Monday, March 23, 2009


What is it that sets the great tournament players apart from the rest? Knowing when to change gears? Knowing the right spots to squeeze? Knowing when not to flip?

I realised the other day that all of the above, whilst useful, is not really the answer. No, the answer is knowing who to swap %ages with. I remember noticing that the Camel and Channing (Neil not so much these days as he tends to just put players in) always seemed to have little percentage savers with 4 or 5 out of the top nine in every tournament they played.

Yes, true, it's the old fashioned way of "getting out of it" as these days any player worth their salt has hustled up some kind of backing/sponsorship (Neil can be found most days at the Vic, table 21, in case you're wondering).

Anyway, I must be getting the hang of it as it's the second time in a row I have managed to recoup about 80% of the £550 buy-in that I had laid out in the triumph of hope over experience that is the Vic's bi-annual PLO8 tournament.

Somehow I managed to persuade the Champ, JQ, Shoreman and Paul Parker to swap 5% with me. In fact, Paul Parker insisted on swapping with me even though the last time he played it he barely got the buy-in back after winning it and paying off his make-up to Neil and then a 5% saver we had agreed on late in the tournament when we both had similar chips. At the time I had no idea he had been "put in" and probably wouldn't have asked him if I had known for fear of him laughing in my face.

This time it wasn't Paul, but international luckbox Shoreman who did the business. Cheers Jon, one of these days I'll make a final table or something...

I guess I feel pretty honoured that those four players would want a saver with me - although if they'd seen the way I was playing sometimes, I'm not too sure they would want to do it again.

In his infinite wisdom, Jeff saw fit to change what is usually quite a fun crap-shoot into a two day tournament. That meant a slower structure and thus more skill and thus.... - I suppose it would seem churlish to complain about getting a tournament with a higher skill factor, so I'm not going to, but, god, at times it did seem excessively s-l-o-o-o-o-w.

I started off playing terrible, impatiently raising with J89Q (did I mention that it was HiLo?) and then betting a board of T 7 7. Yep, you guessed it, I was drawing dead and paid off some random stranger who held TTA2 (just for shits and giggles he made the nut low too; turn 8, river 4).

I make a point of telling you my opponent was a random stranger because the field in this two-day event, about 54 runners so you can see why they needed it to be extended, tends to be every face that's been on the London poker scene for the last ten years or so.

Somehow I managed not to donk off the rest of my chips and even got a double up courtesy of Chufty. Things were looking ok further down the line when another wierdo stranger decided to raise all-in on the river when he had second best both ways Vs me and Surinder Sunar - sweet.

Things went downhill from there and I played a pot badly against Shorewoman opening the door for him to bluff me (doubtless you'll complain about weighing in, but you owe me you bastard - if it wasn't for this hand you might not have won, fucker).

I had tons of marginal hands where it seemed like the best play with my stack and the slower structure was just to chuck 'em away. At one point I made an overly tight fold against Andy Ward who had raised early. I was in the SB with A2TK (single suit) and deciding that Andy had been playing fairly snug plus the fact that I was OOP I threw the hand away. In retrospect I think this was a pretty poor fold. I mean, jeez, wtf was I waiting for?

I think my mind was harking back to one time years and years ago at the Horseshoe in Vegas when a good player I know was sitting in a $4/$8 limit O8 game with his case money. He was getting down to the felt when I watched him fold A2xx to a raise. I had only been playing for about 3 years (that's roughly the equivalent of about two weeks online for you young 'uns out there) so I was astonished that he could lay down such a "good" hand. I distinctly remember him telling me that he could wait for a better hand, one with three low cards in it.

Of course, that was a limit cash game and I was playing a tournament where you don't have the luxury of time, so fuck knows why I was thinking about that. A2KT is like the crown jewels in this sort of tournament - I must have been out of my fucking mind. I did have some weird head cold that I'd caught off my daughter, so I was feeling super-tired, but still...

The funny thing is that I told Rob Sherman who was sitting next to me what I had folded and he was perplexed and appalled that I could make such a terrible laydown - rightly so - and told me.

Not too long after I came in for a pre-flop raise with A36K and he re-raised me. Knowing that he knew that I had made such a horrible tight fold earlier I stuck it all-in. I'm sure in his mind he had extra fold equity against me now - I probably would've re-raised all-in anyway so how much difference that little tidbit of knowledge made to the hand I don't know, but there were plenty of oohs and aahs when the rest of the table saw my hand - "A3? Fucking hell, he's stuck it all-in with A3?!?" Especially when Rob turned over A2K4. Naturally we ended up splitting the pot anyway.

I also blew JQ's mind when he sweated me after he got knocked out and my stack had dwindled down to about 5 BBs. UTG I threw away KK5T (was it sooooted JQ?). Personally I feel this play is ok and would rather take my chances in the blinds, but he was clearly horrified. He's a better player than me so maybe he's right.

But, I think the problem with going all-in there with these dodgy kings is that, assuming you don't run into a good hand, both blinds are likely to take you on which means they'll do the ol' check-it-down-to-the-river-let's-see-if-one-of-us-can-knock-this-cunt-out-routine. Plus you have no way of making a low, so I'm pretty sure it's a good fold.

As it happens I ended up going all-in and getting knocked out with KK89 double suited which isn't much better so I'm clearly talking total bollocks...

1 comment:

Andy_Ward said...

Good fold. AAK2, I had you crushed.