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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Play This Tournament With Me - $3+.30 Knockout Full Tilt

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This event was a 90 person $2.50+.50 Knockout+.30 multi table sit and go at Full Tilt Poker . This was a knockout tournament which meant that each player contributed .50 to the prize pool and if they are eliminated the player that took them out gets that .50. We started with 3,000 in chips and the blinds at 15/30. It is a turbo event... the rounds are only 5 minutes long. This definitely creates a bit of a “gambling” type of atmosphere. One that you will see me employing throughout the tournament. I ended up finishing 2nd winning $43.88. I picked up a few of the .50 bounties as well. A good return on my measly $3.30 investment (of course considering I just missed the money in the FTOPS Event #2, I still ended up down for the day... the hazards of tournament poker). Here are the key hands I played throughout the course of the tournament.

Hand #1 – I limp in UTG+1 with J-10 off. Before you start shaking your head wondering wtf I'm doing... remember that this is a turbo event and I want to see as many flops as I can in the first two levels before it gets really crazy. It's the one time I know that my stack is deep enough to play a little loose. The button limps, the small blind completes, and four of us see the flop.

The flop is 9c-7c-6d. It is checked to me and I bet 60 in an attempt to take the pot down right there. I am called by the button and the big blind. The turn is the King of spades giving me a double belly buster (any 8 or queen will give me a straight). The big blind checks and I check as well. The button bets the pot... 300... and the big blind folds. I'm trying to think of what type of hand the button has to limp in pre-flop, flat call my bet on the flop, and bet on the turn. I don't think he has a set or over pair because with all the draws on the flop they surely would have raised. It looks to me like a positional bet to try and take the pot... perhaps he's on a draw like I am... a club draw. I decide to call with the intent of betting the river regardless of what comes to try and take it away.

Sometimes the poker Gods decide to help you out and they do here by giving me the 8 of hearts on the river. If I wasn't sure about betting before, I am now. Now the question is... how much? There is 900 in the pot. But wait a minute, I think. If he made a positional steal bet on the turn, wouldn't he do that on the river too? It's a risky play... the river check raise... but I decide this is a good time to try and employ it. I check and thankfully my opponent cooperates with me and bets the pot... 900. I think about min. raising but he only has 1635 in chips left in front of him, so I might as well raise all in and set him in. I do so and he times down to about 2 seconds left on the clock and makes the call. He has K-8 for a rivered two pair that is no good.

This is one of the biggest reasons I hate the pot sized bet. My opponent could have gotten away from this hand (and on a board containing four to a straight it should be easy to fold two pair in the face of a river check raise) but because he had bet so much he probably felt committed to the hand. His mistake is my first fifty cent bounty. I have 5,985 in chips after the hand.

Hand #2
– I limp UTG with A-Q off. Two other players limp. The button completes. The big blind makes it 900 to go (30 big blinds). This bet just screams to me “move.” I have the good fortune of having doubled up already. I go with my read and re-raise all in to isolate the “move.” All the other players fold and the big blind calls for an additional 2,250... with K-J off. Sometimes even the best reads backfire and that is the case here as my opponent hits a king and doubles up off of me. I am down to 2,835 after the hand. Back to where I started. Good times!

Hand #3 – UTG raises to 150 with the blinds at 25/50. Middle position loose player calls. I have the UTG player covered by about 1K in chips and the middle position player is about the same as me. I have 10's. There are two plays here. I can flat call and see the flop or I can re-raise. I choose to re-raise. I don't want to give the right price for the loose player to call so I know that I need to make it more than my normal re-raise of 450. I move all in figuring I will either get my opponents to fold or isolate one of them. Both of them quickly call me. I know I'm in trouble against the UTG player and am... he has aces. Fortunately for me the loose player has 7's and I win the side pot. I am down to 1,540 after the hand. In hindsight the flat call would have definitely been the better play, but you can't always know exactly what your opponent has or is going to do.

Hand #4 – The blinds are now 50/100 and I limp in with K-10 of hearts in middle position and 6 of us see the 10-4-3 rainbow flop. I decide I'm willing to commit myself to the hand but want to punish any potential draws or middle pairs so I bet the size of the pot 600. Everyone folds and I am up to 2,335.

Hand #5
– Blinds are now 80/160. I have 2,155 in chips so I am getting close to one move poker. UTG minimum raises to 320. I am UTG+1 and flat call with K-Q off. Not a move I would normally recommend but I'm looking to double up. You might be asking yourself why I didn't move all in? If I was in later position I would have but I want to see what develops before deciding whether or not to risk all of my chips. Two other players flat call the 320 and we have a nice pot building up. The big blind moves all in for 2,850 total. The original raiser folds.

I'm pretty sure the two other callers will fold if I call. I don't know for sure what the big blind has but it could be a complete move, a small to medium sized pair, or a hand that has me completely dominated. I am hoping it is one of the first two and call. As expected the other two fold and I see that my opponent has 10's. I'll take that. The flop comes with a Queen and the turn is a King and because of all the dead money in the pot, I triple up to 7,185. This is exactly the type of hand I was talking about in my intro. The easy thing for me to do there would have been to fold but by “gambling” a little I've now suddenly put myself in position to win the tournament rather than try to survive numerous all ins.

Hand #6 – proof positive that I make huge mistakes all the time (and that I'm being very forthcoming in these articles by listing all of the key hands including the ones where I'm a complete donkey). Here's one of them. Player limps in from middle position and I am in the big blind with 10-3 off. The flop comes K-8-3. It's checked around. The turn is a 4. I check, the limper makes a minimum bet and I call with my bottom pair (obviously not thinking that my opponent has any of this). The river is a 7 and I check again. This time my opponent bets the pot (1,400). This throws me for a loop. Did he limp in with 6-5 and hit runner runner straight? Slow playing a monster? It doesn't make sense to me and I'm a big believer in going with my gut if it doesn't add up. So I call with bottom pair. He has Kings for a flopped set. Oops. It made sense now. I slap myself for that slip up but know that I can recover. I am down to 4,250 after the hand.

Hand #7 – The blinds are now 120/240 and there is now a 25 ante. Two players limp and I limp as well with 5's from the button. The flop is A-7-3 with two clubs. It is checked around. The turn is a 10. Again it is checked around. The river is another 10. This time one of the limpers makes a minimum bet of 240. Again my radar is telling me this doesn't make sense. If he had a big ace he would have raised pre-flop. If he had a weak ace, he would have bet either the flop or turn. If he had a 10, he would have bet more for value. Seems to me like a weak stab to try and pick up the pot and I can beat a bluff. I call. He has K-9 and I win the pot. Sometimes my instincts are right. I am up to 5,240 after the hand.

Hand #8 – Blinds are now 200/400 with a 50 ante. Middle position player minimum raises my big blind to 800. I love people that min. raise my big blind. I have to call 400 with a pot size of 1750. There are not many hands that I am going to fold there and certainly not A-2 of spades. I call. The flop comes A-8-6. I decide to check to see what the min. raiser does. He bets 1,200 into the 2,150 pot. Pretty standard continuation bet. I'm fairly certain that I am going to go with this hand so I decide that my play will be to just call and check the turn with the intent of check raising all in or calling all in if he bets enough to do so. The turn is a 7. I check as planned but my opponent checks behind me. The river is another 8. I don't think that card is bad for me and believe that I have the best hand.

How to extract value is the question. If I lead out and he has nothing he will fold. I decide to go for the old risky check raise on the river play again. If he checks behind me it's not the end of the world but I have a feeling he is going to bet (and that's a key requirement if you are going to check raise the river). He does just that... except the bet is for 3,600. I have 3,690. Ahhhh the old bet almost your whole stack to get you to try and fold bet. Sorry dude, I've seen that one a million times. I move all in for the additional 90 which he of course has to call. He has nothing... Q-J off and I double up to 11,930.

Hand #9
– the blinds are now 250/500 with a 50 ante. I am in the big blind with 8-5 off. A middle position player min. raises and it's folded to me. I think I already mentioned how much I love when someone min. raises my big blind. Let me add how stupid it is and we'll be done with that subject. With 2,150 in the pot it's an easy call for me... even with relative trash. The flop comes 10-8-5. Bottom two pair might be one of the most difficult hands to play because there are so many ways it can end up losing. I'm certainly not going to fold though and go with the conventional play in this situation (check raise all in to the pre-flop aggressor). This requires the pre-flop raiser to bet and he does... for the size of the pot 2,650. Again he could have lost a lot less by betting smaller... he has approximately 6,500 left after his bet. I have him covered by about 1K and move all in. He folds and I am up to 15,490. And to think if he would have just raise to 1,250 (250 more)... I would have folded.

Hand #10 – I lost a small pot and am down to 13,240. The blinds are now 400/800 with a 100 ante. I raise to 2,400 from UTG+1 with pocket 7's. The small blind moves all in for 8,700 total. I'll still have close to 5K if I call and lose the hand. I'll have 11K if I fold. If I win I'll have 23K. I like my chances if I have 23K and I am getting over 2:1 on my money. I call. My opponent has A-K and does not improve and I win only my 2nd fifty cent bounty of the tournament and now have 23,350.

Hand #11
– Blinds are now 500/1,000 with a 125 ante. A short stack moves all in for 4,010 and I make the insta-call from the big blind with A-K. He has A-9 and I get another fifty cents and am up to 28,535.

