Sunday, December 6, 2009

How I cashed for $3,000 in Sunday's Poker Tournament

How I cashed for $3,000 in Sunday's Poker Tournament

I've recently started playing the Sunday poker tournaments at the local card room in Colma, CA, called Lucky Chances. I pretty much stopped playing there since the structure was really bad. With buy-ins of $225 and more, I'd like a little play for my money.

However, when I visited last month, I found that the club was now using automatic shufflers which sped up the game and the luck-fest wouldn't start until the final 4 tables of the 10 plus tables they usually get for these events.

Sunday's Event

The tournament on Sunday was a $330 Re-enter buy-in event with a $20,000 1st place guarantee. Everyone received $5,000 in chips and the rounds were 20 minutes. The starting level was $25-$50.

What is a re-enter event? In the first 4 rounds (one hour of play), if you get knocked out you can re-enter by buying back in. Bizarre. Who would do that?

Well, there were almost 150 players who entered the event and 47 of them re-entered--oh my, over $600 invested to play in this one local event.

The Early Rounds

In the first hour, I was not getting any cards. I made three loose calls in the big blind since I was getting over 2-1 odds and my hands were playable, sort of. In all three cases, I folded on the flop.

I did pick up a tell on the player to my right--which was not worth anything. And I did pick up the betting pattern of the most aggressive player at the table which would come into play later on.

I was down to $3,200 in chips and in the $200 big blind. The player under the gun limped and there were three callers. I found A-8 and checked it.

The flop was A-8-6. I checked expecting someone to bet, so I could check raise. Everyone checked.

The turn was a 5. I checked again. The limper bet half the pot, and the next player moved all-in for $2,500. It was folded to me. What did this player have? I figured he had A-5. I moved all-in. The under the gun player folded. My opponent had 6-5 and my top 2 pair held up.

In the second hour, the blinds start at $200-$400. I loosen up since the blinds are bigger and most players tend to be uncomfortable with a stack at 10-15 times the big blinds.

Everyone folded to me on the cut-off and I raised to $1,200. The player in the big blind called. He was a tight player. I had raised with A-5 suited. The flop came Q-J-7. He checked and I checked. No, I don't automatically follow up with a c-bet all of the time. I want to see if the coast is clear.

The turn is a 2. He checked and I bet 75% of the pot. Two checks is a sign of weakness. He folded.

I raised in late position a lot and one time the small blind went over the top. I folded since I was trying to steal the blinds.

Middle Stages of Play

The blinds were getting up there and I had been blinded and anted off to where I was back down to $5,000. I was on the cut-off at a new table and found Q-10. With the blinds at $500-$1000 I moved all in. The small blind insta-called. He turned over A-4. Huh? He only had one more chip than me. I hit the 10 on the flop and doubled up.

The Q-10 was actually the best hand I had been dealt after about 4 hours of play. It was sickening.

I got moved to a new table.

I suddenly had this "feeling" that I was going to finish 3rd. And if you read my blog, you know I believe in these feelings.

Unfortunately, I continued to be card dead. It was down to 5 tables and I needed to make a move soon. I was in the small blind. I had about 7 times the big blind. Everyone folded to me. I found K-9. Hey, that's a monster! I moved all-in.

This new player in the big blind is a very tight player, and he started to hem and haw. I wanted a fold. He finally called. He turned over A-10. I hit my 9 on the turn and more than doubled up--when including the antes.

Late stages of the Event

We were down to 3 tables. I believe we were in the 6th hour of play. I had about 9x's the big blind in chips. Everyone folded to me on the button. I found my first premium hand of the day--pocket Kings. I moved all-in. The small blind insta-called with pocket Queens. He was out and now we were soon down to the final 2 tables.

I was in the button again and found pocket 8's--a monster. I raised and won another pot. I added some more chips when I was in the big blind and the small blind limped. I moved all-in since I knew he was weak.

However, when we got to the final table I was low in chips and I knew I had to make a move soon.

Final Table

When the final table started, that aggressive player at my first table had the chip lead. I was surprised to see him since he got knocked out in the 4th round. But, he must have re-entered. He had the chip lead and was seated next to me, on my right.

