Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Poker Stars Double Shoot-Out

The countdown continues...

Poker Stars Double Shoot-out

I decided to try something new today. It was a low buy-in event on PS where you needed to win two shoot-outs to get a seat for Sunday's $750,000 event. Poker Stars has so many satellites, I decided that I needed to work on these kind of games.

Shoot-out Number 1

This first shoot-out only had 7 players. I played fairly tight until I needed to make some steals to chip up along with the blind increases. My goal was to get in a heads-up situation since I feel confident that I will win in these situations.

The first thing I try to do at any table is to identify player types. Most players simply play their cards. Their calls mean calling hands, and their raises mean premium cards. The tougher players are those who are more aggressive and tricky. I try to stay away from these players unless I have a big hand.

If I have a weakness in my game it is when a game gets down to three players. I tend to be too loose and aggressive. I have learned to let the cards and the situation dictate my play more.

In this shoot out I didn't have to worry about playing three handed since my opponent took out two players in one hand--leaving it heads-up. As a result, I was looking at being behind in chips 6-1 as we got heads-up.

My opponent was not a good heads-up player as he played way too tight. I used his betting pattern to my advantage and I was able to turn it around completely. I now had a huge lead.

Two times I got him all-in where I "dominated" his hand. The hands were A-Q versus A-4 and K-Q versus K-5. Both times he won! Ughh...

Finally, though, I won the match and moved on to the second shoot-out.

Shoot Out Number 2

This was 9-handed and there was only one tricky and aggressive player I was concerned about three seats to my left. As players got knocked off one by one, I was playing tight and making pre-flop raises as needed based on position and/or the cards.

Fortunately, the player to my right knocked out the aggressive opponent that concerned me. The guy to my right slow played pocket Aces all the way to the river--and almost folded his winning hand. When it got three handed, he also took out the other opponent.

Once again it was heads-up. And once again, my opponent was playing was too passive. Yes, he had a big chip lead but he folded too often.

I slowly chipped away at his stack. Now, he only had a slight chip lead. I think that heads-up when you take away an opponent's big lead, it weighs on him emotionally. It is depressing to see what appears to be an easy win, slip away.

I was feeling good about winning now, and the following hand came up:

On the button, I was dealt Ah-4d. I raised and my opponent called. The blinds were big and it was now an all-in or nothing move on the flop. The flop was a great one for me, 2h-5h-8h. I had a nut flush draw, a straight draw, and I thought pairing my Ace was also good. That gave me 15 outs, which would make me a favorite.

I pushed and my opponent paused for a long time. Oh no, I thought, this is the same pause he did when he had pocket Aces. Finally he called. He turned over two black Jacks...which did not hurt my outs.

The turn and river missed my hand---and oh well, I didn't win the seat.

I went over to Bodog and decided to enter a 200 player no limit MTT event. It got down to heads-up and I made a mistake. I pushed all-in pre-flop against an opponent I would beat heads-up if I was patient. I pushed with A-10 and he called with K-J. He hit his K and I was out. At least it was an $800 win.

Funny, but I may not have played the Bodog event if I didn't lose the seat on Poker Stars.

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