Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to back?

I've been working on this post for a couple of weeks, but keep forgetting to copy it from my thumb drive to my laptop to post it. I meant to last night, as I came home from the bar early, because there weren't enough people to play the first session of the bar league.

I was really hoping to play and build up my early lead from last week. I won the first session, earning points for a straight flush as well, and finished 3rd in the 2nd session.

After a decent 2nd quarter, I started the quarterly tournament 2nd in chips, behind my "nemesis", Tim. I finished with just over 300 points, over twice the points of the rest of the field, but he finished about 130 points ahead of me.  Each point is worth $100 in chips, which translated into 13000 in chips.  However, I was feeling very confident that I would win. It wouldn't be the first time I won two quarterly tournaments in one year. Tim has also done it, but I'm fairly certain his weren't back to back.

We started with only five players, with a 6th on the way from a dart tournament at the bar's other location. One of the other qualifiers was the cook, and it was pretty obvious he wasn't happy about not being able to play.  The remaining three qualifiers were drop-ins, who had less than 50 points, which practically wasn't enough to make it worth showing up anyway.

Trying to remember how several of the next hands play out makes me think that I need to take notes during the quarterly and year-end tournaments, where it's not as rushed as during the regular weekly games. I took notes during a weekly session once, and a few people asked what I was writing, and it wasn't easy to keep up while playing 4 and 5 handed, when I should be pretty active. 

During the first level, still only 5 players, blinds of 25/50, I woke up with what my esteemed fellow poker blogger Rob calls "the dreaded pocket kings." I think I was 2nd to act. I made a raise to $500, not an terribly unusual raise. I had at least two callers. The flop comes 987 rainbow. The big blinds opens, and I wonder if he flopped a set or two pair.  I re-raise and both blinds call. It's checked to me when the turn is a low rag, a deuce or a three. I bet again, the small blind folds, but the big blind calls again. The river is a 6, the big blind bets, and I fold. He turns over T5 for a straight.

I had at least 4 or 5 other hands like that, where I had the lead until the river, although it wasn't as easy or obvious to get away from them.

There were two hands in a row where I was dealt a pair of 4s, I think they were even the exact same pair. The first hand I missed and folded to a flop bet. The 2nd one, I flopped the set and bet the flop and turn, but check-folded the river when a flush draw hit.

Another memorable hand was a 3 way hand where I was in the BB, and Tim was in the BB. The UTG player limps in, the next two fold, Tim completes, and I checked with 92o. The flop comes Q92. Tim checks, I check, and the player to my left opens. Tim and I both just call. The turn is an A, and I worry a bit that Tim might have been slow playing AQ. We both check and let the player to my left bet. We both call again. The river is a rag. Tim bets, and I call, while the UTG player folds. Tim shows Q9 for a bigger two pair. We both laugh at slow playing our two pair so the UTG player would bet for us.

The 6th player finally showed up just as we were doing the first chip up, so he was let in, sitting between Tim and I.

I was pretty active for the first couple of levels, and my chip stack fluctuated somewhat. I finally slowed down a bit around the 3rd level, when the blinds were 100/200. Tim hadn't been as active as I had, but was better at picking his spots, and had built his stack up some, including at my expense.

Eventually we get down to the same final four from the first quarterly. Jerry makes a comment about how the finish could end up the same as it did last quarter. He's sitting in 4th, AJ and I are close and Tim is in the lead.  However, Jerry makes a comeback, and AJ goes out in 4th. Jerry is unable to do more than that, and again it's Tim and I heads up. 

Another memorable hand occurs when I have pocket Ts. I raise and Tim calls. The flop is AAx. I check here, and realize after the hand that it was a mistake.  The turn is a K, I bet, and he calls. The river is a rag and again it's bet call. He turns over KJo and rakes the pot. I know that's a fault I need to work on, playing slightly scared and not thinking things through. I was the raiser, I should be representing the ace, not fearing it. Had I bet and he called, I could have just checked it down, and not lost so many chips. 

At some point, Tim tells me to stop calling his bets. A few hands later, I'm in the BB with 23o. There's no raise, so I check. I hit a 3 on a double suited board and call a bet from him. The turn is a 2 that puts a 3 flush on the board. Tim bets and I tell him that since I can't call, I have to raise, causing him to fold.

The last hand occurs at the 3k/6k level. I have AQo in the BB. I raise, Tim shoves. I call, thinking I'm either flipping with vs a medium pair or have him out kicked. Unfortunately he's got me out kicked with AKo. The flop is comes 8 or 9 high, and I'm praying for the board to double pair for a chop.  Lucky for me, though, I spike a Q on the turn and survive the river to win!