Monday, 27 August 2012

Sunday Million Result - Back To Basics

Sadly this is not a long story but I played pretty well in the limited time I contested this weeks Sunday Million. Early on I struggled to get anything going, whilst at the same time not putting myself at risk. The best hand I got in the first hour was a pair of nines but I kept patient and did not get frustrated. After about an hour and a half I changed tables, now with only half original stack. To keep my stack together I raised in a couple of spots with poor hands when not getting cards when I would look strong after inactivity. This was a lesson learned from the Red Spade Open. The final two hands before the second break playing against the table chip leader sealed my fate. Finally I got two premium hands and against a loose big stack. In the first he tried to bully me off Jacks and put me all in pre-flop. I called and held up against his A8. The very next hand I was dealt aces in the big blind. After a raise and a call the loose chip leader made a big squeeze style raise to around half my stack. This looked very promising. I went all in, the early raiser and caller folded and I faced king jack off suit for a massive boost to my Sunday Million dream. An ace on the flop looked promising but a ten also meant a queen would see me knocked out - her Majesty duly arrived on the turn and I could not fill up on the river. I ended 3767th out of 6397 who played. This final hand could have given me a decent platform to progress in the tournament. Pre-flop I was around 86% to have a well above average stack with just over half the players left. Overall I am happy that I did nothing wrong but am a little frustrated because I don't play enough of these to iron out the variance - I needed my luck to hold. Oh well, not a bad effort.
I played a total of forty one MTTs in August, cashing in only four of them for a total of $65. None of my big buy ins went well enough to cash and none of my smaller buy ins went far enough to really matter. As a result I have lost around $500 playing tournament poker in this month, a decent percentage of my profits for the year. I have been keen to take a shot for some time. Hopefully I have got it out of my system. I really need to get back to basics - playing the games I know and love the best. So it is back to grinding the Maui Jackpot Sit N Gos for me. See you at the tables.

Later on I checked to see if my Nemesis FaKeOrReaL was still in the tournament. He was not and did not make the money which was no great surprise but what did shock me was his presence at six cash tables of $50-$100 Pot Limit Omaha. Over the six tables he was playing with around $40,000, nearly twice my poker earnings! Just shows the level of player you can compete with in the Sunday Million (In this case a high stakes cash game player). It also shows don't judge a player on the basis of twenty minutes at the same table.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Red Spade Open Result

Last night I played the Red Spade Open, a $50 tournament with 24497 entrants including many Pokerstars Pros, Liv Boeree amongst them. Despite a very poor run of late I entered with confidence and having had an afternoon nap, well rested for a change. From the outset I was comfortable and playing my A-game. The slow structure fitted nicely with my approach which was mainly one of patience, waiting for an opportunity. Before too long a perfect scenario developed where I hit a set of twos against a player hitting top pair. I played it nicely and doubled up.
   For the next hour or so I progressed without any significant confrontations. I took down quite a few hands without a showdown keeping my stack at around the average level. I played at the same table for a long time and was able to identify the loose, the weak and the strong. With a third of the field left and in a good position I started to go backwards following a period of small setbacks. I was folding more often than ideal and the couple of times I did raise with mediocre hands I had to fold to strong looking three bets. All was not lost though as I waited for a decent hand and an opportunity to double up. Finally some positive action. In the big blind with nines I three bet all in an early position raiser who called with KQ. My hand held up and I was back with an average stack with around 4000 players left. The top 2563 would get paid starting at $135. All was well at this stage. 
   From this point the table became much more active as the blinds and antes kicked in, bigger stacks began to dominate and smaller stacks began to push all-in. For around half an hour I did not play a hand and was effectively card dead. This is the main thing I need to work on. What to do on an active table without decent cards. Experience and confidence in making some moves in this spot was what I lacked and it cost me. At no point in the tournament did I get a premium hand but that should not matter. I was not too frustrated but as my stack went below ten big blinds I knew I had to act soon. Finally an opportunity to push came. I knew I needed at least a double up and a couple of blind steals to make the money - then who knows. It was folded round to me in the small blind with J7 off suit and my eight big blinds went in. Given my lack of action for a while I was expecting the big blind to show some respect, though obviously he would call with any big hands. He called with KT suited and hit a flush. Suddenly, following an age of inactivity I was out having played J7. I finished a respectable 3422nd. I really enjoyed the game and in the end was happy with my blind v blind push. Most of the time my opponent would fold, and when called I would still have a decent shot at double up. In this case 36% versus the KT.
   I will play a few more decent tournaments this month including the Sunday Million. Sunday night is a certainly a good option. However I will go back to grinding in low stakes sit n gos from September. A problem with tournaments is that I do not play enough of them to iron out the variance. The main problem though is that when finding myself in a good position in this tournament, an average stack with only a fifth of players remaining my goal is simply to do enough to cash. I am not thinking about taking big gambles and building a stack to go deep. Long term this is a sub optimal situation. I will cash in a few and do well beyond this occasionally but barring outrageous luck or run of big hands I will lose money playing higher stakes tournament poker.
One option I am considering is to have a tournaments night once a month. I could invest a percentage of profits from that month and have some fun taking a shot.
I am sure Liv is quaking in her boots! (She cashed in 1076th)
Good Luck

Monday, 6 August 2012

Red Spade Open

Yesterday I won a satellite sit n go and qualified for the Red Spade Open which takes place this Sunday. It is a $50 tournament which includes lots of Pokerstars pros who attract bounties if you knock them out. This will be my first attempt this month at a higher level tournament. It should help me in my build up to the Sunday Million at the end of the month.

So far this month my biggest MTT cash is for finishing for 549th out of 7970 players. Sounds not too bad other than the 50c entry fee and $1.19 return! All good practise though.