely intended to, but spent so long collected links and reading his diary that I rushed out the rest of the post so I could get back to work. I know that she doesn’t really care about the snub, but I still need to thank her for turning me on to his writing.
I take advantage of a sympathetic ear to vent about my bad beat followed by my stupid play. Of course, talking about just makes me realize how stupid it was. Oh well, I needed to refocus and adjust to playing with a small stack. Only 15 left and I still had a good chance at the money.
At this point Intertops died on me and I missed a whole orbit trying to get back in. But in that time two more had fallen and we had only 13 to go. Checking the leaderboard, I saw that five had a small stack than I did, so folding into the money seeemed a good idea. Unfortunately a few people managed to double up and there were only three shorter stacks left. I made a few all-in moves (including a stupid MP all-in with AKo) and survived to the final table. Now I was guaranteed $90 and it was time to mix it up.
Or it was time to mix it up after the T555 was blinded off in the first three hands. Now I’ve won at least $120 and I’m just waiting for an opportunity to push. It comes with ATo in the big blind. I’m down to T2300 after paying the blind and with one limper, button+1 raises to 2400. This was probably the best hand I’d see for a while, and now I had a chance to double up with it, so I pushed in the rest of my chips. Even if I was dominated, I was going to need to get lucky a few times to get back into competition. And there was a very good chance that he was just bullying the short stack in the blind. The limper folds (what he later said was also AT) and button+1 calls the remaining T300 chips. He flips 99 and we have a coin flip. I hit an A on the flop and I’ve more than doubled up.
Then this guy starts going off on me. I’ll cut a bit of the transcript just to illustrate:
JAY17434: terrible call
Farmer_Ted: okay then
JAY17434: just horrible
proffelt: I’ve got no chips.
JAY17434: you had 4000
proffelt: You could just be bullying me out of the blind.
JAY17434: you didnt suspect i was ahead?
proffelt: I had 2700
JAY17434: dude, it was a horrible call
There was a bit more as I tried to explain to him all the possible reasons to make that call. Now, maybe I’m just a clueless fish here, but I can’t see how this is a terrible call. I mean, at worst it’s not a great call, but a T2400 raise, particularly with the texture of the game, was just screaming “don’t call me”. And even assuming he had a hand, any low pair is a coin-flip which I’ll take with my short stack. If he had me with a bigger ace, then I was in trouble, but that’s a chance I think I have to take. And in the end, he had 99. Had I known what he had, I would have made the call, so I can’t see any problem with it. He continued to bitch out any player making a marginal call, even though he was bluffing on half the occasions.
Two hands later I’m at it again when I find TT. The intervening hand eliminated another player, so I was at least $150. With two limpers at 200/400, I push all-in. Everyone folds and I suddenly have chips again, with T8200. No longer the short stack, but still only half of what the leaders had. And I didn’t want to slip into the next money spot. I was playing for the win.
A short time later I’m in the big blind with AQo. There’s a MP raise then re-raise (for the minimum amounts). I probably should have hesitated a bit longer here, but I decided to take a chance that I wasn’t up against AA and force them into a decision. The first raiser folds, but after a bit of a think, the re-raiser called. Unfortunately, his KK wasn’t much better for me than aces. The flop came KJx, giving him the set and me few outs. No ten on the turn or river and I’m out in eighth. I probably should have smelt something fishy with the minimum re-raise and backed away, knowing I did finally have some time, but I was still half in small stack mode. Still $150 is not a bad free payday.
I apologize for the long-winded post, but it’s been a while since I’ve played in a MTT and with the WSOP final table happening at the same time, it was a lot of fun. But now I really must hit the sack.