Monday, November 14, 2005


I was going to write this last night, but I decided against it. It would have been interesting to catch my mood, but I want to be realistic and reflect on my game in a way that isn’t affected by my emotions. I’ve done it before, you know, suffered a bad beat or something and written my thoughts down straight after the event. Then later, when I look back, it’s all gibberish, complete balls, and I end up saying, ‘I can’t believe I wrote that’ or ‘what was I complaining about?’

Well, it’s the day after yesterday and I’m no longer gutted, just disappointed. Last night I played in a Grosvenor £25 rebuy satellite for the Midlands Masters main event. Only 36 turned up so only 3 seats were produced. There was a whole lot of moaning and whining, people perplexed to why it wasn’t a satellite for the £750. In reflection, £25 does seem a bit cheap, but I guess they don’t really need to make too many seats for the 1500. It’ll probably fill up anyway.

I got off to a flying start. A big pot built and I decided to call a couple of preflop raises with AT suited. Near perfect flop came, a ten with two spades giving me top pair and the nut flush draw. The chips went in, and, although I was ahead anyway, I rivered my spade just to make sure. I raked a big pot and I was off. This also meant that it was unlikely that I’d be dipping into my pocket again, which was a real bonus. If I get chips early on, then you’re gonna need a crowbar to get them off me.

After flopping a full house aces up and catching someone holding the case ace, I reached the break with 7.5k. I was well above average and felt good about my chances, even though only 2 seats were up for grabs. I was kinda hoping that this would encourage the smaller stacks to start gambling and chuck their chips away to the big stacks. This happened, but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the recipients.

I’m not one to babble on about hands because they tend to be of no interest to anyone but the individual involved. Besides, they normally just turn into bad beat stories. Having said that though, there were a couple of hands that occurred last night which may be worth highlighting.

The first was straight after the rebuy period. I held 43 unsuited in the cut-off and decided to try and see a cheap flop with the intention of nicking if the blinds checked. Sure enough, it was checked round to me and I stuck a bet in, but, for a change, I actually had a hand. Flop was a rainbow 3-4-9 and I’d made bottom 2 pair. My bet was 700 about the size of the pot, and, to my surprise, the small blind suddenly moved all-in for 4.5k. Blimey. Took me ages to make a decision here. If I call and lose, I’m down to 3k. Pots not particularly big, but, still, I have 2 pair! So what does he have and what could he be making this move with?

My first instinct was something like 9-3 or 9-4. Would he bet though, just like me? Well, he was first to go and it was a rainbow flop, so a trapcheck certainly seems feasible. Plus the big reraise suggests he doesn’t really want to give me any cheap cards. He might have hit a set of 3s or 4s, but his reraise seemed too big. I’d expect him to raise 9-9 preflop, so I didn’t put him on that hand. Other possibilities were A9 or 5-6. The former would be a risky move, but perhaps worth a shot if he was expecting me to bet out. The latter however is a definite option if he’s in a gambling mood. He probably puts me on one pair at most so believes his big reraise will undoubtedly force me to fold. And, if it doesn’t, he still has outs to the nuts.

After giving him the once over and going over the hand in my mind, I deduced that his most probable holding was 9-4, so I mucked. Did I waste an ample opportunity to add to my stack, hmm, not sure. He’s not the type of player to tell you his hands, plus I was too embarrassed to start begging, so, my curiosity is yet to be satisfied. Grr…

The second hand came with two tables left. I had grinded my way up to 8.5k. Boy, that is a slow grind! I was in earlyish position with AK of hearts and was just about to raise when I realised that seat 1 had flatcalled. Now, I don’t normally play with such caution, but this guy is a rock who is known to be exceedingly careful with his chips. He rarely gambles and seldom shows a bluff. Also, I’d already seen him flatcall aces from early position. With this in mind, I decided to play my hand a little differently and just flat call.

The flop came A-5-7 with two spades. After the blinds and the limper checked, I decided to ask if the limper had checked, just to see if I could gauge a reaction. He seemed pretty serious when I asked him, which made me think that he had something to be serious about. Anyhow, I decided to stick in a bet anyway. I couldn’t be that sure he had a monster, and there were limpers behind me. I couldn’t risk giving free cards. After all, first position might have nothing.

I bet 1k, every1 folded except first position, who, not to my total surprise, reraised to 3k. Now that looks like a fishing bet. I’m sure he wants to reel me, and 2k is mighty cheap when you’ve just bet 1k. I read him for either AA, 55 or 77, nothing less. He wouldn’t flatcall with A5, A7 or 75, and he wouldn’t make a stonecold bluff on an ace high flop. He could have had AJ though and waiting for a checkraise, but even then, I think he’d just bet out. AK and AQ would have been raised preflop. The only other possibility is the semi bluff with a flush draw, most likely KQ or JT, pretty cards that could entice a flatcall.

I decided to fold another big hand… reluctantly. I just didn’t put him on anything less than the set. I didn’t see the point in just calling. If I was going to play the hand I might as well push all my chips in. Maybe overly cautious in hindsight, but I guess I’ll never know now.

So, two big hands and two big folds. Whether they were the correct ones or not, I have no idea, and it’s gnawing away at me. You wait all night for these sort of hands, and when I eventually find them, I just muck them. Maybe I was being paranoid, but if I put someone on a hand better than mine, then I play as such, regardless of whether people think my hand is too good to fold.

In the end, I finished 5th. 3rd was £600. Didn’t find any hands on the final table and exited on a coin flip. No bad beats, didn’t have to outraw anyone, went out fair and square. But I was left wondering whether or not I’d dropped a couple of clangers by folding those two hands. Did I miss out on a good opportunity to qualify for this event?

Okay, only £25 spent on a £1500 shot, had a really enjoyable night, so why was I gutted? Well, sometimes it’s the small things that get to you. I’m dying to play some of these main events, but I’m struggling to get through the satellites. I’m making the finals, but then just missing out. Didn’t quite make the Grand Prix, bubbled in the blue square qualifier for the Masters, 5 Ladbrokes cruise finals, 2nd in Rob’s satellite, and so on. I’m not moaning or anything, far from it, but it just becomes a bit demoralising when you want to play these events as much as I do. I’m sure all of you have felt like that before. The only concern I have is that if I feel down because of those near misses, how will I cope when I go full-time and the losses become more vital. I guess that’s something I’m going to have to address…

Apologies to those bored by this entry, which is, in effect, just me gibbering on about a piddly £25 satellite. However, I just thought I’d air some of my thoughts anyhow.

If possible, I’d really love to hear your views about those two hands I discussed. Did I play them wrong? I’m pretty sure I played at least one of them incorrectly. What would you have done?

Clocking off, a pensive snoopy.


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