Hand #12 – Blinds are now 600/1,200 with a 150 ante. We are down to 12 players (9 get paid) and are playing 6 handed. I open raise with Q-9 of hearts to 3,600 first to act and am called by the big blind. The flop comes 4-3-2 with two spades. The big blind checks and I bet 5,500 into the 9,700 pot. My opponent calls. Crap, not what I was hoping for but at least I have position. The turn is a jack and my opponent checks. I check behind him. The river is another 4. My opponent again checks.

He must have been on a draw of some kind I think to myself or he could have a hand like 5's. I have to bet as it might be the only way I can win the hand. There is 20,700 in the pot. My opponent has 26K left in front of him. I have 18K left in front of me. If he has a marginal hand like a pair of 5's I need to bet enough for it to be problematic to call. At the same time, I also want to leave myself with a little something in case he decides to look me up. I bet 12,500 and take a deep breath (thankfully it's online and he can't see this). He folds and I am up to 38,060 after the hand and am now the table chip leader.

Hand #13 – I am dealt jacks on the very next hand and make it 3,600 to go and am called by the player to my immediate left. The flop comes Q-10-8. Not a terrible flop for me. I check to see what my opponent does and he checks as well. The turn is a 9 giving me the straight. I bet 6,500 (should have checked) and my opponent folds. I am up to 44,210 after the hand.

Hand #14 – The blinds are now 800/1,600 with a 200 ante. I steal the blinds with 7-6 of clubs, steal them again (although I'm not sure you can call it stealing) with kings and am up to 49,760. I have K-7 of spades in the small blind and complete. It is just me and the big blind. The flop comes Kc-7h-5c. I bet the minimum of 1,600 and my opponent calls. The turn is the 8 of clubs. I still think I am in the lead but I want to try and keep the pot small so I check. My opponent bets the pot... 7,400. Yuck. I really don't like how this feels but I don't see how I can fold two pair (especially a strong two pair like this) in a blind versus blind confrontation. I decide to call and hope a non club or straight card comes off on the river. Unfortunately it does... a 4 of hearts. I check and I'm pretty sure I will fold to any large bet from my opponent. He checks behind me though with 6-4 of clubs (why on earth would you check there?) and wins the pot. I am down to 38,960 after the hand.

Hand #15 – We've finally made the money. I folded a couple of nice hands in early position (A-10, K-J and Q-J suited) because those aren't hands I like to play in early position because if I receive any action I'm usually WAY behind. I do open raise twice, once with A-9 suited and the next with A-8 off. Because I've been playing relatively tight both of these steal attempts are successful and I manage to maintain my stack. With the blinds at 2,000/4,000 and a 500 ante, I win a nice sized pot with A-J when four of us see the flop (I was in the big blind) and we check it all the way down and ace high is good. One of the players was all in so I win another fifty cents and am up to 54,170 with just 6 players remaining. I am 2nd in chips.

Hand #16 – I steal the blinds with A-2 off. The blinds are now 2,500/5,000 with a 600 ante. A short stack (relatively speaking) moves all in first to act for 25,060 total. It's nearly half my stack but we're 6 handed and his range of hands could be a lot worse than the A-J I am holding. I call. It's a race as he has pocket 9's. Despite flopping a jack and turning an ace, the race is over quickly as he flops a set of 9's. I am down to 35,210 after the hand.

Hand #17 – I raise first to act in an attempt to steal the blinds with A-5 off. The big blind is short (he only has 8K left after posting the 5K big blind) and I figure he will call but I'm willing to take him on. He does call with K-9 off but I hit an ace and knock him out (another fifty cents... sweet!). I am back up to 54K after the hand and we are five handed.

Hand #18 – I steal the blinds three times with all in first to act bets (with the blinds at 3,000/6,000 and everyone having between 50-70K it was a good bet to make... you can't afford to sit back and wait for hands with these blinds and so much dead money in the middle). This moves me into the chip lead with 72K. The other three players are all above 60K so it is very even.

Hand #19 – we are now three handed and the blinds are 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante. It is folded to the small blind who moves all in for 57K total. I have him covered by 14K. The big stack has 141K. I have A-5 off and figure it's either 3rd place or 2nd place with a decent shot at winning the heads up. I call. My opponent has A-2 off and is probably hoping for a chop but I hit a 5 and win another fifty cent bounty. The chip stacks are nearly dead even as we enter heads up play at 141K-130K.

Hand #20 – the hand that pretty much sealed my fate was an all in pre-flop confrontation with A-9 for me and Kings for my opponent. I had my opponent covered by 55K at the time but did not receive the lucky bad beat. I actually got it back up to 98K at one time but lost with an all in pre-flop push with J-9 suited to his A-8.

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