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Poker :: BBTwo TOC Recap
  submitted on December 22, 2007, 11:13 PM


First off, some belated congratulations to jeciimd for actually winning the Tournament of Champions, and earning himself a trip to Australia to play in the Aussie Millions. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of his win, and his ability to do what I couldn't, but at the same time, I'm really happy that the package was given to one of our more prominent bloggers, and on top of that, someone who can actually play poker and represent our group well down under. I still think it's unbelievable that the person that ended up at the top of the BBTwo leaderboard actually won the TOC. I think that's comparable to the #1 team in the country going on to actually win the NCAA basketball tournament in March, given all the different teams that have a shot it seems extremely unlikely to happen. So congrats to the doc for pulling out it out, hopefully we hear good things from him in a few weeks.

For me, a large reason why I spend time on these recaps is to educate myself on how to be a better poker player. First of all, I spend lots of time just reviewing tournaments in my head, thinking about key hands, overall tendencies, etc., just in preparation for what I'm about to write. Then I go through PokerTracker and pull out the hands of note, and blog about what I did and why.

Going in, I expected play to be fairly tight from everyone, considering this was a winner take all situation. The structure was nice and slow, 3,000 starting stack, 12-minute levels, and some extra levels thrown in. At the end of the second hour, the blinds were only at 120/240 I think. Sure enough, people did start out very tight, and it took 30 minutes just to eliminate the first person, and we only had about 5 or 6 out after the first hour.

I caught some cards early, picking up QQ, KK, and JJ in the first 12 hands, for a net of +715. Nothing else really of note, stole some blinds, folded to some re-raises, didn't really see many other flops. This was the first significant hand I had (about a half hour in), and really, big props to VinNay for making a sick laydown and not getting stacked here:

Seat 1: actyper (3,900)
Seat 2: -o-LuckTruck-o- (3,085)
Seat 3: Mike_Maloney (3,495)
Seat 4: Budohorseman (3,460)
Seat 5: lucko21 (3,575)
Seat 6: VinNay (3,120)
Seat 7: summer_babe (1,610)
Seat 8: emptyman (3,125)
Seat 9: dnasty13 (1,630)
Budohorseman posts the small blind of 25
lucko21 posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mike_Maloney [5s 5d]
VinNay raises to 150
summer_babe folds
emptyman folds
dnasty13 folds
actyper folds
-o-LuckTruck-o- folds
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney calls 150
Budohorseman folds
lucko21 folds
*** FLOP *** [9s 9d 5h]
VinNay bets 350
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney calls 350
*** TURN *** [9s 9d 5h] [Jd]
VinNay bets 950
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 1,900
VinNay has 15 seconds left to act
VinNay has requested TIME
VinNay folds
Uncalled bet of 950 returned to Mike_Maloney
Mike_Maloney mucks
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (2,975)


Vin actually blogged about this hand too, which he labelled under "The Bad" in his analysis. I guess it's bad considering his low chipstack following the hand, but really, I thought it was a phenomenal laydown on his part. He had KK, and instead of interpreting my raise on the turn as me hitting the Jack, his thought process is solid, and he makes the painful laydown knowing that out of all the hands I probably have, QQ is all he could beat. Really well done on his part.

I have to wonder if the min-raise was a bad move on my part. If I push, is he more likely to call? I don't know if I can call the turn and still get him to bet on the river. If anyone has any thoughts on what I could have done to get his whole stack, I would appreciate it. It was a nice hand for me, but I was definitely disappointed that I didn't get everything from him.

I got caught a little later dicking around in position, going for a LP raise with Q6o, then trying to push someone out on an A-high flop and eventually folding to a river bet. Only lost about 500 chips, but still, probably a bad move on my part.

Whole lot of nothing for a while after that, saw a few flops, but really stayed about even with my steals and losing to the blinds. Fast forward about 40 minutes from the last hand, and I pick up QQ, and raise on the button to 350, hoping that it's looked at as a steal attempt. budohorseman takes the bait, and pushes his short stack of 930 in, which is really exactly what I was hoping for. He flips over 9d Td and I get a nice 20% boost to my stack, jumping up to about 5,600.

I severely overplay 99 about 20 minutes later, calling an EP raise in the BB, then check-raising a value bet on a K-high flop, but folding to the re-raise. Not a great situation to put myself in, and I took a bit of a hit there, dropping me below 4,000.

I was starting to get a little worried, as my stack was dwindling, eventually dropping to 2,400 chips, with the blinds at 80/160. An hour and a half in, I picked up my only pair of Aces for the evening, and was able to pick up an extra 800 chips on a 727QQ board. Too many pairs had me hesitant to play them too hard, and I couldn't have picked up much more from them anyways.

