Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Table and the Politics of the Chop (Part 1)

It was another successful Sunday of tournament poker.  I made it to a 5-way chop (approximately $1,300) at the noon event at Delaware Park.  Thus far, for the month of October, I've played 7 tournaments for a total buy-in of $685, and cashed 3 for winnings of $2,217.  Definitely feeling more confident in my MTT ("multi-table-tournaments") game, and eying some smaller buy-in WSOP events next summer (just for the experience . . .).
I bit more on the tournament in a moment.  But first, a hand from a cash game at Borgata on Saturday:
Triple-P is new to the table, sitting on $325.  There are two villains in this hand: Old Man Degen ("OMD") who is a Borgata regular and is sitting on about $180, and a young Indian kid ("YIK") in middle position who has me covered.  OMD is UTG+1 and YIK is in middle position.  OMD opens for $10 and YIK flats.  I look down at AK spades and repop to $30.  It folds around both OMD and YIK call. 
($93 in pot preflop - YIKES!!!)
Flop is 7 A 9 (two diamonds)  
OMD leads out for $30 and YIK calls.   I put OMD on a decent A.  Not sure where YIK is at, but don't think he outdrew me based on his mere call on a coordinated board.  I continue my story and re-raise to $125, trying to take the pot down before the turn.   OMD calls and YIK folds.
($373 in the pot).  
At this point, PPP has $170 behind and OMD has about $30 left.  I'm getting my money in on the turn no regardless what comes up.
Turn is the 8 of clubs.
OMD checks and I shove.  He calls the last of his chips, as expected, and flips . . . AJ off.  WTF?  I three-bet pre-flop and repoped his donk bet on the A-high flop.  How can he possibly think his J kicker is good?  What can my range be with this line?  Of course, perhaps OMD knew that the river would be a T, giving him the J-high straight and taking down a massive pot . . .
So, my read was correct, and I got my money in good.  But, I was left wondering whether I played AK too big for a cash game?  Any thoughts?
Shortly after the above hand, I flopped a set of 3's on a 345 (two heart flop) and called down three streets to a guy who flopped the wheel with A2.  Yep, one of those days . . .  Ultimately, however, I grinded back and left after 7 hours with a $35 profit.  A moral victory of sorts . . .
On to Sunday's tournament . . .
$100 buy-in, 105 runners, $12,500 chips, thirteen spots paid.  After level 1, I hit a dead patch for the next 5 levels.  A constant barrage of 82, A3, K4, Q3, 72, T2 . . . over and over and over.  I spent all of level six just looking for a hand I could shove and table without humiliating myself.  No such hand ever came. 
Level 6 began after the second break with blinds at $600 / $1,200 and my starting stack was down to about $5,800.  Then, finally, I got some playable hands:  I shove AT in position and take the blinds and antes . . . Pocket 4's, same result . . . pocket 6's same . . . pocket 8's same . . . I then flatted AQ from the button after the cut-off limped.  The small blind, who was sitting on about $10,000 called.  Flop comes out Q-high.  Cut off checks, I bet it, and small blind, who is clearly sick of me after my 10 minute rush, shoves.  I insta-call, he flips QJ and I felt him. 
Shortly thereafter, I took a table change and sat down with about $22,000.  Still below the $30,000 average at the time, but now able to actually play some poker.  Three hands in, the following hand took place:
PPP is in the big blind ($50 / $1,000 / $2,000).  Woman opens from MP for $4,000 (she has about $20,000 behind).  It folds around and I look down at 55.  I had been murdering with these small pocket pairs since level 7 began.  I consider a raise, but have no read on this woman and figure, given her stack size, she may just shove.  Having just gotten my stack back, I don't want to play for life with 55.  So, I just call.
Flop comes down 588.  Um.  Cool.  Pretty safe looking flop for a big Ace or any decent pocket pair to continue.  I check and set the trap.  Woman steps in and bets $6,500.  I spring it and shove.  With $14,500 in the middle, she contributes her last $9,000 or so and flips AQ.  See ya.  The Poker Barrister now has $40,000+ and is ready for a run....
A few hours later, we got down to two tables.  I had an $80,000 stack - about average, and was determined to take more than a min cash. 
Now, since I'm not Vegas Rob, and since I fully recognize the attention span of the average blog reader (myself included), I'll cut this post off here and pick it up later this week.


  1. AK on an A high board with a 3bet pot (though you have to watch that dangerously close profitable set mining odds so deep). If they're smart, they'll can call you "somewhat" light here (not the guy with $170 who should be folding or shoving but the deep dude). You have $325 and you're offering > 10-1 implied on the call. Personally, so deep, and with position, I prefer to bump to $35-40 even. You have >$20 in the pot and your call makes $30. You've raised roughly 2x on an opener with a degen flatting any two. You'd love to get it in with degen and fold a shove from your Indian boy (too deep for my taste to be flipping coins for 150+BB). You have the lower range of a good hand. You basically get it in on the flop with 4 hands logically beating you (77, 99, A7, A9). There are so many aces in each of their ranges which they'll look you up. Big hand = big pot. You had a low end of a big hand. Play the big pot and stack him. He's dead with 1 card to 7 outs. GG and well played, OMD. Rebuy!

  2. well played, looking forward to hearing how you got past the last 2 tables, I seem to be doing nothing but min cashing this year!

  3. Of course, OMD should have known that calling your initial raise was foolish. I understand his raise after the flop, but calling your raise to $125? If he really thought his A-J was good he should have just shoved instaed of calling. Totally gross hand.

    Sounds like your tournament semi-heater continues ...