Day Two: Putting myself out of tournaments and loving it

Most of what I did on day two was hit some tournaments.  Here’s the writeup.

Caeser’s Poker Palace $80+$15 No limit hold’em
I played the 3pm poker tournament on Friday.  I played it well until right after the first break I pushed a kid around who had limped into the pot under the gun.  I was holding Ace-Jack offsuit, and figured him to be a short stack showing signs of desperation.  The pot has 2,200 and I have 5,400 in chips in front of me.  The blinds are 100/200/400 so I’ve got some time, but I need to start stealing the occasional pot like this to buy myself sometime.  And I’ve got the kind of hand that doesn’t mind a call.

I’ve got him covered (just barely) and so I decide to raise.  The problem, of course, is that I have to bet all my chips to put in a decent raise.  So I push them all in and half hope for a call.  He turns over Ace-Ten offsuit which makes me a 3-1 favorite.  He hits a Ten, and no jack comes, and I’m all but out.

Tropicana $100+$20+$100 (add-on) no limit hold’em
I then headed back over to the Tropicana to play the 5:15pm tournament.  I played really well, changing gears from loose aggressive to tight passive (appropriate when you don’t know where you are in a hand) several times.  I played and made it through seven levels.  In the third hour, with the blinds at 100/500/1000 I sat in front of a 12,000 chip stack.  I was going to have to make a move soon, as I didn’t want to be left with too little to win a big pot with.  You hate to get chipped away waiting for a big hand.  When you finally catch some cards, you don’t want to discover that doubling your stack doesn’t buy you enough chips except to make it one more orbit.

On my final hand everyone folded around to a loose player in late position who raised to 5,000.  I looked down in the big blind and realized I had Ace-King offsuit.  Nobody would give me credit for this hand in the big blind, and I was certain that everyone would think I was stealing, so I pushed all in, hoping for a call.  He did call and turned over Jack-Ten offsuit, making me an almost two to one favorite.  He caught a Jack, and without an Ace or a King for me, sent me packing.

Tropicana $100+$25+$100 (add-on) no limit hold’em
On Sunday I played this tourney again.  It sells out every weekend, so I made sure to register early.  I played well again, shifting gears and spent most of the first hour running over the table.  Of course what happens when an aggressor gets people to start folding pots when he puts them to a decision and they lay it down?  He gets more chips.  What do I do with more chips?  I steal more, because now each of the chips means less to me, and I can afford to be wrong occasionally.

I spent the entire first hour running over my table.  The table was quiet and frustrated, folding a hand every 10-15 minutes to that obnoxious guy with the big stack in seat number two.  In the third level I comfortably had enough chips to chill for another level or two when I look down and see black Aces.  Whooo!!!  And then the player in front of me pushes all in.  Before his chips are counted I call him and when called upon, turn over my Aces to his King-Ten (one of them a diamond).  Four diamonds come on the board giving him a flush, and dropping me from 12,000 to 6,500. 

I do not tilt.

During the first break around 1:45pm I remembered that I had a 3pm conference call.  I hate playing poker under a time pressure, and it immediately tilted me.  When the second level started around 2pm I was overly conscious of the time and donked off my chips by playing Ace-Eight and Ace-Five against people with bigger Aces.  I made my conference call, but was disappointed in my poor planning.

I cannot tell you just how much fun this was.   Because of their non-threatening nature, lots more players play tourneys than cash games, and so the quality is lower.  The added increasing pressure of the blinds creates a sense of urgency that causes players to make bad decisions as well.   I’m looking forward to playing more large tournaments.