I re-steal with AQ shortly there after from a very aggro Loretta who will never pass up an opportunity to steal the blinds in LP. I had Loretta to my direct right, and had been observing this behavior all night, so I was fortunate to get the opportunity to exploit it a little later:

Seat 1: SnailTrax (6,789)
Seat 3: Loretta8 (10,466)
Seat 4: Mike_Maloney (3,115)
Seat 6: twoblackaces (5,063)
Seat 8: -o-LuckTruck-o- (8,670)
Seat 9: jeciimd (2,512)
Loretta8 posts the small blind of 100
Mike_Maloney posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mike_Maloney [As Kh]
twoblackaces folds
-o-LuckTruck-o- folds
jeciimd folds
SnailTrax raises to 599
Loretta8 has 15 seconds left to act
Loretta8 raises to 1,999
Mike_Maloney raises to 3,115, and is all in
SnailTrax has 15 seconds left to act
SnailTrax folds
Loretta8: i gotta call
Loretta8 calls 1,116
Mike_Maloney shows [As Kh]
Loretta8 shows [Ad 8d]
*** FLOP *** [6h Jh 8c]
*** TURN *** [6h Jh 8c] [Kc]
*** RIVER *** [6h Jh 8c Kc] [Qc]
Mike_Maloney shows a pair of Kings
Loretta8 shows a pair of Eights
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (6,829) with a pair of Kings
Loretta8: nh


First off, I'm most likely not folding this hand no matter who is in the SB. However, considering it was Loretta who re-raised, I was pretty much convinced that I was maybe racing, but there was a good chance I had him dominated. Loretta had a significant stack, but I still question the idea that you 'have' to call an additional 15 percent of your stack off with Ad 8d, regardless of the odds you're getting. Especially considering I basically insta-pushed that hand. Did not enjoy the flop, obviously, but the turn brought sweet, sweet justice, and gave me a nice stack that I could work with.

More folding by me after that, until a little after the second break, I take a stand in the BB with the almighty QTo:

Seat 1: SnailTrax (5,220)
Seat 3: Loretta8 (9,791)
Seat 4: Mike_Maloney (6,149)
Seat 6: twoblackaces (3,471)
Seat 8: -o-LuckTruck-o- (7,470)
Seat 9: jeciimd (4,514)
SnailTrax antes 25
Loretta8 antes 25
Mike_Maloney antes 25
twoblackaces antes 25
-o-LuckTruck-o- antes 25
jeciimd antes 25
Loretta8 posts the small blind of 120
Mike_Maloney posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mike_Maloney [Td Qh]
twoblackaces folds
-o-LuckTruck-o- folds
jeciimd folds
SnailTrax raises to 799
Loretta8 folds
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney calls 559
*** FLOP *** [Qd 6h 5d]
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney checks
SnailTrax bets 1,199
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 5,325, and is all in
SnailTrax folds
Uncalled bet of 4,126 returned to Mike_Maloney
Mike_Maloney mucks
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (4,266)


I don't mind calling this preflop, it's 550 into a 1300 chip pot, and he has a wide range since he's stealing on the button. The flop was basically perfect for me, and I decided to check-raise for two reasons: 1. I was almost sure I was ahead here, and if I bet out on the flop, I probably wasn't going to get a call, and 2. Calling in the big blind, then checking the flop is often a good way to induce a c-bet from your opponent, because they will assume there is a good chance that the flop missed you and that you will fold to pressure.

Now, I'm not dumb enough to think my hand is invulnerable, so there's no way I'm just going to slow play and call. The push was to make sure he would just go away after giving me a further 20% of his stack post-flop.

That was the last big hand for me until the final table, which I went into I believe about fifth or so in chips. I didn't get much going to start out, and soon I found myself the shortstack with seven remaining. I found Presto for the second time that night, and for the second time it got me a double up:

Seat 1: Loretta8 (18,406)
Seat 2: actyper (11,990)
Seat 4: jeciimd (7,546)
Seat 5: Mike_Maloney (6,177)
Seat 6: huntsvegas (21,216)
Seat 7: lucko21 (7,932)
Seat 9: whiskigrl (7,733)
Loretta8 antes 50
actyper antes 50
jeciimd antes 50
Mike_Maloney antes 50
huntsvegas antes 50
lucko21 antes 50
whiskigrl antes 50
jeciimd posts the small blind of 250
Mike_Maloney posts the big blind of 500
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mike_Maloney [5h 5s]
huntsvegas raises to 1,500
lucko21 folds
whiskigrl folds
Loretta8 folds
actyper folds
jeciimd folds
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 6,127, and is all in
huntsvegas calls 4,627
Mike_Maloney shows [5h 5s]
huntsvegas shows [Jd Ac]
*** FLOP *** [Qc 5d 4d]
*** TURN *** [Qc 5d 4d] [6h]
*** RIVER *** [Qc 5d 4d 6h] [2h]
Mike_Maloney shows three of a kind, Fives
huntsvegas shows Ace Queen high
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (12,854) with three of a kind, Fives
huntsvegas: nh


I don't hate this play, but I don't exactly love it, either. There are a few different factors that fed into this decision. huntsvegas was the chipleader, and had been since the final table started. He was, of course, directly to my left, which meant I really wanted his stack smaller than it was. Also, my M was floating at just above 5, and I was the shortstack, so I definitely needed something to happen. I felt like I still had some fold equity, so I thought it was possible to push here and induce a fold.

