A Sit-N-Go Tournament - Hand by Hand

February 3, 2015 Pokerist.com Poker strategy

First and foremost, let me offer this lesson that was reinforced during my play: playing distracted can lead to some serious mistakes. Watching the action while typing it out was an extreme form of distraction. On one hand, I was following the action very carefully, which is inherently good. On the other hand, I was so busy trying to type out the action that sometimes I had to act with haste to avoid being timed out. Nonetheless, I recorded most of the details from each hand. So, let’s get to it.

The Players

1s — Rok

2s — Fred

3s — Me

4s — Carlos

5s — Get Some

The Stakes

1k starting stacks.10/20 blinds.

The Action

In my first hand, I was dealt 46o on the button. There were two limpers before me. I decided to fold. My hand is weak and until I become acclimated with my competition, I want to avoid getting into difficult spots. The remaining players saw the flop, Q75, rainbow. Initially, this appears to have been a good flop for me, if I were still in the hand, with an open ended straight draw. However, Get Some immediately bet out 330 into the 80 pot, which would have been enough to force me to fold. As it were, everyone folded and Get Some took an early lead.

On the very next hand, I was dealt Q. Q. Fred folded so I raised to 73. I was trying to raise to 80, but time was running short and I was too busy writing notes. Carlos and Get call. Rok, in the BB, folds. The flop is 2s7s7h. Get Some bet 81, and I opted to call. If he was willing to take the lead in betting, I did not want to discourage him with a raise. I had a minimal amount of fear that he was holding a 7, but nothing I saw thus far suggested that this was particularly likely. The turn was Jd. This time, he bet 260. With only 646 left in his stack, I decide to raise all-in. He calls and we see a river that I did not include in my notes. Alas, I win, crippling him so badly that it appeared as though he simply closed Pokerist and was disqualified from the tournament. I now had a decent stack.

In the next hand, I was dealt AKo, under the gun. I raised to 85. Only Carlos called. We saw a flop of 3h8cTh. I continuation bet 120, hoping to induce a fold. Carlos min-raised me. Seeing as how the pot was a decent size, I opted to call on a float, hoping to hit an Ace or King, or find an opportunity to bluff. The turn was a 5s. I checked. Carlos bet all-in and I folded. By the end of this hand, I had 1700+, still a nice amount.

Next, I was dealt 89c in the B. B. All players limp. I decide to min raise to build the pot and see my opponents' reactions. All call. The flop was 7h3hQs. All check. The turn was an 8h. If someone was on the flush draw, they hit it. Meanwhile, I had middle pair. I bet 100 and all opponents folded. My stack had grown to 1800+.

I was then dealt 6To in the S. B. All folded before me, so I limped. Carlos and I saw a 224 flop. I checked and Carlos checked. The turn was a third 2. I checked. Carlos bet 20. I comfortably folded.

Blinds increased to 20/40.

I was then dealt 24o on the button. I folded. The blinds, Carlos and Rok, saw a flop of J98 with two clubs. Both check the flop. The turn is 7h. Rok bets 40 and Carlos folds. Rok is living up to his name. He has not played many hands, so when he does play, I will expect him to have decent cards.

Next up, J8o, under the gun. I fold. Carlos calls and sees the flop with the two blinds. Ultimately, Fred wins the pot post flop with a min bet on a K8T board with two spades flop. Fred has also been fairly quiet, and therefore, worthy of caution.

In the next hand, I was dealt J6o in the B. B. All players limp and I check. The flop is 8s9cAc. I have the Jc for a backdoor flush draw (i.e., I need two additional clubs to hit it). Carlos makes a min bet. Rok calls it. I decide to fold. The turn is a 7c. Carlos min bets again, and Rok calls. The river is 2c, making a four-flush. Anyone with a club has a flush. Carlos min bets for a third time; Rok calls. Carlos shows 6c9s for the flush, 6-high, and wins the pot. He had a pair on the flop and lucked his way into a weak flush. I could’ve won the pot if I stayed in, but the fold was the correct play at the time, since backdoor flushes rarely come in and someone could have been playing a stronger club.

I was next dealt T8o under the gun. Fred raised from the button, which was a new play from him, so I folded without hesitation. Carlos calls, proving himself to be the action player at the table. While I did not write down the board, Carlos lead the action for the rest of the hand with small bets on the flop and turn. Fred called both bets. On the river, though, Carlos bet big, and Fred called. This leads me to believe that Fred is able to be pushed off of a hand with a big bet, even after calling for several streets.

I folded my next hand, T3o on button. Carlos once again played the role of the aggressor against the two others. This time Fred called a large bet from Carlos and ends up all-in. Carlos wins with AQ on an Ace-high board (A on the flop). The lesson here is that even when a player is appears to be loose and aggressive, sometimes that player actually has good cards. I am sure that Fred was tired of Carlos' aggression and decided to keep him honest. Unfortunately, Fred’s timing was terrible. And we were down to three.

In the next hand, I was dealt K6o in the B. B. We all see the flop, J96, rainbow. I hit bottom pair, but since there are only two players left in the game, I opt to bet 95. Carlos calls. Rok only has $332 left, but folds. What a rock. I make the same bet when the turn is dealt as Ad. This time, though, Carlos raises me. Knowing that Carlos is an aggressive player, I consider my options, but opt to fold so that I can get my money in against him in a better spot. I still have 1500 chips left.

In the very next hand, I am dealt AKo in the S. B. Rok folded from the button. I raised to 180 (blinds were up to 30/60), and Carlos folded.

