Monday, September 10, 2012

By the skin of my teeth

After my success in Friday's HORSE tournament at Orleans, I decided to take a crack at their $100 Sunday night version. I have tried this one twice before, with nothing to show for it. But since then I've had the extra experience of three of the tough MGM Grand Tuesday night HORSE tournaments, plus the two Friday ones at Orleans, which I thought gave me enough additional practice at identifying live opponents' playing styles in the non-hold'em games that I might be due for a little success.

Things started off just the opposite of Friday. I sank like a stone. I was playing the same tight-aggressive style, but I had a never-ending string of missed draws and strong but second-best hands. We started at 7:00 with 10,000 chips, and by the first break I was down to 590o. At 8:50--4100. 9:00--2500. 9:10--2000. 9:30--1600. I think that was less than three big bets for that stage of the game.

But time after time when I found a spot to get all the chips in, my hand held up. By 10:00 I was up to 5000. 10:35: 6900. 10:40: 15,100, and above my starting stack for the first time all day.

By that point, the original 41 players had been whittled down to just 18, so I was still well below the average stack size of about 28K, but things were moving in the right direction.

Then at 11:00 I hit a monster, an ace-high crub flush in stud against two opponents, and zoomed up to 47,700 with 13 left, my first time above the tournament average.

At 11:40 I badly misplayed one stud hand, spewing half my chips on a draw that I should never have been chasing, but at 12:05 I got them all back when another club flush gave me the nuts in Omaha--back to 63,000, when the average stack, with seven people left in, was about 58,500. Next hand I hit something else that I didn't jot down, and was up to 87,000.

I stayed at about that stack while two more players were eliminated, and the final five of us were in the money.

The best player at the table was not me, but the guy on my right, who had an overwhelming chip lead. He was being smartly aggressive. Everybody was letting him run over them, because the other four of us had pretty much equal stacks and I assume we all wanted to climb up the pay ladder. He was appropriately taking advantage of our excessive caution.

I decided to play back at him, and doing so pushed me up to my peak of 116,000 at 12:50.

At that point, I should have backed off, changed gears back to tight, and let Mr. Big Stack knock out one or two of the shorties. But I didn't. I kept pressing it too long and too far, and paid the price. In quick succession I played two big hands where I was basically just playing on my table image, but--oops--was up against real hands (one against the guy on my left, and the coup de grace delivered by the big stack), and I was out.

So I'm unhappy with my end game, but very pleased that I exercised appropriate patience and spot selection when I was down so short. Fifth place brought me the minimum cash of $295, which is basically tripling my buy-in, and works out to about $32/hour for the six hours it took. It's far from life-changing money, but given how dismal things looked for me for so long, I deem the outcome an absolute success--nearly a miracle. Of course there is the question of what might have been, had I not overdone the aggression on those last two hands. But that's a lesson I can tuck away and remember for next time, without letting it defeat my pleasure at having snatch at least a partial victory from the jaws of defeat.


Memphis MOJO said...

Experienced players like you know that crubs always get there.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the cash!

I played in a cash game Saturday night...was very much ahead and for a lark decided to raise pre, without looking at my cards, which got me a bunch of callers. I looked at my hand post flop only to find, 2-4! Lolllllll Bazinga!

FlushDraww said...

From 1600 chips to a fifth palce finish......... any questions? Well done, Sir.