So, some things that make this not such a great move is the fact that I'm holding 55. Sure, the fact that it's Presto gives it a better shot of winning than some mediocre middle pair like 77 or 88, but still, I could very easily be running into a higher pair, or at best I'm against two overs if my opponent calls. At some point in time your stack has to be low enough to where you're willing to go the felt in a race situation. Given what's at stake for the winner, is my push here the right move? I'm not entirely sure. I thought his call with AJo was a little on the loose side, considering he's calling off 20% of his stack. I guess I can't complain too much considering the results.

This got me back into the thick of things, and I was now third in chips. I kept afloat after this, getting as high as second in chips, not getting too much to work with outside of JJ one hand. Then came my knockout hand, 4-handed, three hours into the tournament:

Seat 1: Loretta8 (41,207)
Seat 4: jeciimd (11,792)
Seat 5: Mike_Maloney (13,737)
Seat 6: huntsvegas (14,264)
Loretta8 antes 100
jeciimd antes 100
Mike_Maloney antes 100
huntsvegas antes 100
Mike_Maloney posts the small blind of 400
huntsvegas posts the big blind of 800
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mike_Maloney [7d 7s]
Loretta8 folds
jeciimd raises to 2,400
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 13,637, and is all in
huntsvegas raises to 14,164, and is all in
jeciimd folds
huntsvegas shows [Ad As]
Mike_Maloney shows [7d 7s]
Uncalled bet of 527 returned to huntsvegas
*** FLOP *** [Jd 3s Kc]
*** TURN *** [Jd 3s Kc] [4h]
*** RIVER *** [Jd 3s Kc 4h] [6c]
huntsvegas shows a pair of Aces
Mike_Maloney shows a pair of Sevens
huntsvegas wins the pot (30,074) with a pair of Aces
Mike_Maloney: gl all
Mike_Maloney stands up


My feelings on this hand are pretty similar to the recent Presto hand, but there are some differences. I am third in chips, but really there is a clear chip leader, and three of us at about the same level. My M is much more manageable now at about 9. These are all reasons that I should be careful about overplaying a hand like 77. Actually, I want to reference back to the JJ hand I mentioned I had picked up a little before this:

Dealt to Mike_Maloney [Jd Jc]
huntsvegas raises to 1,600
Loretta8 folds
actyper folds
jeciimd has 15 seconds left to act
jeciimd folds
Mike_Maloney calls 1,000
*** FLOP *** [5d Th 7c]
Mike_Maloney checks
huntsvegas bets 1,500
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney raises to 4,500
huntsvegas has 15 seconds left to act
huntsvegas folds
Uncalled bet of 3,000 returned to Mike_Maloney
Mike_Maloney mucks
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (6,875)


See, this is what more along the lines of what I should have done with my 77. I specifically remember just smooth calling with JJ because I knew it wasn't a real strong hand and I didn't want to overplay it and get caught in a bad situation. So I just call, and then check the flop and put in a raise based on my read that his c-bet was weak and I had the best hand.

The 77 hand, instead I choose to make a move that should be reserved for more desperate situations than what I was in. I could have just called, then folded on huntsvegas' push, or I could have even folded given the position I had. Now, don't get me wrong, I could have had QQ and pushed and the hand would have played out the same way, it was just unlucky for me that the big blind happened to have AA. But that doesn't change the fact that pushing here with 77 given the circumstances surrounding the hand was most likely not the best play here. It's unfortunate that I made this mistake and didn't realize it until after the fact, but it's also important that the mistake is realized, because it will help me be a better player in the future.

Overall, I was pretty happy with my play. There were several hands that I called with in the big blind, then check-folded the flop. I was very frustrated with my plays at the time, and kept telling myself not to do it, but I just couldn't pull the trigger like I should have. They were weak plays by me. For the most part, however, I did a nice job of avoiding mistakes like that. I played very, very tight, only seeing about 8% of the flops, which is super tight even for me. But the structure allowed for it, and I felt like it was the best approach (look at jec, obviously it works). As tough of a loss as this was, it was also a big confidence booster for me and my play, knowing I was able to outlast a number of players I consider superior to me in ability in a tournament with more of a prize pool than any I've been in with them before.

My focus was very solid, and I wish I could always have that kind of focus when I play. It really makes the game a lot easier in certain aspects, and stops you from making stupid mistakes.

That's about all I've got on the TOC, any thoughts you might have on anything I've said are always appreciated.

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