Sunday, November 19, 2006

Heartland Poker Tour Finale

So, in my last post I was in the third hand of the Heartland Poker Tour main event. I had called the river bet after playing the hand as passively as you can play a hand and left myself with T5900 from my T15000 starting stack.

Everyone at the table was very interested in the hand at this point. Curious as to what the hands were that caused us to get so many chips in the pot this early on in the tourney. He turned over 10 10 for the flopped set of tens. I was stunned at how he played his set and mucked my hand. I probably should have showed my hand but after thinking about it some people at the table probably thought I called him down with top pair. That’s probably what I wanted them to think and maybe it would pay off for me down the line. I was glad I didn’t go broke on the hand but am still not happy with the way I played it. If I would have check raised him on the flop I may have found out where I was at if he re-raised me and even if he did re-raise me what was I expecting to flop when I called the pre-flop raise? I got a great flop and based on how it played out I probably should have been more than willing to get all my chips to the middle. I’m trying not to focus on the results and more on how I played the hand.

What if he would have flat called my check raise? I would have had to lead into him on the turn when I picked up my flush draw and all of the chips would have gotten in at that point I’m guessing. I’ve thought about this hand a lot since then. I don’t think there is anyway I can put him on a set with the way he played it (can you ever put someone on a set?). He was taking a big risk with the way he played it, as there’s NO WAY I’m getting a lot of chips into the pot without a BIG hand. His pot sized flop bet isn’t getting called on that flop without AT LEAST TPTK. There had been a lot of players willing to put a lot of chips in with just top pair. I wasn’t one of them but he couldn’t know that at the time.

So I buckled down from there and dug in for hopefully a long chip rebuilding process. Unfortunately I was card dead for the next couple of levels. I raised 3 times the big blind with AK once and was raised by my one caller when I missed the flop and I had to muck. We went to the break and I had enough chips to cover the blinds and antes for a little over two times around the table. I needed to pick a hand quickly and go with it.

I talked with the guy I had met before the tourney briefly on break and he asked me about that hand. He asked if I had AK on the hand and I said, “there’s no way I’m getting that many chips in with only AK there.” He responded, “I didn’t think so but what did you have?” I told him and he said he would have gone broke with the hand. I’m not sure if that meant he thought I played it well or badly but all I knew at that point was I was still alive…..barely. I talked with my wife and told her to think good cards for me as I needed to catch a hand. She said she would and I went back to the tourney.

When I returned, the first hand I saw was KQs and it folded around to me so I pushed and picked up the blinds and antes when it folded around. This was the first round with antes and now was the time to win some pots. The second hand back I had A9s and it folded to me and I pushed and picked up the blinds and antes. The third hand I looked down to find KK when it folded to me and I pushed again figuring someone would get sick of me pushing and call me with maybe less of a hand than they would normally. The big blind called me with 99 and he had me covered. The flop came 9QQ. Ouch. The turn was a K. Yeah! The river……a blank and I doubled up. I was then at just about an average stack and thrilled. I was determined to get back into this by playing solid aggressive poker. It seemed everyone was playing tighter than they should with the antes now in play. An orbit later I raised from MP with KQs and missed the flop. I had mucked when my continuation bet was raised. I should have just check-mucked because it put me short chips again. A couple of hands later I was big blind and it folded to one off of the button and he raised three times the big blind. He had me easily covered but my stack would have taken 50% of his chips. He raised a lot in position when it folded to him as I had played with him in the qualifier and had seen him do it here when the opportunity was there. No one had played back at him yet. It folded to me in the big blind and I looked at A7s. I came over the top all in as any other raise I was basically committed and he could still muck to an all-in. He thought for a few minutes and then called with QJs. I knew I had the best hand and just needed it to hold up. A jack flopped and I didn’t find my ace. I was out around 120th.

I had a blast and can’t wait until they come back again. I found it fairly easy to get in through a qualifier as you just have to get top 20%. Next time I’d play a couple if I had the time as they are transferable and people were selling theirs to the surprising number of people that were buying in directly to the main event.

On the home game front I’ve played in a couple of local home tournaments over the last couple of weeks. I took second in one with around 24 people. I played well throughout the tournament and the cards didn’t break my way in the heads up battle. We were both aggressive in the heads up match and we played awhile. I made one crucial reading error on a hand which caused me to not fire a third bullet on 5th street and mucked my hand when he went all in. I had Ace high and he showed his missed flush draw and he took advantage of my check to him on the river to push me off. I put him on a pair with how he played his hand. A middle pair as he had been betting his draws aggressively. He changed it up that hand and it paid off for him. That left me short and my K 2 went down to his pocket deuces shortly thereafter. I final tabled another home tourney bubbling out in 5th and the third one I went out halfway through the field when my late position short stack (8 times the big blind) push with Ad Qd didn’t hold up against pocket 5’s. I stayed for the $1/$2 NL cash games and made back my tourney buy-in plus some so it was a good night overall. I even gave some of the winnings to my wife for the purchase of Christmas presents. Boy, the holidays sure are expensive.

On a personal note: Just a touch over one month to go until baby Baz #4 hits the ground. That will make casa de Baz a very very busy household and will pause a lot of my poker play for awhile. When you have four kids and your oldest is five there is a lot going on in the house on a daily, hourly, and minute by minute basis. Mama Baz could use a little more help from Papa Baz. I also just booked the family summer vacation to Disneyland so we are looking forward to that. Hopefully poker funds can help with the costs but the money has been saved for this trip for awhile now so it’s not a necessity. I have to look closer at the location of Commerce Casino or some of the other area poker establishments and see if I can make it over for a night or two of live California poker action. Any fellow poker bloggers out there that still stop by my little corner of the blogosphere from time to time, live in the LA/Anaheim area and are willing (or should I say want) to accompany me to a local poker establishment this summer holler.

Hope this finds you all well.

Baz Out