Thursday, February 26, 2009

How I Won a PokerStars event for $1,080

From Full Tilt to Poker Stars

Since I closed my account with Full Tilt Poker, I deposited money into Poker Stars. Frankly, I like the Full Tilt game choices better and the overall feel of the program, but I don't like feeling cheated by Full Tilt.

One of my main problems with Poker Stars is that there are no 45 player, mid-buy-in no limit events. The smallest thing I could find on PS was a 180 player, $22 buy-in no limit event. I reluctantly entered this event, because I don't like spending 5 hours or more in front of computer screen playing poker.

The Tournament Begins

The starting chip stack is $1,500. I was down to $1,000 when I got dealt K-K. The player under the gun raised 3x's the BB. I was next and called. This is a move I write about in my poker book--it's called 2nd hand low. I am hoping that another player re-raises pre-flop, so I can move all-in. It didn't happen. It was heads-up on the flop.

The flop came Q high. My opponent bet 1/3rd the pot, and I raised to match the pot. He moved all-in, and I called. He had A-Q and I doubled up.

I continued to win small pots with small pre-flop raises. I limped with pocket Aces and one player raised. I called. Again, I won a big pot when he flopped top pair with his K-Q.

Down to 40 Players

When the game got to 40 players, I was in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, I went card dead. I was moving to a dangerous stage--9 times the BB in chips.

I knew I had to look for aggressive plays to accumulate chips--exactly what my prior blog posts were all about...I mean if I write about this stuff, I should follow my own advice!

I got aggressive when other players indicated weakness. The result was that I was able to build up my stack to be above the middle of the pack.

Down to 2 Tables

It was down to 14 players and I raised first in, with K-J. The big blind moved all-in. It would cost me 40% of my stack to call. I decided to fold. I figured I was either behind a lot or it was a coin flip. I didn't want to lose in this situation.

It was down to 12 players...there was 6 players at my table and I raised pre-flop with pocket Jacks. The player to my left moved all-in. Oh no!

He had about the same chip stack as I did. I was in the middle chip position, and if I won I would be near the top. I don't like pocket Jacks--heck, no one does. I figured he had A-K or pocket 9's-A's.

Like I said in my previous post, sometimes you have to make the wrong move at the right time. I called the all-in bet. He turned over pocket Kings.

I turned off the light on my desk lamp and got up ready to turn off the computer. The flop missed me, but the turn was a Jack!

I doubled up!

With 11 players left. I raised first in with K-Q on the small blind. The big blind moved all-in. I called as it was only 30% of my stack. He had pocket 6's. The flop had a 6 and I thought it was over. But, the board showed a straight on the river and we split the pot.

The Final Table

I got moved to a new table as we started playing the final table. I had one of the bigger stacks. I won a few more hands, and hit a big pot when a player raised 3x's the BB, and I found pocket Aces! He had raised to about $5,000, and he had $50,000. I had slightly more chips. What to do?

If I won all his chips, I would be a big chip leader. He had been playing tight, so I put him on a big hand. I moved all-in to make it look like A-K. He insta-called with pocket Queens. A cooler for him.

Now I had $100,000 and I was the chip leader.

Three Handed Play

I have a very difficult time playing three handed poker. And I was getting beaten up by the player to my left when I was in the SB and he was in the BB. If I limped, he would raise, and I'd fold. When I raised, if he called, I would miss the flop and he would win with a bet. I was being played.

I was down to $45,000, the player to my left had $80,000, and the other player had $145,000. I decided to try to trap the BB if I got a decent hand.

On cue, I limped with A-J. He moved all-in. I called. He had A-4, and I doubled up!

A few hands later my nemesis was out, and now it was heads-up.

Heads-Up Play

When it comes to heads-up play, I am not going to lose. I've written before about how I approach heads-up play. My edge is that most players don't have a lot of experience heads-up and get into betting patterns that are easy to figure out.

Unfortunately, in this situation I was down to my opponent about 2-1 in chips. He had about $180,000 and I had $90,000.

Yes, I still liked my chances of winning!

On one of the first hands, I called my opponent down with top pair. He showed a busted flush draw. But, the computer gave him the pot! What!! I looked at the previous hand. It showed that I read the suit wrong on one of the cards! Oh no. He hit the flush on the river.

This was unsettling. It brought back a bad memory. I had entered the main Sunday event on Bodog a few years back. First place was $25,000. When it was heads-up I knew I would win. I was even in chips.

I misread my opponent's bet on a pre-flop raise. It turned out to be a raise for about 95% of his chips, and I called thinking it was a small raise. I read the numbers wrong--Bodog bets go to the pennies. And, for some reason, I misread it.

I finished 2nd, and promptly had my eyes checked! Really!

Now because of this mistake, I was way down again. I was down 4-1. I had $45,000 to his $225,000.

I could have given up here, but I still believed I could win this heads-up battle. I knew his patterns and I played against it.

I slowly but surely started taking down pots. It took a while but I was able to get even.

One of the plays I was making, which I knew was getting him annoyed, was raising pre-flop on the button about 80% of the time. He would fold, and if he called my bet. I would bet on the flop no matter what. I kept winning over and over again.

Finally, I had a slight chip lead. He raised from the button and I called with K-3. The flop came K-8-4, and I check called. The turn was a 4 and I checked called again. The river was an Ace. We both checked. I won a big pot when he only had 2nd pair.

Soon, I had the 2-1 chip lead. My guess was that my opponent was emotionally upset, and felt like he was going to lose.

A couple of hands later, I got a big hand on the button and raised pre-flop with A-Q suited. My opponent moved all-in. I called. He had K-Q.

It was over. I won!

The win paid $1,080.

So why haven't you bought my poker book yet? :)


thestarlightwriter said...

Good stuff. Looks like I still have a lot to learn! You should still head over to Full Tilt now and again just to play in their free roll tournaments....and coach me. :)

JakeGint said...

I will get your book, you've convinced me. You are a very interersting writer. I'm highly critical so you should take that as a compliment.... ;)

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