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.
1s — Rok
2s — Fred
3s — Me
4s — Carlos
5s — Get Some
1k starting stacks.10/20 blinds.
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
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
I was then dealt 6To
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
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 very next hand, I am dealt AKo
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
I am next dealt 75o
I am next dealt Q3o and fold. Rok ends up all-in again, this time against Carlos. Rok wins with
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 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.
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.