Teriyaki House

Well, this week was a bit worse. Opened with A/J off suit from medium position, guy called with 5/6 suited and flopped a straight. Fair enough.

Also got called by Q/8off and 3/9 off that rivered straights after I was betting all the way.

So got down on chips early. Picked up A/10 off in big blind. About 5 people called, the flop was something like 10/5/4 rainbow. Pot had about what I had left so I shoved since my M was about 7 at that point. Got called by K/10...which promptly hit the King to knock me out.

The irony is most of the damage was done not by the two reasonable hands...I have no issue with a 5/6 suited call and as I told the guy who put me out, if I know he has K/10 and is drawing to 3 outs I am begging him to call. I got it in good, just got drawn out on. It happens.

No, the irony is most of the damage was done by really, really bad calls. Calling pre-flop and flop with 3/9 is pretty bad. I guess someone with lots of chips might call the pre-flop planning on making a move...but I can count on one hand the number of people there capable of making that move. This was not one of them.

It was someone playing to get extremely lucky and doing so. I guess the good part is I saw them hit the straights 3 of the 4 straights I ran into and did not get felted earlier than I did.

The bad side is I am frankly embarrassed to be at a table where I knew which people NOT to play hands with and which ones to play hands with, which means even at a table with 2 or 3 players whose games i respect I am pretty much just playing with really bad players since I play when the good players are not in the hand but not when they are...and I busted out on the last hand of the second level.


But now I want to talk about a hand I played online.

I was sitting behind just over 100 big blinds. Middle position with about 85 bb opens, gets calls from the next two seats and I have j/10 off on the button. I am already getting about 3-1/2 to one and it figures to go to 4-1 or even 5-1 because I expect one or both of the blinds to call just because they usually do when the pre-flop pot builds like that so I call.

The flop has 2 spades, a Q, J and some brick. The pre-flop raiser makes the fish raise of like 2 bb into a pot of 13ish blinds. He gets a call and a fold. I have a marginal hand and do not want to play a big pot. I consider raising, putting him on a Spade flush draw as his most likely hand, but...two other players, I have some showdown equity, no point to running into a big re-raise and being driven off my hand. I call.

The turn is another brick, he now raises 3 bb. Call, same thought process, I call. Arguably I should raise here, but really...what can I beat? Any Queen has me, J/K and J/A have me drawing thin, and if he is not on the flush draw then he is reeling us in with a line I see a lot of people take with a set.

The river brings the third spade and he insta-shoves about 70 bb into a pot of maybe 25. Big overbet. Other guy folds.

Problem is...that third spade was a second jack on the board, giving me trips. I go into the tank for a long time. He could have J/9 or worse, he could have an overpair or something like A/Q, all hands I can beat.

But...I put him on the flush draw from the beginning. It just felt like a defensive bet to protect his draw and had there not been two and then one other players, I would have raised him off that draw before the river.

Now it just feels like he hit the flush. I show discipline and lay it down.

I need to show that discipline more often. I had a read, when I hit a big hand tried to talk myself off the read. Why? just lay. it. down.

Teriyaki House, 4/1/11

Roman called and asked if I wanted to play. Bob had advertised this as being triple points as an April Fools Day joke so the turnout was huge. 4 full tables, a couple people on the waiting list.

On the bright side, our table had all people I know and more or less like. On the dark side...that means the longer I last, the less likely I am to enjoy the company of the people.

On the way there Roman and I were talking a bit of strategy. I pointed out in these free restaurant games I tend to fall into bad habits. People limp far more often than raise, so I start limping and playing passively which is always a recipe for disaster.

I am at my best when I am aggressive. I bring it in for a raise, make continuation bets and value bets. No limp-calling. No playing numerous bad speculative hands like 8/9 off.

So the first hand I picked up A/J suited and brought it in for a raise. I got three calls. The flop was a mess, something like a 2/7/8 type rainbow. I continuation bet and got two calls. The turn was a 4 and put a second spade out there. I bet again, one call. The river was a blank, I checked, he checked behind and showed...J/4.

Wow. Seriously bad play on his part calling on the flop unless he was going to bet later because there is no possible reasonable hand I have he is ahead of. But he did hit his four on the turn, so he won the hand. This hand would matter later.

