Saturday, March 31, 2012

Check in the dark!

I sometimes make a move known as "check in the dark", where you're gonna be first to act and you announce "check" before the card comes out.  People debate whether this is a good move, for example in this forum.  On the one hand, you are acting before you have all the information available to you, so you're giving up some control.  But on the other hand, you make your move before your opponent can get a read on your reaction to the card.  And, your check in the dark (sort of) puts you in last-to-act position instead of first-to-act.

I like the move, even though it didn't work for me today.

We were in the mid-to-late stages of a no-limit tournament.  The blinds were 300-600 and I had about 10,000 in chips (thanks to a recent river flush that tripled me up).  In the small blind, I have 10-J off suit.  Everyone folds, so I limp in to go up against just the big blind, who checks.

The flop comes A-10-2.  I like my pair of 10's but as always I'm worried about the Ace, so I check.  The big blind checks as well.

Now I "check in the dark" for the first time.  My opponent bets 2BB, or 1200.  I figure since he checked the flop he doesn't have an Ace and he's trying to steal it, so I call.

I check in the dark again, and to my surprise, he BETS in the dark!  He throws out 4000 into the pot.  The river is still not yet dealt.  So I'm thinking, oh well, I was trapped.  He has an Ace and I'm about to fold.

But the river comes another 10 and I now have a set of 10s!

Knowing he bet in the dark, I figure the chances are this 10 didn't help him, but it helped me a ton!.  In retrospect, I should have thought long and hard about what he might have that made him so confident.  I just assumed it was a pair of Aces.

I push all in with my set of 10's.  He CALLS!

So I turn over my 10-J and say "I have a set of 10's".  He turns over 10-2!

Aw damn..  He flopped two-pair and rivered a full house with that 10!  He had me covered, so I was out of the tournament.

Could I have seen that coming?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In the Money

Yesterday I placed third in a tourney at the Palace in Hayward.  Pretty exciting to place in the money, but still a bit of a downer because for a while it looked like I would win the whole thing.  Usually at this stage in a tourney, players are talking about making deals to chop the prize purse, but this one guy kept saying no, he wanted to play to the end.

So we were down to the final three, and I had over 60,000 chips in a tourney that started us with 3000.  I was chip leader, thanks to a few all-ins that doubled me up:

1. I had AA and the guy to my right pushed all in so I had to call.  He showed A-J and it was all over for him before it started.  No two jacks came up.

2. I had A-K and bet big to scare away the would-be limpers, and the guy on my left was holding KK.  He pushes all in, and I was already in for about half my stack so I called.  We show our hands the the board gets dealt.  No joy for me until the river, when an Ace comes and I send him packing.

3. I had A-Q at the final table, which was down to only five players.  I push all in thinking everyone would fold, but I get called by the guy on my left who has A-K.  The flop comes 10-J-6, then a 9 on the turn, and I shout out a request for a King, and it comes!  My opponent is overjoyed and doesn't understand why I am too.  He says "That's my King!" and I say "Ya, but I have a straight!".  Bye Bye.

So finally we're down to three, I'm chip leader, and one guy is really short stacked by comparison.  It drags on for a while.  We're all playing pretty tight, even though the blinds are 2000-4000.  Money is just moving around the table.

It only took a couple of bad luck cases where I push all in or call the all-in from the short stack guy, and he doubles up, taking a large chunk of my stack.  Usually, it was cases where he had a low pair and I had two over cards, basically a 50-50 race.  But my high pairs didn't come.  It was probably three incidents like this until that guy took me out for good.  Now instead of being short stack, he was chip leader!

I went home winning about 2.5x my entry fee.  Still nothing to complain about.

Then, the third dude, the one who didn't want to make a deal, immediately offers a two-way split of the remaining money with the guy who took all my chips!  Bastard!