I was then dealt A5o on button. I raised to 240 and all folded once again. Rok is now down to 252 and should be playing all-in or fold poker.

In the next hand, I am dealt Q3o in the B. B. Carlos limps. Rok calls, which is a terrible play with his meager chip stack. I check. The flop is 3h4h4c. I bet 150 into 240 pot, and Carlos calls. The turn is 5d. I check. He bets 80. I call. The river is 6h. I check. He bets 80. I call and win. I was fairly confident that I was ahead most of the way, but I did not want to bust out to Carlos when Rok was on welfare. This hand led me to believe that Carlos' small bets signify that he has a weak hand.

I am next dealt 75o in the S. B. Blinds are up to 40/80. Rok pushed all-in for 172. It is such a small amount (an additional 132 to potentially be in the money) that I call with my weak cards. I fully expect Carlos to call, too, since he will only have to call 92 to win more than 400. Alas, he folds. In the end, my 75o lost to Rok’s JTo, but since it cost me so little, the loss does not bother me at all.

I am next dealt Q3o and fold. Rok ends up all-in again, this time against Carlos. Rok wins with his A. K. His chip stack has increased to 780.

Rok pushed all-in on the very next hand. I had KTo and contemplated my action. This was the third hand in a row where he pushed all-in. There is a fun saying about pushing all-in during a tournament, «It works every time, except for the last time.» Why? Because you can win all-in pushes all day long, but once you lose one all-in push, you are out of the tournament. I surmised that Rok’s confidence has been boosted by his two back-to-back wins and he was likely pushing his luck. Therefore, I decided to call with my marginal hand. The board was QTQJK by the river, and I had won. It was now heads-up. Carlos, with 2,225 chips, against me, with 2,775 chips. Blinds had increased to 80/160.

I was dealt T7o in the B. B. We saw the flop, 34J, rainbow. Carlos min-bet 160. I folded.

In the next hand, I had 56o in the SB. I called and we saw a flop, 345, with two spades. I opted to just check. Even though I had top pair, I wanted to give Carlos the chance to bluff it. Alas, he checked too. The turn was a Td. I bet 270, and he called. The river was 8h. This time, I checked, hoping he would take the bet and bluff. He bet 810 and I called, only to learn that, whoops, he had 67 for the flopped straight. He was slowplaying me the whole time. Good thing for me, I still had chips, 1,325, to be exact. The lesson here is that if you are always the aggressor, as Carlos was, slowplaying is less profitable than betting your hands. I would’ve likely called action on each street if he had bet. Instead, I saved money on the flop and I was able to control the size of the bet on the turn. If there is a lesson to be learned from my play, it is, once again, that even aggressive players sometimes have good cards.

I was next dealt 89o. I checked. We saw a TQ3 flop. Carlos bet. I called with the inside straight draw. More than anything, I doubted he had any cards, so I was looking for an opportunity to steal. The turn was a 6, giving me an open-ended straight draw. He min bet. I could’ve bet here, but I decided to pay the price to see the river. I missed the river, which was a 2h. He min bet once again, and I folded. I was down to 1005. I should’ve folded on the flop, but I fell victim to fancy play syndrome.

I was officially in all-in or fold mode. Blinds were 160/320, and I had around 1,000 chips. With T8o, I folded from the SB to save 160.

In the very next hand, I was dealt K8o in BB. I was ready to push. Carlos limped and I pushed all-in. He called and I won on a board of Q7T76. I was short enough that he was obvious willing to gamble with some loose calls. I took advantage of that in the next hand.

With ATo, I open pushed again. He called and I won again. Suddenly, I was chip leader, with around 3.5k to his 1.5k.v In the next hand, I was dealt 24o and folded after Carlos pushed all-in. I then open-folded 83o.

With 74o in the BB, I checked after Carlos called. We saw a flop of 38Q. He checked, so I min bet. By this point, blinds were 320/640 and I was fairly confident that if he had a hand that was good enough to call 640, he probably would’ve pushed all-in already. He folded and my bluff paid off. We were now at around my 4k to his 1k.

Next up, I folded. T4o. He then returned the favor by open-folding when all I had was 87o. I was then dealt AJo and went back into fancy pay mode. Rather than raise, I opted to call. He checked. The flop was AK3, and I once again checked, hoping he would push all-in with his remaining 760. Nope. He checked. The turn was a Tc, creating two flush draws. I once again check, hoping to induce a push. He does not take the bait. The river is Js, filling one of the flush draws and giving me two pair. I finally make my bet, but he folds. I doubt I would’ve gotten any more from him post-flop, but if I made my play preflop, he may’ve called loose or even pushed all-in, thinking that I was trying to bully him with my comparatively large stack. Once again, fancy play syndrome got me.

Fortunately, I did not have long to mourn. In the next hand, I was dealt 66. He pushed all-in and I called. My 66 held up and I won the tournament.

Lessons Recapped

There were three lessons that stood out to me.

1. Beware Fancy Play Syndrome. Sometimes, ABC poker is best. Both Carlos and I got fancy at various times and all we did was cheat ourselves out of money.

2. Sometimes the Aggressive Player Actually Has Cards. Just because a player is betting or raising a lot, does not mean that he is always bluffing.

3. Play Your Players, Not Just Your Cards. Fred and Rok were very different players than Carlos. If you are too focused on your cards, you can miss this important element of the game. I knew I could call Carlos looser than I could call Fred and Rok, and overall, that paid off for me.


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