Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who Likes the Hilton Sisters Anyway?

There is one thing that separates the NLHE tournament from most forms of poker, namely the fact that any given hand could be your last. Often the end of your tournament life comes quickly and mercilessly... and those few moments after you have seen your chips slide away from you are very strange.

Such was my fate in last night's tournament. Unbeknownst to me it was a deep stacks tournament. 5k chips, 30 minute levels. I love this structure, as it allows me to play my game and be patient. This helps me avoid being rash against some of the fantastic players who play these events. The flip side is that if I went deep it was going to be laaaaaaaaaate night.

I started out on a pretty stacked table, with CJ and StB. Gracie joined soon afterwards, as did Bobby Bracelet. I began making out my last will and testament. Despite the competition I managed to fight on, and eventually got moved away from this table full of sharks with more chips than I started with. Then my Aces got cracked by the Hiltons, but a few hands later my Kings took down Q-Q... and suddenly I was in the top 3. Jules was tired and made a mistake pushing into my better hand, and I leapt into the chip lead with 40 or so remaining. SoxLover was moved to my table, two spots to my right, and he and the guy directly to my right (easy_wind) were constantly raising pre-flop, and Sox and I had a couple of memorable confrontations (including once where I dropped the hammer). Sox managed to dodge my set of Queens (when he had the other Q) when the board made a straight. A couple of hands later he turned a better two pair to take down StB, and he and I were #1 and #2.

Once I had hit 25k in chips I oscillated between about that amount and my high water mark of just over 40k. Up and down, ebb and flow. Right until this hand. 17 people left out of the original 93. I'm sitting in about 7th or so place. UTG I receive that hand, those Hiltons. I make my standard raise, and it folds around to easy_wind, who pushes. He has me slightly covered, and flustered.

What could he have? I doubted him having A-A or K-K, as I'd expect him to raise to try ensure more money went in the pot. A big Ace looked really likely (especially A-K), or potentially something like J-J or 10-10. I take a breath, and call.

He flips over K-K. No help for me, and I numbly watch as my chips slide away.

Could I have laid the Queens down? I suppose so - I really felt like A-K was his most likely holding, and I don't exactly have a massive edge against that holding. Of course if he holds J-J I am sitting pretty. And I didn't have a lot of chips invested, I could have waved them goodbye. I'm just not good enough to lay that hand down.

I am still suprised by his push move, though it got him the desired result: a call from a premium, but weaker, hand. In bed, trying to sleep, I kept thinking: "Why did he push?" If he was paying attention he knew my range was pretty solid, plus the Hammer (of course). He had seen me push people off pots as well... all I can think of is he wanted to avoid me outplaying him after the flop. That sounds a bit arrogant, but that's all I can really come up with. Pushing ensures that he either a) gets some chips while avoiding seeing a flop, or b) sees all 5 cards with position no longer mattering. At the end of the day if I had A-A he is probably toast, or crippled, anyway.

I still wouldn't have played the hand the way he did, but you can't argue with his results on that particular hand. I would love to hear other people's thoughts.

At the end of the day I have to be very happy with the way I played, and my finish was very respectable. It's just that hollow feeling where I know from the position I was I could have made a run at the final table, and maybe a bit of glory.

Congrats to SoxLover, Gary and Kaellin who also made the final two tables. Too bad one of us couldn't have taken home the gold, but that's how it goes.


  • The push makes you call with a lesser hand or confirm he was cold decked by AA.

    I do it once in a while.

    By Blogger Drizztdj, at 12:50 PM  

  • Garth he did the same thing to me earlier when I raised with KK and he went all in with the aces to knock me out. I'm not sure if that's his move with aces, or what.

    By Blogger presidentdavelee, at 12:53 PM  

  • Congrats to you too. You played well. Too bad fate had to frown on you like that. A similar thing happened to me. I had been card dead for a long time, and Heather had been tearing up the table. I got AQo in the SB and pushed into her raise. She had AA. Ouch.

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 2:03 PM  

  • Thanks Garth. You played great, buddy.


    By Blogger GaryC, at 5:52 PM  

  • You were Choice bro!! Well played!

    By Blogger Jules, at 10:40 PM  

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