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Poker :: Big Game Donkey
  submitted on November 6, 2006, 8:41 AM

Yep, that's me. Yesterday was the second edition of the Big Game, and I managed to donk it up something fierce and get knocked out first. After picking up a couple hands and increasing my chip stack by 200 or so, I find myself with AQo in the sb. Mungo raises to 3.5x in EP, and TripJax calls in MP. I debated whether or not to just fold the hand since I was going to be first to act post-flop (In hindsight maybe I should have), but I decide to call, which really isn't a horrible idea. Flop comes 5 3 A, with two spades. Pot is about 350, I bet about 280 or so. Mungo calls, and TripJax also calls. Turn is a 6 non-spade. I bet 1200, Mungo calls again, but TripJax pushes all-in. I figure I have to be beat here and fold after putting in almost half my stack, Mungo calls and flips over AK, and TripJax shows his junk 5 6 soooooted that happned to pick up a flush draw along with two pair. Unfortunately for him the board pairs on the river when a 3 drops, and Mungo's two pair win the pot.

Looking back, I don't think calling pre-flop was the worst idea ever. It may not be the best idea, but I think there was a decent chance that my AQ was the best hand. I also like my bet on the flop, although maybe I should have made it a pot-sized bet to show a little more strength. However, this is where I make my big mistake. The problem with acting first is that you have no ability to react to what everyone else is doing in that betting round. When a card drops on the turn or the river, you have no idea how that card has affected your opponents until after you act. Therefore, it's hard to force the action in first position unless you know you have the best hand. After betting strong on the flop and getting two calls, I should have realized that my hand was probably not best, and checked the turn. Against one opponent, maybe I bet again, but with two other people in, there is a good chance that someone has AK, or trips (Or in this case, two pair with a flush draw). I mean, think about it, if I'm one of those two, and an Ace drops on the flop, and the sb opens the betting, and I am holding AJ or weaker, do I really think my hand is good? Probably not. So, I should have checked the turn, let Mungo bet out with his AK, and let TripJax raise with his two pair, and then I could have folded and saved myself 1200 chips.

So, after that I waited for another hand, which appeared in the form of pocket tens. Blinds were 25/50, and Mungo was first (or maybe second) to act and raised to 3.5x. The action was folded around to me at -1, and I decided to push with 1200 or so left. Mungo calls, shows AK (again!), and hits an ace on the turn to knock me out.

Stupid push by me looking back. I'm in bad shape for sure, but not so bad that I need to be pushing all-in pre-flop unless I'm trying to chase limpers out. The correct play (Since I have position, something I lacked in the previous hand) would have been to smooth call, or maybe re-raise (probably not with tens, though), and once the flop hit, with nothing but low cards, push all-in, as his AK would look a whole lot less appealing. I could have increased my stack by about 15% or so, which would have been helpful. Instead I got too focused on where my chips were relative to everyone else, which was dumb considering how early in the tournament it was.

Playing properly given your position is something I constantly struggle with, and yesterday was a fantastic example of that. Part of me is also still trying to get used to the fact that in blogger tournaments, you're usually playing against some good competition, and not the usual run of the mill donkeys that you find in regular S&Gs. However, playing against bloggers really gives me a good chance to examine my mistakes, which is extremely valuable to me. I'm going to take a little break from poker for a few days this week, as my play lately has been downright bad, but hopefully I can get a token together for the next Big Game in a couple weeks.

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