I had great hands until they went through the wood chipper

So with 20 left in the tournament today, payout the final 10 and usually chopping at 1k a person, I've amassed 10% of the chips. I've built my stack at that point with ruthless aggression in the tight bubble play aspect of the tournament after spending 4 hours convincing everybody I'm the tightest at the table. No need to mention the suckout I made in a battle of the blinds with A10 suited against Kings to give me half that stack. I raise almost half my stack against the big stack in the BB showing him I was pot committed. He quickly looks at his cards and sez... "All in." Oops, once again dug my own hole. He's got kings. Ace spikes for me. Sweet, I think, finally a tournament where I get the suckouts. Oh, the karmic justice headed my way.

I played with Parfait from Houma, and watched him get knocked out of the tournament with pocket Jacks vs. a guy who called with 3s. He said to the table, "I'll never win those because I never play that bad." It's true and that what's stings about this tournament there's that kind of head-scratching play from start to finish. How do you make that call with threes?

So, at the break I talk to a guy I final tabled it with last week and try to encourage him as he's short stacked on the other table. Then I tell him I'm just going to coast to the final table. Reflecting on that, now, sometimes I can be such an ass without even realizing it. Like he wants to hear about me in the catbird seat "coasting" to the final table. Just like tonight in the drug store with Jess, I hear this Rick Astley song from the early 90s "Never Going Give You Up..." I start teasing her for liking it, as she's privately admitted in the past. Of course I'm oblivious to the fact that the counter dude was whistling along, and I continue to pile on Jess some more. I finally catch the dirty/hurt look he's giving me and ask her about it outside and she pointed out the obvious.

Anyway, after announcing my easy path to the final table, I take a swan dive into a wood chipper. I lose half my stack with AK v. J8. I was in the big blind and the guy made a move on me from the button going all in. He's clearly read Harrington on Hold 'em because he's pushing all-in from late position way too much. I get a read of weakness from him and I'm hoping weak ace. However, I nearly fold because I'm not dictating the action here and I probably was only a small favorite. I call and everybody is astounded I took so long. My nit rationale was simple, I didn't need to sacrifice my chips at that point and time, when I had the chips to pick up free pots or get it in after a flop as a bigger favorite. Why be at the mercy of a coinflip. I still think that was the right rationale. My tell of weakness was correct but it didn't change the odds any, to his benefit he had less than a weak ace.

So there goes half the stack. Then I push at a small stack with KJ he goes over the top with K5. I have to call. Yes, the 5 hits. There goes 10 grand more.

Next hand is A6 v. A4. I push and a small stack in the BB calls. Yes, he hits his straight, but to add insult to injury, I'm losing the hand to a guy who is calling for his 4 to come on the river, giving me a higer straight because he didn't even know he was ahead.

Then crippled I get lucky in the big blind tripling up w/ AJ suited against a board of KK10107. Q4andQ6 check it to the river. A fellow player was kind enough to compliment me for my dignity in the face of the mawling I was taking. Hmm. That was nice... but oh so short-lived.

Two hands later, I get AQ on the button. I think about pushing but the big blind has chips and I think he's liable to call with anything because he doesn't know any better. I call. He checks. Flop comes AQ7. I bet all in. He calls. He shows KJ. Turn is a 2. River is 10. Yeah...

So I end up being like 13th or something and endured all those hands in about 2 orbits of the table. Thankfully, I didn't have that yoboo from Boomtown jeer me with his "From the penthouse to the OUTHOUSE" taunts when I went from chipleader to busto with KK and JJ (v. QQ and A7) in two successive hands earlier this year.

When I left, Ruttley from Houma was going deep on the other table. I didn't get a look at his stack, but on the way to car I thought back to when I played nice to him with three tables left. He raised into my big blind from middle position with a slight overbet that sniffed a bit of a middle pair. Course he's a good player so I throw that read out the window. I look down at Rockets. Already heads up, I usually like to min-raise like I'm weakly defending my blind and get most people to push again over the top all-in. However I wasn't after his money... yet. I wanted to avoid him until late in the final table. Too much other money there, so I felt I was doing him a bit of a favor when I went over the top all-in. I tried to radiate strenght, relaxing in my chair for him to pick up on it and get out. He stewed for a while and then laid down. He had 10s. Good lay down. That sort of soft play on my part had karmic consequences too, so I guess I deserved the woodchipper on two accounts.

A topic to come that I hope to touch on over the vacation if I have the time is... The New Orleans Po-Boy Festival from last week.

Okay... Happy Thanksgiving everybody.


Reid said…
WB - tough going. I know how it feels. Here's a little insight on the AK vs J8 hand, which by my account may have been the defining moment of your tourney.

AK is so tough to play, especially at crucial points in a tournament. You made the right read on your opponent, but you still get crippled. What you may want to think about here is volatility vs. equity. If you fold, how does your stack hold up for the next 2 levels? Do you need to get involved here? If you fold, can you offset the edge you MAY have if he only holds Ax, QJ+, or even total trash? If you call and win, where does that put you in relation to the top of the stacks? If you call and lose, how does your M force you to play?

Mainly what I see here--and this is just amateurish opinion--is a good opportunity to muck the hand, as strange as that may sound. Which it sounds like you almost did. Was that your instinct? That's what it sounded like to me. Here, you are risking 50% of your stack when you're probably either a 13-10 dog or perhaps a 2-1 favorite. If you put him on a range of any pair 22-JJ + any 2 paint cards QJo+, then you are still only a coin flip to win for 50% of the stack you have built over 4 hours. In this scenario, the volatility is much greater than the equity, meaning that perhaps you should only call if you are either: 1. desperate; 2. in a gambling mood b/c you're running well; 3. one of the weaker players left (which you're surely not) and in need of a good opportunity to chip up.

On the other hand, the price was most likely right for the call with the combination factors: you're already invested in the pot + the SB + the antes. And your read of weakness. Real tough spot.

Just my thoughts on how to view this hand in light of the specific tournament scenario. . .Hope it's helpful.

C.S. said…
Thanks for the comment. The tipping point was the extra money in the pot, I think. I think your analysis is spot on though and fold was probably the right play despite my BB and the antes.

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