I entered the $20,000 1st place guarantee MTT event at Lucky Chances today. It was a no limit event with a $330 buy-in and unlimited rebuys for the first 2 hours--you get to rebuy only when you lose all your chips. This event uses automatic shufflers with 30 minute rounds so there is time for some play. The starting chips were $6000.
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I didn't have any hands for the first hour so my stack had dropped down a little. An interesting hand occurred when I found pocket Queens upfront. The first player raised the big blind of $200 to $700. I was next and I re-raised to $2,100. Another player in a back position re-raised to $4,200. The under the gun player folded. I had about $5,500 so I had to decide if this was going to be a defining moment for me.
A raise, re-raise and then a min re-raise usually indicates a big hand--like pocket Aces or pocket Kings. The player who raised my re-raise had not made this move before. He also had an interesting tell. The more pained he looked, the better his hand. And he looked like he was in a great deal of pain to me :)
I folded. He then volunteers that he had pocket Queens. Do I think he had pocket Queens? No. I think he had Kings or Aces. Poker players are liars.
A few hands later I find A-J both clubs in the cutoff; again at the $100-$200 level. Everyone folds to me and I raise to $600. The big blind, who had just doubled up in the prior hand, re-raises me to $1,200. I call.
The flop is A-A-3 with two diamonds. I check and my opponent bets $1,200. The poor guy must have pocket Kings. I call. The turn is a Jack. I check. He checks.
The river is a 5 of diamond. The question I asked myself is how can I extract the most amount of money on my full house. There is $4,900 in the pot. I had $4,100 left.
If I bet half the pot, I may or may not get paid off. If I move all-in, I may double up if I try my reverse tell.
What's my reverse tell? I hold my breath. It makes me look like I'm bluffing. This tends to work with players who have big hands and are not sure about letting them go.
I move-in and my opponent stares at me. I make sure he sees that I'm holding my breath. I'm sure my face slowly turns pink. He stares longer than I can hold my breath--so I do have to take another breath of air. He finally calls and I double up.
I get dealt K-Q five times before the break and lose every time! I am back down to $6,000 as we break.
There are 162 players, 48 rebuys and the top 20 will get paid.
The next few hours of the event
I have to move up my aggression in he next hours to accumulate chips. I know my table image is tight and the players to my left are tight players. It allows me to raise pre-flop in position as steals. The other thing is that players check their hands way too often. I take a check as a sign of weakness and bet to win pots on the flop and/or turn with nothing.
An example: A player to my right opens the $1,000-$2000 blinds and $400 ante with a call on the button. I have the small blind with Q-7 offsuit. I call as does the big blind. The flop is A-7-4 with 2 diamonds. I check, the big blind checks and the limper bets $2,000. I don't have a diamond. It is clear that he limped with a big hand to be tricky. But does he have the Ace?
It is worth calling to see what he does on the turn. The big blind folds. The turn is a J of hearts. I check and the button checks behind. When he checks, I'm sure he doesn't have the Ace.
The river is a 3 of diamonds. I bet $4,000 to make it look like either I have the Ace or hit a flush. My opponent folds and tells me he knows I hit the flush. He shows pocket 10's.
Joe Cada time
I am up to $31,000 and the co-chip leader at my table. We are down to 25 players. I am feeling good about my play and I just have to be careful of players who overplay their hands a la Joe Cada.
I am on the cutoff with A-J and come in pre-flop with a $6,000 raise at the $1,000-$2,000 blinds. A new player in the small blind moves all in for $15,000.
There is about $24,000 in the pot and it is another $9,000 to me. I look at my opponent and he is nervous. It feels like a middle pocket pair. I can fold, but given the odds and my sense it is a race, I decide to call.
He turns over pocket 2's.
Good grief...does he think he is Joe Cada?
Yeah, his deuces hold up. I guess he does think he is Cada.
I am pissed about this loss and walk away from the table angry.
A few hands later a player in middle position moves all-in for $9,000. I have him covered with $12,000 with A-Q suited. Does he have A-K?
He gets up to talk to his friends nearby. I look at him and he is not comfortable with my hesitation on what to do. I go with my tell and I call.
He turns over A-5.
Yeah, he hits his 5 on the flop.
A few hands later I go out in 24th place.
6 hours of poker and time to drive home.
Do you think I made a mistake in this event? Would you have risked your entire tournament with those pocket deuces?
I do tend to look for reads on players. Overall, I feel that players do give away the strength of their hands by how they look, act, and what they say.