Bubble Boy

I began Day 2 of the $300 2x Chance WCOOP as 3/22 and was pretty pumped about the idea of making the second WCOOP final table of my career (the first was a 4th 3rd place finish in the 2010 $500 1R1A event). After an early run, I ended up bubbling the final table in 10th place, which was of course disappointing.

I came out of the gate fast, stealing the blinds by raising A6o UTG on the very first hand (we were 7-handed). My next move was 3-bet-calling AJs against an UTG raiser who had a little over 20 BBs. That wouldn’t always be a wise play but I knew this guy to be a very aggressive opener. Speaking of unwise moves, he showed 44 and won the flip.

My next big loss came on a failed bluff:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 6000/12000 Blinds 1500 Ante (7 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

BB (t410485)
UTG (t342780)
MP1 (t794249)
Hero (MP2) (t834706)
CO (t1318796)
Button (t403370)
SB (t576610)

Hero’s M: 29.29

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with K♣, Q♣
2 folds, Hero bets t24000, CO raises to t53328, 3 folds, Hero calls t29328

Flop: (t135156) 5♦, 9♠, 7♠ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t55722, Hero raises to t123456, CO calls t67734

Turn: (t382068) 6♦ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks

River: (t382068) J♣ (2 players)
Hero bets t234567, CO calls t234567

Total pot: t851202

Results:
Hero had K♣, Q♣ (high card, King).
CO had A♦, 9♥ (one pair, nines).
Outcome: CO won t851202

Of course this is no good if he won’t fold A9, but based on the info that I had at the time, I don’t regret making the play. It’s possible that he puts me on a straight or air here, which is very incorrect. This would be an easy value bet for me with any two pair or better, though sets and straights are also very much in range.Obviously it’s not a very large bet, but my hope was that so deep in the tournament it would still feel very threatening to him. Probably would have worked better if he’d had a shorter and more vulnerable stack.

I stole the blinds a few more times, won a modest pot picking off a river bluff, and then raised KQo and called a 14BB shove to outflip 44. The guy was none too happy with my call, but with the image that I had, I expected people to shove light on me. I’m pretty confident KJ and KT are in his range, not to mention hands like pairs and AJ/AT against which I’m practically flipping and occasional “pretty” hands like T9s.

Small ball was going well for me, and I was getting a lot of chips just by min-raising pre and either taking pots pre-flop or going to showdown cheaply with a marginal hand.

The next big confrontation was against an extremely good player on my right. I don’t believe I’d ever played with him prior to Day 1 of this tournament, and probably a lot of his play is on Euro sites, but he had some high stakes cash experience on Stars, including 4-tabling 25/50 NLHE against Isildur. I wasn’t thrilled to get into a confrontation with him, but my cards were simply too good to play any other way:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 7000/14000 Blinds 1750 Ante (9 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

UTG+1 (t373735)
MP1 (t251530)
MP2 (t868039)
MP3 (t1190468)
Hero (CO) (t1068045)
Button (t1489718)
UTG (t629929)

Hero’s M: 32.12

Preflop: Hero is CO with J♥, A♣
2 folds, MP3 bets t28000, Hero raises to t66666, 3 folds, MP3 raises to t135232, Hero calls t68566

Flop: (t303714) 5♣, 3♥, 9♠ (2 players)
MP3 bets t123455, Hero calls t123455

Turn: (t550624) 6♥ (2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero bets t166666, 1 fold

Total pot: t550624

Results:
Hero didn’t show J♥, A♣.
Outcome: Hero won t550624

This hand started to build a dynamic between us that led to my making a mistake down the road. This hand, about an orbit later, furthered that dynamic:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 7000/14000 Blinds 1750 Ante (9 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

MP1 (t374610)
MP2 (t252405)
MP3 (t836539)
CO (t900281)
Hero (Button) (t1349272)
SB (t1501968)
BB (t924652)
UTG (t462450)
UTG+1 (t730689)

Hero’s M: 36.71

Preflop: Hero is Button with 3♠, 3♦
5 folds, CO bets t28000, Hero raises to t66666, 2 folds, CO calls t38666

Flop: (t170082) 2♦, 6♠, Q♠ (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets t66666, CO calls t66666

Turn: (t303414) Q♥ (2 players)
CO checks, Hero checks

River: (t303414) 3♣ (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets t225000, 1 fold

Total pot: t303414

Results:
Hero didn’t show 3♠, 3♦ (nothing).
Outcome: Hero won t303414

So here’s that mistake. At this point I’m second in chips with I think 16 people remaining:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 8000/16000 Blinds 2000 Ante (8 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

CO (t296860)
Button (t1075760)
SB (t690310)
Hero (BB) (t1489604)
UTG (t1591991)
UTG+1 (t1054702)
MP1 (t456700)
MP2 (t676939)

Hero’s M: 37.24

Preflop: Hero is BB with A♣, 9♦
6 folds, SB bets t34566, Hero raises to t77777, SB raises to t156789, Hero raises to t1487604 (All-In), SB calls t531521 (All-In)