The first hand I was under the gun and folded. The next hand I was in the big blind. Everyone folded to the aggressive player in the small bling and he raised me. I had K-5 and folded. I was at about 6 times the big blind in chips. The next hand I was in the small blind. Everyone folded to me. I had J-10 and moved all-in. The big blind insta-called. He had K-J...uh oh....

The flop was J-9-9, but the turn was a 10 and I doubled up. Now I had some chips and could wait for a big hand.

I didn't have to wait too long. A few hands later, I got dealt pocket 10's and raised 3x's the big blind. Everyone folded.

We were down to 8 players. I limped with pocket 3's on the button because the small blind was going to be all-in. I won the hand and now my stack was almost to $200,000...yes, the blinds were now at the $8,000-$16,000 level. Even though I did not have more than 12 times the big blind in chips, I was the chip leader.

I was under the gun with Kd-Qd. It was now 8 handed and as soon as I said raise, I had a bad feeling about this hand. I raised to $48,000. The tightest player at the table took forever to make a decision. He moved all in for $120,000. I folded.

I turned to the aggressive guy to my right and told him I folded since this guy either had pocket Aces or pocket Kings. He replied by telling me that my opponent flashed pocket Kinds before sending them back to the dealer.

I was now down to $150,000.

It got down to 5 handed. I was in the big blind for $16,000. Everyone folded and the aggressive player called. I had Q-3 and checked. The flop came 8-2-2. We both checked. The turn was an Ace. My opponent bet $24,000. I had seen him make this play before, so I called. The river was a King. He thought for a long time and checked. I had Q high so I checked. He had 5 high.

I was now back up to $200,000. I got blinded and anted off for a while. I was back down to $150,000.

We were down to 4 players. It was interesting since the 2 players in the chip lead were clearly the worse players. The player to my right was much better, but he had the lowest stack. I was in 3rd place, but frankly, everyone had 10 or less times the big blind of $30,000.

I was now in the big blind. The player under the gun folded. The player on the button called. Huh? You don't call in this situation unless you have pocket Aces. The small blind folded and yeah, I checked my Q-5.

The flop came Q-8-4. I checked and my opponent moved all-in. Yeah, he had the Aces. I was going to fold when I had this feeling I was going to hit my 5. I called.

My opponent showed pocket Kings. The dealer showed the turn card, a 5! Yes!!!

My opponent groaned softly. But his friends behind him started shouting, "4! 4! 4!"

The dealer turned over the river card...4!

Ugh...I should have said "one time."

I got lucky and unlucky, but that's poker. Finished 4th and won $3,000.

Since I started playing this Sunday event, I got knocked out with a bad beat early and finished 21st and 24th...a few players out of the money.


The aggressive player seated to my right, actually did win the event and took home $20,000.


LLM Manager said...

Very interesting article. It makes me want to go play a tournament right now, honestly.

I do have a question, though. You mention getting K-9 and calling it a "monster hand." I was curious about why you feel it's a good hand? More often than not, unless I can see the flop cheaply, I'll fold K-9. Though I'm coming at this from a cash game perspective (90% of what I play anymore) so maybe I'm thinking about it incorrectly. Care to share your thoughts on why you played it that way?

Mitchell Cogert said...

Oh, I was being sarcastic since I was not getting any decent hands for hours.

Bob Tarver said...

Congrats Mitchell on your placing 4th, I am guessing you played in the Gold Rush Tournament I'm glad to hear that Lucky Chances finally has the Auto shufflers. I miss playing there, one of these days I'm going to make a trip out there so I can play at Lucky Chances and Bay 101.

Mitchell Cogert said...

Bob, thanks.

If you do play at Lucky Chances one day, please let me know. We can meet and talk about poker strategy if you want.

Neto said...

wow congrats!
Do you think when all the players at final table are "short stacks" it's because of bad blind structure?

sorry my bad english, I'm brazillian.

best of luck!

Mitchell Cogert said...

It's a bad blind structure for the players.

But often a good blind structure for the card room since they prefer the players in cash games.

Paul P said...

Great post - you really get across the pressures of a tournament and how quickly you can go from nothing to the chip leader back to nothing.

Its all about having the right hand at the right time.

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