This was a fun tournament and a great value. My starting table was amazing, and I managed to nearly double up with a set in the first few orbits. I was particularly proud of myself for not making a mistake I’ve been guilty of in the past, which is getting “greedy” against amateurish players. Many of them are not particularly sensitive to pot size or odds and consequently will overfold to bets that are large relative to their stack, even if they are reasonable compared to the pot. On the river, I could have put Villain all in for his last 9000, but instead I bet 6000 and he called without a second thought. Given the diminishing value of chip accumulation in a tournament, getting paid 6000 at a higher frequency is probably the better play than “going for the kill”, especially when there’s reason to think the shove will get disporportionately many folds.
The other fun thing about my starting table was that Ian Simpson was there. If you don’t know Ian, you will soon. We’ve already recorded an interview with him and will publish it perhaps as early as this coming Monday, if it doesn’t get pre-empted by WSOP content (will depend on how much time we find to record in the next few days).
Nate and I had high hopes of getting dinner with Ian and Ryan Hall, but it turned out that the break was only 30 minutes, which caused Ryan to drop out, and Ian had already busted and left, so it was just Nate and me. And in fact, if Nate hadn’t busted shortly before dinner break and volunteered to get a table and place an order in advance, we wouldn’t even have managed that. I really don’t understand the point of a 30 minute dinner break.
Overall I think I played perhaps the best tournament poker I have yet in this event. I got moved away from my awesome starting table and spent the rest of the day tangling (or trying not to tangle) with some tough young Europeans. Unfortunately I just kept losing pre-flop all ins after chipping up.
There was one other hand I was proud of. At 400/800/100, I opened to 2000 with Jc 9c in the CO, and the BB, one of aforementioned Europeans, re-raised to 6000. There are some people who will be quite strong when they three-bet from the big blind, preferring to call most hands that they might use as “light” three-bets, and although I did expect this player to be polarized, I would expect him to have a more good/balanced three-betting strategy even from the big blind. So, I called with about 31K behind.
The flop came Qc 9hs 8c, and he bet 6K. I think a lot of people will just jam here because they know they have a lot of equity and they aren’t comfortable playing future streets. With a slightly weaker hand, say Kc Tc, I think shoving is correct – you’d rather get all in on the flop, ideally with some fold equity, than call and get forced off your equity on a blank turn.
However, I think my hand is strong enough to get all in no matter the turn card, and I don’t think Villain will fold many hands with substantial equity. It’s important to consider all of your options rather than just defaulting to a shove any time you have enough equity to get all in, and here I think there’s more value in calling than shoving.
The turn was a Q, and we both checked. The river was the 3s, we both checked again, and he showed Aces to win the pot. To be clear, although this was a nice side benefit of just calling the flop, avoiding a stack off to overpairs on a few specific runouts is really not the main reason to call the flop. I’m going to be stacking off on most turns, this was just the rare card that neither of us particularly wanted to bet, and that happened to work to my advantage.
I had a weirder spot with the most obviously recreational player at the table, an older woman who was quite friendly and whom I’m sure I’ve seen around before and perhaps even played with. She opened from middle position to 1700 (BB was still 800), and I called with 52s in my BB.
The flop came 877r, and we both checked.
The turn was a 2, I bet 3000, and she called.
The river was a 3, and I was a bit unsure how to proceed. I expected to have the best hand quite often, as I think she’d bet pairs on the flop almost always. Was she really going to call me down twice with Ace-high though? On this board, it seemed plausible. I’ve actually coached a few people who are roughly in her demographic and quite aware of their image and accustomed to people who look like me firing spewy bluffs at people who look like them. So, I bet 6000, and she called with K7s for trips, which it actually surprised me a bit that she would have that based on her pre-flop position (not that she couldn’t have other 7x) and doesn’t really tell me anything one way or the other about the river bet.
A few orbits later, with the BB at 1000, she opened my big blind again, to 2200. This time, I held 22. I decided to jam for my last 18K, based on the fact that she’d showed down the K7s and also A6o from a similar position. I also thought that she might fold a bit too much, perhaps something as strong as AJo. Frankly, though, this is probably a little spewy, and if we’re being honest, I caught a whiff of strength when she looked at her cards.
Sure enough, she called with 88 to bust me. The only consolation was that even if I had called with the 22, I would have flopped a set and lost to a turned 8, so in this case the mistake didn’t actually cost me anything, but it was a mistake nonetheless.
Nate and I are going to play the Team Event at the WSOP today, which should be fun.