MY COMP 2 - £500 FREEZOUT
Glancing around my table, the standard appeared mixed. Sitting directly to my right was Carlo Citrone, whilst Simon ‘Aces’ Trumper, a man I’d watched many a time on Late Night Poker, was seated across the other side. A couple of rocks, the odd lucy goosey player, and a few unfamiliar faces. Nothing too scary.
I’d decided before the comp kicked off that, even though it was my biggest tournament in 4 years, I would play my normal game… so I did.
The only raising hand I received in the first three levels were the bullets, which were seemingly transparent as everyone ran for cover before my chips had even hit the felt. My other raises, however, seem to attract plenty of attention. Unfortunately, these were the hands that can often be described as ‘garbage hands’. I was determined not to sit in silence though, I wanted to mix it up and make my presence known. So, raising the odd raggy hand was a necessity to achieve this, I just couldn’t see my monsters getting paid off otherwise.
Interestingly, Simon seemed to call every one of my preflop raises. He was either calling to outplay me, or just playing a loose game, but it always seemed to be me he played against, so I had to assume the former. On one occasion I got to see what he was calling me with, Q-4! Cheeky monkey.
Although I was here to play, I also wasn’t willing to do anything too stupid. With Carlo next-door, playing the waiting game was easy. Just do as he does.
With no hands, a patient game in place, and a few raised hands going astray, I had 8.6k at the break, 400 below the starting stack (plus the rebuy). No catastrophe but nothing to get excited about either. The cards just weren’t running for me as my ‘hands won’ tally of 3 proved.
After the interval, the action picked up. Simon Aces departed leaving me free to start attacking the blinds. Unfortunately, I misplayed a hand. With the blinds at 100/200, I flatcalled the button with cards so raggy that I can’t even recall what they were. Stephen Jelink and Mrs Xanthos called in the blinds. The flop brought an ace, they both checked and I bet 600. Mrs X called. Both checked the raggy turn, and then she checked the blank on the river. I mulled it over for a while before opting for a 1500 steal. I put her on a missed draw or second pair. Obviously, she’d release the draw and, because I had her down as a relatively tight player, assumed she’d let go of second pair. I’d represented the ace to the max, so didn’t see why not. However, I didn’t quite realise how much of a rock she actually was. She dwelt for a while then called with A-7. My mistake really. My belief was that most aces would raise preflop, and all aces would bet the top pair on the flop, well, any of the streets really. Anyhow, a bluff gone astray and I’d thrown away 2.3k away rather unnecessarily. Boo boo by me.
After one more round, I was down to 6.5k and looking down at 4-3 of spades. I was by no means desperate. The blinds were still 100/200 and I had plenty of time, if not much room to manoeuvre. However, I was here to win the comp, not creep into Day 2, and that meant accumulating chips. So, I stuck in a raise of 600 thinking that the rocky blinds would probably fold. They did, but, unfortunately, new arrival David ‘riverdave’ Penley called from the button.
Now, I don’t know Dave particularly well, but I understand that he’s a dangerous player. For some reason, my gut told me that he was calling to outplay me, so my plan was to outplay him.
The flop came T-5-2 rainbow. My belief was that Dave had me down as a bit of rock who made the occasional smartarse move. I was also pretty sure that he was going to bet this flop if I checked, whatever his cards were. And I was right! I checked, and he bet 700 of his 5.4k stack. Right, time to represent the overpair. I raised to 1600. I was sure he had nowt and knew he’d pass to any kind of a raise that advertised an overpair. However, what you think you know is sometimes different to what you know. To my chagrin, Dave raised another 1400, an amount which I couldn’t possibly fold to.
As predicted, the turn came a blank and I was forced to check. Dave moved all-in for his last 2k. I knew he wasn’t bluffing after his rereraise on the flop, so it was a matter of pot odds now. With 8 outs, the odds of hitting were around 6-1. However, the pot odds were only offering just less than 5-1 with a call of 2k into a 9.5k pot. I did think about chucking the chips in, but I wasn’t too keen on putting my tourney on the line with a four high, especially when the blinds were small enough for a comeback.
Anyhow, I mucked and sunk into my chair, ready to move into super tight mode. Dave showed T-5 for top two pair. Eek.
I spoke to Dave afterwards and he said that he initially put me on A-Q, and J-J when I reraised, which is how I’d planned it. Unfortunately, his garbage had hit the flop and seriously dented my moderate chip stack.
A round or two later I pushed from the small blind with a king high, only to find the big blind sitting on pocket sixes. Ah well, at least I didn’t go out with a whimper. Go down fighting, that’s my motto.
I feel I must apologise for what is probably a rather dry and humourless entry into my blog. I feel slightly deflated after what has been a disappointing week. I built myself up for a big win, so, naturally, I’ve reached somewhat of an anti-climax.
Also, I’ve been left contemplating my game. Am I being too impatient? Am I playing the flops incorrectly? Am I bluffing too much? Etc etc etc. The mind boggles, probably too much. Perhaps I’m beating myself up too often, but I’m frustrated.
I’m desperate for a win, nothing big, just something that let’s people know that I’m here. I remember a time when someone referred to me as ‘the hottest new thing in poker’. Boy, those days seem a long time ago now, but there was a point where I couldn’t stop winning. It’s about time that form returned, I truly feel as though it’s deserved, if only to reward all the hard work I put into this game. It’s okay grinding away online, but it really doesn’t garner the financial rewards and morale boost that a big live victory can bring.
I’m at a stage where I’m bewildered by my game. I’m trying to win every comp I play in. Recently, I’ve made 3 top 3 finishes and 3 early exits. Unfortunately, the 3 early exits have been in £300 + events, whilst the wins were small freezouts at the Gala. However, I made those finals with chips, and I sincerely hope that I’ve just been running well in the wrong comps.
I don’t mind exiting early, I’m not scared of that anymore. What I am wary of though is departing early doors without knowing if I’ve played well or not. That scares the life out of me. Am I throwing money away or just not getting the run of the cards? I think it’s the former, but I’m not sure. Perhaps time will tell…