Reflections on the "Monthly" tourney...

Well, our "monthly" poker tourney is in the record books. On one hand, I am proud to say that while I did make the finals table, I did not finish "on the bubble." However, I did finish one off the bubble, and not to the money side either... LOL. The quality of play improved significantly in this tourney, compared to tourneys in the past. Here's a recap of significant hands either at my table and/or directly involving me.

SB-BB - level 2 (blinds 2-4)

I'm in the small blind, stack of about 450 (we start with 410 in chips), Big blind has about 300 chips and has got involved in several hands early on. I'd previously been involved in 1 or two hands, and am known as a tight aggressive monster. My raises are generally well respected, unless against "that guy" or in obvious steal positions.

The cards are folded around to me. I peak down into the hole and see bullets staring at me. Now, the SB-BB is a scenerio where I've been known to make a steal play early on. So, I make an odd raise after fumbling with my chips, making it ten (2.5x'as BB). He senses steal and raises another twenty. I suspiciously make it $100. He calls cleanly. We go to the flop, which comes J-9 (clubs) - 6 (hearts). At this point, I'm worried about a flush draw and a set, though not necessarily "too" worried about it. I like the idea of him thinking I'm going for a steal here, going into this flop. If he has a set, I'm redraw, if he's on a flush draw, he's got several outs. So, having him covered and a high M, even if I lose this hand, I put the decision on him and push allin. I'd be content with a steal here. He ponders and makes a quick decision to call. He turns over queen-ten of clubs.

Oh no... I think I'd rather be up against... well, just about anything else. 6 outs to the straight, 8 to the flush (one of my aces was clubbed), of which two are a straight flush. 14 outs and two cards to go with me presently in the lead. Turn and river are thankfully irrelivant. GG, he's out. I dodged a bullet there, though it would have not been crippling.

Button goes around, and to me (blinds are now 5-10), I receive QQ. I make a 6x raise, with hopes of getting heads up with someone. I get my wish, as the hostess of the evening (SB), a generally tight player comes over top of me, making it 120. BB folds, as does the lone limper. I ponder this for a moment, putting her immediately on a PP of some sort, or Ak (suited or not), POSSIBLY AQs or AJs, though less likely. I need to narrow my range of hands a bit further, so I reraise to 360. I know this move, if successful would cripple her, so she really has no choice but to fold or go allin. If she folds, she held 22-88 or AQs, AJs (10 possible hands she'd make an initial move into me, and folding to my subsequent move). I give it about a 40% probability of getting the fold in my head. If she moves allin, she holds 99-AA (likely not QQ). She'd also possibly do this with AK, so I have to consider that as well, and would be about equally likely to fold it as she'd be to push allin. So of the hands that she'd come over top, two have me as the dog the queens - least likely of the scenerios tie, barring a disasterous four to the flush which I wont even think of, and I'm favored with 3 hands (JJ-1010-99). So, I'm quite comfortable here with her coming over the top (knowing I'd be slightly favored in the majority of the hands she'd move this way in), yet more comfortable with my 40% chance of her folding to me. If I drop this hand, I'm back to about 500 chips, which is an M of 33 for now, 16 when the blinds go up, so I can certainly spin the wheel here.

She ponders the decision and pushes allin. I call with little hesitations. Her cowboys hold up and she takes down the pot (she goes on to take second place, by the way).

Game is rather uneventful, besides the fact of her mowing down another person named Mike (while I was the dealer) who also held QQ. She chips up and is leading the table when we go into the "monsterous" blind level. We jump from 10-20 to 25-50 with a $5 ante. At this point, even the big stack is beginning to stress over the blinds, as this is a huge jump to absorb (note: this jump has been my only area of criticism of the tourney... ever). The tourneys here are run extremely professional, well organized, and nothing but love from all ends. This jump though gets me every time... LOL.

With an M of four, I'm having to gather chips with a quickness. First hand in, I'm on the button, dealt garbage and fold (six peeps at the table now, 12 remain in the tourney). Second hand, I have ace small suited. UTG min raise (100). I push allin, hoping to get a fold, and knowing this player can indeed lay down a small pair or ace big to my raise. He ponders and does. Next hand, UTG raises allin, I fold, as does everyone else. Blinds pass me, uneventful. Cutoff, I'm dealt J10s. M's back to 4-5, so I once again utilize the first in viggorish and push Allin. Oops, forgot to check the BB's stack. His M is under one and has to call. It folds to him, he calls, turning over J7. I dominate and hold up. Blinds hit me, which are now 50-100, ten ante, I'm back into the critical level. Pocket tens, in the hole and a limper UTG. I call, my tens hold up to his 6's. Cutoff gives me A10s. Allin I go. He defends his blinds, turning over KQ of the same suit. Flop and turn miss, river comes a Q. Back to square one. I go out with KJ vs. QJ, as the flop hits him hard. Nice hand, GG. Your hero eliminated sixth.

All in all, I played a solid game with no complaints on any beats I took. Reading and studying continually with my Harrington on Holdem Vol 2 book helps a great deal. Especially short stacked play.

More tommorrow, specifically in regards to the upcoming block of poker tourneys with CheckRayz.