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03/02/2005: how to handle a rope

it has been a day. wednesdays are my days off, so i got up early to hit the 7AM Poker Stars $11 Rebuy tourney. after blowing through four rebuys for an extra $40, the decks finally warmed and gave me some winners. but how about the first bad beat? that would be 7 min into the tourney when my wired 9s trip on the flop and i get all-in'd by a guy holding two pair. his out? he hits his full house (aces full of fives) on the river. anyway, by the first break i was in 48th place out of the remaining 195 players (258 started) with 8750 in chips. i spent another $10 to make it 10750 after the break (and the end of the rebuy period.) at the end of the second break i am in 42nd place with 17825 in chips.

during this second hour hand # 1292572466 played out interestingly: the blinds are 75/150 and i am in the small blind, where i pull KQ. 3 callers, plus myself and the big blind head into the flop. flop comes K 9 6 and i am first to act. i have hit top pair, but don't have top kicker, plus the board has a flush waiting; i bet out the pot - 750. the BB folds, middle seat calls and the guy in the cut-off seat (absinthian, with 13480 in chips) tacks on an additonal 900 to make it 1650 to go. hmmm, now i am thinking maybe he slow-played AK or KK. i study for a sec and call. middle positon calls and we are three handed to the turn with 5700 in the pot. the turn brings a 9, pairing the board. i am in a bad spot b/c i am first to act. absinthian's re-raise has me worried, so i check it around to him. middle postion checks and absinthian bets out 1900. now i am faced with either calling or raising but i have at least one advantage - i had been playing with this guy for the four previous levels. during this time, i put him on being loose/aggressive/possibly maniacal: he was playing lots of pots and hit chip total was swinging wildly. while this is pretty standard for a re-buy tourney, i watched him get called down a few times where he either had to show his hand or he mucked, which allowed me to see his cards via the "Request hand history" function. he seemed to be playing looser than most, certainly looser than me! so with a smidgen of trepidation, i smooth called his bet. the middle player folds out - we'll never know his hand, but 1900 more was too rich for his blood. on to the turn where a Td comes out; a brick for me but if this crazy fool was playing J Q on the draw for his flush, well bingo-bango b/c he just pulled a straight! again, i am first to act; i check and absinthian bets out 3200. with so much in the kitty i am pretty much forced to call, with a wide range of hands that could be crushing me. my calling makes the pot a whopping 15900 and leaves me with 4075 in chips. moment of truth: absinthian turns over Jh5h - not only was he on the flush draw the whole time, but he was betting into it! winning this pot catapults me into 14th place with 19975 in chips.

i realize this was a risky hand, esp since all i had was top pair and a semi-poor kicker. BUT - i think this is a little bit of what Malcolm Gladwell was talking about in Blink: after playing four rounds with this joker, i was able to thin-slice the data and go with my "gut." now the immutable laws of probability could have given him his flush and had it i would have probably laid down, but the flush never came and something told me this guy was on the draw.

anyway, i ended up in 10th place, taking a crushing bad beat when my pair of kings (made on the flop) fell to trips tens (made on the flop & turn!!) i was a 78% favorite headed into the turn and would have doubled-through to become the chip leader. the guy who beat me, Hawken24, went on to win the tourney. my cut: $130.44 less the $61 cost = $69.44/ 4 hours of play = $17.36/hr. umm, i made more than that programming. geez.

anyway - while i was happy with my play, even more with the fact that i only sucked out once in four hours, i still was very disappointed to miss playing for first and the almost $3K it paid out. oh yeah, one other weird anomaly: i got KK wired 3 times in less than 10 minutes, one time which doubled me through to 23rd place.

currently i am playing in the afternoon version of this morning's tourney and since we are now past the first break (and the end of the rebuys) i need to go pay attention to my opponents. btw - i am in 284th place out of 455. crank it up!

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