I then pick up pocket 6s, raise, get about 4 callers. The flop is the 5/6/7 with two diamonds. I bet, three callers. The turn is the 4 of diamonds, I bet and get two calls. The river is another diamond, a guy comes out betting,  Easy fold. Any 3, 8 or diamond beats me.

So now I am down about 40%. I start folding a lot.

And watching how they play. Jen is sort of on tilt having gotten beat a couple times when she bet and people drew out on her. The guy who played the J/4 is playing any two cards that are suited, have a face card or better, or are split by no more than one.

About 4 people limp, I have a q/9 suited and start to throw it away. Then boredom and the desire to see a cheap flop with a losing hand induce me to call.

Jen raises to 5 times the blind, the J/4 guy calls. Again I nearly throw it away but then I start thinking.

She has a nervous way of betting when she does not want a call and is capable of throwing away hands. So really I am trying to flop a good hand to beat J/4 guy. Barring that, I know I can bluff her off the pot.

The flop gives me a gutshot, flush draw, and the pair of 9s with the 9/8/blank, two diamonds. I check, she copies her previous bet and he calls. I consider raising but decide just to see what happens on the turn and call. Basically I am putting my tournament on the line because I think she has a low pair and is afraid of the board and he is so loose he could have anything from a dry ace to deuce-seven so there is no way I am getting away from this hand.

Jackpot. The Jack hits the turn. She gives the exasperated sigh of someone who knows they are beat, then bets 1000, he calls. I only have 1700 left so I shove. She makes the crying call and he makes the brutal call. The river is a blank, she shows Aces, I show the nuts and triple up.

Almost. I had been getting a lot of texts and had my phone on the table. It was covering a 300 chip. Cost myself 600 chips that way.

So now I have a nice stack. I lose a bit on another set that runs into a straight, but nowhere near getting it all in. Slowly I start building my stack.

Then I get moved to another table. Exactly what I hate happened. I know nobody at this table and there are two poker-brat type guys at the table...they are constantly talking about what everyone should do, know all there is to know about poker and are going to disseminate it.

Next to me is a woman playing at approximately the speed of a glacier racing a slug. To my right is an older lady trying to out-slow her. The game slows to a crawl as we play about one hand every five minutes.

So the woman next to me shows a complete lack of understanding of the game. She bets into two all-ins with just an overpair, a couple times she shows trash hands at show-downs after two other people have shown hands with straights and flushes and looks like if someone reads the board she might find out she won.

In about a half hour I think I play one hand and win without a showdown. The I call with a 2/9 suited because one person is all in blind and three people limped. I am in small blind, so... I flop trip 2s. Betting ensues. I make a HUGE pile.

I get moved to another table and this time Roman is at the same table. We have some fun, I win some hands, lose a couple. My wins are all nice, my losses all small. I get moved to the other table. I have now played at all four tables tonight.

Now I am at the table with Helen so again someone I am familiar with. The slow playing woman from two tables ago is two seats to my right, we have three older ladies who take 30 seconds to fold every time. Ugh.

Pick up A/10 suited when we are down to 6 and it is folded to me in middle position. I make it three times the big blind. Slow lady calls. Flop is A/10/blank. She raises, I re-raise, she calls. The turn puts a King on the board. She shoves, I insta-calls. If she has the Q/J so be it, but I want to put her out.

She has a K/2. The 2 is a spade. So is the river. She flushes me on the river. I lose 22,500 of my 52k on that hand. Ouch.

Lose a couple more hands, the blinds are up to 3/6 and I get down to 20k. Start shoving when people show weakness and win several pots uncontested.

I slowly but surely work my way back up. I play a 4/6 hearts. I have no explanation for that. I flop a flush  and take out two people who bet top pair and second pair respectively.

Get down to heads up with slow woman.

Early on she is hitting every hand and betting, I keep folding. She says, "This is too easy" to which woman behind me says, "Oops, should not have said that".

I start pushing hard. K/Q off, all-in. She folds. middle suited cards, shove. She folds. She raises, I have A/5 off, I shove. She folds.

She limps in, I check a trash hand, hit two pair, she shoves, I now have the chip lead.

Pretty soon I win it all.

I am pretty happy with the night. I think 34 total people played. I could have tilted after the J/4 play, but did not. I played aggressively as tournament play demands, did not needlessly risk my stack, and even late when I went from 52k down to 10, I did not panic but looked for the right situation to get it in.

And yeah...I won the biggest tournament I have played in at any point in the last couple years.