Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poker Wednesday

I was excited to head to Island Casino this evening and play the poker tournament. I haven't played in 2 weeks and I wanted to get going again. Since I only play one night per week it is important to me to get to the casino and try to keep my skills up on what I am trying to achieve. You know you have to have goals and mine are to at least play well and make the right decisions at the right time. I keep reading and hoping the information will someday pay off for me. I know that most books are telling you how to play but I have to remember that the individuals I am playing against are not playing by the same set of rules that I am reading about in the books.

Island Casino now has 3 tables. That is fantastic since now we can play 30 individuals and not have to wait for all the alternates to get into the game. We did end up with 32 players tonight. That, of course, meant we had 2 alternates. What a time saver. The dealers were very happy about it as well. It just made a world of difference in playing tonight.

Being off for 2 weeks and not playing any poker in that time, except for a home game, which I don't count since the style of play is just like a home game. All the trash talking and people moving chips with nothing and making calls with whatever hands. Oh, how I digress. I was hoping I was not rusty tonight and that I could play properly. The table was interesting in itself. We had two or three individuals that were playing aggressive and really pushing people off hands and when showing the hands they were bluffing. At least you hope they were. I started to play conservative to wait these people out. I did play some good hands.

Early on I had Pocket Aces and I raised the BB. I was called and we saw the flop. There were no face cards in the flop. I again raised more than three times the BB and was hoping to take the pot down before the Aces could be cracked. So many times I have seen the best hand preflop just become nothing by the end of the hand and you have put a lot of chips into the hand. I did end up taking quite a few chips with this hand. Another thing I found out during this hand was my heart rate really jumped up and my hands started shaking. I was hoping no one would notice. Usually I can hide this and play through it. Maybe this took place because I hadn't played in 2 weeks. I will need to be more aware of this and try to control this better. Maybe Biofeedback would help.

I did play pocket J's and did win over AK. Most of the other hands I played and won with were hands that I started raising with and playing position. I was very aware tonight on position and raising if I was in position. I was building my chip count. We did get down to two tables and then we started loosing individuals and got down to 6 on our table and 7 on the second table. When we made it to 5 on our table they had 6 and it seems like it took forever to get to the final table and 10 players total. I was not having any luck playing short handed with 5 at our table. I need to read about short handed play and how to deal with that type of game.

I did make the final table tonight. Ten players and anything can happen. I was not the short stack at the table. I was in 7th place with chips. When we started with 10 players again my plan was to be conservative and try to build my chip count. Slowly we started dropping players. We got down to 5 players and I was still there. I was not the short stack and had enough to work with.

We finally took out the 5th place player and now there are 4. I needed to get some chips since I was now in a tie with another person for the short stack. The hand that I chose to work with was the K8. Now shorthanded this might work. The K was workable but I didn't like the 8 being my kicker. The other individual went all in. I thought about it and decided to call him which left me with 2 chips. I at least had him covered. We turned over the cards and he was playing KQ against my K8. The only way I was going to win this pot was with an 8. On the flop it came xKx. The turn was an x and the river was an x. The Q played and I lost all but two of my chips.

Now, comes the thought of a chip and a chair. I waited till I had to play, and of course the best hand, and I went all in with my 2 chips. I won and now have 4 chips. I would have to keep this up quite a while to just get back into this tournament. The next hand I was put all in and I had two over cards. I was beat with a pair of 6's. My tournament ended on the bubble and since they only pay 3 places I was out in 4th place.

Wow, what a night. I had my chance and it didn't happen. I think back on the tournament tonight and all the plays I made, the raises, the calls I made and the only one I probably shouldn't have made was the call for most of my chips shorthanded with the K8. If I would have had a better kicker it might have worked out. Or not. The hardest thing for me tonight was walking away from the table in 4th place and not being in the money. The only thing about my play tonight was the shorthanded play. That needs work. What hands do I open up with? Do I play a wider range of hands? How does position play when shorthanded? Things I will look into and ask questions and read some more. I will be talking with a person about my play tonight. It is nice to have a "mentor" that will let me know what I did and if it was the right move and how I should have played the hand. I have to listen and learn.

I have to remember 4th out of 32 players. I know I did well. I have to learn from this one and come back next week and prove to myself I belong at the final table.

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