Wednesday, August 02, 2006

25 seconds at the final table

... literally. ricoM arrived at the final table in Miz Maudie's named WWdN last night and 25 seconds later left in 9th place with $19.25 in my virtual pocket, falling in the first hand against aquaverse when I made a rookie play that has caught me out too many times before - pairing high card on the flop with an Ace kicker and playing the hand way too passive/aggressive.

I'm in the Big Blind with AJo (200/400/25). Aquaverse simply limps in. Everyone else folds. I check because at the time I don't think much of the AJ off. This is Mistake #1 - Passive. Sometimes you bet because you think you have the better hand, sometimes you bet to steal. Sometimes you bet for information. Against one player, I should be thinking at least one of those things and bet. If I had bet out, maybe $1000, it's likely that aquaverse would have gone over-the-top at me, since he was slow-playing a pair of Queens. With a limp and then a raise, I would have folded, smelling a big pair trap, turning over the $2000 to him, but I'd still be in the game with around $5000 in chips. Even a call would have raised my antenna that he was playing something. But no bet by Rico, no information for Rico.

Flop is 7c Js 4s. I, as I said, have top pair and get all excited, like a little girl. It is a good hand, but not so good that it can't be beaten, by say a set of 7s or 4s, both possible limper hands, or by someone who has played his hand just like aquaverse has and has laid the perfect trap if I'm holding a Jack. I bet $1200, and aquaverse immediately raises to $3500. Here comes Mistake #2 - Aggressive. The only play I can make now is use my remaining chips and go all-in or fold my tent. Again, I'd have around $5k in chips left if I fold, short-stacking me at the final table, but enough that I could work my way out of the hole with some good play and good luck.

In mid position, I don't believe aquaverse has been playing J7 or J4, even on a limp, certainly he ain't playing a 74 combo. Limping with a small pair that has evolved into a set is certainly a possibility - hell, I do it all the time - but I choose to ignore it; and decide that aquaverse is probably holding a KJ or QJ. This is pretty specious thinking on my part in retrospect, but it's wonderful what you can convince yourself is true when at the poker tables.

In any case, I have at him, use my remaining chips and go all-in and, not surprisingly, since he's already committed over $4,000, aquaverse calls my $1200 raise. This could be listed as Mistake #3 on my part, as you should not go all-in unless Uno: you believe you have the winning hand and want to be called or Dos: There's something on the board that you can use to convince your opponent you have the winning hand when you don't want to be called. I kinda believe I have the winning hand, but kinda is not the belief system you should be using when your tournament life is at stake. And in my heart of hearts, I'd be really, really happy if aquaverse doesn't call. As I said, Mistake #3, but at this point it doesn't really matter - it's like remembering that you didn't put on clean underwear after having been hit by a truck because you forgot to check both sides of the street.

Aquaverse has, as you might remember, a pair of Queens, and has me beat from the git-go. I could get an Ace or Jack at the turn, but I don't. I could get one or the other at the River, but aquaverse gets a 3rd Queen instead, sealing my fate.

Aquaverse would later go on to take down the tournament. I'd go home, 9th place. Outside of that bonehead play, I was pretty pleased with myself last night, finally feeling like I had my game back after an erratic past couple of weeks. Had Maudie at my table for a bit, which was nice. Kept my eye on that crazy monkey who blitzed me last week while calling me "Dude," half regretting not getting the chance to take my revenge on her, half happy that we stayed at separate tables through the night, as Gracie would drop down to 400-600 in chips, and then blast her way back up the board. Just as happy not to be her victim again, thank you very much.

Until next week.

No comments: