We started with 2500 in chips with the blinds at 25/25. I typically play the first orbit tight to see who is playing a lot of hands and who isn't and to see how people are betting. I was in the 2 seat and I learned very quickly, that with the exception of the 8 seat, my table was extremely tight - Rock of Gibraltar tight. Sweet, I was thinking to myself... this is going to be easy pickings. Ah, the best laid plans of men and mice.
Over the course of 2 hours and 15 minutes, I played 17 hands out of the blinds. Add in the 10 or so blind hands I played, and I would guess that I played 40% of the hands I was dealt. It was one of those tournaments all of us have from time to time... you know the ones... where when you raise with nothing, you get re-raised and when you raise with something everyone folds.
The first hand I played was pocket jacks under the gun+1. I raised it to 75 and everyone folded to the big blind who called. The flop came 7 high, all diamonds. I didn't have a diamond. The big blind checked and I bet 125 into the 175 pot and the big blind folded. This was a pretty standard play for me, although sometimes I will limp in with jacks in early position. Because the table was playing so tight, however, I decided raising was the best course of action. Betting the flop was fairly automatic and no tough decision was needed to be made because my opponent folded. My stack after this hand was 2600. This was the highest it would be.
I make a mistake with A-Q when an older gentleman in the 7 seat limps in and the small blind checks his option. I decide not to raise here because I'm out of position and I don't want to over commit myself. The flop is a dream flop A-Q-7. I decide to check and hope Seat 7 has a piece and makes a bet with a weak ace or queen. I try to go into every hand with a plan and this was my intent from the get go when I merely limped in pre-flop.
Ah, the best laid plans of men and mice... everyone checks and the turn is a 3 of diamonds, putting two diamonds on the board. This time I bet 125 into the 150 pot and the small blind check calls me while seat 7 folds. The river is a 8 of diamonds and the small blind leads out for 300 into the 400 pot. Crap. I know he has the flush. I just KNOW it. But my inner donkey somehow makes me throw those 3 black chips into the middle. Hey, at least I was right with my read. As if that matters.
I steal the blinds, two out of three hands, with 9-4 suited and J-10 off. I then get jacks about two hands later and raise and get a call. Which is fine with me, I'm being active and I expect to get some calls. It's how I usually accumulate chips... people not giving me credit for a hand when I do have one... and people giving me credit for a hand when I don't have one. It's funny how that works. Anyway, the flop comes Q-10-4 and I bet 200 into the 300 pot. My opponent makes it 600 to go... it's really the first hand he's shown any aggression at all, so I decide to fold.
A fairly tight guy immediately to my right limps in from the cutoff and I pop it up to 200 to go with K-J of spades. A fairly reckless (she had over raised twice pre-flop with A-J) woman calls out of the big blind and the limper calls. The flop comes 10-9-x and the woman makes a weak lead of 200. The limper folds and I call hoping to either a) improve on the turn and win a big pot or b) take the hand away from her on the turn. Not to mention the fact that I really don't believe that flop helped her any.
The turn is a king. A pretty good card for me, I think, but the woman leads out for 300 this time. Hmmmm. That kind of changes my “plan.” I now revise the plan and decide I am going to call to let her bluff off more chips on the river. The river is a second 9. I think that's a good card for me. She makes another weak bet of 200... I make a value raise to 700 total (leaving myself with 400) and she calls with K-J. Bah. I knew that flop didn't help her. Split pot.
I then get not one, not two, not three... but four small pairs. I call raises before the flops with the first three of them and miss every flop. There's 500 in chips out the window set farming and I'm down to about 1200 or so. I'd do it again because if I hit one of those I would have doubled up, but that's the chance you play when you do that... leaking off chips. On the last one, it's limped by two players and I limp with 4's on the button. Five of us see the flop. It’s checked around on an A-Q-9 flop and checked around on a 3 turn. Well if no one wants it, I'll take it. I bet 150 into the 250 pot and everyone folds.
I steal with A-3 successfully and then with the blinds at 50/100 I get pocket tens... man I'm getting some hands I tell myself. I raise to 300. The biggest rock at the table who hasn't played a hand yet, makes it 750 to go. The one loose aggressive guy at the table moves all in for 1100. If it was just the loose aggressive guy, I would have called but I know I'm crushed by the rock so I fold. The rock has kings and the maniac 2's. The maniac flop's a set on a 7-4-2 board but the turn and river are 7's to give the pot to the rock and eliminate the maniac. We hit the break and I am at 1,325 in chips... about half of what I started with and with the blinds at 100/200 I know I'm going to have to get active immediately after the break.
Immediately after the break, I get A-Q and make it 500 to go. Many people would go all in here and I'm willing to call an all in if someone re-pops me but this at least gives me some options and I've learned it also gives my hand more respect than if I had pushed. At the same time, constantly pushing can be a +EV play if you pick up a big pair and no one believes you. I get one caller from a big stack. We check it down on a rag board and I win the pot as he mucks his hand.
I proceed to donate that 500 back two hands later when I call a button raise out of the big blind with K-J. I was planning on pushing any flop that I hit or bluffing the turn if the guy called but for some reason I chickened out after this turn check on a 10-9 flop because I wanted to see if I could hit the gutter ball. Turns out if I had followed through on my plan I would have won the hand because my opponent had A-J and raked in the pot.
Same guy limps two hands later and I look down to see A-J and push. He folds.
It's about one orbit later and I've gone through the blinds once and I have 925 total in chips left. The rock, who had kings earlier, limps in early position and I am on the button with pocket 6's. It was one of the few times I had seen the rock limp and every time he had a good hand, he had raised. Every time. So I decide he's not that strong and that this is probably a spot I should go with. He might even fold if I am lucky. I move all in and it's folded back to him.
He doesn't like it... I can tell. He counts out the raise amount 725 more and is counting how much is in the pot. He's getting about 2:1 so I don't expect him to fold and quite honestly now I don't want him to. I know it's a race if he calls, but I'm going to need to win a race or two to get back into this thing. “I'm getting 2:1 but I'm afraid I might be 4:1 he says.”
Well at least he respects me. Ha. But he finally makes the right decision (it should have been a no brainer) and makes the call with A-J. A jack on the flop and I'm back on my computer writing an article titled “How to lose $100 an hour.”
It's fun, you should try it sometime.