Thursday, November 04, 2004

Posted by Johnnymac 7:32 AM
I played in four Pokerstars tournaments last night and was involved in some very interesting hands while holding very strong cards. A disclaimer here isn't that I'm not really telling bad beat stories - I don't necessarly think I played any of these hands wrong under the circumstances and none of them were just super duper suckouts, I just feel like sharing this morning and seeing if you guys have anything to add.

In particular, I think I already know what TJ Cloutier might say about these hands.

Tourney #1: Four players left, I am short stack, but not by much. I am dealt KK and go all in before the flop. Wild man to my left calls quickly and shows AQo. This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for as he had been playing aggressively with mediocre cards for most of the tournament and I was hoping to get a chance to challenge him. Of course, the flop brings an Ace and I get eliminated. There is a reason why I call KK, "Ace Magnets".

Tourney #2: I am in third place (in the money - woo woo), with a short stack (7% of the outstanding chips). One of the other players has a HUGE stack (85%) and the other player has about the same number of chips as me. The big stack by this point is going all in nearly every hand and putting expert pressure on the small stacks, which is exactly what he should be doing. I get dealt AKs in the big blind and call the big stack's big raise, hoping to catch him and gain some room on the second place guy. The big stack calls and shows AA. I do catch a king on the flop, but I didn't get the other one that I would have needed.

Tourney #3: I am the next-to-shortest stack of about seven remaining players. I am dealt KK from under the gun and go all in. The short stack calls me and the blinds fold. He shows AQo (not again!), the flop has a King and I end up almost doubling up.

Tourney #3 (again): I quickly realized that I was playing with maniacs at this table (calling raises with Ace-anything, taking 22 and 33 all the way to showdown, betting out gutshots) so I hunker down and hope to get close to the money and then have a chance to trap one of the crazies in a bluff or a loose call. I make it into 4th place and am dealt AKs UTG. I limp, as does the maniac to my left, and about shit my pants when the flop comes A-X-K. Thinking this is my chance, I check and maniac to my left underbets the pot with the minimum sized bet. I go all in (Trrrrap!) and he quickly calls and shows KK. Then I really did shit my pants.

Tourney #4: I'm in 5th place and am dealt TT. I raise 3x the big blind and get one caller. The flop is all undercards, I make a pot sized bet and am called, and the turn gives me an open ended straight draw. It's checked to me and at this point I figure that I am up against something like JTs or maybe AXx or KXs that caught a small pair. In either case, I figure I have the best hand and don't want to give him a chance to catch up, and since we're about equally stacked I decide to put him to a decision for all of his chips. I go all in and he quickly calls and shows AA.

(This was probably the trickiest hand of the night I think, because I cannot quite decide who made the mistake. I was obviously steamrolled by his sandbagging, which was his goal, but 4 middle cards of 2 different suits seems kind of a risky place to be calling an all-in bet. Like I said, I can see both sides.)

To summarize - I was eliminated 4 different times last night: KK vs AQ, AKs vs AA, AKs vs KK, and TT vs AA; and another time I eliminated someone else with KK vs AQ.

Perhaps the point of all of this is that aside from the first hand, I was eliminated by, or I myself eliminated someone else with, a big pocket pair. Granted, this all occurred in the later rounds of tournaments, so it's not the same thing as overplaying AK or AQ in a ring game or the early rounds of a tournament, but I think it still says something about the validity of TJ Cloutier's maxim that big pocket pairs are much more valuable than AK or AQ.

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