Sunday, November 25, 2012

First Place!

Got first place in the Palace Hayward Saturday tournament yesterday!  First time I've ever played it down to the end in a live tournament.  Usually, we chop and I'm happy with that, but not today.

Everything seemed to go right throughout the day.  My first lucky hand came in the middle of the tournament when I called a large bet with pocket 7's.  A 7 came on the flop as well as a Queen which gave my opponent top pair.  I go all in and he calls and shows his Queen.  I'm ahead, but it just got better with a 7 on the river and quad 7's!

A little later came the hand that got us to the final table.  From the small blind with blinds at 700 and 1500, I limp in with K-J with two other limpers before me. The big blind has a short stack of only 3000 and he goes all in.  The two other limpers call, so there is 9000 in the pot, and I pretty much have to call as well.

The flop comes K-J-9, so I flopped top two pair!  I proudly declare "I'm all in" hoping to scare away the two other players that aren't yet all in.  It works.  They both fold.  So the one guy who is also all in excitedly turns over K-9.  He's thinks his two pair is good, but then is shocked to see my K-J.  He is eliminated and we move on to the final table.  A few minutes later one of the folders tells me he would have pulled a straight if he stayed in, so I guess my "all in" was a good bet!

I went to the final table with a healthy, above average chip stack, but there was still work to do.  I was thinking "play tight, don't squander, let the others get eliminated."  After we eliminated a few of the short stacks we were down to 6 players.  The top 3 would be getting paid.  Deal offers started to surface.  First, we all agreed to take $100 off first and $50 off second to pay 4th, 5th, and 6th.  I agreed, even though I was chip leader.  Nobody likes to bubble.

I kept getting good cards and being able to steal blinds with them, which was valuable since the blinds were up to 2000-4000.  Once I stole with pocket nines, then a couple minutes later pushed in with pocket Kings.  The pocket kings bet got called, by a guy with pocket queens!  My kings held up and I eliminated him and nearly doubled up!

Now we were down to 4 and I was by far chip leader with about 60K in chips (roughly 150K chips in play).  More deals were offered, but I wasn't interested.  My luck was running too good today.

So we played it down to 2, and the two of us at this point had about equal chip stacks.  My opponent had come from short stack to tied at the top 2, by getting lucky with all-ins.  He offered another deal where we took another $100 off first to go to second, just to make the split a little less wide.  I agreed.

I don't remember most of the rest of the hands because things move so fast when you're heads up.  There was one where I again had K-K and called his bluffing all in.  He had 5-6, but pulled a straight!  That should have been then end for him but he got lucky so we played on, since my stack was a lot bigger at that point.

The last hand was my Q-J against Q-9, and I got a Jack on the river to take the top prize!  $740 from a $90 entry fee.  Nice day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caught in a Bluff

Today I was at the final table with about 8 players left in a tournament at the Palace in Hayward.  My stack was getting short, about 3x the big blind, so I had to get brave.

I got an A-10 and went all in and stole the blinds.
Then I got an A-7 and did it again.
Then I got pocket 10's and stole the blinds for a third time.  Now I had a stack of about 8BB and was feeling a little better.  My table image was looking good.

About 10 minutes later I got an A-4 of spades and decided to limp in from the small blind, still thinking I had to get it some hands or I would soon be blinded off.   It was just me and the big blind, who was a guy who had been playing crazy and unpredictable all day, but he had a pretty big stack to show for it.

The flop comes 9 - 2 - 3, with the 2 being a spade.  I see a possible straight if a 5 comes, but I check, and he checked too.  Thank god I would get to see another card.

The turn comes a Queen of spades.  I check again and he bets 4000 (double the big blind, and about a third of my stack).

I see that I now have a nut flush draw and a straight draw, for a total of 13 outs.  That's looking pretty good, so I call.

The river is a 3 of clubs.  No good to me, but it did pair the board.

So, time for my bluff.  I quickly push all in for around 6000.  I took the guy off guard.   He expected a check and that he could bet and I would fold.

I tried to look cocky, as if I'd hit a set of 3's, but he didn't buy it.  "You wouldn't have called my turn bet with a pair of threes and a Queen on the board.  There's no way you hit the set of 3's.  I call."

Dang.  I turn over my nothing A-4 and he turns over Q-10 and my tournament is over.

It was fun though.