Flop: (t1392620) 3♠, 2♠, 6♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: (t1392620) 7♥ (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: (t1392620) 10♥ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: t1392620

Results:
SB had J♣, A♦ (high card, Ace).
Hero had A♣, 9♦ (high card, Ace).
Outcome: SB won t1392620

It’s not easy to be dealt a hand better than A9. This wasn’t an “open fold my SB” sorta guy, so his opening range is quite wide. Still, given how much I’d been playing back at him, it might have been a little tighter than usual. More importantly, at this stage of the tournament, he’s probably not going to 4-bet in a spot like this (which is quite different from the AJ spot) into an aggressive chipleader all that often. I can easily jam, I can easily take a flop in position, and he just shouldn’t invite that kind of confrontation right now. He’s getting good odds himself, and he surely has a lot of confidence in his postflop play, so a lot of hands that he could consider 4-betting he’ll more likely just call.

It’s hard to say what I should do differently – maybe fold to the 4-bet despite the good odds. Just calling the original raise is OK, but A9 isn’t a hand that plays all that well postflop against a good player with a wide range. It’s just too risky to get so many chips into the pot pre-flop with A9 even in a blind battle. If he has something like 550K chips, I’d feel better writing this off as a cooler.

This wasn’t the end of the tournament for me by any means. I believe I shook it off and plugged away quite valiantly, continuing to fight for pots and pick up chips with controlled aggression. I made some big hands that I was hoping would win a little more than they did given my image, but I was doing well for myself.

This was a tough laydown that I’m still not sure was correct. My timebank was quite low and I didn’t want to burn the last of it, especially since I’ve recently used that extra time to talk myself into some bad calls.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 10000/20000 Blinds 2500 Ante (6 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

BB (t918238)
UTG (t1786690)
Hero (MP) (t1097032)
CO (t1673357)
Button (t1049957)
SB (t1728330)

Hero’s M: 24.38

Preflop: Hero is MP with 8♥, 8♦
1 fold, Hero bets t40000, 3 folds, BB calls t20000

Flop: (t105000) Q♠, 6♣, 6♠ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t33333, BB calls t33333

Turn: (t171666) Q♦ (2 players)
BB bets t57850, Hero calls t57850

River: (t287366) 2♣ (2 players)
BB bets t219150, Hero folds

Total pot: t287366

Results:
BB didn’t show
Outcome: BB won t287366

I lost a smallish pot to the AJ guy when I flopped middle pair and he turned a flush. I probably wasn’t putting more money in anyway, but it was nice of him to check it to me twice. The next hand I won a better pot from him anyway:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 12500/25000 Blinds 3125 Ante (6 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Button (t2008887)
SB (t1745975)
Hero (BB) (t839044)
UTG (t1602357)
MP (t1225707)
CO (t831634)

Hero’s M: 14.92

Preflop: Hero is BB with 10♠, J♥
4 folds, SB bets t57777, Hero calls t32777

Flop: (t134304) 9♠, 6♣, K♣ (2 players)
SB bets t58125, Hero calls t58125

Turn: (t250554) 5♠ (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks

River: (t250554) J♦ (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets t88888, SB calls t88888

Total pot: t428330

Results:
SB mucked A♠, 9♣ (one pair, nines).
Hero had 10♠, J♥ (one pair, Jacks).
Outcome: Hero won t428330

Arguably I should even bet a little more on the river. Real happy with turn check, though. It’s not the way I would ordinarily play the hand, but my spidey sense was tingling.

Fittingly the same player eliminated me in 10th place. At least I won’t lose sleep over that one:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 15000/30000 Blinds 3750 Ante (5 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Button (t1577751)
SB (t1546199)
Hero (BB) (t885900)
UTG (t1080366)
MP (t616984)

Hero’s M: 13.90

Preflop: Hero is BB with 9♣, J♣
3 folds, SB bets t65000, Hero calls t35000

Flop: (t148750) J♦, A♦, 9♥ (2 players)
SB bets t68500, Hero raises to t166666, SB raises to t1477449 (All-In), Hero calls t650484 (All-In)

Turn: (t1783050) 5♦ (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: (t1783050) 8♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: t1783050

Results:
SB had 9♦, 7♦ (flush, Ace high).
Hero had 9♣, J♣ (two pair, Jacks and nines).
Outcome: SB won t1783050

4 thoughts on “Bubble Boy

  1. Any read on villain in the 88 hand? The turn donk bet is rather suspicious imo but hard to comment without some info on villain. My donkish-calling-station-hero-caller-self thinks it’s a call though.

  2. Where you had Ac, 9d, why raise? A9 should beat his range, so just play in position. Or once you raise, why not just call the 4 bet (I could also see folding, I think 5 bet shoving is the worst? At that point, his range is probably very narrow, and actually, mostly consists of big aces (which dominate you) and big pairs (which are 60-40 over you, except AA which is terrible). I would call his raise, but if I 3 bet, I would call the 4 bet. I think of playing BB heads up like playing the button with a single raise in front of me. I am happy to call and play in position.

Comments are closed.