Monday, December 5, 2011

Delaware Redux (Part 1)

Spent the weekend in Delaware playing a mix of cash and tournaments at Dover Downs and Del Park.  Started the trip Friday night with the 7:00 pm $5,000 guaranty at Dover.  Buy-in was an even $100, with $7,500 starting stacks, blinds starting at $25 / $50 and no antes.  The tournament pulled 68 runners, with 7 spots paid.  I tried playing good TAG poker at the outset.  Played very few hands (had QQ twice in the first two levels and was outflopped both hands, losing the minimum).  Used my position to outplay AK with my AQ when I re-raised on a dry flop.  Built my stack up to $12,000 at the first break, and then $32,000 by the second break (breaks were every three levels).  Hit a rough patch between the second and third break.  I was totally card dead, and didn't find any good spots to make a move.  Hit the third break just barely holding on with $17,000, and 23 players left in the field.

Made a nice move between the 3rd and 4th breaks.  I tried hard to maintain a nice TAG style, and apparently choose good spots to take down flops regardless of my hole cards.  Coming out of the 4th break, there were 11 players left . . . one spot from the final table and 4 to the money.  I had chipped up from $14,000 to $46,000:

I don't have much tournament experience, and even less final table experience.  I know people say the bubble is the time to get aggressive and to steal pots from the short stacks who are just trying to hold on to the money.  While this strategy makes sense, it's hard to implement when you are one of the short stacks.  With $46,000 chips and blinds at $3000 / $6000, I found my play limited.   Being card dead did not help.  About half way through the round, with 8 left (one from the money) I woke up with TT UTG+1.  Under The Gun opened for $14,000.  I thought about shoving, but folded.  Too weak?  Maybe.  But the play worked out as the bubble burst shortly thereafter.  I then promptly busted two hands later with AT spades in the Cutoff.  I raised to $15,000, which virtually pot committed me (in retrospect, perhaps an open shove would have been the better play).  I got one caller, whiffed the flop, and shoved.  Got snap called by A 4 diamonds . . . hit my T on the turn, but lost to a rivered steel wheel.   Finished 7th and in the money.

I think playing the tournament may actually have been good for my cash game.  The structure, and my deep run, made me refocus on strength of hand and position.  I think its too easy, particularly in a fairly soft cash came, to start playing mediocre hands out of position and to not realize the mistake.  But, in tournament play . . . in middle position with KQ off . . . . and blinds at $3000 / $6000 . . . and the imminent threat that someone may shove . . . well, it tends to bring you back into focus . . . at least for me it did.      

I stayed at Dover Saturday and played two sessions, one of which included the softest table I've ever sat at . . . but more on that later . . .


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