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I made 3 mistakes at the Sunday poker tournament at Lucky Chances.
#1. Oops, I bet more than I wanted on that street.
The blinds are $100-$200. I have about $6,000. A new player had just been seated at our table. The player raised to $500. Everyone folded to me on the button. I had Ah-7h. I called.
The flop came A-8-4 rainbow. My opponent checked. I checked.
The turn was a K. My opponent checked. There was $1,300 in the pot. I wanted to bet $800, but when I tossed the chips onto the table it was $1,300....oops. How could I grab three $100 chips and two $500 chips instead of just three $100 chips and one $500 chip?
The river was a 10. My opponent bet into me for $2,000! I was surprised by that move. Although, I was going to check the river. I looked for a tell.
In general, when your heads-up at the end and your opponent looks at you quickly and then looks away, it tends to mean he is not that strong. In this case, I waited a long time hoping to see that tell so I could call. Instead, though, my opponent looked comfortable and did not look up at me at any time. I was sure I was beat. I folded.
It only cost me $500, but I was annoyed that I made that mistake. I think my opponent hit two pair on the turn or possible had a set on the flop.
(Note: Later on in the event this same player moved all-in on the flop. When he glanced at his opponent and quickly looked away, I knew he was not that strong. He got called. He had the nut flush draw and lost most of his stack.)
2. Oops, I forgot to bet.
I was down to $4,000 and I was in the $400 big blind. Everyone folded to the player in the small blind. He is a straight forward player most of the time. He called. I had 9-6. I called. The flop came A-Q-5 with two spades. He checked. I checked. The turn was another Ace. He checked. I checked. I should have bet! The river was a 2. He checked and I checked. He won with 10 high. I should have bet!
Two checks in position to you, heads-up--always bet. It doesn't need to be a pot sized bet (see #1 above), but bet half or more the size of the pot and most times, it is a winning play.
3. Oops, I decided to go card dead.
Okay, I didn't choose to go card dead. It just happened. Again, for hours I got nothing to play. It was sick. Was I playing too tight?
Well, here are the hands I played or could have played during those hours and hours (usually it was a full table of 10 players). It was a time where the luck-fest begins; that is, the antes are so high that it is usually all-in or fold.
I got dealt pocket 6's under the gun. I moved all-in. I got called in two spots. I was against A-J and A-K. I hit the 6 on the turn and it allowed me to be a little more patient.
I was dealt K-J under the gun and limped. Sucker cards in that position. Two players moved all-in. I folded. I would have lost to the pocket Queens and been a big dog to A-K
I was dealt K-J in middle position. I moved all-in. No one called.
I was dealt A-5 offsuit under the gun. I folded. One player moved all-in. He was not called. He said he had A-J. I don't like to move all in in the first 3 positions (at a full table), unless I have a pair or K-Q or better.
I was dealt 7-2 on the button. One player moved all-in and got called. I folded. The flop was 7-7-8....I should have known:0)
I moved all-in on the small blind with K-5 when everyone folded to me. My opponent folded and showed A-J!! Wow. He had three times as many chips as me. Bad play on his part.
My plan of attack when I am low on chips is the following:
I want to be the first in the pot with an all-in move. It gives me two chances to win.
I will play any pair from any position and even call an all-in bet.
In the power position, cut-off, button or small blind, and if I am first-in the pot, I will move-in with a hand that totals 19 or better or any hand Ace-x, King-x, Queen-x or Jack-x hand.
I want to play the right cards given my position at the table.
If the table is tight, I will make a move with suited connectors--although, in general, I don't like to get knocked out holding a hand that is just a 9 or 6 high.
The result of all these rules: I was bleeding out thanks to the blinds and antes.
Finally, I was down to where I could not even make a raise. I was under the gun and moved-in, for what it was worth, with Q-10. The next player moved all-in with pocket Jacks.
I got knocked out in 24th place...again.
I don't use the Harrington guidelines on short-stack play in these situation since I believe you can come back in games when there are antes and you have only one chip. I have been down to my last chip and come back to finish in the money or as high as 3rd place.