I ended up doing quite well in this one, finishing 5th out of more than 1400 runners. On the whole it was a lot of fun to play so short-handed and I felt I played well, but a monumental error in my final hand left a bad taste in my mouth.
The thing about a 4-max tournament is that you have to play a lot of pots with everyone at your table; there’s no avoiding anyone. That’s good news if you’re the best player at the table, but bad news if even one of the others is better than you, especially if he knows it and takes full advantage of it.
Call me cocky, but I feel like I’m a favorite over a huge percent of the field in a $300 SCOOP event, and sure enough I dominated the first few tables I was at. That gameplan ran into a brickwall when I ended up at a table with ZeeJustin and a high-stakes PLO player who also played very well. Suddenly I was the third best player at the table and was getting killed.
Justin was running the table over, playing like 62/36 with a 35% 3-bet on his BTN. Given that, I think my only option here is to 4-bet call. Folding seems out of the question, and I think 4-bet-calling can only be superior to shoving since it might occasionally entice him to 5-bet a worse hand that folds to a shove. Spiking was key not only because it doubled me up but because it took my number one competitor out of the picture:
Hero (BB) (t44303)
Hero’s M: 44.75
Preflop: Hero is BB with A, Q
UTG bets t1378, Button raises to t4200, 1 fold, Hero raises to t11111, 1 fold, Button raises to t45619 (All-In), Hero calls t33132 (All-In)
Flop: (t90354) A, 8, 6 (2 players, 2 all-in)
Turn: (t90354) 9 (2 players, 2 all-in)
River: (t90354) 4 (2 players, 2 all-in)
Total pot: t90354
Button had K, K (one pair, Kings).
Hero had A, Q (one pair, Aces).
Outcome: Hero won t90354
Here’s a play I made against another nemesis at another table. He wasn’t necessarily better than I- in fact he’d just sat out against me at a heads up cash table- but he was good and a thorn in my side. Initially I thought his call was bad, but I guess it is the top of his range and a spot where I can be expected to turn hands into bluffs:
Hero (BB) (t102099)
Hero’s M: 73.45
Preflop: Hero is BB with 4, 4
UTG bets t1699, 2 folds, Hero calls t999
Flop: (t4088) 2, K, 6 (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets t3115, Hero calls t3115
Turn: (t10318) Q (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG checks
River: (t10318) 6 (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets t6125, Hero raises to t22222, UTG calls t16097
Total pot: t54762
Hero had 4, 4 (two pair, sixes and fours).
UTG had A, K (two pair, Kings and sixes).
Outcome: UTG won t54762
On the final table bubble, the player running the table was a woman I’d never heard of named Roxie Boxx who was employing relentless aggression extremely well. She was 3-betting something like 38% of hands, targeting me in particular, and because of the stacks and the tournament situation there was very little I could do about it. It was definitely a beat that with 5 players left, I ended up heads up with her. I did manage to pick off one big bluff from her by basically setting her up to try to run me off of a hand:
Hero (BB) (t856387)
Hero’s M: 30.59
Preflop: Hero is BB with 2, Q
Hero bets t32000, SB calls t16000
Flop: (t68000) 8, Q, 7 (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t16000, Hero calls t16000
Turn: (t100000) 6 (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t48000, Hero calls t48000
River: (t196000) 9 (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t176000, Hero calls t176000
Total pot: t548000
SB had 8, 3 (one pair, eights).
Hero had 2, Q (one pair, Queens).
Outcome: Hero won t548000
Unfortunately, I ruined it all with what will probably go down as one of the great mistakes of my poker career. I’m so angry about and embarrassed by this one. Not only is it unlikely spot for her to bluff given the action and the recent history (see above), but I was so tired that I failed to even consider 7’s full as a possibility for her, even though in retrospect it’s the single most likely hand for her to have:
Hero (SB) (t1219222)
Hero’s M: 34.83
Preflop: Hero is SB with 10, 10
BB bets t60000, Hero raises to t150000, BB calls t90000
Flop: (t305000) 7, 9, 9 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t111111, BB calls t111111
Turn: (t527222) 4 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t255555, BB calls t255555
River: (t1038332) 7 (2 players)
BB bets t1820000, Hero calls t700056 (All-In)
Total pot: t2438444
Hero had 10, 10 (two pair, tens and nines).
BB had K, 7 (full house, sevens over nines).
Outcome: BB won t2438444
That busted me in 5th, just shy of the final table. I had a big edge against two of the remaining players, and while the other two were pretty solid, I believe I was probably the best one remaining. I sure didn’t play like it, though.