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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Pundit - Jeremy “Chipsteela” Menard - So Close, Yet so Far

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Another FTOPS has come and gone, and yet again I’m left wondering what might have been. I did manage to cash in several events, but we all know that the big money in tournaments is at the final table and more specifically the top 3, not 50th. I actually finished right around 50th in 4 events, but the one that hurt the most was in the second to last FTOPS event.
This event was the $129 buy-in Knockout tournament, where you received $20 for each player that you bust. Due to the smaller buy-in the field of players in this tournament was much weaker than many of the other FTOPS events. This became apparent very fast, as I didn’t seem to have much trouble chipping up and building a decent stack to work with. However, when we got close to the money bubble of this tournament, I ran A-K smack into the A-A of an aggressive player who raised in late position. That hand left me crippled, but I managed to win a few all-ins with marginal holdings allowing me to get back up to a reasonable stack. Then the dream scenario played out to my advantage on the absolute bubble of the tournament.
A Scandinavian player had been raping and pillaging the blinds for the past few orbits, trying to make his Viking ancestors proud as players were tightening up on the bubble. That was until I picked up A-A in a perfect spot against him. He raised for the billionth time from early position, and with the “American Airlines” and I decided to put in a smallish three-bet with the hope that he would think I was just trying to make a play on him. The problem was that with my stack I wasn’t giving him much room for fold equity if he did decide to come back over the top, and many good players would pick up on this, but I had already decided that to this particular player it didn’t matter. Sure enough despite the fact that my small raise was almost certainly a monster, as soon as the action got back to him he moved his chips all in and as soon as I snap called he revealed the mighty K-To. The poker gods always feel it necessary to make me sweat though, as he instantly flops the King, but somehow, someway my hand holds and I have a great stack to work with going into the money.
From this hand on I began to take control of the table. I noticed that even though we were in the money, a lot of the players were still playing very tight so I started opening a lot more hands and putting lots of pressure on players in the pots that I did play. This kept my stack growing as the blinds and antes were getting larger, and also got me significantly more action when I did have a hand. I also won some important races on the way, and I started to get the feeling that this was going to be my tournament.  It’s sad, but true that whenever I win more than one race in a row these days I start to feel like I’m invincible. Don’t worry; I got brought back down to reality in no time. We’ve already been over this before; poker likes to tease people, like so many of the girls I dated in high school.

So I was raising more than my fair share of pots, and taking them down without a problem when all of a sudden a new player that has me outchipped is moved to the table on my direct left. This changes the table dynamics slightly, though I have never heard of this player so I’m not that worried.

A few hands later I open the K-To under the gun, fully expecting the table to fold like the little girls that they were, when out of the blue the new player calls me. No big deal, as I manage to flop a King on a super dry board. I make a small bet to try to find out where I’m at in the hand and he just calls. When the turn brings a Q I’m not that happy, but at this point I am putting him on a medium pair, and I believe there was now a flush draw on the board, so I decide to make a small bet again. My line of thinking was that I didn’t want him to blow me off the hand with a huge bet if I did check, and if I made a small bet then I continue to keep initiative in the hand while at the same time controlling the size of the pot with a hand that has pretty good showdown value at this point. When the river peeled off a blank I checked fully expecting him to check behind, but also with the plan of calling most any bet. His line just didn’t seem to make sense for a hand that would have me beat at this point. He does end up firing around 1/4th the size of the pot, and I immediately had a bad feeling but decide to go along with the plan and call anyways. He flips over one of the hands I didn’t really expect to see in this situation, A-A. Nh sir.

After this hand I get moved to a new table, and don’t see a single hand that doesn’t contain a 2 in it for the next few orbits. The blinds were getting very large at this point, and I’m now looking for a good spot to shove on a late position raiser to start to pick up some more chips and maintain a stack that has fold equity, but that spot doesn’t really arise. Instead I get dealt the K-Js on the button, and when the action folds around to me I decide to just move all in since this is a pretty good hand in this situation and a good percent of the time I’m going to get the blinds to fold, and possibly even call me with worse hands due to the fact that so many people are moving all in with marginal holdings in late position these days since it’s an “unexploitable” play. The small blind does fold, however the player in the big blind goes into the tank which starts to worry me. With around 30 seconds left in his time bank he makes the call w K-Q, which is about the worst that could happen. I pick up a flush draw on the flop, and turn a gutshot straight draw to go along with it, but sadly there’s just no love for me on the river. Seriously fuck my life.

If that wasn’t enough, I lost A-A to Q-Q after getting it all in on a 8-3-8 board for the chip lead pot in the MiniFTOPS main event a few hours later. Why wouldn’t he just bink a Q on the turn, talk about kicking a guy when he’s down. Anyways… So I’ve noticed that I haven’t won a triple crown in awhile, and I guess that’s something I’m known for. Look for me grinding this next week in my attempt to reclaim that glory. If you happen to be on the rail don’t hesitate to say what’s up, I’ll try my best to respond back if I don’t have a billion tables going. As always best of luck at the tables, Peace.

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